About 11 years ago, I took a little 3-hour introduction to watercolor class. Eureka! Where had these been all my life?
I had dabbled in painting with oils and acrylics before, but the constant need to mix an entirely new color for every shade change just didn’t work well for me. Oils do allow you to mix paint wet-on-wet on the canvas, but they also accidentally mix colors since they take days or weeks to dry. Acrylics dry so quickly that mixing colors while painting takes a very quick hand.
Enter watercolors. I took to them like a duck to – well – water. This is the painting I made at that first little class. The instructor had already traced the design onto the watercolor paper. She walked us through the steps of adding masking fluid, painting in one area while another is allowed to dry, rewetting an area to add shadows, etc. It was so much fun!
I haven’t stopped painting them since.
As I’ve said, I was a member of Etsy for about 2 years before I got the nerve to actually list something for sale. I had some prints and magnets left over from when I tried to do Farmer’s Markets (they just proved too difficult for me physically). I mailed a few things to friends to make sure my shipping methods would work. So, I listed what I had and didn’t have any idea what to expect next.
About a week later, I got the most exciting email! It was from Etsy with a graphic of a popping champagne cork telling me I had made my first sale. My first excited thought was,”Wow, I made a sale!” Followed immediately by my next anxious thought, “Wow…I made a sale…” Oh dear, what happens now?
The order was for a magnet featuring my painting of our basset hound, Sophie, with a Cheez-it box. At least, it was something small and flat that would fit into a regular envelope. I made a choice with that first order to print a thank you card with a handwritten note, and I’ve done the same for every sale since – 944 at present count. It takes a few extra minutes, but I think (I hope) such personal touches will bring my buyers back. They’ll never get that kind of attention from a big box store.
Since that first sale, I’ve added the Sell On Etsy App to my phone. If I’m concentrating hard on a painting, the “Cha-Ching” announcing a new sale will still make me jump half-way across the room. But – that’s a good thing.
About 2 years ago, an Etsy customer asked if I could make cufflinks with images of my art. I had no idea if I could find settings to work with the photo cabochons I use for my jewelry.
Yes, indeed I could. I found cufflinks with a 16mm cabochon setting. I had to order a corresponding 16mm punch and matching epoxy stickers, but once I had all the necessary pieces, I made my first pair of cufflinks using my painting of an English Springer Spaniel.
And, thank goodness, I did. Over the last two years, I’ve sold 122 pairs of cufflinks and counting. I had no idea cufflinks were still so popular. I’ve made quite a few pairs of custom cufflinks with the photos of the customers pets to be used as wedding gifts from the bride to the groom. So sweet! Prom season tends to be a popular time, too.
Cufflinks – who knew?
Hello! My name is Carol Blackhurst. My journey to becoming an artist and jewelry maker has been a long, strange road.
I have always been artistic and considered majoring in Art in college, but I needed a degree I could use to find a well-paying job. So, I majored in Computer Science and had a lovely 30 year a career in the IT industry. Alas, mounting issues with battling Fibromyalgia made it impossible for me to continue in my chosen field and I gave up that career 6 years ago.
About 15 years ago, I went with a friend to a 3-hour One-Stroke painting class. We came away with an adorable paper wastebasket adorned with daisies and butterflies. We had so much fun we decided to take a few more classes. Donna Dewberry, the creator of One-Stroke began to host a convention here in Orlando. At one such convention in 2005, I took a little demo class in watercolors. Eureka! Where had these been all my life?
Over the past 12 years, I have developed my own watercolor techniques. I definitely do not painted watercolors properly, but I do what works for me. I focus on animal and flower studies. I joined a small non-profit cooperative gallery in 2010.
Etsy has been where my art has taken root. I joined Etsy in 2011, but it took 2 years for me to get the courage to list anything of my own. My first sale came in less than a week – a magnet featuring our basset hound, Sophie.
A DIY TV program demonstrated uses for shrink plastic – like Shrinky Dinks when I was a kid. I wondered if I could print on shrink plastic and use it as jewelry. That experiment was a dismal failure. It took many months of experimenting with different ideas before I finally landed on the process I use today. My Etsy shop now offers a large variety of jewelry items including: flower pendants & earrings, pet pendants & earrings, cufflinks, tie bars, clips & tacks, kitchy jewelry and more.
Check back with my blog as I offer more musings on my art and my Etsy shop!