Falling Down a Rabbit Hole

Heather Carr Alice in Wonderland painting Mad Hatter White Rabbit I have a show coming up next week.  Working on some last-minute Alice in Wonderland pieces.  Fingers crossed that I get them done in time!  Just taking a break while some paint dries…. Hope you enjoy these work-in-progress pics – I want to get them done by TOMORROW.  Yikes!

Heather Carr Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter White Rabbit painting work in progress-=-=-=-=-=–=-=-=-=-=–=-=-=-=–=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Thanks for stopping by!  If you like my work, please consider subscribing to my blog (top right, on my home page)

or Like my page on facebook!

It will totally make my day. ❤

Sometimes, I Paint in a Prison…

 

Heather CarrWhile I could mean that metaphorically, in this case, I don’t.  I really do paint in a prison, well, ex-prison.  Once a week, I paint with a wonderful group of artists on a former military base.  The room we paint in has prison cells along its perimeter.  When I started painting there, there was still a cot, sink and toilet in every cell, but curtains instead of bars.

Heather Carr prison art studio

It’s a good reminder that I am free to paint what I want, and that even if I’m feeling stuck… well, I’m not as stuck as I could be!!!

The painting above is a work in progress.  I am missing Alice in Wonderland, now that I’ve finished my piano.  Just working on a bunch of small, fun pieces now – trying to get back in the groove after weeks of not having time to paint!

Heather Carr work in progress

The studio is really quite cheery, as long as you don’t ponder its history…  😛

Heather Carr art studio

When I want inspiration for a really dark piece, I’ll go sit in here awhile…

Well, that’s all for now.  I’m in a two person show, coming up in a few weeks.  More on that  soon.  I have an art page on Facebook now too, stop on by!

 

Alice in Wonderland – Street Art Piano – Work in Progress, Part 2 – Shoreline, WA

Heather Carr Xe3ep Xezep Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter street art piano

More progress being made…

It was pretty tricky to draw Alice in this space.  The floor kept getting in my way…

Heather Carr Xe3ep Xezep Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter street art pianoI worked on the front a bit too.  I’d really like to give the Cheshire cat’s grin a couple of gold teeth…

Heather Carr Xe3ep Xezep Alice in Wonderland Cheshire cat street art pianoI wish I had more time to work on this.  There is so much I’d like to do…

Heather Carr Xe3ep Xezep Alice in Wonderland Cheshire cat street art piano

If you’d like to see my earlier post about painting this piano, click here.

Also, you can see some brainstorming sketches that I did for the piano here and here.

Alice in Wonderland – Street Art Piano – Work in Progress – Shoreline, WA

Heather Carr Xe3ep Xezep alice in wonderland piano work in progress painting  street art

Last week I volunteered to paint a 1938 Wurlitzer piano for the City of Shoreline’s street piano project.  I was hoping for a really tall upright piano, because they have nice large flat panels for painting,  but everyone wanted one of the few tall ones that were available, so I decided I’d give this one a shot.  I had to reconsider some of my design ideas because its surfaces are very different, but I’m having a blast with it!  Plus, mine came with a bench and an accordion-style keyboard cover, that has some interesting possibilities.

Before:Heather Carr

Primed and ready for paint:

Heather Carr

If you’ve ever thought about painting a piano, don’t forget the prep work!  I would have liked to… it’s a very forgettable experience.  It took me and my lovely assistant (thanks mom!) two days to sand and prime the piano.   I would have loved to skip this part, but didn’t for two reasons.  One, the paint wouldn’t adhere well to the varnish, and two, I didn’t want the piano stain to bleed into my painting.  For anyone interested in doing this, I used 220 grit sand paper and Glidden Gripper Primer.

Now for the fun part!

Heather Carr Xe3ep Xezep street art piano shoreline work in progress alice in wonderland cheshire cat eyes grin

I only have about a week’s worth of time to get this done, due to my family’s summer schedule, but I’d devote every waking minute to it if I could.

Heather Carr Xezep Xe3ep Alice in Wonderland street art piano work in progress shoreline

There are some unique challenges painting a piano.  It’s not easy to squeeze underneath the keyboard to paint, and drawing on a vertical surface, just inches off the floor is no easy feat either.  While working on backs of the legs I discovered that my paint brushes are sometimes tooooo long and don’t fit!  Anything that I could detach I removed and took home to spray paint.  The clocks and lace above, are going to become the backdrop for a tea party if all goes well!

