Archive for the 'Artists' Category

The Need for Green

I think, because this winter was sooooo harsh, our spring has been very, um, meh. Don’t blink because all of the magnolia blossoms have already fallen in a heartbeat. My forsythia had all of THREE yellow blossoms on it. Yes, three, and I’m not exaggerating. All the same, we’ve been taking lots of walks and the air everywhere just smells so AMAZING! Just because the forsythia and magnolias were a bust doesn’t mean other things haven’t been in blossom! BUT! if that winter wasn’t hard enough and we have tried to move past it, it snowed here yesterday (in Northern Illinois) for 3 hours! Yes, it is mid May, daffodils and tulips have already done their thing and it snowed.

While we are talking about that horrible winter, I think I’ve been very horrible and lax about sharing things on the blog lately, and realized I never posted about these buttons.

For those of you living elsewhere in the United States (instagramming your spring flowers and running around in sandals) The Chicagoland area is STILL suffering from the third snowiest winter in recorded history. @katielicht had the brilliant idea for us

My friend Katie (Who’s birthday it just happens to be today, happy birthday lady!) came up with this great idea to make some ribbon buttons (like I’ve made in the past as souvenirs for my gingerbread house making party) but to congratulate and honor all of us who have had to weather through (badum bum) the worst winter in the last 30 years or so. She came over one day and we made cutie pie buttons, examples as shown above.

My need for spring and green did not end there!

My friend Rosa posted a display picture of a ring she made and it made me think of my leaf rings, but instead of just using a solid green piece of paper, I should try to watercolor some paper first.  So, this (above) became this (below)

I'm working on some new leaf rings and necklaces, perfect for spring. Now if I could just fast forward past the resin stage, right @rmurillo ? #robayre

Which, became…

5.16 leaf jewelry

These! This is just a portion of the pieces, but I am starting to slowly add the finished leaf rings and necklaces to my etsy shop.

necklace with clasp

They came out beautifully! I'm trying to slowly add these new pieces (rings and necklaces) to my shop

Speaking of green, tomorrow (Sunday, May 18th) I will be at Blumen Gardens selling my items alongside friends Ann (of A Beautiful Party) , and Michaela (of Naturally Mod). Some of these rings and necklaces will be available there too!

15 Day Drawing Challenge and other challenges as well!

I’m late jumping into the project, but I wanted to participate in Amanda Wright’s (from Wit & Whistle) 15 day drawing challenge. She created a list of 15 different things to draw, and here are my first 5 days.

Playing late catch up #Day1 of the #15daydrawingchallenge from @witandwhistle #pattern

Day 1, a pattern, when I see these scallopy patterns this direction I think of grassy knolls, kind of like the portrait I did of my rabbit Theo

And #day2 of the #15daydrawingchallenge. #animal #buffalo

Day 2, an animal. Earlier this Spring, Katie shared a “What is your Spirit Animal?” quiz and I was pretty excited to receive American Buffalo.

#15daydrawingchallenge jean jacket

Day 3, a favorite thing to wear, naturally a jean jacket

Day 3: something found outside in the ground. My SIL and nephew found this on the ground at a park and picked it up for me. Perfect. #15daydrawingchallenge

Day 4, Something Found on the Ground Outside. Just when I had been trying to pay attention and find something interesting on the ground whenever I was outside, my Sister in law and nephew invited me over to give me this wooden, children’s alphabet block that they found on the ground at the park across the street from their house. It had Rs on it and all things that begin with R, like rainbow and rabbit. It was meant to be!

Day 5, so far behind but not giving up. It literally took me this long to be inspired by a recipe instruction. I'm not a #coffee drinker so I always tell people that when I do it has to resemble #KoolAid more than coffee. Part of my never ending love/hate

Day 5 took me forever because, if you know me, you know I’m not that inspired by recipes. Finally this very cheeky recipe popped into my head for Kool-Aid Coffee. I’m pretty sure I coined the phrase. I’m not a coffee drinker, so when I do drink it I have to put so much sweetener in it that it resembles kool-aid more than it does coffee. My favorite is going to a family restaurant that has those sugar dispensers like the one I drew above, where the sugar can just keep coming and coming and coming and you don’t have to feel guilty or have evidence of all the sugar you used from empty paper packets all over the table.

I think I must have taken a first real look at Wit & Whistle after seeing her in an issue of Stationery Trends (btw, this has seriously become my favorite magazine). Earlier this year I went back through her archives and read her ENTIRE BLOG. That is how smitten I am. Funny enough, I later realized I had seen her work before because I found something of hers I had pinned on pinterest.

