Friday, January 27, 2006

Illustration Friday: Glamour

Glamour is really a state of mind! If you feel glamourous you are. This is a painting from my 2002 HomeMade calendar. The title is "House of Beauty". It is a country home beauty parlor. That is my mom Barbara wearing the glasses and her much loved poodle Pepi. Pepi is no longer with us so I am glad that I used him in this scene. My mom loves girly things and glamour and this is a tongue in cheek portrait I did and when it was published in the calendar she was thrilled. We call my mom Babs, just like the cat in most of my illustrations and so I made "Babs House of Beauty".

copyright 2001

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"Five o' Clock..."

In 1983 I painted"Five o' clock..." My publisher felt that it would be a great image to use for my 2nd poster. She thought every secretary would relate to this image and buy one. This idea came from my experiences working in an office. When I was 20 I went to an agency to try to get a job. I was hired instantly by a company at the Pacific Design Center. It was a company that sold modular systems for working environments. They liked my voice so I answered phones in a cubicle, a little light typing and followed up on leads for the sales executives. It was dull and boring, especially working in that little cubicle. This is how I felt at "Five o'clock..." when I would leave this cage, remove the shackles and fly out the door. Not a care in the world. I could leave this job and not bring home any baggage...

The poster was printed and distributed in 1985 and in 1989 I was thrilled to land a puzzle deal with Yamakatsu in Japan. This image along with 3 of my other paintings were made into these amazing puzzles that were popular there. Many years later when I had a greeting card deal with Marisol, I revived this theme in a card for the every day line I created for them. It was a card that had a gift certificate and awarded the recipient to leave work one hour early! The girl in this poster/puzzle was originally conceived for one of my first commercial jobs used on a container for "Beverly Hills Bagel Chips" in 1981. So she went from a container to an idea for a poster, puzzles and then a greeting card. I got a lot of mileage out of this one idea that spanned over a decade!

right: Marisol greeting card copyright 1994

center: Yamakatsu puzzle copyright 1989

left: poster copyright 1985

Friday, January 20, 2006

Illustration Friday: Cat

This is my submission for cat. I use this cat in a lot of my work and her name is babs. This illustration comes from my 2004 HomeMade calendar and the title is "Alpine Haus". I include a spot illustration and a quote on the page that holds the days of the month. I love this quote: Her house... was as pretty as narcissus in the snow, as pretty as a silver feather on a pane of winter glass. -Beverly Nicholson

copyright 2004

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

BlueTrain Music

In 1995 my husband John Hartmann started a music management company with Gary Katz and Gary Stromberg. It started out as Blue Train Music and later became Jake Records. Gary Katz produced all of the Steeley Dan Records and he worked with Joe Cocker and Diana Ross too. Gary Stromberg is a veteran publicist and his clients ranged from Muhammad Ali to Barbara Streisand and he wrote and produced the movie "Car Wash". John Hartmann has managed such luminaries as Peter, Paul and Mary, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Eagles, Jackson Browne, America and Poco. John ran the west coast and Gary and Gary ran the east coast division in New York. John released 8 albums and the last album he executive produced is the one that I want to focus on. It is an album called "Session 55" 1936-2000 Les Brown and his Band of Reknown. This was the last album that Les Brown recorded before his death on Jan.24, 2001. Les Brown and the band brought a young Doris Day into prominence with the song "Sentimental Journey". They were the house band for the Dean Martin Variety Show and the Steve Allen Show. Les performed with virtually every major singer of their time which includes Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole. The release of "Sentimental Journey" coincided with the end of WWII in Europe and was the homecoming theme for many veterans . They had 9 number one hit songs and performed with Bob Hope and did 18 USO tours for troops around the world. Tony Bennett was discovered by Bob Hope and did his first public performance with Les and the Band. Session 55 is a wonderful album and it was an honor to meet Les and see him perform with his son Les Brown Jr. and brother Stumpy also in the band. This particular album featured two guest singer/performers. One is a young and extremely talented and beautiful jazz vocalist named Jane Monheit and the other was Lou Rawls. Lou Rawls was the quintessential performer. We met him at the studio and he did two songs in two takes, period. He didn't even need to do two takes as the 1st take was perfect! His voice was so unique and there is nobody that sounds like him. The guy was such a pro and the nicest man you could ever meet. He is a legend and I know he is missed. I feel lucky to have met these amazing talents and see first hand how accomplished they were and even at the latter part of their lives they were creative and on their game.

