Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November's Art Giveaway 2015

I'm a little nervous for this month's giveaway... There are more restrictions than normal, and while I'm really excited about it, I just don't know what the turn out will be. That was something I realized early on that I had to be ok with-if no one enters, if no one is interested. So now I guess I really get to face that fear! And that is a large part about this process, to push myself to just DO the creative things I'd like to do, and to have an outlet for them where someone else will hopefully get something they enjoy out of it.

Recently, I stumbled across some photos of dogs that I have taken over the years. I have loved dogs my whole life, and I really enjoy photographing them. They each have their own personality, and trying to capture that personality is so much fun. Growing up, I took a TON of photos of my dog, and am so glad I did. Photos of moments/those pieces of personality are often all we're able to keep as life flies by.

So... I thought I would offer a mini photo session (30 minutes) for your pet. I am unfortunately highly allergic to cats, so at this time I can not be in a closed area where kitties live, but I am open to other types of pets and of course dogs (or in the off chance your cat is an outdoor cat, I suppose we could try that?). I'd love to know a little bit about the pet prior, their personality, some of the memorable things they do, what you love about them, so we can figure out the best way to capture this. The photos would be candids, no posed, and while you are welcome to interact with your pet, the session is focused on them (not a family session or anything like that).

Now, I've never done this, and animals have a mind of their own, so I can't guarantee a number of final images, but I'd like to get at least 3 awesome ones for you but there may be more if things go smooth. You'll get the digital versions (cd or email), so you can print/frame however you'd like.

I am open to doing the session when it snows, indoors, waiting until the weather is nice, whatever you think will be most fitting.
DEADLINE: Monday Dec 7, 12pm (central)
To enter, as usual, simply comment on the November's Art Giveaway announcement video on facebook (or on this blog post I suppose would work)
Here are a few of my favorite photos I've taken of some wonderful furry friends...
This is Cubby... my dog when I was growing up...
He was as close to perfect as it gets, we were very lucky to
have him in our lives. He was one of my earlier models when
I first started learning photography-this is actually shot with
a film SLR.

Cubby in his final days...he was 17 years old, which is amazing,
but I still didn't want to lose him.

Max was in need of a home, so a friend and I did a mini
session with him and his personality just beamed!
Unfortunately Max passed away earlier this year,
before he could find that forever home. I am so thankful we were
able to have some really good moments, and to have some photos
that captured what a great dog he was...
This little guy was growing quickly and his owner mentioned
she's barely taken any photos of him.  This stage of cuteness just
 had to be documented! So I took a few photos for her, and
grabbed a few of her other dogs as well.

This pretty girl resides with  the little guy above...

This is Sunny, my parents' dog. She has such a sense of humor,
is incredibly curious, and prefers the attention be directed
towards her. ;)

Right at home...
This guy... he sure was a good dog. He passed away earlier
this year. He's actually Sunny's daddy.

When he played, he played. And when he was done, he was DONE. ;)

This guy's family went through some really difficult times.. he did
his best to comfort and love them. Then he ran into his own struggles...

He got cancer a couple times in his leg, and eventually
needed it amputated. That wasn't going to stop him from
living a happy, active life.

He adapted quickly and was going up/down steps and running around,
faster than I knew was possible for a creature to recover after
such challenges... I ran across him at the perfect time him my life.
I needed that kind of inspiration!

They all have their own stories, and have inspired me in some way... And the thing I find most inspiring is just how full of love they all are.  
So, there is it. The second to last giveaway. Good luck! :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

October Art Givaway 2015

My Grandpa passed away last October... I ended up creating some remembrance ornaments for some family members for Christmas- but they don't have to be just Christmas ornaments, these have been out year round.

So I thought this would be a good one for this month... And would like to try to get these out to you before the holiday season.

There will be two drawings... one for only people who have not won. The second, anyone and everyone is eligible. And if the winners would like, I will make a second ornament for them, to give to someone else. Two winners, winning two ornaments each.