I wanted this Wit & Whistle stamp so badly, so I basically spelled it out to Matt that he should get it for me for Valentine’s Day, he’s not one for subtle hinting, and so it worked. I still haven’t even used it, it’s on display in my knick shelf wall, I love it so.

I love Amanda’s work and her blog and it was so great to go through her archives and see her develop in her unique vision and style. She posts regularly, and I look forward to her updates. She, along with my new love of Stationery Trends, has really inspired me to really invest and hone in on developing a cohesive paper product line.

I’ve held onto something she shared on her blog, that was one of those ah-ha and OF COURSE! moments for me. She was doing another challenge where she was trying to improve on her hand lettering skills. It’s something I would love to do myself, but whenever I’d sit down to try and do anything it felt so hard and I would always just resort to the couple “fonts” that I know and have memorized. More than once I just admitted to myself that I just didn’t have that skill for hand lettering. Well, in Amanda’s post she shared that she also really struggled with it (which was great to hear because I think of her talent as being so perfect and natural) but that with regular practice it was becoming easier. Simple, right? Work hard at something and you may just improve, who knew? I KNOW that few seemingly natural born talents exist and that plenty of hard work and talent will result in improved skills, but why do I fall into thinking otherwise so readily? Well, when I was in college and took my very first Art class, the teacher shared how art and talent and skill are things that artists have to hone and WORK HARD at, still there is this common misconception that art comes natural to some, and most people are born with it or not. But that is not true, and so he showed us slides of early artwork from artists while they got better and developed their craft. This was a big thing for me because I realized I thought that, and I think I was educated in that same belief and incorrect logic, but fortunately I was amongst that group of students that was told that I just had it, so that enforced and encouraged me to spend time and have interest and work on artwork, where other children just give up. It was something I learned even more about later in art education courses, that at a certain age children start looking around and comparing their work to their classmates and if they don’t feel good about it, they just give up and quit. So, even though I know better than to just expect things to come easy to me, I still fall into that trap occasionally. Amanda’s little comment provided me with a much needed reminder and nudge that if I want to do something, and if it doesn’t come easily at first, that I need to keep pushing and trying at it and not give up so easily.

36/36 Project


Last fall I received an evite from Courtney Cerruti (the internet’s sweetheart) to participate in an Art show in California. In all honesty, I’m in Illinois and probably won’t be getting to California any time soon, and I just assumed that it was a mass emailing and somehow I got on the list. I clicked through the links and thought that it was some sort of accident and decided to just quietly disregard it. A couple of weeks later I got a follow up email, once again asking to please participate and explaining more details about the show. Courtney was curating a show where each participant would create artwork using an antique wooden spoon.

I emailed her back explaining that I live in Illinois and that I wasn’t sure if she really meant to invite me, but that my interests were piqued. She replied that she picked me along with 35 other instagram artists to participate in this show and that I should “Say Yes!” and so I did. You can read more about the show here, including her inspiration, how it all unfolded and links to all of the other artists.

I’m amongst some amazing folks, I tell you. It was probably a good thing I didn’t see this list first, before I was invited. I probably would have been too intimidated to participate (biting my nails).

Can't wait to share what has became of this #woodenspoon. Thank you @ccerruti for inviting me to be part of the #3636project

Here is a little thumbnail of my spoon as it was sent to me. Now I have finished my piece and sent it back. The opening for the show is in a week. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but here is a sneak peak, below, of the work in progress.

I just noticed my #spoon for the #3636project has arrived to its destination in CA so I thought I'd share this progress shot.

While I won’t be able to attend the show, I am so excited to see pictures from the show and find out what all the spoons look like.

The opening is on February 21st from 6pm-8pm at Paxton Gate Kids, 766 Valencia St. San Francisco. Here is the facebook event page. Spread the word!

If you are near San Fransisco or will be in the area on February 21st, please think of attending, and then reporting back to me about it ;)

It’s Business Time

4.1 29 Favorite Foods

Recently I met with a CPA for the very first time. He was willing to meet with me for free to help me decide the route I want to go with my business. I know, awesome, right? Despite doing plenty of research online over the years and taking a small business/entrepenuer seminar I have always felt very confused and in over my head about running a business. After the meeting I realized I had been getting so much conflicting information from different sources. It was a relief to find out that I am on the right path.  I had so many questions answered and so much self imposed pressure relieved. I still have work to do, but things are much clearer and I’m super excited for the future. For a long time I’ve had this dream of growing my business with my precious designs, handmade items and original artwork but this guilt and confusion has held me back. For once I actually feel like I am giving myself the internal permission to grow.  And boom like that I have a handful of projects and prospects that I am very excited about, wholesale projects and even a possible licensing opportunity that I am crossing my fingers about.

