Wednesday, November 30, 2005

EMERGE art necklace for the butterfly challenge

The creator came down to Earth on a rainbow, in order to bring a message of peace to all humans. And at the very spot where his foot touched the ground, the stones came alive and the sparkling colors of the rainbow emerged with a brilliance unsurpassed.

EMERGE is the title of my art necklace designed for the "Emerge from The Cocoon" Butterfly challenge. I designed a special stone-shaped cabochon, featuring the look of opal and a fair-haired maiden, basking in its glow as she proceeds to emerge into life as a beautiful, successful, and talented woman. This original painting is created solely in polymer in a fashion similar to enamel work. The art represents the changes I personally have gone through as I've transformed over my lifetime, and is representative of the changes many women after me will make, and the journeys into finding ones true self others before me have done.

The art cabochon is framed in 14K gold filled wire, which forms the setting for the cab as well as the wings of the butterfly. Rare aurora tinted milkglass vintage beads, emerald green glass beads, and three exquisite pink ab special cut vintage crystals form the intricate beaded part of the design. The pendant hangs from a goldtone 18" mesh chain.

I chose to create the look of opal in this piece because opals are like human emotions - always experienced different and anew each time they are viewed. The opal is one of my favorite gemstones. The art cab is stamped with my official signature on the back.

To see a close up view of the pendant, please click here.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

WAITING FOR SANTA - #4 in the 100 Fabulous Felines Mini Art Series

"Waiting for Santa"
#4 in the 100 Fabulous Felines Series of Business-card sized, original polymer paintings

"Okay, Girls, here's the deal...we're going to miss out on Christmas table scraps while that big, ole' ugly dog gets 'em all. All we'll get are those nasty treats from Santa. So here's the plan. As soon as you see the big guy's sleigh, run and hide. After he's outta here, grab those treat bags and stash 'em under the couch. At dinner tomorrow, you two give out your best meow's and do all the feet rubbin' you can muster. The Misses will feel so sorry for us, she'll definitely divide those scraps up and fix us a plate. And don't forget to toss a big smirk Fido's way before we start munchin' out. He'll never understand it, but he'll wonder about it for a whole year!"

(click here to buy this original painting or click here to bid on this painting on Ebay. Also, purchase cards and fine art prints with this artwork here.)


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Lunar Offering - Fantasy Centerpiece

This is one of my pieces I call 'Freedom' pieces. I've been so busy this week, I haven't had time to get much new work done. So when I've been out of the studio for a day or so, it takes me a while to get back "in sync". A freedom piece is design made totally "on the fly". No planning, no photo references - just straight out of ME. This is what came out today - I've titled this piece "Lunar Offering". It's a flat, stone-shaped piece, with no hardware attached. I have a lot of jewelry designers as friends, and I thought it would be neat to see what one of them can do using this as a centerpiece in a wire wrap or seed bead design. Alternatively, because it is flat, it will also look great simply displayed as a piece of miniature art on an easel.

Now that I've completed this piece, I'm ready to tackle a more tedious design such as #4 in my cat series of miniature paintings.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

A festive art jewel ~ miniature painting - POINSETTIA

Here's a festive art jewel I made this week - a beautiful red poinsettia Christmas flower. I created the flower on an ivory background with dots of liquid gold throughout the ivory, offering a very rich and elegant look. Pair this pendant with a black cord (shown, but sold separately) for a casual look or a gold chain for an even more sparkling appearance. This is a one of a kind, signed, original, which can be worn as a pendant or hung on an ornament stand as miniature art in the home. Go here to buy this piece now!


The Arti-Versary Party at the Dickson Gallery!

Last night was the one year anniversary celebration for the Dickson Gallery of Fine Art in Jackson, TN, where I am a member artist. It was a majorly fun event, with tons of visitors and I met so many nice people! Rachel did a fabulous job with everything - two beautiful girls were playing violins inside and there was a saxophone player outside. There were good drinks and lots of great foods. Two of my pendants sold and I have some requests for some other pieces too. Overall it was just wonderful, and I was so excited to be able to attend and meet and greet!

