Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Open Studios is Back!

Once again, it is time for the annual Greenville Open Studios tour. Currently, 140 artists across Greenville are frantically trying to get their studios into presentable shape for the crowds of curious art viewers. I really enjoy this weekend every year, and the weather promises to be beautiful and fall like. Come on down to the river and see me and my fellow artists.

I will be open the following hours durning Open Studios:
Friday, November 2, 6-9pm
Saturday, November 3, 10am-6pm
Sunday, November 4, 12-6pm

For more information on all the artists participating, to see the maps of studio locations, or to download the Open Studios app,  visit

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lady in Gold

12"x 12"
Acrylic on Canvas

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lady in Blue

Following the popularity of the piece I painted live at the Fashion on the Town event a couple of weeks ago, I decided to paint a few smaller pieces in a similar style. This is one of four ladies that I painted this past weekend. This fancy lady is soon to be hanging in the "Fair and Square" show at the Metropolitan Arts Council Gallery, running from October 26- December 3. This show features a 12"x 12" (x 12") piece from the 140 artists participating in this year's Open Studios tour. The tour happens November 2,3, &4. For more info, visit

Monday, October 15, 2012

Inspiration Monday: The mind of a 4th grader

I have been teaching my 4th grade art classes about Frida Kahlo. Last week, we looked at a portrait she did of herself and Diego Rivera following their wedding. We discussed her Mexican dress, the traditional way she had her hair braided on top of her head, and how happy she must have felt.

We also looked at one of Kahlo's last self portraits. She looked sick and sad, and the kids noticed that her dress was not as bright and her hair was loose on her shoulders.

For school, I usually wear my hair pulled back to keep it out of my way. (Those of you who know me know that I have a LOT of hair.) But this morning I left it down. One of my kids, as she walked in the room, said "your hair looks different, Ms. Clarke." I said that was probably because I had left it down. Another student followed that comment with, "is it because you are sad?"

I love how the mind of a 4th grader works. How many adults would have connected my hair being down with a portrait of Frida Kahlo, and wondered if we shared the same emotion because of it?

On a separate note, a student in my next class told me that maybe when I was dead students would study my work...


Thursday, October 11, 2012

All Cleaned up

Hey friends! I have spent the past couple of days cleaning up the studio in preparation for this weekend's Fall for Greenville festivities and for Open Studios, coming November 2-4. Once you've stuffed yourself with all the good food at Fall for Greenville this weekend drop by and see me. And, mark your calendar for this year's Open Studios tour. I will have all the paper dolls on display, and may even do a sale. You don't want to miss the fun!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Painting on the Town

24"x 24"
Acrylic on Canvas

I mentioned on Tuesday that I would be painting live at the VIP night for Fashion on the Town at The Lazy Goat here in Greenville. Fashion on the Town continues today and tomorrow, and the VIP event was a pretty big affair. Above is the piece I painted during the event. I am pretty happy with the outcome. It captured the energy of the night, and is very much an Emily piece.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Getting back in gear

Sometimes following a show I have a hard time getting back in the normal swing of things. I spend weeks getting everything ready and organized, do the event, and then crash at the end of it. I took part of last week off following Art in the Park the previous weekend. This week has gotten off to a slow, creaking start, but the gears are once again moving. Most of the art from the show is still in boxes or leaning up against the wall, but I have gotten a few things back in place.

Here's another look at that piece in progress that I posted a few weeks ago. I am still loving it, which is good. I am not sure yet what the background should look like. I am leaning towards doing a scene around her, as if she is strolling through town. I think I might do it in muted colors, though, so that the dress doesn't get lost in it.

Any Greenville folks planning to be at the VIP party for Fashion on the Town tomorrow night at The Lazy Goat? I will be at the event painting live. Come see me!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Art in the Park is coming!

This weekend on Main St. in downtown Greenville!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Fun and Flirty (and 800)

8 1/2"x 11"
Watercolor and ink on cardstock

I found a photo of this dress in a book recently, and fell in love with it. It is from the 1920's, and seems to have an elegance, combined with the fun loving flapper attitude. I imagine this little gal is going to a fancy party that will dissolve into a bit of mischief as the evening wears on.

Oh, and yesterday's post was my 800th. That seemed worth noting.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Walking Away

8 1/2"x 11"
Watercolor and ink on cardstock
I don't know why anyone decided that a big pouffy extension to a woman's backside would be attractive, but it sure does make for a dramatic exit, doesn't it?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Already in love

I love this piece already, and it is only a sketch on a canvas. I decided I wanted to do a larger oil paint version of yesterday's walking dress, so I quickly sketched this gal on a 16"x 20" canvas. It makes me nervous, though, when I like paintings this early on in the process. Usually, as long as I am fairly happy with the sketch, I will start the painting, changing things as I go along until I love it. But, when I love a piece from the very beginning, as much as I love this one, I get hesitant to paint over the sketch.

Well, here's to bravely going forward, even if I might mess things up in the process.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Dress just for Walking

8 1/2"x 11"
Ink and Watercolor on cardstock

It's too bad we don't have things like walking dresses any more. We just have "jogging clothes" which are not nearly as glamorous. Imagine having a dress specifically for walking around town, perhaps doing some shopping, and calling on your neighbors. I imagine the motion of this skirt around your legs as you strolled through the streets was beautiful.


Making paint

My great-grandmother used to paint china. She spent most of her last years painting and taking care of my great-grandfather. It is a huge understatement to say that she painted a lot of china. Any of my relatives on that side of the family who may be reading this are probably looking around the room at their own tea sets, lamps, serving pieces, full 12 piece place settings, jewelry boxes, and other pieces, all hand painted by Nana, and are nodding in agreement that, yes, there are a lot of pieces.

I have had Nana's box of powder pigments for years, but never thought of doing anything with them until recently. Today I pulled out the linseed oil and pallet knives and have been playing with mixing the pigments into paints. Here are a few pics from my first mixing experiment, plus a little 2.5" x 3.5" paper doll dress I painted from the results.

Any of you have any experience mixing paints from pigments? Tips or tricks?


Monday, September 10, 2012

Inspiration Monday: Anu Samar├╝├╝tel

I came across Anu Samaruutel's work on I Love Illustration, a blog that focuses on fashion illustrators. Samaruutel's work, painted in acrylic on paper, is so bold and bright and unique. I simply love looking at them. Wouldn't you love to have a huge painting like this on your wall? Click on the source link above to see more examples of this artist's work.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Behind a Mask

6"x 6"
Oil and Acrylic on wood

This is another piece in what I am calling my Masquerade series. I love the black and white dresses, and the mask adds even more to the anonymity. You don't see the girl at all. All you see is her dress and her mask. She could be anyone at all.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

At the Ball

6"x 6"
Oil and Acrylic on wood

I finished reading a book last night (The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. If you haven't read it, you really should!), and my head was filled with images of beautiful flowing ball gowns with huge rustling skirts. I make my paper dolls for a lot of reasons, which I have talked about on occasion, but a big reason I make them is because I love pretty dresses. 

Sometimes I like to escape from my everyday life of work, blogging, teaching, paying bills, jeans and t-shirts, and running errands, and jump instead head first into a world of gorgeous gowns and the unexpected. The girl wearing this dress is not concerned about whether she will have enough time to go to the gas station before class, or about finding the right health insurance. Much more mysterious and beautiful things will happen to her in this dress. (Although, she is probably concerned with not fainting because her corset is too tight, and not knocking down anything with her bustle, but besides that, her life is magical.)