What a small world we live in! I learned just a few weeks ago that Anne Harwell is not only an artist like myself, but a Michigan native as well! It is a true pleasure having her share her story here...
Where were you born? I was born in Detroit, Michigan.
What are your earliest memories of being involved in making art or wanting to be an artist? From an early age, I was obsessed with any and all kinds of art and office supplies. I would spend my compulsory "nap time" as a kid, creating things from paper cuttings, mucilage and crayons. I would then use a wet cloth to dampen the hair around my hairline and rub my cheeks to convince my mom that I had actually slept a little.
What type of subject matter inspires you most? I am drawn to design and interiors, in particular.
Tell us a little about your family and where you live. I am single and live in Bonita Springs, FL on the Gulf Coast. I love the mild climate and living near the beach. It's a perfect, laid-back setting that is great for day-to-day living, far from the urban angst I have experienced living in large cities elsewhere.
What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your success/well-being as a person and an artist? My relationship with God is the most essential thing to keeping me centered, content and sane in this crazy world. My family is also a great source of support and I am very grateful for a close relationship with them. I love being outside, frequenting bookstores, cooking, keeping up with my friends, getting quiet time and plenty of sleep. I also always have a bottle of water with me....always!
Where would you live if you could live anywhere? That is a hard question - I would probably live here in Florida most of the time, but would also love to live in Paris, London, or Barcelona for part of the year.
What are the most challenging things for you being an artist? Probably the fact that I am entirely responsible for every aspect of my own business and I have to be a self-starter. Building up a client base and a consistent income can be a challenge as well, but hard work and perseverance pay off. I wouldn't trade the joy and satisfaction that I derive from being an artist for the mundane security of a predictable job, though.
Here are some examples of her work...the first, an intricately hand-cut silhouette of a classic Chinese Chippendale chair is one of my favorites by far!
("Duchess," 8"x 10", oil on canvas, nfs, private commission)
Well, contrary to my belief I suppose I CAN paint horses! This is only the 2nd horse I've ever attempted to paint, but I have to say I am really thrilled with how it's coming together! Stay tuned for the grand finale!...The 'Duchess' is complete, and I am also really happy with the end result on this piece. I think the ornate chair really fits this little lady, don't you agree? :)(*Update, I finished the horse painting, and replaced the image above so you can see how it turned out...fingers crossed that the owner is happy too!:)
On our way home from a week-long vacation up north in Michigan, my husband and I stopped by a familiar 'friend'...my childhood cottage at Houghton Lake. It has since been updated with new siding, windows, a new deck, but I recognized it just the same. It was where my family spent each summer before my parent's divorce. I loved those summers at the lake. As a young girl all I cared about was swimming for hours on end, fishing with my Dad, and walking up to the local party store with summertime friends. I felt such a mix of emotions as I looked around the cottage grounds, so much has changed, and it is so hard to believe it was some twenty years or so since I had been there. I looked at the grouping of three trees where I used to play kick-the-can, out at the lake where we used to have our favorite fishing spot, along the shoreline where there used to be a beautiful, sandy beach, now replaced with a concrete retaining wall...it all seemed so familiar and yet I was looking at these things not thru the eyes of young girl, but of a grown woman. I will admit, quite a few tears were shed that day. I loved our cottage at Houghton Lake, summers spent with family & friends, peace and serenity...what I'd give to get some of that time back.
As we prepared to leave I looked around one last time and realized that this place has indeed changed, it is no longer the 'friend' I once knew, it belongs to a new family...the place I remember is in my heart, and that is where it will always remain. And someday, if I am so blessed, I hope to have another cottage in which new memories can be made...laughter among friends, crackling bonfires, waves lapping against the shore...the simple beauty of life.
