Sunday, October 9, 2016

New Holiday Card Collection

I've been enjoying the portfolio building challenge called Folio Focus from Rise & Design. It's a great weekly brief to help expand our surface design portfolios. This week was Sweet Greeting and focused on greeting cards. I went with painting white on black backgrounds.

This is a 10 week challenge and we are on week 2 - can't wait to see what's next. I'm loving the challenge and inspiration.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Woodland Mum Collection

I've been working hard on a new collection that to submit to Uppercase Magazine's + Windham Fabrics New Designer Competition. I would love to include fabric designer to resume! With each collection I create I know I'm one step closer. 

I wanted to have a collection that would look awesome in a wide variety of sewing projects so I worked on adding lots of range for scale, including geometric and smaller prints. And color is everything isn't it? So lots of pop there with value and a fun autumn inspired palette.  

You can see the original inspiration for this pattern below started out as one of my beads in polymer clay. I had fun translating the design into paint. I'd love this design on a thank you card too, think I'll have to make that happen! 



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Autumn Inspirations for Surface Design

I've been working on adding new work to my portfolio this week from work I painted earlier this summer. Feeling inspired by all things autumn. Trying to decide if I should work up some patterns or leave these as random icons. Kinda digging the field guide vibe of them. 





Sunday, August 28, 2016

New Christmas Designs

I've been having fun working on new surface design pieces. Country Christmas features rustic holiday decor and homemade cookies, bakers twine, evergreens, dried orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Oh how I love an unplugged holiday! 




I worked up my cabin inspired ornaments into a portfolio ready piece. These were done for the Make Art that Sells Bootcamp. I'd love to have these on my tree. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Global Talent Search Entry

A few weeks ago I won a spot in Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search. I've been sketching and planning ever since and here is my entry. I was able to create 5 patterns from my paintings, so that's definitely the start of a new collection. 

I've wanted to do something with moths all summer, I couldn't wait to jump in and use them for my submission. I dug in deep to my roots of nature inspired themes and went to straight to the source for a tea-themed creation - camellia sinsesis, the plant were tea leaves come from! They have a lovely flower that I abstracted and dismantled for my elements. 


I finished the entry on my birthday, so maybe my wish will come true and I'll place in the top 50 and be able to go on to the next assignment. Oh, maybe I should go out and wish on a few 100 falling stars since the Perseids meteor shower is also happening. 

Good luck to everyone that entered. Entering is a win all on it's own, it's not easy putting your work out there for a competition. No matter what, we can all celebrate knowing we created new, exciting and portfolio-worthy work to send out into the world. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Make Art that Sells Bootcamp Review

I finally finished all my Make Art That Sells Bootcamp assignments. A few weeks into the Bootcamp we had an unexpected opportunity to buy a house and move, along with lots of traveling and teaching in April and May. So not every assignment was submitted to the gallery, but I feel pretty accomplished having new pieces for my portfolio and loved the 5 months of inspiration from my favorite artsy fairy godmother, Lilla Rogers. 

I was watching Lilla's Periscope this afternoon, as I do every Tuesday while I'm working away in the studio, and won an entry into the Global Talent Search! Of course, I am already signed up so I will happily take the refund and put it toward my future art class fund, which I'm hoping is the Children's Book Class. I really did need the encouragement to enter though, now there is no way I will not submit an entry while I may very well have talked myself out of it if I hadn't just won a spot! Oh self-doubt - why do you always want to arm wrestle?

Any way, back to my Bootcamp review. I can't recommend it enough for 5 months of portfolio building and market insights. I'm going to go backward through the assignments. The first one here was for July and was an assigned flower based on our locale and to create a journal cover.


June's assignment was a children's book character study and Vicuna's were our subject matter. This inspired some pretty stinking cute beads!

You just never know what will be inspired by MATS bootcamp!

May's assignment, is actually the last piece I finished. I decided I couldn't leave one undone and really dug deep to finish this project. Wall art inspired by tarot card imagery was our assignment with our subject matter based on our birthday. So Leo and Strength were easy enough to wrap my mind around. I love the idea of quite strength and depicted my maiden in a plus-size body because strength comes in all shapes and sizes.