I’ve been finding such great inspiration from other artists that I really admire and figured I should share them here as well. I am so thankful that each of these artist are so open and willing to share their experiences.

I highly recommend listening to this After the Jump with artist Zoe Pawlak. I’ve actually listened to it a few times.

A video interview with artist Michelle Armas

An interview with Jihan Zencirli of Geronimo Balloons

An article by Ashley Goldberg about licensing artwork

This video of artist Katie Lombardo (Katie Daisy/ The Wheatfield) was featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. I don’t have cable so my mom TiVod it for me and we watched the whole episode. While I wanted to watch it for the part on Katie Daisy, the video above is the entire part about Katie, the rest of the episode was primarily an interview with Steven Pressfield about unlocking the creative genius within. It really reminded me of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, The Law of Attraction and Flow If you have an opportunity to see it, I highly recommend it.

Edit: I just had to stop back and add one more link. I just happened upon this video this morning and Tiffany Shlain (founder of the webby awards) gives some sound advice about pursuing your big dreams.


Package from Rosa

Last week a special package arrived on my front step. My friend Rosa sent me a box filled with goodies. I got teary when I opened it. She is too good of a friend to me, I don’t really deserve all of this.

5.20.13 Package from Rosa
I may have kissed an item or two (or three) when opening everything up. She sent the package because I sent her one a while ago where we swapped ring blanks that we both use for our jewelry. My package to her was not nearly as awesome. Rosa’s daughter has learned to crochet and made some bath scrubbies and I wanted to buy one. When I opened up the package everything smelled so heavenly. It actually started giving me a complex, wondering what my packages smell like when I send them out. Then I realized her package smelled so great because of the bath scrubby. Now I want bath scrubbies to go in every package I send out so they can all smell so amazing. Her daughter then wrote thank you notes and heaven knows I love me some kid writing. I hold it right up there alongside kid’s drawings. Perfect.

In this package, Rosa included several items that she had made and shared on instagram. Pretty much everything Rosa makes is magic so you should follow her on instagram.

5.20.13 Ring by Rosa Murillo
Top picture by Rosa, bottom picture on my finger

The biggest prize had to be this house ring. I think Rosa could make fortunes from these new rings. Not only is Rosa an amazing artist, she is also a skilled architect! When she combines her loves for art with her passion for buildings something magical happens and these rings are a perfect example. Another example is

5.20.13 House by Rosa Murillo
This little house. I don’t know if she’s thought of it before, but this would be an amazing artomat piece.

Thank you so much for the wonderful package. I’ve listened to the mix CD many times now, and can’t wait to play with the rest of the treats.

Check out Rosa online

Rosa Murillo’s blog

Rosa’s flickr

Rosa’s Instagram

Rosa’s etsy – art

Rosa’s etsy – jewelry

Inspiration: Artist Michelle Armas

For the life of me I can not remember what led me to Atlanta artist Michelle Armas’ work. It was just the other day, but yeah, poof, it’s already gone. I think maybe on pinterest? Anyway, I first saw a piece of her artwork which led me to her bigcartel site, and there I found a little bio where she shared a link to her blog and WHOOSH, I fell down the inspirational rabbit hole.

Remember the other day when I said I needed to loosen up? Yeah, well, this is the kind of thing I’m talking about. I’m enamored with Michelle’s work. I want all my walls covered in her work. It’s all about the looseness and the colors for me. In my own artwork I have a certain confidence in regard to composition, but in regard to color I just don’t feel in control. I know when I see good color (combinations), but I feel like I can’t pull them out of my own head. I have this habit of finding great color here and there and then using that as inspiration for my own work. Example, I loved this design piece by andrea daquino and used it as color inspiration for the necklace on the right I made. My hang ups on color might stem from a lack of confidence and jealousy somehow. As I was saying when other people use certain colors I see this magic happen, but if I had created something using those same colors previously I wouldn’t give me the same feeling. Is that weird? It’s kind of like perfume. I could smell a scent on someone and LOVE it, but if I had that same perfume and wore it, it wouldn’t have the same magic.

Well, just looking through her blog I came upon this post. First, she shares a picture with a color chart underneath and says she is painting that color story. Then she posts about a room she is in love with and when I click the link it takes me to her pinterest and more specifically a board called “Color inspiration”. Weeeee, I’m not the only one who needs to outsource her color inspiration.

