Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Enjoy mixed media art while resting on your sofa

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Inspired by this month's featured artist Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson to try your hand at collage? You have two ways to introduce yourself to her art.

She now has her collage process available on DVD. The DVD is a creative overview from start to finish of her paper painting process. Elizabeth covers painting your own collage papers, sketching, underpainting and tips and tricks for collage application. This comprehensive video is 30 minutes, comes in a full sized jewel case and will play in your PC/MAC or TV DVD player.

Elizabeth also has Collage: An Overview to the Creative Process available on Lulu. This book also contains an overview to her figurative collage process, including tips and techniques, supplies list, descriptions and step by step process.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 12

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What else do you do besides your art?

Besides my art, I am a self employed graphic artist. I spend my days working on layout and design of marketing materials for several clients. I also play the violin with the Maitland Symphony Orchestra, we rehearse once a week and I take violin lessons to help me keep up with the music. I enjoy exercise and I'm currently training for a triathlon and a half marathon. I have a family, my husband and two children, that also keep me busy. I volunteer at our elementary school to bring art to the students every month and I write the lesson plans for this program. I enjoy cooking and I make homemade dinner and breakfast for my family every day.

Lately I have been teaching collage workshops and I have found this to be very fulfilling! I never thought of myself as a teacher, but I enjoy sharing what I love with other artists and aspiring artists.

Picture credit: "Waiting for Rain"

Click here to learn more about this cow art mixed media collage

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: THE PIONEER WOMAN

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Who doesn't like a good rags to riches story? How about the opposite? The Pioneer Woman website is the story of Ree Drummond, who proclaims she went from "high heels to tractor wheels." She worked in Los Angeles and lived the "southern California lifestyle." On a return trip to her hometown, she met her future husband, a cattle rancher, and her life has never been the same since.

Her website details her life, cooking styles, and overall appreciation for living the country life. She shares pictures of many aspects of her day, including family, animals, and gourmet creations. She has published her own cookbook (cover shown here), which took her a year and a half to finish.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sometimes you have to be mental to do this job

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I love being a cattle veterinarian, I really do. But sometimes explaining some of what I do to non-agricultural people makes them wonder, "You like doing that?" Case in point, in order for me to diagnose a cow pregnant, I have to do a rectal exam. That involves sticking my hand and most of my arm up her rectum to feel her uterus to look for a baby. Invariably, I get some strange looks as people try to assess my mental status. I suppose when you take that procedure out of context, it does sound a little strange. In the end, I don't mind being a little mental (in a good way) to want to get up and do that on a daily basis. I tell you all this to get to the point of this blog post.

I get lots of correspondence from different companies about their products. They range from pharmaceuticals, feed additives, vaccines, etc. Sometimes companies send me actual samples of their products. One of the latest products I received almost made me giddy and thought it would be fun to share with Cow Art and More blog readers.

I got a armpit length glove sample from the Neogen Corporation. This just isn't any glove to use in rectal exams. This is a new to the market "PolyPetite" glove just for women. Woo-hoo! So just what makes this glove so special?

I will quote a few lines from their sales letter: "The sleeve was developed to fit the needs of the growing number of women involved in the veterinary care of large animals. The new sleeve is cut slimmer, especially through the wrist and hand area. Women shouldn't have to use sleeves designed for men, and give up the comfort and feel of a sleeve that fits."

Pretty cool! And it's "girly-girl" pink. The cows will love that.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 11

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What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

I have a lot of advice for aspiring artists. I tell them to remember that art is a business, and so you cannot neglect the fact that you have to spend a serious amount of time marketing your own work. You have to get OUT of the studio and get in front of your computer and get out in front of people, network. I also stress how important it is to be reliable. You have to deliver the work when you said you would, you have to meet deadlines and bring work that is ready to hang, professional. You have to be reliable and be someone that galleries know they can count on to deliver. You have to be organized, keep a computer program of your inventory, your contacts, your mailing list, your galleries, and your work. Be prepared to sell yourself and your work, be organized and be original.

Picture credit: "How Now, Brown Cow"

Click here to see this piece of cow art as a mixed media collage or on a flash bag tote bag

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday's article of interest to art enthusiasts: INSURING YOUR ART

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So you've gone to the trouble of selecting and displaying an art collection. What do you do next? Don't forget to insure your art collection against theft and damage. Today's arty article of interest is Insuring Your Art. Many are surprised to find out the due to it's value, expensive pieces of art are not covered under general homeowner's insurance policies. This article details some points to consider, preparing for the worst, and what you can expect to pay for coverage.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 10

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What would you like to do more of in the future?

