Sunday, January 29, 2017

My Free Valentine Gift to You

I've been pretty busy this past week working on a number of drawings to incorporate as Valentine Day cards.  I've managed to create 5 separate designs that I feel pretty pleased with.

Surrounding myself with all this pink and red has brought back some very old memories of my own childhood and I wondered just how many of you remember being sent home with the dreaded "CLASS LIST" of names and pressure to create your own unique Valentine Box that had to serve both as a card receptacle and a juried art piece on the day of the highly anticipated "Valentine Day Party."  Using only materials around the house, which mainly consisted of magazine clippings, construction paper and of course an old shoe box. Oh the stress that was put on kids in those days.  I mean do they still do "Valentine Boxes" in school?  I doubt not.  It has been phased out right along with cursive writing and math that makes sense.

There were always a couple of kids on the list that you just didn't want to give a card to but your mother insisted that you must.  I know I was guilty of sorting out the cards into piles; the cute cards in one pile for kids I liked or wanted to be friends with and then the not so pretty cards in a pile for those kids I didn't so much care for.  My friends might get two candied hearts and the rest would only get one in their envelope. I know you know what I'm talking about.

Then on the day of the party, there would be awards given to the best decorated box.  I guess because I already had the artist gene in my DNA, for me this was a serious competition.  Even at a young age I wasn't playing around with my Valentine Box.  I don't really recall off hand if I ever won any awards but I always gave it my best.

If only there had been Pinterest back in the stone ages of the 60's & 70's.  That would have been a game changer I'm sure.  So much creativity and awesome ideas just a few clicks of a keyboard away. I just typed in Valentine Card Shoe Box ideas and all I can say is "WOW".  I don't remember any of our boxes looking like those.

Now that I have strolled through memory lane, I guess it is time to return to 2017 and my studio.  Here is just a stack of cards I managed to put together just the other day.  I want to have a good supply for the different galleries that I have my art represented in.  I also made a number of the designs into 4 x 6 art magnets with they hope that they too will be a popular item for sale.  We shall see.

I ran a really fun contest this past week on my own personal Facebook page just to see which of the 5 designs would get the most votes.  I announced that I was planning on making a free Valentine gift of the most popular design as a printable download on my blog.  I was very happy with the number of friends that actually participated.  The design that I thought would win was that of the pig but to my pleasant surprise, the "Puppy Love" design got the most votes.  This is actually a drawing I did of my granddaughter and her giant doberman Odin.  So I was equally pleased that was the design that won.

So here is my Valentine Gift to You- My original artwork in a Downloadable format.  I just ask that you drop me a thank you comment if you decided to print it out.  I would love to hear from you.

A Free Printable Valentine Postcard

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Scraps of RED & PINK Fun all Over the Kitchen Table

Last night I got a chance to EMBRACE MY CREATIVE SIDE and put together a couple of Valentine Cards using my own design that I sketched out this week.  I've never been a "Crafty" person or a "Card" giving or receiving kind of person, but I do LOVE making my own cards.  I've seen some really elaborate homemade cards and mind don't really rise to that level yet, I still have fun making them.

I use the package of blank white cards and envelopes that are 5 x 6.5 inches.  The package contains 50 cards and envelopes and can be bought at both Michaels or Hobby Lobby for $9.99.  Yesterday, I was so happy to find them on 50% off at Hobby Lobby.  I stocked up my studio supply.

I also spotted the cutest little metal ant decoration that has a bobble head and giant buggy eyes.  I couldn't resist adding him as a permanent resident in my entryway candy dish.  He is so grandchild friendly this little guy makes a  perfect addition to my Valentine Decorations this year.

So today I'm planning studio time to work on finishing up a number of cards so that I can take them with my next week to add to my gallery inventory at Boulder City Art Gallery and at City of the World Gallery in Las Vegas.  I have one more design I'm hoping to complete and add to my card selection this weekend that features a cute little bee.  Like my Studio Facebook Page if you want to keep up with my latest artwork. JULIE TOWNSEND STUDIO FACEBOOK PAGE

Making these cards turned out to be so much fun and so I decided that I would use Valentine Cards as a good next art project to do with my preschool grandchildren.  I found a cute Valentine Craft  kit with 12 ladybugs while shopping at Hobby Lobby and so I decided that I could handle a 2 and 4 year old with a glue stick.  I let them put together one ladybug each and attach it to my blank greeting card stock.  I cut out a background piece from a sheet of red and white polka dot card stock that I had on hand and a package of valentine stamps made up all the supplies I needed.  I did any cutting that was necessary and the rest was just guidance.  They turned out really cute and my tiny granddaughter was so pleased to be included this time in "DOING ART" with grandma.

With Grandpas help, I let these two little darlings make 2 cards each.  After all the pieces were attached they both could stamp as many ink Kissy Lips and Hearts as they wanted on their card to decorate them even more.  I think by looking at the smiling faces of these two love bugs you can see that this Grandma activity was a success BIG hit!

(No ladybugs were actually harmed in the execution of this art project)


Monday, January 16, 2017

Team Townsend Shining Bright in 2017

Organic Apple Orchard- Elgin, Nevada
Team Townsend is a creative lot.  With each of us there is a definite creative bent that is both diverse and obvious. I am very blessed and thankful for this creativity in our lives.  I love my grown children and am so proud of the adults they have become.  I can't wait to see the talents that my growing number of grandchildren will develop.

