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Tag Archives | home decor

It’s time for those American holiday sales!

Happy Holiday Specials from Jen Norton
In honor of the great American eating and shopping holidays of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (yikes!), I’ve got some special Holiday Sales for you. If you’re looking for something unique and art-inspired, I may be able to help you check a few gifts off your list. So here goes…This is the week to find the perfect something at the best price in any of my online stores! Coupon Codes will be active until midnight on Monday, December 2!

20% OFF in my ETSY Shop:

In this shop, you’ll find small original work, 11×14 matted prints and Garden Charms made in my studio. Use Coupon Code “Holiday20” at checkout from Monday, Nov 25 to Mon, Dec 2nd, 2013 to get 20% off any purchase!
Enter here: www.etsy.com/shop/JenNortonArtStudio or use the “Shop” tab on this site.

20% OFF in my Fine Art America Print Shop:

In this shop you’ll find reproductions customized your way. You can even matt and frame here and have it shipped directly to you, ready to hang! Use Discount Code “GLUDTC” at checkout from Monday, Nov 25 to Mon, Dec 2nd, 2013 to get 20% off any art reproductions. Please note that this discount will not apply to any framing accessories purchased along with your art.
Enter here: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/jen-norton.html or use the use the “Shop” tab on this site.

Daily Specials from Zazzle:

Sample Zazzle Products

Here you can shop for pillows, journals, clocks, cosmetic bags, cell phone covers and even matching postage and holiday cards made with my artwork. While I cannot offer discounts directly, Zazzle posts daily specials this week on their home page, or you can sign up on their site to receive them in your email. Applicable discounts are applied automatically to any purchase when you check out.

Entere here: www.zazzle.com/jennortonartstudio.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you’re in America. Happy Weekend to everyone else!

Jen

Along the road less traveled, with a compass.

JN802_Serve, Love, Create

“Serve, Love, Create”

It’s been my experience that most people who aren’t artists look at what we creative types do and think we know something they don’t. There’s an assumption that if something is made into tangible form, it must be true. The artist must have some kind of inside knowledge, luck or talent only bestowed on the select few. A good friend referred to it as the “red cape syndrome”. If someone is wearing a red cape, she must have a superpower!

I’ll let you in on a secret: I do own a red cape. I don’t have a superpower.

The mysterious talent we painters are born with isn’t for painting. It’s for seeing. Observation comes naturally. The painting part I’ve had to learn. And no matter how good my painting skills might be, you wouldn’t care if you didn’t relate to my subject matter. And the only reason you relate to my content is because I am putting in public form what I am learning, struggling with, or otherwise thinking about…which happens to be the same thing you are also currently fascinated with. That’s really what makes an artist. It’s not the big gallery show or the licensing deal (although we like those things too!). It’s the willingness to be transparent and public about our own lives. It’s the need to step out of hiding and share the journey with others in a concrete, public way. It is the courage to begin something knowing we will learn how to do it as we go along. Art is communication at a very soulful level.

So where am I going in 2012? My roadmap allows for surprises and twists. To become what God has in store for me, I have to be open to evolution. But I don’t wander aimlessly. I do bring a compass. Here’s my True North:

• I create work that expresses my faith, honors family and promotes the ideal of peace as a position of strength.

• My art is currency for empowering the lives of women and families, including my own.

• My art tells my story, so that you can tell yours, so we both know we are not alone.

How will this all manifest itself? I’m not entirely sure. Some parts of my dream have concrete actions; some are still in vision stage (always the easier part for me). I may be a creator, but I’m not THE Creator. Guess I’ll have to look back on 2012 and reflect on how far I’ve traveled.

I’ve been playing around with textures and layers on gessoed board! You can purchase this artwork here.

Imperfect Love

Imperfect Loveseat by Jen Norton

“Imperfect Loveseat”, Acrylic on Gessobord

If you’ve ever been to a Christian wedding, you may have heard the reading from 1 Corinthians 13:4-13.*  Real love IS perfect. The ability of humans to practice it, however, is a bit flawed. Stay in any relationship long enough and you’ll find out that egos, insecurities, selfishness and a host of other human impairments get in the way. Like a well-worn favorite chair, what once was fashionable and new can seem a threadbare eyesore. The loveseat in this painting belonged to my grandparents who lived to be 99 and 101 years of age, and were married almost 70 years. By the end of their lives, it looked to be at the end of its as well. The upholstery was tattered, the stuffing was thinner than my grandfather’s favorite extra-crispy bacon, and one leg was threatening to break off. But when I think of it, I remember all the family holidays, sitting with my cousins and sisters on the couch. I remember my grandma reading me stories on it, and then holding my daughter 30 years later while we took our 4-generation-of-women picture. And like their marriage, its bumps and scrapes marked cherished memories, it’s faded cloth told stories of love and support. When I remember the loveseat, I am reminded of enduring love. Their love was as perfect as it gets. Perfect in its imperfections.

*Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, it is not snobbish. Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child I used to talk like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a (wo)man I put childish ways aside. Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of theses is love.

 

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: A California Classic

Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce Decal 2011

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Chamber of Commerce 2011 Decal

If you visit Santa Cruz in 2011, be sure to look for these decals in some of the window fronts. They display businesses that are members of the Chamber of Commerce, and I had the opportunity to create the illustration of the beach and boardwalk for them! Thanks to my friend Kirsti Scott of  Scott Design (The creative agency for technology companies) for the job.

The original is acrylic on paper and is matted to a 24 x 30″ size. It is available matted for $850 (plus tax and shipping as applicable). Contact us directly to purchase.

Pig Racing in Ireland

Pig Racing in Belturbet (Co.Cavan) Ireland

Pig Racing in Belturbet by Jen Norton

 

On a recent trip to Ireland our adventures took us to Belturbet to watch Pig Racing. Not even all the locals know about this high point of culture. In fact, we arrived early unable to find where the races were to be held. At 3:30pm, there was not a sign, crowd, or hint of the impending excitement. But at 4pm, the atmosphere changed. Two trucks pulled up…one filled with pigs, which proceeded to unfold, revealing the starting line; the other transformed into the finish line. Barriers were put up, a green Astroturf® carpet was rolled out, short little pig hurdles were spaced along the route, and the bets were taken. By 4:45pm, the races began, with six contending pigs racing down the line with stuffed “jockeys” strapped to their backs.! “Watch out for #6…She’s a real flyer!!” yelled the announcer. Sure enough, five seconds later, #6 was declared winner, the pigs were rewarded with a snack and herded back to the starting truck for the second round. Six rounds of betting, six races…I lost them all, but ended up with an inspirational subject for new paintings!

This piece won the 2009 First Place Award at the SCVWS Annual Exhibition. Judge Christopher Schink commented, “It’s hard to do a good painting that amuses you. This painting is fun without being corny. With its broken-up design, this piece conveys the feeling of the subjects without seeing them. It delighted me! Not just an illustration, it is full of fun and whimsy and has an imaginative concept of design.”

If you’d like to see a short clip of the race that inspired this painting, I’ve posted it on YouTube. Click here.

You can purchase prints of this painting here.

Bee Happy!

Beekeeper and Bee Happy art by Jen Norton

Beekeeper and Bee Happy art by Jen Norton

(reposted from April 1010) People often wonder whether “art imitates life”, but it was the other way around here at Jen Norton Art Studio. One of my illustrations is called “Bee Happy”, (a top seller in my Garden Charm™ line). The bees must have found out I was a fan because last week they decided to move to my house! If you haven’t yet experienced a bee migration first-hand, it’s quite a scene. And as fascinating as it is to watch, not entirely convenient when it happens near your front door! First a few bees hang around and check out the real estate. Then they call the queen to her throne. When she’s settled, she calls a few friends…like 10,000 of them and they swarm right in! In the end, we found a beekeeper who was able to do a live removal and give them a new home in an almond orchard. (In this photo, he’s removing a hive partition and showing me the queen bee.) My flowers look great this year, and I’ll miss my bees…but they had to go.

Should you ever need to remove bees (without killing them) near San Jose, CA , call “Smiling Bee Services‎” at 408-929-7983.

If I knew you were coming, I’d have baked you a cake!

Yellow Cake Recipe painting

Yellow Cake by Jen Norton

My husband does most of our family cooking, but, being more of a meat guy, he leaves the baking to me. This piece was inspired by yummy yellow birthday fare. Sharing food brings us closer…especially when it involves cake! I don’t know too many people who’d rather eat their birthday cake alone, do you? It’s a sweet treat any time of day, and if someone bakes you one, you know you’re special. This particular recipe won’t make you fat…so let us all eat cake!

Change is good.