This is a dimensional painting I created that was housed in the lobby of Blue Train/Jake Records .

Friday, January 13, 2006

Illustration Friday: E is for Enchanted Isle

My submission for IF is "Enchanted Isle". I have posted it on my blog in the past and I created this for my show last summer. This is a painting I wanted to do for so long and I set aside some time in May 2005 to really focus and make this seashell frame that I had initially created for a commissioned painting that was quite large, but I wanted to make one for me. This frame is made from one piece of formable foamcore and I cut it out with an exacto knife by hand. It took a couple days to cut out. Then I paint each individual shell and pour a resin over the whole frame. The painting is acrylic on masonite. I do all of my paintings on gessoed masonite. You might notice not a building in sight
and that is because I love the ocean too!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


I got a publishing deal at 22 years old with a company called Luna Art right in the heart of Venice Calif. I was the youngest artist signed and I was in amazing company. Luna's roster of artists included Michael Bedard, Siegbert Reinhard and James Paul Brown. This was the 1st poster that I had printed with Luna and it was not a hit by any means but it was popular and my publisher Michelle Hancock sold the original at Art Expo in New York for what was a lot of money to a young artist. It was a thrilling time. The print market in 1982 was really happening in Los Angeles and there were a lot of galleries as well. So business was good, posters are a great way to advertise art and your name in a tasteful way. The limited edition market was very strong too. People always find me and ask if I am the artist who created "Strumpeter" and it feels like a life time ago but I am proud that I made it and that people like it. Some think they know where it is but they don't. It is a trumpeter serenading all of the strumpets.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Night Hawk

In 1987 I worked in Santa Monica for master printer, Jeff Wasserman of Wasserman SilkScreen Co. I worked with 4 -5 guys . I was the only girl and I really enjoyed being one of the guys. I worked there for 5 years. We printed limited editions on paper, metal, glass and fabric for some of the most well known California artists that were in the museums and the important galleries at this time period. But life at the print shop was pretty routine on a daily basis. One evening I went out to the alley in the back and there was a large hawk sitting on top of the telephone pole and all the people that were walking by and worked back there, were marveling at the sight of this large hawk in the middle of an industrial area! It was a beautiful sight. "Night Hawk" is my reflection on that day but I changed it from industrial alley to a neighborhood. I did this for a young woman, her mom purchased and comissioned a few paintings from me. I had a show in Pacific Palisades Sept. of 1990 and used it for my invitation and as a centerpiece for my show. In Topanga, you see hawks all the time in fact there is a piece of state park property right next to me and they mate and have babies in the eucalyptus trees. The hawk is such a beautiful bird. I have noticed since I started blogging a few other pictures of birds on phone poles, I think Andrea might have one on flickr and someone else too...

Friday, January 06, 2006

Illustration Friday: Light House

This is my submission for " Sea " on IllustrationFriday. The title is "Light House". I have painted this in many formats. I did it as an illustration (paint on paper for my Homemade calendar.) This version is a flat dimensional painting with frame and resin. The Light House is made from wood and it has several layers of dimension. The railing up top is made from carved matchsticks with a fabric cord to replicate rope. I always incorporate the frame as part of the painting and with these layered paintings I always pour a polymer resin. Sorry for the highlights and the crop job but since this piece is hyper-shiney it needed to be photographed at an angle to reduce white spots and glare.

I love the sea and I love painting it too.
copyright 2000 not to be used without permission
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


This painting is a houscape of Graceland . Graceland Chapel is in Las Vegas. The building looks just like this but the grounds don't look like this at all! We eloped to Las Vegas and got married before a gig at the Hard Rock Cafe (John managed a band called "Common Sense" at the time and they opened for "Hootie and the Blowfish" New Years Eve 1996. We chose Graceland because when John was 21 he worked for Col. Tom Parker (Elvis's manager) and even though the Col. was a tough guy I think John really respected him. He also met Elvis and spent a day once wearing Elvis's gold lame dinner jacket. John loves Elvis!!! He wanted to have an Elvis impersonator marry us but I had to put my foot down and we just had a regular ceremony. Believe it or not it was so heartfelt and sweet! We threw a charming reception several months later at the Oceana Hotel which is a very small hotel on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. Our family and friends attended and fun was had by all! I made our reception invites and this was the art on the cover. The little marquee in front normally says something like Lorenzo Lamas got married here but I painted Valerie and John were married here. Posted by Picasa