Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Our newest, special guest artist, Debbie Durnwald, comes to us from Alpharetta, Georgia!

I feel so lucky to have met Debbie, she is as sweet, kind and generous as she is talented! 

Her photos will make you want to get right on a plane and visit the places she has been.  Meet Debbie!!

Business: Petite Pastiche Photography

Social Media: Facebook- Debbie Walker Durnwald
          Twitter- dwdurnwald
          Pinterest- Debbie Durnwald
          Instagram- DEBBIEDURNWALD

Location: Alpharetta, Georgia USA

Debbie, tell us how all this wonderfulness began!

Although I took a photography class in college, at the University of Georgia, I am mainly a self-taught photographer.  I have always loved photography, but I became seriously interested in pursuing it after a trip to Paris, France in 2004 and 2005.  When I returned home from my trips,I would sit for hours editing the many photographs I had taken.  I found that each photo would bring back a flood of memories from the trip and that alone was worth every crazy angle I positioned myself in, in order to get the best shot.  I then put my favorite images on a bulletin board in my home and was surprised when people would comment on the "beautiful postcards".  It was at that moment, when I thought it might be possible to sell my photography.  As a longtime Etsy buyer, I thought that Etsy would be a good venue, in which to try it out.  I started the business in October of 2012 and since then, I have met the most incredible people through this process.  Every day I get to interact with so many talented artisans from all over the world.  I am on Etsy teams with artists I greatly admire, like Sue and my customers are treasures that have come from many different parts of the world.  I have been fortunate to have so far sold my art in the U.S., Canada, Israel, Ireland and France.  

Corresponding with these customers has given me so much joy.  It is such a pleasure when someone tells me that they are buying my art for a wedding gift or as a special gift for someone who has overcome a serious illness.  It also makes me happy when someone purchases my photography as their special art selection for a main room in their home, or purchases a piece that reminds them of their travels with a loved one or family. To know that what I do, can make someone happy makes it all worthwhile.  

Before I was able to travel extensively, I loved looking at photographs from various parts of the world.  Now, I feel like I can bring that same enjoyment to others through my photographs and it is such a rewarding feeling.  When someone tells me that they look at my photography as a means of a happy escape, or as an armchair traveler, I couldn't be more excited. Just to know that something that I do, can make someone feel that way, makes my day.  Above all else, this is what motivates me.

My only regret is that I did not take photography seriously at an earlier date.  I so envy someone who senses their passion at a young age.  Thinking back on the interesting places that I have been and seen, it makes me sad that I didn't take the opportunity to capture those images when I could.  As a matter of fact, I was in London once at the Trooping Of The Colors Ceremony, when I literally stood about 10 feet away from the Queen Mother and Princess Diana.  I was on cloud 9 thinking that I had captured a great photo of the pair, only to find out that the camera had no film.  Oh well, you win some and you loose some.  

Can you talk about your process?

My process is that I take pictures anytime I travel.  I also like to go to various places near my home to take photos, as well.  I am probably the most relaxed and happy when I know that I have terrific places to shoot.  After a day of shooting, I can't wait to load my pictures onto the computer so I can see the images enlarged.  Seeing a photograph come alive, whether on the computer or in a darkroom, has always fascinated me.  

How did you come up with the name of your business?

I chose the name Petite Pastiche mainly because I am a Francophile and I really wanted to use a French name.  I liked the word pastiche, because it simply means some of this or that.  It can also be interpreted as imitating another's art, and that is what I do.  I capture beautiful scenes that have been made by God or man.  As for petite, well,  I take photographs of a "little" of "this and that" and it is usually of "something that someone else has created", whether it be nature, architecture, gardens, etc. Anyway, it just made since to me. :)

Who would be an artist you would most like to have dinner with?

Vincent Van Gogh.  Although, my favorite artist is Paul Cezanne, I have read that he was grumpy, so no dinner for him.  Instead, I would like to sit down and tell Vincent Van Gogh's tortured soul, that he indeed became one of the most famous, popular and well respected artists of all time.  It pains me when artists die without knowing how much their art affected other people and how well loved they became.  

Have you read any books that changed your life?

The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer.  I have a tendency to be too empathetic at times, especially to those I hold close.  In other words, if my loved one was unhappy, I was unhappy.  This book showed me what a destructive and meaningless waste of life that is.  It helped me to try to give up trying to control every situation and basically to "let go and let God." I highly recommend it.

What are some of your other creative pursuits? 

I do like to paint in both oils and watercolors and I was an interior designer for 8 years.  

What are you currently working on? 