Heather Carr Xezep Xe3ep Alice in Wonderland street art piano work in progress drink me shoreline mushrooms

I love the space we are working in.  It would make a nice studio.  We are in a storefront of a former hardware store in the Richmond Beach Shopping Center.  I’m working right up next the window.  Lots of people come by to watch us paint, and stop in to ask questions.  A professional house painter came in and critiqued my primer brush-stroke techniques – ha! and the mayor even stopped by to say hello!

Heather Carr street art piano alice in wonderland richmond beach shopping center

I’ll post more progress photos soon!  The pianos will be finished July 31, and will be on display starting August 2nd.  Mine will be on display under an awning outside of Central Market.  I’m really pleased with the venue, because there’s so much foot traffic there, and it’s an awesome market!

New Painting – Shows at Shoreline City Hall Gallery and Oasis Art Gallery thru July

Heather Carr Acrylic painting 2012

I finished this painting Monday, just in time to deliver it to the Shoreline City Hall Gallery (along with 9 other paintings) for a 4-person group show called Creatures and Places that starts today!  This painting, Better Watch Out,  is 16″ x 20″ on wood.  It says “watch out” in Russian on the arm.  I really can’t believe where it ended considering its earlier stages, which I’m not sure I want to share…  it started out as a goofy looking lion-like creature.   I liked parts of it, but… I felt like the images weren’t interacting quite right, the colors weren’t working for me, and frankly, despite the menacing figure in the background, it was just too happy!  It got worse when I consulted my daughter, and she encouraged me to add the baby lion in the foreground – which, admittedly, works compositionally.

Heather Carr Acrylic painting 2012

I love painting with my Open Studio Group, but I only have this opportunity once a week.  I find it very helpful being surrounded by the energy of a room full of people creating, even if we are all quietly doing our own thing.  Creating in a vacuum is hard, especially when that vacuum includes two children who are constantly up to something, a house that desperately needs tending to, and a husband who is afraid to have an objective opinion regarding anything art related.  This is where bravery and going with your gut will get you to finish line.  I just started re-drawing, covering up and pulling things forward and pushing them back until I finally felt… not just content, but really pleased with my piece.

The underpainting for this piece was done at Artfest in Jesse Reno’s class, but this is as far  as I got before the class was over.  I did finish another painting in his class, which you can see here.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the process photos.  I wish I’d taken more, but I was too busy attacking my canvas.

Heather Carr Acrylic painting 2012

There will be a reception at the Shoreline City Hall Gallery (on the 3rd floor) from 5 – 6:30 p.m.  If you are in the neighborhood, please stop in and say Hello.  The show will be up until July 27th.  This show features ten of my darker, macabre and emotional pieces.  Unfortunately, due to this being a public space, I was not allowed to include Flightless in the show.  Need to find a private gallery for that one…

My other show that is taking place now at Oasis Art Gallery in Wallingford, Seattle is the polar opposite of the one in Shoreline.  The Oasis Gallery Show is up until July 7th, and features many bright, playful paintings.  Unfortunately, they are closing their doors after our show, so come in while you can!

I’ll leave you with a few photos that my husband, Randy Stewart, took of my work at the Oasis Gallery.

Heather Carr Acrylic paintings Oasis Gallery 2012Heather Carr Acrylic painting 2012Heather Carr Acrylic painting 2012

Artfest is over?!! Already?!?

Heather Carr self portraits 2012

After 3 1/2 days of painting, friends, and parties, I am totally wiped out!  It was my first year of attending Artfest, as well as Artfest’s last year of operation.  Teesha Moore, the creator of this art retreat, promises something even grander in the works.  I can’t even imagine what that might be.  I just hope it’s still local!

After a retreat I always feel both completely filled up – with ideas, inspiration, and the emotional charge that comes with connecting with old friends and making new ones, and completely depleted, from giving some blank canvases everything I’ve got, from sharing with friends a lifetime’s worth of crazy inebriated stories, and from knowing I have to say goodbye, even if it’s just ’til next year.

Since my brain is feeling fried, and I’m being subjected to a never-ending loop of Nyan Cat (thanks to my children), the rest of my post will be more pictures, than words.  I wish I’d taken more photos, but I was too busy playing!

Heather Carr Jesse Reno Painting

I painted with Jesse Reno for two days, and miraculously, finished a painting.  A second piece is still in the works.