Three Sisters

Three Sisters in the Garden by Jen Norton

(reposted from Apirl 2010) Every so often I take some time to re-evaluate some of my unsold work. Is it just waiting for the right buyer? Does it need a little facelift now that I see it with new eyes? Or is it hanging around like dirty laundry taunting me with reminders of my lackluster housecleaning skills? This morning I came across a piece that needed to be shed like that extra 2 lbs gained on vacation, so I splashed paint, rolled ink and otherwise destroyed what was there. I decided to go with the theme of “Linked” from Illustration Friday that appeared in my inbox. A little uncontrolled “left-hand” drawing, some simplified shape…The result is this illustration of my two sisters and I walking hand in hand along a garden path. It’s simple, imperfect, uncomplicated and sure was a lot of fun to make. Sometimes, that’s all I ask of myself. Stains gone. Laundry folded. See what you think!

note: The original painting is sold, but this image is available to order on a Garden Charm, or for licensing. Use my contact page form for either.

Art Appreciation, kid-style

 

 

 

 

“Emma was Here“ by Jen Norton

“Emma was Here“ © Jen Norton

This essay was published on iParentz.com and is re-posted from my former blog, Dec 2008. I wrote it to remind myself to always look at things from other points of view…in this case, my daughter’s.

Recently, we had an opportunity to take our family on a trip to Italy. As an artist, I relished the idea of exposing my young daughter to the wonders of the creative seat of Western Culture. I tried to excite her by explaining that much of the design culture we enjoy now got its start in Italy…way back when the wealthy and powerful Medici family began funding the arts, inadvertently pulling us out of the previous “Dark Ages”. Her eyes glossed over and she countered with a newly-found fact about Hannah Montana. In Rome, we wandered through the Forum and Colosseum and I attempted to ignite her imagination with the thousands of variations of Roman civilizations that had built these structures. No luck…it was July, about 120 degrees Farenheit, she was pining for gelato and declaring the ruins “just a pile of old rocks.” The Duomo in Florence, vertical architecture of Cinque Terre and the Piazza del Campo in Seina all met with similar enthusiasm.

I was just about to give up, when her eye focused on something that really interested her: Graffiti!  It was everywhere…on old stuff, new stuff, trains, sidewalks. Anything that stood still bore the mark of modern Roman youth. It’s not that I hadn’t noticed it before. I just wondered why no one seemed to care about cleaning it up. But my daughter loved it, exclaiming, “Look at that mom!” over some spray-painted animae character or colorful wording. I should have known. She loves to write. She never draws a picture without including dialogue in those “talking bubbles”. When I drag her to art shows (“not anuuuther art show!”), she only taken with the calligraphers. She loves colorful, graphic pop art. And why not? What it lacks in subtly, it makes up for in immediate communication and fun. What kid doesn’t respond to that?

As a consequence, I began to look at this display of modern ego in a different light. All those layers of line and color…mark over mark over mark. It’s like Italy itself, especially Rome. You have centuries of humanity building and living one over the other. Unlike the states, no one tears down the old to build the new. You can’t. Half a shovel down, you’ll probably hit something archeological every time. So, you just build up, next to, across…imagine any preposition, and the Romans have architecturally rendered it. The Roman Colosseum isn’t off in some protected national park. It’s smack dab in the middle of modern Rome, vespa traffic, graffiti and all. In my daughter’s eyes, graffiti is just the next generation leaving it’s mark, and far more colorful than that old “pile of rocks”.

In honor of her appreciation of “graffiti as art”, I began to incorporate it into my paintings as well. I can over-think just about everything, so I’m relieved when I can just take something at face value. “Hey mom, graffiti is cool!” OK, I get that. I don’t understand it all or experience it with the same emotion, but I get that it speaks to her, and that makes it interesting to me. In my work, it shows up mostly as a background texture because that’s how I relate to it in the real world. Sometimes it tells something more about the painting. In the end, all good art is a form of communication first between the artist and God, and then the artist and the viewer. Graffiti is certainly an art of communication, even if not everyone can understand it. My Italian’s not so good either, but it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the melodic rhythm of the language or know that it has meaning.

As a parent, we all want to infuse our kids with our life lessons, enrich them, make them see beyond their own elementary-school universe. But sometimes it pays to listen to them too. In the bible (Matthew 18:3), Jesus says, “Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” What if this moment is heaven? Can you see it? The wisdom of decades is a good thing, but for added appreciation, try seeing through the eyes of a child.

(In defense of my daughter’s culture appreciation, I should add that she did find a few other things fascinating: the preserved head of St. Catherine in Siena and the leaning Tower of Pisa (as well as the tchatchkis stands along the road leading up to it) were big hits. Also, the marble sculpture in the Vatican, tiny European cars and the plethora of pizza.)