I just got back from a trip to Seattle with my husband and I am currently editing the photographs from the trip.  I try to leave my photographs as natural as possible, but sometimes angles need to be tweeted and cropping needs to be done.  I've also had several people suggest a showing of my photographs at a gallery, but I haven't had time to pursue that path.  It would be wonderful though. Also, my dream would be to have my work published in a book.  

Saturday, March 28, 2015

This Week's Guest Artist, Malia Zaidi, comes to us from Pittsburgh!

Web sites, social media etc:

I met Malia through Etsy's Arteam, she is a fellow Etsyan artist and has been a pleasure to interview. Upbeat, fun, optimistic and thoughtful, and she loves to read!!!

Malia, tell us a little about what you create:

I paint oil landscapes in an impressionist style. My work is often inspired by places I have visited or photos I see, which leave a lasting impression on me. I am particularly interested in creating something that conveys a sense of openness and liveliness through color and composition.

Would you like to give us an inside view of your process or technique?

I generally paint using photos to give myself at least an outline of how the painting should be composed. A thinly tinted wash of pigmented linseed oil is the first layer, then I paint more thickly onto the wet canvas. I started out with acrylics, but found that I like the texture and malleability of the oil paints better. Once I have painted the larger areas, I use small brushes to add details, such as a stroke of white for the sail of a distant ship, or flecks of red and yellow, for fields of flowers.

What did you study and where, or are you self-taught? And/or How did you get started?

I actually studied German and Global Studies, and as an artist am self-taught. I have been painting for quite a while, but my interest in making art began with charcoal drawings.

Where do you do your creative work?

I work in a room in my house, which has many windows and good light (the windows are great, also, to get rid of any oil fumes!)

How often do you get to do your creative work?

I try to complete about one painting a week. It depends on the size. If I am working with very small canvases, such as the 6x6 inch ones, I tend to paint two or three.

How do you get started?

Nowadays, with the internet, it is so great to be able to peruse photos of different places, and to do a bit of armchair traveling for inspiration. I also like to do small sketches to test how an idea might look, without setting it down on canvas.

How do you define art or creativity?

Creativity doesn't have to mean artistry, as far as I am concerned. There are many types of creative thinking and endeavors. Scientists are creative, just as painters or writers or actors are. It is as much about making something as it is about the idea of doing so. I am very flexible when it comes to defining such an elusive concept. A cook can be creative in preparing a family meal, just as (or sometimes more than) an artist, or someone typically associated with creativity.

What motivates you?

On most 'painting days' I do not need special motivation. Painting is relaxing and enjoyable for me. I do it for myself and for my family, not necessarily for my business, thought of course if all three align, that is quite exciting.
The sensation of mixing oils, of finding the right consistency, and even the motion of working my brush against the canvas, serve as motivation to remain consistent in creation of new work.

Do you find drawing or sketching to be an integral part of your process, why or why not?

I like to draw, but I do not do more than a rough sketch, or often just an outline of what I intend on painting. Independently of painting, I like quick gesture drawings or smeared charcoal sketches, just to toy around with other media on occasion.

Are there any particular artworks or artists that surprise you, inspire you or repulse you?

Good question! I am a docent at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and have, through my studies there, been able to gain a grudging appreciation for a fair amount of contemporary art, which previously puzzled or irritated me. Nonetheless, my favorite artists remain the big name Impressionists and Neo-Impressionists: Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro, Van Gogh. I am also quite fond of the ethereal Pre-Raphaelite works by Leighton and Waterhouse, as well as some Rococo artists such as Fragonard (his 'Girl Reading' and 'The Swing' are definite favorites).
Essentially, color, light, and movement are all aspects, which make a work of art intriguing to me.

Can you tell us about some of your successes and challenges?

I think there is almost always a point when I am painting, where all I see is flat planes of color, and I feel certain this one can be scrapped. For the most part, that feeling changes, once I start applying details with smaller brushes, or add texture, but I think some uncertainty is not such a bad thing. I tend to feel a painting is a success when my family enjoys it, and I am very fortunate that they are an encouraging lot.

When and why did you decide to start your own business?

Sites like Etsy and FineArtAmerica make sharing art and creative projects a communal experience, which I found intriguing. Deciding to put my art up on these sites was a decision initially motivated only by the desire to share, to receive feedback, not so deeply focused on the business side of things. That being said, I think my paintings can appeal to people simply because they are cheerful and bright, and my hope in creating them and for people choosing to have them in their homes, is that they will function almost as a small window to a place with a blue sky and sunshine.

Is there an artist or person either fictional or real you would most want to meet? What would you want to do with that person?

Good question, there are so many. I suppose it would depend a bit on my mood:-) I would like to meet J.K. Rowling, because I grew up reading her books like so many of my peers, and it would be fun to just have tea with her and chat about books and all sorts. The artist Andy Warhol would also appeal to me, as someone who seemed clever and witty, and who didn't take himself or his art too seriously.

