Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Month of Halloween Is Upon Us!!!

Haven't posted here in a while but what else is new blah blah blah.  It's amazing I manage to keep myself alive sometimes...

But moving on to better things... ARTWORK!  Been busy experimenting with my style on photoshop these past couple months.  It would be an understatement if I said wrapping my classically trained brain around photoshop was/is a pain in the ass.  In hindsight it would have been extremely helpful if I had bit the bullet and taken a couple classes instead of diving in completely blindfolded, but you live and you learn.  So take it from me, unless you want to have an extremely frustrating couple of years paired with annoying headaches, take a couple JC classes on photoshop.

One of the most frustrating things for me in photoshop was the fact that the "brushes" didn't react like actual real life brushes.  These so called "oil paint" brushes that promised the textured clinging effect of actual oil paint were just plain thick lines void of texture.  The whimsical "watercolor brushes" were splotchy and produced a repetitive artificial pattern.  Why weren't these brushes delivering their promised effects when I made a stroke?!?  Oh, you have to dab them?  Or you have to lay the stroke down then choose a different brush to warp the edges?  After years of training I had to make my brain work in reverse and against logic, hence = headaches.

I've been at trying to concur photoshop for a couple years now, while working in traditional watercolor on the side to reset my brain so it wouldn't explode.  But during this time I had put oil painting on the back burner for multiple reasons; expense, time, prioritizing, etc.  That was until this summer.  Every year I try to participate in the Academy of Arts Alumni Auction in San Francisco and for the past couple years I have been entering watercolors.  This time around I got the itch to enter some oils.  Since it had been literally years since I've painted in oil I figured the experience would be frustrating and time consuming while I retaught myself, but I was wrong.  Muscle memory set in and the paints went down with every satisfying brush stroke.  I looked forward to painting every night (a feeling I don't always feel towards working digitally), and I was actually a little bummed when the 2 paintings were finished.  Apparently this was the reset my brain needed because once the paintings were done I decided to take "longer" on my digital illustrations and layer them more, like I do with my oils. 

vw bus oil painting

mach1 ford mustang oil painting

I had become so wrapped up in the speed aspect of digital that my illustrations were suffering.  Not everything needs to be done quickly.  Speed doesn't equal success.  Yes if a project is done quickly it is beneficial but if you can create a better end product by spending a little more time on it it is worth the time sacrifice.  I've also discovered through this journey that my clients 9 out of 10 times are more than happy to wait a little bit longer for their piece, especially if they know that the end result will be better.

So here is a little look at what little creations I've made lately!

vampire bat illustration halloween j shari ewing
vampire bat wife illustration halloween j shari ewing
 In the spirit of Halloween

I've discovered the work of Meg Park who's style has been very inspirational for me lately.

Also another big inspiration... Stranger Things on Netflix!  I jumped on that band wagon and I'm so happy I did because that show is amazing!  So many nostalgia feels

stranger things eleven illustration j shari ewing

I want to do a huge wordy post about my experiences at art school... hopefully not 5 months from now!  Til next time!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Post A Day Keeps The Self Loathing Away ...?

Or at least I hope it does.

I have said it before and I'll say it again.  If this blog was a living thing it would be dead due to how much I neglect it!

Yesterday a voice in my head said "Hey you, remember you have that blog thing you posted in MONTHS AGO!!"  Such a failure.  Which brings me around to the topic of this post!  Artists' tendency to self loath...


pity party illustration j shari ewing

To be honest I'm guilty of this as well, especially the past 2 weeks, but if we're really being honest it has been coming in tidal waves for the past 3 years (as in since I graduated college and was tossed face first into the work world without water wings to help me stay afloat).

Self loathing seems to be an inherent trait in most artists.  Comes with the territory of exposing one's self to the world and its criticisms.

As an artist it is essential to immerse ones self with inspirational things, whether it be people, places, things, sounds, and especially other artists' work.  The last one is a kind of necessary evil...


