Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Oh, friends. I'm sorry I went MIA. Sometimes it's just hard to juggle everything, and I don't feel like blogging when I'm tired/grumpy. You're welcome for that. It's been really rainy here most mornings for the past couple of weeks, and it's just so hard to get out of bed to exercise that I put it off till the last minute, which leaves no time for blogging. And I've been starting up the engine for American Artisan Festival in 3 weeks (Yikes!!) That painting up there is the first of a series I want to do on pattern. I don't know if anyone will buy them, but I try not to think about that. Sometimes I just want to get an idea out. But it bothers me that it probably won't sell. Hmm. Probably the age-old conflict for artists.

This weekend Jason and I went to Missouri to take care of some wedding stuff--tasting cake, tasting wine, checking out the winery and meeting with the minister. And here are the bridesmaid's dresses! From J-Crew. I love them! And I think all the sisters will too. They have pockets. How cool is that?

Whenever we go visit my parents, I take projects. My mom is commonly known as the Craft Fairy because she magically finishes your unfinished projects. I took her a ton of tissue paper flowers that we're using in the centerpieces, and she says she cranked out 16 last night, which is way more than I've ever been able to accomplish in an evening. Only 384 more to go, ma!

And my sister Lauren hired Jason freelance to come up with drawings of the campers living in her hall for the summer camp where she's counseling this summer. I was really amazed when he just sat down and came up will all of these in an hour or so. True genious.

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Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:49 AM :: (2) comments

Monday, May 19, 2008

Enjoying the Spring

Saturday we headed out to Arrington Vineyards for a picnic and a few games of Scrabble. Okay, just one half-finished game of scrabble and two bottles of wine. Details!

Driving down to Arrington it was about 5pm, and the rolling blue-green Tennessee hills and green green pastures with black fences were really making me happy. There's a reason they call that the golden hour. I was really wishing I had a better camera. I took about 50 pics as it was, and I couldn't choose between them, so I'm posting a lot. You can go see the others on Flickr.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:50 AM :: (2) comments

Thursday, May 15, 2008


TUESDAY^^^ was busy, so not much sketching.
At work we have these big sketch books for sketching out ideas--graphics for news stories of the day, ideas for logos for things, layouts for print ads, etc. Generally, I doodle in mine during the morning news meeting and when I'm trying to render an animation on my computer. We have these great inky black pens--And they're cheapies! They're Bic Cristal Medium Gel, and I bought 7 of them for $1.57 the other day for home use. (I'm not a stealer of office pens.)


I should explain that the reason every page has a "4pm" and "5pm" is that I do the graphics for the 4 and 5 news casts everyday, and I have to get a list of graphics to make for each one. And what I write down is shorthand so that I will know when I get upstairs to my computer what to make. For example: Up above on the Thursday "5pm" Section, I wrote "Spider cage" which meant I had to go out and find a photo of this rehabilitation tool for kids on the internet or on video and put it into the graphic system so that while the anchor was talking about it, there was a picture of it Over The Shoulder. This is called an "OTS". We also make maps and things to illustrate statistics, etc. Sometimes it's really fun, and sometimes it's not.

On "tuesday" up there, you can see my notes about vegetable gardens. We decided in the morning news meeting to talk to people who are growing and buying local veggies to save money and gas, so I did some research for a fullscreen. I'll post the final of that later today.

Friday was really a hurry up and wait type day. I was transcribing 911 calls so that the word on the tv screen and the audio from the tape would appear at the same time. I would work all that out, then wait for it to save (render) into a movie for the photographer to edit into the news story. You can see some of the sound bites written up at the top there. I

So, that's your lesson in Television Graphics for the day. Oh, yeah, and i'm pretty proud of my sketches. Productive time-wasting! Love it!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 10:16 AM :: (6) comments

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Buried in STDs

I'm trying really hard to get these Save the Date cards out. It feels like the final lap in a race, and I just keep plugging along. Really, it's just the first quarter mile, and I'm huffing and puffing. Typical. That's not tequila in that glass, it's a gouache water. Gouache is the best stuff ever--like watercolor but opaque! So you can have any color you ever dreamed of for calligraphy ink.

It's taken 2 evenings so far just to get them addressed. I'm trying to hand-letter them in an effort to practice for the real invites. And I think I WAY under estimated how time consuming it is just to get people's addresses and put them in a simple database. Fellow brides-to-be: Get that part out of the way ASAP!

At least after the STDs are out I'll have everyone's address in one format, in one place, and will be ready to go when the time for invitations comes around. Which I've decided will be after the American Artisan Festival on June 14th. All things must be prioritized or I will certainly lose my mind in the near future. I'm already sort of brain dead. It's like I have so much on my mind that I can't seem to put together sentences when I talk to people I prefer that they talk to me instead. I'm just talking in circles.


Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:13 AM :: (3) comments

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Great Minds think alike

So last week I got a wild hair to carve this bicycle above there. I actually satisfied the itch and finished the project within an hour or two. Then I posted it on my blog. Then I get this e-mail from my friend Carrie:

"Are you kidding me!!? I just looked at your blog and saw your bike stamp. I just carved one almost exactly like it the other day - I had a free hour at school - and I played around with stamping it. I'll have to send you a picture. Really, they're a lot alike.


Below is Carrie's bike (and isn't that notebook so cute?)