Michelle Armas blog
Michelle Armas Etsy

Beauty is Embarrassing


I saw this post at Art Cake where Christi shared her experience going to see Beauty is Embarrassing: The Wayne White Story, and hear him speak afterward as well. I’ve been wanting to see it, but figured it was going to be one of those movies that I would have to wait a year or more before it was finally on DVD. Turns out, even though it is still touring, you can download it for $7.99 and watch it at home! Awesome. I bought it immediately, downloaded it and streamed it to our TV.
If you aren’t familiar, Wayne White is an artist most known for his work on shows like PeeWee’s Playhouse, Beakman’s World (both shows I loved), music videos like Peter Gabriel’s Big time and Smashing Pumpkin’s Tonight, Tonight, and most recently his type-based pieces painted over thrift store artwork, like the ones pictured above.

I’d really recommend you buy the movie. At $7.99 that’s close to a movie theater ticket, and way cheaper than buying a brand new movie on DVD. And unless I missed something I think when you buy it, you are really buying it, it’s not like a $24 hour rental, and we were able to move the file to our server to stream to the nice, big TV.
WW stills - LBJ1
I watched the movie with my sketchbook on my lap and remote control nearby so that I could pause it and write down quotes to remember later. Yes, it was that good.  One of the things I love about Wayne and his artwork is that it is all over the place. He allows the creativity to just come out everyday and in every part of his life. He plays instruments, makes puppets, comics, illustrates and paints, he does it all. He said “I want to try everything” and that sentiment is so familiar to the way I work. I pretty much say a variation of that everyday and that is “I want to do everything“.

FYI, the movie has a lot of language, so you want to make sure that the kiddies are in bed.

Also, for all my teacher friends out there, there is a really touching teacher story in the movie. I got teary.

Go buy it now!


Mosaic of my most recent instagrams
Another mosaic of my most recent instagrams. Other mosaics from instagram can be seen here.

My instagram obsession has been going on now for two years in December. It really kicked into full force a little over one year ago and NOW I can  proudly say that I have posted daily on instagram for over a year! Yes, I have finally finished a 365 project, but note that I never committed to it, because if I did, it would have gone the way of my 365 little book pages, my 365 self portrait, and my 365 mailart project. That is to say, it would have been abandoned. After posting about all the great people she was following, I started “hounding” Anika (from aisforanika) about composing a post about creative people she follows on instagram. I’m always looking for new talented folks. Then I realized I too could create my very own post about instagrammers to follow.

Instagram has really taken place of the social network image sharing site that flickr once held. I begrudgingly renewed my prime account a few days ago because I’m locked in after hosting my blog images there for years. People still use it to house their images, but no one really comments or interacts there anymore and it’s sad. That was a HUGE part of the appeal of flickr and now it’s gone. I stand by the idea that if they could just get a REALLY swanky free app people would be using it again. People don’t want to be limited to square format and have to see vintage filtered pics forever. The truth is, not everyone is at their computer 24/7, but they do have their ipods and phones with them all the time and they want to be able to upload pictures on a whim. What is flickr waiting for? End rant.

Okay, so here are 10 great instagrammers. I’m a big fan of all of these fabulous ladies.

Andrea (HulaSeventy)



Heidi Kenny (mypapercrane)

Barbara (bbphotogirl)

Anika (AisforAnika)

Jill Bliss

Tiel Seivl-Keevers (Tielsk)

Marta Mendes (martapoeiras)

Ashley Goldberg

edit: Katie’s comment reminded me of a way I’ve tracked down artists on instagram. Although instagram allows you to find contacts via facebook and your email, and they allow you to upload pictures directly from instagram to flickr and facebook, they don’t allow you to search for contacts via flickr. A way I found to get around this was by going to flickr, signing in and typing in “instagram” in the search field. When you do that a drop down window pops up and asks if you’d like to search “everyone’s photos” or “other search options”. If you select other search options one of those options is “your contacts’ photos”. When people upload pictures to flickr via instagram it automatically tags them with the word “instagram”. This way you can find pictures that your flickr contacts have uploaded from instagram and it will help you track down other artists.

Drawing, sketching, doodling

Ever since I’ve worked in an office I’ve always had plenty of scratch paper around. Paper that would normally get recycled or thrown out I collect and then cut down into quarters for scratch paper. I have a thing for this paper. Even though I pretty much carry a sketchbook or cahier with me everywhere, I still find myself hoarding this scrap paper like it’s some hot commodity. On any given day you can probably find several of these pieces of paper randomly in my purse. I write notes to myself and compose to-do lists on scraps. I also like making little staple books and fill the pages with drawings, sketches and doodles and random quick artwork. I realized I haven’t done that in a while so a few weeks ago I figured if I drew one page every day I’d have a nice little book when it was done.

