Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Before going offline for the holiday I wanted to take the opportunity to wish all of you a Merry Christmas! I hope you spend the day surrounded by people you care about (even if you don't celebrate the holiday!). 

Thank you for visiting my blog throughout the year and spending some time with me.

Happy Holidays!

The image above was created from one of my daily sketches. The original sketch was done in sepia ink. I scanned the sketch, took the image into Photoshop elements and digitally colored it. Foolishly I thought this would be the quickest route to adding color. Turns out, since my Photoshop skills are very lacking, it took me three times longer than if I had used colored pencils instead.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Work (not quite) In Process - Peony

peony painting WIP
watercolor on Aquabord
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Here is a work-in-process shot of the peony painting that I was working on this fall. If you are a Facebook fan you may remember me mentioning it there. In particular I mentioned how it always seemed to rain the days I was painting it... maybe the flowers needed water?

I wonder if I worked on it now it would snow? I may have to test that theory soon. My children desperately want some snow to play in. Me - not so much - but I'll do almost anything for my kids.

The reason the title of this post is "Work (not quite) In Process" is because I had to set this painting aside in order to prepare for the juried show I am in in February. It was tough to set it aside. This is the second time I have done that. The first time I stopped working on it because I couldn't get my mind around the puzzle of petals. But this time I was in a flow and really making progress.

I am sharing this in process shot here because I want the accountability to go back to the painting once my work for the juried show is complete. If I know people are out there waiting for an update, I will be more inclined to pick up the brushes and continue putting this puzzle together.

Thanks for your support!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Therapeutic Sketching

sketch of wooden leaves
8" x 11" graphite on paper
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Although I've been very busy over the last month or so, one of the things I haven't been doing is exercising. I typically do a combination of walking, running and tap dancing to stay in shape, with the occasional weight lifting, Wii Fit or pilates workout thrown in for good measure.
sketch of bamboo plant
approx 8" x 11" graphite on paper
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Around the middle of November I noticed some pain and swelling in my left ankle which I think is tendinitis. The prescribed treatment for tendinitis is rest which translates to no walking, running or tap dancing.

While it is good to have a little extra time in my schedule (i.e. time I would normally spend exercising), I quickly realized that I miss the stress relieving benefits of physical activity.
sketch of mug
approx 4.5" x 4.5" graphite on paper
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

One night I was feeling pretty restless and frustrated. What's an artist to do if she can't go out and run a mile or two?

I decided to try some therapeutic sketching. For me that meant sketching big (8" x 11" paper instead of my typical 3.5" x 5.5") and loose a without a care for the outcome or likeness. The results of my sketching session are shown throughout this post.

face sketched while watching TV
approx 2" x 1.5" graphite on paper
(this was the fourth sketch and I was back to sketching small)
©2010 Stacy Rowan

Sketching wasn't quite as effective at releasing stress as exercising is, but it did help some and it definitely distracted my mind from chewing on the sources of my frustration.
another face sketched from TV
approx. 1" x 1.5" graphite on paper
©2010 Stacy Rowan

How does sketching compare to other stress relieving activities for you? Do you find sketching relaxing? Is more tension released when you make big loose marks or when you lose yourself in the rich complexity of detail? I'd love to hear about the ways you relieve stress, especially if they don't require the use of your ankle!!

Friday, December 10, 2010


There has been a lot of activity going on here. Paintings being painted, cards being made, sketching, baking, planning... So many different things filling each day.

The new works I am creating are for an upcoming juried show. The show isn't until February, but my inventory needed to be sent in by Monday.

One of the new paintings I recently finished is this pretty purple pepper. I found him at our farmers' market a couple of years ago and fell in love. If you want to add beautiful color to a fresh salad, add some chopped up purple pepper. It tastes essentially the same as a green or red bell pepper, but is more of a feast for the eyes. My daughter, whose favorite color is purple, always asks to buy these when we see them. Another of life's simple joys found at the farmers' market.

My Friends are Green With Envy
8" x 10" watercolor on paper
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Friday, November 12, 2010

And the VOS Winners Are...

drumroll please....

Leslie Hawes and Sue Nelson!!!

Congratulations ladies!

Leslie, you won the pack of note cards. And Sue, you won the ornament. Please send me an email with your image choice and  mailing address. My email address is in the column on the right.

Thank you to everyone who attended my Open Studio and who took the time to leave a comment. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Autumn Gold

The other day dawned beautiful, sunny and warm. Since October was almost at an end, I knew there might not be many more days fitting that description before the gray, leafless days of fall rolled in. I was scheduled to spend the afternoon in the studio, but decided instead to take my watercolor sketch book and small travel palette out to find something pretty to sketch.

The leaves on the trees at a near-by park were at their peak of autumn color, seeming to almost glow in the sunlight. Here is my interpretation.