What book are you currently reading/or/ do you have any favorite books or books that "changed your life"? What did you like about it/them?

A dangerous question for someone who is as book-obsessed as I am:-) It is hard to choose just one, but a few of my favorites are Pride and Prejudice, The Princess Bride, and the Harry Potter books, which were a big part of my teenage years. I am a writer, too, so reading is very important to me. I am constantly reading and looking for new books, which can have a considerable impact on creativity and imagination. I look for strong, intriguing characters. If the plot is intersting, that's another plus, but for me it's about the characters and their development.

Tell us which artist either currently living or from history would you most like to have dinner with. Where would you eat, what might you order and what would you talk about?

I think I would perhaps meet Gustav Klimt. We would go to Café Central in Vienna, and have cake and he could regale me with stories about his sitters, all those society ladies, and their secret affairs:-)

What are you currently working on or have recently completed?

In terms of paintings, I am working on seascapes inspired by a recent trip to Cornwall, England. I love painting a broad expanse of blue sky meeting blue sea, and adding a quick white dash for the sail of a ship or the long craggy shore with a small patch of the beach and fields of green and yellow beyond.

Do you have any other creative pursuits/outlets?

I am also working on getting my first novel, a historical mystery called, "A Poisonous Journey" published, which hopefully will happen by summer. So keep an eye out, please!

What is the most interesting thing about you?

Oh, I don''t really know what to say... I was born in the US, but spent much of my childhood in Germany, where my mother is from, which has certainly shaped who I am. We often traveled, and go back every year, and it is from these trips that I often get my inspiration for paintings.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thanks for reading! And thank you, Sue, for featuring me on your blog!

The pleasure is mine Malia! Thanks for your fun and thought provoking answers.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Today's Guest Artist Deb Babcock, comes to us from Steamboat Springs, Colorado and St. George, Utah!

Welcome Deb!

Deb's business is Blue Sky Pottery & Blue Sky Fine Art

Where can we find you on the internet?


...and a bunch more – keep, bestie, google+…..

Tell us a little about what you create:

I'm a two media artist working both in ceramics and watercolors. My pottery is primarily functional pieces – dinnerware, serving pieces, baking dishes, etc. but also includes some decorative, sculptural pieces of art. I've been doing pottery since about 2001, and just recently got back to painting which I had done in high school and college a little.

Would you like to give us an inside view of your process or technique?

My pottery is either wheel-thrown from a porcelain/stoneware clay mixture and electric fired to 2200 degrees F so it is durable enough for everyday use. I make my own glazes and am known for a highly decorative exterior on many of my cups, plates and bowls.

My watercolor paintings are mostly abstract using lots of primary colors, although I have several floral paintings and quite a few depicting my version of the aspen trees found throughout the mountains here.

What did you study and where, or are you self-taught?

My art education is via some classes through college in art history, drawing, pottery, painting, and the like as well as yearly workshops to hone a skill or learn a new one. My degree is in business and I ran a marketing research firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan for 17 years before I sold it and moved to Colorado to do something more creative and fun.

Where do you do your creative work? 

Most of my work is done in a 1000 square foot studio that I lease near the ski mountain here in Colorado. It doubles as a gallery where I can show and sell my art. When I'm in Utah where we have a second home to go to when the weather is too cold here, I paint in an extra room in that house and have a place I can go to where they allow me to use their pottery equipment and fire my pieces.

How often do you get to do your creative work?

Every day.

Do you find drawing or sketching to be an integral part of your process, why or why not?

To some degree, sketching is helpful. But as often happens, the medium, whether paint or clay, does what it wants to do and my sketch goes out the window.

Are there any particular artworks or artists that surprise you, or inspire you?

I've always loved the Impressionists, particularly Van Gogh and Monet but also love looking at contemporary art in galleries and online.

Can you tell us about some of your successes and challenges? 

With pottery, I have had a lot of success selling online and in galleries and gift shops. The paintings, on the other hand, are slow going in getting noticed and found. But then again, the fine art painting is relatively new for me – maybe a year and half that I've been back at it.

When and why did you decide to start your own business? 

Because the first I started in 1983 was so much fun. I love being my own boss.

What book are you currently reading/or/ do you have any favorite books? 

 Currently, I'm reading 'The Everything Store' aboutJeff Bezos. I finished the memoir by Sonya Sotomayor just recently, too. Biographies of interesting people are inspirational and interesting to me. I also love fiction – Jeffrey Deaver – CJ Box – John Sanford – etc.

What is your most treasured possession? 

Right now, probably the quilts that my mom made for me. She died about a year and half ago.

What are you currently working on or have recently completed? 

