Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Contest Winner: Sarah Benning (Sacari)

Sarah Benning (Sacari)
 1) Can you explain your artwork in five words?
Pretty watercolour and digital illustrations

2) What is your most treasured holiday memory?
When I was a kid, we lived in a pretty forested area, so every year we would bundle up, head into the forest and chop down our own Christmas tree :) I remember that my brother and I always wanted the REALLY big ones, which my dad would usually have to talk us out of.

3) How did you become an artist?
Birds on a Wire by Sacari
I just loved drawing as a kid, and in the beginning of high school decided what that's what I wanted to do with my life, so I took every art course I could, spent a long time working on my portfolio and managed to get into a pretty reputable Illustration program. Originally, I actually wanted to be an animator (because of the Disney movies I loved as a kid!), but I figured out that illustration is my real passion.

4) Can you give any tips to other artists?
Draw everyday, especially from life! You can take as many courses as you want, have great teachers, but if you don't put the time in to draw everyday you're just not going to progress as fast.

On A Rainy Day by Sacari

5) Who or what inspires you?
My fellow classmates and friends are a huge inspiration for me. Being around so much talent everyday and seeing what everyone else is doing, it's pretty hard not to get inspired!

6) What three objects can you just not live without?
My macbook, my teddy bear (who I've had since I was born) and... my inhaler? lol

7) Where can we find your artwork?
My website:
Etsy shop:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Art Give-away and Creature Collaboration Unveiling!

The Creature is FINISHED and ready to find a home! 
follow the blog and comment to be eligible to WIN the painting


Six artists from around the world have shipped a painting from one person to the next, adding their own interpretation to the Creature Collaboration. 

Learn a little bit about each artist by clicking on the names below: 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Creature Collaboration - Allison Weeks Thomas (part VI)

sixth rectangle of creature collaboration by Allison Weeks Thomas

Six artists from around the world are shipping a painting from one person to the next, adding their own interpretation to the Creature Collaboration. 

Allison Weeks Thomas
1) What style of art do you most relate to and why? 
Boy, this is a tough one! I feel inspired by varying artists and styles, and try to pay homage to this admiration in my mixed media pieces. My first love was Dali, as I have always loved the unpredictable juxtapositions of elements. I have long admired the softness and feministic qualities of Mary Cassatt, the bold figures of Modigliani, and the brush techniques of Vincent Van Gogh and Georges Seurat. I guess it would be more apt to tell you the art in which I do not relate to!

creature in progress
2) Do you have a favorite medium?
Had you asked this question two years ago, hands down the inner illustrator in me would have answered without hesitation: pen and ink and watercolor.
But since discovering my love for working with mixed media, my answer has changed somewhat. Working in mixed media has introduced me to new mediums and rekindled love affairs with old ones. I love the texture of charcoal between my fingers, the rough and bold lines cutting across the canvas. I still love the flow of inks and watercolors, the way they puddle and saturate. I love the tooth and smoothness achieved by acrylics, the web and weave of papers layered across a surface. Gel mediums, texture gels, modeling pastes, oh, my! Simply, I love creating with anything I can get my hands on.

3) What inspired you to be an artist?
Sweet pickles, another tough one!You know, I can’t pinpoint that “aha” moment where the anvil dropped on my head and I shouted “Eureka!” or “Ouch!” Illustrating and writing stories is something I always remember being a part of me. Creating has always been a sort of meditation spot for me…a place to escape the noise in your head, a place to focus energy, a place to unwind. Oh, and Shel Silverstein! I always wanted to doodle fun little drawings and write silly little poems that my mother could read to me at night!

