Sunday, March 1, 2015

Studio Sunday

Happy Sunday everyone!  Wow time flies.  It's March already and spring should be just around the corner.  Of course, that will be after the storm we get tonight with another 6" and counting!  I've been playing around with Illustrator more after taking Jessica Swift's Pattern Camp and I'm having a blast! 

For now, I have these images to share from that one design I created in the workshop.  I love the colors and I can't help but think of sandy beaches and Margaritas!  I've been watching a lot of HGTV lately and it's rubbing off on me.

I know I always say this over and over but I totally love pushing the exploration of patterns.  These all started from a very simple hand drawn image and the best thing about Illustrator is the ability to create patterns in one set of colors and easily change up the same patterns with another set of colors.  I haven't done that yet because I'm having so much fun with these colors.  
I quickly put together these mock-ups so that I can look at the patterns in action in everyday life.  Right now, these color apply more towards a bright and happy kitchen/eat-in area but I can totally see changing them up to deeper autumn tones to make them a rich addition to a living room with dark wood floors, a natural wood fireplace mantel in a more modern style.

My backgrounds are a little grey from my set up in Photoshop so that is not intentional.

This large medallion could definitely be a 8' x 8' rug or even the central image on toss pillows on a window seat.  Imaging the texture of the pillow with strategically placed satin stitched embroidery to add dimension and some cute trim!  It could even be a clock!

I think this pattern would be cute as wallpaper as shown above but it could also be applied to tea towels or an apron.  The floral pattern in the apron shown below would make beautiful wallpaper or even kitchen chair upholstery.  Of course the canisters can be played up with a whole variety of patterns.

I think it would have helped if I used a kitchen photo but I didn't have one available at the moment.  Still, I'm sure you get the idea.  As fun as these designs are, too much all at once can make a room too busy and distract the eye.  For my "grand finale", I have created a more modern set of plates using a minimalist approach.

Stay warm and happy creating!!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Studio Sunday

Well, it looks like we avoided a wintery mess this time around!  Thank goodness!  A little relief is appreciated for sure :)  I've been painting and spraying and just messing around here and some things I can't show right now (yet) but I'm really excited about this playful half-drop design that I will be ordering from Spoonflower today!!!  It just screams FUN to me and I have to have some fabric!!!  I mixed in digital brushes with the print in this half-drop in Photoshop.

One of the things I was playing with were new stencils and the Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Sprays.  The piece of paper below is just a messy page that I was flipping the stencils over onto to use up the ink sitting on the surface of the stencil.  I love this technique because you get the reverse of the stencil image and the droplets of ink make for a really interesting print.  There was also some dark blue acrylic paint mixed in with this.
I really love these sprays because when it dries, there is such a cool glimmer effect (beautifully subtle, not overdone) and as you move the paper around in the light you can see these patches.  Unfortunately they don't pick up in the photos.  Here is the original mess below which you can see I didn't change up except for to erase some of the edges.  I love the patches of color and shapes and outlines of those shapes from the flip technique.

I'm starting to stencil over the canvases using acrylic paint that I painted last weekend but this is the very under layer of what I see doing with these.  I'll share my process along the way no matter how ugly it turns out LOL.

I'm having fun working in a larger format and it's all a big experiment!  We will see what happens with the next layers!


Have a super creative weekend and stay safe and warm wherever you may be!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Joanna Pierotti Angel Doll Story

I have a doll...and a story.
Today started off like any other work day.  The commute, my coffee, unlocking my office and turning on my computer.  Like most work days, before I dig into my tasks, I usually jump on Facebook quickly to see what is happening in the my world.  As I scrolled through all of the beautiful posts on art, my heart skipped a beat when I noticed a post by Gail Schmidt.  She stated, "Our art world has lost a beautiful soul.  Joanna Pierotti I know you are at peace dear heart."

I have a angel doll.  It hangs on my wall and I look at it almost every day.  It still moves me as much today as it did the first time I saw it on Joanna's sale table at Art Is -  Connecticut in 2013.  I had never met Joanna Pierotti until that day.  

I had driven down from Massachusetts to take a workshop with Seth Apter and to see my friend, Sandy Koterba, who I had met earlier that year.  I was short on funds when that retreat was being held and, as much as I wanted to attend more classes and stay for the retreat, I could only afford to go for that one day. 

I hung out as long as I could taking in all the artistic energy and inspiring work and took my time looking at all the vendor sale tables.  I don't know if "Art Abandonment" was a theme of this particular retreat or if it was a much bigger thing, but I heard the term over again coming from different conversations around me.  I was kind of out-of-touch with a lot of the goings on since I wasn't there for the entire retreat.