April was so much fun! Christmas ornaments with a lumberjack theme. I'm not much of a lumberjack kinda girl so I went with woodland and plaid inspirations - things a lumberjack would see! Ha, sometimes you have to let the assignment inspire you in ways that are outside the box. I did these in June, after my move and life was settling back to normal! But I could paint Christmas themes any day of the year. Next, I need to clean these up in Photoshop and get them laid out properly.

And our first assignment, way back in March was a coloring book cover inspired by 1920's flappers. Of course I had to tie it into beads! I'd love to make this project a reality. I should really add this to my my to-do list and send in a submission to my publisher. 

Along with the assignments, there is an awesome Facebook group for participants that is always filled with the most encouraging and helpful artists. And seeing how differently everyone approaches each project is an education in itself!

So that's the last 5 months and my bootcamp round up. Stop by Make Art That Sells to get the scoop on their current classes. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Snowflake Pattern Design


Another holiday collection completed! I wanted to play around with snowflakes and more geometric designs.

And thanks to the magic of the Photoshop, I really dig them in a non-traditional hue like these violets. 
Wouldn't these make adorable pajama bottoms? I think I need to whip up a polar bear to match this collection. Yep, that's what I need to do next! 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Holiday Surface Designs

I've been working away on my surface design portfolio. Being a Christmas nut and learning that half your portfolio should holiday made my inner elf quite giddy. So I've been taking some bead designs from the last few years and translating them into surface design patterns. 



I want to add a few more collections, but this is a good start!
http://www.heatherpowersart.com - my portfolio just had a facelift. Stop by to see what's new.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Children's Decorative Plates and Dinnerware

Just wanted to share my two finished boards from the MATS home decor assignment.  I decided to make two boards since there were two styles that emerged from my explorations. We started out looking at antique Staffordshire pottery and that lead me pearlware dishes for children that had the most delightful floral motifs and lettering.

I may revisit these and offer them as wall art later on, I could totally see these in a kids room. That cheetah though, he needs a story! I'm going to use him a series of illustrations with my cat that I shared yesterday. Should be fun. Our next assignment is children's books. so he will cross over.

And that's the bonus from taking Make Art That Sells - you start off with the inspiration from the assignment but that leads to many more ideas and avenues to explore.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Make Art That Sells Progress

Working on my next Make Art That Sells course. I'm enrolled in the self-paced MATS A which covers fabric, home decor, children's books, wall art and the gift market. I finished the fabric assignment, I'll share that soon. But first I wanted to show these plates that I'm working on inspired by Staffordshire pottery. I liked the kookiness of the pastoral outfits and the silly and aloof cat figurines, so in my brain a mashup was needed. 

I decided to work on some portfolio pieces that would fit in with my children's illustration and made plates with kids in mind.
These are in progress, I'm still tweaking and thinking. I also need two more designs for a set of four plates. I had a few others started by they weren't exactly in the same style and ended up going in different directions like this adorable monkey below that I transformed into a little pirate.

I imagine a little tropical island with all these creatures. Do you remember the island on Bed Knobs and Broomsticks? I don't know why that stuck with me as kid but a place like that popped into my head while making these.


Not sure if this guy goes with the set. But I certainly love him! I definitely giggled out loud a few times painting these over the weekend. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Make Art that Sells Week 5

This was the final week of Make Art that Sells Home Decor. This week was all about designing for wood. I created a few pieces incorporating textures that we created earlier in the week.

I revisited the spoon idea for wood, which would be super awesome for tossing up a fresh salad, don't you think?

Some mixed media textures I created for this week. Learning to layer them in Photoshop was a challenge. Again, the class flies by so quickly all these just seem like jumping off points for many, many more ideas. Which is awesome! 

Part of our homework this week was to create a page with our favorite pieces from each week to create a rounded home decor collection. Ceramic, wood, metal, glass and fabric with my Monarch & Milkweed themes. I had to adjust the colors from my fabric week to fit in more with the collection. That was a challenge for me, keeping a consistent vision from week and week and learning to use the trend board more than going off on my own tangent. 

I ended up redoing and touching up the first three weeks to create a more cohesive collection and honestly by the time I got to week 4 it was easy to see what I needed to change and wasn't working from the earlier weeks thanks to the weekly reviews of each assignment. 

