Thursday, February 28, 2008

Local Venues

The reason I've been so quiet this past week is due to 2 shows coming up -fast.

Friday, February 29:
24th Annual Through Women's Eyes, By Women's Hands
Luncheon and Cocktail party to benefit the programs and services of The Women's Center. Local Olympian, Joan Nesbit Mabe, will be the featured Luncheon speaker.
More Info

Wednesday, March 5:
Ladies Night at the Raleigh Wine Merchant.
Tastings from select wineries as well as substantial discounts on wine. Oh, and I'll be there with my art featuring... what else? Wine! A trunkshow with a few surprises, too, so you locals might just want to stop by.
More Info

Looking forward to seeing you all!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

You Call It Imitation, I Call It Theft

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.2002.

Man, if nothing chaps my hide more, it's someone stealing my work. I knew it would come to haunt me sooner or later and now I've had to call on my IP attorneys to police my work. Bleck. Folks think that by changing something 10% makes it "theirs." I've heard excuses ranging from:

"I've given my cat an eye!"
"My line work is scratchy!"
"My line work is thicker!"
"My cats have whiskers!"

Stop. Just stop. I know you like my work -I like my work. It's taken me over 40 years to develop this style and I'd appreciate it if you would take your thieving black soul somewhere else. I'm not inviting you to steal from someone else, just stop and please just go away.

Moments ago, I got an invite from Cloth, Paper, Scissors to submit "Your Studio Mascot."
Hmm... where have I heard that before? Last Fall, I submitted my studio photos to their call with links to this blog to see more; YSM had been developed & designed prior to the call. The YSM announcement & graphic button had also been uploaded to this site.

I'm sending Cate, the CPS editor, a note about how disappointed I am in their editorial direction and lack of IP consideration. I'm sure this very public idea served as inspiration for their article and it would have been nice if my efforts in creating YSM were cited as inspiration.

Not sure how to do research to see if someone has already come up with the same idea? A quick Google search for "your studio mascot" shows my site at the top of the page. Puhleeze. E'nuf said.

I should also cancel my subscription to Cloth, Paper, Scissors.

UPDATE: Sometimes a coincidence is just a coincidence...
We had a talk with the publisher of CPS today who was understanding of our concern and he was apologetic regarding the issue of "Your Studio Mascot." He indicated that this is a phrase his wife has used for quite some time to reference her studio pets and that's how it got into their magazine. He did acknowledge that my site "Your Studio Mascot" was published and public long before their article came out and he is going to see if there is a way -on a very tight deadline- to reference the site in their upcoming issue or Web site. We appreciate his candor and his sensitivity to this matter and look forward to enjoying Cloth, Paper, Scissors for years to come.

I really do love their publication as it was one of the first crafty magazines that holds my attention and is worthy of subscription.

Monday, February 11, 2008

St. Valentines: Romantic Interludes

I can't help it, I'm a sucker for romance. Thankfully, Andrew is too.

Today, I found an article: How to Write a Rockin' Love Letter. Samara maintains that this letter is to become an emotional snapshot of your feelings toward your SO. While she encourages you to write a missive so that you can edit later, you can begin by making a list of your SO's strengths. If the typical outline was daunting to you, try the freeflow version of mindmapping -it's incredibly easy.

If you're looking for a little inspiration to keep your SO interested or to have a bit of fun, here are a few pretty simple ideas that will help you engage your creative spirit.

Sweet Indulgence: As a treat or as a gift
Vosges Parisenne Hot Chocolate

Andrew's Chez Hayden dinner menu:
Grilled Ahi Tuna on Mango Salsa (sweet + savory)
Swordfish Kabobs (meaty + fresh)
Crabcakes (lowfat + delish!)

