Print at Home

Over the summer I took a block print class at the St. Louis Artist’s Guild. I loved the whole process of carving away to create an image and then printing on the large press. But I finally figured out how to do similar work at home without the press… although I’d love to have that one day!

Block Print

King Louis {Design with Photoshop}

Here’s a little edit I did of one of my favorite photos. I brought out the light so that you can see the full statue, and removed an antenna tower in the background, and changed to a black and white picture. I love it!

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King Louis - Photoshop Practice

I'm playing around with Photoshop before I start school next month. (Ack - I can't wait!)

I made some minor edits to the photo below... and underneath that you can see the original photo. I love the original - the bronze color of the photo is really warm and attractive. But throwing the picture into black and white with a cool filter elevates the photo.

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Before

Purple Irises

Missouri Botanical Garden - Japanese Garden. May 2018

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Orange Flowers

A co-worker recently commissioned this piece, asking simply for 'Orange Flowers' because orange is her favorite color. I took a short break from painting while focusing on some other pieces of my life (Promotion! Grad School!), so it felt really good to paint these precious poppy-inspired flowers.

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A Few of My Favorites

In this season of giving, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite makers and creators to help with your shopping and gifting needs! Take a look at their pages for some great gift ideas!

Raw and Redeemed - My friend Christine makes beautiful reclaimed wood pieces: big, stunning pieces as well as smaller statement pieces (I have a sweet little "JOY" sign in my work cube). Check out her beautiful Tree of Life ornament - she has dedicated proceeds to help rescue young women from sex-trafficking. I can't wait to hang this on my tree!

Forai - I recently discovered this local group who trains refugee and immigrant women to make these beautiful pieces of jewelry. Today I am wearing a beautiful pair of turquoise drop earrings. I always get lots of compliments on these when I wear them!

Made for Freedom - MFF helps empower women through micro-loans to encourage small business and independence. But they also have an emphasis on ethical fashion, recognizing the power of the clothing industry to stop human trafficking. Check out their signature Creabeli pants for your favorite fashionista.

Sadly Harmless - These fun, whimsical prints are fabulous art work! I have been collecting the shadow boxes for several years - just waiting to add this lovely owl to my collection. I love the power of color and detail in these pieces.

Check Out the Store!

I'm adding fun new pieces to the store every day - check it out! And if you see anything but maybe it isn't in quite the right shade for your hometown team... please feel free to reach out to me and see if a different color can be done. For most of my pieces, some customization is possible. Send me an email at heather@heathersparkman.com and we can chat about possibilities.

Happy Shopping!

Doing Something Badly

Back during the summer, my good friend Emily asked me to do a special lettering piece for her new home. Emily and her husband really love the author G.K. Chesterton, and wanted to a piece of art featuring his quote "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly." Such a wonderful reminder, for those of us who are creative, that just because something did not turn out "right" on the first go does not mean it is without worth.

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Detail of the third and final attempt.

Which is why it was appropriate that this piece took three tries to get the look right. Initially, I had an idea of paint splats surrounding the text; but my first pass had lettering that was too widely spaced and the power of the quote felt scattered on the page. I let the piece sit for a couple of months as I started a new class in August, but recently I had time to come back to the concept. Reviewing the first attempt, I decided to start over: and created an absolute mess. It was a really interesting to see how different paints and different techniques don't work together. I had tried blotting a lot of the metallic paint to give a worn effect, but instead I built layers of color that began to look a bit too much like... blood. I had wanted the piece to feel worn and worked over... as though the artist had be trying and trying to master some skill.

On my third try, I decided to start with the lettering again, and while I know I can grow in this area, I was pleased with the consistency and spacing. I then put down copper and rust colored paints to look more like a spill across the page rather than a blot or large splatter, with tinges of pink and green and orange. I think this shape allows the eye to travel and balance the piece, but was also more of an achievable effect to build. The colors were chosen to fit my friend's home decor, but are not so dark that they will get lost in the corner.

I believe that the journey to creating a good piece of art is a mixture of intent and planning, but also letting the materials speak for themselves. As a friend recently said, sometimes you have to know when to let a piece go. Even when that means letting go several times over.

Full Piece - Commission of Emily Tipping

Full Piece - Commission of Emily Tipping

Welcome!

My website is live today!

I feel no small amount of trepidation as I set out on this journey of sharing my work with the world. I have had wonderful friends and supportive family who have been cheerleaders along the way, and so this new leap owes a great deal to them. Thank you.

Take a look around and I hope you enjoy!

Heather

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