Finally arrived home this evening after a much needed, week-long, internet-free vacation to the upper part of the lower peninsula of Michigan ;o) (try and repeat that three times quickly :) I will be back at the easel first thing tomorrow! And a little bit of shameless self-promotion here, the delightful Anne Harwell posted an interview about me on her blog which you can find by clicking here. I look forward to interviewing Anne herself in the very near future! I am not only an artist, but collect art as well, and I always find it so fascinating to learn what inspires other artists, how they got started as an artist, etc. Thank you again Anne for such a wonderful post! :)
Over at A Stroll Thru Life, Marty is having a Cloche Blog Party tomorrow, although you can link up this evening if you like...I chose to show off my mini cloches and of course a couple cloche paintings I did a few weeks back (both are sold). If you would like to join in the fun be sure to drop by Marty's blog! My husband and I are leaving for a week's vacation up north, so I won't be posting as much this week...but I will be bringing my paints as I cannot be away from the easel that long! Have a great weekend!:)
Check out Matthew Mead's newest Halloween magazine: Hundreds of Spooky Treats and Clever Crafts for the Best Holiday Ever! Beautiful photos of easy, creative and fun projects and straight-forward directions and patterns that will appeal to crafters of every age. On newstands NOW throughout the U.S. and Canada! (from Linda MacDonald at Restyled Home)
(Matthew is giving away 5 copies of this magazine! For information on the giveaway click here!)
"Amish Girl at River's Edge," 5"x 7", oil on stretched canvas, (SOLD, thank you!)
I know I've said this before, but there is nothing more frustrating than spending hours on a piece and then not being able to get a good photo that shows the true beauty and vibrancy of what you just created...as is the case with this piece. I am hoping I can get a better photo at some stage today as the flowers are more colorful...a mix of lavender, magenta, a bit of light blue shadows on the Queen Anne's Lace...and the little girl's dress is a bit darker and more vibrant than what the photo shows. Irregardless, this piece was a joy to paint! I wanted the focus to stay on the little girl and her bright, blue dress, so I kept the river a bit murky, as it was in the photo and did a more impressionistic background. There is something so endearing about the Amish...simple, yet beautiful in many ways. (*Update: I replaced the photo, but I still think this piece is more vibrant in person!:)
I'll need to get a better photo of this piece as soon as the sun makes an appearance today, but I think I am finished. I ended up removing what was a bannister from a porch on the right of the painting because it just didn't seem to add anything to the composition and may have, in fact, been a bit distracting. I wanted the focus to be on Abby & Ivy, so I also lightened up the background a bit. Overall I am really pleased with how this piece turned out! Both these girls are such beautiful dogs, it's been a pleasure having them spend some time with me in my studio :)
(*Update: I replaced the photo, although I still feel the piece looks much more vibrant in person :)
It has been a loonnnggg time since I have been taken so aback, and left literally speechless...& this is what happened to me just a few minutes ago. I received this AMAZING portrait of our Jedha Bugbear in the mail, a complete surprise!, from my super talented fellow artist friend, Akiko Watanabe! The detail she gets in her work is just breathtaking! Every little hair, every little dot on Bugbears nose is captured just perfectly! Amazing!! And she doesn't just paint pups, she is probably even more well known for her beautiful cats and life-like wildlife portraits. I'm more of a dog person (sorry) but she makes me want to like cats :) Thank you SO much Akiko! It is an absolute honor to know such an amazing, yet humble talent, and to call an even more beautiful person my friend! God bless!
(*ALL artwork copyright of Akiko Watanabe (c) 2009)
So, I had to change my etsy listings for the time being to only accept personal checks & money orders as my paypal account is temporarily on hold thanks to my 1st ever fraudulent buyer on,you guessed it, ebay! We recently sold our two dog crates, leftover from when we shipped our two dogs from Australia to Michigan. One went from Michigan alllll the way to Tennessee by Greyhound Package Express, no problems whatsoever, wonderful feedback received from the buyer, the way it should be. Now we have a buyer from Florida claiming the crate never arrived (it DID arrive, we called the Greyhound Center in FL ourselves and confirmed that the buyer was actually en route to pick up the crate!) So this wonderful person has filed a claim on ebay and expects a full refund and basically a free dog crate...um, I don't think so. It just stinks that people like this exist in our world. No conscience whatsoever, one lie after another...I cannot imagine living my life in such a way. This person needs prayers, seriously...and not a free dog crate. If I was able to just give it away, I would've sent it to one of the dog rescue groups I work with...hoping paypal will come through for me. Truth will prevail!! :)
All Images Copyright of the Artist, Lara Harris(c)2013
None of my images may be reproduced in anyway or form without my express written consent. All rights reserved. I DO allow my images to be SHARED or linked to as long as they are not used for any retail purpose. Thank you!