Friday, October 9, 2015

I Love it When You Customize My Free Printables

It was so fun receiving this message from a blog reader.  She told me she printed out the Free Paper Balloon Printable that I created for Little Gatherer and she customized it with her an image of her little baby.  How whimsical it turned out!  How adorably sweet!  I thought it was perfect.  Thanks for letting me know how you customize my printables!  I love it!

Free Paper Balloon printable by Artist in LA LA Land for Little Gatherer, customized by a blog reader. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

This Woman is No Longer Shy: How I Shed My Shyness at the Mural Festival, "Forest for the Trees"

"Forest For the Trees", mural festival, Friday night art event at the Portland Art Museum.
My friends weren't in town or they had other plans the weekend of the mural festival, "Forest for the Trees", but I wasn't going to let that stop me from going to a spectacular weekend of art parties and art events around Portland.  During the whole week, new murals were going up on walls around town by international and local artists.  Towards the end of the week, the celebrations and tours were happening.  I went to my first art party on Thursday night.  

The crazy sculptures in the plaza at the Portland Art Museum.

I was one of the first people there.  I felt gawky and strange in the almost empty space, but I knew I could mope around and hope someone would approach me and talk or I could shed my shyness and have a lot of fun.  I decided to go with the latter.  Yes, I had the secret power inside me to just get over myself and not care if I looked stupid or awkward.  So I approached a couple on a couch and started talking to them.  I couldn't believe how easy it was.  We discussed art, where we were from, cool places in town and what brought us to the art event.  Well, it was curiosity of course.  We wanted to see new things and talk to new people.

My coloring page from the Friday night art event at the Portland Art Museum.

I talked to a lot of people that night because I realized it was more fun to talk to people than sit at the sidelines and just hope for interaction and fun.  I ended up talking to one of the mural artists who had flown in from Japan, Nigamushi.  He didn't speak much English, but somehow we laughed and joked around.  I spoke to a guy from South Africa who happened to be visiting Portland friends that weekend and whose friends said this was a quintessentially Portland event, so he had to see it.  "Keep Portland Weird" is the saying in these here parts.  I think when they started the strange rap and dripped coffee art performance that was definitely in keeping Portland weird.  Don't ask. It was just odd.  I left soon after that.  It was just a bit too strange for me.

An artist paints a piano at the Portland Art Museum (L) and an artist and his mural on the Saturday bike tour (R).

Friday was my second art event and this one was at the Portland Art Museum.  Again, I  had no companions to attend it with me, but I was determined to go.  I decided I would try to talk to some people again.  I imagined I'd find a way to strike up a conversation and then we'd laugh and joke around.

There were all sorts of crazy sculptures in the plaza when I arrived.  There were also artists painting a piano.  In the outdoor sculpture garden towards the back of the plaza, people were coloring.  I was handed a coloring page.  Looking around, I tried to find a spot to color.   I asked if I could color it at a table with some folks who seemed to be collecting beer bottles at their table.  One guy had a flower in his hair which I thought was fun.  I told him I liked it.  He thanked me and we started to joke around.  His friends soon joined us and we talked about art school, what made us move to Portland and why we came to this art event.  They all knew one of the artists....the one painting the piano.  That was cool.
The Saturday bike tour included the "Naked Bike Tour" mural.

Saturday was the last art event and this one was a bike tour to some of the murals.  This was the 3rd year of "Forest for the Trees", so we saw old and new murals.  At each mural, we talked to the mural artists or someone who knew about it.  I asked a lot of questions and had fun learning about the artists and the murals they had painted.  One mural was about the "Naked Bike Ride" in Portland, but this one had many funny, naked creatures.  Another was about the artist's grandmother and baby nephew who were floating down the river of time together.  We admired the different styles and the many hours that went into painting the large walls.

Many styles of art on the mural bike tour including an artist's grandma & baby nephew floating down the river of time.

