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Gallery Event: Shades of Brown

   With a hammer in one hand and a frozen mocha in the other, I set up my gallery display at Shades of Brown this morning, and I think it looks good! Lots of paintings, some new and some older, as well as a selection of prints are now on display and ready to buy off the wall!

   I'm so happy that the people of Shades of Brown keep having me back, and I hope that the people who come in enjoy the art. It's always so much fun to put everything on display like this and almost see it with new eyes! If you're in the area, you should come by and get a coffee and pasty and check out the art! Everything always looks so much better in person :) This show will last through the month of February. Maybe some of them will get to be Valentines??

  Also new today is my post about branding on the Make Tulsa blog! Please go check it out, and give your own advice too!~

  Well, off to get a little someone at school--

Tasha Tuesday

 Today is the type of day that I love. Winds are shifting, but it's still warm. Dark clouds are gathering in the west, it's got the look of gray foreboding. It's Bronte weather. A storm is going to blow over the prairie soon.
  Of course that meant first thing this morning I needed to leash up the dogs and head out into it. I think Tasha Tudor would approve. I imagine she went out and walked her corgis in all kinds of weather. She probably slipped on a beautiful cloak or something and went out into the wilds like a Bronte sister as well.
   Then, I'm sure, she realized how perfect a good gray and stormy day is for painting and headed in to her work table. That's my plan for today as well.
   There is nothing, nothing more perfect, then cuddling up with a quilt, sleeping dogs at your feet, paint brush in hand as thunder rumbles in the distance. Rainy days make for good art.

   I don't know about you, but the world around me here in Oklahoma in late January is sort of brown. In the past I hated that. But as I get older, the more I like brown. Brown is the perfect mellow backdrop for all sorts of things. And, like white, there are all sorts of wonderful shades and depths to brown, from earthy dark to gentle pale. Just look at the tones of these gourds, hanging off the back fence just waiting for some adventurous wrens or chickadees to move in and devour last summer's giant sunflower:

   And while from all appearances the field just outside my back gate is all asleep, there is some life to it! little birds and hawks and even an evening owl are always flitting around in it. My bunnies have gotten quite spoiled and prefer the prairie grass (with some rosemary from the herb garden--- it's the only thing still green around here!) with their morning breakfast.

   People are often surprised that I keep the bunnies outdoors in most weather (aside from when its 114 outside, a sweaty rabbit is quite a miserable sight!) but they love it. They have lived indoors as well and they get agitated and jumpy. Outside, they love to feel the breeze in their fur and smell the smells and hear the sounds. They are so laid back and happy outside. They are definitely outdoor creatures. Of course I do cover their hutch when it rains or gets very windy. And they're latched in so they can't get out (although they have escaped a time or two...one morning a while back I came outside to find the girls exhausting and lounging in the yard from a good pre-dawn romp around the yard! Mr. Darcy, of course, was waiting patiently in the hutch for them to return. He's not the adventurous sort.)

  As I've written to you the sky has darkened and it's that quiet before the storm. I am off to wet my brush and get to work. I'm sure that Tasha would agree!~


Gallery Show

Hello there! Hope your week is starting off well! Lots of things going on behind the scenes here at Audrey Eclectic-- especially getting prepared for this gallery show at Shades of Brown!

I am happy to report that for the month of February, I'll be the featured artist at Shades of Brown Coffee and Art on Brookside in Tulsa, Okla.  I'll have many original pieces as well as prints available to buy right off the wall. Shades of Brown is a wonderful coffee house, and this will be my third show-- I'm so happy to have been asked back! The whole place has such a wonderful vibe (where else can you sit on the sidewalk in beautiful velvet chairs?) and their coffee is awesome.

So if you're in the area in February, come in and check it out!

Something else fun to check out is my new blog Scandinavian Folk about all things Scandinavian! I am happy to have some friends contributing to it as well, and Winnie has a fun entry about Norwegian Christmas traditions up right now! 


A Herd of Dala Horses

  I've had Dala Horses on the brain for a while now, and I'm happy to report that I just finished up the last design that I'm hoping to make into a post card set, and perhaps also do as prints. What do you think?
  I love the simple shape of the horses and how many ways you can paint them. Dala horses are a quintessential symbol of Sweden-- inspired by the simple toys carved for children in homes in during the long and frigid winters of years long passed, Dala Horses are at once simple, folky, and deeply meaningful to the people of Sweden.

   The last image shown here says "Tack så mycket", which translates to 'thanks so much.' I'm thinking of doing other little greetings perhaps for a print. It would make a sweet wedding gift too, I think!

