Friday, January 31, 2014

When an artist works out...

Fitness Fashion Friday by @schulmanArt Miriam Schulman

Leggings Collection

Working out is such an important part of my weekday routine that I thought I would pause from talking about artsy stuff and talk about my that part of my life instead. My mother was a dancer and for many years taught an exercise class that sort of resembled a cross between modern dance and Jane Fonda. I myself was never thin and didn't inherit her pechant for not eating. I am thinner than Mindy Kahling but heavier than any other celebrity. (poor Mindy- you look great. Really, you do.)

Anyhow, ever since my first child I have been doing some variation of a barre class-- whatever barre class happens to be in business in my neighborhood at the time. I think I have tried them all from Core fusion, to Physique 57 to the Bar Method.... if you don't live near one, you can check out one of the many DVDs. If you have ever tried one of these classes, you will know that this is not your mother's ballet class. (or my mother's modern dance class, or slimnastics, or whatever they used to call exercise for women in the seventies) The thigh exercises alone remind me of natural childbirth.

cute workout clothes for the gym
cute workout clothes for the gym
I have always found that having a great workout outfit keeps me motivated. After all, you spend half the class staring at yourself in a mirror. This year, I decided I would really go all out and let my artsy side shine at the gym. I discovered these really funky brand of fitness wear made by Prismsport which feature bold patterns. I snapped up five pairs of the coolest leggings I could find in my size and then got five black tops from Lululemon in various configurations to wear on top. My hope is that the wild prints distract everyone from the extra 5-10 pounds and the patterns always keep me smiling in the gym.

By the way, my art intern didn't agree with my choice of adding a black top with these leggings and created a few style boards for me to show me how she thinks they should be worn. One of her boards is even going viral on pinterest. What do you think of her combinations?

So tell me, what do you like to wear when you workout? Simple sweatpants or something crazy like me?

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to create your own font

How to create your font is simple and easy
Since I run my own business I get to do all kinds of things like my designing my own graphics. The other day, while spending waaay too much time trying to create a fancy font by hand and editing it in photoshop to advertise a new online art class I am planning, I decided I would spend some time investigating how to create my own font. There are several very expensive programs out there plus a free but very complicated program and then I stumbled upon a simple and free method for converting your own handwriting (or any other crazy font you want) for free.

Use for free
Step One. Go to
Step Two. Print out the template. Use a medium black felt tip pen to write each letter. I used a fine tip sharpie, which may have been too fine, but seemed to work okay.
Step Three. Scan in your page. I just used the defaults, but you should use 300dpi and grayscale.
Step Four. Upload the scanned template and save to your file system. I have a PC and used the settings for "True Type Font" which worked fine. Once you save the font to your computer, you will be able to use it in Microsoft word, Photoshop or any other program on your computer.

I chose to just use my regular own print, but you can also create bubble letters and more. This program also works on a MAC.

Big shout out to Ciara for putting her tutorial on youTube!

Do you want to turn your own handwriting into a font? what would you do?

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Color Obsession: Radiant Orchid

radiant orchid pantone 2014 color of the year
Radiant Orchid is Pantone's 2014 Color of the Year
paint color like radiant orchid
clipped from House Beautiful
Pantone named radiant orchid the 2014 color of the year and I couldn't be happier. Perhaps it is because I bought a leather purse last fall on sale in this exact shade after my "Tangerine Tango" purse (Pantone's 2012 color of the year) had worn out and I decided I really didn't want an emerald green purse (Pantone's pick for 2013) So what had seemed a bold crazy artist choice for a purse is serving me well. (oh, and just so you know, I am not a purse person... like I said-- I carry one bag the whole season even if it doesn't match what I am wearing and don't replace it until it wears out...this is why I leave the fashion posts to my guest bloggers!!!)

What I love about this color is it is very subtle and flattering. Here is a round up of some accent pieces in radiant orchid you can enjoy from nail polish to a subtle shade of lavender to paint your walls.

dragonfly necklace
Dragonfly Necklace on a purple,
radiant orchid background



Playful Mixed Media Collage art with dominant colors of purple




Shopping Resources:

House Paint: Pratt & Lambert Rosy Lavender
Dragonfly Pendant Necklace in Radiant Orchid: from SchulmanArts etsy store
Mixed Media Collage Art: SchulmanArts etsy store
Lamp from
Lutz Huelle heeled sandal  
Butter London Nail Lacquer


Discover more radiant orchid finds from etsy! What do you think of the color of the year?