Just finished a series of very airy sculptural vases and art objects.

Do you have any other creative pursuits/outlets?

I hike a lot in the mountains, ski when the snow is good, snowshoe, and garden. In fact, for 15 years, I've written a weekly gardening column for the local newspaper. I'm a Colorado Master Gardener having gone through the training when I first moved here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

This week's challenge was...Figure Drawing!

 I was the lucky recipient of a half day Superintendent's Conference Day spent at a local (to my school) Art center called RoCA. There was an instructor and a model and supplies...and it was a challenge for me to feel confidence! It's been years since I did figure drawing...go figure! I think observational drawing is such an important part of the practice of being an artist. I think I will seek out more opportunities to do so.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

This Week's Special Artist Guest Comes To Us From Seattle, Peg Johnson!

I met Peg through an Etsy team I belong to, called ArtTeam.  She is an inspiration to me in so many ways…she's kind and thoughtful, she works tirelessly to help promote our team, makes a ton of artwork and spends lots of time with her family…such a good balance!

Peg's Etsy business is called Every Good Color.  

She also has quite a large presence on other social media…her website is: www.everygoodcolor.com and you can also find her at:

Peg, tell us a little about what you create:  
I paint modern impressionistic paintings using acrylics on stretched canvas.  My subjects vary but landscapes and seascapes are some of my favorites.  I enjoy whimsical  art and had a lot of fun illustrating a children’s picture book a while back!

Would you like to give us an inside view of your process or technique?   
I like to work from my own photos.  I usually start with a rough sketch on canvas and then grab my paint brush.  As I develop the painting i work in colors and use contrast and brush strokes to help add movement.  I go back in with a small brush as needed to create the details I want. 

Where do you do your creative work?  
I have a small room with large windows, just off our living room.  The light is great for painting.  Music, movies, and our two little dogs keep me company. 

How did you get started?  
I’ve been painting since kindergarten.  My parents have always celebrated creativity. Before I was 10, my grandfather, who was an artist,  taught me how to paint with oils.  I have admired his talent and taken pride in being his granddaughter.  My husband and grown children have played a huge part in helping me get started in marketing my work since I retired from teaching elementary school a few years ago.

How do you define art or creativity?  
Creativity is expressing what you feel in your heart.   It’s playing, using your imagination, laughing, singing, and dancing on paper, with words, paint, movement… the instruments of your choice.

What did you study and where, or are you self-taught? 
I studied Fine Arts at Washington State University with a focus on painting.  I absolutely loved my art classes!  It is so inspiring to paint alongside others!  When I browse art galleries and shops I get that same feeling!

What motivates you?  
I am inspired by colors, shapes, people, places, nature, art, music, my grandkids, animals, everyday moments that warm my heart, catch my eye, make me smile. 

Do you find drawing or sketching to be an integral part of your process, why or why not?  
 Even though I really enjoyed my drawing classes years ago, sketching and drawing do not play a big role in my process. Drawing and sketching are typically black and white.   What I love is telling a story with brush strokes, color and light. 

Is there any particular artworks or artist that surprises you, inspires you or repulses you? 
I’m always surprised by the technical abilities of realistic artists, truly incredible talent and patience.  I am not a fan of dark, depressing art  although I admire the strong statements that can be made.    Impressionist and expressionist art  inspires and delights me, whether it be representational or quite abstract, I am fascinated with the movement, images and effects that can be obtained by layering and juxtaposing color and texture.  

Can you tell us about some of your successes and challenges?  
I feel successful and actually thrilled when I finish a painting.  While I have a plan and big idea about how I want the painting to look… I often have to work through several stages to get the image I want.  This is partly due to the layers of paint I use and the spontaneity and loose quality I love.   Of course, I am elated when I get compliments and make sales!

Who are some of your favorite artists or artwork? 
 Monet, Van Gogh, Morisot,  really all of the Impressionists.  I am also inspired by the art I see on Etsy and other websites.  Sometimes it’s the composition that catches my eye… or it might be a color combination, brush work,  feeling tone, shapes, subject matter, lights and darks, the movement… I am inspired by most art whether I like the style or not, there is often something I can learn.
How did you choose the name for your business?  
I wanted something simple that described my art.  I had a list of 15 or 20 ideas… but this one overshadowed all of the others.  Given my idea list,  my family members also picked it so I knew it was the right choice.

What is your most treasured possession?  
My beautiful little wooden paint box that my parents gave me over 50 years ago.  I was so thrilled to get those paints! 

What are you currently working on or have recently completed?  
I am painting a series of landscapes inspired by the park and lake across the street from my home.  It has a wonderful walking path so there is always a lot of activity. People come from all over the area to enjoy this lake.