December 14, 2020

Painting My Way Through The Pandemic

It has taken me nine months to finally feel like moving back toward sharing my art on Etsy again. My heart has needed time to heal.

The Coronavirus Pandemic hit about the time that my Mom declined rapidly and passed away last spring... and so began a bizarre, heartbreaking "saying goodbye" without the chance to be with her in her last days, or even attend her funeral due to travel restrictions. It was an emotional and baffling time for me, trying to make sense of the circumstances of Mom's homecoming. For a while, it just didn't seem like it all could be real.

So... I really needed to step back for a while to think, to pray, to wrestle with what was and with what is now. I needed a safe place to just be for a while.

Being quarantined at home during this time ended up being a gift to me... I didn't have anywhere to go, there weren't many outside distractions or responsibilities, and life was extra quiet at our house. So, I dug into my craft closet and found some tiny canvas panels I'd been hoarding forever, and started to paint them one by one.

I've always enjoyed working small... My first endeavor with online art sales was creating ACEO's (artist trading cards that are for sale... They measure 2.5" x 3.5"). I like the challenge of creating in a defined space. I like to see how many different ideas can be created on a tiny art card... or in this case, a miniature canvas.

And so, I spent the summer and fall applying colorful acrylics to tiny canvases. The ideas just kept flowing...

...until finally I'd created quite a stash of mini paintings!

I resisted the idea of reopening my Etsy shop at first... Was I ready to come out of my retreat yet? Did I have the emotional and physical energy to re-engage with the world? And, was I willing to go back to posting on Instagram and Facebook again so people could find out about my art?

Well, to tell the truth, the jury's still out on the social media question. I have really loved the quiet... not feeling obligated to post, not being bombarded with what everyone else if doing and thinking... just being me with my own creative ideas and thoughts.

But I did miss putting my artwork out into the world and sharing what I'd created. It seemed a waste to keep stashing my paintings where no one would ever enjoy them.

So, I'm back. And it feels OK. I'm not expecting hoards of customers knocking at my shop's door. But I do hope that others will find a tiny bit of happiness from what I have made. If I can add to someone's joy by sharing my art, that will be more than enough! 


Thank you Lord for time to heal. Thank you for the joy of creativity. Thank you for new beginnings. Thank you for loving me! 💖

February 23, 2020

Light In My Darkness

It has been a very long time since I've written in my blog... over two years, in fact. Life has been filled with family illness and the homecoming of my sweet Dad. Now my Mom is declining rapidly. I'm trying my best to care for her well, while my heart is grieving. It is the circle of life... We are only given so many days on this earth, and then we return to the Lord, which is a blessing! But this ending of life!... It is so very very hard! I need God's grace to make it through each moment of every single day.

I've written before that I struggle with depression... and during this difficult time, it's been hard to find my way out of the darkness at times. My physician has changed my medications, and that has greatly helped me cope on this journey I've found myself on. I am truly grateful to be feeling so much better!

And painting has helped soothe my soul. I don't claim to be a terrific artist... but somehow in putting pencil to paper and then paint on canvas, peace and joy have come into my heart. This winter, as the afternoon sun has been shining in the windows of my studio, I've experienced a calm, quiet place of healing and comfort as I've painted and listened to soft, soothing music. My studio has felt like a sanctuary... and art making has felt like communion with God.

Thank you Lord, that you meet me right where I am... even when I'm in the darkness. You come to me and comfort me. You shine Your light on me and fill me with joy and gladness! I am so very grateful!!

January 22, 2018

Snowbound in Carolina

Late last week, we had a winter storm blow through my home state of North Carolina. It's not so unusual for us to get a really good snow sometime during the wintertime... but I think this storm surprised even the meteorologists with the amount of snow it left behind! We had about six inches of snow... but with ice on the roads and our house perched on a hill, we were snowbound for several days 'til the temperatures rose.

So, while I was inside, enjoying the snowy view out my window and giving thanks for a warm house and a full fridge, I spent some very happy hours in my studio, creating this happy snowman! I did some experimenting with 'floating color' (read here... lots of trial & error!) to give the snowman and cardinal a bit of shading and depth. This is a growing edge for me. I had watched some YouTube videos that made the floating technique look so easy... but I'm going to need to keep practicing, that's for sure! 

I hope that"Winter Friends" brightens your day today!  :)

January 1, 2018

'Tis The Week After Christmas...