   I'm finishing one last painting for another post card set (the Jane Austen one!) and then I plan on putting in a big order of post cards! If I did a preorder for these like I did with the Christmas cards, would you all be interested in that? Let me know!

  Back to work!~

The Dashwood Sisters

  I just finished up this painting this morning, and I'm so happy with how it turned out! It's Elinor and Marianne-- The Dashwood sisters from Sense and Sensibility. I'm continuing my collection of Jane Austen characters (I've already got an "Emma" and "Lizzie" that you can now buy in my etsy shop.)

   This was a fun painting to take on because the sisters are so different in personalities, but I wanted it to really look like 'these girls are sisters.' So often, poor Elinor gets painted as a plain wallflower and Marianne the startling and luscious beauty, but I wanted to do better for Elinor than that. I used the same color palette for their features, but tried to convey their different personalities in their expressions and body language.

  While I was making the painting, I was showing some photos of the process on the Audrey Eclectic facebook page-- here is the painting as it progressed:

What do you think? Can you tell who is Marianne and who is Elinor?

Tasha Tuesday

    "I always wanted to live in Vermont, and because I always get my own way, this where I settled. The first thing I did was plant daffodils-- over a thousand. The road was impassable, so I carried them in by backpack. And my rhododendrons I brought in through a foot of snow in a wheelbarrow."
-- Tasha Tudor
The Private World of Tasha Tudor

    Wishing you a wonderful Tuesday and a bit of 'getting your own way' just like Tasha. 

This time of year always makes me think about when the first bulbs will pop up. I planted over 100 daffodils myself, some for my own yard and some for my neighborhood garden. I cant wait to see their pretty yellow faces!

  And speaking of gardens, and Tasha's garden in particular, I saw where tickets for the 2013 tours of her garden in Vermont will be on sale soon. It sounds like such a wonderful time! You can go HERE for more info.


Blues and Greens

    Last week was a bit quiet with blogging, but that didn't mean I wasn't busy! I've been working on lots of projects, and it's always satisfying to get things finished and sent off to where they need to be. I'm also trying to take it a *little* easy and enjoy the slowness of January. It's such a perfect time for reflection and taking inventory on myself and on my business. I'm hopeful about this year, in many new and different ways.

   I've also been indulging in some knitting which I've really enjoyed! This weekend I attended a baby shower for a girl I've known since we were 12 years old! And since I have a particular love for babies in gnome hats, I made this little pointy stocking hat out of some beautiful soft teal colored yarn and baby leg warmers to match. I also gave her a red gnome bonnet I made a few weeks ago. I love knitting for little ones who can't roll their eyes and go "oh mom!" yet, haha!

    And on the painting front, I made this large "Scandinavian style" bride for an upcoming gallery show. I am happy to report that I will be hanging many of my original pieces at Shades of Brown Coffee and Art on Brookside in Tulsa, Okla. next month for all of February. I've done two previous gallery shows there and it's always lots of fun. They also make amazing coffee and the whole place just has a great vibe to it. Maybe I'll see you there?

  Have a good week, my friends!~


OATH Angel

    This is a painting I created several weeks ago for a very special project. It started when I read a news report about an Oklahoma teen who was missing and feared sold into human trafficking. Today. In Oklahoma. All over the country. Modern slavery exists. It just turned my blood cold as I thought about the poor girl and her frantic family desperately searching for her.
    Because of this story, I found myself finding out about OATH-- Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans, which is a local agency standing up to human trafficking in all of its forms. As a daughter and a mother, the idea of someone taking a child or a young person and forcing them into terrible situations just horrified and angered me. I wanted to do something, and luckily OATH offered an opportunity for me, in the form of what I do best-- art.
   OATH is putting together a traveling art exhibit and the pieces involved will be sold and the proceeds donated to OATH to help support the program. After thinking about it for a while and trying to figure out how my style of art could fit with the purpose of OATH, I decided to paint about redemption and love and the worthiness of all human beings for love and dignity and freedom.
   I feel very strongly that no human being is a 'throw away person.' And I wanted to make this point to any of the children or young people caught up in this terrible life that they deserved help and escape-- and to also make this point to people who might see these victims and wonder if it was worth it to even get involved. I feel like...it's always worth it. If you're ever given an opportunity to be someone's angel--- do it.

   And so....this piece happily went to support this great cause and I hope the proceeds from it goes to do some great work. It's not much, but it's something. And sometimes just a little something can turn into something really big and wonderful!

  If you'd like to learn more about OATH and it's cause or contribute in any way-- visit HERE. They take donations for a variety of projects, and if you'd like to donate art, you can see THIS LINK.