Also, Rachel put up the photo from the Puttin' on the Pink event where my breast cancer awareness necklace was given away. Click this link to see the article and a photo of Rachel and I in VIP magazine.

The winner of the pendant came to the party last night and was wearing the special necklace. I got to finally meet her and it turns out her daughter is a breast cancer survivor. How appropriate the necklace went to a family where it has special meaning - that just brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad my work has made a difference in someone's life...that means a lot to me!

Well I'm off to the studio to make some cross pendants - which I have requests for from some people last night. I'm coming up with my own unique design shape and going to make a few of these up to offer on my website as well as take down to the gallery next week.


P.S. I'm also working on painting #4 in my miniatures series "100 Fabulous Felines" this weekend. :)

Friday, November 25, 2005

What's my Motivation....what makes me work so hard and what keeps me going?

I also thought of an answer - or several - to the above question after answering those other questions below.

What motivates me to work so hard?

The empty refrigerator on Thanksgiving Day.
The utility guy leaving the yellow sticker on my front door.
The people who teased me when I was a kid.
People who resent the fact I won't play the games they play.
The people in my life who told me I should be a secretary and not an artist.
Those who brush me off and act like I don't exist.
The fact I want to leave a piece of me behind, to prove to future generations I was here...I did exist.
The people who act as if what I do is "easy" and claim how they can do the same thing with half the effort.
People who act as if I'll never amount to anything or who imply I'll never accomplish anything.
People who infer because my materials are relatively inexpensive, my art and jewels should be priced like something on a Wal-mart shelf.
People who indicate my time is not valuable.
People who try to yank me down as soon as I start to excel.

Those are some of the personal things in my consciousness which motivate me to work prove to all those people in my life that I am worthy, I do have talent, and I can bring beauty into this world in my own way.

It's also me proving to the world that a person CAN do what they love and can pay the bills. For years I worked in something I hated (yes, I did what I was told and became the secretary while I secretly dreamed of working in something more artistic), and it feels good to show those people - "hey look...I am doing what I want now (after a 20 year delay!) and guess what? I'm earning money!" Sure, it's tough to pay all the bills on time sometimes - but like I mentioned, the empty fridge and the utility folks knocking at the door motivate me to work harder, to try harder, to reach out to more audiences, etc.

Notice in my motivation all centers around "people". The humans in my world. Which is why I paint mostly animals, nature, scenery, birds in my work. To me, those things bring peace into a world where I've constantly been subjected to the above "messages" directed at me from people.

Most of the non-supportive and negative people are now gone from my life. I've learned to get away from anyone directing those messages at me relatively quick now. I know when I do that, some people wonder why I've just disappeared from their life. But there's really no point in explaining it - I've tried that and they don't get it or they deny it. The fact is, no matter what THEIR intention, that is how *I* felt and I had to make a decision to leave the situation for my own good. And I've never regretted it. Every time I step away from negativity, things improve for me. So I'll continue to do it....step away when it comes.

Some little known facts:

My first artistic piece was featured on Romper Room when I was 5 years old.
My first illustrated book was published by my school (Barrett's Elementary in Missouri) when I was 10 years old. The book name was "The Mischievous Raccoon".
My short story "The Champion She Dreamed Of" (about a horse) was accepted and published in my junior high school annual book of stories, poems and art when I was 14.
I worked at a restaurant as a waitress my first year in college and earned enough money just in tips in under 2 months to buy my first car myself.
I obtained a degree in Office Management from Freed-Hardeman University in 1986.
I worked as an accountant, office manager, and marketing director for over 15 years.
I have written and published articles, short stories, greeting cards, and a trade paperback novel, as well as several non-fiction instructional ebooks.
I have been fascinated with cubic zirconia since I was 13.
I've been making jewelry since I was 14.
Oprah owns a piece of my jewelry, and two of my bracelets were presented to the Mrs. Universe winners a few years ago.
I have extensively studied metaphysics, herbs, and alternative healing, and have published two ebooks in the field - "Healing With Color" and "The A Good Life Course".


What's Your Inspiration...Are you Married...Do you Have Kids & Pets?

Someone wrote me this week and asked me these I thought I'd share my answers here for the rest of you who are interested:

What is the inspiration behind your beautiful work?