Before:

Heather Carr Painting work in progress opasnaAfter:

Heather Carr 2012 painting

It says “OPASNA” (oh-pas-na) which means  she is dangerous, in Russian.  It is my interpretation of an anglerfish.  If you can believe it, when I started it kinda looked like Marilyn Monroe.  Ha!  I wish I’d taken some transition shots, as it went though many stages, but my hands were always covered in paint.  By the way, I’m not sure if the title is referring to the painting, or the artist… 🙂

Heather Carr painting work in progress

Another work in progress from Jesse’s class.  To be finished soon, I hope!

Heather Carr 2012

Jesse doing a drawing demo.  I love watching people sketch with ease.  I always get nervous if I’m too aware of people watching me!!!

Below is a warm-up exercise we did in Jesse’s class.  I’d like to play around with it some more.

Heather Carr 2012 drawing

I took Mindy Lacefield’s class on Saturday, and it was great to share the day with her!  I’m so glad that I’ve gotten to know her better over the last two years.  I had a blast helping her out at her marketplace table Friday night.

She did some great demos in class.  It was fun watching her work.  She is a master at cuteness!

Heather Carr 2012

I worked on four backgrounds.  Can’t wait to play with these more.

Heather Carr 2012 painting

The owl and the pussy cat?  I did this in class.  The owl and cat are made from torn paper.  The words say “Ya Teb-ya Lyoob-loo” which means I love you in Russian.  I may play with this a bit more, but I like the raw wood showing through.

Heather Carr painting 2012

Two heads are better than one.  This other piece is unfinished.  It’s a two-headed bird.  These birds may get some stripes and crazy legs… not sure yet.

Heather Carr 2012Well, that’s all for now!  Friends, old and new, I hope you’ll keep in touch.  And ladies, (*ehem* Danielle, Janna…) let’s not forget about our plans for next year!

Countdown to Artfest!

Heather Carr 2011 paint on hands

I’m heading to Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA next week to attend Artfest.  It is the 13th anniversary for Artfest, but my first year participating, and unfortunately, Artfest’s last year of operation.  Artfest is 3 days of art workshops, evening events, and mingling with like-minded souls.

Even though I live in nearby Seattle, I don’t know that I would have known anything about Artfest, or met any of the amazing artists that I know now, if it weren’t for an email I received one day that inspired me to be brave…

A few years ago I went to my first art retreat.  I’d received a newsletter from artist Mati McDonough that said she was going to be teaching a mixed media art class at An Artful Journey, a retreat down in the mountains of Los Gatos.  Mati and I met in a class, years before, back when I still lived in San Francisco.  I watched as her art career blossomed; her hard work and success has been a great inspiration for me.  When I heard that she was teaching, I felt that it was an invitation that couldn’t be ignored.  So I packed my  bags, left my kids with the grandparents (Thank you, Mom and Dad!!) and hopped on a plane.  At the retreat, Mati was teaching along side Kelly Rae Roberts, who I wasn’t familiar with before the class.  Another incredible woman and artist, Kelly Rae has extensive guidance available for anyone interested in turning their art into a career.  (Check out her Flying Lessons for art business advice.)  Anyway… their class totally rocked.  I was blown away by all the creative energy in the class and all the amazing attendees that I met.  There were a lot of established artists there.  Amazing people!  It was like being surrounded by a sea of really friendly art rock stars.  I was a bit overwhelmed – and totally hooked.

Heather Carr An Artful Journey 2010 Mati McDonough and Kelly Rae Roberts

Mati Rose and Kelly Rae demonstrating their mixed media expertise.

Heather Carr Child painting 2010

My favorite piece from my first art retreat.

I returned to An Artful Journey the following year to paint with Jesse Reno. If you ever have a chance to take a class with him – DO IT!  Jesse is an incredible, intuitive artist, and storyteller.  His teachings have influenced my art quite bit.  And I am grateful for that.  I enjoyed his class so much, that I am taking it again next week at Artfest in Port Townsend, WA.  I will also be taking a class taught by the sweetest girl I know, Mindy Lacefield.  I love her work!!  If you are attending Artfest, stop by Mindy’s table at the marketplace Friday night and say hi – I’ll be helping her out!

Heather Carr Jesse Reno 2011 Artful Journey

Jesse Reno explaining paint magic.

Heather Carr 2011 painting work in progress

The beginning stage of my paintings in Jesse’s class.

Art retreats are highly addictive. They empower people in amazing ways… being immersed in so much creative energy – people carry it back home with them, harness it, and SOAR!  I’ve seen so many fledgling artists really take off, in just the few years since I first met them.  With two young children as passengers (or more like co-pilots!), I feel like the wheels are just getting off the runway for me now, but that’s okay.  It’s way better than sitting in the airport lobby, just admiring the art from afar.