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  • Writer's pictureFrances

Art Explosion!

If you were to enter my house and take a tour, which I would undoubtedly offer, you would think there had been an art explosion. Let me explain...

Paintings everywhere

I have art everywhere. Paintings drift from one room to the next. They may be hanging on the wall or stacked against the wall. I have paintings in my storage area and also on shelves in my studio. I need to keep track of where I have art displayed outside of my home. I have an inventory program for that. I need to organize things a bit better.

I know I need to organize things because as I write this, I am getting anxious and feel panicked about upcoming events and shows. Get it together, girl!

This is my storage room.

Paintings, new and older

Most finished, some not.

Also in my storage room, blank canvasses waiting to be selected.

I do paint over some of the unfinished artwork, if I don't like the direction it was going.

Never a shortage of painting surfaces!

My paintings hang everywhere in the house.

Always creating

No matter the day or time, I am either creating or thinking about what to create. Here's what I mean...

If I'm not painting, I'm writing, sketching or doodling in one of my multitude of books. I like to write poetry and recently, when I had a block there, I did some exercises to help me get going.

In my book I taped off squares and used gouache to add color or paint little pictures. Then I outlined each square. Adding lines and various marks helped to make the squares more interesting. Removing the tape is always so rewarding! Everything comes together.

After that, I add words that maybe rhyme, or not. I then complete the phrase with whatever comes to mind. Or I start with little sentences that may rhyme, or not!

Different art projects

I love to make Gelli papers. I get going on them and get carried away. Basically, it is painting layers on wet strength or glassine paper. Even rice paper works. I add stenciling, or stamping, along with words and outlines, doodles and more! It is very enjoyable.

These papers can be quite large, 18 x 24, 11x14, or whatever size paper you have. They are great for wrapping presents. I have found other uses for these papers.

Using gel medium or mod podge, I have put these colorful papers on such things as phone/tablet stands, earrings, home-bound journals, and greeting cards. Also ornaments and small wall hangings. What is great is that every piece is unique. Even from the same gelli paper I will get variations. I thought of a new project. To cover an outside bench with the paper and varnish with outdoor varnish. I'll keep you posted.

Other art endeavors

When I enter art walks or other art events, I like to have smaller artworks available for purchase. Larger paintings are great, but I find that in this economy, people are looking to spend less money. There will be those who will buy the larger art, but small art appeals to many who have neither the money or space to purchase big pieces.


When I started making bookmarks several years ago, I never dreamed how popular they would be! I think it is because of their uniqueness and relevance that I am successful with them.

Each bookmark is hand painted. I use watercolor. It is about as big as I get with that medium. I cut larger sheets of watercolor paper into bookmark sized pieces. Painting the simple or complex design/picture is the next step. I sometimes use reference photos. I like to paint all subject matter. I find that customers have fun picking out a design for gifts or for themselves. This one for my friend, this one for my musical nephew, this one because she likes horses.

I make it a 2-layer bookmark, for stability. I braid colorful thread at the top and bottom of the bookmark, to hold the pieces together. The top braid also has a charm attached. Usually the charm is relevant to the picture on the bookmark.

Packaged up in cellophane sleeves with a topper for displaying. I have a stamp with my name and business that I use on each topper. It's not store-perfect, but it looks fairly professional.

I have sold literally hundreds of bookmarks.

Art Cubes

This is one of my latest inventions. Well, I'm sure I did not actually invent it, but I thought of how to use some small wooden blocks that I came across. Like any other art thing that enters my head, I get going on it until it is out of my system.

These "art cubes" take a fair amount of work. First, a coating of GAC 100, to seal the wooden block. Second, a coating of white gesso around 4 sides, leaving the top and bottom to be painted black. Generally, the black comes first and I can touch it up after painting the scenes on the sides.

Just like my bookmarks, I like to paint every scene imaginable!

Mini 4x4 paintings

When I first did the Whyte Avenue artwalk, I was not in the tent area, like I am now. Rather, the first 2 years, I was on the street with gridwall and a table. I didn't have as much large art at the time. I did paint on little 4x4 inch canvases. These sold like hot cakes at art walk. I've been making more of them again. For a while, I was tired of it, but with the Art in the Open and Whyte Ave Artwalk coming, I've decided to make some new ones to add to my collection.

More than this

I have more than this up my sleeve. Painted curved glass to set on tables or windows. Small signs for hanging, necklaces, small art on little pieces of agate, clay pots, Christmas ornaments, and more.

Expand your thinking

The moral of this story is to expand your thinking, keep creating, and expect to have no room in your home for anything other than art! I'm kidding about that. You can only create what you have room to store. However, if you come up with something that you can sell easily, it is a nice addition to your art.


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