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Norwescon!!

Norwescon has come and gone and what a blast it was.  If you haven't been to a con, I recommend finding one as soon as you can and going! It is such a wonderful experience to be surrounded by people that love the same things you do.  To know that common ground can easily be found and nearly every conversation stepped into with ease. 

Norwescon is something special, though.  Maybe I project a bit, but to me there in an atmosphere of total acceptance.  As though we all realize that none of us quite fit into the society at large, but for one brief weekend, you can be whoever it is you are inside with no recrimination.  If you want to wear a blue tiger striped body suit, pink fuzzy boots and dance with a giant balloon, then you are all the more beautiful for doing it.  If an author wants to get on stage and sing song-fics of her own novels, then she is a diva and space age rockstar.  It's an amazing and beautiful experience.  A world that is totally free.  I wish the rest of my life could be like Cons.

But, alas, freedom and fun times don't pay the bills.  ^-^

A bunch of new prints in my etsy shop as well as some new videos on my youtube channel.  Keep an eye out for exciting new things soon!

Cheers and be free!

Laurie Noel.

It's a wrap.

Would you look at that, a blog post in which I actually have some actual news to share.  Woot!

First news, you may be viewing this blog on my own, brand spanking new website!  If you're not, check out laurienoel.com!

And going on right now I have a 30% discount on all items in my etsy shop.  Enter the code "newyear" in to receive the discount.  Slight change to the shop as well and a little bit of re-branding.  The shop is now called LaurieNoelStudio.  Looking at having some new items in the upcoming year, so look forward to that!

Hope everyone out there had a fantastic holiday.  I got to spend a lot of time with family and loved ones and there's not a better gift than that.  Though I did get some sweet gifts, too.

Some things I've been up to lately.  Was part of the Sugar Art and Fashion show here in Seattle this December.  It was a really fun night and a great experience. 

It was also the debut of a new painting style I've been playing with.  I've practiced and trained for most of my life as an illustrator.  Comic book style and character design and things like that.  But over this last year I've really become interested in mixed media art.  There's so much freedom of expression and play with mixed media.  Though a lot of what's out there for classes and tutorials for mixed media is more of a folk art style.  Which I like, but I really feel my strongest work is with my illustration.  So I've been playing around for a while with trying to blend what I love about mixed media with what I've been doing up til now.  I've done a few pieces that I really like, but with my most recent painting, "Follow Me" (which you can see under my Portfolio in the Gallery), I feel like I've developed something really special.  I'm excited to keep working with it.

Which brings me a bit into my next bit of news.  I'll be one of the artists at the 2013 Norwescon art show.  Norwescon is one of the Pacific Northwest's premier Sci Fi and Fantasy conventions.  I've gone several years and it's always a great time.  Great guests, awesome panels and discussions.  I'm really pleased this year to be part of it.  My plan for the show is to create a series of recognizable characters in this new style.  (I'm thinking of calling it Surrealist Pop Nouveau, what do you think?)  My current line up ideas: Chell from the Portal series, Trinity from Matrix, Princess Zelda, the Lady Door from Neverwhere, Death from the Sandman chronicles, Tank Girl.  Just some ideas.  We'll see how it all goes.

And I received the news that the piece submitted to Somerset Studio got published!  It's going to be in the Jan/Feb issue.  I got a promo copy early and it's a beautiful issue.  So excited!

I think that's about all I've got.  Remember, 30% discount with the code "newyear"!  Tell your friends.

Happy Boxing Day folks!

