Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring born of Winter

This month's artwork is an observation of the seasons changing, with Spring hitting while the Winter we didn't have much of still tries to hold on with grasping claws. While everyone is raring at the bit for warm weather, I'm wondering why we didn't get more snow here in Alexandria. Suffice to say, I have taken advantage of the good weather with some day trips, dog park visits and even a concert or two. The following encapsulates the active experience and mood of this time. 

Off Season is a digital abstract work which celebrates a recent balmy February (!!) day in Ocean City, Maryland. The rides loom in the distance like the shadow of a distant memory of Summer, but with the thought that the best Summer is yet to come. The beach remains, frequented by more dogs than people, and even in February, kids are allowed to be kids there. It is at once dreamy and typical of Winter light. For me, the Boardwalk is a sentimental place. I look forward to returning when the Ferris Wheel is open, and I get to see kids experiencing the same age old joy. 

Off Season

Off Season, Ocean City, Maryland artwork from Susan Phillips Hicks

For more Ocean City, Maryland, how could I pass up a photo op of the Ocean Gallery landmark on the boardwalk? Once you've seen this place, you never quite forget it. There is lots of art, and barely any room to move. Just like the exterior walls, which are so filled with signage that a bird couldn't even roost. You have to admire the quirky advertising, and confident, affable pronouncements about the product inside. I hear they have their own reality show now too. Sign of the times.

Art That Rocks

Abstract Art from Ocean Gallery in Ocean City by Susan Phillips Hicks

Getting away from abstract and into fantasy, Spring is coming and love will be in the air. The perfect time to finally do justice to a drawing that's been sitting in my drawer for ten years. I call it "The Lovelorn Dragon." I had always wanted to draw my own dragon, and this one seems to have plenty of personality. This was one of those designs where inspiration hit, and it was kind of a one shot deal. As much as I admire fantasy artists, I am not the usual creature maker. This guy just kind of happened without me even expecting it. 

Lovelorn Dragon

Lovelorn Dragon artwork by Susan Phillips Hicks on Society6 and RedBubble merch

Next, it was a dark and stormy night.... So might begin the tale of this image. The huddled masses requested nature and trees, but what with me being a bit macabre at times, I had to make it a spooky tree with a moody storm. I prefer trees in Winter, and the more gnarled, the better. This drawing is reminiscent of recent storms.

Gnarled Tree and Lightning

Silhouette of a bare tree in a storm in drawing by Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign.

At long last, it’s Spring, but there’s still snow on the ground. The flowers are pushing through, but the leaves are bare. So how about a floral pic with a background that still hints at Winter? This art plays with pattern, without being a pattern, and is loosely symmetrical without a mirror image. I decided I'd play around with some more simple forms, echoing the coffee cups and wine glasses of last month's work. 

Cascade Flowers

Flowers in vases in a stylized drawing from Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign.

The last two sets boil down to me taking suitable advantage of my camera at a Caspian gig. I was blown away by their show. The light show was bombastic and a great compliment to the Wall of Beard music. I took a few pics and magicked this up. If you ever get a chance to see them live, do. It's an experience.

Caspian Limelight

Abstract art of Caspian light show from Susan Phillips HIcks of Melasdesign.

Caspian 80s Version

Abstract art of Caspian light show on Society6 and Redbubble merch from Susan Phillips Hicks of Melasdesign.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cats and Dogs, Luck, Coffee and Tea, Wine Lovers, XOXOs

Blog time again. This blog is being published automatically, because today (publish date) is a Day without Women, so I am not technically here.

It's been a month for keeping my head down and watching the news as little as possible. I'm trying to concentrate on adding pretty things to the world while my political commentaries of the last period are selling (yayy!). I'm now at cats 3 and 4 out of a series of five. Meet Summertime and Tasha (below).  I've been keeping a flower motive going throughout the series and got really creative with Tasha's portrait, so that kitty remained the focus of the picture with human being second up. Challenges of the portraits: old pictures, human faces and fluff. I do my best to make the prettiest picture I can, no matter what the original photo quality is, but there's just nothing for the fact that printed pictures age, making details vague and colors faded. That's a good time to get around to having a portrait made! Drawing humans is not my thing. It always befuddles me that I can make a cat portrait and have it be accurate to the millimeter... really so that you have to look twice to see which is the photo and which is the drawing, but give me a person to draw and my abilities of observation go completely on the fritz! It makes no sense to me, but it's how it is. SO, I left cat mom in silhouette. Lastly, fluff. I worked on dear Summertime, and had everything just so. I sent the proof out and was informed that I had made her gain a lot of weight. Lesson learned here: the face and positioning were perfect, but when I checked, yes, the outer perimeter of Summertime had, erm, expanded. Made note to self to smudge from outer edge *in* and not vice versa in the future lest kitty need a meeting with Richard Simmons (aka here as the eraser).

