Sunday, April 14, 2013

Of lambs and farm boys and leaps into the unknown

It's Sunday evening here and the sun is sinking below the trees. It's been a good weekend, full of new work and new ideas for the shop.  There are some weekends that, when Sunday evening comes around, I wonder where time went.  This was one of those weekends.  It's not a bad feeling, not at all, but I do wish that weekends could be extended during those times that I am on a roll.  Time doesn't work that way though, so I will just be happy with all that I have done since Friday night and hope that next weekend will be just as productive.

If you have been following along with me lately, you may know that I am starting to offer prints in my shop.  Up until this weekend, the only prints I have listed have been of my handcarved designs, the owl and the fox.  I am very proud of these two prints.  They have been in the works for such a long time and I am happy to finally have them available in my shop.  This weekend I took another leap, a much scarier leap if you want to know the truth.  I am slowly starting to introduce prints of my watercolor and pen illustrations to the shop.  This is all new for me.  And why is this scary?  To be honest, it was scary to offer my handcarved designs so I think it is mainly the unknown that worries me.  Will people like the prints?  How will my work compare to the work of so many talented artists out there?  I could keep going, but mainly it is a matter of confidence. In the end, I decided to just make the leap and see what happens. goes!

Spring Lamb
This little lamb was my first illustration to list this weekend.  Who couldn't love the sweet face of a little lamb?  I kept it simple for this illustration so that it is the tender face of the lamb that hooks you.

Farm Boy
One of my favorite books off all time is The Grapes of Wrath. Following the Joads as they travel from the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression, I couldn't help but feel that the characters were real. Looking back on photos of that time period, I am always captivated by the looks of determination and hope in so many of these brave folks who were forced to leave the land they love in search of a better life. I can't help but wonder about the fate of the people captured in these photos, and always hope that the life they sought was waiting for them. These are the people and the time period that this illustration drew inspiration from.


And there you are.  More work will be coming soon.  And I hope that you all like what is listed so far, of course!  :)

Subtle Acts © All rights reserved

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A walk in the woods

Today we took a stroll through our woods to see how Spring is treating our little part of the world.  We have a little over 10 acres of land, about 9 of which are fully wooded.  When a lot of people think of Texas, the images that come to mind are of cacti and deserts and oil wells. And while Texas does have these features, our part of Texas is in the Piney Woods.  We do have oil wells and a few cacti here and there (as well as yucca), but this part of Texas is full of trees.  And our little piece of the land is full of pines, oaks, hickory, holly, buckeye, and cedar (to name just a few) with a creek and some drainage features that criss-cross behind our house.

Moss and clover
 Lately I have become infatuated with the mosses that grow along the creek and drainages.  These small worlds stay green all year long.  In the above photos, moss and clover grow side by side and throughout.  Aren't the colors spectacular?

Sporophytes extend from the moss
I love the feel of moss and would gladly trade a grass yard for moss.  When we lived in Seattle, one of my favorite parts of the tiny postage stamp-size yard was the large space given to moss.  It felt so good under bare feet, and I never understood why so many people fought off such lusciousness.

Exposed sweetgum roots in the creekbed
When we bought our house, I came to the top of the ledge of the creek here and fell in love with the beauty of the land we were fortunate to find.  At the moment I reached the ledge, a couple of butterflies flew into the area and began to flutter and dance as if they knew I was their audience. It was almost magical.

Fallen tree over the creek
The drought has wiped out so many of our large trees.  It's heartbreaking to see so many large trees felled by something out of our control. We are hoping that no more trees will fall in our woods.  This tree fell not too very long ago, providing a little bridge for animals to cross the creek.  Based on the scat we found along the tree, raccoons are especially fond of visiting this felled giant.

This year we are seeing more mayapples than ever before.  Perhaps this is due to the drought that has knocked out some of the canopy above that would have shaded the ground where we are finding them in full force now.  The forest animals always find the fruit long before we do, but maybe this year we will stand a chance since there are just so many more plants.

Greenbrier vines tangled up
You can't go very far in any woods in the Piney Woods without getting tangled up in vines.  Soon, the greenbrier here will have little berries that my husband has told me are edible though I have never tried them.

While I look forward to Spring each year, I can do without the heat that will come all too soon afterwards.  For now, I will just enjoy the respite of cool temperatures Spring provides and hope that Summer will treat us and our woods kindly. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Introducing: The Evening Owl

Hello everyone!

I hope that all is well in your part of the world.  Here, the trees are beginning to burst with leaves, the grass is greening up, pollen is coating our cars, and the hummingbirds are back at the feeder.

It seems fitting that, with the change in seasons, I am also adding some new work to my shop.  For quite some time, I have wanted to offer prints of my designs as well as expand toward offering illustrations.  After lots of consideration, I am happy to announce that I have made the leap!

And this beautiful Evening Owl, based on my hand-carved linocut block design, is the first of many prints to be available in the shop!  Check it out!

I am so happy with the way the colors pop in this print!  The bright yellow, the creamy white, the dark navy...all so beautiful.

This print would be perfect in a little one's nursery!

My fingers are crossed that you guys like this new work and the work that will be coming very soon.  Expanding into new areas can be scary.  When I started my shop in late 2010, I never dreamed that anyone would find my work interesting, let alone something worth buying.  Now, in my third year on Etsy, I am happy to say that I still going strong at almost 600 sales, which is 600 more than I thought would ever happen, all thanks to wonderful people like you who decide to support handmade. Thank you all so much!