Autumn Gold
watercolor sketch in Moleskine sketchbook
©2010 Stacy Rowan

A quick reminder -- Comments close on the Virtual Open Studio posts tonight. Names of prize winner will be drawn tomorrow morning. If you want a chance to win a pack of note cards or an ornament, don't wait, leave your comment on a VOS post now.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Virtual Open Studio 2010 - Post #5 - The Final Post

When you entered the family room, you probably noticed a basket of note cards.

There is another basket of cards in the living room along with some matching note pads.

There are even a couple of packs of holiday themed cards on the Christmas table.

All of the note cards feature my artwork. Each pack has 8 cards (blank inside) and 8 envelopes. Some packs contain an assortment of cards - two or four different images depending on the pack - and some contain eight identical cards featuring a single image.

This year's big sellers were the new cupcakes assortment

and the new "Life Cycle of a Tulip" pack.

This card was created using three of my daily sketches. I admit that it is one of my favorites.

I also created an assorted floral pack combining two of my most popular floral images with the newer Sunbathed Poppy and Rhododendron

and two packs of thank you notes.

The card with the three coffee mugs is also available without the words "Thank You"

Many of my paintings and drawings have been made into note cards.

 The first name pulled in the door prize drawing will receive a pack of note cards of their choosing..

As I mentioned in the Virtual Open Studio - Post #4, since I have received so many nice comments, I decided to add a second prize. The second name pulled from the hat will receive one of the ornaments created from my daily sketches. These ornaments are featured in VOS - Post #2 and are shown in the Christmas table images above.

So make sure you enter by commenting here! Remember you get an entry for each of the VOS posts that you comment on. You don't have to worry about being creative with your comments, a simple "I was here!" will do.

Before you leave, there are a few more paintings to see on your way down the hallway to the front door, including my favorite grouping.

Peter's Missing Snack is hanging in the hallway on your left.

And this grouping, featuring Clear Favorites, Queen of the Winter Garden, and Winter Treat, is hanging to the right. I love how the blues and greens in each painting tie this grouping together.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for visiting my Virtual Open Studio! I am so glad you stopped by. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing this event with you.

All images ©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Comments on all of the Virtual Open Studio posts will be left open until 10pm EST on November 6, 2010. At that time, the comments for each post will be closed. All comments will then be printed and placed in a hat. Winners names will be chosen from the hat by unbiased personnel (namely my kids - they love this kind of thing). Good luck everyone!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Virtual Open Studio 2010 - Post #4

After you've had your fill in the kitchen, you can walk down the single step into the family room. Immediately in front of you is a black rack holding an assortment of prints and a table displaying a basket of note cards. (Information about the note cards will be featured in the next VOS post.)

In between these, on the round table, is the small original painting Onions.

 In the center of the room on the ottoman is another unframed original painting of an apple. The miniature drawing of the Central Moravian Church of Bethlehem is also here.

Above the couch are two framed charcoal drawings - Sunquats on the left and Keep on Your Toes from my tap dancing series on the right.

Directly behind you above the large cabinet is one of my floral paintings titled Purple Distraction.

On either side of the fireplace you will find the painting Sacrifice

On the table near the leaves is a new graphite drawing for the tap series which I will share here soon.

Remember there is still time to enter your name into the door prize drawing. Just leave a comment on any of the Virtual Open Studio posts. It doesn't have to be a comment about the open studio or the art. A simple "I was here!" will do the trick. Now is a great time to enter because I've decided to add a second prize! Check out post #5 later this week to find out what it is.

All images ©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Virtual Open Studio 2010 - Post #3

From the dining room, head into the kitchen.

This is where the all important snacks are, including the impossibly adorable mini cupcakes that my neighbor* brought over.

Yes, there are paintings of cupcakes in my future. Why do you ask?

In addition to real food, there are paintings of food, including Uncle John's Peppers ,

The smudge on the bottom left of the mat does not really exist. It is the result of my less than stellar Photoshop skills. I used Photoshop to remove the glare caused by the sliding glass doors opposite the painting.

 Familiar Blush.

 and Coffee Break.

Other pieces found in the kitchen are A Good Day to Wear Wool, which is another local landscape,

and Echinacea Buffet, one of the miniature drawings I recently completed.

All images ©2010 Stacy L. Rowan
*My neighbor recently started up a business baking the most delicious and beautiful cakes. If you live local and are looking for a special cake, drop me an email. I am more than happy to pass along her contact information.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Virtual Open Studio 2010 - Post #2

Now we are going to move on from the living room into the dining room.

Placed across from the doorway from the living room, Warmth for the Lonely Traveler is the first paintings you will see. It is a painting of the guest suite in the local, historic Sun Inn.

Tranquil Spring Day is a painting of another local landmark, the Burnside Plantation, and is also hung in this room.

