Thursday, January 28, 2016

new pottery in the shop!

Ok you guys I have a fresh batch of pottery in the shop HERE and this batch is inspired by Valentine's Day (which I like to celebrate all year long). Instead of being thrown on the wheel these are slab bowls made by my mom and then glazed with pattern (with a tiny brush) by me and fired in our kiln. These little bowls are perfect for jewelry, loose change, little snacks or anything small.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

clay valentines

Valentine's Day is fast approaching and this time of year I love finding unique ways to create all things hearts! A fun alternative to making paper valentines is actually using oven bake clay.

I started by sculpting little hearts out of polymer clay.

I used tooth picks to create arrows for my hearts so I pushed the tooth pick through each heart.

Next, I baked the clay hearts (according to the directions on the package).

Once the hearts cooled, I use permanent pens to doodle all over them! 
And last, I transformed those tooth picks into arrows by adding some paper details.

There you have it! Cute hearts that make a great little Valentine's Day gift!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

in the studio with Mary Wangerin

Today I am excited to introduce my friend Mary to you guys! She is an artist, wife and mama and in the coming months, she will be contributing a variety of creative guest posts here on the blog. Today she is sharing peek inside her studio and her world.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey with art.

Hello! I’m Mary. I’m an artist, wife, and mama living in a magical town on the Oregon coast where the forest meets the sea. I’m a professional joy-seeker and believer that all of life is art (yes, you too!). It is important to me to look for beauty everywhere – especially in the ordinary, everyday moments.

As a little girl I believed the truth that I was an artist, and would spend hours painting, drawing and dreaming - and then somehow, somewhere along the way, that belief was buried deep inside. I spent my early adult years attending college at Oregon State University obtaining degrees in Interior Design and Psychology, and working as a designer. It wasn’t until about five years ago that I finally picked up a paintbrush and gave in to my soul’s longings to get my hands messy with paint (again). You guys, in this moment, I heard angels sing. My heart cracked wide open, as if communicating to me– so THIS is what it feels like to be alive! I’ve been creating to my hearts content ever since.

What inspires you? What motivates you to make art?

I’m inspired by so much of daily life. Coffee dates with my people. Sunlight streaming through windows. Rain on our tin roof! Road trips to nowhere in particular. Favorite songs turned way up, with the windows rolled down. My son’s laughter and excitement about life. The ocean at sunset. Walking amidst the forest behind our house.  Bold colors/textures/patterns. Thrift shopping. Collaborating with other artists. Snail mail. All things that make my heart skip a beat.

Making art is my heart’s favorite way of communicating, documenting, expressing, and savoring. 

What is your favorite medium to work in?

My all time favorite medium to work with will forever be acrylic paint. But since my son’s birth 8 months ago I’m also loving just a regular old pen and sketchbook because there is no mess and I can take it on the go!

I know that you juggle a lot of different projects. How do you organize your creative schedule.

Learning to say ‘no’ to projects or commitments that don’t have my full heart has been one of the most valuable life lessons for me! I’ve also gotten really good at prioritizing. I make a giant list of all of the things I want to do and then choose to tackle the most important or time sensitive ones first. I came across a great quote recently that really resonates with me – ‘do less with more focus’. A lot of days are still very scattered as I learn to juggle being a mama with being an artist. Some days are super productive and other days I never make it out of my jammies! It is one of those forever learning processes for me.

What is a typical day like for you.

I am pretty loose and flexible when it comes to the structure of my day. It has been 8 months since the birth of my son and I feel as though I am still in this process of integrating my artist self with my mama self. What I do know is that every single day, the most important things get done – laughter, togetherness, adventuring outside (even if it’s a walk down the lane in between rain spells!), and creating during nap times (I’ve learned that the dishes and laundry can wait).

How did you start lettering? Can you tell us a little about the lettering process?

I love to incorporate words or quotes into my work! Often, the word or quote I choose tends to reflect how I’m feeling that day. They serve as gentle reminders or inspiration.
I believe in the beauty of imperfections and messes, so almost all of my lettering mirrors this! I grab a small-tipped paintbrush and go for it – I rarely ever pencil or trace it out first.

What are you working on right now?

Currently I’m working on a couple of giant paintings for my house! Because these pieces are for me/my family, I’m able to really let go (which is always the goal!) and have so much carefree fun with them

You can see Mary-

Over on her website HERE 

Her shop HERE

Instagram HERE

Monday, January 25, 2016

a peek into artful hands

Last week I announced my winter/spring lineup of "micro classes" and I just wrapped filming the first in the series! Today I've got a tiny peek!

finger paint from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

You haven't lived as an artist until you have used your fingers and hands to make art! In this class we are tossing out our brushes and tools and using our hands. I'll be sharing a variety of my favorite tricks, tips and techniques for using hands and fingers to create beautiful and expressive art.

Class goes live on February 15th

Register for the $15 class HERE 

Or register for the Bundle of Winter/Spring Micro Classes HERE (which is on sale right now $45)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

start a sketching routine

Sketching is a HUGE part of my life, it is the way that I practice, the way that I brainstorm ideas and even a way that I able to process and get my emotions out. I've spent years drawing, sketching and doodling and what I've found is that making time everyday for a sketching routine has made me more inspired, more creative and a better artist. 
Today I thought I would share a few ways to begin your own sketching routine! 

While I don't believe in spending lots of money on supplies, my materials are a really important part of my drawing process. The inspiration to sketch can hit at any time and I like to have all of my supplies on hand. There is nothing worse than wanting to draw but not having the right materials available. Before I purchase anything new, I always hunt for supplies that I already own and take time to explore them. 

I dig through my junk drawers, look around my studio and collect everything that can be used for drawing or doodling. I toss all these supplies into a big pouch and keep it next to my sketchbooks so I can grab everything I need to get busy drawing.

I like to take my supply gathering process a step further and explore everything that I have. I am always surprised at what I am able to find in my studio- supplies that I have forgotten about, supplies that are dried up or even ruined but still useable. Taking time to "reacquaint" myself with these supplies actually inspires me. I typically use a few blank pages and scribble, shade and make marks to remind myself what I can do with my materials.

  • Don't throw away dried out pens. You can use them in for adding light shading and subtle details to those drawings!
  • Dried out paint brushes the ones that don't get rinsed are a great tool for dipping in ink or acrylic paint. The stiff bristles are a wonderful way to add unique texture to an ink drawing.
  • White out pens and correction ink work great for drawing on black paper.
  • White colored pencils and crayons can be used to create a resist if you paint over the top of them.

The best thing you can do to begin a sketching, drawing or doodling routine is to commit time everyday to DOING IT! Sketching is just like any other practice and has always reminded me of exercise- it requires work, it can be painful in the beginning but after your get into a routine, the benefits FAR outweigh the the discomfort. Making time everyday, even if it's only 10 minutes, will set you on your way to getting better and more comfortable with the process.

In my dream world I would love to have 2 hours a day for sketching but these days I am juggling too many things. Once in a while I will clear out my schedule for a sketching project or will stay up late while everyone is sleeping but in my daily life I've had to learn how to be ok creating in small chunks of time. Ten minutes here while I wait for dinner to cook, 15 minutes drawing while Lucy draws, 20 minutes while watching t.v., another 10 minutes before I go to bed all adds up over the course of a day or a week. I think that smaller chunks of time are manageable and less intimidating when it comes to a sketching routine.

  • Try to look for small chunks of time in your schedule- like 15-20 minutes.
  • Ask yourself where in your schedule can you fit in 20 minutes to draw. Try drawing during those 20 minutes everyday for a week and see how it feels!
  • Double up on you time- try to identify different things in your schedule (like waiting for dinner to cook, waiting for a doctors appointment, drinking coffee, watching t.v.) that can be used for sketching. 

Inspiration and seeking ideas that are authentic, is one of the most important ways that I keep my work fresh. Sometimes the hardest part of the drawing process is facing a blank page and coming up with new ideas. For me it is necessary to stay off the computer and be present in my life and my surroundings.  My secret is looking at my schedule, my routine and the things in my life as potential inspiration for for my drawing process. I rely on the everyday moments and things as subject matter and fuel for my drawing.

  • Begin looking at your life (even the boring stuff) as potential for inspiration. 
  • Forget about creating drawings that anyone will see. Instead, accept that drawing can be just like keeping a private diary or journal. 
  • Find things in your everyday life to record visually. Meals, your clothing, pets, the plants in your garden, houses in your neighborhood are all great subject matter for sketching.

Lets face it, starting any kind of new routine can feel stressful and be filled with the pressure to succeed right away. To top off that pressure, inspiration doesn't always strike when you have free time. I've found that giving myself 10-15 minutes a day just to draw ANYTHING (even scribbles and shapes) really helps take the pressure off. Once you stop thinking you need to draw something beautiful, perfect or complete, you are better able to relax into the process. 

  • Instead of coming up with big grand ideas, I like to look around me and draw the things that I see- supplies on my desk, my grocery list, my outfit, my art supplies, the things in my purse, etc. Once you see potential in the everyday things around you, there is so much to draw and use as inspiration.
  • When all else fails...scribble! I know this sounds weird but there are days when I just don't feel like like drawing but I make myself pull out my drawing supplies and fill a couple of pages. On days like this, I scribble and make expressive marks and lines. Even though it's simple, this process always makes me feel creative and inspired!  

For those of you who are looking to start a sketching routine or even interested in learning to draw, I've got some of a few of my favorite drawing and doodling online classes marked down today! 

Sketchbook Delight, Doodle Delight and Draw With Me are all marked down!


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