Friday, September 14, 2012

TITL Apparel, Christian Boutique

Are you one of those people who think that art only comes in the form that can hang on your wall? I sure hope not.

Art comes in many styles and is displayed in many mediums. At it's core art should exemplify beauty, craftsmanship and visible creativity.



I recently had the opportunity to review TITL Apparel, a Christian boutique featuring handmade jewelery and attire. 

The product I received from TITL Apparel demonstrates all the effort and attention to detail that can only be called art.

TITL stands for "Trust In The Lord" and declares Proverbs 3:5 with elegance. With the company mission Mark 16:15 the owner provides a significant portion of all profits to ministries that seek to save the lost.

Select members of The CWA Review Crew had their choice of product to review. I knew with all of the extravagant jewelry available at TITL (featuring sterling silver, amazonite, marcasite, magnesite, hematite, black onyx and jasper) the crew members would likely select something sparkling and beautiful.

Those whose jewelry boxes were already loaded would likely select a stunning rhinestone t-shirt.

I like to be different. I wanted to see what TITL could do with a functional piece of art. I selected the men's leather wallet to review.

My husband was deeply in need of one and deserving of something special. It was the perfect choice.

If you have a husband, you know what kind of wear and tear they put on their wallets. They usually end up so battle scarred from the trip in and out of a pocket that they are almost embarrassing to look at.

I wanted to see how TITL's wallet could hold up to my husband's use and I was very pleasantly surprised.

Here is the picture I took this morning after my husband has been using this wallet every day for a month.


It is still stunning. Actually, I'm going to confess that it is so nice that I had to convince my husband to use it! He was determined to "save it for special". Now, everyday is special with this beautiful wallet tucked in his pocket. 

Apart from the quality, the shield was especially exciting to him as our last name means shield. 

Here is an inside look:


There is a little wear and tear at the right side on the snap grommet from where he opens it, but other than that it's held up beautifully.

He has reported that it feels lighter than his previous wallet (and yes it has the same amount of cash in it). It's less bulky even with the bulk from the shield on the front. It's sleeker and less visible in his pocket too.

Best feature: With the slim size and extra room in his pocket I can slide my in there and grab that baby out without him even feeling it gone. I guess that's bad if you live in a pick pocketing area, but it works for me. (giggle)

 Now he has to keep me out of it so I don't go spoil myself at TITL. 

Final thoughts: At $60 I think this is a very nice wallet that any husband is sure to treasure. 
Hop over to TITL apparel and art yourself up with something beautiful, hand crafted in Nevada by the talented Stephanie Osbourne. 

To order this wallet go here. Her shipping is increadibly fast so you'll have it in no time. 
Find other items at TITL Apparel

Visit Stephanie at Facebook too and be the first to lay eyes on her newest products.

Still want more? Visit the TITL blog for encouragement, fashion and all the latest news for TITL Apparel.

I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.


You can read more reviews for TITL at http://cwareviewcrew.com/titl-apparel/

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Christian Olympics 2012

Here at ART-ucational I talk a lot about art and how to make it educational. My goal is to to give tips for making your art better, but today I thought I'd have a little fun sharing one new way to make you better.

You know, sometimes the best thing you can do for your art is nurture yourself. That's why I was excited to participate in a beta-test for The Christian Olympics

Think of it as an interactive Faith-based self help program that incorporates the fun of the Olympics into your heart and home.

Centered around the free web platform, Mindbloom, The Christian Olympics works to motivate and inspire overall wellness. Led by Coach Liz, the team of beta-testers and I enjoyed a behind the scenes look at the upcoming game and it's mission to train champions who will excel in nutrition, relationships and faith

Each of the special events pushed us a little harder. Yes, you might break a sweat and you will be stretched, however each challenge is paired with Coach Liz's encouragement as well as the satisfaction of completion. Whether opting for the bronze, silver, or gold medal you will learn the art of perseverance


I can't share all of the fun tasks we were given (they're top secret), but I can tell you that it was a worthwhile experience that you don't want to miss come July 26th. 



What can I tell you?


