Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gift Ideas for Book Lovers and Readers

Maybe its just my family, but it seems like there are a lot of avid readers out there to shop for this holiday season.  If you are shopping for someone who enjoys reading, a gift certificate to a bookstore is nice.... but pretty anticlimactic.  To show that you really put some thought into a gift, why not try one of these fun items?  Whether your budget is big or small, there is something in this collection worth considering.  All items shown are found on Etsy (just click on the picture to link to the shop) and are handmade by talented artisans around the world.  No overcrowded stores, no waiting in line, no worries about giving the same gift as someone else!

This lovely antiqued brass locket necklace by DayDreamDesigns09 is called "Love Stories".  I love that the swallows appear to be holding the book up, wouldn't this be a charming and romantic gift for a literary lady?

Here are some beautiful canvas bookmarks printed from original illustrations by Studiomme.  Do you recognize Hamlet in the center?  Choose from several original designs.  The perfect size and price for a unique stocking stuffer.

If your gift recipient is into comic books, check out Gabriel Hardman's shop.  He is selling the original illustrated pages from the "Agents of Atlas" series he drew for Marvel!

  If you own a cat and want him or her to read, why not order the Frogbag's cat toy which appears to be a Fossil Guide!

The 20minutegift thought of everything a reader might enjoy with this gift bag.  The set includes a hand-painted bookmark, soothing piano music, and gourmet tea in a lovely gift bag at a great price!

Getting snuggly in a luxurious afghan with a good book is heavenly.  Everytime your gift recipient uses this ecru boucle afghan by Northernlodge, he or she will think of you.

How about some jewelry for that book?  Birder1 has a whole collection of Bling bookmarks for the booklover who enjoys a little sparkle.

Australian Feathers Bookmark by NaturesArtMelbourne

A Lovestory Set of 4 Frameable Notecards by Crescent Creations

Airplant Terrarium Bookends by LBrandt

KazyKreationz makes this silver turquoise glass beaded bookmark

Please comment on this collection, and if you would like to be featured in my next blog you must do the following:
1.  Leave a comment about your favorite item from this blog
2.  Go to this Etsy forum thread and share your item for next weeks' theme- Celebrating Winter!

Thanks for reading and happy holidays to you!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Creative Process

I am always interested to know how people create their art, so I thought I would start by sharing mine.  In the comments, please share how your process is the same or different than mine.

  My process for creating an acrylic painting begins when I am sleeping.  My dreams are typically set in fantastically beautiful locations.  I've been underwater, in space, amongst fantastic creatures, and most recently a peach orchard!  These adventures are born of late night conversations and books I fall asleep reading.  My dream life is really quite incredible, and I love those first moments after waking when I can actually remember what transpired.

  When I wake up, I like to write or sketch what I have just experienced.  I set it aside for a little while so I can eat and do all that other boring but necessary waking life stuff, then come back to it with rolled up sleeves and a positive attitude.

   The Hotjavva Studio is where I create all of my art.  Its a wonderful little corner spot in my house where I am surrounded by all the materials and inspiration I need to get to work.  Magazine clippings, doodles on scraps of paper, photos and children's books populate my space.  There is always a fair amount of glitter dusting the bookshelves and drying station.  Paintings in various stages of completion hang on every bit of wall space, waiting for their final brushstrokes.  A broad spectrum of paint tubes stand ready in a loosely organized fashion.  I try to keep it clean, but when I am in full creative mode I am like a whirling dervish and before long I have to be very careful where I step, sit, or lean.

  I gesso my canvas, then choose a few colors to wash the background with.  I like to just barely mix them so the results have a streaky rainbow-like effect.  Drying time is dancing time, laundry time, make a call time, or work on another painting time.  Depending on humidity and the size of my piece, it takes a few hours to a full day for my canvas to completely dry out.  After 2 coats of background, I am ready to add a simple outline of my subject with pencil or a very fine point marker in a shade similar to the paint I will be using for that object later so it won't show through.

  Now I can start blocking in color for my shapes.  I like to work wet-on-wet, meaning I don't let the base color fully dry before adding highlights, shadow, and additional color.  There is always extra paint left on my palette, and I hate to waste so I find ways to use that paint.  I add details to my other paintings (even the ones I thought were done), paint base coats on canvas paper or mini canvases.  Sometimes I even smear it on my face.  Word to the wise, this blue stained and I am glad I did not have a job interview that day!

  Days or weeks go by before I have a finished piece ready to sell.  I like to work on at least five different projects at a time because its more enjoyable, not to mention more economical (better use of time and paint).  When I finally decide something is finished, I coat it twice with varnish to lock in the color.  This is my least favorite step because varnish is stinky, it takes a long time to dry, and unless my area and brushes are completely free of dust I get an imperfect looking glaze.  Can you imagine how that feels to have irreparable damage happen to your work after all the time you've invested?!

  I keep myself motivated by remembering that I am almost done and ready to share my work with the world, and my favorite and final step is fast approaching!  The last thing I do is add sparkle to my paintings with glitter, crystals, pearls, and iridescent liquid acrylic.  I love the way a little bit of sparkle catches the light just right and allows my work to really shine.
<----  Here's an example of one painting I embellished with opal glitter, pearlescent liquid acrylic, and crystals.  To see more, please visit my Etsy shop

*Next week I will be featuring shops that celebrate reading.  I am a reader and have many readers to Christmas shop for, so this will be a nice way to promote reading-related gift ideas for holiday shoppers.  
If you would like to be featured in my blog next week, please do the following:
1.  Comment on this blog.  If your shop name differs from your blogger ID, please include your shop name.
2.  Go to this  Etsy Forum Thread and share your shop item that celebrates reading.
3.  If your item is chosen, I will contact you.
Thanks for participating!