Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Process of a Large Paper Cut

For my upcoming solo show at the Bay County Public Library, they requested large art to fill their walls.  So large art it is!  I am still working on this paper cut that is approximately 30" x 52".  My idea required references of long, long hair.  Luckily, one of my most faithful Figure Drawing students, and now Guided Open Studio student, has long, beautiful hair, and was excited to model for reference photos.  It was an interesting photo shoot, in which she laid on the floor and I played with her hair for a while to make it look weightless and free.

I don't think I'll be posting full photos of this piece once it's finished, because I want you to see it live in person at my solo show in March!  So this is all you get for images of it for now!

 On Friday Mat, Madeline, Charlie and I will be driving 16+ hours to my parents' house in Northern Virginia for the holidays.  Maybe we'll see snow!?  But not during the drive, that's not allowed this time.

Green Tip #10: Reusable fabric gift wrapping.  For years we have been wrapping all of our gifts to people in fabric, often tied with ribbon.  In my opinion, it looks much more interesting and elegant than regular wrapping paper.  AND it's reusable!  You can go to your local fabric store and stock up on the discounted scraps with a variety of colors and patterns.  No giant bags full of wasted paper, no re-buying wrapping paper, no tiny scraps to clean up.  Fabric wrapping is fun, easy, pretty, and eco-friendly!

Happy holidays everyone!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Art for Music and Old Friends

Recently a few of my friends from high school in Virginia asked me if I would create a piece of art for their band's next album cover.  Excited at the opportunity for collaboration and creating a piece inspired by specific music, I said yes.  

Their band is called "The Silent Few" and their upcoming album (releasing in early 2013) will be called "Distance." I was so impressed with their music.  I listened to it quite a bit to get a feel for it, then a lot more for making sketches.  I let the music flow into my subconscious, and sketched intuitively.  The gears, the bird, the lines and circles, all just felt naturally fitting with the music.  To me, the paper cut captures some of the mood created by their music.  This paper cut is uniquely different from my previous ones, partially because it is not necessarily part of the same theme.  It is also different because I wanted the cut to be more closely related to the free-flowing sketch.  This is also the first paper cut that has a stronger emphasis on background color.  I played around with watercolors and masking fluid to create an atmosphere for the paper cut to live within.

Here is their website where you can listen to a few of their songs: www.thesilentfew.com

And here is the paper cut:

"Silent Few" hand-cut paper, 12"x12", 2012, by Heather Clements

Here it is with cut-out words added for the album:

A shot of the paper cut in progress:
"The Silent Few" process shot, hand-cut paper.

My very loose sketches reacting to the music:

And some detail shots of the finished piece:

 This will actually be the second album featuring my art as a cover.  Earlier this year, the band Honeylark from Oklahoma City, licensed an image of my art to use for their next album cover and merchandise.  My art is even the main image on their website!  Once that album is out, I will post an image of it.  Until then, click on the link and check out their music!

Inspiration Source #9:  Elsa Mora.  I think I owe my start in fine art paper cutting to Elsa Mora, and my friend Carrie.  Shortly after I finished creating 350+ paper flowers for the Visual Arts Center, Carrie sent me a link to Elsa Mora's blog about paper cutting.  I fell head-over-heels in love with the medium, and with Elsa's work.  Here is one of her cuts, my favorite by her:

Her website about paper art: All About Paper Cutting
Her main blog: Elsa Mora

Thank you for the visit!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Larkspur: Beautiful Spirit

We often forget that we ARE nature.  Nature is not a separate entity.  When we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we have really lost our connection to ourselves.

My latest art is about rediscovering that beautiful connection that can make us feel whole again.

Here is the latest: "Larkspur: Beautiful Spirit."  Beautiful Spirit is a meaning attached to the Larkspur flower, the flower depicted in this work.

"Larkspur: Beautiful Spirit" hand-cut paper, 16"x20", by Heather Clements.