This does not have to be a remembrance ornament, you can put whatever photo you want in there (as long as you have permission to use it), whether it is for a significant other, or a friend, a pet, etc.  There are two sides, so you are welcome to put two different photos in if you'd like, or use the other side as a place to write a not or include whatever else you see fit. I think it would be easiest if the winners email/facebook message me the photos they would like, I will print it, and then stitch up the ornament. Note: the frame is not your standard shape, so not all photos will work well (if it is a picture of a person/animal, make sure there is enough space around the face so it doesn't get cropped off.. I can see if I can send you a digital sample prior to printing).

The deadline is THIS Friday, November 6, at noon (central). 

Here is the announcement video:

If you're interested, here is some backstory about the heart shape that has been popping up in my work...that shape has grown in meaning over the past few years. It used to just be a heart, symbolizing lovey dovey stuff-not really my thing. But a few years ago, I started seeing hearts all over the place--in weird unexpected places. Often times, it usually happens when I'm going through difficult stuff. It always reminds me to breathe, and to come from a place of love, to reconnect with myself and find that peace within...to open my mind, be more understanding, and to treat others kindly...There are a couple "tricks" though-I can't go looking for them. If I try too hard, they're never there. It always happens when I'm not looking, not expecting. Also, there are times when I think my mind just THINKS it sees this shape, so I ignore it, and then, as if the universe has a sense of humor, I'll see an obvious one or a TON of them all at once--and that's how I started down the path for this frame idea....

I was in a thrift store, difficult stuff was happening in life, and I stumbled across a huge bag filled with wooden heart shapes (someone must have cut them out). I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to purchase these. ;) Plus I've done projects in the past with repurposed/secondhand wood, I knew I'd be able to use them. For the remembrance ornament (and for the ones I'm giving away), a friend helped me cut out the middle, we drilled holes, and then I used some of the secondhand yarn I've been knitting with to stitch up the frame.

Here are a few random heart shapes I've come across unexpectedly out and about.

A public bathroom wall
Passing by some flipflops in a store

Water dripped onto my purse...

Stairwell of a parking ramp...

When laying out in the sun, frustrated that the sun went away...I looked up and smiled.
 There are so many more, some have been just so odd and they are always random, but some more than others. But it never hurts to receive those reminders...

To enter the contest, check out my facebook page and comment on the announcement video that you'd like to enter. Thanks :)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

September Art Giveaway 2015

For September's Art Giveaway, I am going back to where my artistic journey really started taking off...when I finally got to start creating original work, purely out of passion/inspiration...when I wanted, how I wanted, why I wanted...Self portraits.

I had always hated my photo being taken. So it may seem odd to have jumped into self portraits...but really, that was the easiest, best way for me to accomplish a few goals: keep on top of my photoshop skills as I job searched (for graphic design), explore photography (one of the few art classes in college I actually enjoyed), and to simply have a creative outlet. Often times this creative urge struck when I was unable to sleep, late at night...er...really really early morning. (more about how I started self portraits can be found here)

I started with a point and shoot. It was a really nice one, with a manual mode option where I had some (though still limited) control over aperture and shutter speed.

I remember one of my earliest ones... when I was still living with my parents. Like a lot of the self portraits in the beginning, I shot it in the bathroom, which provided the best lighting and it was easy enough to do hair/makeup right there. A simple one...I was inspired by a vague makeup idea I wanted to try--I had never been that into makeup, until I realized it could be treated just like painting a canvas. ;)

Eventually, when I moved out onto my own, my locations expanded. As did my bathroom counter space, privacy, and schedule.
More elaborate hair/makeup/wardrobe started to happen...though
the bathroom still remained an excellent shooting location ;)

