Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bird Alert!

"Chickadee 2.0", Mixed Media Illustration by Jennifer Johansson

Hi there. How are you?

I've been neck deep in art fair prep. All studio time has been spent pumping out new work for my first show of the year. (If you're in the St. Louis area, do come see me at the Art Fair at Laumeier Sculpture Park over Mother's Day weekend.)

I've made a flock of new birds. Well, maybe not a whole flock, but some! I've been having a tough time capturing the actual look of the graph paper on these pieces. It either shows up a little too strong or drops out entirely when I try even out the white balance. Even so, I'm still really liking working on gridded paper and have done most of my new work on triangular isometric paper.


Mixed Media Bird Illustration by Jennifer Johansson
"Red-Breasted Nuthatch" Mixed Media Illustration by Jennifer Johansson
Mixed Media Illustration by Jennifer Johansson

This new collection is a bit more minimalist than those I have done in the past. I'm trying to simplify in my art these days. I have to constantly fight not to over-do things. To read about how I create these birds, click HERE.

All of these new pieces are for sale, but are not listed on Etsy. If you are interested in purchasing, do give me a shout!

Hope things are well and springy in your world. Ta-Ta for now!

P.S. Do you Pinterest? I've got a great "Bird Nerd" board going there. Go see and follow along!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Things and Stuff: A Studio Update

A new shot of me in my studio, taken by Matt (my husband.)

Hi there. How are you?

I've so much to tell you since we last chatted! First off, I've got a new job! I'm now the Teen and Youth Program Coordinator at the Carbondale Public Library. I program and implement weekly programs for middle school and high school students at the library. I'm just a week in, but so far so good! The students and my co-workers are great.  My schedule is fantastic.....I work Monday through Thursday afternoons and early evenings, which means I have time every morning to work in my studio!

I've still been plugging away at my Every Other Day Sketch project. Do follow me on Instagram to see them as soon as I post them.


My sketchbook drawings have very much been influencing my work in the studio.

"Infinity and Beyond", 8"x8", ballpoint pen illustration.

"Looped", 8"x8", ballpoint pen illustration.
Yep. I've got a thing for yellow at the moment.
"Fruit Loops" 4"x4", ballpoint pen illustration.



If you are interested in purchasing any of these finished illustrations, do get in touch.

Well friends, that's all for now. Stay tuned for some new bird illustrations! Ta-Ta!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Every Other Day Sketch 2015 - Days 17-26


Hi there. How are you?

As I mentioned on Instagram this week, I like to spend a few minutes during my lunch break to work in my sketchbook.  It feels good to get in a little creative time, even if it's just 10 minutes. After I've delved into a drawing, it can be tough to pull myself away go back to work. Switching off that creative "right brain" is difficult!

Here's what I've been sketching over the last few weeks.



My latest sketchbook drawings have very much inspired some of my newest finished works. Stay tuned for more about that or follow me on Instagram to see what I'm working on in real time.

Ta-Ta for now friends. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Evolution of a New Illustration

 
Hi There. How are you?

I had a very successful weekend in the studio and created this lovely little Red-Breasted Nuthatch illustration. I thought it would be fun to share some of the pics I snapped as I worked on this piece,  and walk you through my process.


First off I made a simple drawing of the bird on aqua paper. I worked from a photograph.....I am not one of those artists who can work out of their head! I applied a sheet of sticker paper to the back of the drawing, and then cut the whole thing out and adhered it to the graph paper.


The first bit of ink I add to my bird illustrations is always the eyes. That very quickly brings a drawing to life. I used a black Bic ballpoint pen, a white Prismacolor pencil and a dash of white Sakura Gelly Roll ink in the highlight of the eye. 


I continued to add detail with the ballpoint pen and Prismacolors. I added a little bit of a golden brown to give this cutie his "red belly."




After a spell, (I have no idea how long this took.....I don't really pay attention to the clock when I'm in the art zone) the bird was fully formed. I drew in a branch to have him perch on. 


Once all of the inking is complete, I started playing around with my signature collage elements. As I've mentioned before, this is sometimes the most difficult part of the process for me. I tense up and worry about overworking things. Even now, I second guess...This was kind of cute like this....Why did I change it? 


And voila! All that is left to do now is give the whole thing a few coats of a satin varnish to seal and protect it. This original 8"x8" is available for sale in my etsy shop.

Have a great week friends. Until next time. Ta-ta!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Every Other Day Sketch - Day 9-16


Hi there. How are you? 

I'm happy to be back here and giving you a glimpse of my sketches for the last few weeks. As my loyal readers know, I have challenged myself to complete a drawing in my sketchbook every other day of 2015. See the whole lot of them here or follow me on Instagram to see them as soon as they are completed.

There are some good drawings in this group, some not so good. I'm just glad I'm keeping up the practice even though things have been busy and my focus has been drawn elsewhere. Yahoo for sticking with my 2105 goals/resolutions!


 

Have you stuck with your 2015 goals/resolutions? What motivates you to keep going? Do share!

Until next time. Ta-ta!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

An Artist's Quandary. When is it finished?


 Hi there. How are you?

I've been back in the studio, making work for the fast approaching art fair season. I've been starting lots of work.....but not finishing it. Let me explain.

I'm always good at starting a piece. Ideas and compositions come to me quickly. I like to work intuitively and spontaneously. I like to work fast. The finishing is where I get stuck. How do you know when a piece is finished? I have a tendency to overwork things, so I get nervous at the end.

This abstract piece was based on a drawing from my sketchbook. I finished the drawing part of it, but it seemed to need something, but what? I was pondering another collaged paper element somewhere on the right side of the composition. Or maybe it needs nothing at all?


Same thing happened with my newest bird piece. I finished up the bird and branch, but this piece still needs something. I usually add a little cut paper embellishment at this point.  I experimented with that for a time, but nothing felt right.

Instead of rushing things at this point, I've learned it's best to just leave them for a spell. I'll come back in a day or a week and something will come to me. And sometimes the answer is just to do nothing....It was already done.

Fellow artists, makers, creators, do you ever struggle with this? When do you decide that a piece is complete? How do you know? Do share!

Thank you friends for tuning in. Ta-Ta for now!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Procrastinators Win! 2015 Calendar Sale

Half Off 2015 Bird Calendars - jenniferjohansson.etsy.com

Hi there. How are you? 

I got a few of my 2015 bird calendars back from one of my retail accounts. I want them all to have homes, so they are now HALF OFF! For just $12.50 you get 12 months of birdie goodness. Procrastinators win!
Quick! I've only got 2 more calendars left, so head on over to my etsy shop and snag one NOW!
Happy Weekend friends. Ta-ta!