paintings and sketches by Allison Weeks Thomas
4) What is your favorite childhood memory?
Growing up, my grandmother had a cabin in the mountains near Floyd, Virginia. This was a treasured vacation spot growing up, and perhaps had some influence upon our decision to move to the North Carolina Mountains. One Thanksgiving when I was around eight or so was spent at the mountain cabin. It snowed that year, which was a big deal for a coastal girl like me! I remember watching as my grandmother slipped and slid down the mountain side, ax in hand, as my breath fogged up the window inside of the cabin. Not much time passed before my grandma returned to the cozy confines of the cabin, snow sludge dripping onto the orange and tan diamond patterned carpeting, the ax replaced by a young Christmas tree. We sat around the wood burning stove that morning, stringing popcorn and cranberries on string, as we watched the Macy’s Day Parade on a 10” black and white television set. The tree sat in front of the sliding glass doors, a blanket of white its backdrop. The adults drank hot toddies out of the big brown mugs that usually hung from pegs above the kitchen sink. I, of course, wanting to be grown up, had my own big brown mug…of un-spiked hot apple cider. I remember the spicy warm liquid going down my throat, followed by something small and fluttering. And that will always be remembered as the day I swallowed (and regurgitated) a fly.

5) What is your idea of a perfect day?
A day spent out of doors with my daughter and husband, hiking, exploring, playing, followed by a bit of uninterrupted art time, a family dinner and a big glass of red wine!

6) Where can we find you?
Atelier Gallery, 24 Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC
Joie de Vivre, Morehead City, NC

Friday, November 4, 2011

And the winner for the Tye Schloer painting is...

Thanks to all who participated in the give-away!

Tye used a random number generator to find the winner, and the lucky person is: mark mason, Aka longliveguitar from dgcr 


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Holiday Art Contest

POST artwork inspired by this month's theme: HOLIDAY GIFTS 
 (must become a member of Art School Grad to be eligible)
POST DEADLINE: Dec. 01 11:58 PM/ EST 

VOTE: Dec. 01 11:59PM/EST until Dec. 05, 11:59PM/EST
VOTE BELOW by clicking the star above your favorite piece

Winner will be featured/interviewed/promoted on blog!
click "Add your link"  below, you may delete (click the red x) and repost

Friday, October 21, 2011

Majestic Sunset painting give-away by Tye Schloer

Majestic Sunset - prize give-away
Tye Schloer, an artist and member of Art School Grad, has generously offered his painting Majestic Sunset as a prize give-away; follow the blog and comment to be eligible to WIN (painting shipped for free to the US and UK)

CHECK BACK on FRIDAY November 4th for the WINNER!  

Below is an interview with Tye:

1) How would you define your genre/style of art?

I define my art as a way to express and depict my thoughts and dreams and sometimes nightmares to canvas

Tye Schloer
2) What is your painting process?
My painting process could start with a random idea, a special thought, a photograph or maybe last night’s dream or nightmare. If it’s a big piece I will make my own canvas. I use solid compressed red oak for stretcher bars, and I use 17oz premium cotton canvas. I am a firm believer that you need to triple prime your canvas with lots of sanding in between layers. I like a really fine surface with the smallest tooth possible.  I have studied Dali's painting techniques for about 10 years now. I have no formal oil painting instruction, so I use his book, "50 Secrets to Magic Craftsmanship.”  I start out with using very thick dry compact paint, and I blend this out with natural hog hair brushes (mostly for the underpainting).  Next I use nothing but natural sable brushes to paint the overpainting. I usually have a well thought out plan of attack for the multiple layering I will be doing. 
Lately, I have been making a lot of diptychs and triptychs, with a lot of recurring images and scenes.

3) Who or what inspires you to create?

My wife is the one that pushes me the most to sit down and paint. Her artwork also gives me a lot of inspiration. I read a lot of books, mostly on old masters paintings. I have a decent collection of artist books going. I study Dali's work immensely. His paintings have had the largest impact on me and my painting. 

Dream Thievery by Tye Schloer
4) What have you learned from your experience as an artist and what advice might you give to others?
I just want to mention a few words to fellow artists and artist apprentices. "There will be times of great conflict with you and your art, whether it be an internal struggle within yourself or of an external matter or just the nasty stare of a blank canvas. You just have to keep on creating and believe in your self and what you are doing as an artist.