Here is the sketch I started with on the back of the paper.  The back of the black paper is an off-white.

And here is the back of the finished paper cut.

Back of black paper cut, "Larkspur: Beautiful Spirit" by Heather Clements.
 I love shadows.

Here are some detail shots:

 Green Tip #9:  Plant native plants.  Once a native plant is established it doesn't need to be watered or fertilized.  That's good for the planet AND saves you time, effort, and money.  Many native plants are enjoyed by birds, butterflies, and other wildlife, leaving you the pleasure of watching these creatures in your own backyard.  Native plants have developed a resistance to the insects and diseases common to the area so will maintain health without intervention.  You will be replacing lost food and habitat for native wildlife of all kinds.  It just makes sense to have the plants that have evolved to live in your area successfully, without all the time, money, water, fertilizers, pesticides and more that come with importing foreign species.  You will be helping to bring a bit of ecological balance back to the small piece of planet you inhabit.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Happens to Art After it's Finished

I have no new art to show you, partially because my wrist has been hurting (again again again again.)  But I assure you I have been sketching and pondering on my next paper cut.  So since I can't give you a blog post without any images, here is a painting from 2010.

"Boxes: Self Portrait" (detail) Oil on wood,  28"x28", by Heather Clements, 2010.

"Boxes: Self Portrait" Oil on wood,  28"x28", by Heather Clements, 2010.

Most professional artists today would tell you that they spend about half of their time making art, and the other half is dedicated to the business side of it all.  It should be pointed out that by professional artist, I mean someone who makes a living from their art.  I can't just create art and then close my eyes tight to hope that someone will magically want to buy it.  I'm stilling growing as a professional artist, but I have started to set certain routines that have been very beneficial.

Today, I thought I would share with you just one part of the business side of being an artist.

The journey of a piece of art after I finish it:

  • Come up with a title
  • Photograph artwork, including detail shots
  • Frame artwork
  • Attach title and artist information on the back of the frame
  • Photograph artwork with frame
  • Edit Photos in Photoshop
  • Save full artwork image in 3 different sizes (one full size, one for internet use, and one for inventory list)
  • Save detail image(s), save framed image
  • Price (There is a formula for this)
  • Add to personal inventory list with image, title, size, date, medium, price, hours, cost, etc.
  • Blog about it
  • Share blog on Facebook and Twitter
  • Add it to Flickr page
  • Add to Facebook page album
  • Add to Etsy (sometimes)

I think that's about it, although I feel like I may be missing one or two small things.  Then, of course, every time that piece of art goes to a different gallery or exhibit, the place and duration is added to its section of the inventory list.  Every piece on my inventory sheet has "Currently at ______" so that I know where every piece is at any given time.  Once a piece is sold, the date, income, and buyer information is also added to the inventory.

So there you have it.  In short, each work of art is titled, priced, photographed, documented, and shared.  When you make as much art as I do, you have to be super organized.

Inspiration Source #8: Yes! Magazine.  Yes! Magazine reframes the biggest problems of our time in terms of their solutions.  Online and in print, they outline a path forward with in-depth analysis, tools for citizen engagement, and stories about real people working for a better world.  It is a non-profit, and is payed for by subscriptions and donations, so advertisers have no influence on the content, and the magazine is ad-free!  Through powerful ideas and practical actions, Yes! Magazine is always an inspiration for me.  I highly suggest you check out their website and become a subscriber.  www.yesmagazine.org

Thank you for the read,


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hibiscus Silkscreen Print and A Commitment Celebration

For a while I have wanted to create a silkscreen print of one of my papercuts.  The stark black and white lends itself well to crossing over to the medium of printmaking.  I chose to make prints of the image of "Hibiscus: Delicate Beauty."  This was a small run, each print is 11"x14", and just $35.  Contact me if you would like one!

