Monday, August 24, 2015

Living A Beautiful Life At Any Age

Over the years I've received a variety of interesting responses to both me and my art. I've been called naive, credulous or Pollyanna. I used to think that was a bad thing. Now... I'm not so sure 'bout that!

I've been told I'm not cutting edge, and that my art was not edgy enough to be relevant today. Hmmmm...

It's taken me a long to time know what it is I want to "say".

And that is, in a nutshell: 

Carpe Diem! 
Seize the day. Life is short. 

Live it to the fullest each day, with Love and Joy.


Living Flamboyantly
by Retta Stephenson

There is a special essay written 92 years ago by Samuel Ullman that says it better than I ever could. I'll tell more about him another time. Suffice to say, he is special to me. 

Below is his essay. After you read it, you'll know why it's special to me, and why I want my art to be UPlifting. 

It may not be cutting edge or "cool", but it's what is in my heart: A zest to live a beautiful life, and to Love the best I know how.


"YOUTH"
by Samuel Ullman

Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of 60 more than a boy of 20. Nobody grows old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether 60 or 16, there is in every human being's heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing childlike appetite of what's next and the joy of the game of living.  

In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the Infinite, so long are you young.


When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at 20, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at 80.


 photo MultiDisneyBirdsOnBranch.gif

In our hearts, we are Forever Young,

Retta

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hey ya'll, it's Artists Appreciation Month!

Did you know that August is "Artists Appreciation Month"?? Me neither!

Well, alrighty then, I'm one of those... so count me in!

But I wouldn't BE one of those if I hadn't been influenced in my life by other creatives. This post will honor some that influenced me most.

(Long post, but like a comic book... mostly pictures, mwa ha ha ha!!)


My Artist Appreciation Month 
Thank-You-for-Influencing-My-Life List:


(Difficult to narrow down!! )
(Can click any images to enlarge)

For incredible skill and beauty both in painting and sculpture:

Moses
marble c.1513-1515


For color, design, and more color:




My Dining Room 1909


Almond Blossom 1890





For storytelling ability and beautiful illustrations:

Ecstasy 1929


 The Mermaid 1910


James Gurney, Imaginative Realism (I own these 3books!)





For imagination, whimsy and, of course, color:

Juggling Clown

Stilts & His Magic Rabbit


For bold and colorful art; he paints "the color of emotions":




But from a young age there was one that influenced me first and the most. 

The Master.
He captured my imagination...
He had an amazing ability to tell a visual story... 
He could touch hearts...
He portrayed goodness in life...
He used gentle humor or tenderness...

But most of all, his undeniable and under-appreciated skill in painting: 



I want to thank Patience Brewster for inviting me to join in posting about Artists Appreciation Month! I've thoroughly enjoyed revisiting old "friends" and seeing their paintings once again.

When I checked out Patience's art, oh my... talk about ADORABLE! And since I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd pass on the link for you. 

It's wonderful stuff, so here be ye the link to Patience Brewster.  Be sure to see their ornaments and check out my favorites, the Zebras named Zeke and Zelda! Too cute!


Happy Artist Appreciation Month!


Retta

Friday, July 17, 2015

How to Create a Product from Nuthin to Sumthin

Once in a while, you create an image your reeeaaallly like. 

"Jaguar Sunset"


A few years ago I painted a 3 foot tall cat statue for a charity auction. It was titled Little Cat's Four Season Fantasy. Each side featured the different seasons of the year.

It was the second one I painted, the previous statue having sold at auction for $1100. So of COURSE they nicely asked me to paint another! I was happy to help, since it was for C.A.T.S., Committed Alliance to Strays.

But since I donated it to charity - and seeing as how I loved some of the images on it - I decided to photograph them for my own collection. This fantasy setting of the jaguar swimming in a cool pool at sunset was one of my favorites. 

To put it into context, here is the completed
 3 ft tall statue from different angles:
(can click on any images to enlarge)


But how do I translate that into a product to offer collectors??

Here's what I did.

It all started with a nekkid statue:



Underpainting  getting started:





Giving him some spots:



Continuing around the jaguar:




All done:




So how does he look when you put his image onto products? I found a site that does "POD"  (print on demand) and I'm very happy with their quality. Here are some of the things they can do with my jaguar. I was so tickled when I saw these for the first time!





And here is how he looks on a throw pillow.