5) If you could have one wish granted (aside from having more wishes), what would it be and why?

I guess I would wish for a sit down discussion with Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and Yves Tanguy. That would be the most unusual gathering of minds, and I would love to pick their brains apart! 

6) Do you have other interests, hobbies, jobs, etc. outside of working as an artist?

I love music. I have been a drum and bass DJ for over ten years now. I spin vinyl records, which is fast becoming a dying media and art form. I’m also starting to get into DNB production when I get time for it. Usually I just have enough time for painting.

Custom Portraits
7) Tell us something we don't know about you or your artwork.
I try to donate as many paintings as I can to various cancer research fundraisers. Last month I donated a triptych to a brain cancer silent auction to help raise money for brain cancer research. I also like to help out our brothers and sisters in uniform. I have given away a few paintings to veterans.

8) Where do you post/exhibit your paintings?
I mainly use etsy as my main tool to exhibit my art.  I used to have paintings in an art gallery downtown, but they are closed now. I made my first professional sale out of their at the young age of 20.

Blog (which i need to update more often...its tough being a new dad..)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Creature Collaboration - Cindy Martin (part V)

fifth rectangle of creature collaboration by Cindy Martin

Six artists from around the world are shipping a painting from one person to the next, adding their own interpretation to the Creature Collaboration.
It's a secret... the final creature will be unveiled at the end!
Cindy Martin: Hello there!  I'm one of those genuine, self taught individuals you always hear about.  As a life long artist, I've always been inspired in part by nature's beauty - with all it's related moods, and in part by my "dreamy" interpretation of that beauty. My work is varied and I love it that way. Often times it's surreal or stylized and whimsical. Sometimes my art is abstract or stoic with a depth of understanding, maybe laced with thoughts of a sorrowful moment. Other times it may be a realism piece that bares my feelings of pure wonderment.

sketch for painting by Cindy Martin
To learn more about what blows my hair back, you can visit me at:

The complete Creature will be unveiled at the end!
To view the previous Creature Collaboration installment, click here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Creature Collaboration - (Suzy Brown part IV)

forth rectangle of creature collaboration by Suzy Brown

Six artists from around the world are shipping a painting from one person to the next, adding their own interpretation to the Creature Collaboration.
Suzy Brown: I was very excited to be able to take part in this collaborative work, and be part of something involving other artists, whom I already really admired! One of the downsides of being an artist/craftsperson is that it is often a very solitary activity, so it's wonderful to get the chance to share a project like this. I am waiting for the final outcome with bated breath. I am sure its going to be amazing.

Tiki Shaker of Awesomeness by Suzy Brown
My own work is, like me, very eclectic, in my 'day job' I paint with acrylics at large scale - as a mural artist. But I also love to spend time on pencil work creating smaller works using shading and small details, these turn into my cards, prints, and illustrated notebooks seen in my Etsy shop! I also love my Copic sketch Markers so I sometimes add ink illustrations to my shop range. Line drawings are also a love of mine, the simplicity and clean lines and shapes really appeal to me. 

I also make marionettes and dolls. I like to work in 3d, and doll making is a chance to combine lots of different media and techniques, including sewing and fabric design. I am not always working on an art doll or puppet, but I always have the next one in my head and keep the 'starting' of it as a special treat for myself when I finally create the time to begin :)

This creature collaboration used my skills with acrylics, but on a small scale for me - a challenge! I also wanted to tie in with what was done before me, but I still managed to use some of my usual spirals in the design and a blending technique that I use a lot in most of my work. 

I have a blog, I would love to see you there if you want to pop by and leave a comment! I can also be found on Facebook, from which I always try to return likes and make interesting posts. I have an Etsy shop too - please stop by and have a browse, and remember, shop critiques are as welcomed as sales! ;)

The complete Creature will be unveiled at the end!
To view the previous Creature Collaboration installment, click here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mr. Artiste's (ridiculous) Art Q&A

Carnotaurian by Bobby Esckelson
Dear Mr. Artiste,

Why won't you draw my tattoo for free? I'll tell everyone about it and you can add it to your portfolio and I will pay you later when I get paid next month and anyway you enjoy drawing don't you? So it's not really work!