So, I've already discussed my love of summer.  Carrying on that theme, Farmer's markets are the cherry on the cake of summer.  There's nothing like fresh potatoes. fresh corn, tahini and peaches and basil.  Well, maybe not all at once, but they're still delicious.  There's just something about the farmer's market that makes me want to wear patchwork skirts and dreds.  Also, I hate gardening, so I'm really glad other people are willing to do it for me and grow delicious things.  That I can eat.  But now August approaches and the days are shorter and the sun shines with less frequency.  But, it's always fun while it lasts. A couple more videos have gone up since last I blogged.  I'm still really enjoying the "film making" process, as it were and as I become more comfortable with the program I'm using it's getting easier to edit and make the videos be what I want.  In the last video I made my big youtube premier.  It was an...interesting experience to be sure.  I watch so many artists online and so many people that put their faces out there for the free entertainment the internet provides and now, having done it, I'm even more impressed.  I've always been an introvert, never been an attention seeker or a drama queen.  I prefer to observe and if I had a nickle for every time I've been labeled the "quiet girl" or "one who doesn't talk" and put all those nickles in a sock, I could probably concuss all the people that have called me that. Anyway, putting myself out there was harder than I expected and in different ways that I thought it would be.  I ended up having to somewhat script what I wanted to say.  Maybe that comes from my tendency to over think things.  Nothing trips you up like over thinking.  It's been one of the most freeing things in mixed media, of letting go of the thought process and just playing.  And maybe all I make is crap, but at least I had fun doing it.  I used to be so focused on the end result, on the product.  If I worked for hours and had nothing to show for it, then what was the point?  Why do it at all if you don't end up with something perfect?  And it's Picasso who is famously quoted as reminding us that the true artists are the children that refused to grow up.  To play and have fun and learn is why I'm here.  It's only when we stop learning that our age truly shows.

If at first you don't succeed...

     As with most kids, art was always part of my childhood.  Art class once a week, I think, plus coloring books and what not.  To be honest, my elementary school instructor wasn't that memorable nor were any of the projects we did.  Art stuck with me, though.  My grade one year all entered little sculpted animal heads into the local state fair kids' art show.  I remember working so hard, even though I didn't like sculpting and didn't want to do the project.  I gave it my all, though, and made a baby seal head I was proud to call mine.  I received a participant ribbon (which, to be fair, might have been the only ribbon they gave out), and I was so mad.  My mom said all the Good Mom things about what was Really Important and Trying My Best was better than winning and blah, blah.  All I really remember was being so upset, not about the ribbon, but that I didn't do better than I could have.  That's what really stuck.  The drive to be better than I was before.

     So I got to work.  I practiced.  And practiced.  And after that, I practiced some more.  Seeing a pattern here?  Once I hit Jr. High I signed up for an art class, I picked up any How-To-Draw books my parents would buy me and once the internet was invented, I scoured it for any drawing tutorials I could find (usually Sailor Moon).  But most importantly, more crucial than any tutorial I could find or class I could take, I practiced.  I filled up a dozen or so sketchbooks throughout high school.  I constantly had my sketchbook and any free moment and, lets be honest, most of the time I should have been paying attention in class, I would draw.  These drawings had no purpose.  There was no endgame.  No plan.  They were just in my head and wanted to come out and play.  Sometimes they were character designs or concept sketches, but mostly they were just free spirited doodles.

     Lately I've been feeling like my art has plateaued and I'm not really sure where I'm going.  I've been thinking about that a lot and I realized I never sketch anymore.  Almost every piece of art I've worked on for the last year or so had a reason to be.  Either it was an ATC, a journal page, a gift or something for my shop or videos.  And those are good things to work on, for sure, but I think my imagination misses the playground.  So I'm resuming the habit of sketching.  I'm going to try for at least one page a day.  It'll be abit more of a challenge, juggling work and all the rest, but worth it.

     And to tie it all together, there was a bit of time in Jr. High when I went through a faerie drawing phase.  So here's one of the ladies I was quite proud of after drawing.  To see where my faerie drawing skills and all that practice have taken me, click here for my latest video.

     My good friend Michael was kind enough to mention me in his blog this week.  I will be forever indebted to him for introducting me to ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) and a trading site called ATCs For All, and really breathing fire into my creative life.  Thank you, Michael.  I'm glad to be on this artistic journey with such fine company.

Art Journal Love!

Another video up this week!  This time I was working in one of my art journals.  My color palette was very inspired by one of my favorite artists on etsy MariaPaceWynters.  I just love her bold color schemes, and she seems to love red and teal as much as I do!

