july updates!

happy summer! I have been so busy working on illustrating a fabulously written series of 4 (bible) story books and doing my daily #16in16art project on instagram, that I've let my blog/news update go a bit quiet. 

I wanted to mention a new project. I live near an awesome town named Ardmore, PA. It was just mentioned in an article this week. My dear friend Carrie who has the most amazing gift shop (pucciManuli) is giving the street where her shop is located some well deserved love. It's an adorable street. And now this adorable street has a brand new fancy logo (inspired by local street signage) and website and lots of fun events to come!

Cricket Pops is a brand new event. The first one is - THIS SATURDAY - July 16 from 9AM-2PM! There will be ice cream, kids crafts, live music. 20+ vendors and more. (Get add. info here.) I will be participating in the July as well as the September Cricket Pops market.

Hope to see you - if you're in the neighborhood!!

cricket cringle - 2015

This past weekend I participated in the 2nd Annual Cricket Cringle - a holiday pop-up outdoor market in Ardmore, PA. There were over 30 merchants and the event was held on a Friday night (5-9) and the following day (10-6). I do not sell at many art/craft shows, but i can say this one was so much FUN to be a participant in. (And to help plan.) I do wish I had been able to walk around a bit more. There were many entertainment options, food trucks, restaurant samples (mmm... pumpkin beer), kids crafts, and even Santa popped by. 

At the market, I sold prints, cards, mugs, tote bags and even a few pillows. I will be adding inventory to my online shop and you can also find my things at Pucci Manuli

Aliza of Aliza Schlabach Photography took some AMAZING photos of my booth at the event. You can see more of the event photos at the Cricket Cringle event page

introducing... kindred art collective!

Some fun news today! Five very non-local friends and I are announcing our new artists collective - named Kindred Art Collective. See our pretty website here.

The six of us gals met online within the last 2 years through the Make Art that Sells course offered by the art agent Lilla Rogers. The fabulously talented Jan Avellana (along with the superstar illustrator Lucy Banaji) & I all roomed together in May 2014 when we went to Surtex. (Surtex stands for Surface Textile and is an annual ginormous tradeshow in NYC where artists show art, meet new and potential clients, and sell and/or license their art to manufacturers, retailers, etc..) The idea of a collective was first floated around then, and thanks to Jan, her vision, her reaching out to some like minded artists, and a lot of Facebook interaction, finally it has come to fruition. Some of us are plan to exhibit at the next Surtex in 2016. (But, more on that in the new few months...)

Here are links to the individual websites of my co-collective mates: Sara BrezziMalu LenziKelly AngelovicJan Avellana, & Antoana Oreski. We literally live ALL over the world. (Philly, Italy, Brazil, Colorado, Croatia, Hawaii). I think we might even represent all the time zones. 

Here is our facebook banner doodle which we all participated in drawing on. (Be sure to visit and like our page if you are so inclined...) Can you tell which ones are mine?

We will each be introducing ourselves daily on our blog/website.

For our first collective project, we each did a Halloween piece. Shown below are the first 2 pieces in my collection. And the rest you can find on the Kindred Art Collective Gallery site here

Wouldn't it be FAB to see this artwork incorporated onto a table cloth for a large home decor manufacturer? Well - OK - now you know one of my dreams + goals.

Thank you for reading this, and do have a wonderful Monday. Let's all have a productive week!

florals + fabric + week 2 of the MATS Home Decor Class

If i were to design decor for a living room, it might look something like this...

Work completed for fabric - week 2 - Home Decor - art by Barb Chotiner

I had a blast making the "patchwork paradise" fabric shown below. Due to traveling for the July 4th holiday weekend, my time spend on class this week was cut a bit short. (That and i am working on 2 amazing new projects that I can't wait to share - once completed.) However, I am please what i was able to produce in such a short time period. 

Work completed for fabric - week 2 - Home Decor - art by Barb Chotiner

funny birds + metal + week 1 of the MATS Home Decor Class

Hello! I've been pulling some late nights recently for the MATS Home Decor class I am taking, which is taught by two amazing ladies... Margo Tantau (vp of creative at midwest-cbk) & Lilla Rogers (art agent extraordinaire). The class teaches us about creating collections using 5 of the main substrates used for the Home Decor market. (They are metal, fabric, wood, ceramic & glass.) We were also given some excellent trend boards to choose from for the duration of the class. I chose one with a more muted palette for a change + a challenge. :)

For our first week we were to focus on metal and "birds" were to be our inspiration / assignment. Initially, I started sketching offline and digitally...

and then i made a big giant mess of painting and monoprints... this one is one of my favoritess...

mono print by barb chotiner

And then I sought to combine my drawings and prints... And i quickly realized that i had 2 styles going on. One which skewed towards kids/adult kids and another which was quieter, moodier and so I ended up splitting it into 2 collections.

The funkier one...



and then a more subtle upscale / adult collection...



I was really torn which way to finish. (Since in the end, i could only finish up one to submit for  a "final.") In the class/community facebook group (another bonus with the class!) each board had its "fans" so to speak but i felt like the adult one was getting more comments. 