When I came upon Joanna's table I stopped right in my tracks.  Her dolls, in many shapes and sizes, were displayed and I was immediately captivated.  They were so different... so soulful.  The colors were soft and materials were so lovingly held together with wire and string.  Little pink ribbons with muslin and vintage fabrics and trim.  

The face was so delicate and aged with a little wire crown on top and the tattered wired wings emerged from her back.  When I looked closer, I noticed that her arms and legs were disconnected from the rest of her body but re-attached to make her complete.

There was something so amazing about this doll but I couldn't really define it.  I felt like it somewhat resembled my inner self in its sort of disconnected, hanging-by-a-thread appearance.  At the same time I felt like it represented my own guardian angel.  Whatever it was, this doll fascinated me and even after finding her price tag, I couldn't put her down.  She was sooooo worth it, Joanna as an amazing artist deserved it, and if it were any other day, I would pay for it and probably purchase the rest on her table.  

So about this time I'm thinking, "ok, if I wait until next week to pay that bill, I can purchase her."  I'm having this conversation with myself when Joanna approached me, probably in fear I might drool over this beautiful piece of her art (LOL).  I can't recall the entire conversation with Joanna but I remember thinking I needed to walk away from her table and let this doll go no matter how much it spoke to me.  I could order one on-line from her when I had the money.  I could get it another time.

The last part of our conversation went something like this, "I can't take her home today.  Could you hold her and I can have you ship her to me or do you have a shop where I can purchase another like her on your website?"  Joanna answers, "I want you to have her.  I don't have any more and it's clear you have connected with her, she speaks to you."

Believe me when I tell you I tried to put her down, give her back because there was no way I was walking away with this beautiful piece of artwork, with complete respect for the artist, and not paying for it.  She insisted.  I remember thinking that she had probably had a little too much wine and I should just leave the doll and walk away so she didn't wake up tomorrow regretting this moment.

So I thanked Joanna and hugged her and walked away feeling so guilty and at the same time so lucky to have been given this incredible doll, this amazing piece of her art.  The first thing I did that night when I got home was to hang her on my wall where I could see her every day.  I tucked her price tag behind her as I couldn't bring myself to take it off for whatever reason.  

Every day I looked at her hanging on my wall I thought about how I should make a special piece of art and send it to this generous artist to thank her from my heart and to show her how much I appreciated her generosity that day and how much I adored her doll... but I didn't.  And I regret that.

I never knew Joanna and I wish I did.  I never knew her story until today.  I never expected to find out she fought battles with cancer and her husband's cancer.  So I have spent time today getting to know Joanna through her artwork, her videos and her blog.  Exploring her world and her challenges and her joy of making art.  She clearly was an amazing woman and artist.

I do believe that sometimes people come into your life for a reason.  I also believe that my beautiful angel doll has not completed her own journey.  As corny as it might sound, I believe that I was supposed to take this doll home with me that day...but not forever.  I think this doll still has a journey to make and I feel like I need to make sure it gets to its final destination safely, although I don't know where to begin to look.  Maybe the more I learn about Joanna, I will find the answer.

Read more about Joanna Pierotti on her blog,

Here are two videos that I found on YouTube:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Studio Sunday - Endless Snow

It really feels like we will eventually be buried in snow before spring ever arrives.  I'm getting this visual of creating tunnel roads in order to get around like we are in a big ice cube.  The storm today should end by early afternoon so I will be facing the elements to get some shoveling done.  They say there is another one brewing for Wednesday.

Yesterday, I felt compelled to move the entire studio around.  It was necessary so that I could set up my design board wall like I had at the Lofts as almost every inch of floor was being covered by prints that I needed to see to work on new designs.  You can see the shelves and foam core boards that I use for my design wall on the left side of the first picture.

Things are very MESSY now as I'm still shifting some things but I like this layout so much better.  Now I can stand back and contemplate the designs on the wall and thinking BIG! 

I spent last night painting canvas to get ready for some serious studio work!  I'm a little concerned that my CO2 detector was going off so I know all that paint was having some effect on the air quality but there was no way I was opening any windows!!!  I did move the drying canvases downstairs for drying.

I'm excited to be working larger which is a part of my announcement yet to be revealed.  

So I've been cutting stencils for testing and exploring with my Sizzix eclips2 which is a fabulous tool!

And we will see what happens!!!  

Stay warm inside and create, create, create!!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Studio Sunday and Pattern Camp

Happy Sunday!  If you live in New England then you are thinking once again, "when is winter going to end?"  I've seen a few people refer to us a "living in a snow globe" and that is exactly how I perceive it today!  We are in for up to 24" of new snow within the next 48 hours!!!  Incredible!