( most of the time it is best known as )


This magical abomination then brings on the Pity Party which leads to the feelings of Everything I Make Is Crap and Looks Like I Made it With My Feet!  Sounds extremely unappealing, and it is, but like I said it is most necessary.  Believe it or not, but obsessively staring at and studying other artists' work helps to make you a better artist.  But first, the Pity Party has to happen, which is where I've been for the past 2 weeks.  All the balloons have deflated and I'm ready to take control and get out of my funk!  I have a couple steps to get me back on track.


Post something on one of my social media outlets EVERY DAY.  Yes... EVERY DAY!  I have this bad habit of posting on a more monthly basis which does absolutely NOTHING for my social media presence.  I came to the realization today that I take posting things to social media as more of a monthly progress report of "What I've Been Working On".  This day and age revolves around "OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND".  So when I spend most of the month forgetting I even have an Instagram/facebook/infamous blog, then a couple days thinking up the idea of what I'm going to post, drawing/painting it, photographing it THEN eventually posting it... I have already been forgotten.  Here I am thinking that everyone is going to see and love this thing that I put so much time in when the truth of the matter is everyone has already forgotten they're even following me!  And to top it off because I rarely post, when I DO post it's at the end of their feed which means there's an even LESS chance of them seeing it!  


Post something EVERY DAY!!!  No each post doesn't have to be a mini masterpiece, but I won't post something I'm not proud of either (that would be a crime!).  Just post SOMETHING, and make it good, and most importantly make it fun.  I've decided to pick my Instagram ( j_shari_ewing ) as the main victim of my daily posts.  One of the easiest forums for me to post on at the moment cause I'm simple minded like that!

That being said I'm on day 4 of my post something EVERY DAY-athon!

Day One :
easter bunny illustration spring j shari ewing

Day Two :
house plant watercolor illustration painting j shari ewing

Day Three :
border collie watercolor painting instagram j shari ewing

Day Four :
boxtrolls illustration ink book j shari ewing

Lets keep this thing going!  That being said


I am also going to get a real calendar, made of paper and ink (digital ones don't work for me) and hang it next to my face in my studio.  I will then mark every week to write a blog post.  Yes... a blog post.  I can't keep neglecting this thing!  I want to post SOMETHING once a week here, whether it be a quick little post of some art, or a long winded post about something random.  Time to stop neglecting this poor blog!

My plan for next week's post... a topic that my friends and I have been discussing for years.  Our opinion on art school, coming from a Fine Arts degree perspective.  It's going to be a juicy one!

In the words of the bouncy legend Tigger...


Thursday, December 3, 2015

What A Month!

     Holy moley what a month it has been!  Exciting and jam-packed with work!  So lets get to it.

For starters two books came out this month.

First one the AMAZING Going to Disneyland - A Guide for Kids & Kids at Heart by Shannon Willis Laskey.

Where do I begin on how amazing this book is... besides the fact that it is full of little facts and secrets about Disney and Disneyland.  I couldn't put it down.  The design is fun and creative, the facts are intriguing, and the featured artists' work is perfect!  Here is a little list :

Mary Blair (of course)
Chris Buchholz
Sam Carter
Scott Cocking
Rolly Crump (incredible, as per usual)
Lindsay Gibson
Marisa Lerin
Adrian Mentus
Heather Mettra
Kolby Ratigan
W. Jason Weesner
Steve Willis
And YOURS TRULY of course!

Here is a little peek of the book

going to guides going to disneyland a guide for kids and kids at heart

going to disneyland a guide for kids and kids at heart sneak peek

going to disneyland sneak peek

Here are the two pieces I have featured in the book.

First the Neverland 3-D paper/watercolor piece I made

disney peter pan watercolor neverland illustration j shari ewing jennifer ewing

And this Pirates of The Caribbean watercolor I made specially for this book!

pirates of the caribbean captains quarters watercolor painting art jennifer ewing j shari ewing

Rolly Crump even wrote a review for it... I mean c'mon!

"There aren't enough adjectives to describe this incredibly creative book, designed bu a fantastically creative artist.  For starters, it's UNIQUE, IMAGINATIVE, WHIMSICAL, EDUCATIONAL, CHILDLIKE, THOUGHT PROVOKING, INTERESTING, DELIGHTFUL and obviously a labor of love.  It's a wonderful 'memory' book for any and all that visit Disneyland.  What more can I say - I LOVE IT!!!"
----- Rolly Crump, former Imagineer and Disney Legend

     The Second book release this month has been the long awaited Tyler Loves Tape by Arlene Taylor.  I have been working with Arlene on this book for the past year.  It is an adorable story about the fun and adventures of a little octopus names Tyler and his preschool friends.  This adventure is with tape and all the wonderful things they can create.  It is so sweet an innocent, the perfect little book for our little imaginative ones!

Some more sneaky peeks!

Tyler loves tape illustration childrens book j shari ewing

tyler loves tape book illustration animals art jennifer ewing j shari ewing

tyler loves tape childrens book illustration jennifer ewing j shari ewing

tyler loves tape book illustration jennifer ewing j shari ewing

Stay tuned for the next post of the 3-D paper/watercolor pieces I've been working on!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

AAU Auction 2015!

It's official, I have some pieces in The Academy of Arts 20th Annual Faculty + Alumni Fine Art Auction!

Happening Saturday November 14th, 2015
AAU Galleries at The Cannery
2801 Leavenworth St.
San Francisco, CA

They are 7 little pockets sized paintings (approx. 5"x5")
VW Karmann Ghia
VW Bus
Honda  550 Four
Honda cb750
1970 Mini Cooper
and 2 portraits!
Watercolor, Giclee, Ink, Gouache
watercolor motorcycle cafe racer illustration aau art auction

A little sneak peak of my page in the online catalog.  Along with my sad excuse for a bio... writing bios is something I don't think I'll ever enjoy, BLEH!

j. shari ewing art illustration watercolor gouache aau 2015 alumni faculty art auction
For more info click HERE !
Now off to work!  Til next time!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bonjour Paris!

     Ever since I discovered the movie Funny Face about 5 years ago I've been obsessed.  I go through random spurts of having the soundtrack on repeat in my head (happens without warning), go through about a week's worth of wanting to watch the movie before I actually get around to it, then proceed to have it on repeat in the background all day while I work.

     Yep... a little obsessed.

     Now something new has been added to my weirdo list... an overwhelming desire to draw the characters.  One of the gifts of being able to draw is the joy of having a vision in your head, attempting to translate it onto paper, and FAILING miserably.  Over and over again.

     Luckily for my sanity everything clicked!  Bonjour Audrey!


     For the past 2 years I've been aggressively working on evolving my style into something that feels natural to me and flows whimsically from my fingers.  I'm not quite there yet, but I'm definitely closer!  Now off to struggle with getting the rest of the characters from the movie down.
Wish me luck!

     Also!  Added some new lil funny faces to my Shop!
Feel free to go check them out if you like goofy things, or need something to scare the cat with.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

OoO La La Paper!

     Been busy these past couple weeks with commissions *YEEEE*!   Found out a couple days ago that it's our neighbor's daughters' birthday this weekend and thought I'd make them a little something with their favorite characters.  So commissions on hold for this weekend, let me introduce my little 5x7" summer beauties!

I've never worked with layered paper works this small before so this was definitely a learning experience, which is always a good thing!

work in progress paper art j. shari ewing

They eventually came together... learning experience officially a success!

rapunzel tangled disney paper art illustration watercolor j shari ewing

princess jasmine paper art disney watercolor j shari ewing

princess jasmine rapunzel tangled paper art j shari ewing

Happy Birthday Alexis and Stephanie!  Now back to commissions!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Box Troll Summer

box trolls illustration j shari ewing watercolor ink

     A couple months ago I finally got around to getting Netflix.  I know, doesn't sound like a big deal but I view Netflix as a modern day Pandora's Box.  Seems wonderful until you log in, then all your time disappears and suddenly it's 5 hours later and you have a list of 20+ movies and shows saved to your watch later list... so there goes your personal life, and any productivity you had planned for the next 2 months!

The silver lining to all this is I FINALLY got to see Box Trolls, and I am in love.  Is is such a beautiful movie, from the story to the visuals, beautiful.  So naturally I had to make a little Box Troll tribute!  Laika and all the people involved, you're amazing.