Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas 2013

I have been missing from the blog scene for over a month now and thought I'd let you know what I have been doing ... I have been making "Beaded Ornament" Covers for Christmas gifts this year!

Here is a photo of a group of 20 of them, I ended up making a total of 36 this year (for family only, none for sale) ... missed my goal by 6!

Here are some on our Christmas tree ...

The following are some individual photos I took ....

I think I will make about 2 a month in 2014 so that I don't end up doing everything at the end of the year.   I still owe Jim 6 more ornaments from 2013 ... good thing he is an understanding hubby!

Wishing all my friends a wonderful New Year!
Karen Anne aka Ireland Brady

PS  If you could say some prayers for my Jim, that would be wonderful.  He is undergoing chemo treatments for colon/rectal cancer, stage two.  We are hoping the first 6 treatments will shrink the cancer enough so they can surgically remove it.  If so, then once he has healed he will undergo another series of 6 - 8 chemo treatments; they are trying to avoid radiation if at all possible.  

Big hugs everyone!  

Friday, November 22, 2013

$0.99 NibbleFest Time!

NibbleFest is a time honored tradition where artists compete once a month with a maximum of 3 entries in a themed competition, each entry starts with a beginning bid of only $0.99!  There is quite a variety of pieces and wonderful artists.  Many are larger sized pieces of art, and many are smaller; but all begin at just $0.99.  The auctions are staggered with some going for 7 days, some for 5 days and some for as little as 3 days; all auctions are to end on the 27th of the month.  What is nice about this is that every 2 days you get to see new entries.

The theme for November 2013 is "Giraffe" and I have created three little "Baby Giraffe" ACEOs that have recently been listed.

These originals are listed on eBay and are currently up for bid, you are certainly welcome to join in on the bidding!  If you would like to take a gander at all the entries (highly recommended) here is a link that will take you there:  NIBBLEFEST NOVEMBER ART CHALLENGE!

Be prepared to enjoy some terrific pieces of art!

Take care and be happy!
Karen Anne

Friday, November 1, 2013

Finally - A New Post - About Time!

Oh my, I have certainly been neglecting my blog.  A big case of life interrupting my plans!  Oh well, that is what keeps life interesting, the unexpected popping up with new challenges ... some good, some not so good but challenging never the less.

As you make recall, I belong to an artists eBay group and each month they have a Theme Week Contest.  This month's theme is "Native American" and the following are my two ACEO (2.5" x 3.5") entries in the Theme Week contest from the ACEO ~ Art Cards Editions and Originals group on eBay. The contest takes place the first week of each month. To view other listings, by some very talented artists, you can use this link ACEO TW NOV

"Native Girl with Doll"

"NW Coast Girl"

The originals are currently up for bid on eBay and Authorized Open Editions are available on Etsy.

Right now I am in the midst of moving my studio from the dining room to our upstairs area.  My supplies are piling up higher and higher in the dining room and I am in need of more space!  The only problem is, we have been using the upstairs as a "Catch All" these past several years and it is quite packed.  Yesterday I unburied my drafting table and light table.  Today I am geared up to tackle the main room ... ugh!

Take care, be happy ...
Karen Anne Brady

Friday, September 6, 2013

White Wolves - The Colored Pencil Magazine August 2013 Photo Art Challenge

This has been executed on 5.5" x 7.5" Strathmore Toned Gray Paper using primarily colored pencils.  I did use art pens in a few places for delicate details.  I used a white gel pen to outline the wolves when I initially transferred the drawing to good paper.  I should have used a white pencil; the pen left ink marks that interfered with the colored pencil.  I used an Xacto knife to remove most of the ink, but some remained.  I won't be doing that again!

I almost didn't complete this month's challenge because animals are a true challenge to me; but with some gentle nudging and prodding by my eBay Artists Group I was finally coaxed into joining in.  I am glad I did because this piece came out much better than I expected.  Guess I have been listening when people give advise on how to do animal fur ... this time I went for illusion rather than trying to capture every single strand of fur.

Thank you, my friends, for sharing your techniques ... people do listen!

"White Wolves" by Karen Anne Brady

Photo by John Knight

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Lilac Roller III"

This is my final and last entry in the Colored Pencil Magazine July 2013 Art Challenge.  I had shared a copy of my previous drawing with my Mom and she thought it would look better with the foliage included, as in the challenge photo ...

I thought about it and tended to agree ... so here is my third and final entry into this month's Art Challenge.   This one has been completed on Strathmore Toned Tan Sketch Paper with a watercolor pencil (wet application) under painting followed by dry colored pencils for shading and details.

Hope you like it!
"Lilac Roller III"

this is the reference photo...

Take care ... wishing you a happy and loving day,
Karen Anne Brady aka Ireland Brady

Sunday, July 28, 2013

CPM "Lilac Roller" Challenge Entry .....

I have done a bunch of new pieces in the past few weeks but really haven't had much time to sit down and post them in my blog.  So I thought I would take out a few minutes today to share my latest piece with you.

This is my second Colored Pencil Magazine July 2013 Challenge Entry "Lilac Roller".

I went large for this entry ... 4 inches x 6 inches (hey, that's large in comparison to ACEO size of 2.5" x 3.5"! - LOL!).

Anyway, I used my new Aquarelle watercolor pencils for the primary layer followed by Verithin pencils, SoHo pencils, Faber-Castel pencils, a dash of white Gelly Roll pen, and a smidgeon of Prismacolor fine line markers ... all mixed together on a bed of Stonehenge Paper. Hmmmm, kinda sounds like a recipe doesn't it? LOL!

I must say, I am really beginning to like laying down a watercolor (pencil) under coat and then proceeding with the dry pencils. It is a very useful technic for people who are less patient with the cp layering process.

My rendition of the "Lilac Roller"

and the challenge photo

Happy Day everyone!
Karen Anne

PS I didn't like the sky in the entry I posted yesterday for the July 2013 Challenge, so today I worked on it and I am now much happier with the piece ...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Four more "Winter Berry Maidens"

I have just finished four more of my zentangle inspired goddess/fairy type ACEOs.  I seem to be calling them my "Winter Berry Maidens" simply because I have winter berries in each of these recent ACEOs.

Winter berry shrubs have green foliage and berries; in the winter the green leafs drop off the bush leaving only the beautiful red berries on the twigs.  I like adding them to these latest pieces because they seem to add a bit of a magical element.

Here they are in the order they were created:

I have been having fun creating this little maidens and I hope you are enjoying my efforts.

Take care and happy day!
Karen Anne aka IrelandBrady

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Strathmore Artist Papers - New Product - Featured Artist ....

I have been keeping a "secret" since early May of this year.  I've just been bursting to share it, but I promised I wouldn't say a word to anyone (except Jim) until it was made public.  Well ... yesterday I saw it advertised at Amazon.com so I figure that is about as public as something can get!

Let's go back to 5/7/2013 when I received an email with the subject line "Zentangle Art for Strathmore".  Well naturally that piqued my curiosity, what artist hasn't heard of or worked on Strathmore paper?!  I opened the email and here is the first part of that message:

"Dear Karen,

My name is S___ S______ and I am with Strathmore Artist Papers (www.strathmoreartist.com).

We are in the process of developing a new product line called “Artist Tiles”, to be used for meditative art, patterning, and “Zentangle” style artwork. As I was doing research, I came some of your artwork and Zentangles. We really love your style and wanted to get in touch with you to see if you’d be interested in having your artwork featured on the packaging of our new product. One of the products we are creating for this line is 4”x4” Artist Tiles in retail packs. The paper used for these tiles would be our 400 Series Watercolor. We thought your style could be a great fit for this product specifically." 

I'll tell you, I was so stunned I nearly fell off my chair ... you could have knocked me over with a hummingbird feather ... Strathmore, contacting me?  Surely this has to be a joke some one is playing on me ... this can't be real, can it?  Well, it sure looked pretty real to me so I thought "OK ... I'll bite ..." and I responded.  They responded back! And with a contract no less!  We came to an agreement, they sent the product for me to work on, I created a piece of Zentangle watercolor artwork, sent it off to Strathmore and sat back a waited.

In the meantime I still kept thinking ... this is the best dream I have EVER had!  The original piece of art was returned and I had been compensated for my time but still it did not seem real, that is until yesterday when I was once again contacted by S.S. at Strathmore.   Then I googled "Strathmore Artist Tiles" and lo and behold .... there it was!  A Strathmore product with my art work on it!

It's NOT a dream, it is real!  Now I can share what I have been keeping a secret for what seems like forever ... the new Strathmore product with the artwork of your's truly on the front!  Ta-da!

And here is the original art piece ....

This day is certainly filled with a LOT of sunshine and Thank You very much Strathmore!

Happy day all!

Big hugs,
Karen Anne aka Ireland Brady

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gelly Roll Metallic and Stardust (glitter) pens arrived!

I recently purchased some Gelly Roll Metallic and Stardust (glitter) pens and a fairy or goddess just seemed to be the right subject to try them out on. While the Gelly Roll pens attributes are not truly captured on a scanned image, they are very attractive when seen up close and personal.

It is certainly a bunch of fun to play around with these pens!  I've even got one pen with clear ink and glitter, works really great on hair and eye lids.

Here are the first two miniatures (ACEOs) that I have created and embellished with my new pens!

It is a beautiful day, hope all of you are enjoying it as much as I!

Happy Day!
Karen Anne 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sea Shells - The Colored Pencil Magazine June 2013 Art Challenge

The June 2013 Art Challenge being held by the Colored Pencil Magazine is from a photo, taken by Sally Ford, of a group of scattered sea shells on sand.   It includes quite a large variety of shells that are quite unique. There is something so beautiful about sea shells and yet so very practical ... when you think about it, they are actually like mobile homes for sea creatures!

I enjoyed this challenge so much that I have created two entries that compliment each other.   With each of these challenges, the artist can choose to use the entire photo, a portion of the photo, or create a composition that is photo inspired.  I decided to "re-arrange" some of my favorite shells and came up with the two following interpretations .....

"Sea Shells #2" completed on 6/29/2013

"Sea Shells #1" completed on 6/18/2013

from the Sea Shells photo by Sally Ford

Both of my Sea Shell compositions are now available to you in my Etsy Shop in ACEO format (2.5" x 3.5");  larger prints can be made upon request.

I hope you enjoy my two latest creations!

Karen Anne aka Ireland Brady

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Star Gazer Lilies"

I don't know about you, but I think Star Gazer Lilies are among the most delicious smelling and beautiful flowers Mother Nature has provided for us.  Their appearance is so magical and romantic, their aroma so sweet and heady.  They actually appear to have been sprinkled with fairy dust!  

My last two ACEOs have the main subject as Star Gazer Lilies .....

"Star Gazers"

"Star Gazer Lilies"

Take care and have a wonderful week!
Karen Anne aka IrelandBrady

Saturday, June 1, 2013

New ACEOs!

The eBay artists' group I belong to has a Theme Week contest on the 1st week of each month.  The theme for the month of June is "Fish" ... well, I really like fish and I managed to come up with 5 "Fish" ACEOs!  Each is strongly influenced by Zentangle patterns ...

Each piece was created using Derwent Inktense pencils, Prismacolor Verithin colored pencils, watercolor pencils and technical art pens on Stonehenge Art Paper.  I like the bright colors of the watercolor and Inktense pencils and the shadowing I am able to achieve with the Verithin (dry) colored pencils.  The detail is provided with the technical pens.

"Jellyfish" on eBay and at Etsy

"Clown Fish and Star Fish" on eBay and at Etsy

"Salmon" on eBay and at Etsy

"Angel Fish" on eBay and at Etsy

"Seahorse" (Yes, a seahorse is a fish!) on eBay and at Etsy

I really enjoyed creating these five ACEOs and hope that you like and enjoy my efforts.   If you would like to see all of the entries in the ACEO TW JUNE challenge here is a link that will take you there:
It is really interesting to see all the different variations on the theme!

Take care and have a great weekend everyone!
Karen Anne aka Ireland Brady

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

In a Jar ...........

Awhile back my ACEO eBay Group held a challenge based on what you could find in a jar ... with the subject jar being an old fashioned canning jar.  I came up with three versions ....

I am happy to say, the challenge worked out quite well for me because these three ACEOs sold really quickly on eBay!   Thanks to the wonderful equipment we now have, prints are still available in my Etsy Shop.  

This week I am working on a new challenge, the theme is "Fish".  On June 1st, I will be posting all the "Fish" themed ACEOs to eBay and Etsy.  I like the way they are coming along ....

Take care and be happy!
Karen Anne aka Ireland Brady

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Egg Shells to Start Seeds"

Awhile back there was a "share" on Facebook about using emptied egg shells to start seedlings.  I began saving a few egg shells to try it out ... ended up with 9.  Last week I filled them with dirt and added 4 Swiss Chard seeds to each shell, figured at 4 to a shell I might get at least one start.

I saved an egg carton to use to hold the egg shells, since I had 3 empty spots left in the carton I added dirt and seeds to those spots as well.  I also had some discs on hand from previous attempts at starts so I put 4 of them into water to swell up and then added a bean seed to each of them.  Want to see which method works best.

I was wishing I had a mini-indoor green house and then I had an "Ah-Ha!" moment!  Wonder if my glass cake dome would work like a glass garden bell?  So I pulled out the glass cake platter and dome, placed all my newly planted and watered seeds on the platter and covered all with the cake dome.

I did this about last Thursday and today when I checked on them, lo and behold I beheld little baby swiss chard starts popping out in 3 shells and one egg carton spot!  My Cake Dome Green House seems to be working!  Yay!

Egg Shell Seed Containers

Cake Dome Mini-indoor Green House

Nice humidity provided inside the cake dome green house!

Once they are bursting out of their shells ... I will pop them into my raised veggie garden ... Yes!

Happy day to all!
Karen Anne 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"Seahorse and Mermaid" and US Bank Alert

Here is a cute little seahorse with a charming young mermaid ....

"Seahorse and Mermaid"

I had an interesting thing happen today ... I received an email from US Bank that things had been compromised on our account and I should click on a link to update my information; if I didn't do so within 48 hours my account would be frozen.  So, I clicked on the link and received a warning that I would be directed to a "Phishing" (phoney) site and should take care before so doing.

I backed out and reread the email ... it sure looked official!  Except the email address didn't look quite right.  Then I studied the correspondence and decided even I could have made up this official looking message with my limited knowledge of Photoshop.  I checked my US Bank account online and discovered no recent alerts had been sent to me today and decided to call the bank.

Turns out, it was a scam!  The bank rep said that, unfortunately, people are getting really innovative at getting personal info in order to take over your accounts, etc.  She said I had done the right thing in listening to my instincts and not proceeding any further with the email link.

Moral of this story?  If it seems "phishy", verify it by calling the establishment at a phone number you know is theirs' before proceeding ....

Have a great week!  Looks like we are in store for some summer like days here in Oregon for about a week!  Yes!

Monday, April 29, 2013

"Zentangle Beta" a new ACEO

Here is another Beta!  Only this time I have used zentangle designs in creating this little gem of a fish.  Been feeling kinda sluggish lately, so this is about as creative as I can get ... the weather is supposed to be getting warm towards the end of the week ... maybe that will perk me up!  I can always hope!

"Zentangle Beta"

The original is available at this link:

Open Edition prints here:

Take care,
Karen Anne aka Ireland Brady

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More ......... "Monarch Fairies"!

I think I have an ACEO Fairy Series in the makings!  Just finished two more of the Monarch Fairy ACEOs ....

Each of these detailed ACEOs can take from 8 to 10 hours to complete.  Each one begins with a blank piece of Stonehenge paper upon which I create the subject using an erasable terra cotta pencil.  I then use a technical art pen and provide an ink outline to the elements in the piece.  After which all of the pencil lines are erased to reveal a black & white coloring page type of image.

The fun then begins by applying layers and layers of colored pencil and subtly blending those applications of color together.  The is a very time consuming process but well worth the effort.  Once this stage is completed I begin the slow but steady work of re-inking all the initial lines and adding fine detail designs to the image.

When  I am finally satisfied with the results, the newly created piece is then sealed with a spray finishing laminate to preserve the colors and prevent damage.

"Blue Monarch Fairy and Butterfly"

"Pink Monarch Fairy and Butterfly"

I am enjoying these little ladies ... think I'll go make some more!

Friday, April 19, 2013

"Monarch Fairy and Butterfly"

I seem to be favoring fairies lately ... my latest ACEO piece is a take on the monarch butterfly, a Monarch Fairy!  Perhaps she is the protector of Monarch Butterflies?  If so, she certainly looks like a very loving and caring protector ... 

"Monarch Fairy and Butterfly"

I really think Monarch Butterflies are so very beautiful, perhaps this weekend I'll try my hand at creating a Blue Monarch Fairy and Butterfly ACEO ... sounds like fun!  Don't you think?

The original of this little gem is now on eBay:

Authorized Open Edition ACEO Art Prints are on Etsy:

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Big hugs,
Karen Anne aka Ireland Brady