So I haven't much to share today as I am currently taking Jessica Swift's Pattern Camp which is like a 2-day bootcamp for Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.  I'm strengthening my Illustrator skills and have already learned a ton which will be put to use right away.  This doesn't look like much but it is the technique behind what you see that will improve designing.

I played a little last night with some more of the Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Sprays but haven't had a chance to do too much digitally with the results.  The first image I used my Joggles Stencil - Ancient Ruins to spray in multiple layers over the canvas.

Here it is in a straight repeat.  The texture is YUMMY!

On this canvas below, I played with personal stencils, gesso, and the Starburst Sprays and really like the effects.

The last image is just a random design that I created using a dyed paper towel as the background and it creates so much texture.  I used the Fresco setting from the Gallery to emphasize that texture which is really effective.

Day 2 of Pattern Camp starts soon so I've got to get my student hat on and hunker down inside the snow globe!  Have a super creative Sunday and enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Studio Sunday Go Pats!

Yes, it is Superbowl Sunday and the only reason I mention this is because naturally I'm a Patriots fan being from Massachusetts.  I will probably not watch the game but I will route for them!  Go Pats!

I've been playing around with Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Sprays and I LUV, LUV, LUV them!!!  If you haven't used these before, they are cool in the way they produce light and dark shades, sometimes with different color changes, kind of iridescent, and if you use them correctly are totally scrumptious!!!  (I'm still practicing LOL)  You are required to add the water to activate them so read the directions!

The first try was on a small canvas (which I am loving for the texture) and when you see it in person, you see all of the beautiful sparkle.  One of the darker colors has the color change in it.  Just pure play to see how I could get results.

Going straight for the digital play on this one, I am soooooo in LUV with the repeat pattern I created with this one because of the canvas texture that comes through and the amazing patterning created reminiscent of an old tapestry.  I will be printing some of this fabric, probably in cotton sateen.

Testing out some of the blues, these sprays are really beautiful when they run into and blend together and they are great to paint with!  I will probably do something more with this but for now I played digitally and the results were cool. 

I've been looking at a lot of interior decorating images and someone has actually created wallpaper out of designs like this.  This design wasn't so impressive in repeat but then I changed up some settings....

And came up with this!  I can see this going somewhere!!!!  I'm still itching to get some stitching going!!!

Testing out more of the Starburst Sprays, I was loving all of the blending of colors as I picked up spray remnants from my craft sheet and played with a little card stock stencil.  You can see the metallic mint green color in areas where it was condensed in the top half of this picture on the reverse stencil print.

The thing I discovered about gesso and these sprays is that the gesso will soak in the color, not resist it.  You can see this in the first image as well.  Next test will be on soft gel medium or similar to see how they react.  There are lots of videos on YouTube for Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Sprays so check them out! carries them and you can also get them on Amazon and from Lindy's directly.

So I am designing my brains out here and will soon be able to share more about my licensing opportunity!  In the meantime, I will be creating samples galore to be ready for the launch.

Happy February!  Something tells me I already know what the ground hog will say tomorrow :(  More snow on Monday!  Happy creating and enjoy the rest of your weekend!!!!!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Studio Sunday

It's Sunday once again only this one feels and looks like winter with a fresh blanket of at least 8" of snow over everything.  Unfortunately there is a blizzard moving in for Tuesday and they are talking accumulations in feet!  Ugh

I'm working hard on designs for my license agreement (right, that I have not shared all the details with you on yet) and it's limiting my studio play time but I did get a little play time in late last night.

I was playing with stencils, old and new, and collaging printed deli papers using Tim Holtz Distress Stain Sprays and Dylusions Ink Sprays.  I thought how nice it might look to stencil the stem design using gold foil but my foil glue must be too old or something so I ended up using the Sharpie Gold Pain Pen instead which definitely does not produce the same bling. :(  My favorite color spray from last night is the Dylusions Slate Grey Ink Spray.  Very cool and although you can't see it very well on these collages, it was perfect for bring in some subtle darker shades.

In honor of Valentine's Day coming up soon, I played digitally with my Heart Swirl stencil from  This isn't the original version above but I wanted to point out how the red intense color along the inside edges of the stencil is from using the Distress Stain ink pads to blend additional color softly using a cosmetic sponge.  I like how this effect translated to the digital version.

Of course, studio play wouldn't be complete without a full-blown repeat version.  I only used the top half of the heart for this repeat but it looks really cool up close!

Back to work and soon I will have more to share!  Stay warm and keep creating!

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Thank you everyone for participating in my giveaway!  Woohoo!!!
There were a total of 8 comments and using the Random Generator, the magic number was 


Huntla 1 is the Giveaway Winner!!!

Please e-mail me (MargaretApplin) with your shipping information and I will get these right out to you! 

Thanks for visiting!!!