  • Coach Liz has a heart to inspire the champion in everyone, pushing them past the ordinary and on toward excellence. Christian Olympics is an endurance race that challenges you to take healthy risks designed to awaken your desire for worship, reflection, creativity and relationships that will strengthen your faith and push you on toward the finish line.


  • The Games Start on July 26th at 8 PM CST. 


  • The Christian Olympics is completely free (who doesn't love that price, right?)

  • Check it out . . .you won't have to wear a leotard or anything else nylon (unless you really want to). Each special event happens at your leisure and according to your schedule.  This really makes me happy.


  • Each day begins with prayer, video instruction (via Youtube) and scriptural encouragement. Then it's off to stretch your "muscles" and meet the day's goal.


  • Many of the events are done online though some do require physical interaction outside of the world wide web. You''ll move and think your way through the process as you digest depth and meaning to the apostle Paul's challenge to "run in such a way that you may win" (1 Corinthians 9:24).


  • Like Surprises? You DO NOT want to miss the opening ceremonies!

  • Participants could win one of 10 prizes including a gas card or movie tickets. Stop by early (July 24th) and you could snag on of the extra prize giveaways.

So . . .are you ready to race?

If so I'll see you there. My beta test hooked me and now I can't stay away. You'll see . . .



Fear Not. Choose Faith. Don’t Quit. And You Will Win!



Disclosure: I received a free preview of The Christian Olympics to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.





Friday, April 27, 2012

Avoiding the Morgue

Most Artists are familiar with the concept of an artist morgue. This is a phrase used to reference that special file an artist creates to house all of the doodles and daydreams you have for future art projects. This is a great idea. Every artist should have a place to protect these special projects that could become more. Here is a great blog post on what a morgue is and why you want one. I sometimes use this site, called the Art Morgue, for visual references. The collection of textures at this site has also been a great help to me.

However, (note: this is where I get weird) though I love the concept of saving my inspiration, the thought of putting it a "morgue" bothers me. A morgue is where dead things go. I don't want any of my creativity to die.

This is why I avoid the traditional morgue concept. Here is my nutty system.

 The Art Nursery

The Art Nursery is like that room at the hospital where all the newborn babies go to be washed up, looked over and made into little balls of bliss to hand back to their mothers. My Art nursery is my inspiration station. It's a collection of images, textures, drawings, colors,quotes and articles that inspire me. It's living and breathing art in its infancy. Each of these sparks aren't abandoned. In good time they will grow into something very special.

The Unmorgue

Now, I do have a morgue but my morgue is not what most artists would expect. My morgue is for dead ideas. It contains drawings I started and stopped because I just hated what I'd made. It's full of the disappointments that made me feel like I'd failed some new technique. Nope, I don't throw these unsatisfactory attempts away. Instead I write notes all over them about my process, what I liked and what I didn't like about that particular image. I mention what I learned from the outcome and what  I will do differently the next time to achieve better results. Everything has value, something in it to learn from. For me, I can't regard my attempts as failures or I'll surely stop creating. Instead I use them as learning tools. The items in my morgue might seem dead however, like everything that passes through our lives and into the next, they impact me and make me different because I've experienced them. Their memory is a ghost that shapes my future and haunts my every stroke of paint or pencil.

If you are avoiding the morgue-- stop. Learn to see it differently if you must. Use alternate wording. Find the terms that work for you, but revere those sacred spots to stash fresh new inspiration and old efforts. Both will teach you about yourself and frame the concept of your unique identity as an artist.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The CWA Review Crew

Today I'm going to divert from my usual type of post to introduce you to an exciting new project that I'm involved with.


If you didn't already know, I am a published author. You can learn more about my novel here.

As a novelist, I have experienced first-hand the difficulties of finding quality exposure that will intrigue my target audience.

I've also experienced life on the review side of things. I am currently a reviewer for Crossway Books but have also had the privilege of reviewing for several other publishers including NavPress, Waterbrook/Multnomah, Thomas Nelson, BookSneeze(R), Tyndale, and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

The CWA Review Crew excites me. It's different from other review groups in that it actively seeks out quality books that aren't (yet) getting the attention they deserve.

The ladies on The CWA Review Crew are savvy Christian women who are well connected and enthusiastic about sampling products, testing apps and reading books that are truly diamonds in the rough.

How do I know how great these ladies are? Well, as the Operations Manager of The CWA Review Crew, I have personally reviewed their applications, visited their websites and seen them in action. I'm excited about the future of The CWA Review Crew and am happy to be a member myself.

Here at ART-ucation the focus is on art and education. Ideally, I would like to review products within those two genres. I'm hoping some Christian artists will approach us with some e-books, children's books, products or published works that I can then bring to you, my readers here at ART-ucation.

Maybe you have something that fits this description. If so submit it.

The CWA Review Crew is on fire and we're ready to promote products, apps and books that you might not discover on your own.

If you want to join us as a reviewer you can learn more here.

I hope you'll keep visiting ART-ucation and stay tuned for future reviews.

Sincerely,

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lessons From A Window

I was on a walk one day and noticed some windows behind a building. They were beautiful and rugged and I thought they would make wonderful frames. I kept waiting to see if they would end up at the curb since I couldn't take them in their present location and no one would answer the door at the building. Weeks went by and I was obsessed about these silly windows.

Then my husband came home with the newspaper and pointed out that the building was being renovated into an art gallery of all things. I hunted down a phone number for the owner and told him I was a local artist with an eye on his windows. He said they were the original windows from the 1930's. The building had been one of the first in the town and the original location for the post office. He offered me the windows at no cost if I would do a showing of the art I create with them. It is a HUGE opportunity for me.

I had lots of ideas for what to create. At first I was thinking about creating a swayed road on the window and referencing miracles personal and biblical along the path.

Well, my theme went out the window. No pun intended. Nothing I wanted to do was working. That put me back at the drawing board.

Every time I started to do something that I wanted to do I was stopped. I could feel YHWH leading me every step of this project, telling me what to (and what not to do).

As I was tearing the paper for the background I could feel YHWH speaking to me reminding me that someday He is going to tear the sky apart and return for us. I can't wait!

I found some very old wall paper in our attic a while back and my landlord said I could use it. It was as old as the house. I cut two doves out of the pattern and added one to the sky and one to the branch. I also cut some leaves to add a three dimensional effect to the leaves I'd already added.




There was only one thing I knew I wanted to do with this painting. Very early in this process it became clear that this was not my thing but his. I kept fighting it. I'm stubborn like that. I still tried to make that one part only it looked super bad. I'm not showing you that part. Just trust me. Instead of the person I wanted to add, YHWH lead me to add a child because He says to let the children come to Him. At that point I learned my lesson in surrender. It was raining outside, so I threw some watercolor on some canvas and let Him paint the hill too. Here is that section.



Here is the whole thing, top to bottom.




I have a little bit left before my window process is complete, but I've learned a ton! I learned to let Him into my art. I had given Him my writing, but my art was still my own. Now every passion I have we can share.

I still want to add some fancy old style tin work to the corners then it will be complete, but again that could change if He shows me something else. I've learned to listen to His voice above my own. I think that was the whole point.

For me this piece is about being on the right path, the tree being the symbol of life and faith.

“You make me known the path of life; in your presence is unbounded joy, in your right hand eternal delight.” Psalm 16:11


Please note: Images in this post are under copyright. You can purchase prints of this art here.

Copyright © Heather Randall. All rights reserved. My images may not be reproduced in any form without my written permission.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Leonardo's Little Ladies

There is a swap currently running over at ATCsforall.com. Sorry, the due date is coming close and the sign up is full. I thought it was a fun theme though so I thought I'd share it with you.

Some people think that Mona Lisa has been done to death. If you saw my house you'd see where I disagree. I'm a crazy collector of altered Mona's. As long as her eyes stay untouched I swoon at almost every creative adaptation artists make to her.

Evalia, the swap host of Leonardo's Ladies, insists that there are other lovely ladies that are worthy of our artistic efforts. She challenged us to look at the less famous women as well as the sister stars like Lady with an Ermine, Madonna, Leda and La belle Ferroniere who all had the unique distinction of making it onto the pages of Leonardo Da Vinci's sketchbooks.

This site is a great place to peruse all the works of Da Vinci in one easy location.

I selected four images to work with including Mona Lisa (I couldn't help myself),Portrait of Cecilia Gallerini (Lady with an Ermine), Portrait of Ginevra de Benci and a Leda drawing.