Andrew's Chez Hayden dessert menu:
Frozen Hot Chocolate
Rich, LowFat Chocolate IceCream
Naughty Chocolate Pudding Cups

More on Chocolate
If you're in NYC, check out the Chocolate Cafes
Why Darker is Better
Chocolate Behavior Quiz

Gifts from ECStewart Collections
·Register for a St Valentine's Surprise Giveaway
(Winner announced Thursday, Feb 14)
·For your sterling SO, you'll want to choose Sterling Bacchus as a pendant, earrings, or a set.
·For the cool chick, definitely a WinterIce Limited Edition Pendant
·For mom, I'd suggest pewter pendants or prints from the Aspirations collection.
·Those with hearts afire can find Limited Edition Hand Painted Heart on Luxe Suede Journal or the Luckenbooth Heart print.
·For that woman who loves wine, I'd suggest the "Men Are Like Fine Wine" print from our Uncorked! Series; she'll giggle all the way through to next week.
·Finally, if you're not quite sure what to get your SO, a CalligraphyPets gift certificate (comes with a free greeting card) is always a nice treat to place on his/her plate before dinner.

Color Me... Gold

Sometimes, an artist just has to say, "Screw it. I'm not doing any more admin today. I'm painting!"

What really needs to happen is that my records need to march in orderly fashion to the CPA...

We're trying to have fun getting our hands dirty this weekend, I've uploaded more WinterIce pendants for your preview, although I've got a few more to upload.

Oh how I crave an assistant to help me when all I really need to do is create.

Andrew's having fun spraining his fingers because he decided it would be more fun to fall into the boxes near the lawn mower that got blown about due to the Sunday's fierce winds. (No, he's all right and he didn't lose any fingers -the mower was not on, Madam.)

Color Me Gold
I just found a silly color personality analysis on Jeanne's site that reveals my true self. If you're wondering, here I am in a nutshell:

Your dominant hues are red and green, so you're definitely not afraid to get in and stir things up. You have no time for most people's concerns, you'd rather analyze with your head than be held back by some random "gut feeling".

Your saturation level is very high - you are all about getting things done. The world may think you work too hard but you have a lot to show for it, and it keeps you going. You shouldn't be afraid to lead people, because if you're doing it, it'll be done right.

Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.
No wonder we get along so well.

Meanwhile, when you're signing up for my Valentine's Giveaway, you should head over to Natasha's Art Candy and sign up for her Valentine Giveaway! There might be a bouquet of flowers in it for you...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

St. Valentine's Day: A Giveaway Surprise

Note: We have a winner!!

I can't help but to feel generous this time of year; it doesn't have the pressures that the year-end holidays do.

So, I've decided to let you wait it out before I reveal the sweet surprise.

Please sign up and I'd love for your to send your friends!

Good luck!

Not So Sticky Rules:

1. One has to respond to this blog entry to qualify
2. I'd like you to be at least 18.
3. Contest Ends Thursday, February 14, 6:00pm (EST)
4. Free shipping for US Residents (lower 48)
5. Shipping outside US/48 may have to help defray costs
6. Andrew and I will use the online number generator to ID the winner.
7. You must be reachable so that we can contact you.
8. You must confirm your prize within one week or you forfeit and another winner will be chosen.
9. You can't be related to me -even thru marriage. Besides, you get all kinds of cool stuff from me anyway, right?

Winner Announcement
The contest is now closed and I want to thank you all for your participation! The Random Integer Generator revealed number....

#13 - Marilyn!

Marilyn, you'll want to send me a note ( to let me know your snail mail address so that I can send you your gift!

What's the gift you ask? The Love+Admiration Pendant from our Aspirations collections!

More about the pendant:
An archival print is set in silver-toned pewter, sealed with resin that magnifies this quiet image and hangs on a complementary black silk cord with sterling clasp and 2" extender chain.

Words found on print: Love + Admire

Congrats! We know you'll love this.

UPDATE 2: For the rest of contest entrants, I'd like to offer free shipping on any gift from ECStewart Collections / CalligraphyPets. Email me before you order.


Again, thanks so much! Stay tuned for another...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wallpaper Wednesday: Carnival Swing

This has to be one of my most favorite rides at the fair -after a hot day walking across the landscape filled with Midway snacks, lights, and FFA pets & livestock. This night,however, was just a little more cool and I was already chilled.

Carnival Swing 1024 x 768

Download Additional Sizes

Monday, February 04, 2008

Chinese Zodiac: A Giveaway!!

Note: We've got a winner!

It's that time of year where we celebrate everyone's birthday through the Chinese Zodiac. February 7th, we celebrate the Rat and we're here to show you that we show no favoritism. We want you all to enjoy the new year -your style.