Like posts on color trends? Don't miss a single inspiring post when you subscribe by Email / RSS / BlogLovin / NetworkedBlogs 
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top Myths about How to Use Pinterest

how to use pinterest | pinterest tips on
pin this to your pinterest board!
Lately, I have been investing a lot of time and research into Pinterest and as a result I have gained hundreds of new followers in the last two months. While reading tips from social media gurus, I have come across some common myths that I feel absolutely compelled to debunk so you don't have to waste your time like I did.

Undestand how peeps use pinterest

To get the most out of pinterest, you first have to understand how people are using pinterest. Folks will go to a search engine or directly to pinterest when they are in need of curated inspiration. Pinterest, unlike other social media, works very much like mini-websites and you have to treat it as such. The most popular pins (other than cute cat pictures) are original content with well researched keywords.

It's a match!

The more closely your pin matches up to what they are searching for the higher it will appear in a google or pinterest search. For example, if your pin is "teenage bedroom ideas" and your board is called "teenage bedroom ideas" and they are searching for "teenage bedroom ideas" your pin will come up very high in a search. If the pin is inspiring and is what they were looking for, (in other words, it really is a great idea for a teenage bedroom, not a picture of your jewelry for sale) then they will repin it. In addition, the more repins a pin gets, the higher it appears in these searches.(by the way, my pin of teenage bedroom ideas has been repinned over 3000 times ... you can check out that pin here)

Here are some of the common myths you will come across when reading about pinterest. I am interested to see if you agree.

Myth #1. You have to pin when others are pinning.

This is absolutely false. My most popular pins gain momentum over time, so although they may be repinned during the most popular times people are on Pinterest, there is absolutely no benefit to adding a pin a a certain time. This all boils down to how people use Pinterest differently than other social media. Although facebook and instagram are very dependent on a feed or a chronological timeline, most people are using pinterest to search for ideas rather than just checking feeds from people they are following. In addition, the ideal is to have your pin show up in a google search for people searching for items like your pin.

Myth #2 You need to use hashtags.

What I have discovered about pinterest is not only are people not using the hashtags, but using hash tags can hurt the traffic to your pins. My most popular pins have absolutely no hashtags. Again, this comes down to how people are searching on pinterest and on google. If they are looking for "teenage bedroom ideas" they are not going to type in "#homedecor #ideas #teenager" The best caption for your pin are well researched keywords.

Myth #3 Commenting brings in followers

This is a strategy that I tried because the gurus told me I should and I have to tell you that it does absolutely nothing for you. Again, this is because pinterest works differently than other social media. Pinners are less interested in checking feeds than they are in searching for inspiration. So, how do you get followers? By posting inspiring pins with well researched keywords. That is it.

What do you think of these myths? Do any of them resonate with you? How do you use pinterest? {oh yeah, and don't forget to follow me! }

PS I am building a "Pinterest for Painters" ecourse and I would love to have you. I also need a few beta testers ( ie you get the class for free) Get on the wait list if you are interested.

Click Here to Get on the Pinterest for Painters Wait list>>

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday List Making

List what you should be proud of....

art journal prompts
Art Journal Prompt: List the things that make you proud!
 Sunday is quickly becoming the day where I get to do a little soul searching through my list making. You can read how I got started doing that in this blog post. The art journal prompts are from List Yourself, by Ilene Segalove, and sometimes I follow along with Moorea Seal's list making project.
Free Art Journal Page for YOU!
This week, the prompt is "List the Things you should be Proud of" Not wanting to end my sentence with a preposition, I tweeked this to List the things that make you proud! Looking at my list you can see that I am very proud of my family, especially since I grew up in a very dysfunctional household. My father dies when I was five, and as a result my sister and I had to move and change schools many times due to that. I share that with you now, but also want to emphasize that I rarely dwell on that aspect of my past. My kids have never had to move or change schools and therefore I can focus on nurturing their strengths and creativity. I have a stable marriage and a husband who love me and treats me well. As a result, I am able to thrive and work on creating my business as an artist. I love that I make art goals for myself and always reach the most important ones. I am proud of the environment I create for my art students that is full of a supportive community that inspires them to create.

I also recognize that I am proud that I take care of my body by not abusing it and seeking exercise. I am proud that I like to read literature and have found friends who do too so we can talk about ideas. I also am proud that I reached a place in my life where I don;t get embarrassed (easily) and that makes me brave to try to reach my goals...and share all these things with you.

You can download the free art journal page I provided or make your own. I would love to hear a few things that make you proud!