In addition to these two paintings, the dining room is also the showcase for the Christmas table.

Now I have to admit, it pained me to set up a Christmas table seeing as how it isn't even Halloween yet. The Christmas table breaks every rule I've ever made about holiday decorating. But I made these cute little ornaments from some of my daily sketches and they were begging to be displayed together. So I decided to break my own rules in the name of art.

In addition to the new ornaments, the display also contained some holiday note cards, the Christmas Bells painting, and my new covered bridge miniature*.

Other paintings hanging in the dining room include Rainbow Tea and Crisp.

* I just realized that I haven't shared the covered bridge miniature here. I promise to do that once I wrap up the Virtual Open Studio. If you can't wait, you can find it now over on my Facebook Fan Page in the photo album titled "miniatures".

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Virtual Open Studio 2010 Begins

Welcome to my Virtual Open Studio! So glad you could make it!

I will give you a guided tour, broken up into several manageable segments (posts). Then I will leave you to browse. Please take your time and don't be afraid to ask questions. All of the artwork featured in this Virtual Open Studio was created by me and is available for purchase unless otherwise stated. Enjoy your visit!

When you first enter, this little table is on your left. The papers provide information about me - Stacy Rowan - and my art. This year I also included a print out of my "Why I Am and Art Collector" blog post. Above the table hangs the watercolor "Seasons' Reflections".

Proceeding into this room you see the wall directly across from the entry. Hanging above the sofa is a grouping of three pieces - two graphite drawings and one charcoal. They are "Kitchen Reflections", "Icebreaker" and "Ten Minutes Peace".

The spacing for this groups of works is not ideal, but I was trying to minimize the number of extra holes I put in my walls. Remember these works typically aren't hung here. People are sometimes surprised that I don't live with all of my paintings hung around the house, but I still regularly exhibit this work and I don't want to stare at a blank space when a piece is off at a show.

On the table next to the sofa is this matted original watercolor of a jelly jar. The other small, original painting which is flat on the table was sold during the Open Studio. If you were standing in front of this table and turned your head to the left, you would see another graphite drawing titled  "Want to Play".

Across from the sofa is this corner of the room where two paintings are displayed - "Poinsettias" and "Detwiller House - Center Square, Easton". Below the "Detwiller House" painting, I displayed a basket of note cards as well as some matching note pads.

That concludes the first section of the Virtual Open Studio. Please feel free to leave any questions in the comment area. And a reminder, anyone leaving questions or comments will be entered for the door prize drawing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Open Studio 2010

A week and a half ago I held my second annual Open Studio event. I decided to start hosting this event in answer to the many local people who ask about my art. It seemed like a good idea to offer them a venue where they can see all of my current work hung together.

Since I paint at home (my studio is also known as the master bedroom!), I host the Open Studio event in my house. I set up all of my work in the downstairs and invite people to browse at their leisure. I also offer snacks and drinks so that my guests feel well taken care of.

View of the kitchen with snacks

Prints and note cards set up in the family room

The living room with this collection of work is one of the first things visitors see.

Over the next week or so I will be sharing more photos from the Open Studio. Since the event was limited to local people, by sharing in this way I am hoping my fans and friends who are further afield will get to feel like you were actually there.

I am also having a "door prize" drawing for this Virtual Open Studio, just like I did for the real life one. To enter all you need to do is comment on this post or any of the upcoming Virtual Open Studio 2010 posts. To have multiple chances to win, comment on multiple posts. You will receive one entry for each post you comment on. The drawing will be held one week after I publish the final Open Studio post. The winner will receive a pack of note cards featuring my art. (More on that later.)

So come back with your glass of wine and plate of canapes and enjoy my Virtual Open Studio. I look forward to seeing your there.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why I am an Art Collector

Central Moravian church
approx 2.4" x 1.6" (6cm x 4cm)
graphite on paper
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

As I work to prepare for my Open Studio I've been considering the question of why I buy art. I found it an interesting exercise so thought I would share my answers here.

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that my first purchase of original art was catalyzed by the re-decorating of our family room. How cliche, right?

But truthfully I had had my eye on a couple of artists whose work I loved for a few years, and the re-decorating project supplied me with the excuse I felt I needed to allow myself to buy original works of art.

What attracted me to these two artists is the way they use light in their paintings. One painting I bought is of a rocking chair sitting in front of a window. The other is of an exterior door in Alexandria, Va. But in my mind, the true subject in each painting is the bright sunlight.

The light in each of these paintings stops me in my tracks even now. It calls my attention and demands that I take a closer look.  And when I take a closer look I find new things to thrill me and make me fall in love with the painting all over again.

