Saturday, April 07, 2012

rourke & rupert

Rourke and Rupert are two members of the quintet of robots that are debuting this month at a local library show.  My artist statement below perhaps best sums up my feeling about these quirky creations.

I like to think of myself as a collector of memories. Sometimes these memories are my own, the type we all have from a life of growing, changing, working, interacting, living, and loving. But, I also collect a different sort of memories: those that are not my own and whose very essence will forever remain a mystery to me. Years of scavenging through flea markets, tag sales, and thrift stores has left me with quite the collection of various odds and ends: everything from button boxes to old photographs of strangers to miscellaneous hardware and Scrabble tiles. I consider all of these objects to be “memory-holders” who’ve lost their owners. While their memories may not be known to me, someone, somewhere is connected to them.

I sometimes wish I knew just some of the many stories behind the motley assortment of objects I’ve collected through the years. Where is the house whose key now lies in my possession? Who sat in front of that old Bingo card that I now hold in my hand? How well-traveled are the bolts and nails that somehow ended up with me?

In creating this collection of artwork, I wanted to assemble a group of “memory keepers,” a ragtag band of robots who are comprised of misfit memories. I suppose, in some small way, this is my attempt to give new life to lost remembrances.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

hedgehogs for lily

One of our favorite friends, Lily, turns 3-years-old today.  And her favorite things, as of late, are hedgehogs.  Lily would be one of our favorites even if she didn't love hedgehogs, but the fact that she does makes her all the sweeter.

As you can imagine, no birthday gift other than handcrafted hedgehogs would do for little Lily.  I was beginning to worry that Harriet the Felted Hedgehog had some mouse-like characteristics, but the moment Lil saw her, she smiled, hugged Harriet, and exclaimed, "Hedgie!"  That's a birthday success, if you ask me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

a collage of cookies

My husband's birthday is tomorrow.  Now, if you know me or Dan or both of us, you know that means it's also "birthday adventure" time (our annual tradition of treating each other to a full-day outing based around an exciting, new theme). 

"Birthday adventures" take planning.  Granted, they've gotten simplified since becoming parents. But, they still involve a lot of work, planning, research, making, and creating.  I love this, mind you.  But it rarely leaves much time for any other creative pursuits.  So, how did I have time to collage up a little cookie illustration?  Well, thanks to 2 sets of very loving, very helpful parents/babysitters (my own and my in-laws), I was able to get the majority of the birthday adventure prep complete by last night.  Thus, I took a "birthday adventure" break and this collage was born.

And, really, is there any better, sweeter way to prepare for an upcoming birthday than by making cookie art?  Well......maybe by making actual, edible cookies.  But other than that, I can't think of anything better.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

a trekking triceratops

© Heather B. Warriner 2012
Even before becoming a mama of little guy, I've been drawn to imagery that tends to be linked (at least in the rather stereotypical world of marketing, children's toys, and kids' products) to boys.  Monsters and robots...these are the things that much of my recent artwork has consisted of.  I never find myself drawing princesses or rainbows or ballerinas.  Rarely do butterflies or flowers grace the pages of my sketchbooks.  So, I wasn't all that surprised when, a few weeks ago, I was out running errands with my husband and son and announced to them (pretty much out of nowhere), "I think I'll start drawing dinosaurs next!"  I'm pretty sure Dan has come to accept that such seemingly random announcements are simply part of the way that my mind works.  Bits of ideas are constantly swimming around up there, and eventually they formulate into decisions, creative brainstorms, and artistic goals.  Perhaps Owen has yet to realize that this is how his mama works.  But, he does already recognize the sorts of things that I like to draw.  Robots are a given when it comes to our drawing time together.  He can now say the word "robot" and seems pleased when I sketch quick little crayon and marker versions of them for him.

After my decision to embark into prehistoric subject matter for my illustrations, I finally sat down this week and worked on my first dino, a triceratops  And while he's the first dinosaur I've drawn, I doubt that he'll be the last. Whenever new subjects take over my creative ponderings, they tend to gain a monopoly on my computer screen and drawing pads as well.  Plus, dinosaurs are quite charming in their own rough, scaly, spiky, horn-covered sort of way.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

a monkey for caroline

When your monkey-loving niece turns two, nothing but a hand-painted, pink and brown, top-hat-wearing, flower-toting, sneaker-bedecked chimp will do. 

