Card Art

Art is all around us. All you have to do is LOOK…

For the past year, my younger son has been heavily into magic and cardistry. Cardistry differs from card magic as defined below:

While card magic focuses on manipulation of playing cards for purposes of illusion, cardistry is the non-magical manipulation of playing cards with intent to display creativity, performance art, and skill.
Bicycle Cards

I never knew there was an entire subculture of cards and cardists, but it really is quite impressive. If you Google Card Art or Cardistry you’ll find virtually thousands of articles, YouTube videos and links to specialty stores that sell decks made especially for the purpose.

Another subset of this incredible genre is the collectible luxury decks. One such special item is the one-of-a-kind Ultimate Deck by Dan & Dave produced in collaboration with the award-winning design firm Stranger & Stranger. Each card features a unique work of art ranging from classical to the macabre. My son received this beautiful deck for Christmas and it’s a favorite of mine as well.

playing-cards-ultimate-deck
Portion of Ultimate Deck (Courtesy of Dan & Dave Website)

As an artist, I thought it would be fun to create a unique playing card for Ethan. I took some pictures of him with the cards and decided to replicate the image of him doing an S-Fan with the Ultimate Deck. He wanted to be the “Joker” (which is quite fitting if you know my son). I traced the outline of an actual playing card and then drew the image with pencil. Using Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens and my Prismacolor Premier Fine Line Markers I used a combination of stippling and line art to complete the drawing.

21/2" x 31/2" Marker and Ink on Bristol Board adapted from Personal Photograph
21/2″ x 31/2″ Marker and Ink on Bristol Board adapted from Personal Photograph

Rosie the Riveter

Reblogged from Huffington Post
Katherine Brooks Senior Arts & Culture Editor, The Huffington Post.

Ahead of its Feb. 6 issue, The New Yorker released a sneak peek of its upcoming cover ― a tribute to the Women’s March that attracted over 3 million protestors around the world.

Familiar at first glance, the cover features a collared-shirt-clad woman flexing her arm in the style of Rosie the Riveter, the WWII-era feminist icon. Though a few details set this Rosie apart: She’s a woman of color, for starters. And instead of a bandana, she dons a “pussy hat,” the reigning symbol of the Jan. 21 march.

Maine-based artist Abigail Gray Swartz created the image after attending a march in Augusta, at which she wore a hand-painted cape decorated with the words “Equality for Womankind.” The following week, Swartz decided to send her updated portrait of Rosie to The New Yorker unsolicited, not anticipating a response. It’d been a longtime dream to have her work accepted by the magazine, she told The Portland Press Herald.

Unexpectedly, art editor Françoise Mouly responded asking Swartz to send a few more variations of Rosie. Seventy-two hours later, Swartz learned that her work had made the cover. A new image of feminism ― intersectional, DIY, unapologetically pink ― was solidified.

 

To see more of Swartz’ artwork head to her Etsy shop or website. You can also follow her work on Instagram.

Continuous Line Drawing

A few weeks ago I was paging through the enormous Winter catalog of our local high-end, up-scale mall: Somerset Collection. This “tome” is basically a super-charged glossy Vanity Fair magazine on steroids, with ads from Versace, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Burberry, Gucci, etc. You get the picture; it’s our little slice of Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive or Paris’ Champs-Elysees right here in the Mid-West.

Continuous Line Drawing
Somerset Collection Ad

As I was drooling over the beautiful clothes and accessories, gagging over others, and laughing at the teeny-tiny corner descriptions that state the specifics like amount$$$, I came across a really cool ad. I have no idea what it was for, there was no teeny-tiny description in the corner just a .com address which I accidentally tore through.

It was simply a continuous line drawing done in black against a solid white background and it really struck me: here was this elegant advertisement that stood out like a beacon of simplicity against all the extravagance and opulence and it was beautiful.

This beautiful ad became my muse for the evening and I set out to explore continuous line drawing for myself. I’d been wanting a good excuse to use my new set of Prismacolor® Premier Fine Line Markers I purchased a while back but hadn’t yet broken the seal. Against the 6″x6″ Strathmore® Bristol Artist Tiles, they flew with ease; it was a perfect marriage.

This was fun! Next I experimented with Black India Ink® on Strathmore® 6″x6″ Watercolor Artist Tiles. I used a technique I had learned in my Figure Class. You use 3 – 4 gradations of ink and water to show the different values. Using a silly selfie from a girls weekend (that’s one post that will never see the light of day:)). I started laying in the values while practicing my portrait skills. It was a quick fun piece. The nose is completely messed up but I like it!