In the future I'd like to do more portraits. I love doing people and I have gotten away from them for a while now. I have a whole series of swimmers in bathing caps that is really fun and colorful and I like it very much. I'd like to do a self portrait with birthday cards too.

Picture credit: "Two Muse", collage detail

Click here to learn more about this cow mixed media collage

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Video of the collage process

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Enjoy this time lapse video showing one of Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson's paper painting collages in progress.

Afternoon on the Avenue

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 9

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Do you ever have goof ups or work you don't like?

I always have goof ups that I don't like, but the best thing about collage is that it's a very forgiving medium. I can ALWAYS go right back over the top of any area that I don't like, and make it totally different. This freedom is why I love my medium so much. Even if I change my mind, I can go in and change a color by adding a new piece of paper on top. The ability to fix my mistakes takes a lot of stress out of my work and gives me the freedom to experiment.

Picture credit: Elizabeth and her students at one of her collage making classes

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: AG DAY

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Today's website of interest is Ag Day. In case you missed it, last week was National Agriculture Week, culminating in National Agriculture Day on March 20. The Ag Day website provides agriculture supporters and enthusiasts resources on how to communicate about their industry to others.

The event was started by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA), an organization uniquely composed of leaders in the agriculture, food and fiber communities dedicated to increasing the public awareness of agriculture's vital role in our society. The Agriculture Council of America and the National Ag Day program was started in 1973. It is a non-profit organization the helps to support and provide education to all interested in Ag Day.

Still wondering how you can bring agriculture to your local community? Read Michelle Payn-Knoper's blog post on the National Ag Week Idea Extravaganza. You'll hear what "agvocates" (such as myself) have done to educate others about where their food comes from.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Introducing new painter, Kevin Webster

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Cow Art and More is happy to introduce new oil painter and retired U.S. Army artist, Kevin Webster. Kevin's interest in art and painting began at an early age. He received several awards for his art while in high school, but chose to enlist in the military upon graduation. Kevin's last mission was in Iraq, serving as the artist for the 101st Airborne Division. Now retired from the military, Kevin enjoys painting nature and wildlife. Kevin's paintings will be featured in the Cow Art and More new products section until the end of the month.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 8

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How does it take you to get the average creation?

My process is multistep. After finding imagery that I am inspired by, I take photos and manipulate them in Photoshop on my computer until I achieve a composition I am happy with. I might take one cow out of a group or combine her/him with another cow from a different photo, add a barn and drastically raise (or lower) the horizon line behind them. Once I get this worked out on my computer, I print a color image and this is my reference. I then sketch onto primed wood panel. After sketching I do a quick acrylic underpainting in order to work out my values and my colors. When the underpainting is dry, I then start collaging my hand-painted and hand-made papers over the top of the acrylic painting. Keep in mind that the hand-painting of the papers also takes time and I create all my own papers in advance of the collaging process. When the collage is complete, I coat it with two layers of acrylic UV protective varnish and then I do my own framing.

The time it takes in the collage process depends on how it's going, some days things are really working for me and it's coming together quickly, other days nothing is working and I end up going over the same area a few times before I am happy with it. Some subject matter is more complex than others. Some subjects I am good at and have worked out the challenges with practice, so I can really do roosters very efficiently, but dogs are more of a challenge since I have only ever done two. Peacocks take a long time because of all the eyes and detail in the tail feathers.

I guess I'd have to say, it varies!

Photo credit: "Song of Sunrise"

Click here to learn more about this rooster art mixed media painting

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday's website of interest to art enthusiasts: RESTORING VAN GOGH'S PAINTING

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Today's art related website to share is the blog actively detailing the restoration of Vincent van Gogh's masterpiece, "The Bedroom." The restoration is being done by the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. While most of the website is written in Dutch, the blog detailing the steps in restoring the painting is written in English.

The painting was created by Van Gogh in 1888 to 1889 while in France during which time he shared a house with fellow painter Paul Gauguin. The painting has been restored once, in 1930, but museum curators wanted to do a second restoration to prevent further degradation.

Picture credit: "The Bedroom", Vincent van Gogh

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 7

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How did you get interested in creating art of cattle?

I grew up in rural New England; we always had cows and roosters and sheep on farms which we would pass driving from one small town to another. When I was a kid, my parents took us to a lot of petting farms in our area. We would go and get a homemade ice cream at a small dairy and visit the cows, or go for pork sausage at a small farm and visit the sheep. I guess this was good family fun when I was a kid, these images give me a sense of warmth and a sense of family even today. My sister was married last summer in Amherst, MA, my family decided to stay at a bed and breakfast on the outskirts of town for the weekend. On the property, they had roosters and chickens and a goat or two, a very nice way for me to give my Orlando kids a taste of my childhood!