Happy birthday, Miss Caroline!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

birds of a feather

I have set my felting needles aside for the moment, in an effort to return to critters of another kind...the digital sort.  Working in Illustrator and Photoshop is a true love of mine.  Way back in college, as I was entrenched in the world of illustration, I quickly learned that illustrating was by no means limited to the more traditional mediums of watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils, and the like.  I developed a fascination with mixed media and 3-dimensional forms of illustrating (which could then be photographed for 2D forms of books, for instance).  And while I knew of digital illustrators, I didn't count myself amongst them.  I respected the work but left it to others.  Art by hand was more my style, thank you very much.

But, fast forward a few years and you'd find me working in an art studio where digital art was a necessary skill.  I learned Illustrator from fellow co-workers and fell in love.  Between studio work and my own stuff, I honed my skills and later found ways to merge the fabulous, crisp, graphic look of Illustrator with the textures of Photoshop.  Because texture was always something that had drawn me to mixed media work, this discovery within the digital realm was most welcome. 

Anyway, I have been working on these little birds for awhile now but finally had a chance to finish up a foursome.  I'd like to also create some hand-painted, 3D versions of these guys by painting them onto wooden eggs.  I think that's a lovely blending of digital and made-by-hand.  One inspires the other, and they end up living in perfect harmony...just as the most charming of birds should do.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

celebrating with snowmen

This year's Christmas was filled with lots of needle felted presents, as it has become my art/craft-form of choice these days.  But, even prior to the holidays, I felted up this little guy as an 80th-Birthday gift for a dear friend.  This friend is the one who taught me to knit, the one with whom I've spent many a yarn-filled (and conversation-filled) evening, and the one who collects and adores snowmen.  So, what better way to celebrate a milestone birthday than with a party-ready snowman?  He was fun to felt, fun to photograph, and fun to bestow on his new owner.  Felted creatures are that way...naturally fun all around.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

faith in felt

We collect nativity sets.  And I have wanted to add a handmade-by-me nativity to this collection for quite awhile.  That time has finally come.  I finished needle-felting all the main players in the Christmas story, so my nativity is complete enough for now and ready to grow whenever I get around to felting some shepherds, a few sheep, and three wise men.  For now, I am content to have this sacred little family in our home this Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

a robot named lou

I love this robot for many reasons, the top 5 being...

1.  She was inspired by a white crayon and the printed numbers on a cardboard box.
2.  Her glowing antenna makes me happy.
3.  It took less than five minutes to draw her, and she's one of my favorite robots yet.
4.  Her "canvas" was an old cardboard box, thus inspiring me to do more illustrating on this humble yet wonderful surface.
5.  She was drawn during a sweet, creative, and fun art-making time with my biggest inspiration of little guy, Owen.

Friday, November 18, 2011

the owls of owenania: jo

The owls are back, my friends.  Or, at least, this one owl is back, eager to join the ranks of the Owls of Owenania.  Meet Jo, a darling of an owl, who has a penchant for plants.  Despite her lavender hue, some might even say that she's got a bit of a "green wing."

Jo is my only pre-named owl thus far.  A dear friend suggested the name as a lovely owl choice, and I had to agree.  In thinking of a "Jo," my mind envisioned a sweet, shy, feminine owl, and thus this Jo was born.  I realize that this breaks my own self-imposed "rule" of naming owls only after they've been created, much in the way that I couldn't have possibly named my own child until actually seeing his little face.  However, I think it works in this case, because I probably never would have created an owl just like this one had I not had the inspiration of a name. 

We never know where inspiration will come from, how a suggestion or a sight or a seemingly arbitrary detail will float around in one's mind and provide the much-needed spark for something much bigger.  I've decided to start keeping track of these inspirational sparks even more.  Who knows how many more "Jo-moments" may lie ahead.
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