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Archive for June, 2008

ocean-inspired art prints from Etsy artistsI love the ocean. Whenever I’m inside, I wish I was outside … and near the ocean. So for the hot summer months, I’m planning to bring the outside ocean air in. In the form of a sea wall …

I have a wall in my guest room full of white painted ornate frames that I plan to fill with ocean-inspired art prints — seashells, sea horses, octopi, mermaids.

I got the inspiration from other artists at Etsy.

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Party time -- what to bring?More than flowers, more than expensive bottles of wine, your sweetie/friends/parents want to know you’re thinking of them. Here are 5 ways to impress the heck out of them — while showing off your creativity, originality, and of course, generosity.

1. Next time you are invited for dinner or cocktails, bring the music. And make it indie. It takes just minutes to burn a CD of your favorite independent bands, and your host remember the gift long after the evening is over. And you’ll make the artist’s day. Believe me.

2. Inviting friends over for a get-together? Cover your walls with original art — or limited edition prints — to show off your great taste. Original pieces will spark conversations and show your support of independent artists. Find beautiful prints for under $50 at etsy.com:

  • Shellybee’s Art Studio (my shop) — limited edition prints of ink drawings that celebrate life and nature
  • Birdnerd — collages and linocuts prints of, what else?, birds; gorgeous
  • Karingrows — originals and prints of oceany women and birds; love it

3. Need a gift on a limited budget? Make something — or easier, buy something handmade for the most WOW factor. I’m biased — I love etsy for handmade. Bought my sister something there I can’t tell you about yet, because she hasn’t had her birthday yet. But I know she’ll love it. I’ve also shopped Shana Logic for some really cute indie stuff. You’ll make more than one person super happy.

4. For no reason at all, make your favorite person an art book. Or a calendar. Or a T-shirt. Just snap some creative digital photos of some favorite things or shapes or colors and go to:

  • Blurb.com or Lulu.com to make a book
  • Kodak Gallery or Cafe Press to make a calendar or T-shirt
  • Target and buy iron-on transfers to make your own T-shirts — I’ve made lots of onesies for friends’ baby showers with printable transfers (I know Target isn’t indie, but my friend works for corporate, and they really do do good things) and they just LOVe them

5. Send a letter. A well-though-out, just because I like you, snail mail letter — on stationary that you create yourself. Seriously, just draw something or patch some photos together. It’ll be so surprising and lovely — they will so love you. I use Overnight Prints.

Express yourself! Be unique! Be independent. And give it away.

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My good friend grows a garden each year, and her boys help. These are her artichokes. Another lucky artichoke bloomed on the stalk; the background color of the drawing here is a reflection of the color of the feathery blossom.

artichoke drawing on lavender by shelly bowen

I had planned to switch to my sticky series, but had to get one more edible in to complete the pineapple and papaya. At my sister’s request for one more fruit or veggie. For her kitchen. I can hardly ever turn down a request.

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Revised for you! And I do think the composition is better. Thanks for all the feedback, emailed and otherwise.Revised Bull for the Fans

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I’ve completed my Texas Trio of ink drawings — now showing at Shellybees.com — and shared them with two of my favorite artist friends. One said she loved the Great-Tailed Grackle drawing, and also the Papaya Passion from my Maui collection (of 2; the others flopped). She politely didn’t mention my Loving Longhorn.

Texas Duo of ink drawings by Shellybee\'s

And my Racing Armadillo hadn’t released yet. My other friend, who also happens to be my sister, and I were sipping bright-orange cocktails when I asked her about my Texas drawings. This was after her art opening at the Museum of the Living Artist in San Diego. Her family triptych was accepted. So you see why her opinion means more than just sisterly fluff.

“I love the bird,” she said, then glanced sideways.

“And the Longhorn?” I pressed, smiling, because I already knew, but I wanted her to say it.

“I hate it,” she admitted.

I waited.

She gushed: “It’s just so, I don’t know, it’s the composition, it’s elementary, I don’t like it.”

I laughed. What a fabulous strong reaction. I’d much rather love or hate than ambivalence.

So what do you think. Love it? Hate it? Is it the composition? The subject-matter? The color? Do tell!

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final ink drawing of grackle by Shelly BowenIn Austin, Texas, recently. Hot, friendly, beautiful. All the live music you can take in. And birds.

Stayed on Lady Bird Lake or “Town Lake” where I saw giant swans, hump-beaked geese, ducks, all sorts of tiny song birds, and the great-tailed grackle. The grackle looks like a skinning long-legged crow, and with a call that sounds much like the alarm of an infant, is considered a pest. But I found it’s defiance part of the scene.

So I put together this piece just for him. And for me too.

If you’re interested in the artist’s process, here’s a peak behind the scene …

Out hiking in the 98 degree June heat around the lake, I caught a mediocre photo of this guy, so cool and balanced:

photo of grackle \

He inspired me to sketch this — really from a combination of birds I saw throughout the city. Below you’ll see the pencil sketch and the inked version.

original sketch of grat-tailed grackle bird of texas

And finally, the new piece I totally didn’t intend on bringing home as a souvenir (see framed at top).

I really do like him. If you like him too he’ll be available soon as a limited edition in my art shop,
www.shellybees.com
.

original ink drawing of black bird \

All art copyright 2008 Shelly Bowen. No reproductions permitted.

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