Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spooky Sketch

4 x 4 Spooky Sketch Challenge by kat mcd. 2014
Took part in my friend, Joan Charles', 4x4 halloween sketch challenge. (see more at http://illustrationmatters.blogspot.com )  Thought this came out creepy and cute at the same time. I guess I'd describe most clowns that way.  Love doing challenges like this one. Gets my creative juices flowing. Gets me focused. Gets a finished sketch that might become a full illustration out of me with out tears and gnashing of teeth.

At the Los Angeles Westsider's Illustration Schmooze, our leader Suzy, came up with "baby steps." Tiny goals that you can complete before the next meeting.  One of the great ideas that has come out of this is her, doodle a day challenge. For those beginning their drawing career or veterans, it's a wonderful warm up, without needing to plan out where it's going. I usually think way too much before I pick up a pencil.

So try out an existing challenge or create your own. I dare you...Happy sketching!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cat People = Great People

Whew. I made it through my first ever art/film festival and I had a blast.
Me at LA Feline Film Festival 2014

Here's what I learned:

       Plan, prepare, plan some more. All of my research and planning made the day a lot let stressful.        Being organized, made the set up much easier but it still took twice the time I thought it would.

 Sheets make great walls! As does burlap. I was very happy with my backdrops for my original             paintings. The burlap allowed a nice breeze through and still created a semi solid "wall" for my       banner and Enormouse Orange Kitty.  The sheets worked well and gave us shade.  With 100               plus temps the previous week, I was concerned about melting in my booth. Lucky for all of us             and the cats too, the weather goddess took pity and provided a gorgeous day.

Chains are great for hanging....and swinging in the wind. I didn't anticipate the height of the tent     and should have gotten longer chains and staked them to the dirt.  The lovely breeze had my             canvases twirling. Instead of "s" hooks I would have used C clamps to make sure none could fall.

Signage. I think I would have had more signs with information all around. Giving customers a               reason to hang out and read all about the cats in my paintings.
Paper Dolls, Prints and Original Cat Art

What sells? Can't be sure for next year. This year it was original paintings and prints. I did sell a bag,
but  I think they make better displays than product. There were lots of free bags at the festival and with so many people having too many bags cluttering their cars, even a hand painted one becomes an extra item.  That was right out of a few customers mouths. So I'll use them to attract, but unless I make high end styles....there's an idea.....I won't expect them to be a big seller.

My son "helping" out >'y'<
Oh, and if you bring your 12 year old, you'd better let him bring his ipod. It's a loooong day. He did get to see his mom "at work." And see how lovely cat people are. I had a wonderful day just soaking up the "catmosphere" and appreciating people's reaction to my work.  Didn't get to meet LiL Bub, but there is always next year. Meow!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What Was I Thinking?

So I was approached via my Etsy site, to participate in a festival with my artwork. http://lafelinefilmfestival.com/  Do you love all those cat videos on line? Well this is the festival for you!
 I have a lot of cat paintings and I thought, "This would be a great way to meet a targeted audience, schmooze with some nice people and sell some work.  I've never sold my work out of a booth at a fair before, so this will be an adventure and push me out of my box. aka my studio."

I asked the universe to send me the $200 fee for the table and a week later we got a rebate from our insurance in the amount of $197.  Can't argue with that.
I informed my hubby and my son they were "hired" for a day of play, eh....work and we'd be making some new memories.  We all love movies, check. We all love cats... We all love my cat paintings,  check. With massive amounts of enthusiasm.....on my part, I went to work, and I mean work, preparing for this show.