Tasha Tuesday

    I've been thinking a lot lately about bravery. About how brave it is to "live the life you have imagined." Because it can be a scary decision. Perhaps it's just my particular personality, but I can waiver on things, painstakingly weighing the pros and cons. I can want something with my whole heart, but then shy away and think, "can I really do this?" or "Can we afford to do this?" or "What if it doesn't work out like I envision..."

   Every day we are confronted with little chances to being brave. You either take it or leave it. And it is an intense thing to come up against. But it can be so exciting.

   Tasha Tudor-- her life and her work--- is a story of constantly being brave. From being a young woman with a folder full of little illustrations hoofing it from building to building and rejection after rejection in New York City, to being a woman who took the reigns of her career and made her life into her complete vision-- Tasha had gumption.

   Lately I've been wrestling with my own gumption, so Tasha is inspiring me in that realm right now. Because I have a feeling I know what her answer would be, when asked if someone asked whether they should follow their dreams or passionately. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you have imagined."

A New England Family Portrait

    I recently completed a family portrait for my wonderful friend Alyson, who lives in a beautiful and historical village in New England. (You can see more of her adventures and gorgeous photography at her blog, New England Living)
   I had painted a portrait for her a few years ago, but now that her children are a little older and they live in a new home, we thought it was time to do a new one-- and I'm so pleased with how it turned out!
   Since Alyson is a fellow lover of Halloween (just ask her how many days it is until Halloween, she'll know!) and autumn, I did the painting in a rich New England Autumn style, but kept in mind the lovely shades of green and cream and bits of blue she uses in her home decor. 
   She wanted an old fashioned look, but I decided to go a little gentle on the early 19th century costuming we decided on so that her kids would like how they looked, especially when they had their friends over and an old timey portrait of them was hanging on the wall, lol.

    This portrait is a good sized piece-- measuring 20x20" and so I was able to get lots of special details in-- like the black birds Alyson loves, a ghost in the old grave yards, and even pumpkins on the porch. I've heard that everyone in the family seems to like it--- and that's always my biggest goal!

   This time of year is always a good time for commissions since my craft shows usually fall in the Autumn and Winter. So if you're ever interested in having a special piece done (from family portraits to wedding to portraits to children's portraits, you name it) feel free to contact me! You can find more info about pricing and sizes on my commissions page here on the blog.

  I'm actually finishing up another commission now that I will be sending on its way soon. Lots of things going on here at Audrey Eclectic this winter! I'm glad to have you along!

Have a wonderful weekend,

The Norwegian Bride

   On this gray and drizzly afternoon I finished the final touches on my little painting "The Norwegian Bride." I am so happy with how she turned out! I know I talk a lot about Sweden here and Swedish art and traditions, but Norway also has fascinating art and traditions as well, and they deserve some time and attention!

  When I saw a photo of a Norwegian Bride in her bridal crown I was fascinated-- they are just gorgeous! The history behind them is pretty fascinating. According to Ingebretsens.com:

"The bridal crown came in use at the end of the middle ages, with the Virgin Mary’s crown at the forefront. The crown was undoubtedly the most expressive part of anything the bride would wear. It would be a symbol of her purity and virginity. Women who did not qualify in that category or who were pregnant or who were widowed were not allowed to wear the bridal crown. In some districts pregnant brides were allowed to wear smaller crowns or a modified version of the hodeplagget – a head covering that married women wore with their bunad. 
Bridal crowns varied from district to district. They, as a rule, would be richly decorated with detailed silver work and, of course, would be very valuable. Some crowns could be so heavy that they would have to be sewn into the bride’s hair in order for it to sit properly in place. A very strong neck was necessary to carry this honorable head piece the entire day. Some crowns were owned privately, but many were owned by the church. Usually the crowns would be rented out and the price was usually one “daler”- Norwegian money unit prior to 1875."

   The idea for the floral motif actually came from seeing some beautiful designs in hooked rugs, so it is very much a marrying (hehe) of Norwegian and American style, done in my own folk art way. I'm so pleased with her, and have ideas for more! I think she'll make a great start to my more spring/summer Scandinavian folk art collection.

  And speaking of-- please stop by my new blog Scandinavian Folk where I share my love even more for all things Scandinavian.

   Til next time,

Tasha Tuesday: The Lovely Stillness

  Never fear! I have not forgotten our weekly date for Tasha Tuesday. However, with Christmas and New Year's Day falling on Tuesdays this year, things got a little off schedule. But here we are now. Back into the rhythm of quiet days-- they've turned cold now. And with Christmas festivities finished, things feel sort of sleepy and still, don't they?

