Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Artwork - Need Suggestions for Saying

As part of my decision to begin sharing some other parts of my life beyond just my dogs I thought I would start with asking for your help with a little something.

First,  some back ground.  Those of you familiar with the decorative painting world may recognize my books.  It has been long time since I had one published.   It has taken me a while to get the creative juices running again.

I had to quit painting years ago when I was faced with divorce from my first husband.  As a single mom raising three kids alone, there was no time to paint.  I went to work outside of the home, my spare time dedicated to my chronically ill daughter and two sons.  Depression kicked my butt for many years - smashing creativity to its knees.  Somewhere emotionally I felt like I didn't deserve painting anymore & shoved that identity down deep.  Things are changing for me.  Five years ago I married again, the kids are older and I have more time.  Especially since I have been on the 'funemployment' vacation I am beginning to feel like I can start to paint & create again in earnest. 

My pen name is Carolyn Altona.   My last book was published in 2000 (My doG has it been that long?).  No wonder I have gray hair.  Here is a link to my last book available Heart of the Home Volume III.

A while back my publisher went out of business.  The bottom fell out of decorative painting when scrapbooking came into vogue.  The import market also contributed to its demise.   I have  been offered a contract for three more books with another publisher - but haven't had the time to complete the volume of designs required for each book.  It isn't just the design, but the directions & patterns that need to accompany each design.  Very labor intensive.  I am on the fence about releasing another series of books or just stick to licensing my designs for prints - which will not require me to write directions.

That said...I was hoping to get your help on a little something.  I am stuck on one of my pieces.  The design is essentially complete & will be finished by adding the 'saying' and antiquing.

What I am stuck on is the saying.

Originally I designed this piece to say "Cant sleep?  Don't count sheep, talk to the Shepherd".   Which explains the night time sky and angel.  If I can figure out some way to make the saying fit on that banner...I may stick with it.  But it just doesn't feel right. 

I think it is toooooooo long.  (click on picture for larger view)

I love these cheeky little sheep.  I know they are not realistic - but my style is between primitive, folk art and ...well...cartoon (for lack of a better word).   I stopped myself from putting bows around their necks.  Be glad for that.

I think I am going to put a little border collie in peeking over the hill.  

Here is a closer view of the angel.  She is holding the banner in the sky.  Don't all angels hang around in the skies above flocks of sheep with banners?  Maybe she will get a mouth before I am finished.  I think she needs a little attitude

What isn't visible in these pictures is her hair.  I did it with multiple layers of metallic gold paint.  After the antiquing is applied - it will deepen the regular yellow/gold paint and the metallic will 'pop'.  Her halo is done the same way.  She isn't done yet...don't judge her to harshly, she is a simple rustic angel.  

She needs a saying on her banner.  That is where you come in.

What do you think?  I need a saying related to sheep.  Can you think of anything? 

As you can see I love to put sayings in my pieces.  The following are new unpublished designs.

I love to paint bears...if you can't tell.  (close up follows)  "Peace to Your Heart" © Carolyn Altona / Carolynn Harwell

 Here is another design with a saying (the lighting is poor on this one - sorry).  Titled  "Best Friends" © Carolyn Altona / Carolynn Harwell

I love this saying.  I had to create a piece just for this saying...  "The End of the Day" © Carolyn Altona/Carolynn Harwell

Bears, sheep and quilts give me warm fuzzy feelings.  As you can see the sayings kinda go with the painting.  In this one, the bear and sheep are asleep.  Their day is done, looking forward to tomorrow - a fresh start.

I think I painted this one as a reminder to let things go.  Each day is a new opportunity to begin afresh.  I need to remember that instead of letting everything get me down.  Can't change the past, just move forward.

I digress...

So now it is your turn.  Do you have any suggestions for a saying I can paint on the angels banner?  Any and all suggestions are welcome!  She needs you to be complete.


Paws on the Run said...

I have no suggestions but those are AWESOME! I love the one with the sheep. You definitely need to add a little border collie, although I may be a bit biased about that!

DeltaBluez Tess said...

To Sleep- Count Sheep

kvale7727 said...

I love your painting. Please don't put a mouth on your angel, she's perfect the way she is. I love primitive! Sorry, no suggestions for a saying, I'm not creative at all.