My inspiration comes from color. I love color, and I tend to see colors in everything - colors most people don't see when they view something. So I tend to try to really bring out those colors in my work, which then helps people who see my art, see colors they wouldn't normally see, when say, looking at a dog or a cat or a landscape scene. Color makes things more vivid and bright to me, and in a world that is so often gray and negative in attitude, I want to bring more color into my own world as well as the world of others.

Are you married?

Yes, I am married - unfortunately for him. He might have been expecting Betty Crocker/Susie Homemaker/Soccer Mom, but he got me, the tempermental, totally focused artsy person who doesn't like anything "normal" - everything must make a statement. :)

Do you have children and pets?

I have two children and I have 6 pets, currently. I have 2 birds, 3 cats, one very spoiled dog, and I also seem to attract every stray in the world, so I have visitors frequently. I also have a stables I go to once a week and I get to be around the horses - they aren't mine, but I feel like they are in a way. Not to mention the gazillion birds, squirrels, and even a snake or lizard every now and then. And recently a bat visited as well. (that one I can do without!)


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

SUNBATHIN' - #3 in the 100 Fabulous Felines Miniature Cat Art Series

SUNBATHIN' - #3 in the 100 Fabulous Felines Miniature Art Series by Jai Johnson

"Bath? I didn't just hear her say that evil word. No way am I getting dumped into that big white abyss to be covered with - egads - water...soap...perfume. It's just NOT happenin'. Not in this lifetime. Yeah woman, I hear you calling me. When will you figure out I don't answer to 'kitty kitty'? And since I heard the "B" word in your last sentence, you won't see me for hours. You'll never find me up here...never. I'm takin' the best kind of bath there is, right here, right now. Dream on, Lady. Water baths are for humans...gimme the sun, Baby, gimme the sun!"

(click here to buy SUNBATHIN' from my gallery or click here to bid on SUNBATHIN' on Ebay)


P.S. Visit JAI Art International - to order prints, cards, and stamps with this artwork.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

THE WATCHER - #2 in the 100 Fabulous Felines series of miniature cat art

THE WATCHER - #2 in the 100 Fabulous Felines miniature art series by Jai Johnson

"My owner's a trip. She's on the phone again to her sister, braggin' on me, telling her what a good kitty I am sitting on the porch watching for bugs, making sure none of the unsavory creatures slip under the door. She doesn't have a clue. Woman, I'm not watchin' for bugs...I'm checking out the chick sitting down by the rose bush. Mmmm...she's a sweet, fluffy gal. I love the way her silky tail curls around those back legs and how those long, white whiskers glisten in the sunlight. Talk about temptation... Bugs...ha! Get your own bugs, woman...I'm busy!"

(click here to buy this art from my gallery or click here to bid on this art on Ebay)


P.S. Visit JAI Art International - to order prints, cards, and stamps with this artwork.

Buffalo Art Jewel, Custom Order for a man!

This is a custom order art jewel as a gift for a man. His office is filled with wildlife art - paintings, sculptures, etc. This will hang on an ornament stand and sit on his desk to give him a piece of miniature art he'll really enjoy (he is a BIG buffalo lover). I hope he likes it!


Monday, November 21, 2005

STUCK # 1 in the 100 Fabulous Felines Mini Painting Series

STUCK Original Cat Miniature Polymer Painting #1 in the 100 Fabulous Felines Series of Miniature Polymer Paintings by Jai Johnson

"I'm not really stuck...but I look pretty convincing, don't I? When she sees my head wedged in between these wooden stair rails, she'll race over here, frantic. Then she'll try to maneuver me out of this position, calling me 'poor baby' the entire time. I'll whimper a little and maybe give out a good yowl, and eventually I'll let my head ease from between the rails. Then I'll shake viciously and start grooming myself while she goes to get my cat treat to appease me for my misfortune. She'll spend the afternoon holding me and cooing over me. I tell the others all the time...ya just gotta know how to work 'em. Owners are trainable."

(Click here to buy STUCK from my gallery or click here to bid on STUCK on Ebay. First one to get to him takes him home!)


P.S. Also visit JAI Art International - to order prints, cards, and stamps with this artwork.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

My new Ebay ID & new series thoughts

You know, sometimes it just takes me a while to "get it"...why I had my user id anything other than my name, I have no idea. Anyway, I just changed it and now my user id is officially:


on Ebay. How's that for easy to remember? LOL

Today I am beginning a new series.....this is a series of miniature PAINTINGS. No, these cannot be worn as pendants, as my other pieces you've been seeing. I'm taking on a HUGE challenge to complete a series of miniature paintings - 100 of them to be exact. The series name is "100 Fabulous Felines". Each miniature painting will be completed in polymer, using my own techniques. Each piece of tiny art will be size 3 1/2" x 2" - the size of a business card.

The reason I chose the business card size for my painting series is because of the magnetic business card deals you can put on the back. *Some people* might like to display their original art purchases on a refrigerator, metal cabinet, or metal board on their wall. I'm not putting any magnetic material on the back - display is up to the buyer because everyone has so many different preferences on how they like to display their original minis. It's just the size I am making them will work well with those magnetic backings if the buyer chooses to do that. They can also be mounted in other ways - frames/mats, displayed on tiny easels, etc. These will not have any hardware attached at all, as my art pendant/hanging paintings do.

Each piece in the series will be prepared on a "canvas" of translucent polymer clay (giving them the look of stained glass when placed in front of light). Each painting will be signed with my official JAI stamp and numbered (ex. 1/100) on the bottom edge of the canvas. My art jewels I sign on the back. These will be signed on the bottom edge of the canvas on the front, just in case someone wants to put mounting material on the back - that way it will not hide the signature or #.

I'm looking forward to getting started on these cool cats. Why cats? Well I own several, I love them, and they have such interesting expressions and body language. Not that my other animals don''s just cats get themselves in more unique "positions" I guess, therefore creating a variety of poses and looks which make appealing works of art. And this is just my first series...who knows what the next will hold!

Oh, and each piece will be offered on my website for $85 - $120 and will be listed on Ebay as well. I am *thinking* of (though I rarely "cut prices" for Ebay anymore) opening bids of only $49 on these and hoping the bids will go up. The ONLY reason I'm considering that is to keep my Ebay fees down, which are getting quite excessive from listing $65-$85 pieces on there recently in an attempt to reach out to new audiences. But I haven't decided for sure. I do know I'll run these just like I do my other pieces....if they sell on the site before there is a bid, they get pulled from Ebay. If they get a bid, they get marked sold on the site. Whoever gets there first secures the piece, basically.

So that's what I've been up to this cloudy, cold Saturday here in Jackson, TN. Thinking....planning....adjusting things.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Custom Order Rottweiler Mix Art Jewel

This is a custom art jewel I created this week featuring "Beau" a Rottweiler Mix. Below is the reference photo I worked from for this piece.

Go here to see more examples of designs I've done: Custom Page

Custom Order Chihuahua art jewel

This is a custom order Chihuahua art jewel I just completed of a sweet little light colored pup named "Pookie". Below is the reference photo I worked from to create this design.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bluebird in the Holly - Completed Design!

The glaze is still a bit damp, but I managed to get him photographed tonight! Total time invested = 7 hours. Looking below, you can view the posts detailing his creation in reverse order. Alternatively, you can click this link and see the posts in order from start to finish.

Bluebird in the Holly is now available for sale on my website and on Ebay. If he sells from my site first, he gets pulled from Ebay. If he gets a bid on Ebay first, then he gets marked on hold on my website. Basically, whoever gets to him first takes him home. He is a one of a kind, original work of art, as you can see from my demonstration below. I hope you enjoyed watching his evolution!

Tomorrow it's back to my custom orders...I have several of some SUPER SWEET PETS to fill! :)


The Making of a Bluebird Jewel #6

Here I've added "feathering". The photos get somewhat saturated in color now, as so much rich color is being added to the jewel. I'e added blue to his head, terra cotta to his breast, and a little terra cotta on his lighter, underbreast.

Here I have added a little yellow overall to brighten him up. When I add feathers, I use my smallest brush and just add them sporadically over the entire design. Then I "pull" feathers out around his outer edges using an empty brush. Notice his head...the difference between the previous photo and this one. His feathers look like they are sticking up a bit, which they were from our winds we are having today.

Here I've refined his body overall - with some cream feathering, especially on the lighter underbreast. I've worked on his beak some more. I've deepened the shading on the leaves and branch. And I've added the white dot to his eye which brings him totally to life! He looks done, but there is something that's bugging me between his orange colored breast and the cream underbreast.'s not defined enough! Time for a little black. I add a bit of black in various places between the two breast colors, and this further defines things in that area. He's ready for the oven, and it's time for me to eat lunch! YEAH!

Note: While the defining details in black might look a bit TOO defined here, keep in mind, this piece is still wet and when he is fired in the oven, the colors "meld together", the layers on top blend with the bottom layers and it all creates a very realistic design.

After he comes out of the oven, I will put his first coat of glaze on while he's hot. This sets the glaze nicely. Then he will receive 2-4 more coats of glaze on the front of the design, which gives him the glassy like shine I like to see in my pieces. The next photo you'll see will be the finished piece, photographed a bit more professionally than these in this production.

At this point, I have 5.5 hours in the design, and it will probably have another 1 hour before completion. There is time needed for the glaze to dry totally, so I won't be able to show his finished photo until this evening.


The Making of a Bluebird Jewel #5

In this photograph, I have laid in the cream colored background. I have also detailed the branch by adding terra cotta and black outlines/lines to the gray base. I have defined the holly berries by encircling them in black, and have defined the leaves as well with black outlines. Keep in mind, my light source is coming from the right, so I added a little yellow to the right side of the leaves and darkened the leaves a bit more on the left.

This photo shows where I've now added more color to the background. Small bits of terra cotta were applied up the left edge and down low on the right. Golden yellow was applied up the right side and over the top of the bird's head. Then very close to the branch, leaves and base of the bird, I have added black to further darken these areas. I have also outlined the two sides of the bird to define him better.

In this last photo of this set, I have worked on the beak area a little more. I have also began darkening his feathers under the left wing to show the shadowing. And I have darkened his left wing with a deep navy blue to show its shadowing as well.

Now it's time for the rest of his detailing. I'm starving...but I'm going to get the rest of his coloring done and get him in the oven before I eat! :)

At this point, another hour has been invested. 4 hours and 15 minutes so far.

More later,

The Making of a Bluebird Jewel #4

Here I have began the detailing of the bluebird's beak. I filled in over the white with gray, added some terra cotta and yellow, and outlined in black to define the beak.

Here I have began the coloring of his head feathers with the rich cobalt blue. I've also colored in his wings. Now he's starting to look a little like a bluebird!

Here I've add more of the darker base coloring over the light colors. His breast is becoming more orange/rust colored, his underbreast feathers have cream added to them. I've defined the branch with some gray and green, added dark green for the leaves and added the red for the holly berries.

Now it's time to decide on background color. I believe I will use cream as the base, with yellow on the right hand side of the bird (this is where the sun will hit his feathers) and a terra cotta on the left (causing his left side to be slightly shadowed, with darker coloring.) It's also time to start detailing his feathers with some darker, defining colors to suggest separation.

At this point, there has been another hour into this project, making it a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes so far.

More soon!

The Making of a Bluebird Jewel #3

These are my paint vials - each filled with various colors of tinted liquid clay. This is what makes up the colors in my designs. Those are 3 of my favorite brushes - all are VERY small!

The first thing I always do when painting an animal, bird or person, is create the eye(s). The expression in the eye(s) must be right for me to continue. It's like the eye looking back at me suddenly brings the art "to life", and once it becomes real, I become personally connected with the subject. I'm connected now with this little fella - he has my full attention!

Here I have layed down the lightest undertones of color in the design. Though I will add darker colors over these lighter ones, by doing this stage first, the piece will end up with a realistic glow. You might notice the holly berries are orange in this photo. That's because although at first glance, the berries just seem red, they actually have an orange cast to them. By adding the orange as the base color for the berries, I'm hoping to be able to recreate the look of the real berries.