New wide open spaces to play with
Huge backyard that came with a beautiful creek

Things slowed down while I worked a normal person job for a while, but after I was let go, I jumped back into things, full force. Shortly after, I stumbled across a photographer looking for an assistant... I contacted him, thinking it would be a great way to learn. He had seen my work, and asked me if I'd model for him. I was thrown off, I was NOT a model and still hated my picture being taken... With self portraits, I don't really see them as photos of ME, and I have complete control over every aspect... so if I find something distracting, I have no issues adjusting it in post-it is about creating a piece of art, not capturing the true essence of an individual. It is about the emotions....and I think THAT is what had caught this photographer's eye. (more info about starting in modeling)

Meeting new people, some of them I was
fortunate enough to collaborate with...
Ghost: Seth Nayes

For nearly a year, I continued shooting self portraits and did a good amount of modeling. And then there was the hair incident... I stopped shooting self portraits for years after that. It knocked the wind out of me, I had no inspiration. Once I started working with Andrew Kufahl, inspiration leaked in once again (our first shoots), but I had no desire to shoot it, and hated the thought of having to look at what had happened from beginning to end. Plus, Andrew is a heck of a photographer...and could make any crazy idea of mine come to life. (more about starting to collaborate with Andrew)

Now... the past year has been a crazy one... a lot of challenges, and not a lot of time/space/options to create. I'm stir crazy, to say the least. It took a while, but I finally found ways to get back to making art... playing with watercolor, knitting (more knitting), and guess what? Self portraits. I am overflowing with ideas again, and can't even keep up!

Soo...for this giveaway, you get your choice, of ANY self portrait. I found what seems to be an eco friendly photo printing company, and I am excited to give them a shot (note: I am not sure what kind of turn around time the printing/shipping is going to involve, so just be warned it may take a while to receive this one). Take a look through my self portrait album on facebook (or a more refined one on my website), copy the link to your photo of choice, and paste in the comments of the giveaway announcement video for your chance to win. Deadline is October 9 (NEXT Friday) at 12pm (central)

We are back to the original rules by the way...

Thank you :)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August's Art Giveaway 2015

Deadline: Friday, August 28, 2015, 6pm (central)

I have been enjoying these giveaways for so many reasons (and counting). There is something about giving freely that I felt I needed to explore. There have been many times where I wish I had something to give, but feel as if I don't- whether it is because of my financial situation, my health, my location, etc. Do you know the feeling? It has been pretty cool to let go and just give... from a place of truly wanting to, without expectations.

This month, I thought I'd let you take part of my year long project in a new way...I thought it would be fun for YOU to have the chance to do your own giveaway. Anyone and everyone is eligible for this one, including past giveaway winners. Here is the deal: you get to pick a pendant (small or large), and then you get to give it away to someone you think would enjoy it. Whether it is a gift for this year's holiday season, a birthday present, a reminder you are thinking of them, or just because.  Maybe you know someone who is going through a rough time? Or maybe you want to give this away in a completely random way to a stranger, "pay it forward" style. YOUR CHOICE. The only rule is you must give it away.

Side A... of the small and large option up for grabs this month.
Side B... of the small and large option up for grabs this month.
The thought behind these heart pendants has a few layers, but long story short, it was my way of reminding myself of some important lessons. The distressed wire heart symbolizes the variety of struggles life can dish out... leaving you feel beaten up, among other things. The yarn represents the choice to keep that soft spot in our hearts... to keep being kind, to keep loving, to keep loving yourself.

Of course you can attach your own meaning. :)

Here is a link to the past pendant giveaway, for some more info.