A Classic CalligraphyPets Chinese Zodiac Signed unframed print.
Your Choice! Yes, that's right. You know the ones: 11 x 11 with my red kanji printed on the bottom. So enlarge that collage below to choose your prized image (within the Chinese Zodiac) and keep it close until I call your name!

Click to Enlarge.

Animal/Year Dates
1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008
1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009
1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010
1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011
1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012
1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013
1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014
1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015
1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016
1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 2017
1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018
1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019

Not So Sticky Rules:

1. One has to respond to this blog entry to qualify
2. I'd like you to be at least 18.
3. Contest Ends Thursday, February 7, 6:00pm (EST)
4. Free shipping for US Residents (lower 48)
5. Shipping outside US/48 may have to help defray costs
6. Andrew and I will use the online number generator to ID the winner.
7. You must be reachable so that we can contact you.
8. You must confirm your prize within one week or you forfeit and another winner will be chosen.
9. You can't be related to me -even thru marriage. Besides, you get all kinds of cool stuff from me anyway, right?

Special Notes: For the contest entries whose number doesn't come up, I'd like to offer free shipping on a print of your choice from ECStewart Collections / CalligraphyPets. Email me before you order.

UPDATE: The contest is now closed and I want to thank you all for your participation! Since we only had 6 folks sign up this time (sorry for the late post), we used our brand new dice. And the winner is...


Suzanne, you'll want to send me a note (creativegoddess at ecstewart dot com) to let me know your snail mail address and the your print of your choice!

UPDATE 2: For the rest of contest entrants, I'd like to offer free shipping on a print of your choice from ECStewart Collections / CalligraphyPets. Email me before you order.

Email: creativegoddess at ecstewart dot com

Again, thanks so much! Perhaps I'll do another one this month...

Addiction + Living With Creatives

Living with me wasn't easy -until Andrew and I met.

I'd have to say in retrospect, that living with others was Hell. Living with a creative has to be like sharing the same space but on different planes of existence -pretty frustrating for both parties. Whenever I'd get into a heated discussion with some putz from the past, I would find myself back in my studio creating. My creations were never much, but I knew that if I kept building my techniques, continued to build my illustration or photography swipe file, the mere act of creating soothed my wounded soul.

Does removing the self from a hostile environment and creating art become art therapy? I know it [creating art] was always therapeutic, but I needed to continue to create. Formally trained, I don't believe that my drive was because I was momentarily saddened, but to offset my current job as a pre-press designer -not exactly creative. Perhaps the two fed off each other to maintain the existence of the creating act.

I learned to cut the strings from the hostile environments, got my own place, and continued to pursue freelance more vigorously. At this point, I am no longer faced with sad, stupid arguments that compelled me to sooth the wounded soul.
This time I thrived vs merely survived. I thrived on the research it required to create a strong ID package. I thrived on coupling code with design. I thrived on taking new classes that allowed me to experience a different perspective of illustration. I thrived simply on getting out of bed in the morning.

That's me in the foreground, thriving.

So, when does the need to create become an obsession? A vice? Or worse, an addiction?
Sylvia White published an article about Living with a Creative and the Necessity of Creating Art for the Artist. She maintains that in addition to basic elements of Maslow's theory (food, shelter, etc), the artist drive to make art is not an option, but a necessity. The non-artist partners of creatives have a hard time understanding the concept of addiction and how it is related to art making.

Now, living with a creative is interesting -always interesting. The changing, growing, morphing is no longer frustrating... I know, because I've finally met my creative match: Andrew. We watch the world around us and happily remain at home, creating. Occasionally, we'll engage in celebratory festivities, but then find ourselves obsessing over the next phase of production on a project (like watching resin harden) before we have to dress for the fest. I find myself lamenting as I gauge the clock, "Okay, if we have to leave at 6:30, I have to take a shower by 5:50 so that I can dry my hair, dress, put on my game face, and come back down and check the resin. Crap, that's 40 minutes, I can't leave the resin for more than 30 minutes. Okay, I won't shower. I'll just wash my face, brush my teeth, dress, and check the resin. I'll put on my game face in the car."

Like most addictions -I am familiar since my family is riddled with alcohol, street + Rx abuse- I know I go through classic symptoms of withdrawal when deprived of creative work for too long. I get fidgety, breathe deeply several times throughout the interim, pace, become irritable... Some may suffer from physical complaints such as headaches, body aches and often times find themselves depressed for no reason. Miraculously, these symptoms disappear when given the opportunity to work again.

