It's A Surtex Blog Hop - Under the Sea!

The Surtex Show

The Surtex Show

A while back I had a crazy idea…. what if my art could be used on different products?  Could my paintings look good on a purse, or a tea towel, or a wall hanging?  What about a picture frame, or stationery, or a journal cover?  Would it ever be possible to have my designs leap off of the canvas and onto something sold in a store?  What if…..   And then I heard about Surtex.  Surtex is one of the largest (if not THE largest) expo for art licensing.  Art licensing is the pathway to having your art land on a product manufactured by a company and eventually purchased by someone in a store.  As I began to investigate the world of art licensing, Surtex kept popping up over and over and over.  So I decided to take a closer look.

My Little Seahorse Icon

My Little Seahorse Icon

Now let me tell you, Surtex is a pretty big deal in the art licensing world.  And it is quite expensive to be one of the several hundred artists exhibiting - all vying for the attention of some 7000 buyers who will pass through.  I am not someone easily intimidated by a new adventure, but navigating the world of Surtex was quite overwhelming…. not to mention expensive.  I began to consider the idea of collaborating with other artists who were like me - interested in testing the Surtex waters.  Lo and behold, into my universe popped an incredible group called the Cultivate Art Collective.  This collective started with a lot of like minded talented artists who were interested in the art licensing world.  And 10 of us took the plunge together and registered to exhibit as a collective at the 2014 Surtex show - May 18-20 in New York City!  I found my Surtex tribe - and wowza - these ladies rock! An example of a Surtex Booth An example of a Surtex Booth[/caption] Amidst the pre show flurry of creating lots of fresh new art for the show, we have been working together to build our brand for the big show.  Together, we are doing a fun blog hop today!  We chose a“Sea” theme to be interpreted, re-imaginedMy Crab Icon

My Crab Icon

and beautifully designed by each artist to showcase their unique vision and creative talents.  Our Blog Hop is a collaboration of these 10 diverse artists from the collective who will be exhibiting together at Surtex May 18- 20, 2014.  So after you have checked out my Sea Themed Art please keep the Blog Hop Hopping and scroll down to the bottom of the post to find links to the other 9 fabulous artists! I hope you enjoy swimming through some lovely designs.  And wish me luck at my Surtex adventure - I hope my art makes a *SPLASH*!!!

My Starfish Icon My Starfish Icon

Stunningly Strange by Kaitlin Goodey RiztyDesign Diane Hunt Studio Margaret Applin Designs Tatyana Starikova jami darwin Robo Roku Aileen Tu Design Rachelle Panagarry blog hop

Playing With My Designs...

Stationery Set Tonight  have been playing!  In my Surface Pattern Class by Rachel Taylor we were given an assignment to create a line of stationery from a brief.  The brief specified the elements desired in the line, and that it is to be aimed at a contemporary audience, trendy with a touch of sophistication.  Do you think I hit the target audience?  I hope so! The class is comprised of many wonderful and talented aspiring designers.  Most of them design digitally on their computers.  While I am fascinated by what they create, I am too "hands on" (or maybe that should be "hands messy) to design that way.  So I have taken my mixed media designs and manipulated  them to finish this assignment.  It's much more my style...and much more fun for me! I started with this background that I painted.  I scanned it before adding the words or picture. [caption id="attachment_575" align="aligncenter" width="692" caption="Believe In Your Beauty
Click Here To Purchase"][/caption] Then I manipulated it to create this pattern board - taking snippets of it that I thought were visually interesting. [caption id="attachment_576" align="aligncenter" width="692" caption="Wild Garden Pattern"][/caption] From there I took the pieces of this pattern and repurposed them into the pieces of the stationery set according to the size specs from our brief.  This was really fun for me to do.  I am imagining seeing it on the shelves of Barnes & Noble and wanting to write on these with a fresh sharpened pencil!!

Pattern Pretty!

I am excited to share a new Pattern Page on my website!  Check out all of my fun pattern designs at My latest pattern was fun to put together.... it started with this simple drawing below... [caption id="attachment_532" align="alignleft" width="692" caption="Firework Motif"][/caption] And it turned into a pattern like this!  Oh the fun things a gal can do in photoshop!!! [caption id="attachment_533" align="alignleft" width="692" caption="Fireworks Pattern"][/caption]

I need a little fairy dust....

Sometimes a girl just needs a little fairy dust to help everything in life move towards that happy ending.  Right now my daughter is really struggling and has been hospitalized for post-partum depression.  I am taking care of her little baby - my sweet and adorable grandson.  I am loving every minute with him, but I'm tired.  He is two months old....and I have forgotten just how little sleep a new parent gets!  I am also trying to help my daughter regain her footing and grow back the point where she can take care of herself and of him.  Can you see why I need a little fairy dust to help along the way!! I believe that things happen in life that make you smile with the synchronicity of it all.  I participate in an Artists Trading Card Swap monthly.  For those of you new to the ATC world - it's kind of like trading baseball cards - except they are handmade little lovelies that you trade with artists around the globe!  Most swaps have a them, and the March theme was Fairytales.  I created a couple of cards with this them in mind.  What a magical them for a girl who needs a little magic right now! The second piece of synchronicity is that I am taking The Art of Surface Pattern and Design course and I learned how to make repeat patterns in photoshop of things.  I decided to combine my ATC work and my Surface Pattern work and voila - we have a Fairy Pattern!  I guess if I can create a little beauty along the way using the thoughts of love for my daughter and grandson, then maybe I am creating my own fairy dust and something magical will happen!

Mixed Media Pattern Design - Just Mary Style!

Oooh I am having fun with this!!!  I have been working on a class called the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design put on by the very lovely Rachel Taylor and Beth Nichols.  I was really struggling with the class - most of the designs are done or heavily manipulated on the computer.  I am simply NOT a digital designer.  My heart sings when my hands get messy.  I am called to play with paint and canvas, not a mousepad or illustrator wand.  BUT, the content and the way pattern is used really does speak to me. So I looked for an out of the box way to marry traditional surface pattern design with my mixed media love affair.  And I think I found it!  When I do a painting, I always start with a background.  The finished work will normally have some type of central image or theme to it.  But the background is pure texture and pattern.  So why not carve a "Surface Pattern" out of my "Mixed Media" background? With this in mind I pulled out sections from some of my finished work, and from some backgrounds that don't have completed central images yet.  In the class we have been taught how to make pattern boards.  So here are my out of the box Pattern Boards - Just Mary style!!

Pattern Love!

Lately I have been working my way through an e-course by Rachael Taylor called Surface Pattern Design.  It has opened my eyes to a whole realm in the art world that I have never been exposed to before! Among the many great things I learned was how to take a simple drawing and turn it into a motif inside Photoshop. Then I learned how to change its color, copy it, and play with patterning.  This is the first one I made!  Super Fun! See how simply changing the background color alters the feel and mood of the whole design?  Who knew!  I'm having a blast playing with it!