What are the things that make you proud?

If you have a blog you can link your blog post right here!

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Eclectic Foyer Ideas

Eclectic Decorating with foyer ideas by designer Victoria Pearson (watercolor added by SchulmanArt)
Coffee Window, Collect the Original or a Fine Art Print!
If you want to get designer look for your entrance way, you can collect a few simple accessories from etsy and add some art. This foyer from designer and photographer Victoria Pearson's Ojai home perfectly fits the bill. Carefully edited, uncluttered and filled with earthy woods and layers of white her entrance hall is clean, and simple. The photograph appeared in House Beautiful August 2008 and the watercolor art has been digitally added to give you decorating inspiration.

Landscape Paintings are Windows to the World

This original watercolor painting pictures a scene in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico A tourist takes a break at a Mexican coffee window. This painting gives you the fantasy of being an artist on a holiday in San Allende, Mexico. When you look at this watercolor, can you feel the warm sun, the cool wind blowing the streamers? Can you imagine the strong Mexican coffee the woman will soon be enjoying as she makes her way back to her art studio? This city is a favorite haunt for artists with a community of 8000 international artists living in and around the town. The photo reference for this watercolor painting was courtesy of the artist Flora Bowley who graciously granted me permission to translate her instagram photograph into watercolor, which allowed me to transport myself through time and space into this beautiful place. Collect this watercolor so you can be transported too.

TITLE: Coffee Window ~ La Ventana
SIZE: 10x14"
MEDIA: Highest Quality Watercolor paint on french made artist watercolor paper paper

Get a designer look for your entrance way with foyer decorating ideas curated from etsy 

Like the foyer ideas seen here? Follow all my decorating ideas on pinterest! (collect the accessories pictured here on etsy)

Do you love art and decorating?

Get your FREE Guide to Choosing House Paint Colors to transform your home in 2015

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Friday, January 24, 2014

What my art journal looks like now

art journal
How a To-do list gets converted
Last summer, I bought a Planner Pad to help me keep organized with all my ideas and various to-do lists. Although I love it, I don't use it in all the ways that it is intended. I tend to grab whatever page is available to write to-do lists and been using the month view to pen in appointments. Lately, I have been adding gesso and acrylic paint on top of used pages to have a pretty and appealing background to write my lists in black sharpie. When I have completed the task, I cover up the task with a decorative strip of washi tape. You can see on my January 8th to-do list that all my art tasks got done and the household chores remain undone... no I still haven't changed the oil in my car, despite my husband's nagging. Sometimes, when the page is covered, I simply start over with a new to-do list but lately, I have started using the pages to do more serious list making and soul searching. I got this really great book on Amazon called List Yourself and also have been following along with Ali Edwards, "One Little Word" project ( my word for 2014 is harmony)

art journaling
A completed background
This morning I spent some time covering up the page more and then I even added some crafty hearts I made. I had intended to use these hearts on a canvas but they got a little too crafty and stopped inspiring me, so I thought they would be perfect embellishments for my page. Since they had so many layers, I had to get my glue gun out to secure them. The whole page is very Valentines-y but also would make a lovely background for one of my lists. (you can see a completed Valentines Day art here)

planner pad
Month of january slowly gets covered with tape
I love having all my intentions inside this journal-- and making it pretty encourages me to take out my page and look at it from time to time. (notice how I said "intentions" rather than "resolutions") Adding the letter stickers and doodling around it was fun and easy. This year, I got my daughter into the art journal process too. So when she has extra time, we will sit together in my art studio and work in our journals. I  enjoy making the backgrounds more than the writing. She enjoys both, but is more simple in her choices for embellishments. I enjoy spending the quiet quality time with her.
art journal prompts
My day planner turned into an art journal
I am such a visual person, that having my appointments and to-do's in written form is more natural for me. Yes, I have a smart phone and it is great for electronic reminders, but I still prefer the old fashioned way of keeping my mind, time and self organized.  I keep my thoughts, ideas, to-do lists organized and pretty using a combination of an art journal and a Planner Pad.

How about you? Do you use an old fashioned planner or an electronic method?