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...and somehow, in all the travelings afar and gatherings at home and tree decorating and cookie baking and present wrapping and talking and laughing with the ones we love and dog-sitting for my son's Great Dane and eating waaaaay too much delicious holiday food and doing a thousand loads of laundry and about the same amount of dishes....

... I'm just now getting around to showing you the paintings I made for my Etsy shop to celebrate Christmas this year.

First up is "Jolly Old Saint Nick." I had never painted a Santa before, so I was really excited about creating him!  :)  I used an original sketch I'd drawn and painted him with acrylics on a 5x7 inch canvas panel. The background is a soft gold I mixed up, with gold dots on top. I really like the contrast of his dark red suit and hat against the background. Wonder what could be inside that present he's holding???... I'm kinda in love with his cute little grin!

The second Christmas painting I made was based on an illustration I'd created several years ago... "Away In A Manger."

This one was also painted on a 5x7 flat panel canvas. It's simple and a little "quilty" and sweet... just the star that led the shepherds to the baby Jesus, who was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.

What an amazing event!!... Who could ever have imagined God's gift to us!!???

Finally, this is the canvas I painted for an Christmas tree ornament this year.

I never did get a photo of the ornament on my Christmas tree before the season was over... so this scan will have to do! The background is a 2x4 inch flat panel canvas that was painted bright white and flecked with gold. I hand lettered the word "Rejoice" with a black fine point water-based Sharpie paint pen, and painted the heart a deep red inside the letter "O". I finished it by gluing white string to the back of the canvas, covered the back with white cardstock and signed it.

So that's it!... My Christmas 2017 RoundUp of Etsy paintings!!  :)

And, since today happens to be January 1st of 2018, I'd like to wish YOU a very Happy New Year filled with Love, Joy, Hope, and Creativity!!

November 9, 2017

Learning To Add A Pinterest Board To My Blog

I've been wanting to share some of my Pinterest boards here on my blog... but, I was unsure how to go about doing that. I knew it was possible, but for some reason, I couldn't get it to work. As always for me, I learn by researching and a whole lot of trial and error!

Today I stumbled upon a YouTube video by Ana Maria Menezes on How to Embed a Pinterest Board to Blogger. I watched the video a couple of times and it cleared up the issue I was having about where to add the extra small piece of HTML code that is needed to make the board show up.

As I'm writing this post in the "Compose" mode, I can't see the Pinterest board that I've added using HTML. However, when I preview  what I've written... Voila! There it is!  :)

Another cool thing I've found in this process is that, once I've published my post and the Pinterest board is 'live'... you can scroll up and down on the board. If you click on a picture, it will take you directly to that Pin.

Pretty nifty neato!

I hope you enjoy my I {Heart} Etsy Pinterest Board! My collection of all things handmade will keep growing... It is such a huge part of who I am and what I love!

October 28, 2017

Happy Halloween!!

 (This is one of the doodles from my sketchbook!)

Halloween is coming up next week!... I always look forward to seeing the little Trick-or-Treaters who come to our door for goodies! It's the preschool-aged children who tickle me the most!... the tiny Supermen and princesses, the wee pumpkin babies in their parents' arms.

Last year we had an amazing butterfly visit us, with gorgeous sparkly wings! And, of course, there are bound to be a few friendly ghosts, a pirate, a robot, a zombie and a gypsy too. I always love to see the creativity of homemade costumes! (by some very loving parents putting together crazy outfits for their kids in the late night hours!).

This year, I've managed to hide the 'treats' from my husband, so (hopefully!) there will be plenty to go around!  :)

What does YOUR family do for Halloween?... Do you carve pumpkins? Make your own costumes? Go to Trunk-or-Treat parties with friends?... I'd really LOVE to hear what YOU do!

Wishing you a Fun and Safe night of Trick-or-Treating with YOUR family this year!!

October 22, 2017

Showing Up On Etsy

"Every Child Is An Artist"

I thought it was really very simple... I just wanted to create my kinda fun, quirky, whimsical, colorful, silly art and offer it in my (very cute!) Etsy shop to people who like fun, quirky, whimsical, colorful, silly art too.

No big deal... right? But as it turns out, it's not quite as straight-forward and easy as that...

What I quickly discovered after listing my whimsical little pieces of art on Etsy was that I couldn't find them ANYWHERE when I searched for them later! And if I couldn't find them... then it followed that nobody else who might like to find them was discovering them either...