Girls Weekend Selfie
6″x 6″ Black India Ink on Strathmore Watercolor Artist Tile

It was a fun creative night inspired by a simple line drawing in an outrageous, overpriced, opulent catalog. Usually I just toss it in the recycle bin, but for some reason I hung on to this one — funny how things work out sometimes.

Year in Review and Other Random Thoughts

Welcome to 2017 dear followers! This typing thing is a bit difficult since my operation – think back to when you actually learned how to type in middle school and your fingers and wrist muscles were sore for the first few weeks because they hadn’t been used before in that way.

I can still picture my typing teacher and hear her to this day. She was short and stout with a bit of a lisp; “a, s, d, f, j, k, l, sem, return; a, s, d, f, j, k, l, sem, return, and again…”

I’m experiencing that same muscle fatigue with my left hand and a bit of a pull on that darn right ulnar nerve, so posts may be brief for a while.


2016 has come and gone. It’s been a light one in terms of works produced but I have accomplished other important goals to further my passion, so it’s not completely a wash. How do you measure a “good” year for an aspiring artist? Is it the number of works produced?; the number of classes taken?; the amount of money made?; the growth and betterment of your craft?

I guess it depends how you define success. Since everybody’s goals are different, I guess it’s an individual litmus test. I try to teach my boys not to compare themselves to others, only to themselves in terms of growth and happiness. We all compare ourselves to others at times, but it can be damaging for the psyche – as I have learned over the years. If you see growth in yourself, whatever your goals or visions are, then it’s a good year!

I did accomplish many of my artistic goals this year with the creation of this website and my business cards, the establishment of a social media presence as JenLynnArt, and the attainment of two paid commissions. I also attended classes and workshops to gain experience in live portrait painting and began adding the format into my painting repertoire.


The images below represent my finished pieces from 2016.
Select a thumbnail to view the full-size image.

Here’s wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
May 2017 treat you well:)

Volkswagen Beetle

When I was just a baby, we had a Volkswagen Beetle. It was 1970 and side-burns and “Bugs” were in fashion. Of course I don’t remember the vehicle, other than seeing it in photographs and hearing that my Dad smashed the front-end not too long after he bought it. I have the small original photograph of the two us in the driveway and thought it would make a great Christmas gift for my Dad.

Having just completed the commission piece for my friends, I didn’t have long before Christmas and we were getting together just prior on the 23rd. I had just over a week, so I went pretty small and fast; 12″x 12″ on Ampersand Gessoboard. It was my first time using the board and it was quite different from the usual canvas. The surface is smooth with very little tooth so the paint just glides on which definitely takes getting used to. The paint seems to dry faster which was a bonus given my short time frame. I was a bit rushed at the end, and wanted one more day to smooth things out and add a couple of details, but all-in-all, I was very pleased with it. And best of all, he loved it!

Baby Jenna and Bug
Baby Jenna and Bug

True Love

The finishing touches have finally been applied on the large commission painting for my friends. I am very pleased with the final outcome. I’m hoping they will ♥ it! I’ll ship it in a couple of weeks – just in time for the New Year! Since it’s not a surprise, I’m sure they won’t mind if I share it with you.

As I had mentioned in previous posts, I began the painting in September and had to take a bit of time off and work slowly due to my new elbow and nerve injury. Painting once again proved my saving grace, and although difficult at times, helped my mental state during the healing process.

Shiela and Leo - True Love
True Love

Portraits, Progress & Pain

I have been distant from WordPress and blogging for quite some time. Life has been hectic but progress has been slow.

The boys are both back in school and into the swing of things, my husband has been traveling internationally for work, and I’ve been recuperating from my left elbow replacement surgery on the 19th of September and a pinched/aggravated ulnar nerve in the right arm due to overcompensation.

Once again, my mom has been a Saint helping me with household chores and the boys – I couldn’t do any of it without her💕.

Walter White
Breaking Bad’s Walter White

Thank God for Netflix; with two “gimpy” arms, there’s not much else one can do! I watched the entire series of Breaking Bad over a three-week time period, discovered Versailles on the Ovation channel and watched several docudramas to learn about the French Monarchy from Louis XIV to XVII.


Prior to my surgery, I started a Portrait Class at the BBAC in the hopes that I would only take a few week hiatus to heal. After all, it is my non-dominant arm and I’m quite the pro by now at this surgery thing – I never anticipated my painting arm to be affected! I started PT this week and am using my at home TENS machine for the nerve. I’m hoping to get back to class next week. Fingers crossed.

I had also taken on a commission for a friend of mine that I began in September. I am working on it from time to time when I feel well enough. Thankfully she’s being completely understanding. It’s a double full-body painting of my friend and husband based on a candid photo taken during a professional outdoor photo shoot. It’s proving to be quite the challenge, but I am gaining on it, “elbow-it” slowly…