For this print, I used drawing fluid to paint the image onto the screen.  Here is a shot of the process:

On a more personal note, Mat and I had our Commitment Celebration!  All the decorations were made out of.... you guessed it, paper cuts!  We were fortunate enough to have gorgeous weather.  That day was absolutely beautiful, and truly one of the happiest days of my life.  Really.  We were so happy to be able to share our love with our closest friends and family.  Here are just a few photos:

Photo by Desiree Gardner

Photo by Jef Logsdon

Photo by Desiree Gardner

Photo by Desiree Gardner

Photo by Desiree Gardner

Photo by Desiree Gardner

Thank you for stopping by!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Nude Paper Cuts, Half Off Art, and Guided Open Studio

Tomorrow from 4-6pm is the 2nd reception for "Clothing Optional" at CityArts Cooperative.  To entice you to visit, I am sharing a few more images of my nude paper cuts.

"Back with a Twist"  hand-cut paper, 8"x10", by Heather Clements

"Leg Twist" hand-cut paper, 8"x10", by Heather Clements

"Pondering Man" hand-cut paper, 8"x10", by Heather Clements

"Sitting Pretty" hand-cut paper, 8"x10", by Heather Clements. *SOLD

Of course, there are going to be MANY reasons to come to CityArts Cooperative tomorrow.  Tomorrow from 11-6 is the 7th Annual Half Off Art Show.  Over 40 artists are participating, selling their work for 50% off!  The gallery is currently PACKED with art: paintings, drawings, photographs, ceramics, jewelry, prints, paper-cuts, and more.  Get some early holiday shopping in, buy some for yourself, for someone's birthday, or buy just because you love the art!

AND there will be an auction of the art bra's at 5:00 with all the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society!

I have one more exciting announcement: I will be teaching a new class starting in October!

Artists can come and bring art that they are working on, in any medium, and receive advice on technique, concept, and direction.  This class is loosely modeled after my own Junior and Senior Thesis classes from art school.  I won't give assignments because the art for this class is your own.  I will be there to help you grow as an individual artist.

You may feel free to bring in art to work on, or simply bring your art to receive in-depth critiques.

As the class progresses, I would like to encourage other students to give feedback as well.

In the future, I plan on asking other local artists to guest-teach on occasion.

Super-cool, right?

Green Tip #8: Go Outside. In order to take any action towards helping any cause, your first have to care.  Before you can care, you familiarize yourself with the situation.  So I realize it is difficult for some people to care about the natural world when they spend the majority of their time cut off from it, indoors.  So go outside.  Go on a hike through the woods, go to the beach, go swimming in a creek, go canoeing down a river, camp outside amongst the trees, sit on the grass in your own backyard.  I guarantee if you spend enough time immersed in the natural environment, your appreciation and connection will grow.

Thank you for the visit!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Dream Studio... Complete!

It's FINISHED!!!!  MY DREAM STUDIO IS COMPLETE.  ((Okay, it's almost finished.  All it needs is a door latch and the corner of the table rounded so I don't impale myself one day.))  But it is complete enough for me to be more than satisfied, more than happy, just ECSTATIC.  Let us revel in the beauty and glory that is my dream studio:

On the right you will see one of the newest additions: a table with a storage shelf.

And here is the other new addition on the left, a large shelf for large vertical storage of large art and supplies.

Let me remind you how this space looked when we first moved in:

 And here is the exact same corner of the room now:

If you have been following the blog for a while, you'll know that we have been slowly working on making this into the dream studio for over a year now.  My amazing soon-to-be-unoffical-husband Mat, and his father Xelle have helped soooo much.  I also would not have been able to afford this awesome face-lift had it not been for all of you out there who have supported my endeavors via buying art, commissioning art, taking classes, and helping me promote.  So if any of that applies to you, THANK YOU!!!  I walked the fine financial balance of "how can I make this as cheap as possible while still keeping it good quality?"  And just over $1,100 later, I think I did a pretty good job, considering all of the following renovations:

  • installed roof insulation
  • put in ceiling
  • installed track lighting
  • flat file added
  • floor raised and leveled
  • painted ceiling
  • added insulation and paneled walls
  • added floor, ceiling, corner, door, and window trim
  • painted walls, doors, and all trim
  • bought art supply storage cabinet (just $60 at Goodwill!)
  • vinyl flooring put down
  • added outlet for air conditioning unit
  • built shelves for verticle storage (canvases, paintings, etc.)
  • built table/counter with shelf storage
  • painted shelving and table/counter
  • bought area rug (hand-made from factory scraps and super cheap)

Phew!  All of that took up a lot of weekends with Mat and Xelle, and at least 15 full days of me working on my own.

I can't believe how fortunate I am to be able to live off of my passion, and now in such a warm and beautiful environment.  Fortunate, but with lots of hard work and help.  I couldn't be happier.

So if you would like to visit the studio, see lots of art (I have more stored that you cannot see in the photos,) and maybe talk art, please let me know.  Hit that 'Contact Me' tab at the top of the blog.

Inspiration Source #7: "Planet Earth" and "Life."  Each series is by the Discovery Channel and the BBC.  Many of you who may read my green tips may think "Jeez, what's so great about other life on this planet that I should do anything to help preserve it?"  Well, watch "Planet Earth" and "Life" and I guarantee it will all make much more sense.  Every episode of these is phenomenally breath-taking and awe-inspiring.  I can't express the amazement you will experience at all of the completely unique and fascinating landscapes and creatures on our very own planet.  If I could only own two DVDs (or DVD sets) they would be these.  They still give me chills and I could watch them over and over.

When you do buy or rent these, definitely get the versions narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

Thank you for your visit!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Using Art Powers for Good

My superpower is art.  But 'with great power comes great responsibility.'  (I think that's from Spiderman... but originally from Voltaire.)  I choose to use my powers for good.

Tony Simmons, a great local writer and promoter of all things local and awesome, came into CityArts and asked if any of our artists would be willing to create a bra for PanamaCity.com's 'Making Strides Against Breast Cancer' team to enter into next week’s “Battle of the Bras.”  The deadline was fast approaching, but Heather Parker and myself, said yes.

Not exactly a surprise, but I have never made an art bra before.  I was afraid and excited by the challenge.  I won't go into all the details because you can read the full article about our art bras here.

Here is photographer Andrew Wardlow taking the amazing shots for the cover of PanamaCity.com's print version in the News Herald from last Friday.

Our models were the lovely Jamie Sasser (left, modeling Heather Parker's bra) and Samantha Neeley (right, modeling my bra.)

And here it is in print!

And don't miss the video where I am completely caught off guard and attempt to say something at least somewhat intelligent for the camera.


As you can tell from the many links above, a lot of people are involved in this - all for a good cause.

My bra was chosen to be the official bra for PanamaCity.com in the Battle of the Bras that will take place September 6th at the Grand Theatre in Pier Park.   A 6:30 p.m. presentation in the theater will be followed by the battle, when a member of each team will strut the catwalk in a 15-minute fashion show, showing off each bedazzling entry. Survivors of the disease will decide which team created the best looking bra.  More info on that here.

The bras will then be auctioned to raise money for the American Cancer Society during the CityArts annual half-off sale, which coincides with our artists’ reception for the current “Clothing Optional” exhibit. The reception is 4-6 p.m. Sept. 15, and the auction will be at 5 p.m.

Green Tip #7:  Ditch paper sticky notes, and just use your   computer.  Most of us have to-do lists, quick phone numbers, dates, and other little reminders that we need to write down quickly and then keep for the near future.  Why waste paper when your computer is probably right in front of you?  Most computers have a notepad or sticky note program.  You can leave them on your desktop so they won't go away and be forgotten.  Think of how many trees are cut down for sticky notes.  One of the benefits of technology is less paper, take advantage of it.

Thank you for reading!