  I can imagine for Tasha Tudor, who was famous for her epic old-timey Christmases, that this time of the year was probably a little bit of a relief. Time to get back to the paints. Knit a little something for herself. January is made for quiet reflecting. And it's a good time for painting, since you don't feel that incessant pull to be outside.

  Although the dogs and I did venture out this morning for a nice walk. I always feel better after a good walk, although sometimes its hard to talk myself into getting all bundled up, and manning the harnesses and leashes. But we're always glad we went.

   My hope for you today is a stretch of quiet time to do something that you really enjoy. Christmas is done-- the parties, the preparing, the dinners, the making for others. Do something for yourself! 

 Happy Tasha Tuesday-

Dala Horse!

    I've decided I need a little Dala Horse in my life :) I've started working on a series of Dala Horse paintings that I hope to sell as postcard sets in the near future! I'm working on my horse skills and studying folk art motifs. This Dala-- with its red and coral and yellow-- is my first design. What do you think?

   This is a photo from last night as I finished it. It's got some nice texture and crackle to it. I love the look of old, well worn dala horses. I hope some day to own a real one (well, an antique dala horse, not a real horse, although Audrey would flip if we got a real horse!)

   She and I have had lots and lots of time together this Christmas break. And you know I love her, but I'm ready for my routine back. I have a lot to work on, but I feel guilty if I split my attention between her and painting and she doesn't nap like she used to in the old days! Tomorrow she finally goes back to school and I cant wait to pounce on my new projects, I've got some exciting things in the work! And to top it off I was asked if I could pull a show together for Shades of Brown next month and you know I said "Sure! Of course!" I know I can do it, but I like to be super A+ prepared on these things. I never want to disappoint.

  I just know I feel really blessed and lucky to be thinking "I am so glad the break is over, I can't wait to get back to work!" But it's true! My plans for tomorrow include a nice long walk with the dogs and then shutting myself up here in my art room and taking care of business. Time to start this new year with a vengeance!

  Have a great week!~

Christmas Paintings

   There were a couple of special pieces I created last year that I held back from showing because they were Christmas gifts. However, now that the holidays are passed, I can freely show you these pretty little pieces! They include a pair of pretty sisters and a priestly corgi.

    This first painting was a sweet commission of two sisters for their dad. I did the piece in sort of an Edwardian "Downton Abbey" period look in the English countryside. Both girls have flowers that have special meaning to the family. It was a lot of fun to create and I hear it was a hit with the family! I also had some prints made of the piece (which I am happy to do with any commission as long as the piece translates well to a print!) that was given to grandparents.

   This second piece was a fun project I thought up as a gift for our church rector. She has a corgi that she brings to work with her every day, and so I decided I should try my hand at painting a corgi! And not just any corgi, but a priestly corgi ;) I think he turned out pretty well, I wonder what Tasha Tudor would think?

   I am happy to report that I am starting 2013 with a few new commissions, one of which I just finished last night that I think turned out really well! I am excited to see what new art this new year brings. Something about the new year always brings such excitement and an urge to do better. 

   I'll have more to show you soon!~!

Oh! And tomorrow is the last chance to enter to win the free book over at Scandinavian Folk! Enter for your chance to win!

Knitting in the New Year

Why, hello there! It's 2013! We made it! Hope you had a cozy New Year's Eve. I know I did (and I'll tell you the truth-- I only stayed up til 11! It's hard to be awake and festive while surrounded by snoring passed out dogs!)
    I spend the evening repeatedly knitting and frogging a pair of mittens ;) I'm making them with my nice new yarn and wanted them JUST.RIGHT. And since I like to be contrary and knit without a pattern, it's been a lot of learning. But I also watched a lot of Rick Steves and feel extremely well traveled now!
   My husband laughs at my love for funny ol' Rick. But he seems to settle in and watch an episode or four with me every time I get in a 'traveling mood.' I tell him "Nothing bad ever happens when you're with Rick Steves!"
    The world seems to be perpetually interesting and exciting. I like it :) Now I'm wishing I could really hop on over to Europe and bask in the centuries of history and folk art. Must make that happen some day!

   I'm hopeful about this brand new year we've crept into. I hope it's a good one. I wont jinx it by making too many concrete plans. I'll just keep going on my merry way. But I hope good things happen, for all of us. There's a strange feeling in the air that this world is on the edge of something, and I hope that it's the edge of something good.
  Thanks for joining me here for another year of painting and knitting and reading and rambling. So glad to have you along!

   Here's to a fantastic New Year---

PS: Feel like winning some good reading for the new year? Hop over to my Scandinavian Folk blog to enter to win a good book about Swedish immigrants in Kansas!