At the end of the tour, we convened for beer and burritos.  Again, I didn't let me shyness stop me from talking to my fellow bike tourists.  I found out that a few of them were PSU graduate students who where doing Urban Studies of Portland.  I also talked to the event planners who were mural artists too and Portland gallery owners.  They said they didn't make any money off this event.  They did it because it connected them with such interesting artists and art lovers.  Also, they felt it connected them to their community.  I left feeling some of that too.  I was glad I didn't let me shyness get in my way of having a fun art-filled weekend.  In fact, I felt like this woman was no longer shy.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

This Is How We Do Halloween in LA LA Land (Halloween Printables)

Fall has crept upon me like the Headless Horseman.....or something like that.  I can't believe the weather is cooling down and the corn has started to turn yellow.  That's what I did last year.....I visited a corn maze and a haunted maize for Halloween.  I might just do that again.  I'm looking forward to carving jack-o-lanterns and making some fun Halloween printables like the ones at my shop, Artist in LA LA Land!  Find my Halloween printables here, so you can see how we do Halloween in LA LA Land (Bwahahahahahahahahaa!)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

MISSING & LOST ARTWORK: These 5 Sculptures of Mine

The gallery where I was showing some of my artwork in Los Angeles hastily and unexpectedly closed.  The owner was out of town when this happened, so the people who he left in charge cleared out the space as quickly as possible.  Among the items that were cleared out were my 5 sculptures that you'll see here.  I asked the owner to return them to me.

He said he'd find them and get back to me.  When a few days had past, I contacted him again.  I heard nothing from him.  After a few more days past and he still hadn't gotten back to me, I was sure something was up.  I asked if he'd meet up with me since I coming to town for a few days.

We got together over lunch and he told me the story of trying to find my artwork.  He thought one person might have it, but he hadn't heard back from the guy.  Maybe, they were somewhere else.  He wasn't sure.  In either case, I was leaving the next day, and I wouldn't be taking them back with me.  

Without the owner admitting it, I realized my artwork was missing.  They had been lost in the move.  Who knows what happened to them.  I felt sad about it.  I still feel sad about it.  At least, I have photos of them.  Maybe someday, they'll end up in a garage sale and someone will discover them and give them a really good home.  I can only hope.  Maybe by that time, they'll be worth a lot of money too.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sidewalk Chalk Drawing During My Camping Trip

Okay, okay, I admit I didn't exactly find any sidewalks to draw on during my camping trip.  But I was determined to commune with nature and still get in some drawing.  I know; I know most artists would do some plein air painting and capture the beautiful landscape.  Instead, I wanted to have my art captured on the landscape.  You see, I created my chalk drawing on the rocks and boulders I could find.  Above, I tried to make a fat pink cat look sort of ancient and hieroglyphic to fit the rock stacking that my friend was doing.  We wanted someone to come across it and wonder how they got there.  You know....create a mystery for our fellow nature lovers.

Of course, since I love bunnies, I had to draw a bunny bouncing along on a rock as if he were wild and free in the lovely open fields that surrounded the camping grounds.  What would you think if you came across this jumping bunny?  Would you wonder who created it?  Would it be a fun surprise?  That is what I hoped.  Now, I wonder who saw it and what they thought.  It's fun to think about and it was fun drawing it.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I'll Show You Mine, You Tell Me Yours: More Sidewalk Chalk Drawings Adventures in Downtown Portland

Drawing is the best, but drawing on the sidewalk with chalk becomes an adventure.  Let me tell you what I mean.  I could sit at a cafe in draw in my sketchbook.....I've done that and it's plenty fun.  But when I sit down on the sidewalk and make my drawing into a public artwork, interesting things happen.  People start to get curious.  They come up to me.  They admire what I'm doing.  They want to know who I am, why I'm doing it....and then comes the fun part....they start to tell me their stories and what the artwork means to them.  I feel like I'm showing them my story, myself in the artwork and then they open up and share their passions, disappointments, memories, hopes and dreams. 

I drew this vintage lady, "Love" in downtown Portland, at a busy plaza with children playing in the fountain and tourists enjoying our fair city.  A kid told me it was great.  A man with a heavy accent asked if he could take a photo of it.  A mother and daughter just stopped and watched my progress for a long time.  They never talked to me.  But I felt their presence and appreciated it.  A group of young men came by and stopped too.  One of them told me he loved what I was doing and gave me his card.  He was creating a marketing company and was looking for artists.  He told me to contact him.  

I drew this cloud swinging girl in the Portland's Park district.  I overheard homeless folks giving each other tips on how to stay out of trouble with the law (clean up after yourself and keep quiet at night).  Then a young man, Rocky, stopped and watched my drawing.  He told me he thought I was hardcore relaxing by drawing on the sidewalk.  I liked that.  He said I was just missing a beer in my hand to chill a bit more.  I thought that was funny.  He ended up telling me he almost went to art school on a scholarship.  I was impressed.  In a fit of anger at being taunted at school, he got in a terrible fist fight with a fellow student.  He broke the other student's face and lost his scholarship.  I couldn't believe he was telling me this sad and vulnerable story.  He said it all works out. He's now a firefighter and loving it.  "Life is strange", he said, "life is strange."  I had to agree.