My heart felt soooo discouraged!!  :(

So... I started to research. And I began to learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how to optimize my Etsy shop.

It didn't take long before I found out about Danielle Spurge-Swavely from The Merriweather Council! She offers a free Etsy Lessons Email Series that contains a 20 minute SEO training video that was a HUGE help to me! After implementing Danielle's suggestions, I was so happy to see my artwork showing up in Etsy's listings so buyers can finally find them!... YaY!!!  :)

I highly recommend The Merriweather Council Etsy Lessons Email Series to any Etsy seller who is trying to get their products to show up in searches on Etsy. Danielle explains the process of titling and tagging your products in a very clear and helpful way. I was thrilled with the results that I've had from following her advice... and I think you'll be happy with your results too!

September 21, 2017

From Sketch to Painting

About a week ago, I drew this sketch of a boy and his dog, thinking it could be a fun autumn scene... but I only had a vague idea at the time what the background might look like or what colors I might use in the final painting.

After transferring the boy and his dog onto a 5x7 inch canvas panel, I sketched in some trees in the background, and started to paint the sky a bright blue, the leaves on the trees vivid orange & yellow, and the grass two tones of bright green.

It was at this point I suddenly realized that my painting was going to be super colorful!... and I wasn't quite sure how to choose the colors for the 'main characters', the boy and his dog. Hmmm... This would be challenging!

After a bit of trial and error, this is what I came up with... and I'm happy with the final painting! A bit of a wispy white cloud helps to balance out all that color!... and some outlining with a micron pen gives the painting a little dimension.

I hope you like this little autumn scene of a boy and his dog!... I sure had fun creating it!!  :)

"A Boy's Best Friend" can be found in my Etsy shop, PholkartStudio.

September 16, 2017

My Very First Mixed Media Pumpkin Project

"Harvest Pumpkin"

A few weeks ago, I was browsing in my favorite local craft shop... and discovered the PERFECT pumpkin-colored piece of scrapbook paper! I knew right then and there that that orange polka dot paper was coming home with me, to be used for some future pumpkin-y project.

I've been painting for a while now and have gotten pretty comfy with my self-taught technique... but I'm a newbie to mixed media and I've been wanting to try my hand at it. So I printed out an enlarged version of one of the digital stamps I used to design, "Folk Art Pumpkin"...

...and modified it so it would fit on my 5x7 inch canvas base. I had to crop one of the 'swirlies' and flip another 'swirlie' around to the opposite side. I also decided to delete the heart on the pumpkin for this project.

After base coating my canvas panel with black paint (it took two coats!), I flipped my printed pumpkin over and transferred my pumpkin design onto the back of the orange paper using dark graphite paper. I did the same thing with the leaf design, transferring that onto a textured green paper. It took no time at all to cut out my pumpkin pieces, since this is such a simple design.

Next step was the Modge Podge. I carefully brushed the back of the pumpkin with a thin layer of Modge Podge. Then I adhered it to the middle of the canvas panel, making sure to smooth it from the center toward the outer edges, so the edges were glued down firmly. I eyeballed the placement of the green leaf and Modged Podged that too.

Last of all, I transferred my 'swirlie' pattern to the black canvas with a light colored graphite transfer paper, and penciled in 'harvest' in the upper left corner. The rest of the design was finished by painting the lettering and the 'swirlie' freehand using a small round brush. A couple of coats of Krylon matte acrylic spray and my Harvest Pumpkin was done!  :)

Now that I've created my first mixed media project, I've definitely caught the bug! Can't wait to figure out what my next project will be!

(...and of course, now I have an excuse to collect all that gorgeous scrapbook paper I've been resisting! *wink!*).

August 31, 2017

A Little Update on My Newly Re-Opened Etsy Shop...

It's the end of August now, and I've been happily working away most of the summer in my studio, painting little canvases. So far, most have been just 4 x 6 inches like this little mermaid above... but a few have been as large as 5 x7 inches, like this sweet angel below:

I'm still not quite sure as I've been working along if what I'm painting has an overall theme or feel... "Whimsical Folk Art" is hopefully there; but also, "Playful Childrens' Art," "Happy Family Art," "Family Friendly Art." I don't know yet... Hopefully all of the above! *wink!*

However my artwork ends up being characterized, I hope it ends up making you SMILE!!!