If you've ever thought about taking MATS or Lilla's bootcamp, just go for it. They are priceless and packed full of great insider information that will help you grow by leaps and bounds as an artist. Can't wait to see where my artwork is in a month from now! I'm going to jump into MATS A for the month of March. I'm addicted! 


And because it all springs from the same source, my designs have spilled over into my bead and jewelry business. I thought you might enjoy seeing them.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Make Art That Sells Week 4


It's week 4 of Lilla Roger's Make Art That Sells Home Decor Course. This week is all about designing images for ceramics. This course is life-changing. I can't explain or put it into words all I've learned in the last four weeks. I can tell you I'm not the same artist I was 30 days ago. Each assignment is challenging but things I started out struggling with are no longer struggles: honing a style, creating a cohesive collection, whipping out my Photoshop ninja skills. 

Above is the board I submitted for this week's assignment. I have a garden/farm vibe going with some similar motifs from previous weeks and adding in houses, chickens and plaids. One of the things Lilla says is people buy your joy and create products you would want, so each week that's what I do. What would I want in my home or give as a gift. 


I had so many icons this week and had two color stories going on, so I separated them into two boards.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Make Art That Sells Home Decor: Week 3

How has it only been a week? I can't tell even begin to tell you how much I learned this week. The seismic shift that has happened in how I feel about my artwork and my creative career has seriously been life changing. This week has been nothing short of magical.

This week we are learning about creating designs for glass products. For each assignment I create things I would want to buy - makes the creative process so much easier. That spoon - I need that to happen!

I'm so glad I signed up for this class. I wasn't sure if it was a good fit, I hadn't really thought much about designing for the home market. But everything I've learned so far can be used for any art licensing market.

Did you hear that Lilla is going to teach a Children's Book course this fall? I'm already saving up for that one!

The biggest lesson I've learned this week. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Make Art That Sells Home Decor - Week 1 & 2

At the beginning of this year I made a promise to myself to work as illustrator and improve my craft. I made a commitment to up my game with my marketing skills to get regular work as an artist illustrating books and products like cards, journals, fabric and who knows what else. It's a great big world out of there for artists who are working to make a living. And more importantly I wanted to marry together my world of beads and art - playing back and forth between the two with similar themes.

I signed up for Lilla Roger's Make Art That Sells Home Decor course a few weeks ago and just jumped in, pushing aside fears and focusing on making art that I love. I have been sneaking in moments early in the morning, painting in my evenings and even a few hours late into the night. I like to start each day with my sketch book and brush pens before heading into the bead studio.

The first week of the class was intimidating. You are taking the class with some amazing professional artists.

But Lilla is part art agent, part art instructor and part art psychologist!

She is so encouraging and knows how to take all those overwhelming feelings and channel it into productive lessons and energy.

There was a huge learning curve for me in the beginning trying to mock up my artwork into home decor items that could be made of metal. (The first one shown above is actually a redo of my assignment that I submitted.) It was a clunky attempt but I'm giving myself time to learn - that's why we take classes, right - to learn not to be experts as soon as we start.

This week was much easier. The painting is my favorite part and I jumped in creating several main images and lots of smaller accents to use in my fabric product mock ups. I wanted to capture the feeling of my summers here in Michigan with Queen Anne's Lace, chicory and monarch butterflies. Some things were happy accidents but that's okay. After a week I am getting the hang of the basics of using Photoshop to transform my illustrations into these fun designs.


After scanning in all my art work and cleaning it up I realized I had enough for two themes with the butterflies for one set and one featuring wildflowers in country chic containers. 

We have three weeks left in the class and then it will be time for the Make Art That Sells Bootcamp and then I am signed up to take Lilla's self-paced MATS A course that focuses on 5 of the top selling art markets. Thankfully time management and learning to work quicker are part of the course! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February iPhone Wallpapers


I created a new wallpaper for my iPhone and wanted to share it with you. Snuggling, quiet winter nights, chocolate, cozy sweaters and mittens - spring is still months away so we might as well enjoy the good things about February! 

I've been learning some different ways to work and my brain is exploding from taking Lilla Roger's Make Art That Sells Home Decor class. I'll share some of my work from the class soon. The first week was a blast, but quite a learning curve. 

Download the wallpapers here: