Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How did it start?

This drawing is from 1994!  I loved drawing from comic books and Rouge was my favorite character.  Just keep reading to see how far I've come :)

I am following along with Dani Keith's blog.  She is applying for a grant and is posting the answers to her questions and I thought it would be fun!  So here is the next one.

How did you get started as an artist? What events moti­vated you to start your com­pany?”

I started as an artist at a very young age! I started when I was 4, at that age everyone is an artist!  Thats before you let the world tell you that you can't draw, or you can't paint.  Thats when everything was free, free to color outside of the lines, free to throw splatters on your castles....more about that later.  My mom still has a particular drawing that I did.  It was of the family and we were all stick people but I got my dads eyes just right. See, he has a glass eye so they are slightly different from each other.  I drew the glass eye smaller than his real eye (which is how it is in real life)  and so mom says thats when she knew I was an artist!  If you've read Dani's blog her mom knew well before her that she was an artist too.  Somthing about those mommas!

This drawing was selected for the student section of the Laguna website in 2005.
I drew all throughout school.  I quit taking art my senior year in high school.  I didn't figure there was much I could do with it, plus it was much more important to me at the time to get half days than to stay all day just for an art class. When I was 20  I started a community college in Hawaii (my husband was a Marine and we were stationed there)  I took a drawing class just to fulfill a credit and I fell in love all over again!  I had a great teacher, Snowden Hodges, who I thought could teach anyone to draw!   I took as many classes as I could while I was there and of course thought I was an awesome artist....ah the pride of the young.

Flash forward a couple of years and I started attending Laguna College of Art and Design.  I had the pleasure of studying under Betty Shelton.  Who is an absolutely fabulous teacher and artist.  I still ask her questions...and she still answers them (I think that is the true sign of a teacher! and I hope to be like her some day) Back to LCAD, I absolutely loved it!  And I truly did some exceptional work while I was for one year.  bum bum bum then I got pregnant.  So I was an art school dropout.  Thats ok though, Faith kept me from going into even more debt than I already had!  Oh, and I love my baby girl!  :)  After having Faith I took some time off from art.  When I started back up I thought I would sell art through home parties, kinda like Tupperware.  It didn't quite work out but you learn more from your failures than from your successes!  At that point in my life I felt like I absolutely had to make it work and it really sucked all the fun out of painting.  Now, I'm at a place where I can relax and enjoying creating artwork.  I'm not desperate to make my art sell and I love it!  You may ask, what changed?  In that time period I became debt free!  Who knew that debt could cloud all your creative processes?  While painting I would think about how I needed to sell it so I could pay off debt, or buy more supplies etc.  Now I don't have to worry about that its awesome!  So now I've got an etsy shop and I'm doing arts/craft fairs....and of course I'm always interested in gallery representation :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Is summer over?

I set out to take a break in July from blogging because I had so much going on. But then  it turned into an extended holiday!  (I know, I know I said holiday, but I swear I'm American! I've just been watching a lot of International House Hunters lately)  Friday was First Friday in Downtown Greensboro.  I've been meaning to post pictures of my booth with the lights on but this was the first time I remembered to take a picture!

This past Friday I unveiled my newest creation, silhouette portraits on plates.  The kids all loved the pink one because it looked like Barbie.  Of course then there was the one lady that started talking about how our kids are brainwashed because they thought the plate looked like Barbie.  I have to say that  although I made the portrait up from my head I had her silhouette in mind when I did it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Paintings from Asheville

Mountain Skyline on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Last month I posted a video of me while I was painting in Asheville, NC.  I was told that I needed to show photos of those paintings!  I can't believe that I left those out.  A is for Amber, Artist, and Airhead!

Blue Ridge Parkway


View from Mt Mitchell (the colors are off, the pic below is closer)

detail, Mt Mitchell

Wooded Path

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Something New

So I thought I would try something new this week.  My paintings are from life or nature.  I very rarely draw from my imagination.  During worship on Sunday in my mind's eye I saw a blue bird coming out of some swirly things so I decided it was time for me to step out of my box and paint it! By the way Word of Life Family Church youth group is having a dinner and a show on Friday.  The youth group is raising money to go on a missions trip at the end of the month.   $5 a plate $3 for kids.  Let me know if your interested and I'll hook you up with some tickets!

The daisy painting is another from my imagination.  I was rocking out to the new Newsboys cd.  It was a fun day in the studio.  Different but fun...oh and I got a purple spot in my hair, I accidentally put my paintbrush in my hair and didn't realize it.  By the time I saw it, it didn't want to come out!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dani's angel

Dani's angel is a custom piece.  She asked me to paint an angel for her momma so I drew a little inspiration from one of favorite artists, Mucha.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tupelo Honey Cafe Yummy Yum!

I haven't had a chance to tell you all about this awesome place I went to eat when I was in Asheville a couple of weeks ago.  Its called Tupelo Honey Cafe.  And we went twice!  It was so yummy.  They gave us biscuits with blueberry preserves while we waited for our food.  My very favorite item on the menu (i had it both times as a side to my chicken sandwich and my burger the next day) was the Sweet Potato pancakes!  They were so good that I bought their recipe book.  So I thought I would share it with you and hopefully next time your in Asheville, NC you can stop by and check them out.  I have to say that I tried it out using pancake batter  and it turned out good that way too.  But be careful if your a novice in the kitchen if you decide not to use the recipe! ;)

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Peach Butter and Spiced Pecans
1 Lg sweet potato
2 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1tea salt
5 table plus 1 1/2 tea sugar
3/4 tea baking soda
1 1/2 tea baking powder
3 c buttermilk
3 eggs
2 tbl unsalted butter, melted
2 tbl tupelo honey (i use what i got)
1 tea cinnamon
1/2 tea nutmeg

Wrap sweet potato in foil bake 350 for 45 min. or until tender. Let cool to room temp.
Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and baking powder.
In another bowl whisk buttermilk, eggs and melted butter..
Add wet mix to dry mix.
Peel sweet potato  and mash add honey, cinamon, and nutmeg.  Mix well.
Add sweet potato mix to pancake batter.  Mix well. Let stand for 1 hour.

Spiced Pecans

1 1/2 teaspoons tupelo honey
1/4 tea cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 tea unsalted butter
1 C chopped pecans

In a bowl mix honey, cayenne, and salt.  Melt the butter in a skillet, Med heat.  Add honey mix and the pecans and cook for 8-10 min, until lightly browned and caramelized.   Remove from heat, let cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Peach Butter

8 tbl unsalted butter, at room temp
1 large ripe peach peeled or finely diced, or 3/4 C frozen peached, diced fine
1 1/2 tea brown sugar
1/8 tea sea salt
1 tbl peach nectar

In a food processor, mix all ingredients by pulsing briefly, retaining pieces of peach visible in the mixture.  Keep refriderated, but bring to room temp before serving.  (good on biscuits, cornbread, and waffles too!)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Artist Interview: Brittany Warner-Smithereens

Brittany Warner-Smithereens

I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Brittany Morgan-Smith.  She is a tattoo artist in Hawaii.  We met in art school, Laguna College of Art and Design, back in 2004.  I was married to a Marine and moved to California and she moved to California and married a Marine!  Something about those jarheads...their irresistible! 
This is a portrait of Brittany by me, from art school.  And to think I almost gave it to her!  Then I wouldn't have been able to post it here 7 years later! lol

How did you get started as a tattoo artist?
It was something I wanted to do for a long time, but I was having a hard time getting the courage to try to get into it.  Once I had my mind set on it I knew I had to do it or I would never forgive myself. I lucked out and got in at an amazing shop in Hawai`i before I had even moved to the island :)

Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk, find it here!

What is your favorite part of giving a tattoo? 
The look on the person's face when they see their tattoo in the mirror for the first time and love it.
I also love when I can tell that I am doing something that makes someone feel more beautiful or when the tattoo brings closure to them.

Dude Looks Like A Lady, find it here!

How important do you feel your fine art background is to your success as a tattoo artist? 
In some ways it has helped so much and in others it has actually been problematic. It helps to know how color works, little tricks to lead the eye, etc
But it has been a big problem when it comes to using black and to defining things so much with lines. As a painter, using black is a huge no-no, but as a tattooist black can be your best friend (i'm still trying to convince myself of that).

Do you have any suggestions for people interested in becoming a tattoo artist?
Don't do it if you enjoy sleep, free time, and sanity, haha!
No, but seriously, it is far too easy to get a kit and teach yourself at home... don't do that!!!! It can be really hard to find somebody who is willing to share their knowledge with you, but it is worth it to learn to do things the right way. It's not only the fact that you are marking someone for life, but it is also a health issue (yours and theirs)

Rose Colored Glasses, find it here
I've always loved your work,  and I really like your "tattoo" paintings. What do you use to paint them?
First of all, thank you!! Big difference in them now that I'm tattooing, huh? Lines galore!  I mostly use microns, watercolor, &/or copic markers on coffee-stained watercolor paper.

Whats the weirdest tattoo you've ever done and/or seen
Most of the weirdest ones I've seen have been on a friend of mine who makes it her mission to get weird tattoos. One of them is of a monkey having sex with a mailbox.
The weirdest that I've given were of a pig and cow cut charts. I didn't think they were that strange (the recipient is a chef who is planning to get a fruit and veggie sleeve from me also), but they always make people giggle and ask questions when they look through my portfolio :)

Peonies, find it here
If you could tattoo any celebrity who would it be and what would you give them?
Hmmm, I honestly can't think of an answer to this. I'm not big into actors/actresses, but I LOVE musicians and comedians. This is such a boring answer, I'm sorry, hahaha!

Sailors Grave, find it here!

Do you have any tattoos?
I got my first when I was 18 and I'm still waiting on my others. I have had a sleeve in the planning stage for 2 years with my boss/mentor, but he's yet to start it. I have an appointment set in October already with one of my favorite artists in the world, Valerie Vargas. I'm already getting excited for that :)
Loner Rebel, find it here!

Kat Von D, Love or Hate?

As a tattoo artist I'm supposed to hate her, but I don't; I actually feel bad for her. I do hate LA Ink though because it has turned into a soap opera with tattoos sprinkled in here and there.
As far as Kat goes she has helped not only to show that there is room in the industry for the ladies (which, obviously, I appreciate) but the shows have helped to make tattoos more acceptable. She may not be on my list of favorite artists, but she's definitely got my respect

You can find Brittany at Pacific Soul Tattoo in Honolulu, Hawaii.  You can also find her on etsy at www.brittanymorgan53.etsy.com

Saturday, June 4, 2011

June First Friday Indie Market

Rachel and Me with our Mega Chills!
The band performing, Lake Isle

Cute litte doggy that kept showing up in my tent with different people

My booth :)

Super yummy mini cupcakes and banana pudding by Clara Marie's Authentic Southern Bakery

The cupcakes were fantastic!  Banana Pudding, Banana Split, Espresso Bean, Maple Bacon (not pictured because I ate it!)  Vanilla, Red Velvet, and one more but I don't remember what it was

Our police presence

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What's in a name?

My friend Dani Keith is filling out an application for a grant.  She is blogging about  the questions and her answers and I thought what fun it would be to do my own answers....

  What business/brand name are you using for  your creations? Why did you choose this name?”
I picked Lighthearted Studios.  I really wanted to chose something that would describe my art and my personality.  Perhaps it was easy to do that because my art is an extension of my personality?  I first started playing with words and phrases that had light and color in them.  I strive to make my art full of light and color so it only seemed natural.  When I started thinking about myself Lighthearted just popped out.  Anyone that knows me knows that I am laid back and "lighthearted".  I did struggle with whether it should be studios or studio.  I figured, dream big and grow into the name!  I also tinkered with Lighthearted Parties, a couple of years ago I thought I would sell art in a home party format but that didn't work out for me.  I am still available to host a home party if anyone is interested *wink wink*  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Painting in the Blue Ridge Mountains

This is my first attempt at video blogging! I'm sure you will all be mesmerized by my awesomeness.
I was inspired to do this by Megan Auman from Crafting an MBA  Let me know what you think!  Do you like videos?  Maybe next time I should shower first?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Artist Interview, Polly Jones

Irises and Roses in A Blue Pitcher, find it here!

I just realized that I have been MIA! I feel like my head has been spinning, I've had so much going on. This past weekend was my 10 year wedding anniversary so we headed up to Asheville, NC and had a ton of fun! There will be more on that later!

But now....I'm continuing on with my 2nd artist interview! She is one of my favorite painters Polly Jones. She is the first person I have ever purchased a piece of artwork from! (usually I trade for art) I found Polly on Etsy and I obsessivly look at her artwork, I just can't help it. I messaged her once and told her that her art makes me want to sing and dance....and I stand by that! 

I love how your paintings have so much color and texture.  Flowers, glass, and fabrics
show up in so many of your paintings, but which one is the most fun to paint?
 I suppose I get the most excited when I am painting glass with water in it.  There's just something about how it transforms what goes through it that gets me every time.
You use so many beautiful flowers in your paintings, do you have a green thumb?
I love growing flowers in our yard but I don't ever seem to do enough of the weeding and keep up-- the hard part.  We had a hail storm two days after I had planted a bunch of flowers outside and they survived but are not looking great right now.

What is your favorite flower? and is that also your favorite flower to paint?   
They're my favorite to paint too.
The fabrics that you use in your still lifes are so bright and colorful where do you find them? 
 I am an avid thrift store and estate sail sifter.  I have way too many "props" because of my bad habits.
Blackberries on Green Depression Glass, find it here!

I love the paintings with the fish, what made you decide to paint them and how do you get them to sit still :)   Thank you!  One of my earliest memories...I'm guessing I was about 2, was reaching into a fish bowl and grabbing a fish.  My memory stops there but I must have learned something about the fleeting quality of life.  That's what they symbolize for me.  I've had a lot of fish, but never for long.  Also it's a great excuse to paint that glass and water.  Many times I have painted from life just staring and trying to remember them in the right position.  I have also cut out pictures of fish and placed them inside the glass bowl to look at.  I have a stash of photographs for reference, the rest of the painting is usually painted from life.

Dutch Iris Together, find it here!

Do you have any advice for painters just starting out?  
Starting out is such a great time!  I suggest you experiment boldly.  Also juust doing a whole lot of work is such a great teacher.  All of the successes and all of the failures add up faster and give you more to learn from.  

A Romance, find it here!

How do you balance painting with having a family?  

Well, I took a bit of time off when my daughter was young.  I didn't even feel guilty about it.  Soon enough I was able to fit in some painting and when she went to school I definitely had more time.  Now that she is grown I have even more time.  My husband is an artist and teaches full time in college.  I do most of the domestic stuff around the house in hopes that he will have time to do art too.  I'm not especially organized but I am an amazingly quick cook. Meal time is a big deal around here and I have gotten good at whipping things up that seem to take more time.  My painting groove usually just gets going good right when I should be tending to dinner...

I love your collage pieces!  How do you decide what kinds of paper to use for the collage?   Do you decide ahead of time what parts to leave peeking through or does do you let the painting decide?  

I like using pieces of maps and Golden book encyclopedias from the 1950s best of all.  In a funny way I think of maps as a way of referring to God looking down on us, the omniscient view.  Also they make me think of journeys.  I use the children encyclopedia pages because of the information and the great pictures.  I love the colors in them.  I am constantly bombarded with thoughts and information that influences everything I see.  In my paintings I like to weave in the information in the form of the papers.  Sometimes the text has a connection to the image that I'm painting and sometimes (like life seems) it's more random.  The decisions of where to put the collaged papers are done in front of my still life set up.  It's a very intuitive process. 

Pink Umbrella, find it here!
Time for some fun!
Whats your favorite color?  cobalt blue, or sometimes red
Who is your favorite artist? for a long time it was Janet Fish but now I've gone back to Manet
Whats the weirdest thing you've ever eaten? chocolate covered crickets
Who is the worst actor in Hollywood? Keanu Reeves in Much Ado About Nothing.
Please be sure to check Polly out here on Etsy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


 I don't know what kind of flowers these are but they sure were a pretty yellow!  Faith picked them from our neighbors yard (with permission of course!)
Some time in the middle of the painting

close up, the glass was really fun to paint

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jewelry by Dani Keith

Yesterday I drove out to Oak Ridge, NC with my sister in law, Rachel, and went shopping at the Keep It Local art show.  It was really cool....and is exactly what I want to do!  One day I will have a little artist haven in my own back yard!  I guess I should have started with how it was set up.  You pull up to two men in funny hats with signs that say Honk if you Love Art!  They point you to parking and then you walk down a long (but not too long) gravel driveway into the woods.   On the left is a cute home...and to be honest I can't remember it enough to describe it well, I just remembered thinking how cute it was.  On the right is a chicken coop, it made me feel right at home (my parents have chickens).  Then we walked into  an open grassy area where artists had set up their tents.  There was homemade salsa, jewlery, pottery and paintings.  Of course my favorite jewelry designer was there, Dani Keith (I did an interview with her a couple of posts ago)  I took some pictures of the jewelry I picked up :)  The earrings in my first hole I got last week when I stopped by her home but I got the heart, in the top of my ear, at the show and the ring too!  Pretty soon I'll be covered in her jewelry!  Her art makes me happy~

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dogwood before the Storm!

Last week I got the chance to paint outside while my daughter played.  I painted my neighbor's dogwood tree.  I had totally forgotten that I painted it last year until I had finished this one.  I guess I'm more drawn to it than I realized! I'm glad I got the painting done though because a couple of days later we had a terrible storm. I live in North Carolina and there was lots of tornadic activity this past Saturday. (I painted this on Thursday) I don't know if "tornadic" is an actual word but I heard the weather girl say it and I thought it was funny so I'm using it too!  The poor dogwood lost all its blooms!  Now its really sad.  So I'm raising my glass, or in this case paintbrush, to the dogwood!  It is available for purchase but I haven't listed it on etsy yet because its still wet. It is 8x10 oil on panel. Just email me at ambercauley@yahoo.com if your interested.
Dogwood before the Storm

My cutie posing with her momma's painting

Last year's painting of the dogwood, Hazy Days, Sold