Some of the long list of items to get ready:

 Inventory I decided to bring:   original paintings on canvas, prints matted to 8 x 10 and 11 x                                  14, and a I created a trio of kitty paper dolls with their own theme. These I really am happy                 with and will sell on my Etsy site in a digital form. Looking forward to seeing how well they                    are received. Here is Lucy.
Lucy's Spring Wing Paper Doll

Display, I want  to keep the backdrops neutral so that i can use them for my "a Little Beachy" items if I want to sell them along with my animal art.  And make the artwork stand out. I did purchase inexpensive curtain panels in a bright green to hang at the corners of the tent, so that they'll bring  some attention to the booth from far away. Tablecloths~ I decided on burlap. And for the "walls" I got three flat sheets to create a solid back ground and give us some shade,
The tricky part is how to hang my paintings from the tent. I saw lots of people on line with very expensive panels, but that wasn't an option for me.  I finally found a picture of a booth where the artist draped metal chains and used "S" hooks to hang her work.  This was brilliant. It will give me flexibility to hang wider pieces and many smaller up and down the chains. Will let you know how this works after the show.

Signage: I'm getting a banner printed. Figure this would be a nice large display that will be                                    something I can use for future shows, if I enjoy this experience. I also scored a large, very light weight, unfinished wood frame at Michael's and painted it. I'll hang a sign inside that as well.

Along with all the above, there seems to be a never ending list of  "to do" items to accomplish. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will be a fun experience (for the whole family)  and I'll find some good homes for my kitties.  

I must say thanks to all the veteran craft/art show sellers out in the big wide world who are so generous with all the information they've posted on line in their blogs or on Pinterest. Truly feels like a community has helped me prep for this.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Polished to Perfection

      When I collect sea glass or beach stones, I have very high standards. Nothing comes home with me unless it is fully polished to a velvety smoothness. Any roughness or "unfinished" areas, sends it straight back into the ocean for nature to finish her work.  The sea always accepts my critique and just keeps doin' it's thing.  No voice yells back at me, "Hey, I put a lot of time and effort into that piece! It's almost done. Yeah. It's good enough!"  Time and again that has been the inner dialogue/excuse I've had with myself when judging one of my own sketches or paintings.   Spotting a glaring error or a tiny mistake can sometimes starts a whole negotiation.  It wastes my time and clouds my judgment. Well, no more.

    As I sorted my recent finds from the Great State of New Jersey's Manasquan Beach, I delighted in each piece in my collection.  Then it dawned on me, this is exactly what I strive for in my portfolio.  A perfectly polished group of work.  But why,  when I have the ability to see improvement needed in others work, is it so hard to have the same clarity and ruthless judgement toward my own?   Don't I possess the ability to judge my own work with equal confidence?    I believe I do.    I seem to possess a very loud, sometimes insecure inner voice, that can be kind of a bully. Being aware of the problem isn't fixing it, but until the arguments stop,  I'll rely on my amazing critique group to point out which piece is finished and which doesn't belong in the collection yet.

    For now, my soft beach stones sit on my studio table.  A reminder to get on with creating a polished to perfection portfolio.   Each piece a keeper!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Poems and Pictures

Sloth is slow
She can grow
Head to toe
A coat of algae

Never a worry
To be in a hurry
A furry 

While Sloth munches
Bugs in bunches
Take their lunches
Keep her company

by kat mcd.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fun Finds at the Thrift Store

     I'm such a sucker for thrift stores. And living in the San Fernando Valley there is an abundance of them. Much to the chagrin of my son, who'd rather be doing anything else.

Found this wonderful book yesterday at Goodwill. The Natural Way to Draw, "A working plan for art study" by Kimon Nicolaides.  Published by Houghton Mifflin1941.

       A mere $2.99 for an entire class on drawing by an instructor at the Art Students League in New York.   I love that it has pencil marks on it's cover.  I love that he includes very serious schedules for the student to follow. I love that it's called the Natural Way to Draw. So aptly named because his method for teaching asks the student to become so completely involved with observation, through all of their senses, that they will learn to draw from their own experience. Not through some magic formula they hope their teacher will convey to them.  Sounds like he had his ego in check.  Unfortunately, Mr. Nicolaides died before he saw it published.  Luckily. he had a first draft finished.   He must have been an excellent teacher.  I'm so glad his "class" lives on.