Picture credit: "Barnyard Friends"

Click here to learn more about this piece of cow and chicken art

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Collage artist wins award

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March's featured artist, Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson, has been honored by The Artist's Magazine with a first place award in their mixed media category for their 2009 online competition. Her collage, "Out to Pasture", will be featured in the July/August print edition of the magazine.

Picture credit: "Out to Pasture" reproduced on a flashbag

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 6

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How do you decide what to paint, draw and model?

I like to work in a series of images so that this question is answered for me for a few paintings at a time! I am lucky enough to be represented by several art galleries who will help me with suggestions of images that they feel would sell or would work with a show or theme they are promoting. I also have a big solo show in September at the Maitland Art Center which they have asked me to create pieces related to music. I will be showing 35-40 collages in this exhibition. That's helped me decide what to paint for a while!

Photo credit: Elizabeth enjoying some time with a local boy scout troop

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL FOUNDATION

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Well, it's not exactly an agriculture group, but I think it might interest the agriculture community. With all the "hub-bub" of where the Humane Society of the United States spends their money, people have grown increasingly concerned about making sure their donation goes to help animals in need. Today's website of interest, is one that I have experience with, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) was established by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 1963. The AVMF is based in its national headquarters in northwest suburban Chicago. The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with over 75,000 current members. As a nonprofit organization, the AVMF relies on the generosity of the animal lover and veterinary communities. Some of the projects the AVMF help to fund are disaster preparedness and relief training for members of the veterinary community, animal health studies on current crises within the animal community, and scholarships to deserving veterinary students. The part I particularly enjoy is knowing that donating to disaster preparedness allows groups to train "search and rescue" dogs which can be used to locate people and/or animals trapped in buildings and other structures.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pictures from Meg Birnbaum's exhibit in Japan

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As an update to the post of March 7 detailing Cow Art and More photographer Meg Birnbaum's exhibit at the Tanto Tempo Photo Cafe and Gallery, she has been kind enough to forward pictures of the exhibit. Meg's "Cowgirl" image can be seen in approximately the center of the first two pictures.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 5

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Where do you get your inspiration?

I often get my inspiration from my papers. I find a paper that I think looks fuzzy, and I might use it for a sheep. I find a paper that is lumpy and bumpy and turquoise, and I might use it for the crown of a peacock's head. I find a paper that looks like lace, and I might use it for the fringe on a ballet skirt. I hand-paint a paper that is vibrant, textured, golden yellow, and I might use it on a small finch sitting on a branch.

Other times I am inspired by my frame maker. Owen Tomlin makes frames from reclaimed barn wood in Kentucky. I like to paint images that will work with is amazing hand crafted frames, so I might do an entire series on barnyard animals or botannicals because I know they will look great hanging together as a group, all framed in Owen's frames.

Picture credit: Detail of the tail feathers of "Le Coq du Village"

Click here to learn more about this rooster art collage

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday's website of interest to art enthusiasts: OLGA'S GALLERY

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"Olga's Gallery" is an online collection of over 10,000 works of art. In addition to showing images, the site also discusses the artists and their work. The history of how the site came about is it a bit amusing. I will let you read about Olga and her family here. While the site may not have a lot of "bells and whistles," it does have a lot of information for readers to enjoy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 4

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Why do you create your art?

I have always been an artist. As I child I loved to paint and draw and excelled at it. I attended Syracuse University's School of Visual and Performing Arts and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts there in 1990. I paint because it is who I am and always have been, it makes me happy to take a little time just for myself and to go to my creative place.

Picture credit: "Buttercup no. 2", mixed media collage

Click here to learn more about this piece of cow art

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Painting by Carolyn Molder selected for office of Georgia legislator

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Cow Art and More painter and pastel artist Carolyn Molder has had her watercolor painting, "Azalea Light", selected to hang in the office of David Ralston, newly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives of Georgia. Carolyn has been invited to attend the opening, which is at a future, yet to be announced date.

Picture credit: "Azalea Light", watercolor on paper

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 3

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What is your technique?

