Friday, December 21, 2012

Exciting Changes For the New Year

2013 is fast approaching and with it will come some exciting changes for Follow My Heart Studio!

Throughout December I have been busy painting new animals designs including a new zebra design as well as a Doberman profile.

Also new for January are stretch beaded bracelets, leather beaded bracelets and small pins - all featuring my original animal and nature paintings.

Stay tuned for more news coming soon!

Have a Happy Holidays.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

One of a Kind Chrome and Swarovski Crystal Bracelet

This gorgeous bracelet was created using an old broken watch that I have had sitting in a box for the last 15 years.  The bracelet was so beautiful that I just couldn't bring myself to throw it out.  The sparkle and shine on this bracelet is just incredible.

The watch face and workings were removed and a reproduction of my original black lab painting was fitted behind the glass.

This bracelet is really one of a kind.

It is for sale over at my Etsy shop:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

So Glad I am Pack Rat Right Now :)

I bought a beautiful silver and gold watch years ago - I don't even remember where I got it from - it was so long ago. I brought it home and promptly dropped it on the floor and shattered the wat
ch face but I couldn't throw it out because the band was so beautiful.   It has been sitting in a box for maybe 5 years.

Today creativity and inspiration struck and I wondered whether or not my glass tiles could replace the watch face. They can! Also discovered that the standard size watch face for women's watches is 18 - 20 mm - the same size that I use for my earrings.

Then I wondered what it would look like if I placed one of my animal designs behind the glass tile.

This is the result!
This discovery opens up so many possibilities to upcycle old broken watches!  I am so excited!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Coming Soon - Beaded Leather Cuff Bracelets

I decided to try something new and I like the results so much that I am keeping the first cuff bracelet for myself!

The imitation leather has a worn look to it which offsets nicely with the blue, black and orange beads.  The beaded toggle clasp adds more color and texture while making easier to put on then a standard clasp.

It is edgy and tough but still feminine.

I have started working on three more bracelets.

1.  A beautiful polar bear using genuine fine white leather with gold and pearl accents.

2.  A crow in a filigree setting using the same imitation leather as this cuff.

3.  A horned owl on a light brown imitation leather.

These three bracelets will be available for sale in my Etsy shop:

Stay tuned for updates.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

How I Make a Painted Pendant

(For larger pictures click on the image 2 times)

1.  Get a great reference photograph.  I took this picture at a local park but sometimes I also use the reference pictures available on  I like this picture because it is bright with good contrast.  I can really see the color and form of the turtle.

2.  I create a ink drawing using waterproof artist markers.  I find that the ink drawing gives my painting a crispness that I sometimes lose when I just use watercolor.

3.  I paint in miniature.  This painting is 4 inches by 7 inches and almost double the size I usual work with! I use masking tape to tape my watercolor paper to a small plastic cutting board. It works perfect.

4.   Since I am going to be using watercolor to create the rock and water I want to protect the turtle by using masking. I cover the turtle and the shadows with regular translucent brown packing tape.  I use brown tape because it makes it easier to see where the turtle is once I start painting.  

5.  Using a craft knife I carefully cut around the turtle.

6.   I wet the entire paper with clean water using a paint brush. Starting at the top I loosely sweep very light blue down to the rock area.  I overlap the blue onto the rock area to give the impression of water on the rock.  Then starting at the bottom I drop in different shades of brown working my way upward into the blue.  The brown I use is a combination of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna.  I also add a touch of Hunter Green in spots to vary the color.  A really neat trick to create texture is to sprinkle table salt into the wet paint.  The salt will soak up some of the paint and create a beautiful varied texture. 

7.  I allow the painting to dry completely before I brush off the salt.   I then add more layers of blue to the water area to intensify the color.  I apply the color in random horizontal strokes to give the impression of ripples on the water. 

8.   Once the paint has dried I carefully lift the tape with the tip of the craft knife.  Sometimes the tape will lift some of the ink or even a thin layer of the paper.  If it does, I darken the re-apply the lines of the ink drawing.

9.  I then start to work on the turtle.  I start with yellow for the stripes and highlights.

10.  I add a light brown wash over the entire turtle.

11.  Using a darker brown I continue to build up the shape of the turtle.

12.  I finish the painting process by applying a wash of straight Ultramarine Blue over the entire turtle EXCEPT for the yellow underside of the shell.