I may not have artwork in the Portland Art Museum, but I can sure have artwork near there.....well....on the sidewalk.  I drew this vintage lady in front of the museum.  A father and little baby watched me and the father gave his baby move by move commentary of what I was doing.  "Now, she's erasing; now, she's filling in the hair; now, she's coloring the eye."  I felt like a sports game and almost laughed out loud.  A young lady was in awe of what I was drawing and asked if she could take a photo of it.  

Then an older gentleman came up to me and asked the name of the lady I was drawing.  I didn't know.  He told me he thought she was a dancer because he was a dancer.  I was curious.  He told me he did ballroom dancing for 25 years and now, he couldn't listen to certain songs because they reminded him of a lost lover.  It hurt too much to remember.  I thought that was passion.  Now, he was really into zydeco dancing because it was happier than blues dancing.   He told me he dabbled in drawing, but expecting to be perfect kept him from just doing it and enjoying it.  I nodded and told him that perfectionism can keep you from doing anything.   I finished my drawing.  He hoped to see me around again.  He wanted to do some collaboration next time.  Like he'd do a dance pose and I'd draw it.  That sounded fun.  Who knows....maybe, we will.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

How I Jumped Started My Heart at the Monster Drawing Rally

I had been really sad . . . you know . . . feeling disconnected from friends . . . letting worries get me down . . . and just going through the motions of living. . . . dragging along.  I heard about this 3 hour "Monster Drawing Rally" at the Portland Museum of Art so I thought I'd go, even though, I wasn't really excited about it and didn't expect to really enjoy it.  Curiosity made me keep my date to go out and try something new.  I told myself that I'd go for a short while just to see what it was about and then I'd return home, safe from the world again.

When I arrived, the Monster Rally was in full swing.  It was a party!  There was feet-stopping, heart-pounding music played by a DJ who was dancing crazily with a wildly dancing lady.  Children and adults were collaborating on monster drawings.  Pieces of papers were folded in 3 parts and 1 person drew a monster head; another person drew the monster torso and a final person drew the monster's feet.  Only after all 3 parts were drawn could you peek to see the collaborative monster the 3 of you had created.  They taped them up on the wall.  I snapped a few photos of the amazing drawings as you can see above.

The main event of this evening of drawing were almost 100 artists donating their time to draw in 1 hour shifts.  Each hour, another group of artists sat down and people crowded around to watch the magic they made with paint, pencils, ink, markers and crayon.  You can see all the participating artists above and you can see a few in action below.  

Watching all this amazing art being made and being admired, I suddenly realized that my heart was racing, pumping, doing flip flops.  Until that moment, I hadn't noticed that I was going around dead inside.  The Monster Drawing Rally jump started my heart again.  Yeah, I felt connected again and excited about life.  Art can do that.  It certainly did it for me that night.

What was happening to all this awesome art?  Well, it was being sold for only $35 each.  The money was going to help art programs for children in Portland.  What!  Artwork was being sold below its value!  And going to help children!  Oh yeah, there were a lot of sales that night.  I took photos of a few I really liked.  Some artworks had several people waiting to buy them.  Instead of the art auctioned to the highest bidder, it was still only $35 each.  The waiting people drew cards to see who got to buy the art.  Whoever got the highest card won the artwork.  I tried a couple of times, but didn't pick a winning card.  There were still plenty of lovely pieces to purchase.

I walked home from the Monster Drawing Rally sort of drunk in love, even though I hadn't drunk a drop of alcohol.  Things just seemed alright after that.  I know I had a sappy smile on my face.  The sky reflected this because some sky painter drew a smiley face in the sky above the museum.  Now, it doesn't get much better than that.  True story.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Discovering My Paper Art in Someone's House Who I Didn't Know (What a Cool Surprise!)

I've created FREE Printables for Little Gatherer which is a children's website based in New Zealand, so I knew my paper art was shared internationally.  I've had people from all around the United States tell me they had fun creating my printable paper dolls, so I know my paper art gets around.  But I've never actually gone to someone's house who I didn't know and found my printable art hanging on their walls.  

