Wire Art Jewelry by Mel: I started making jewelry over 10 years ago, even longer if you count some jewelry I made with my father while I was still in grade school. I am basically self-taught with the experience of working with several great artists and teaching. My degrees are in art and psychology from a small liberal arts college. I moved to California to go to grad school, but never made it. I started creating jewelry as my main source of income there and began working for a company (whose name I cannot legally mention) making jewelry showcases for department stores. So, you may have seen my work without even knowing it, since they did not incorporate the artists names. I moved back near Chicago a few years ago and continue my passion for art, working from a studio in Wheaton.
Watercolors are my favorite medium to paint with. I’m always astonished by how each painter is unique in their process and execution of this medium. The following artists are some of my personal favorites. Notice how the use of watercolors change from artist to artist and celebrate the difference with me.
Geninne’s Art Shop is full of intricate watercolor paintings. The artwork here makes me feel like I’m looking at beautifully illustrated scientific classification books. This particular painting, Crafty Bird, would be a cherished gift for your crafty friend or to yourself. I want one for my sewing room!
Several months ago I was fortunate to win a print of Lisa Kaser’s work. I instantly fell in love with all of her quirky characters and the sense of storytelling portrayed in each piece. Her use of gentle colors and humorous scenes invites peace and conversation. You will love the high quality of her work.
I marked CGalla Fine Art as a favorite almost one year ago and I check in every couple of weeks to gaze into the melting colors and movement of the paintings. I can’t get over how much emotion is conveyed from the brush strokes. The up-close faces are my favorite but there are several landscapes and still life paintings as well. This is an exquisite gallery!
I just about fell over when I discovered Be Happy Now. You will be smiling from ear to ear each time you glance at the artwork found there. Calendars, prints, collages and originals are all waiting for you to dive into. I’m fascinated by the lighthearted portraits painted in brilliant color combinations.
Do you love a little mystery in your art? If so, skip on over to Oh My Cavalier. The drawings and prints will have you dreaming of forest adventures and make believe friends. There is a vintage feel to the artwork and the restrained use of color is fantastic. I’m captivated!
As you have seen, watercolors are an intense and quite intriguing medium. Aren’t the different uses and styles wonderful? I hope you found a few artists to add to your favorites and perhaps a piece or two of artwork to add to your ever expanding collection.
In our busy lives these days, we use a lot of disposable things without giving them much thought at all. So much is single-use, single-serving, throwaway packaging—things that are (hopefully) recyclable and that (hopefully) wind up in the recycling bin.
The great thing about today’s eco-friendly artists is that they see a lot of our everyday trash as raw material. Instead of heading to the recycling center (or worse, the landfill), our single-use, throwaway “stuff” gets a beautiful new life as housewares or wearable art.
Take the plastic bottle, for example. We use a lot of plastic bottles. Somewhere near 28 billion single-serving water bottles are used each year in America alone. Yet less than 20 percent of them are recycled. Some estimates are as low as 12 percent.
Armed with a heat gun, or tools as simple as a pair of scissors, artists are making some incredible items out of those bottles. gulguvenc (photos above and below, left) uses a heat gun to shape PET bottles and then pierces them to create amazing bowls and jewelry.
anettesplastics crochets old plastic bottles into amazing jewelry forms like this necklace (above, right) and the rings below, while both arnym (below, left) and ArtworkbyKD (below, right) cut shapes from old bottles to make their jewelry.
The great thing about plastic bottles is that they can be recycled. They can be made into new bottles, or processed into other raw materials, like craft supplies. There are plastic bottle yarns out there now, and felt and fabric made from recycled bottles. But recycling, like the production of the bottles themselves, takes up a lot of energy. Keep that in mind the next time you reach for a bottle of water. It might be worth investing in a reusable bottle to complement your new handmade purchases!
Bottle rings and fruit bowl above also by anettesplastics.
There are so many talented artists out there creating beautiful, functional works of art from re-purposed and recycled materials. One of my favorite trends right now is the application of old re-purposed barn wood into projects like the ones shown in this post.
The handmade owl rack shown above is available at HappyAcresArtworks. It is made from re-purposed barn wood and has been hand painted to give a natural, worn-in look. The artist from HappyAcresArtworks was raised on a 150 acre dairy farm in rural Chester County Pennsylvania and credits her upbringing for her desire to take inspiration from nature in her work. Use this owl rack to organize and hang your treasures in any room. The color scheme of her items are especially well-suited for a nursery or young child’s room.
TrueConnection is another wonderful shop specializing in one of a kind pieces made from reclaimed wood. From their wedding decor to their home decor, each piece is beautifully crafted and has it’s own unique character. The wood used for the items at TrueConnection comes natural with nail holes, knots, and a natural wood grain variation. The farm house entry table shown above is rustic and charming. Use it to keep your shoes off of the floor and out of the doorway and to keep your everyday items like keys, mail, or even your umbrella neatly placed at your home’s entry for easy access.
Last but not least, check out this simple, adorable earring holder from ParadiseHillDesigns. Keep your earrings neatly and artfully organized with this rustic, yet refined handmade frame. The weathered pine used to create this piece was gathered from the side of an old cabin and has been carefully sanded, but otherwise has its natural beauty shining through. The interesting character of each piece of wood is what makes projects like these so beautiful. The artists at ParadiseHillDesigns create many other earth friendly products such as picture frames, decorative boxes, home decor, desk accessories, and more.
Have an item that you created from reclaimed wood?
We’d love to see it! Link to your projects in the comments.
Please welcome Laura Trevey to Try Handmade! She is a watercolor artist and blogger who is going to be writing two columns each week. Here’s her first painting column (look for photograpy tomorrow), and I know she’d appreciate any recommendations of your favorite artists in this medium. Just leave them in the comments and welcome her to Try Handmade!
I am drawn to bright and beautiful art, so it is no wonder that Lisa Congdon’s work caught my eye! This San Francisco mixed media artist and illustrator is one to notice. Aside from four painting classes, Lisa is entirely self-taught. She uses her lack of training to her advantage: instead of following refined technique, she works with her own sense of color, composition and design as her guide.
In her shop you will find a variety of paintings, prints, drawings and collages. This gouache painting on masonite speaks to me. The rich colors and wonderful composition lead your eye around the page. I love all of the different and interesting shapes throughout.
This birdhouse archival print is whimsical and fun! You may think all of the houses are painted pink. However, if you look closer, you will find a wide range of colors used such as orange, mauve, magenta, rose, purple, etc. This creates more interest and depth.
Everyone loves birds, and this Finch archival print is simply adorable! There is a lot of detail in the actual painting of the bird. Therefore a plain background works well and is very complimentary. Add a splash of color to your room.
Thank you Lisa for sharing your incredible talent with us. Your work is cheerful and colorful indeed!