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Bright Kitchen Decor Ideas

Five Ideas to Add Color to Kitchen   by Guest Blogger @lindsayleboyer, Lindsay LeBoyer

As the month of Januaryand the cold weather that accompanies itplows on, it becomes more and more tempting to spend the day at home trying to keep warm. One of the most delightful comforts on a cold day can be warm home-cooked meal or scrumptious dessert. A hot treat nourishes our chilly insides, and preparing one can be a fun and entertaining home activity. What better way to cheer up your mind, body, and soul than with a vibrant kitchen to cook up something delicious in? In true artists’s spirit, try on and abstract apron and get cooking with the brightest tools of the trade. 
A smock is to an painter what an apron is to a cook. That said, you won’t want to linger in the kitchen wearing a ratty old t-shirt, especially if you’re cooking for guests. Even when the ground is white with snow, there’s no reason your apron has to be equally drab. Avoid staining your coziest sweater with this gorgeous peacock apron featuring an original painted design by SchulmanArt.Discover cute aprons in her etsy shop!

More ways to add color to your Kitchen:

2. Keurig Coffee Maker in Radiant Orchid

The do-it-all brewer, seen here in Pantone’s 
color of the year,  radiant orchid,
adds the perfect dose of this purple 
to your kitchen counter.

3.Cuisinart Hand Mixer in Dark Yellow

4. Proctor Silex Slow Cooker in Lime Green

5. Dansk Dinnerware Set in Turquoise

Lindsay LeBoyer is a guest blogger 
for SchulmanArt. She is currently a 
freshman at New York University & 
writes a fashion blog called The Style Child.
Mentioned: @Keurig, @SchulmanArt, @proctor_silex, @Cuisinart +Pantone 

Do you love art and decorating? Get art and decorating tips you love delivered straight to your inbox! Click HERE.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Sunday Rituals

My Sunday Rituals
I am not sure if this is hypocritical but I am sitting here at my computer at 8:15 in the morning writing a list of Sunday rituals knowing full well I will get to very few of the ones I listed today! At around 9, my whole family is piling into the car for a road trip to Gettysburg Pa to visit Gettysburg College. My daughter is a high school junior and we are doing the good old college search.

I actually made this list last night and there are a few real life Sunday rituals I should have added. One is getting out of bed at around 6 in the morning or whatever ungodly hour my cat decided she wanted to get up to pee. This morning, since we are leaving overnight, I had to scoop the litter and convince the cat to pee down in the litter box. My husband usually lets the cat out but on the weekends he guilt trips me into taking care of "your cat"

The other ritual I have-- which is not a Sunday ritual, but an everyday ritual-- is I check my iPhone. All the various feeds starting with my email, moving to pinterest notifications and then new eye candy photos posted by all the artists I stalk on instagram.

art journal prompt
Art Journal Page for you!
I did have eggs and bacon this morning-- and not because I said I would-- but I really do love that. Usually my husband gasses up my car and buys milk, eggs and the Sunday New York Times. He says I should have written a list of his Sunday rituals and that I have none. He also does the grocery shopping for the family because he doesn't like the way I do it ( I don't buy enough cookies)

When I was younger (and more motivated) I used to schedule a workout at my favorite workout place du jour but now I just laze around in my pajamas until the guilt overtakes me and pop in an exercise DVD. (which I still call exercise tapes, just like my grandfather always called the refrigerator the "ice box"

So I gave you an art journal page so you can play along. YOu can right click ans save the image to your computer and print it out. If you use instagram, be sure to tag me (@schulmanArt) and you can use the hashtag #52lists

What are your Sunday rituals??

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Four Art Magazines Every Artist Should Read

Best Art Magazines for Artists
Best Art Magazines for Artists
No secret that I am a bit of an art one of my favorite guilty pleasures is receiving my art magazines each month. From just plain fun eye candy to practical tips that help my career to learning new techniques, here is my round up of some art magazines every artist should read!














  1.  Professional Artist
    Professional Artist

    Formerly known as Art Calendar, this magazine is about the business of being an artist. I look forward to Jack White's inspirational columns as well as those of Eric Meisel who can talk any artist off a cliff. You'll also find practical advice on building your blog, teaching courses, approaching galleries and so much more. 

  2. Art News
    Art News

    This is another "art business" magazine but is geared toward the elite art world of museums and galleries whereas "Professional Artist" encompasses the independent artist. In this magazine, you can read reviews of art shows in museums across the country as well as articles on  art fraud, restitution and more. In this periodical, I have discovered fun music videos riffing on famous paintings and art humor books that I never would have known about without this wonderful magazine.

  3. Somerset Studio: The art of Paper and Mixed Media

    Somerset Studio
    There are so many publications put out by Stampington & Company, it will make your head spin but you can find all the monthly inspiration you need for mixed media art in here. This magazine has the least information about the business of art but has plenty of eye candy from a diverse selection of artists. Love it for their open submission process and reader challenges. 

  4. Cloth Paper Scissors

    Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine
    This magazine is currently my secret favorite. In this magazine there is a nice mix of artist portfolios, sharing techniques you can use, and great writing. Look for regular columnist Julie Fei-Fan Balzar for practical advice on being a professional artist and art techniques by Jodi Ohl.

    What magazines do you like to read?

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Quintessentially British Quality in Home Decor

Interview with Designer-Seamstress Lucy Parsons of @byelsieb by @schulmanArt, Miriam Schulman

baby room ideas
Get more baby room ideas on her Blog
I met Lucy Parsons when we both signed up for an online business course hosted by Handmadeology. Parsons hails from the great tradition of English sewing which may be my own prejudice from coveting Laura Ashley fabrics as a teenager. I worked in a Laura Ashley store during school holidays and sewed my own fabric pillows to decorate my dorm room. In addition, the few sewing books I own were purchased from London's large department store, Harrods. As a result, I have great respect for the quality of English designer fabrics and tailoring. Lucy's Etsy shop is one place where you can get that level of quintessentially British quality in hand sewn home decor. She chooses high quality fabrics for her designs and finishes each one with care.

SchulmanArt: So, am I being a typical American referencing Laura Ashley, or do you actually like those fabrics too?
Lucy Parsons: I grew up surrounded by Laura Ashley fabrics - my nursery as a baby was decorated in them. As a small child I spent hours flicking through the catalog choosing which fabrics I liked best. Probably one of my biggest influences.

SchulmanArt: I decorated my daughter's bedroom and nursery with Laura Ashley! How did you learn to sew?
nursery decor ideas
nursery decor ideas found in her etsy shop
Lucy Parsons: I picked up a needle and thread at a very young age - around 4 or 5. My mother taught me the rudiments of sewing and encouraged my interest, sending me on some recreational sewing courses as a teenager. I initially sewed for my dolls - clothes, bedding, that kind of thing. As I got older I made cushions and my own clothes through my teenage years. My first paid job was working as an assistant in a bespoke curtain workshop - I helped make curtains for the stately home on which Jane Austen's Mansfield Park was based. When I went to University I made my own ball-gowns and curtains for my student rooms. I love working with beautiful fabrics. I find that the fabrics are my inspiration for my designs. I find it quite difficult to visualize a finished object without seeing the fabric first.

unique baby gifts
unique baby gifts on etsy
SchulmanArt: Why did you decide to start your own business?
Lucy Parsons: I was brought up on a sheep farm in a village called Welford, in Northamptonshire, England. I lived there until I was 18 when I went off to University in Cambridge for three years, then London for my first job for three years, then various other places before returning to my roots when my first child was six months old. My husband and I wanted to be near family as we brought up our family and it has been fantastic being home. Everyone around me wanted me to follow the conventional academic route. Every time I became enthused about how I might make a living out of my craft I was dissuaded by dispassionate rationales. However,  I have a strong entrepreneurial spirit in my blood - my father's family have been self-employed farmers for generations and my maternal grand-father set up a very successful printing firm from scratch. There is something in me that kicks against employment - I like to be in charge!

Get "At a Glance Gift Guide for Baby's First Year"
 and 10% off  when you subscribe to byElsieB
SchulmanArt:  How long have you been selling professionally on Etsy? 
Lucy Parsons: I opened my Etsy shop in 2011. To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I now see people opening their shops in a really serious, business-like way. I just wanted an outlet for my hobby - and a way to make it pay. I was lucky that almost by accident I made a steady trickle of sales from the beginning, even though I knew nothing about search engines, photography or social media. I have also sold at a few local craft fairs.

SchulmanArt:  What do you focus on now? 
Lucy Parsons: My best selling items are my personalized pillows. They are rectangular and show a name on the front. The name is appliqued onto a neutral background with each letter cut from a different, coordinating fabric. The edging is then made-up of all the fabrics shown in the name. They are very popular and have sold all over the world.

SchulmanArt: What do you use as your work space?
Lucy Parsons: I work in my dining room. We haven't eaten in here for over a year now as it's full of supplies, finished products etc. I have a lovely bay window which looks out onto the village street with some trees immediately opposite. It faces east so I get the morning sun.

Connect with Lucy on Facebook!
SchulmanArt: How do you manage to balance your work and being a full time caregiver for your young children? 
Lucy Parsons:  I stay focused because I have such limited time to spend on my business - being a stay at home mum as well. I often get frustrated that I cannot spend the time I wish I could on my business but often remind myself that these years when my children are young are so precious and I'm privileged to be able to spend this time with them.

I am first and foremost a mum. My day starts when my two young children wake. I check social media and all my shop-stats over breakfast. The morning is spent with the children - taking them to activities, playing or socializing. After lunch, my youngest goes to sleep and my older child has some quiet time. During this time I sew, write blog posts, research materials or read up on marketing. There's more play and activities before supper and bed. After the children have gone to bed I either collapse exhausted or carry on with the most pressing tasks in hand.

also mentioned: @TheEnergyShop @handmadeology @timothyadam @LauraAshleyUK
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Friday, January 10, 2014

My Greatest Comforts ( besides chocolate)

Greatest Comforts (chocolate free version)
This week I am listing "My Greatest Comforts" (based on Moorea Seals #52lists project, found here) When I first sat down to write the list, chocolate in its many forms kept popping up... dark chocolate, hot chocolate, m&m's almond Hershey's kisses-- it was like Eureka! No wonder I can't lose these stupid 5 pounds. So I set out to make a chocolate free list.

The first thing that came to mind was knitting. I love knitting very complicated patterns and my cat inevitably comes into the room and trues to snag a ball away from me. I love the feel of the yarn and how the knitting patterns stimulate the left side of the brain. The knitting gives me an excuse to sit in front of the tv or keep my husband company while he listens to records. I also knit when my kids are doing homework or when I am waiting for them to come out of an activity.

Next on my comfort list is a visit to an art museum. I love doing this the most when I have someone to share it with me. My husband always jokes that my blood pressure drops after a good visit to a museum. Luckily I live a 30 minute train ride from New York City, which in my opinion is the art capital of the world. To make the trip even more satisfying, I will knit on the train or read a craft magazine -- like Vogue Knitting, Cloth, Paper Scissors or Stampington. Pure Bliss!

art journal prompts
Copy this art journal prompt page!
Another indulgence is getting my nails done. I am very impatient about the drying time, so I always have to upgrade to the chair massage during the drying period. I don't know about the rest of the country, but in NYC we have a few low priced nail salons in every town where you can get a massage and manicure for $20. I love using whatever the latest Essie nail color polishes are displayed at the front counter. I also have an embarrassing large collection of Chanel nail polishes. Currently, I am wearing grape purple nail polish ( same purple as the journal page) with splatters of acrylic paint on top.

Although I like to think of myself as an intellectual, I do have a weakness for reality tv. I absolutely adore Project Runway because I love watching the creative process. However, I also love Dance Moms...for no other reason than it is fun to watch a fat woman run a successful dance troop. No seriously, the kids are really cute and fun to watch their routines. In the past I have gone through phases of watching other reality tv shows... too embarrassing to list here. oh heck-- you can guess. Millionaire Matchmaker, Housewives of Whatever, etc, etc

I love shopping-- but not for clothes-- in fact I really detest shopping for clothes. I will buy one new pair of blue jeans per year and wear them everyday until holes develop between the thighs. (yes, chocolate causes that) On the other hand, take me to an art supply store and it is hard to get me out. Lately, I have been getting my daughter to come with me to keep me focused. Recently, I went nuts in the Ink Pad, a New York City store where I bought $100 worth of washi tape. I don't even use them in my art.. I use the art when I decorate packages for art bought in my etsy store!

Which brings me to my final comfort... one I have little control over.. but nothing makes me happier than getting the "Etsy transaction" email in my inbox. I just LOVE selling my artwork. Wrapping it up all pretty and sending art out into the world is my greatest comfort.

If you want to play along with me you can right click and download the blank art journal page to use yourself.
(mentioned in this article: @vogueknitting @MixedMediaCPS @Stampington @mooreaseal @etsy @TheInkPad @CHANEL @essie @DanceMoms @ProjectRunway )

What are your Greatest Comforts?

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Harmony of Blue and White in the Israeli Flag

Collect this original, one of a kind inspirational art to make your
home calm, happy and colorful and meaningful! The gallery
wrapped canvas will save you money on framing since it is wired
and ready to hang right on your wall as soon as you take it out of the box.
Currently, I have been working on a series of flag art... or perhaps I am drawing near the end of this series. In this mixed media collage art I strived to create a harmony of layers that from afar looks like the Israeli flag but up close you notice lots of whimsical details including flowers, Hebrew letters, musical notes and patterns. Of all the flags I have done, this one has the most meaning for me. In 2013, my son had his Bar Mitzvah and he also went on a trip to Israel. (don't tell him, but I used some of his travel guides to use as collage elements in this artwork.)

Detail: This original mixed media collage art pictures a whimsical
flag of Israel. This Israeli art makes a wonderful Bat Mitzvah gift
as well as just a sweet way to enjoy Judaica in your home. The flag
of Israel is a layered blue and white painting. Lots of musical notes,
Hebrew letters and other fun details has been added to the original
art on canvas.
Although this would make lovely and meaningful Bat Mitzvah gifts, I also imagine this painting hanging in a globally inspired home, with lost of ethnic and eclectic objects collected from travels from around the world.

I titled the artwork, "A Prayer for Peace" as I hope that the world leaders can find a peaceful solution to Israel's borders. { you can find this art for sale in my etsy shop HERE}

I have not myself gone to Israel and have only had the opportunity to "visit" the land through my art and my imagination.

Do you love art and decorating? Get art you love and decorating tips you love delivered straight to your inbox! Click HERE.

TITLE: A Prayer for Peace
SIZE: 11x14" gallery wrapped canvas, sides painted blue to match front
SHIPPING: All original art sent withing the US is mailed
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I admit it. I am a classical music nerd.

tree art | art for music lovers
Moonlight Sonata, the tree bark is made of piano music
I am not sure when or how exactly this happened but I realized today that I am a classical music nerd. I was sitting in my car listening to the public classical music station when they announced that The Sorcerer's Apprentice was coming up next and I gave a little shout of joy. Most people know that music as the theme in Fantasia with Mickey mouse-- or another version in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. However, being a classical music nerd is more than just listening to WQXR on the radio. In exercise class, when the instructor asks us to imagine our dream man to get us to suck in our guts harder it is Joshua Bell rather than George Clooney that comes to mind.

tree art | art for music lovers
Detail of Tree Art
When I create my art the music notes drive me on and inspire me. I love taking the vintage Sonata books and deconstructing and reconstructing them into new works of art. The dusty pages bring back memories both good and bad-- my piano teacher whose body odor always was tinged with garlic and his bushy eyebrows dancing up and down to the rhythm of the music. The sheet music also brings back memories of my grandmother with her long graceful piano fingers helping me practice my scales. Then I just like the looks of the black notes themselves, dancing on the sheet of paper.
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By the way, I was never that accomplished at piano. I didn't practice, and so, eventually, I gave it up. However, I am cursed with a very strong ear. Remember in the Sixth Sense when Haley Joel Osment says to Bruce Willis, "I see dead people" ? Well I hear wrong notes. This makes it difficult for me to attend my daughter's student recitals. Every wrong note comes charging out at me, whether it is hers or another's. 
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Monday, January 6, 2014

Jewelry artist finds Harmony in her designs

Silver engraved wedding bands with music notes
Interview with Jewellery Designer Rickson Sharkey @RicksonJewelry by @schulmanArt, Miriam Schulman

I stumbled upon the jewellery of Rickson Sharkey while searching for music related gift ideas last month for my blog. Since I chose to focus on the word "harmony" ( read that post here) I thought it only fitting to pick Sharkey as the first artist interview of the year. Rickson Sharkey is a full time, independent jewellery artist, living and working out of her home studio in Brampton, Ontario. Not only is her jewelry exquisite but it is full of meaning with designs inspired by motherhood, music, Celtic arts and endangered animals.

SchulmanArt: How do you think your environment has influenced you as an artist?
Rickson Sharkey:  I grew up in Brampton On, Canada, and I now live about a block away from my childhood home! In between that time, I went to University in Toronto, and travelled to the UK to get my Masters in Jewellery design. These environments strongly effected my life as a full time jeweller, because I have a strong sense of family living in my home town, but also was encouraged to be 'wild' with my ideas in the UK, so far from home. So it's really the best of both worlds.

SchulmanArt: When did you decide to become a jewelry designer?
Rickson Sharkey:  I think I decided to be a professional in University when I sold the first piece of jewellery I ever cast to a woman at the One of Kind Show. I was shopping at the show, wearing my Cat necklace, and a woman said 'where did you get that? I have to have one'. I said I made it and I had no idea what to charge for one. So I gave her my handmade business card I'd made that morning, and she contacted me later! I started my Etsy shop in University too (2007, 6 years ago), a professor suggested it, and I've grown with Etsy ever since. My photos were terrible, and I only had a few pieces, but after a couple of months, I sold something, and my shop grew from there. Now I have over 100 items.