Well, that is until the other day!  I was meeting with a client on a project and went to their house.  Their family was there so I said hello to them.  Then I spied one of the printables I created for Little Gatherer.  It was the balloons with the cute little animals hanging from them.  I was shocked to see it on their walls.  I had never met them before.  They didn't know what I did.

"Where did you get this?"  I asked them.  They told me they had gotten it from their sister who was really into paper art and paper crafting, but who I didn't know either.  I told them that it was my free printable and I was happily surprised to see it in a total stranger's house.  We laughed about it.  What a fun co-winkie-dink!  It's really nice to know that paper crafters out there are finding and playing with my printables!  Hooooooray!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Random Acts of Sidewalk Chalk Drawing (In Unusual Places) by Artist in LA LA Land

It's amazing how many fun things you can get invited to do on a summer evening and weekend.  I'm having to choose carefully what I say yes to.  Oh the possibilities!  Barbecues and family gatherings and brunch with friends!  So when do I get time to draw during all of these things?  Well, since it's summer, I've just been taking my chalk pastels with me and drawing wherever I can.  It's been a fun way to break the ice when meeting new folks and it gives me the time to do some quality drawing while still socializing (I'm all for one thing meeting multiple needs and wants----you know---like one stone killing two birds).

The circus parade above was done at a friend's place who had invited me over for dinner.  They didn't mind me coloring their entryway while they were preparing the meal.  As you can see, kitty had to check out what I was doing.  

And kitty was the subject of another random act of sidewalk chalk drawing.  I did this one while meeting new friends and family of friends.  There actually wasn't any sidewalk in their neighborhood, so I asked if I could draw on their driveway.  They said to go ahead.  Eventually, little by little,  I drew (pun intended) out the crowd who was inside the house.  We had fun talking about art and travel and our lives as I got to color the ground.

This Bassett hound doggie was done on the asphalt in the street because, as mentioned above, there wasn't any sidewalk.  I wanted to see if the asphalt would work with the chalk pastels and I think it did a fine job.  Well, I'm off to try more locations to do more random acts of sidewalk chalk drawing.  I'll catch you later.   

Sunday, August 9, 2015

FREE Printable Paper Doll Alice in Wonderland by Artist in LA LA Land

It's been a while since I've shared a FREE printable paper doll.   So I thought it was about time to do that.  This is one of my favorite characters:  Alice in Wonderland!  I created her a while ago for an art exhibition in 2012.  Click on the link to see photos from the art show and the original artwork.  I finally made Alice into a printable PDF.  She's exclusive to my Artist in LA LA Land blog.  I'm not sure how long I'll keep her FREE, so download her soon!

Download my Alice in Wonderland Paper Puppet Doll at this link.  Have fun playing with her.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

3 Reasons Why Play Is Important (It's NOT Trivial)

My whole reason for being is to PLAY!  Oh yes, I believe in PLAY!  If you've read any of my About Page on this blog or on my website, you'll read over and over again, that I'm a believer!  I know PLAY has helped me get through fears that I'm not good enough and helped me to not take myself so seriously.  So when I hear or read things that supports my view, of course, I have to share it.  

The book  I'm reading , "The Essentialist",  actually said there are 3 Important Reasons to Play!  You know I highlighted that and had to share it.  Here's what I highlighted in "The Essentialist" (My comments are in the parentheses):    
  1. First, play broadens the range of options available to us (We think outside the box to come up with innovative solutions).
  2. Second, play is an antidote to stress and this is key because stress, in addition to being an enemy of productivity, can actually shut down the creative, inquisitive, exploratory parts of our brain (When you get all worked up and scared, just go and play).
  3. Third, as Edward M. Hallowell, a psychiatrist who specializes in brain science, explains, play has a positive effect on the executive function of the brain (You just run a better brain when playing).
The book further explains:
Play stimulates the parts of the brain involved in both careful, logical reasoning and carefree, unbound exploration.
Those efforts challenge the Nonessentialist logic that play is trivial.  Instead, they celebrate play as a vital driver of creativity and exploration. 
It made me very happy to hear this.  I hope it does you too.  Now, go play!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

My NEW, IMPROVED Sidewalk Chalk ( Drawing Right Before the Rain)

If you'll remember from last week, I'm on a sidewalk chalk drawing kick.  I started out with a bucket of chunky chalk from the grocery store in only 5 colors: white, pink, blue, green and yellow.  It's a fun challenge to limit myself with only a few colors and to see how I can stretch what little I have. BUT I wanted to get detailed and have slight shifts in colors and sometimes, intense color, and dark colors, and....well....more colors.  So I went to my local art store and talked to my friendly and knowledgeable salesperson.  She recommended chalk pastels.