My technique is a figurative form of collage. I take bits of torn hand-made and hand-painted papers, glue them over an acrylic under-painting, to form a recognizable image. I call this "Paper Paintings" because from a distance my work very much resembles an impressionistic painting.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: ANIMAL DISEASE TRACEABILITY

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Food safety is something very important to the agriculture community. It is also something I take very seriously in working with dairy and beef farms. It is important we know how to monitor, control and eradicate disease in order to have a safe product for consumers. Recently, USDA announced that it was formulating a more flexible, national animal identification program. The animal, plant and health inspection service portion of USDA has posted an Animal Disease Traceability website. While there is not much information there now to start, I anticipate more will be added as it is discussed and decided upon. Currently, there is a frequently asked questions fact page detailing some of the things learned from trying to implement the national animal identification system and what USDA plans to do differently.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Photographer Meg Birnbaum exhibiting in Japan

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Cow Art and More photographer Meg Birnbaum is exhibiting some of her cattle photography, amongst others, at the Tanto Tempo Gallery in Japan. She is currently traveling there to give an artist talk on March 13 at the Gallery. Information about the exhibit, "Plastic/Fantastic" can be found on the Tanto Tempo Gallery website.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 2

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Where did you learn your technique?

My technique is something I evolved on my own. I was a talented painter and pastel artist, but there were many more talented people using those mediums here in Orlando. I wanted to find a way to set my work apart from everyone else's. I started adding paper in with my acrylic paintings as a pattern and texture in small areas. Eventually those areas became larger and larger until the paper overtook the paint entirely one day when I challenged myself to create an image without any paint. I liked the effect I got, I liked the fact that this piece "Looking in on Jane" (a portrait of my mother) won Best of Show at OVAL (Orlando Visual Artists League) and then again at the WCA (Women's Caucus for the Arts) Matriarchs and Madonnas exhibit. I knew I was onto something, and so I ran with it.

Over the years my technique has continued to evolve. I used to use art store purchased colored papers. I found out the hard way that these papers fade. So I started hand-painting all my own collage papers. I experimented with color, texture, pattern and paper weight. I learned how to create my own palette of acrylic painted paper–it would not fade and I could create all the colors in the rainbow!

I feel my work is better now that I have such a variety of colors and textures of paper to choose from. I also use related material in my collages. I try to tie in some of the collage material to the subject matter. Some of my cow collages have nursery rhymes in them, "How Now Brown Cow" is an example of this. Some of my roosters have "Hickety Pickety My Fine Hen" intertwined with the Starbucks bags and painted maps, old checks and book pages.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday's website of interest to art enthusiasts: THE LOUVRE

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*For those new to the Cow Art and More blog, every Friday, Kathy shares an art themed website or article with readers*

Can't make it to Paris to see the Mona Lisa? How about taking a tour from your chair! The Louvre museum has a beautiful website that allows people to take virtual tours of the art collections. The site discusses the exhibits, permanent collections and also gives the lecture schedules. Visitors can also view movies and purchase DVD's for home viewing. It's almost as exciting as seeing the Mona Lisa in person!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A conversation with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson: Part 1

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How did you get started?

I have always been an artist. As I child I loved to paint and draw and excelled at it. I attended Syracuse University's School of Visual and Performing Arts and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts there in 1990.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Learn beginning photography techniques from Kent Weakley

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Cow Art and More photographer, Kent Weakley, and photographer Mark Emery will be conducting a Beginners Photography Workshop for anyone wanting to make consistently great photos with their DSLR camera. The workshop is Saturday, April 17, from 9 AM to 5 PM, Ocala, Florida.

They will be covering all the basics and getting into the details of what makes a great photo. Kent and Mark will also be sharing many tips and techniques used by the pros on a daily basis. This class is for anyone who loves making and sharing photographs and wants to improve their photography skills. At the end of the day you will be equipped with the information needed to make great photos consistently time and time again.

To register for the beginner photography class, use this link.

Photo credit: Bovine Shade

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson featured artist

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March's featured artist is painter and mixed media collage creator, Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson. Elizabeth makes her favorite images into paintings. From there, she layers them with papers, fabrics, feathers and anything else with texture, to create unique three-dimensional pieces. She completes her pieces with a hand assembled barnwood frame. In addition to being an artist, Elizabeth maintains her own design firm, Nelson Creative, with her husband Doug. She lives with her husband and two children in central Florida.

Enjoy free shipping on all of Elizabeth's art for the month of March. See her entire collection on the Cow Art and More specials page.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday's agriculture website of interest: AGRITOURISM WORLD

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*For those new to the Cow Art and More blog, every Monday, Kathy shares an agricultural focused website with readers.*

While it's still cold for a lot of of people, summer and vacation time is just a few short months away. I am growing increasing interested in the opportunities for people to take "agriculture" vacations. I think this is a great way for people to get their "feet wet" and experience farming on a ground level (yes, that pun was intended).

I recently found the Agritourism World directory. It is a directory of farms worldwide that offer people a chance to have "working vacation". The site includes animal and plant farms with specific opportunities to also host parties and weddings.
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