13.  The final step on the turtle is to create highlights by lifting some of the paint with a barely damp paintbrush.

14.  Using the round selection tool in Corel Paintshop Pro X4 I select the area I want then copy and paste as a new image.  I save that image as my master so that I can re-size the image to whatever I need without losing image quality.  I then re-size a copy of the image to 1 inch to fit my pendant tray and print it on Avery Half-Fold Card paper.  This card stock has a special coating that seems to hold the color and resist blurring.  I have tried many different types of card stock but this works best with my ink jet printer.

15.  I pick up a domed glass piece that fits the pendant tray.

16.  I apply a thick layer of diamond glaze to the back of the glass.  

17.  I turn the glass over and position it on the image.

18.  After ensuring that the dome is centered on the image I allow the piece to dry overnight.

19.  Using a sharp pair of scissors I carefully cut around the glass dome to remove the excess paper.

20.  I apply a very thin layer of glaze to the bottom of the pendant setting.

21.  Carefully I position the image in the setting.

22.  The finished pendant.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Beautiful Abstract Decorative Box From Recycled Cardboard

1. Get a piece of cardboard

2. Measure 2 cm from left edge. Make a line. Measure 12 cm from line. Make another line. Measure 2 cm from last line and mark. Measure 2 cm from bottom edge. Make a line. Measure 8 cm from line. Make another line. Measure 2cm from last line and mark. Measure another 8 cm from the last line. Mark and finally measure 2 cm from last line and mark.

3. This is a dollar store seam ripper used in sewing. I find it works perfect to lightly score the cardboard so that it will bend in a clean line.

4. Place a ruler alone each line and lightly score. Place the seam ripper at an angle and pull towards you. I use the same amount of pressure I would use with a pencil when drawing. Go over each line 3 or 4 times. If the cardboard is very thick use more pressure. If you use too much pressure you will actually cut through the carboard.

5. Use something hard and smooth to flatten the edges. Scissor handles work perfectly!

6. Paint the box. I used acrylic paint for this box. Let dry completely.

7. Make cuts as shown.

8. Fold up the sides and front of the box. Fold over the tabs from the sides and glue to the front of the box.

9. Bring the lid of the box up and re-fold at all folds.

10. Finished box.

This technique works perfect for any size of box. It will also work with heavy card stock or watercolor paper.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Advanced Photo Editing Now Available for Custom Pendants

Do you have a photograph where one person looks fabulous but the rest of the picture is not so great? Do the other people have their eyes closed or are making a funny face? Is the person not the centre of attention but rather off to the side (see example above)? Is there something distracting or unappealing in the picture?

I am now offering a new photo editing service to turn those crappy photographs into beautiful pendants.

I can:
* remove person from the photo and place against studio style background
* remove red-eye, scratches and other photo imperfections
* remove distracting elements from the photo
* bump up the color and contrast to make a more striking image
* and much much more

Perfect option for pet pendants!

Visit my Etsy store FMHS Jewelry for all your custom pendant options.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Welcome to Follow My Heart Studio

Follow My Heart Studio is about freedom.  The freedom to choose what to create and in what medium.  As an artist I have heard it said that the only way to be taken seriously is to pick a style of art and a subject matter and stick with it for the rest of my life.   I can't imagine doing that. When inspiration moves me I use the best material and subject matter for the project.

I also love the beauty of functional art.  A painting on a wall is great but you only have so much wall space.  What happens when you run out?  Do you need a closet to keep the art you love and only bring out for a month at a time?

For me, the choice was to turn my original artwork into jewelry.  Not only can a customer collect more art they can also easily share that art with the people around them.

Each piece of my jewelry starts with an original painting in acrylic, watercolor or ink and wash.  I don't use mass produced images like a lot of people.  A lot of the images on my jewelry came from a project I did in 2009/2010 called "365 Days of ACEOs".  From August 9, 2009 to August 10, 2010 I painted a miniature painting a day and posted that painting each day to my blog:

As I have time and inspiration I continue to create original artwork for my original jewelry.

Come check out my full line at:

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