Now, as for myself,  I'm an artist in the drawing, painting sense.  I have always loved to create art but denied that part of my being for almost 30 years.  I had pushed it so far down inside of me with busyness and responsibilities that I had almost forgotten how to create but with discipline and resolve I have resurrected that joy in my life and have a studio full of artwork, hang in multiple galleries and am just starting to enjoy small steady sales.  You can check out my website at  I'm also have Ebay and Etsy stores that feature my work along with Instagram.

Butterfly on Orange Bells - my backyard
Wild Stallion- Near Goldfield, Nevada
My husband and I really don't know that much about photography and we own a camera that is pretty near the bottom of the camera ladder.  It's a  Canon Rebel EOS T2i,  but I can say that we have a lot of fun pretending to know what we are doing.  We even invested in a pretty good zoom lens (a Sigma 150-600mm)  Now when we hook that bad boy up to our camera body I'm pretty sure that to the casual observer we look like we might just know what we are doing.

We do occasional luck out and take some shots that I think are very worthy of being considered art and these three photos I have just recently added to my Ebay store to see just how they do there.

Let me introduce you to some other members of "Team Townsend".  Our oldest son Jared has his PhD in Molecular Biology so he is a classic brainiac, but he is also an excellent writer and can hold his own in the art department.  I have seen some of his sketches, and they are impressive.  He just hasn't decided that he has the time to really develop that in his life I guess.

Our youngest son, Jon is very artistic, a talented welder and is extremely mechanical.  Just like his dad he can tear apart nearly anything with confidence and just has an uncanny ability to understand how it works.  I will be sharing more of their creative contributions hopefully in the near future here on this blog.

But today it is our 2nd son, Jason that I am focusing on. God has blessed this boy with some real artistic talent.  First, he is musically talented and can play a number of instruments and all by ear.  I'm always in amazement when I hear him play the piano or his guitar. Where did that come from?  None of us even realized his abilities until he was high school.  Of course growing up I could never get him to sit still for more than 2 minutes at a time.

Secondly, he is a very talented photographer.  He is what you would call a true professional.  He has studied his craft and produces amazing shots.  His main focus is on portraits and weddings but he sure takes some great photos of my two adorable grandchildren. He gets a great deal of practice on those action shots keeping up with those two boys.  Check out his website at Jason Townsend Photography

Here are just a few of my favorite photos that he has recently taken:

I know this is my grandsons but this composition is SO MUCH MORE than just another family photo.  There is a strong emotion, innocence and stirring of childhood memories that will impact many.  If this doesn't say "Merry Christmas" I don't know what does.

This photo was taken just in the past week after the Albany Georgia area was affected by a strong storm cell which included a tornado touch down.  My son helped his neighbors with clean up efforts but had time to snap this very powerful picture.

What can I say about this amazing photo except, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  Matthew 7:7 (KJV)

The world is full of endless possibilities when you are just a child.  These two look as if they are looking to a bright future.  Lord Bless the United States of America and make her strong again.  Heal and revive us so that once again our children and grandchildren have a bright future to grow up in. That is the prayer of my heart.  Amen!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Be Ready to Answer When Opportunity Knocks at Grandma's Door

It doesn't happen to often.  Getting the cousins together and building joint memories with Grandma.  Busy lives and 450 miles a part add to that challenge.  I think Grandmas are a vital part to having fun with cousins time.  After all, Grandma's house is a common destination.  A place where a bond can develop that can result in  your grandchildren's hearts tightly tied together.
I had 8 first cousins and all were from my dad's side of the family.  My brother, sister and I were the youngest of my Granny's 11 grandchildren.  Looking back, I feel there were so much more that perhaps could have been done to develop a bond between us.  I regret as adults we didn't share more of our lives together.  I'm not saying that my Granny was at fault but she just didn't seem to be a unifying force.   So last week when the opportunity presented itself for me to have my beautiful granddaughter visit from out of town, I was ready to seize the moment and make that grandma memory.  The secret here is preparation and a plan.

I had done my research and had picked out an art project that I thought would be perfect for this age group.  I had even done a practice run on this little project I had in mind to make sure that I had the confidence to pull it off with 4 years old x 2 and I am so pleased at how the final art project turned out.  You can see when you look at the photo of these precious little one and the happiness and pride they feel as they hold up their finished artwork.

My kitchen table offered the perfect art room because it was large and there is plenty of light.  I made sure to spread out an old vinyl tablecloth that it would matter if a little more paint got applied here or there.  I pulled out some old T-shirt of mine to cover their clothes because Grandma doesn't want to get on their parents bad side.  Finish it off with a mug of hot chocolate complete with marshmallows and we were ready to get down to making art!

I let them pick their color schemes and just helped put out the paint for them on their paper plate palettes.  We used 9 x 9 stretched canvas that I had taped their initials and made a border around the edges.  All they had to do was dip their cotton Q-tip swab paint brush into the color of their choice and dab away.  When the canvas was sufficiently covered with paint we only had to wait for it to dry.  The kids really looked surprised as they pulled off the tape to reveal a clean, crisp edge and a sharp border.  When they completely dry I applied a coating of acrylic varnish with a foam brush to seal the canvas and give it a shiny appearance.  We then installed d-rings and hanging wire to complete the project.

These great pieces of personalized artwork look great when they were finished and were all ready for dad or mom to hang in their rooms.  I made sure and wrote on the back, "Made art with Grandma on 12/28/16".

Intently focused on adding his second color choice

For the best result the edges of the tape need to be completely covered with lots of pink!