Now I'm lucky....the holly bush is right outside the window and I can glance up and view it as I go. The bird is gone, of course, but I've painted numerous bluebirds before, so I believe I can guess at his coloring enough to create a realistic version of him. :)

At this point, I haven't painted in a background color because I haven't decided what color I'm going to use yet. I could go ahead and fire the piece now, and add the additional colors in layers over the top - however, since my bottom layer is still so very thin (notice you can still see my pencil marks through the color), I'm just going to let the piece sit for about 30 minutes and let the color set without firing.

So what do I do in the 30 minutes while the piece is resting? I could eat breakfast...I could take a walk...I could work on my next design. However, since I really want to do a good job on the bluebird, I think I'll glance over photos of bluebirds just to make sure I get his coloring and markings realistic enough. :)

Just in case you're curious, so far, I have 2 hours and 15 minutes in this project. (I began at 7:30 am with the first sketch, and it's now 9:45)

More later!

The Making of a Bluebird Jewel #2

Here I've shaped the raw clay into the base pendant, added the triangle bail, and transferred my design to the raw clay. Now it's time for the actual painting to begin. This is a time consuming process and I will upload photos throughout the day...keep watching!


The Making of a Bluebird Jewel #1

Yesterday we had rounds of tornados hitting us - the sirens went on for hours and it was nerve-wracking to say the least. Today, the sunshine has returned, and as I sat down in the studio this morning experiencing the peace I longed for yesterday, I looked out my window to see the sweetest sight.

On the holly bush right outside my window, sat a beautiful bluebird. Of course, I didn't have my camera. But I did have my transfer paper and a pencil and I quickly sketched out the outline of what I was seeing. Then I pulled a piece of raw clay out and began to knead it slowly, warming it and forming it into what would now become a tiny art jewel, featuring the bluebird vision I'd just seen.

Today, I will take you on a journey through the making of this pendant. The photo you see above is of my sketch after I completed it, and the raw clay which will form the base of the pendant. As I move along through the day today, you will see a bluebird pendant evolve before your eyes.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Elephant Song & King of the Jungle

Yesterday I completed two more pieces in my wildlife collection. King of the Jungle features Leo the lion in all his glory. And elephant song features this massive creature singing his tunes. I am hoping my wildlife collectors will love these two art jewels!

Today is "B" day - I have three pieces I am trying to get completed but I'm still a long way from being finished. One is a custom order for a dog named "Beau". And the other two pieces are a Buffalo portrait and a Bluebird. So it's "B" day here. :)

Back to the studio!


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Two Parakeets having a lover's quarrel!

I had the MOST FUN creating this art jewel! It looks like Romeo is really giving Juliet a stern talking-to...I wonder what she did? :)

(click on the photo of them to see a really detailed shot of the jewel)

And I've decided something - parakeets are the HARDEST birds for me to do. I figured they'd be easy....they are easy to take care of (I've owned parakeets since I was 11), and they are just the sweetest little birds. But they are NOT easy to portray in art because of all of the tiny lines and markings. Not to mention I rarely put two subjects on a piece, so that was also a little more difficult. But I am very pleased with how it turned out. What do you think? Leave me a comment below!


Friday, November 11, 2005

Palomino Horse Pendant complete!!!!

Woohoo! She's done! This is a frontal portrait view of a Palomino horse on this pendant. I will be wearing this to the awards dinner for the horse stables tonight and carrying plenty of business cards, as I hope to secure some custom orders from horse owners. Now I need to get moving and go find a turtleneck to wear. It's turned COLD again here and all of my decent winter clothes are ancient and too big since I lost all the weight. So I'm off to do errands and hopefully pick up a new shirt or sweater which will provide a nice backdrop for this pendant. (yes, I pick clothes to match my jewelry...LOL)


P.S. If you're in Jackson, TN, pick up a copy of the new VIP magazine.....Rachel Dickson from the Dickson Gallery of Fine Art and I are on the page where they show photos from the Puttin' on the Pink Breast Cancer Awareness luncheon.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dachshund Dog Portrait Art Jewel

And how's this for a cutie! Inspired by the dogs which belong to another mother at my daughter's horse riding lessons. Zeke and Zoe are their names, and this one has the coloring of Zeke. He is SOOOOOO adorable!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cutest little Pug! Dog Portrait Miniature Jewel Painting

Isn't this little fella just ADORABLE? I love Pugs. A fellow stable member whom I will see on Wed asked if I could create a Pug art jewel for her mother. So I'm taking this one Wed when I deliver the 12 horse pendants to the stable owner (2 more of those to go!). Unless this Pug sells before then from my site. I can always do another one, although each one is unique and original, since each piece is hand-painted.

I still get asked all the time "What kind of paint do you use for these?" People are SHOCKED when they find out it's not's all created in clay, all fired together, all creating ONE SOLID DESIGN (nothing to chip or peel on these!). I've been getting asked a lot lately if I use transfers. No to that, too. Each jewel is a hand-painted (with clay) one of a kind original work of art. Which makes each piece special and unique. My customers can be assured they are getting a miniature piece of original art to wear or to display when they purchase one of my designs.

Speaking of displays, I created this graphic ad to put on my site pages and Ebay auctions, which I hope will help others to envision how their mini jewel can be displayed when not wearing it as a pendant.

DID YOU KNOW....the art of hand-painted portrait jewels has been popular for over 100 years? In the past, artists who did portrait miniatures were called "limners" and they not only created pieces for jewelry, but also work meant to be framed for display. Some traveled from city to city taking commissions as they went. AND.... Even men occasionally wore portraits suspended around the neck under their shirts. Interesting fact there about the history of art jewelry. :)

Well off to the studio I go! Two more horse pendants to complete today, as well as a Dachshund portrait jewel. Later,


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Red Hat Society Maiden portrait art jewel

A friend asked me the other day if I can do "people" portraits. And I can, but when working as small as this piece, they don't turn out looking just like the photo. If I had used a larger face shot, this woman's face would have turned out looking more like the original. But I loved this pose, so I painted her face even smaller to get the pose on the pendant. As a result, she doesn't look like the "innocent sweetheart" in the original photo, but it did turn out to be a really cool Red Hat Society Maiden art jewel, which was what I was really trying to accomplish with this piece anyway.

For my custom orders, I think I'd rather stick to subjects other than people. People subjects take SO MUCH longer anyway and the price would be even higher. I worked with this beauty ALL DAY yesterday and was finishing her up at about 11 pm last night. PHEW! I like how she turned out - the red and purple colors are so rich and royal.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ornament perfect!

I found some simple brass ornament stands yesterday at Hobby Lobby. These are PERFECT for my miniature pendants with the new bail! What a wonderful way to display these pieces as miniature art in the home. And these are relatively inexpensive too. I bought the last 3 they had. I was looking for a larger one of these, which is available out there and has more "arms" to display a variety on one stand. However, Hobby Lobby didn't have any. These are 5" tall and are exactly the size I need. Now I need to put these photos up on my website to show my customers how they can display their mini pendants. That website I mentioned a few posts earlier has many of these in all different styles. I might order some from them. They also have very good prices. Five-six inches is the best height for my pieces.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Flamingo ~ A jewel of of a bird

Today's new featured work is FLAMINGO, an art jewel pendant/miniature painting which shows a spectacular view of this tropical bird, up close and personal. Hope you enjoy him!


Thursday, November 03, 2005

A note to the dream stealers

Here's a few words I'd like to send out to the dream stealers in my world. Following my artistic dreams and visions has caused a surge in their appearance over the years, especially recently.

What is a dream stealer? To me, they consist of those people who like to tell you how to run your life, what to do with your time, and that nothing you try is going to work. They consist of those who are jealous and spiteful, mean and negative. They consist of those who attempt to bring you down with crap when you're finally feeling good and you feel like you are making a difference in the world. They are those who like to get nasty as soon as you present the world with some sort of beauty and happiness. They are those none of us who are following our dreams need, desire or want in our lives. They are those who need to leave us alone, and go try to steal someone else's dreams. Or better yet, they are those who need to take a good, long hard look at themselves. Just because they haven't or are not reaching their dreams doesn't mean they have the right to try to destroy ours.

To the dream stealers (and you KNOW who you are!):

"A high school student's father is a horse trainer. Because the family has to follow the horse-racing season, he has to change schools frequently. During his senior year he is asked to write a paper about what his dreams for the future are. His paper describes his dream of owning a 200-acre horse ranch with stables and tracks and a 4000 square-foot home. He even draws a diagram of the property and the design of the house. He gets an "F" on the paper with a note to see the teacher. The teacher tells the boy that his dream is unrealistic. The teacher tells him that if he rewrites the paper with a more practical dream, the teacher will reconsider the grade. The boy goes home and asks his father what to do. "It's your decision because it's your dream," says his dad. The boy keeps the paper for a week, then turns it in again telling the teacher, "Here, you can keep the "F" and I'll keep my dream."(Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul)"

To the dream keep your negativity, demeaning comments, misery, and general nastiness - and I'll keep my dream, my happiness, and the beauty of life in my visions.



I get asked sometimes for suggestions on how to display my miniature pendants/paintings. One really cool thing I discovered recently is "ornament stands". It's the perfect way to display one of my pieces. The one I've shown here is from this website, who has tons of unique selections available.

This type of display will work very well with my miniature paintings which have the new bail at the top. The rings can be removed if the bearer doesn't want to wear it as a pendant, and it can be hung from the triangle hook on one of these ornament stands and displayed. These would look lovely in a lighted china cabinet, too!


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Horse Pendants for the little darlings

The little darlings at my daughter's stables she takes lessons at will be receiving this custom design at their awards dinner this year! Well, at least *12* of them will. The 12 winners will all receive this quaint, whimsical horse pendant design I sketched and created myself. I have 11 more to complete before next Wed. The awards dinner is the following weekend. I hope they like them!

German Shepherd Portrait Jewel & Merlin the Cat, too!

Good morning! I've completed two more portrait jewels as samples for my custom art pendants which double as miniature paintings. These are made solely in polymer clay - no paints are used! The unique bail I've created on the top has two rings attached. A chain or cord can be threaded through the rings to wear these as pendants, or the rings can be removed and these can be displayed as miniature paintings via the triangle shaped hanger. I think next I will work on a bird, and perhaps a person. Yes, I can paint people too!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Custom Miniature Art Jewels for YOU, & Come to a Party!

For months people have been asking me if I can immortalize their pets as a portrait art jewel. Of course I can, but I didn't have all of the details worked out. NOW I DO! Just in time for Christmas too. :) I've decided on my custom pieces to put a different type of bail on the piece. As you can see from the photo here, the bail is triangle shaped and has two small rings at the top. A jewelry chain or cord can be inserted through the rings and a portrait jewel can be worn as a pendant in this manner. *OR* the two things can be removed and then you have a piece of miniature ART, ready to hang in your home or office!

The example shown here of the Polar Bear is 2" in size. I find so much satisfaction in creating a tiny rendition which looks so detailed. I've always been fascinated by miniatures, ever since my Dad built me a dollhouse when I was a child, and I collected things for it. Now I'm able to become a part of the fascination!

As for subjects I will create, I can do ANY subject. Whatever a customer provides a photograph of, I can do. I've been asked mostly about creating pets and other animals, but I can also do a "people" portrait (can you imagine your grandchild's face on one of about a UNIQUE lifelong heirloom!), I can create a special flower, or even freeze a moment in time from a snapshot of a favorite place. If a customer wants a certain symbol or design or character image they provide, I can do that too!

Currently, I can fill a custom order in only 5 days. As I get busier, that time will extend out. So now is the time to order for Christmas, before I get too busy. Click here to see my order page.

Keep in mind, these art jewels are made totally from polymer clay - NO PAINT is used! The design is all fired in the oven to make the finished piece ONE...therefore it's all part of each other and there is nothing to peel or fade. These will maintain their color, depth, clarity and vibrancy for a lifetime!

I'll be adding more examples of portrait jewels on my website shortly.

Also, I wanted to invite you all to a PARTY! The Dickson Gallery of Fine Art is having a ONE YEAR ANNIVESARY celebration on November 25 from 7-9 pm and I plan to be there! Click here to read all the juicy details about this fun and exciting event! So if you are anywhere around Jackson, TN on that evening, come by and say HELLO to me! :)