I ended up working quite a bit more on the wall art and creating a horizontal scene of majestic herons and flying swallows. I used metallic bronze ink and scanned in some branched from my home which had been blown down by a harsh rain storm the night before.

Below is my final piece. In the end, i loved some of my quirky birds - especially the guy on the clock - so I included them as a smaller, perhaps secondary collection. 


I am LOVING this class and how it is making me think about the home decor market. There is so much possibility. And all I want to do is go to this store (Abode) in the UK, or to Terrain - which is only 30 min away...

And on we go to week no. 2... fabric! 


I've been working with floral designs this month, as I will have some items for sale at the upcoming 2015 Philadelphia Flower Show (at the pucciManuli booth). 

For this months Art Bootcamp, we were encouraged to paint on wood and play with creating art in a scene as well as in a circular shape. I did find some time to play around with painting on some small wood shapes. (You can see an in progress photo in my instagram feed. I've actually done a bit more on them since this photo). In the past I really enjoyed painting on tiny 1-3" shapes. (I even had a series in my application to graduate school many years ago!) So I hope to do some more of these when I have some time*. 

I really enjoyed using my Acryla Gouache on the wood. I liked how it seeped in and while it looked flat it was also quite rich. I then started to use some regular acrylic paint (since the acryla gouache is a bit pricey) but was not at all happy with those results as I didn't like the plastic sheen on top of the wood. 

In the end for my submission, I went back to some text & floral imagery I had also been working with over the past 2 weeks. I played around with the idea of putting some of my text + textural (ooh - mental note - i like that phrase) pieces in these circle motifs. And then I took it further and imagined them being produced onto wooden cutting boards. I would totally buy these if I saw them at West Elm or Crate and Barrel! :) Would you??

*I'm actually in the middle of a huge illustration assignment at the moment and can not wait to share that once it's completed.

cricket cringle

Here are some photos of me and my "merch" from the Cricket Cringle. (A local holiday pop-up shop I participated in last week.) I will be adding products to my new online shop in January!

penguin posse!

Well, I am back for yet another round of MATS. Here is my PENGUIN POSSE themed holiday card (though - non holiday specific).

penguin trio - art by Barb Chotiner

Since time was limited last week, I did some pencil sketching and then decided to draw and paint directly in Photoshop. (I only had a day to complete since I was flying south (literally) for a long wedding weekend.) While I did miss getting my paints out and getting messy... It was surprisingly fun to work this way.

This week's theme is cowboys/cowgirls. Debating if i should work this way again... 

GTS - cultivating creativity

Well the 2014 GTS finalists have been revealed. A "top 50" were chosen from 999 entries. Unfortunately this was not the year for me - but that's cool as I still need time to grow (cultivate) my portfolio. :) (And I happen to be swamped with work at the moment - which is always a good thing!)

I'm very excited to see many familiar names and friends who are in the top 50 moving forward - including my 2 roommates from Surtex this past May. (Jan and Lucy - fabulous work by both of them!!) I can't wait to see what everyone creates for round 2.

GTS 2014 - artwork by Barbara Chotiner - bzdesignstuff.com

GTS 2014 - artwork by Barbara Chotiner - bzdesignstuff.com

My final piece was a combination of printmaking & drawing and there is even a iPhone photo of one of my yard plants in there too! I was away on vacation for the majority of the time that we had to work on this assignment, so I did not have as much time as I had wanted (+ needed) to add some additional final drawing details + make this piece even more lush and fabulous. In hindsight, I may have been a tad too literal about the wall art assignment. I did not add any characters and ended up keeping it more like an overgrown magical forrest/terrarium bursting with color and life. (I had drawn some birds & even a deer, but at the end of the day they just did not mesh in well with the rest of the canvas. It never even occurred to me to put in gnomes or woodland animals - but they are rather cute in some of the finals.) Maybe I'll have to make another (less serious) one.

My final touch was to create the vine on the upper right which is reaching up and breaking free from the garden. In the end I am happy with the work I created. And in my mind at least, It is leaps and bounds better than my last years submission.

If interested - you can puchase the print right here at my (small but growing) Society 6 shop. :)

more MATS craziness!

So - i enrolled AGAIN for another round of Lilla Rogers Make art that Sells. I couldn't pass up another chance to create some fabulous pieces of art.

Here is what I created for week one - Bolt Fabric. Topic was Tropical Fruit and Pyrex/Vintage casserole dishes.

Artwork by Barb Chotiner - Available for licensing - Making Art that Sells - Week 1 - #MATS

After I completed the above... I went ahead and created these fun little tea towel mock ups. 

Artwork by Barb Chotiner - Available for licensing - Making Art that Sells - Week 1 - #MATS

Artwork by Barb Chotiner - Available for licensing - Making Art that Sells - Week 1 - #MATS

My DREAM would be to have these licensed and created placed in a store - OR - to be printed on a fabric where crafty gals (& guys) could sew their own fabulous things. Even my husband (not typically a pattern man) loved them.