Some of the technical progression: My dad may have started my love of wire jewelry, making me some wire rings a while back. My grandma got me interested in knitting-the yarn is scrap from my knitting supply/projects. I took a jewelry and metals class in college (and a textiles class that including knitting), expecting to dislike it as I used to dread working on a tiny scale-I actually loved the professor and the class, and my classmates, the whole shebang! Fast forward-->My friend Joe was kind enough to donate the wire to my art, and plenty of information my brain probably can't contain. And my friend Andrew was willing to share some tips, so I could achieve the look I envisioned. Mix in the inspiring wire jewelry I've collected/seen in my travels from artists across the country. And there you have it.
NOTE: this pendant can be used in a variety of ways... The excess yarn can be used to tie as a necklace (I just tie in a simple bow when I wear one). You can also cut the excess yarn off (keep the knot though!) and put it on your own necklace chain. But this doesn't just have to be used as a necklace, you could hang it where ever you'd like--ie: someone hung from their review mirror (a fitting reminder to come from a place of love, even in crappy traffic ;) ). Get creative and use in the best way you see fit. I'll include a few photos of how these have been used/worn thus far, below.

To enter: comment on the original video on facebook (www.facebook.com/NFGartist ) or on google+ ( https://plus.google.com/+nNFGjolly ). Make sure you actually say you would like to enter the contest please, and let me know which one you would like. While I appreciate any comments, I try my best not to assume that kind words mean you want to enter. :)

I would love to hear about who and how you pass this gift on to if you are willing to share. :)

Wearing as a necklace WITH excess yarn as chain...   Photographer: Andrew Kufahl

Excess yarn cut off and pendant put onto ball chain

Pendant hanging from review mirror in car
Some work well to hold notes or photos... or in this case, a business card!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Website lauch!

It isn't perfect, but I have been working on this for a very, very long time (perhaps almost 2 years now)...I've been dragging my feet, trying to get it perfect. But to be honest, there are just pieces I don't have right now. And I am no longer going to use that as an excuse to hold me back from moving forward.

Through facebook, google+, greenmartini, modelmayhem, coroflot, etc I have put a lot of time and effort into ways that were supposed to allow me to share my work with others-be it modeling, graphic design, painting, photography, etc. Some of these worked decent. Some were a waste of time for me. One thing was for sure, it is way too much work maintaining so many accounts! Plus, which ones do you include on business cards, since no one site seems to be able to do it all-I guess that is the consequence of not having just a single area of focus. It was time to think about a website...a place where I had a little more control over the layout/design, and could just have a selective portfolio for ALL of the art forms I do.

I decided to go with WIX because I initially thought they had a shop option that was included in the free package-I need free because I most definitely fit the label of starving artist, and while this is not ideal (wix gets to advertise on my site) and I worry about how others will view that and judge me, it is better than nothing. After everything was designed and ready to launch, I found out that in order to actually USE the shop, I had to upgrade my account, which unfortunately wasn't an option right now. While I understand in many cases why there are fees for artists to have a shot at selling any work (even in galleries, shows, or real life shops), it causes a huge issue if you are already spending more than you make just to make the art to begin with, not to mention all of the other expenses that go into this line of work. It ends up forcing the artist to raise prices way beyond what the average person is willing to spend, and in a cruel cycle,  personally I feel it often times cuts the chances of them selling their work anyway. Crushed that the shop I worked so hard to put together was down the pooper, I started to brainstorm... cue the endless research, and with the help of a friend who tested so many online shop options for me, we eventually found shophandmade.com and I created my online shop ... while this did not allow me to do my initial goal-of having everything in one spot-and created yet another account to manage, it did however allow me to get my paintings/knitted creations out there and it opens up the option of people being able to purchase handmade, original artwork, directly from me, in an easy way, from the comfort of their own home, wherever that may be.