Inspiration comes from a lot of places but always seems to flee whenever I'm faced with an artist's arch nemesis, the Blank Page.  All the whiteness just stares at me and all my ideas run in terror.  Fortunately, there a lots of ways to coax those ideas back out to play.  For this page, I reached for my trusty tarot deck and pulled a card.  It ended up being the Strength card.  So I searched for some quotes about strength and found this one by C. Joybell C.:
“Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you. They're there to let you know that something is worth it."
Drawing upon that theme, and a sumptuous color palette, I overcame the Blank Page.   I'm pretty happy with how the page turned out and hopefully you'll enjoy watching the process. ^-^

 

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for what you'd like to see me do next, I'd love to hear from you!  Thanks, folks!

Summer Lovin'

Oh, how I love summer.  The sun shines and the warmth just soaks into my bones.  The children laugh and splash in the pool, the ants crawl about my floor, and frozen yogurt becomes an acceptable dinner.  Then there are those beautiful moments when the night is still, and so hot you can feel the air in your lungs.  A breeze through the open windows pushes the curtain aside and rolls across you, the hair on your arms swaying like sheaves of wheat.  A smile plays across your lips as the sweat at the nape of your neck cools against the skin.

Unfortunately, here in western washington, summer lasts about one week.  But oh, what a glorious week.

This has actually been a very creative "weekend" for me.  I snagged a copy of Mixed-Media Self-Portraits: Inspiration & Techniques by Cate Prato, which spritzed some inspiration on brain.  Then as I was working on a background and watching Empire Strikes Back, my favorite little green wise man said something so beautiful and appropriate it became the theme of the piece.

Yoda says, "Luminous beings, are we.  Not this crude matter."

Unfortunately he says it to Luke, the subtle significance was immediately lost in angsty, teenage jedi moodiness.  But at least I was there to appreciate it.  And thus, this piece came forth.  I feel like it's done and I'm rather pleased with it.  Then another painting came along when I wasn't trying.  That's always nice.  Inspired by part of Rumi poem. 

An exciting painting, as I've made a youtube video of the process!  Super duper awesome announcement of my youtube channel! I'm still learning and figuring out all this video making stuff, but so far, I'm having a blast.  If you'd like to follow along with my learning process and see my artistic techniques along the way, I'd love to see you there!  Click here to check out the videos!

New item in the shop this week?  An ACEO of everyone's favorite little elf hero, Link!  Of the Legend of Zleda variety.  Click here to check the guy out!

Anyway, thanks for joining me this week.  I know content has been somewhat lacking as of late.  Personal drama.  You know how it is.  But I am looking forward to devoting more time to both my art and this blog and sharing this artistic journey with you.

Peace and Love!

Update!

The show went well.  It was a while ago now, I guess, but it was a lot of fun.  There were a lot of issues and trouble shooting.  We weren't allowed to put nails or pins in the wall, which made sense.  They asked that we instead use 3M hooks, though they failed to mention the walls had first been coated with Vaseline.  Or olive oil.  Whatever it was, it refused to hold any 3M hooks.  I put up hooks that could hold up to 3 pounds and put an 8x10 gesso board on it, which weighs about as much as a handful of feathers, and they'd all fall off the wall.  I'd be all like, look pretty picture on the wall!  And then the picture would be like, fall on the floor!

We had a fight.  It didn't go well.

But after some panicking and reassessment, the show went off pretty well.  It was a great experience, and I feel like I've learned a lot.  It also challenged me to more seriously consider my career in art.  Hopefully exciting news on that front soon.

Here is a link to the photos from the night of the event.  I've posted them all on my facebook page, Mermaid Loves Octopus.  Feel free to hit the "like" button while you're there and keep updated with what's going on in my shop.

I've finished the line work for my February illustration and I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out.  I chose the 31st Nancy Drew Mystery Story, "The Ringmaster's Secret" as the inspiration.  Pictures and book review to follow!  I'll also have prints available in my etsy shop once it's finished.

Cheers everyone!

Also!  Sneak preview of a piece I'll be premiering at the show!

