Monday, September 29, 2014

Pets in the Studio










It's no secret that I am a lifelong animal lover. And I love photographing and sketching my sweeties.  I also enjoy painting custom pet portraits! On a typical day, I'm usually surrounded by pets in my studio and office. Whether I'm working on the computer designing graphics and websites or in the studio painting or sewing, they are always nearby!
 


Phantom, my Lab mix/ Catahoula Leopard is always at my feet.



Kiva, our German Shepherd is usually nearby too.


Iko, my Flame Point Siamese, likes being on top of everything!




And napping with my Sweetheart Lace pillow ....



A new little lady has now joined the studio... meet Gina cat! She's sweet and sassy, but mostly sweet. Doesn't she fit in quite well?







Our old little Jorellis cat passed on a few months ago (she was 18 and had brain tumors/seizures). I am glad she had the chance to sit in my studio sunroom windows in our new house at the end of her life. I think her happiest moments were snuggling on my fabrics in the sun. She was my first princess kitty and she lived with me her whole 18 yrs. Peace be with you my baby...




I've adopted twice from Oregon's Humane Society, if you're looking for a new pet this is a great place to go.

Cassidy the snake (my husband's oldest pet) lives in the library room amongst arts and crafts books.



And finally, a school of Koi fish now live in our Japanese garden pond, our newest animal friends!



"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." -Anatole France

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Inspired Design Style: Wildflower










The beauty of late summer meadows, sprinkled lightly with color amidst an earthy richness
brings forth a rustic vibrance that is light as honey, yet rich as wine. There's a unique glow this time of year as the days shorten slightly. In the garden, many plants have now completed their cycle and August wildflowers take center stage.

1.  Rose, Black Eyed Susan and Daisy bouquet, from our garden
2. Claude Monet's "Garden at Argenteuil", one of my favorite paintings!
3. Bleeding Heart and Trillium arrangement, our garden
4. Felt/embroidery flower basket wall hanging, a Robin Phillips Studio pattern
5. Antique basket of lavender from my collection, our garden
6. Kanzashi folded fabric flowers, so fun to make
7. Garden bed inspiration: Lavendar, Pampas grass, Yarrow and Sedum
8.  Floral candleholder, wicker mat and old crochet runner, my heirlooms and thrift store finds
9. Beaded sunflower picture frame,  peyote stitched flower
10. Patchwork table runner, embroidered linens and wood inlay frame, RPS pattern and antiques
11. Arrangement inspiration: Bacopa, Butterfly Weed, Dracaena
12. Sunflower!, my favorite August flower
13. Dahlia, pansy and vinca vine in my old clay pot planter, our garden
14. Primrose printable design (design downloads RPS shop)
15. My grandmother's wildflower painting, circa 1970
16. Our bird garden/wildflower bed: Black-Eyed Susan, Salvia, Penstemon, Crocosmia, Hyssop
17. Old crochet, wicker, shells and silk flowers, my thrift store finds and antiques
18. My painting "Sun Spirit", 6" x 8", oil and mixed media on canvas
19. Flowering Thyme, our garden/pond
20. Etched pewter platter, Violet china, shells, silk flowers, my thrift store finds and antiques

And a wildflower-inspired table runner....


Use your favorite floral prints in 2-1/2" squares. The finished mat is 22" x 22" with 4-inch border sashes. I used Clover's Yo-Yo Flower Maker for the small flowers and the large flowers are based on the traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt block.




More wildflower design ideas:

-multi-color accents paired with earth tones
-small flower motifs
-Impressionist style prints
-old paintings
-wicker and weathered wood
-vintage pitchers and clay pots
-layer wicker mats, crochet and old-fashioned lace
-country plaids
-Gardens: Try a wildflower bed with long stems such as Salvia, Lavendar, Black-Eyed Susan, Sunset Hyssop, Purple Coneflower, Aster or Daisies. Small groundcovers like violets or thyme and grasses are great for borders and rocky areas.

Enjoy the summer while it lasts and happy designing!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Creative Time Management and Goals


Looking for a creative way to manage multiple tasks and be productive during your work day?

Recently, I was asking myself the same thing. With so many things to do and distractions, it's easy to lose focus and jump around from one thing to another. Unfortunately, this is often less productive and then it's hard to dive deep into a project and do it well. And focus creates success. Being a visual person (as many creatively-minded business owners are), I created a system of decorative scrapbook-style cards to help me focus on each task at hand.


First, I identified several main timeblock categories to schedule during my week, such as:
Business Planning
Design Client Projects
Marketing
Marketing - Website
New Art/Design
Galleries/Shops
Licensing/Publishing

I created unique cards for each category with scrapbooking supplies such as decorative papers, markers and edging scissors. Use your favorite materials and get creative! Printing out graphic icons or fonts on cardstock would work well too. If certain colors resonate with you, consider color-coordinating the categories as well.  For example, I matched green/red with money-making activities and yellow/orange for creative activities. Then, I decorated a simple copy holder to display the cards. Business card holders, small decorative boxes or wood blocks would work well too.

I schedule blocks of time for top priority categories on a weekly to do list. Try to spend the most time on your top one to three priorities. Remember focus is key. You can achieve more if you focus on one task at a time rather than trying to do six things all at once.  Once I have planned my timeblocks, I place the card right in front of me so that I have a visual tool to maintain focus. Try it!   


Another creative tool I use is inspirational quotes to generate excitement and enthusiasm for my goals. Try displaying a new quote on your desk each week. Write your own or find quotes from inspirational websites.

The cards would also work well for highlighting your goals. If you have a monetary goal or number of clients goal, try displaying that too as a visual reminder. Or better yet, write down a goal as if you've already achieved it. "Three new clients this week!" "$5,000"  "Publisher Contract"

Not only does this build positive energy which you need for success, it also helps keep you focused on your tasks and goals :)


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nene Dreams










Nene Dreams is finally finished and delivered! This large custom piece (36x48) honors the Nene Goose, endangered state bird of Hawaii. This was a big project for me, as I typically paint 16-inch or smaller canvases.



Nenes are graceful, gentle birds with beautiful striped markings. The border of the painting represents a lei of Hawaiian flowers: Hibiscus, Ginger, Anthurium, Plumeria, Protea and a hanging Heliconia at the top. This piece celebrates the grace and beauty of Hawaii, as well as endangered wildlife. In the hills, I captured the serene mist that is often present on Kauai.


I started with a rough outline of the background, using bright colors as a base for background highlights...



With color shading in two deeper tones and grass, the painting began to take form


Then, I added the floral border, using photos as a reference...



On my trip to Kauai a couple years ago, I was lucky enough to see a flock of Nenes in the valley....

Hawaiian Heliconia, Protea and Anthurium




 Choose from a variety of sizes. All prints are made and packaged with eco-friendly materials. :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

New website launch: Sacred Art Studio










I'm excited to reveal a new site I recently developed for eco-spiritual artist Amy Livingstone. The site includes dual navigation, a rotating slideshow, a shop, a blog, several interactive galleries and an email newsletter signup linked to Constant Contact. I built a unique theme for the site in WordPress and also provided a training session to my client on updating the site.

We worked together closely to achieve her design and optimize the site. For maximum SEO benefit, each page has unique titles, and the shop and blog are integrated in the site instead of being hosted elsewhere. Like the blog, shop items also have unique tags and categories. The design is mobile-friendly with customizations for both tablets and phones. My favorite part is the gallery which includes a full-screen lightbox with a background fade when viewing each painting. 



Amy's beautiful artwork....


See more graphic/web design at www.robinphillipsstudio.com/design