All I have to say is:
Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my

Bicycle races are coming your way
So forget all your duties oh yeah
Fat bottomed girls they'll be riding today
So look out for those beauties oh yeah
On your marks get set go
Bicycle race bicycle race bicycle race

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Posted by Beth Howard @ 10:07 PM :: (3) comments

Monday, May 05, 2008

An art-filled weekend

The weekend started out with a brief foray of Trevor's amazing artwork. Someday I WILL own one of those farm/house giant paintings. I would post it here, but don't want to infringe on his copyright.

Then a glorious sunny Saturday with Shona in the park. We attempted to print, but I gave up actual printing because we were talking too--errr---I mean--the ink was drying too much on the plate. It was such a fun day!

We both ended up with pieces from Susan Smith Clay. I want to be friends with her. Although she probably thinks I'm crazy after seeing the photo Shona took. Her pots are AMAZING.

I also lusted after these wind-mobile metal sculptures. Perhaps I should spend my money on a lawn service that would hack through the jungle of my backyard. Thanks to all of you for the bug-ridding suggestions. My zinnias will be safe!

Then on Sunday we had "art in the backyard" time. This is Jason's masterpiece from the last 2 weekends. Last weekend I was a bad friend/girlfriend/future wife and voiced my opinion too strongly about his plans for this piece. I was trying to help, but not in a very nice way. So after the week passed, he finally told me, and I felt terrible. After the storm blew over, I guess he felt like finishing it, and this is the result. Isn't it INCREDIBLE? I mean, not really my style of pretty colors and flowers, but it's really so Jason and I absolutely love it. You should click on the photo and check out the detail on the drawings and the amazing texture.

Here is what I was working on. Just like my beloved high school art teacher, Barb, says "I always end up painting with my fingers."

This is 36x36, and it's now hanging in the office of a co-worker. I'm calling it my revolving gallery.

It was so great! I felt hungover this morning after such an art filled weekend.

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Posted by Beth Howard @ 9:28 PM :: (3) comments

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Weeds from my walk

I walk a less beaten path in the mornings. There aren't any sidewalks, there are dogs wandering around (and I'm totally afraid of them) and my neighborhood isn't exactly the kind with sprinklers and meticulous hedges.

What I do have are some fantastic weeds. I mean, look at the shapes on some of those! All week I've been wishing I had my camera, so I took it on Friday instead of my hand weights. It was Friday after all, time for a little break!

All the drawing and printing of the last few weeks has made me yearn for some more interesting inspiration, so I should have plenty now. I'm tired of drawing the same ole leaf over and over.

And here are some scenes from my yard. Let me tell you, things grow rough and ready here in Tennessee. The warmth and humidity, paired with a cool winter that's good for hibernating time, it's pretty ideal. Except for all the rocky soil. Rocky top is alive and well in my yard, where digging down more than 2 inches yields gravel or flagstones.

You have no idea how much that single peony bud means to me. I check it every day and have to knock the ants off it. I can't believe it came through the winter, as last year it was extremely small--like 5 inches --and it's planted in a plastic pot, not the ground. At any rate, I'm super excited about it.

I have something small eating the leaves of my brand-new zinnias. What should I do about that? I have no idea what's eating them, and I'm not a fan of insecticides, but I'd love to hear any suggestions.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:49 PM :: (2) comments

Thursday, May 01, 2008

carving crazy

I came across this post via one of my favorite blogs and just about fell out of my chair with longing for beautiful stamps. Something about the way the soft carving stuff looks is amazing--all the little echo groove marks. And I thought: hey! I need to do that RIGHT NOW. No matter that it was 9pm, and I like to go to bed at 9:30 (hence the pre-dawn post here) I thought 9pm was a great time to start a new project.

And this bike is inspired by Freshie--her hubby wants a cuffee with bikes on it and I think I need to get some more guy oriented stuff in the store. So Greg, this one's for you.

In actuality, it wasn't so bad. I love that soft carving material. Compared to linoleum, it is like carving butter. Which can be dangerous in it's own right. You have to be really careful not to get nicks in your printing area. I started out with a regular carving tool, but ended up using my trusty X-acto blade for the details. I truly think I could survive a nuclear holocaust with Stovetop stuffing, Diet Coke, spray glue and an X-acto knife (with 100 extra blades) oh, and my down comforter. What else can a girl need?

Speaking of all this carving biz, you should come to Centennial Park in Nashville this weekend. On Saturday (even though it's going to rain) I'm going to have my letterpress out in the demonstration tent with the talented Shona all day on Saturday. I'm looking forward to LOTS of chit-chatting, so make sure you come by and say "hello"!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 10:44 PM :: (2) comments

the Downside of spring

I don't really love Spring. I love Summer, especially late summer and early Autumn, but I hate the cold, damp, untrustworthy Spring weather. However, I love flowers, and seeing things come up in my little patch of jungle. The weeds are definitely on the winning side right now. I consider vinca the bane of my existence. It's all over everything!

What I do love about spring is the eyes-bigger-than-full sun dirt trips to the farmer's market for seedlings and new beginnings. I only have the smallest strip of full sun in my backyard, so any desire for a vegetable garden will have to wait. This year I grew seedlings of zinnias, some of my favorites, and planted 4 each of tomato, pepper, and zucchini.

Jason made fun of me last year when I didn't want to eat my single tomato that grew from a pot. I swear it's because I didn't want to lose the one tomato, but possible I was a little scared of it too. What if I waited for it to grow all summer, then it didn't taste good? Also, I forgot to stake the tomato with a cage, so it fell over. This year, after having read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I think I will relish the small quantities of fresh veggies. We'll see. I am pretty darn sick of pale pink flavorless tomatoes, and summer is just around the corner!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:38 AM :: (1) comments