Dear Anonymous,

So let me get this straight... the tattoo artist makes money, you end up with a free design and money in the bank with interest from your job so I *might* get paid later, while my reward is word of mouth advertising that I give away free artwork to anyone who asks?  Um, let me think this over carefully. No.

Art materials are expensive, time away from paying clients is losing business, art school isn't free, and advertising that I undervalue my skills enough to give away my intellectual property damages my professional integrity. If you would like a free tattoo design, perhaps you should draw it yourself and test your theory that it isn't really work. 

Mr. Artiste


Dear Mr. Artiste,

All my family members want free art! Whenever a holiday comes around they ask for original paintings, drawings, or free prints. For a while I gave into their requests - but now it's just too expensive. How do you handle family members who want freebies?


 Custom Bridal Bouquet by Susie Tenzer
Dear Anonymous,

So let's imagine for Don't Step on a Bee Day (this is a real holiday mind you) my imaginary Great Aunt Elma asks for a painting of pink roses, and my little faux cousin Jeffery wants a baseball mural, and before I know it I'm working full-time for my hypothetical family.  No thank you, I love you guys and all my other pretend extended family, but I just can't.  

I approach the matter with love and honesty: I tell Great Aunt Elma that I'd love to give her a painting if she could pay for the equivalent in art supplies and art classes and time, and once she realizes the huge expense this is to her, she may actually just say oh gosh, I'm rather unable to contribute right now, perhaps I can just ask for some real pink roses instead?  And seeing as little Jeffery has the attention span of a bumblebee I find some baseball cards instead and he couldn't care less; hypothetical families rule, of course real ones will be a bit more complex, but if they love us and respect us as artists, they should understand.

Mr. Artiste

If you have something to add to our spoof art column, feel free to comment below!


Friday, July 8, 2011


Tsunami (Mermaid Tears) by Artist Andrea
... Hannahbird!!!  This gorgeous tote was in our ASG Giveaway this month, and Artist Andrea kindly donated her artwork for the event!  It was a scavenger hunt created by Allie Thomas (who also antiquated the photographs below using a polaroid photo maker)... and here are the answers:

1) Q: Name that painting:
A: Tsunami (also Mermaid Tears)

2) Q: What UK publication did Artist Andrea illustrate the cover design for?
A: Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration

3) Q: How many pieces can you post on "your own personal critique for May"
A: 3

Little Mermaid Tote
Artist Andrea

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Creature Collaboration - Louise van Terheijden (part III)

third rectangle of creature collaboration by Louise van Terheijden
Keep your EYES PEELED for a chance to WIN the finished painting!

Six artists from around the world are shipping a painting from one person to the next, adding their own interpretation to the Creature Collaboration.  

What inspires me?
What inspires me most is people, their relationships, their dreams, desires, what make them sad, happy,etc. and nature has a big influence. Matisse is my favorite Artist. He inspired me the most in using color.

What is my technique? 
Technique can be anything. Paper, Paint, watercolors ink, pencil, and the computer. I mix all those techniques like in the serie Violas. I started to make studies of trees and flowers. I made collages of them and they ended up in a digital piece of art using programmes like Illustrator and Photoshop on my Mac.

How is my art different from other artists? 
I can’t tell what is different in general from other artists. My work is maybe unique because I use different techniques to create a picture. And I like transparency. Color is important too. Color, Transparency, Poetical.

Why do I do this particular kind of art?
Being able to produce prints makes it possible to make affordable Art. People can enjoy my work at home. I keep the editions limited so they are still unique.

The complete Creature will be unveiled at the end!
To view the previous Creature Collaboration installment, click here.

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