Summertime the Poofy Cat

Tasha and the Flower Goddess

My husband and I are avid movie-goers. ..... at least we were. I think we "movied" ourselves out. With the exception of a few gems like Jim Jarmusch's "Patterson"  (GO SEE IT!!!!! The heroine is my evil twin!) and "Hidden Figures" (mainstream, but enjoyable and informative), we haven't found a whole lot drawing us to the cinema. We've resorted to lowly TV watching... and that without a dish or cable. Thank goodness for streaming. One show we've enjoyed is a Hulu original called Shut Eye. It involves the seedy world of Fortune Tellers and the mafia surrounding them. This is probably the only way you could get me to watch a mafia themed program. I've always had an interest in the esoteric, and I *love* a Hamsa design, so I gave it a whirl. I admittedly was also trying my hand at how "graphic designy" I could get. Designs with circle masks are everywhere right now. I was challenging myself by adopting a style and making it my own. Then there's what I think of as the "80's version," which can be seen in the towel in the center below. It reminds me of being at a concert with lasers.

Lucky Hamsa Zodiac Designs

Lucky Zodiac Hamsa Art from Melasdesign

Then there's my love of coffee, mugs and tea cups. Caffeine inspires me! The object was to keep the design simple and light hearted. I like it when homes have art in the kitchen, and I had that in mind when I made these drawings. As a result, I am happy with the prints available as well as items for outside of the kitchen. Oh! And there's a nifty t-shirt available, sans background. I wanted to make a design that would be suitable for coffee and tea drinkers alike, and I have a weakness for interesting cups. Beyond that, it was just the continued color joy of Melasdesign. Lastly, I did bow to the coffee drinkers, since that is usually my preference. Black and white line art is set off by marching brown coffee beans.

Tea Cups and Coffee Mugs Spectrum
Coffee Beans and Mugs

Tea Cups and Coffee Mugs Spectrum and Coffee Mugs and Beans Artwork by Melasdesign
Here's yet another experiment of following trends. Geometrical shapes are quite popular at the moment, as are muted colors. I added dogs (Pit Bulls, Labrador, mutt) captured during a great day at the dog park. I think the result is unique, and people are loving the Pitties (as they should!).

Dogs and Flowers
S6 - RedBubble

Dogs and Flowers by Melasdesign

Dogs and Flowers by Melasdesign

Then at some point recently, I was feeling really icky and absolutely not like promoting artwork. The post-Valentine's Day lull had hit online and I felt like I was getting ADD trying to keep up with social media. I had gotten such great reactions from the coffee mug piece that I decided to go for wine, in all it's beautiful colors, but eeeeeesh! I felt like I just couldn't take any of it. ... and to think, I blamed it on the percussive, loud nature of the Adrian Belew concert I was lucky enough to see last week. LOL I had never felt so attacked by music! It was great, but exhausting. Then 2 days later, I saw Jesca Hoop (my musical idol), whose music is totally not aggressive, and the next day I could hardly get out of bed. What is all this art doing to me????? Turns out I had the flu. ;) So, I stuck to my idea, but kept it super simple. It's been a month of experimentation. 

Wine and Grapes
S6 - RedBubble

Wine and Grapes Artwork by Melasdesign

Another thing I've been seeing a lot of is fun mouths in art. I started drawing colorful lips, and this is where my mind took me. It kind of reminds me of a childrens' shape game in spirit, for when love is cartoonish and playful. This finds me getting completely out of my comfort zone color-wise.

Hugs and Kisses XOXO

Hugs and Kisses XOXO by Melasdesign

And for the last group, I took photos of some jewelry I made using PMC Metal Clay. I love the sculptural elements of the pieces and decided I just had to use them in a photomanipulation. I've always thought Milagros Hearts are gorgeous and jumped at the opportunity to make one for my husband. The other piece is an enticing shape made of tubes of different sizes place both parallel and at surprising angles to each other. My fave of the group is the beach towel shown below.... You know they have Summer stuff in the stores already? So much fun!

Milagros Heart Falling
S6 - RedBubble

Milagros Heart Falling by Melasdesign

Tubular Abstract

Tubular Abstract by Melasdesign