The little book is finally complete and so I thought it would be fun to create a little animated gif leafing through it.
P.S. I think this completes my goal for 5 animated gifs.


Below are some of the still frames so you can see more detail

Meanwhile, when I was doing a page everyday in my little staple book I started noticing other people sketching, doodles and drawing as well.

During August Anika (from aisforanika) started posting a doodle a day on instagram. This month she is doing a pattern everyday. Follower her on instagram (aisforanika)

While doodling I started thinking about Danny Gregory and how he advocates drawing every day. I hadn’t thought about it for a while, but there’s a long list of things to draw everyday, inspired by his book Everyday matters. You can see the list here, and #1 is to draw a shoe. Naturally one of the pages in my little scratchbook is my shoe.

Blair Stocker is participating in a group blog with her family where they upload their sketchbook pages everyday.

Summer Pierre decided to do one of her One Page Stories everyday for 100 days. Yes. ONE HUNDRED DAYS! She’s on day 11 and I’m enjoying them so much.

Then, inspired by Summer’s commitment and (I suspect) not to be shown up by Summer ;) dear friend Rosa Murillo is now doing a drawing everyday for 100 days as well! I’m in heaven.

Then earlier this week Silvia Chenault posted this BEAUTIFUL and COLORFUL drawing from her sketchbook using prisma markers. It was perfect because I too had just splurged and bought prisma markers in a variety of colors. I had been using the gray markers on the first few pages and then wanted to add color. I’m always inspired by Silvia.

Meeting IRL

Tiffany Teske and Robyn Lisle Illinois

So, this happened!

Probably about 5 years ago I was involved in an online creative community that sprung from the Etsy forums. It was called Create-A-Day and the challenge was to post the things you create on a daily basis to the group blog. The community started huge, but over time there was a small group of us that continued on and really connected.  A testimony to the friendship that we created is that 2 group blogs and 5 years later there are 6 of us that still keep in contact. We have such a variety of talents; Sheila (who I believe founded the original Create-A-Day group) and is now a wine connoisseur, Joon who has about a bajillion etsy shops and makes lovely handmade treasures and artwork, Bri who is an amazing and stylized designer, artist, traveler and student of the world, Stacy who is a crazy productive jewelry artist, and Tiffany who is an accomplished, published and professional photographer, mixed media artist and educator.

We are spread all around North America – from Banff, Canada, to Hawaii, and all over in between. Even though we often dream of a vacation where we all get together to get our creativity on, a few of us have had the opportunity to connect in the real world. I think Bri visited Sheila in Oklahoma and this last week, finally, finally, finally I got my chance to meet one of these lovely ladies.  Tiffany has been traveling with the Create Mixed Media Retreat and she was here to teach in the Chicagoland area. Since first meeting Tiffany online and finding out that she is also passionate about polaroid and instant photography I dreamed of being able to glean some of her wisdom and talent in person. I think back to all those years ago and never would have imagined that dream would actually come true! When I found out she was going to be teaching nearby I immediately knew I wanted to take a class in Emulsion Transfer, something I’ve been wanting to do for the last 15 years. I’d read about it online, but never had the right equipment, or materials and in the meantime, Polaroid went belly up. Little did I know that emulsion transfer still exists!

I wanted to take her class Wednesday evening, but naturally it was my crazy stressful week at work. On top of that, I had not prepared for the class in time and since I don’t have a car, it wasn’t something I could jet around over my lunch break and pick up the class supplies. I realized there was another image transfer class Sunday morning so I decided to sign up for that one instead. The night before the class, while reading the class description again, I suddenly realized it wasn’t emulsion transfer and kind of freaked out. As it turned out, everything worked out for the best because the image transfer with instant film was a technique I had never even heard of, AND, I was still able to learn the emulsion transfer technique as well.

I met up with Tiffany a little bit before the class Sunday morning for a quick breakfast in the hotel lobby. I was nervous and anxious, but really, once we met, it wasn’t weird at all. She was exactly like how I’ve known her online all these years, kind, talented, fun, beautiful and super friendly. I didn’t even have to resort to wearing one of these masks, like Sheila suggested ;) Still, I was a little star studded, but Tiffany has such a calm, laid back personality, she put me at ease. She shot the picture of us together and gifted me a pinhole camera kit. It was great to meet her finally, and I hope that someday the entire group really does get together for our own little creative retreat.

As for the class, and the things Tiffany taught and the pieces I created, I will share some of that tomorrow.  I’ll just leave this post saying that I am excited about these new techniques that I learned, so check back again tomorrow for more.