birds + a poem

i guess i have a thing for birds... and poems by ee cummings. (i first learned of him in graduate school when i was studying book arts + printmaking at the university of the arts, in philadelphia.)

the thing I love about creating art is you never know where its going to take you...

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! 


My (now) 4 year old daughter loves to shout "LOVE IT" whenever she's excited about something. Well, I'm excited about a few things and made this little diddy to share. I feel like my art is going in exciting directions and its just one of those days when i love my job.

I also added a new mounted on wood prints to my buyStuff shop. Ive been making a bunch of these wood panels for the flower show but wanted to add them to my 'lil shop as well.

DENY designs + Me!

Good things are a happening! I have another exciting and awesome announcement to make.

A few pieces of mine are now available for purchase on DENY Designs. Have you seen their products? Their motto is "cool decor for the creative type." They sell a ton of home goods, from wall clocks to pillows to jewelry boxes to sheets.

Stay tuned as I will be adding more pieces in the coming weeks. Click HERE  to go  to my artist page.

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 -

GTS 2014 - artwork by Barbara Chotiner -

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. :)

river. sea. ocean.

Just you and me. River. Sea. Ocean.

I just finished working on this large piece of art which was composed together from numerous monoprints. Wouldn't it be lovely to purchase from West Elm or Serena and Lily or One Kings Lane or Ballard? I also personally love GreenBox. A gal can dream, right? Where is your favorite place to get wall art? I'm also thinking now I need to do 2 smaller complementary pieces using the lighter aqua teal blues...

Deep Seal Diving Whales. Artwork available for licensing. © Barb Chotiner 2014

And here is a smaller nautical print I was working on. (But part of the same series.) I thought it might be nice to see them side by side in reverse...

River, Sea, Ocean. Artwork available for licensing. © Barb Chotiner 2014

The above pieces were inspired by one of my favorite songs by the artist Badly Drawn Boy...

Us, you and me
River sea ocean
Moving on so far away and dreaming
Quality sea, makes it to the ocean
Far away far away
Let her go, go far away

- Badly Drawn Boy

MATS Bootcamp March: Jello Molds

The theme for the latest Lilla Rogers Bootcamp, was Jello and Jello Molds! (Just google Jello Molds and you will find some very umm... interesting things!) I wanted to get back to creating some prints and drawings and ended up a bit abstract this month. I did some sketching, inking, some printmaking and ended up in Photoshop. A classmate whose work i LOVE said she could see it on a table cloth at Crate and Barrel. Oh to dream! 

See the entire gallery of 400 + interpretations of Jello here! (I made page 4 this month.)

Have I mentioned my new work is available for licensing and I am available for commissioned work?

If you want to see a little bit of the process of how I got here, please scroll down...

pencil sketches for Making Art that Sells Bootcamp - March 2014 - Jello - by Barb Chotiner

pencil sketches for Making Art that Sells Bootcamp - March 2014 - Jello - by Barb Chotiner

more pencil sketches for Making Art that Sells Bootcamp - March 2014 - Jello - by Barb Chotiner

more pencil sketches for Making Art that Sells Bootcamp - March 2014 - Jello - by Barb Chotiner

mono prints created for Making Art that Sells Bootcamp - March 2014 - Jello - by Barb Chotiner

mono prints created for Making Art that Sells Bootcamp - March 2014 - Jello - by Barb Chotiner

wall decor

Here are my two pieces I created (last week) for the Lilla Rogers art course I have been taking. Once again I started with a few hours of monoprinting cut shapes and then added line drawings and a few random scanned objects. The assignment was to create "wall" decor for a canvas. There needed to be collage elements, a flower, a bit of text and my assigned colors were orange and blue. (yay - to Syracuse (my alma matter) and to the Mets (my original home team!) The target demographic happened to fall within my age range - so that was a help. I'm pretty pleased with the way they turned out. I think i've found a new way of working! I think i may even get the first one printed on canvas and hang it in my daughters room. (She wants the top one. She even carried a printout of it around the house this weekend.

Making Art that Sells - via Lilla Rogers - Wall Art Submission

Making Art that Sells - via Lilla Rogers - Wall Art Submission

Making Art that Sells - via Lilla Rogers - Wall Art Second Design

Making Art that Sells - via Lilla Rogers - Wall Art Second Design

print/making + making/prints...

Today I started out with some drawings and was feeling a bit rusty - so i decided to let loose and do some monoprints/painting & printmaking. It turned out to be a pretty fun afternoon. (Despite the crazy rain + a PA tornado watch...) Looking forward to seeing what become of these monoprint "floral sketches." I'm thinking some (ink?) drawings on top. Perhaps some digital additions... (Click on the photo for a few additional images.)

PS I'm so pleased to be a part of this class!