The newest to join the product line is this cute Tote bag



I think the metal prints are cool!



They even have smart phone case covers.


Naturally there are also greeting cards, framed prints, canvas prints,  and posters.

And there you have it. From blank white statue to all kinds of fun stuff to put your image on. 

I hope you found this interesting. I sure had fun seeing my little jaguar on all these items. If you have any questions about Fine Art America (FAA), the folks who do my printing, just give a holler in the comments and I'd be glad to share my experiences. 

Now, imagine something YOU created.  If you have paintings, images of your creative endeavors, or photographs that you'd like to have printed, I can wholeheartedly recommend FAA. You have your original, yes. But by creating "multiples" of your efforts, you can offer your art to more people in many more forms, including gift giving.

If you try FineArtAmerica, I'd love to hear how it went for you. :-)

Thanks for reading,


Retta

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Free Quote Poster Day!

It's Word Wednesday again! Time for another free Quote Poster.




 A favorite author of mine is Ray Bradbury, and I find this quote from him very meaningful:

  (click to open for larger file to save, re-post or print)



Please feel free to save and use this poster if you like it, though I'd appreciate that you leave it in it's original form without alteration, other than sizing. Be sure to download and save it to your computer, not "hot link" to my blog by linking to the url. Thanks ever so much!

I hope you enjoy it! It's my gift to you.


Thanks for visiting today,


Retta

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Free Poster today!

Today I'd like to share with you a favorite photo of Butterfly, my calico kitty.  Below is her baby picture, taken nigh on to 10 years ago! 

I'm starting a fun theme for Wednesdays called Word Wednesday, where I'll try to marry favorite images with favorite quotes.





Without further ado, The Poster. 


(click to open for larger file to save, re-post or print)


Please feel free to save and use this poster if you like it, though I'd appreciate that you leave it in it's original form without alteration, other than sizing. 

Enjoy! It's my gift to you.


Thanks for visiting,


Retta

Friday, July 03, 2015

Flashback Friday: Little Cat, Big Dreams

I started this blog in 2005, so thought it would be fun to re-visit some of those older posts that are buried under layers of time.



For our first flashback let's visit November of 2005:


Little Cat, Big Dreams


 (can click on any pics to enlarge)

Butterfly was a rescued kitty. She almost died, but with love and care, and her own spunky personality, she made it.

She was my inspiration for the painting I did on this 3ft tall fiberglass cat-shaped sculpture. It was a fundraiser for C.A.T.S. (Committed Alliance To Strays) called "Pawsing for Art". Sold at auction for $1100!!






The colors are more vibrant in person, but you get the general idea!

Thanks for reading,

Retta

PS: Now you know where the image at the top of my blog comes from! :-)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Spilling the Beans on My-Sister-the-Writer

It's my turn to join the Virtual Book Tour!

Galaxy Nomads: 
Chronicles of the MacKenzie Clan



And since it's my blog I get to choose the format. Today I'm going to reminisce a little about myself and my sister.

When we were kids, she was The Peacemaker and I was The Big Mouth. She was The Sweet One, and I was The Hard Head. And yeah, I took advantage of that, I can now admit. 

Most of growing up we were stuck sharing a bedroom. One time we had a big tiff, and I angrily stuck masking tape down the middle of the room, and DARED her to cross to my side! Yeah, I was A Snot.

Thankfully, we have both grown up, and I can see her wonderful qualities now. And I can't begin to tell you how proud of her I am. I knew she was creative, being an amazing musician. But what I did NOT know was how creative she had become at universe building. Characters, worlds, emotions and adventures, using the written word as her creative medium.

She knows I tend to be hard headed and opinionated, even now. 

So here's the inside scoop: to this day she still holds her breath to see what I've written when I do a book review for her, because she knows I'll cover it all, the good, the bad and the ugly.

That's why I was DELIGHTED when I wrote my review for Galaxy Nomads (that review can be found Here).  This is truly her best work yet. Honestly, really, truly, pinky-swear. Take it from the hard-headed older sister about My-Sister-the-Writer, Karen Elizabeth Brown.

Jet on over to either Amazon or Smashwords to get your Kindle copy of Galaxy Nomads...  you won't be sorry.

Links here:


And if you need the free Kindle app from Amazon, it's right HERE (it's what I use, and it works fine). 



Happy summer reading!


Retta