Sometimes it’s a delicate change of color on a wall, or a subtle altering of value in a shadow. It might be a nice sharp edge in the foreground or a soft edge that quietly connects two elements in the painting. I marvel at knowing the hand of an artist created these subtleties. I appreciate his skill and try to infer his technique.

The act of making  these new discoveries also does a few other things for me.

One it reminds me to be present. If I can still make discoveries in these paintings after looking at them every day for years, what would happen if I looked closely at other objects or even the people in my life? What would I discover if I was fully present? What am I missing if I am not?

The second thing these paintings do is allow me to escape from the hustle bustle of daily life. Both paintings are of simple subjects bathed in light. There is a calm about them, a quietness. While I am studying them I am transported somewhere else, someplace relaxing. Ahhhh…

It’s similar to reading a good book. A good book can feel like a mini vacation. It can capture my attention so fully that I don’t hear what is going on around me. Looking at a painting can provide the same effect. A moment or two of peace to collect myself.

Lastly the way the light in the painting turns a regular everyday item into a beautiful object of art reminds me to be mindful of the simple beauty and blessings in life. It is a tangible reminder to approach life from a place of gratitude.

Now that I know what it is like to live in a home with original art on the walls, I no longer need an excuse to make an art purchase. My art collection represents so much more than just a group of pretty pictures.

I am sure the reasons people collect art are as different as people are from one another. Why do you collect art? I’d love to hear what your art collection means to you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Autumn is Here!

Hello loyal readers! I'm zipping in today for a quick update in case some of you were wondering if I was extending my summer break into the autumn months. As lovely as that might sound when my alarm first goes off, by the time I'm fully awake I find that I'm happy to be back in the swing of things.

Much of my time right now is being put towards preparing for my Second Annual Open Studio (details below). In addition to matting up some paintings that have been patiently waiting in the "complete and ready to mat" pile, I have also been trying my hand at some miniatures.

I seem to have picked up quite a collection of little, bitty frames. Their cute size and agreeable price make them hard to resist. And although I only pick up one or two at a time, their numbers have multiplied to a point that I could no longer ignore them.

So I've been sitting down with my charcoal and graphite pencils and having some miniature fun! The timing couldn't be better since these pieces will allow me to offer some lower priced original works at my Open Studio.

Echinacea Buffet
charcoal on watercolor paper
3.5" x 2.5"
©2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Now about that Open Studio... It is being held this Friday, September 24th and Saturday, September 25th in my home (because that is where my studio is). Unfortunately, since it is in my home, I'm not comfortable opening up the invitation to the general public. While I know that all of my readers are normal, sane people, there are some ... ummmm ... let's just say less sane people out there on the internet.

I promise I will share pictures and an update of the event and throw in a little extra surprise to make it up to you. Think of it as a virtual version of the Open Studio.

If you happen to be a local collector, and for some reason did not receive your invitation in the mail, please drop me an email. My address can be found in the column on the right. Thanks!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 125 and Summer Break

Hello readers! You have probably noticed my decrease in posting since summer started. When summer rolls around the sunshine and warm weather activities lure me away from my computer. I'd rather spend my time swimming at the pool or splashing in a creek, riding bikes or walking on the beach, eating ice cream or watching fireworks. And while I am kicking up my heels, my poor computer is languishing alone.

I tried to tell myself that I would put an end to my summer break this month and return to a regular posting schedule, but I realize now that was just a lie. So I will be taking 3 or 4 more weeks away from the virtual world. Once September rolls around and the kids are back in school, I will offer my apologies to my computer for ditching her and, assuming she forgives me, I will return to my blog with more regularity.

So go out and drink some cold lemonade, read a good summer book and chase lightening bugs in the yard after the sun goes down. Once we've had our fill of summer, let's meet back here and I'll share the rest of my 6-months of daily sketches as well as some new tap pieces and a new floral.

In the meantime, here is my Day 125 sketch to tide you over. It is a sketch of one of my lovely irises that bloomed this spring.

iris sketch
sepia ink in cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Days 123 and 124

Two food related sketches to share with you today and a bit of news.

First a sketch of the basil plant we bought at the farmers' market at the beginning of the season. I love using fresh basil, especially in the summer when I can pair it with fresh, local tomatoes. YUM!

sketch of basil plant
sepia ink in cahier pocket sketch book
copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

Then a sketch of some salty pretzels - the perfect late night snack. Even better when paired with some ice cream.

sketch of pretzels
sepia ink in cahier pocket sketch book
 copyright 2010 Stacy L. Rowan

And now onto the news...
After much deliberation, I decided to end my sketch-a-day project at the six month mark instead of continuing it for a full year. So I completed my last project sketch on June 30th. I guess that makes it a Project 181 instead of a Project 365.

I will continue to share the project sketches until I have posted them all. I appreciate all of the support I've received here and plan to summarize my thoughts on what this project taught me after you have seen all of the sketches.