The primary reason: We artists are wired differently than the rest of you, maintains Sylvia White.

Are my obsessions a vice?
Wikipedia's definition of Vice states that a Vice is a practice or habit that is considered immoral, depraved, and/or degrading in the associated society. In more minor usage, vice can refer to a fault, a defect, an infirmity, or merely a bad habit. Synonyms for vice include fault, depravity, sin, iniquity, wickedness and corruption.

One way of organizing the vices is as the corruption of the virtues. A virtue can be corrupted by non use, misuse, or overuse.

I believe that everyone has a vice; we're human. A vice is a mere manifestation of a bad habit. But is my habit bad if I create art? I am not necessarily removing myself from population to indulge secretly, because I very publicly display the final piece for show or sale. What vice-riddled individual can show off their end result?

Is my obsessions a virtue?
Opposite of vice is Virtue. The four cardinal (hinge) virtues are Justice, Courage, Wisdom, and Moderation defined by the Greek philosophers. There are Roman, Buddhist, Samurai, Christian, Islamic and other virtues to be considered, but I thought keeping it to the simple 4 would suffice.

Is creating art a virtuous act? Hmm, I really can't see how normative or moral values play an integral part of creating art.

So, is my obsession a disease?

Habits Begets Addictions, Addictions Begets Disease
My obsession doesn't cause disastrous consequences on my health, my freedom or the lives of others. I'm not so overly obsessed that I can't sleep, or choose not to sleep. To control most of those urges, I bring a journal to bed, sketch down ideas, then sleep. Also, I'm not giving up activities. I make sure to plan couple time with Andrew: trips, shows, shopping, dinners, creating... Oops, it snuck in there.

My addiction may be well beyond just scoring a few extra hits of dopamine when I generate an ink trail with my brush. Dr Paulus of UCSD, states that "Addiction is not just about substances. Addiction is about disrupting the processing of pleasure; the balance point is shifted so you keep creating more and more urges, and you keep wanted more and more."Hmm, so I guess the success in the ink trail ensures positive association, but I believe on a different level of satisfaction. Because I know that I can recreate the pleasure of brush to paper, I am in effect, procuring my own drug. I know the drug will always be there to tap, therefore, I procure daily on a systematic cycle.

In the end, a sale of the final piece does reinforce and reward my motion of leaving the ink trail; it could also elicit beginning stages of 'disease'.

Perhaps my love of art is really just merely a passion?
Colloquially, addiction refers to something for which a person has a passion. I think this may be a closer label to my state of mind.

Got dopamine?
You can read more about The Science of Addiction in Time's July 16, 2007 issue.
NPR has an online PODcast on Science and the Origins of Addiction.

All I know, that if ever I'm hospitalized for my addiction, eh, passion, just make sure to pass me my brushes, pencils, and paints.

Meanwhile, my obsession of making a better composition can be found with this revised Carousel Horse. I felt the need to add my calligraphic strokes to it.

Carousel Horse With Quote

PS. Don't be surprised if I go back and modify this time and again; it's just another obsession.

Custom Suede Luxe Cover

A while ago, I was asked to do some custom work for friends. They wanted this to be a present for their daughter to cover her bible. Can't wait to see what she says.

They've ordered more for themselves!

Custom Handcrafted Luxe Suede Bible Cover Painted with Frog

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Suede Sundae

This weekend, Andrew and I went shopping for more bundles of suede. Wow, we got some delicious colors and I can't wait to get started.

I love the feel of suede. I had fun incorporating bubbles in the form of Swarovski crystals to this koi last week. He's now available in my ETSY Shop

Luxe Suede Handcrafted Painted Journal with Koi

Friday, February 01, 2008

Studio News: Licensed with Thirstystone!

We've got an announcement for all you wine lovers out there... we've launched a partnership with Thirstystone, a manufacturer of fine coasters this year. Thirstystone has uncorked 2 collections from us: Wine and Paisley!

Thirstystone Wine Coasters

I like the way the new wine series looks, I may just have to use them as wall decor!!

Thirstystone Paisley Coasters

I like the way the paisley beckons for a glass of homemade lemonade.

More on the press release.