We looked at all the sets.  Some had 12; some had 24, but that still wasn't enough colors.  We kept hunting around the store and finally found a big box of 48 lovely, intense, sometimes subtle pastel chalks.  I was very excited to go bust them out and draw on the sidewalks of downtown.  My salesperson asked me what I was going to do with them and I told her I was going to do random acts of sidewalk drawing.  

I was so excited to do some sidewalk drawing, I didn't care that is would start to rain in an hour.  I figured it was at least enough time to test a few colors and to snap a few photos.  When I talked to my salespeson, she said, in her experience, it took a heavy rain or a strong spray to get out the chalk pastels from the sidewalk.  That sounded good to me.  So maybe, my drawing will having a little more staying power----even in the rain.

Here's hoping for the best in this first test of the new sidewalk chalk.  This bunny is going to try and jump over the obstacles.  Wish him luck, won't you?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

How I Got in a Film Drawing on the Sidewalk

My favorite thing in the world to do is drawing!  Yes, you can take everything else away from me but you'll never be able to take away my love for drawing.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE drawing (I cannot say this enough times) when I saw a big bucket of sidewalk chalk at the grocery store, I said yes to it!   I thought it would be a great way to draw outdoors while enjoying the summer sun.  

I took said bucket o' chalk and went out into the park by the art museum (because the art museum is right in my neighborhood....yes.....I feel very fortunate to have it so close by).  There was a festival going on to celebrate the French Bastille Day, so there were all kinds of folks out and about enjoying art, music, food and performances.  This was a fun surprise, so I poked around and watched all the fun activities.  Amidst this commotion, I plopped down on the sidewalk and started drawing a bunny.    

I stuck with the bunny theme and drew a bunch more bunny rabbits along the sidewalk in the park district.  My friend drew with me and he drew a fire engine and a bike. He said he couldn't draw, but he obviously, has proved that wrong.  The fire engine was drawn next to a fire hydrant and then he had me draw a little fire man on the back of it.  He drew the bike next to the bike lock up.  Pretty clever, huh?  Yeah, my friend is like that----clever and fun.

While drawing to my heart's content (yes this is the part you've been waiting for about the film), a guy with a camera came up to me and asked me if he could film me while I did my thang.  What?  You mean capture me doing the thing I love most in the world?  Well, sure!  His name was Andrew Hida and he was making a film about Portland, Oregon.  

Sometimes, I just attract wild, weird, wonderful things and this day was one of them.  As I drew, a few people came up and also watched and asked me questions.  I didn't mind because I was in my element.  One person plopped down on a bench and played guitar for us.

The following day, I remembered all the fun I had and wondered how all the sidewalk chalk drawings held up.  As I made my way to the park and art museum, I noticed that it had rained over night.  Yep, all our drawing had become ghostly smeared pastels.  You can see the before and after of the drawings in these photos.

I thought it was sort of fitting that the love bunnies melted into each other and become one.

The sunflower on the stairs somehow maintained its sunflower-ness the best out of all the chalk drawings.

Oh well, that's the nature of the sidewalk chalk drawing, right?  You don't know what will happen to it.  And it just means, I'll have to go out and draw more.  Maybe next time, I'll draw a bunny on a bike.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Art Projects: Papier-Mache Elephant PART 4

Yep, I started this elephant papier-mache art project back in February.  It's some slow, slow, slow progress I'm making.  I've moved a few times since then ( read problems with roommates) and I got a full time day job (read a lot less time to do art).  Despite these changes, I have found a little time here and there to do a little more work on the elephants.


You'll have to look closely to see the difference.  I worked on the elephants' faces.  They didn't have eyes or brows before and I wanted to make their trunks to be a little bit thicker.  


Do you see the eye and brow?  Yep, I'm down to the details.  Next, I need to find a place to do some sanding.  As you can see below, I've got all the protective breathing gear to do it because when I sand, there is so much that it is dangerous to breath.  

Me in my protective breathing gear so I can sand the papier-mache elephants.

I just don't have a place to do it yet.  I've talked to a few people and they say to check out some maker spaces where they get down and dirty to make some amazing designs and art.  I'll check it out soon, so I can make some more progress on these sculptures.


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