Redesigning my website happened so many times, I lost count. Whether it was due to the color scheme, the layout, the various templates, etc. I found myself struggling with a familiar issue... I've always had a difficult time labeling myself, committing to anything to define ME (signatures, logos, website designs, descriptions, art titles, artist statements, business names, etc). The templates and stock backgrounds were nice and easy, but something was just off...no matter what I did. The graphic designer/artist in me wanted something more original...after all, I am creating a lot of one-of-a-kind art. It finally hit me... go back to where some of this stuff really took off...where I really started being my own artist: self portraits. How much more "me" could that get?! Suddenly, everything just started falling into place. I knew the perfect image, which lead to a color scheme, and layout. What a great reminder to just reconnect with myself, to be the true me, to stop feeling like I have to commit to outside ideas/labels/templates as a definition of me... and realize, none of this has to be permanent. I can change my mind and redesign at any point. It was amazing how much more freely things flowed, how much more enjoyable it was. It got back to the original goal-of creating something that was FREEING.

Loads of other issues had crept up in between, including my computer suddenly becoming too old to use WIX's site/editor. Crap. Thank goodness for kind friends with computers. Though that issue should make updates in the future continue to remain an adventure. ;)

After all the brick walls, the hurdles, the struggles, the worries... I am so very happy to finally be able to share this... http://nfgartist.wix.com/nfgartist

Sunday, August 2, 2015

July's Art Giveaway 2015

Boy was this a nail biter! I was not sure if I could finish any of the art giveaway item options that I had in mind (and had been working on throughout the month) until the last half of the very last day of July. Phew! Here it is..........


How this project came about...

I had to learn how to knit for a class in college. However, I was the only lefty, and was given a packet of written instructions to teach myself with rather than professor instruction. Thankfully, my grandma was willing try teaching me one-on-one, and while she teases that I "knit backwards" and had to check my work over often because my technique just didn't look right, it always worked out fine. ;)  I continued knitting (basic knitting) even after my class project was complete, it is incredibly relaxing.

Upon entering the working world, there was not much time for art, or knitting. A few years went by, I lost my job, and found my way back to various art forms, such as painting, photography, etc. A couple more years passed, and I found myself back in a position where I couldn't paint as much. Creative frustration got to me... I had to figure something out. And then it hit me... knitting can be done just about anywhere! Plus, it would be a really great opportunity to finally tackle a bucket list item... knitting Grandpa a sweater... Grandma retaught me everything, and then some (she is really wonderful!). We made a few things and spent a lot of time together, then I jumped into the sweater project (and to both of our surprise, actually completed it!), and from there, I got into some smaller knitted projects that were great ways to experiment/learn new things.

My next goal was to knit a shape, other than a square/rectangle. I figured out how to make hearts, which inspired a few other ideas in which these hearts could be incorporated. And here we are with July's art giveaway item: a knitted pillow - made with second hand yarn, and a rarely (if ever) used blanket cut up as stuffing.

If you are interested in winning this, just comment on the original July art giveaway announcement video on facebook or google+ ... DEADLINE is Wednesday, August 5, at noon (central). Good luck! :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Art Giveaway 2015

I have been looking forward to the opportunity to give this creation away... while it is a couple of years old now, it is one of the accomplishments I'm most proud of and the life lessons that I gained continue to help me through difficult times. It has been an endless source of inspiration, and reminds me of the fact that I am capable of more than I think...
I give you... THE 24 HOUR PROJECT. For this giveaway, the ebook is up for grabs!
To enter, simply comment on the video that you'd like to enter on my facebook page or my google+... DEADLINE is THIS Friday (July 3) at noon (central).
If you are not aware of what THE 24 HOUR PROJECT is, here are a few handy links to get some info/previews:

Available in hard cover/soft cover, 12x12, 7x7, and digital
Sending a signed copy out by request!

And the short version: this was photographer Andrew Kufahl's follow up idea to his impressive 365 project. The goal was to create 24 concept images within 24 hours... from there, we made a book and since then, we have also had a gallery show.
Part of the promo materials for our gallery show
At our opening of THE 24 HOUR PROJECT exhibition at Gallery 3

We have some BTS footage on his artist page, and more video we have yet to edit that will hopefully will see the light of day at some point. ;)
Some BTS footage from Hour 1

This project is truly something special for us, and I am so excited to be able to share it again. :)

Hour 1's final image