I began drawing at very young age. I was born with detected and undetected birth defects in the 60's. Back then, there were no specialized testing like there is today for prenatal care. I was born in 1969 with mouth and speech abnormalities, but was also born with an undetected form of spina bifida. It was not until the age of 30, when my back collapsed on itself, that I realized I had this special condition. When it happened, I had no clue what had happened, I just knew I was in terrible pain and could not feel my right hip and whole leg and foot. After seeing a few doctors and 2 specialists later, I found a special neurologist that found my cure - spinal fusion surgery at S-1, L-4, and L-5 and taking bone from my hip to help form bones that were never there in my spine. I was scared - for I never had undergone any type of surgery before in my life and had a fear of never being able to walk again. At this time in my life, too, my chips were down; not only was I out of work because of my condition, my employer had laid me off, too and the man that I thought was my best friend lived at a distance and did not believe me that I was so ill and down and out. When you are alone and scared, God and your family always come through. This is when I turned myself back over to God and found Joyce Meyers Ministries on t.v. I realized I had nothing left but God, my family and my art. The gift that God gave me always brought me joy - I can draw and paint anywhere, even from bed. I remember I was too down to paint, but a friend brought me my canvases and paint to my bedside. She encouraged me to paint anyways. (Candie, if you are reading this, I remember you doing this for me. Thank you.)
During this hardest point in my life, I cried and prayed to Jesus. I asked for forgiveness in everything in my life. Through the tears I talked with Jesus about every single little thing. It was just Jesus and I. After confessing my life faults, a beautiful rainbow appeared. I, then, remember feelings all kinds of emotions all at once; I knew in my soul and spirit everything was going to be ok.
Throughout my life, especially during grade school, I allowed different kids to pick on me. I got beat up in the school yard. I never stood up for myself. I do remember, during the summer, attending art programs at the Currier Art Museum school, where I felt normal - where no one picked on me and I could focus on learning how to draw and paint. I remember the day I learned to paint and a whole new world opened up to me. I felt joy and peace, automatically. There was something about mixing paint and studying color that opened a new and wonderful feeling for me. It was from this point that I began to see life differently - I saw things with beauty and found a wonderful way of expression.
When I graduated my primary grades and moved on to high school, I felt free! I felt like a crossed a freedom barrier. At my high school there was an excellent art department and all the teachers were amazing. There was also an art group. It was during my high school years, I was no longer afraid, because those bullies were now gone and I had my art classes to look forward to going to. There was no question in my mind that my life had to be in the creative field and that I would always paint. I am very fortunate that my parents saw this, too. They kept me enrolled in private art classes and dance classes so I could keep expressing myself in a healthy way. Through art, dance and theater I became alive. (I only tried theater once - I had a hard time remembering lines. Today, I enjoy going to shows.)
Throughout my life when someone picked on me, I would always eventually turn to my art and prayer to Jesus. Art and Jesus never leaves me alone. Whenever tough times come, I focus first to Jesus and then to my art. When you let go and let Jesus in, life will become amazing! Many of you will think, yes, that sounds good for you, but I have so much to do in my daily life, you just do not understand. But wait, God already knows you, He created you - it is ok to go to Him on your own time. He will bring peace to you, that is just for you. Begin to believe to really trust in Him.
Create a private space that is just for you; where you can go and just breathe. If you do not have one and if you do not have time, do it in the middle of the night when you cannot go to sleep. You do not have to speak what you want to say to God, just say it silently in your mind to Him - he will hear you.
I would love to hear from you. Anyone who has struggles and has a love for art in any way, share with me your journey. I know I am not alone. If you struggle with a disability, or struggle with getting picked on, or just need an outlet to learn more about expressing your emotions through art - respond to this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Attach a pic of what you are working of what make you special. I would love to see what you do. You are not alone and it is ok to let your feelings be heard. God bless you and Jesus loves you.
Your friend in Jesus and in art,
I have not written in several months. In February, I attended SURTEX at the Javits Center in NYC for the very first time. SURTEX is a B2B convention for illustrators and pattern surface designers who wish to sell their art for licensing deals. It was very excited to attend. It took a lot of work, time and money to achieve this first venture. I am extremely happy I went and exhibited. I met amazingly talented and gifted artists whom have similar or the same dreams as I. I felt like a fish in water. I have searched my life for this and will continually work hard at this, for this is my dream - to have my artwork in stores throughout the nation, that people can enjoy my artwork.
At SURTEX I met buyers and senior art directors. Through meeting and discussing with potential clients, I began to learn what they are interested in with my style of artwork. I have learned that I needed to make adjustments and see things a little bit differently than I had seen before. I have to vision the end goal, the end product of what it will be used for. I realize now that I have to achieve collections for the products and not just one piece. Most importantly, I have to be aware of what color schemes people are buying today and what scale are the designs.
What I always have to keep in mind when I am creating, I have to remember to ask my self, "Would I buy this?". This is important.
I have been working on making products for the craft fair in Peabody, Saturday, November 17, 2018 at Glenwood School. I have made plush Christmas Tree warm and fuzzy blankets that measure 50x70". I have also made a new painting on wooden panel (to the right) 16x16" Sunrise Christmas Tree with gold embossing and rhinestones. I will also have scarves that have prints made from my other paintings and prints. (See bottom, right.) More products soon to come!