Jodi said...

OMG! I LOVE these! In fact, I am going to need one for my new house!

Emma Rose said...

I am so humbled. Why did I ever think I could paint? WOW. Your designs are fabulous and girl you paint like a dream! The only thing that pops into mind for a saying is "Count Your Blessings" or "Counting My Blessings". I'll keep thinking about it. I am trying to come up with something about the flock. Adding the BC would be the perfect touch (of course you know we are biased in that regard).

Your comments about not feeling like you deserve to paint really hit home with me. Our home has a daylight basement with a complete one bedroom apartment on the lower floor. That is my painting studio. I have not picked up a brush for 2 years - having the same feelings you described. Also brought on by lifes ups and downs and depression. You are inspiring me to go downstairs and DO something. Just the smell of the room when I walk in can fill me with peace. It's a place I loved dearly. Maybe, just maybe, I'll at least dust!
Thanks Carolynn.


livin life said...

Angels watching over ewe


Hillcrest Border Collies said...

Wow, you do awesome work. I may have to talk to you about doing something like the first picture, but with a BC in it.
Good for you for getting back to what you love. Most people don't know each others talents outside of dogs.

Hillcrest Border Collies said...

I really like the saying that Livin Life wrote.

Raising Addie said...

WOW you are an amazing artist! Thank you for sharing your work! It's a shame that your talent was on hold for a while. It must feel wonderful to get back to it!

Chasing my tale...
Addie, Lucie and Hailey

amyinbc said...

You are so talented!

PoochesForPeace said...

Your paintings are amazing. You are truly talented in that you are able to make it hard to tell where one brush stroke ends and another begins.
For the saying, I think it would sound good to just put "Don't count sheep, talk to the shepard" because it's already assumed people "count sheep" when they're trying to sleep, so the saying would be just as complete without the "Can't sleep?" part.

Debra Kay said...

I am so glad to come across your blog when you are getting back in touch with your art-which is amazing.

I'd love to see a border collie too and maybe wings on the jumping sheep....then you could say something like

"Flying off to dreamland......"

Or "Love gives your dreams wings"

Anonymous said...

I used to paint folkish type stuff too, but divorce, single momness, and now dog agility, I haven't painted in a zillion years. I do water color painting with my 1st/2nd graders:)

You'd better write those books, so I can buy them and start painting again:)

sheepkelpie said...

WOW. You must do this, and more and more, and send some out east for craft shows- you could make a very good living with this. I am so impressed.
Angels watching over ewe... That's my ditty..

Lean said...

Wauwyyyyy lovely artwork you made.About the banner i think you are right,but it depance on the words you are going to use.
Sheep thrills!!!!..hihihi
bye bye,Lean.

BCxFour said...

Thank you for all the suggestions! I have to say I am partial to Lora's

"Angels Watching Over Ewe"

It gave me goosebumps.

Tristan and Braun said...

Hey, these paintings are AWESOME!!!! I'm so glad you are revisiting your talent and sharing all these great works with us. What a privilege! :)

It's better late than never! :)

Looking forward to more of these great works of art on this blog!

I love the bear paintings. Like you said, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside and I love that feeling :)

Life With Dogs said...

I think we are all in agreement, ewe have found it!

Pat A said...

I did not realize it was from your book but one of my paintings when I took classes had those bears in it.
I was lucky to have a teacher who also published but in packets and was an excellent teacher.
Painting helps me relax even if it is painting walls.
There is a font for those of us who cannot even draw a stick man but can tole paint that helps in lettering and as soon as I found it, I saved it on a disk so I would never loose it.

Tink said...

Ahhh! Kindred souls! So good to find I'm not alone. I too have a painting talent that is in retirement due to trauma like rape, assault and the consequences of somthing do ugly. I felt I should't be allowed to design beauty. My solitude/hermit room is filled with materials that are screaming to be used, but I can't still I keep buying new materials as ifone day I will work again. How silly. :-)

I was doing fine, letting my imagination run wild with that saying, until you wrote that the angel had to be ME. Ehrmmm me? Now here's the problem, if she's me she prolly would have a iPhone in her hand instead of a banner. Wich she probably would use displaying random sayings every couple of minutes produced by Google . I' too much of a she-nerd to be an angel with a banner. :-)