Follow the link to buy tickets and get info:
http://www.rawartists.org/view-artists/userprofile/lmeynig

I don't usually go to sitcoms expecting to find any personal enrichment, but who am I to turn away wisdom?

As you may know, my first ever art show is coming up in a week.  And I am equal parts terrified and excited.  I've been making paintings like crazy, oscillating between enthusiastic glee and wanting to chuck all my art supplies off a bridge.  Curse this artist temperament!

But as I was scarfing down some birthday pizza (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMY!!! <3)) and catching up on past episodes of "How I Met Your Mother", the TV snuck a little wisdom in between bites.  And in the particular episode we enjoyed with our pizza, Ted wanted to ask out a girl from his past but was scared (shock) of failure and rejection.  In a round-a-bout way, the conversation comes around to the fact that if you're scared, it means you're taking a risk.  That you're unsure of the outcome.  And if you're not scared, if there's no risk, then what's the point?  If I drink a cup of coffee, I know it'll be delicious and help wake me up.  There's no risk, and subsequently, no fear.  Being afraid of this art show (despite the fact that there are many things to make me nervous) is a good thing.  It means I am taking this risk, I am trying something new, and even if it's a spectacular failure...well, at least it was spectacular.  The older I get, the less afraid of fear I am.  Or rather, the less I let fear affect my decisions.  I like that.

I get distracted easily.  I think that's true of a lot of artists.  At this moment, I'm typing this blog post, watching youtube videos, cuddling a kitty, working on an art trade and there are five other internet tabs open if I change my mind.  For the last year (more than that?  Not really sure...), I've tackled mixed media art.  And it has been a blast.  I still use a lot of my own drawings, but combine them with all sorts of delicious paints and inks and stamps and stencils and yum.  This year, I'm feeling like focusing more on illustrations.  One of the reasons I enjoyed mixed media so much is that I'm rubbish at backgrounds.  I don't like drawing buildings and trees and park benches and such.  Pretty shapes and colors are so much easier.  However, in an effort to keep growing as an artist and to challenge myself, I'm going to focus more on illustration this year.  Every month, I'll create an 8x10 illustration encompassing a book or song.  Feel free to throw out requests or suggestions.  I still haven't decided which I'll illustrate first, but I have so many good things to choose from.  Harry Potter, Night Circus, Series of Unfortunate Events...ooh!  Nancy Drew!  I love that titian haired sleuth.  She wins.  I'll pick one of my favorites and illustrate a scene.

Last year I was fortunate enough to take a workshop with my favorite author, Connie Willis.  And among many wise words she had to impart, she challenged us to take a look at any one artist/writer/creator that we idolized and to realize that behind what seemed to be such ease of beauty and realize that behind it lay over 10,000 hours of work, of trial and error, of failed light bulbs and hands thrown in the air, and until we had logged those 10,000 hours to shut that inner critic up.  There is still so much to learn and I'm looking forward to the successes and the failures.

So that's my plan.  Once a month create an 8x10 illustration showcasing a narrative.  I'll come up with ideas on my own, but I'd love to have some input and direction.

Cheers!

New year, new blog, new things!  

Hello and welcome!

Hope your new year has met you well and creative!  I am very excited to begin this blog as it marks a new era for me.  The photo you see next all these words is my space in the upcoming RAW Artists show Activate, occurring here in Seattle on Feb. 9!  (http://www.rawartists.org/seattle/activate).  We got to do a walk-through last week and I am, as the kids once said, totally stoked.  It's a sexy venue and it's going to be a lot of fun.  I'm getting a bigger space than I had thought I would, which means tons of new art!  I've been painting like crazy and really enjoying it.  I'll be sure to put up tons of photos so for all my arty friends around the country, it'll be just like you're there.

So, new art blog out on the interwebs.  Very exciting.  This blog will probably be a little on the random side, but my main focus will be on art.  With a few book reviews, recipes and funny cat videos thrown in for good measure.

Quick, little intro blog over now.  Back to the painting.  Thanks for joining me, more fun things will be up soon!