Be merry, be happy, stay warm, and keep creating! :)
Christmas trees! This will be my next product coming soon to my Etsy shop in Minky Fleece!
My process began with Tim Holtz Distress Inks. Next, I drew tshapes to mimic needles with a fine tip black marker. After drawing, I cut the shapes out and began building the trees. I took pictures of them and edited in Photoshop. Once the Photoshop editing was complete, I brought my images into Illustrator to streamline the color process and build my repeat pattern. I am very excited about this design. I have the design out now to be printed on Minky Fleece.
I am offering a special through December 25, 2018 - anyone who favors my Etsy shop will receive a 25% off in my shop! I even have some items that offer free shipping! The link is below to my Etsy store. I will be adding new products (like the above pattern) as we get closer to Thanksgiving!
Get inside offers and free promos when you sign for my newsletter beginning in November!
It has been an abstract summer! This summer was life changing for me! Along with getting my alcohol ink paintings getting printed on fabric through Spoonflower, I also started hiking and exploring the outdoors. This is my passion and I would love to travel more; letting the great outdoors influence my work. I want my passion of colors, through abstract design, to be worn through clothing. People should wear joy! I am continually working on my scarf line and will be soon announcing my menswear tie line and plus-size, sporty dresses which can be worn on all types of occasions. Enjoy the last days of summer! God bless and keep creating. Please, shop my Etsy store at: www.etsy.com/shop/DawnStratchko
This month I have been attracted and engulfed by the passion of abstraction. Due to the recent loss of my beloved best friend, my emotions have changed and soul saddened. This person is no longer sick and I am glad he is in heaven. I now truly feel what an artist feels. I have an emotional story now to tell of my life - it is real - love is real - emotions are real. I am no longer afraid of letting go any longer. It seems these emotional images are coming through my work now and now know what I am supposed to be doing. I was going to write a book about it, but instead feel I can show my best through my artwork. The images are coming through when I paint. I hope everyone will enjoy my journey of passionate life through painting. Painting is my passion.
I have been experimenting with alcohol inks and have fallen in love with this new medium! I began using the alcohol inks on Yupo paper, but have found that it is expensive. Continual use of Yupo paper will get costly. After searching YouTube channels, I found and experimented that one can use freezer paper. It is very affordable and be found at any grocery store. Another method, is to prime board panels used for acrylic painting with KILZ primer.
Application and Use Instead of using the method of applying the ink by droplets from the bottle, put a few drops in a palette and use a paintbrush. Instead of using water to clean the brush or to spread out the ink on the paper or primed board, use rubbing alcohol. What I experienced was amazing, that was a step beyond watercolor! You can also mix the colors of inks to create your own colors and adding the white mixing medium, you can create pastels and muted colors. You can also let the inks dry on your plastic or glass palette and reuse them at a later date- just add a drop of alcohol! Have fun!
PLEASE USE ALCOHOL INKS and RUBBING ALCOHOL in ventilated area - THESE CAN BE FLAMMABLE!
As a gift, Rich took me to see the Georgia O'Keeffe show at the Peabody Essex Museum. I was greatly inspired by her when I was young and in high school. She will always be a great, strong woman icon in my life - she is one of the reasons I paint. She was always so bold and was never afraid to represent herself in her own way; not conforming to society standards. Her strong spirit is felt in all of her work. As an artist, I felt at times that I had to conform to what is popular, or what is selling, or what is "on trend". I have realized now, it is perfectly fine to be different, to rise up and stay true to your heart. God wants each and every one of us to rise and share our own gift with others. I do not understand why we have fear, that sometimes hold us back in our lives. We have to release this fear and let God and nature in. Due to this reawakening of artistic spirit, I broke out my old calligraphy set and starting lettering again. Once my still-life study painting was complete, I superimposed the lettering over the painting to make cards. Keep painting and keep rising. God bless.
My latest technique I have learned from Bonnie Christine from the Roost Tribe is making a repeat pattern design from watercolors or gouache paint. I have begun to experiment with gouache due to the very nice layering attributes the paint has to offer and the beautiful colors. It is best to choose hot press and bright white watercolor paper instead of the cold press. Cold press paper has a rough texture, hot press paper is smooth with no texture. It is easier to scan in your watercolor on a scanner better with hot press.
I like to listen to music or an audible book while painting - be free and fluid! Make sure your flowers or images do not touch. Do not be exact about color at this point; just have fun!
Scan your work on your flatbed scanner and import into Adobe Photoshop. Adjust the background to bright white. Select one image and import from Photoshop to Adobe Illustrator.
In Illustrator, set up your document the size of a square (500 px x 500 px). Build a new library of color harmonies from your favorite colored photos. For each color, have a nice range of 5-7 colors of the same hue. Next, use Illustrator's Image Trace feature to trace your one image (flower). Your goal is to get it to 5-7 colors only. Using your color library, select one flower and only use 5-7 of the same color library to recolor that one image. Repeat these coloring steps for each image until each image is colored. Keeping control of your color harmonies will help you when you go to press. It will also make a huge different when using the new recolor tool in Illustrator.
Once each flower or image is complete, begin mirroring, repeating and resizing your images for a repeat pattern. Apply a mask over the image the same size as your canvas (500 x 500px). Viola! Repeat pattern is complete! Enjoy!
I would love to hear from you.