Next, I decided to do a little collage work and turn these sophisticated women into little ladies. I found some free vintage photographs of children. I added water color, placed them on some painted backgrounds and added some artsy touches with more collage ephemera, shimmer pigments, acrylic paint and gel pens.

When I had my ATC looking trade-worthy I took some pictures and uploaded them to my computer. Here they are at that point:




That's when the digital fun began. I took the above images and added some pizazz with pixlr-o-matic . When I was done I came up with these finalized images which I added watermarks to(these are my work, please admire, but do not copy them without my written permission):






The more I begin to learn about digital art and explore this medium, the more I realize how challenging and complex it really is. I went through several steps to achieve the results that I am pleased with. That's what makes it fun though. These tools allow you to see the endless possibilities, test options before you commit, and do things your ordinary art supplies don't easily allow. You can even transform Leonardo's little ladies.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Challenge for You


I've been exploring lately with digital elements and editing techniques. I'm trying to learn how to create graphic banners that are purely artistic. I've actually created a few that I'm truly proud of. The above image was my fun experimentation today with painting online. It's actually harder than it sounds.

The fun thing about art is that, though not everything will "click" for us, everything is worth exploring. Everything is fun to try once. You can't mess up with art. You can take risks, do the unthinkable, turn over every leaf and follow every trail. The process is gold.

I challenge you to take the plunge and try something new today. Even if it doesn't produce a masterpiece you are certain to learn something new about yourself and your unique style as an artist.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More on The Butterfly Project

Dear Friends,

There is something on my heart that I’ve got to share with you. I hope you’ll take some time and read this through to capture the vision and how you can participate. As a mom, I’m sure that you can relate to the feeling that our children are our greatest gift. Yeah, sometimes they drive me a little nuts, but if asked to state my greatest accomplishment in life I would have to say Chloe, Caibry, Nevie and Sadie.


They are my world and I simply could not imagine a world without them in it. I’m sure you can relate.

In fact, it’s probably this maternal juice that first bubbled up in me when I heard about the Butterfly Project. As an artist, I was looking for ways to contribute my talents to worthy causes. During my search I came across the opportunity to create two-dimensional butterflies that I could then contribute to the Holocaust Museum in Houston, Texas. In 2014 they are seeking to display their vast collection of butterfly submissions from young and old artists alike. Each winged beauty will represent one of the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust.

Now this project isn’t exclusive to artists. ANYONE could create a butterfly. ANYONE could remember one of these lost children. Upon seeing this, I got out my art supplies and rallied my little artists. I borrowed my friend’s children and we painted and we played together. All the while I was extremely aware of the gift I had in them. My children were free to mix colors and swirling pigments; they were free to experiment without being experimented on by the cruel hands of Hitler’s Gestapo.

Like you, I’m aware of the reality of the past and the horrific position children were put in during Hitler’s regime. I feel a bond with their mothers, and a responsibility, if you will, to get the word out about this project. It’s something I’m truly passionate about.

At this point you may be thinking, “Alright Heather, you do realize it’s just a paper butterfly don’t you? How can it make a difference?” Well, it speaks volumes to the families of Holocaust survivors. It really is more than paper. It’s a gift of solidarity, a commitment to remember these innocent victims, and create beauty out of ashes. It gives them a legacy. It’s a mission on their behalf. Your butterfly gives a child a voice.

Okay, so I had about 50 butterflies created when my family began to attend a Messianic congregation. This made me even more alert to the similarities between these children who perished in the Holocaust and my own kiddos. They weren’t that different you know? Children are all the same at their core. Their imaginations, dreams, and fantasies are their playgrounds. What if the imagination was fragmented, the dreams nightmares, and the playground a concentration camp?

A Little History:

During World War II the Nazis despised Messianic Jews. Amidst this landscape pastors of some Christian congregations still chose to embrace Messianic Jews, those who accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah. In July 1933 the heat was turned up when these churches were made to take an oath of allegiance to Hitler and all churches were made to institute the Aryan Paragraph and exclude Messianic Jews. Messianic Jews were already expelled from the Jewish community and synagogue due to their belief in the Messiah. The Aryan Paragraph sought to further isolate these believers from fellowship in the Christian circles, leaving them without any sense of religious community. This may seem like a small loss to some, but in Jewish culture the fellowship that allows them to grow in their understanding of scripture by debate and dialogue is paramount. In essence, Hitler was attempting to strip them of God, working intentionally to create in them a psyche of rejection and neglect.

Understanding the ramifications, many churches refused to accept the oath. As a result, many church leaders were arrested and murdered in concentration camps in the coming years. The Aryan Paragraph achieved its mission to force Jewish Christians out of the church. And those with non-Jewish heritage who embraced the Hebraic mindset, sought to keep Torah, and honor the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were also in danger of the wrath of Hitler. By their allegiance to this most threatened people group, these Hebraic Christians were basically waving a red flag before a raging bull, professing clearly whose side they were on.

Dating from Bible times onward, the will to stand up for YHVH, to face His critics head on and take the consequences as they came, has never been too big of a risk for a true believer. With pure conviction and certainty in the Torah, they clung to the truth that when they stood before the enemy they would surely not stand alone; for a host of angels would wage the war in unison with each brave step an individual took. Through that knowledge they faced the worst. They endured the shattering loss of loved ones, children ripped from their arms, terror, torture, and the worst the world could bring against them. Yet, the promise remained steadfast. The aching pain preceded a glorious reunion; and for that they would do it all again if they would have to. May they never have to.

The Bottom Line:

1.5 million children died in the Holocaust. Many were Jewish; no doubt some were children of these Messianic believers. Children like mine. Among them were also gypsies and handicapped children, anyone who was deemed unworthy of life by Hitler’s cruel standards. These were ordinary children. They were boys and girls who slept with their favorite toys and played their favorite games, which laughed and fought with their siblings, who begged Mommy to kiss their booboos and Daddy to tell a bedtime story. They had dreams and futures until everything was stolen by war and hate.

We would like to believe that the world is very different then it was in Hitler’s day. Yet, I am not convinced that such hate could not rise up again. It has so many times before. Who are we to think we could be immune? It seems evident to me that the key to prevention of any illness, whether the flu, AIDS, or simply the heinous ignorance of hate, is to foster awareness of the results. Remembering what was and what might be if we don’t carve out a fresh future is precious. It puts 1.5 million butterflies to flight and honors those mommies like us who would want our children remembered if the shoe was on the other foot.

“Children were neither just the mute and traumatized witnesses to this war, nor merely innocent victims; the war invaded their imaginations and the war raged inside them.” Nicholas Stargardt in “Witnesses of War: Children’s Lives Under the Nazis”










They were innocent dreamers, awakened to war. Don’t they deserve to be honored?








*


Will you please help by participating in this project? Tell your church, your synagogue, your school etc. and start creating some colorful butterflies. Let’s bring some color and beauty to the page in honor of children who were robbed of a childhood.

  • Skill is not the key, volume is the key. 1.5 million is a HUGE number. Together we can help every child be represented.
  • All ages are welcome.
  • Completed Butterflies cannot be over 8x10 inches.
  • Any medium is accepted but two-dimensional submissions are preferred.
  • Please Do Not use glitter or food products on your butterfly.
  • Ask artists to sign them on the back only.

*The above butterflies were created by children ages 4-10. For an easy project give each child a poster board and have them smear paints in an abstract pattern across the entire surface. Cut out butterfly shapes after the paint dries. One child created over 70 butterflies with one poster board using this method.

Butterflies are due by Dec. 13th, 2012

Mail or bring your Butterflies to:
Holocaust Museum Houston
Butterfly Project
Education Department
5401 Caroline St.
Houston, TX 77004
USA

Remember to include your name, organization/school, address, email address, and number of butterflies sent.

If you live close to me just give me a call and I’ll pick up your butterfly stash and mail them for you along with my collection. Please have them counted.

You can see more details at http://www.hmh.org/ed_butterfly1.shtml

I cannot tell you how much it means to me personally that you have taken the time to read this letter and that you would consider participating. Please let me know if you decide to send butterflies and how many you’ve sent.

Blessings,

Heather Randall