Rose ring
SchulmanArt: Plus you have over 700 sales! Where did you study design?
Rickson Sharkey:  I studied at Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU) for my BA, and then traveled to the UK and got my Master of Arts in Jewellery and Silversmith arts from the Birmingham City University. I'd say I learned how to communicate my ideas through Jewellery at OCADU, and started my path to a commercial jewellery company. In the UK, I learned how to be a jewellery artist, and not think about the end product, or the wearer, but the ideas behind the work. I really let loose, and created work with human hair!

SchulmanArt: What is your favorite medium to work in and why? 
Rickson Sharkey:  Wax! Which might sound funny since I'm a jeweler, but I think I'm really a sculptor! All my life I wanted to draw what was in my head. I worked so hard, and only achieved it in University, but I've always been able to sculpt what was in my head. It's so much more simple. So I carve and melt wax, and then cast the little sculpture in sterling silver, or gold. I'm loving adding gemstones these days as well.

Jewelry is available in her etsy shop
SchulmanArt: What is your most popular item? 
RS: My best selling items are my Claddagh or Celtic lines. I've always loved the classic image of two hands holding a heart with a crown atop, but found they were all the same in jewellery! So I set out to create my own modern, sculptural version, and people just love them!

Award winning Jewelry Design. (read more on her blog)
I just finished a new line based on one of my Masters Pieces (Spikes) because I got an award for it! The original was made of wax, resin and hair, so it was too fragile to ship. So, I used the design I had for a 'spine' like tail and made a chain for a bracelet, earrings, and a neck piece! It's wildly successful, they are articulated! I also have quite a few wedding and engagement ring designs I'm working on, that I will design in CAD, which is new to me and so exciting. It's where the design is done completely on the computer, and then the wax model is also created by machine! Really opens up the door for designing precise and small details!

SchulmanArt: How do you get inspired?
RS: I stay focused because my customers need my work! I get orders every week, so I have to be focused to make sure their wedding rings and other treasures arrive on time. When I'm creating something new, or for myself, the idea itself motivates the work. I find I work slow until I find the right design, or idea, and then I can't stop working! I just want to draw, and carve all day and night. I get inspired by my life, whatever is going on, so I have a son, and I am pregnant! So I do a lot of work based on motherhood and pregnancy. I am also inspired by whatever is NOT out there already. I often have good ideas, but if I see a lot of that idea on Etsy, I lose interest. Since my designs are something I want to wear myself, I can't help but get motivated.

SchulmanArt: Who has been your greatest influence as a designer? 
RS: I I have paintings my Grandmother made in my house; however, she influenced me by her jewelry collection! Every time I saw her, she was dressed to the nines and dripping in jewellery. She'd tell me where she got each piece, and why she liked it. I think she's a big reason I am a jeweler. When she was in the the hospital, dying, she asked me to bring her some of her jewellery. When I did, she put it on and sighed with relief and said 'ah, now I feel human'.

SchulmanArt: So do you make pieces she would like?
RS: When I was doing my Masters degree, my professor told me not to worry about what my parents or Grandparents thought of what I made. I was surprised to find she was right, I was keeping my family and friends at the back of my mind, and it wasn't until I really let go of their opinions that I could make earth shattering work. 

SchulmanArt: Describe a typical day. 
RS: I wake up and have breakfast with my Son. Then I go to my office and check sales, emails etc. I package up any items I have in stock. I hear a soft knock on the door, and gift my son (2 year old toddler) a big hug, and give him the packages ready to ship to bring to his Dad, they'll take them to the post office for me. Then I work at my bench, creating custom orders. I have lunch. I give my son a big hug goodnight for his nap. I work most afternoons at my bench, or drawing new ideas. Then I finish work at 5 and spend the evening with my Son, we usually go to the park, or play place or have a play date with his friends. Then I hang out with my Hubby in the evening after our son is asleep. It's quite an ideal lifestyle.

A peek at Rickson's home studio, connect on Facebook!
SchulmanArt:  Wow. Sounds like you have really found balance! What is your studio space like? 
RS:  My space is so small! Like a glorified closet, but it does the trick. I have a big drafting table, with my computer on it. Then my jewellers' bench, right beside. I have a little photo box set up by the window with the best light. I bump my elbows a lot! I can see the street from my window and often knock on it and wave to my son and Hubby when they go out for the day.

mentioned: @RicksonJewelry

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