Friday, March 25, 2011

"Give A Hoot" Bath Collection by Suzanne Ultman for Target

Suzy Ultman's new "Give a Hoot" bathroom decor collection for Target. A cute reason to re-do your entire bathroom with the right amount of owl-someness.

1. Give a Hoot Shower Curtain
2. Give a Hoot Bath Rug
3. Give a Hoot Shower Hooks
4. Give a Hoot Tumbler
5. Give a Hoot Lotion Pump
6. Give a Hoot Wastebasket
7. Give a Hoot Jar
8. Give a Hoot Toothbrush Holder
9. Give a Hoot Tissue Holder
10. Give a Hoot Soap Dish

P.S. Enter Owl Cookie Jar giveaway here!

Collection: Owl Graffiti and Street Art Part I

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Giveaway: Owl Cookie Jar

Hi, everyone! Today I have a wonderful giveaway for you by Made590. Christina of Made590 has generously offered this owl ceramic cookie jar for a giveaway to My Owl Barn readers. This jar is delicately air brushed with beautiful colors, and is glazed in a soft gloss finish. It sits at approx. 27cm high and 15cm wide. I adore this jar which is not only a practical accessory, but is also sure to bring a cheerful, vintage feel to any kitchen.

This giveaway will have one lucky winner who will win this cute owl cookie jar. This giveaway is open to all international readers, so hurry and enter now!

1. To enter, you must be a follower of My Owl Barn (click here to follow My Owl Barn)
2. Like My Owl Barn on Facebook 
3. And, share this giveaway on Facebook

Make sure you leave a comment here letting me know that you are a follower and have liked and shared.

Winners will be announced sometime on April 1st!

Update: Our winner is Christina! Congratulations! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Free Owl Themed Baby Shower Printable

Sara Cormier of Miller Cormier designed these owl-themed baby shower items for Sew Mama Sew, including baby advice cards, a framable art and a baby shower game. If you have a baby shower to plan then print or bookmark them now because they are free! Click here to download the full owl shower printables set.

Elizabeth Graeber

Elizabeth Graeber is a freelance illustrator, living in Washington DC. She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2007. Her series of owl illustrations are stunning and inspiring!

Stop by her Etsy shop for prints and postcards, and must take a peek at her many sketchbooks online.




I adore this cute felt coin purse by Shangying of Napkitten featuring hand embroidered owl. Visit her store for more designs like mushrooms, birds and flowers in lovely colors. She also welcomes custom orders if you have something specific in mind.

Interview: Juliette Crane

Tell us a bit about yourself, location, present job, personal stuff.
I am a full time artist, living in Madison Wisconsin. I love to travel and paint outside in gardens around the world. I’m also an avid gardener and an enthusiastic cook and love to invite people over for brunch!

What inspired you to become an artist and how old were you then?
I’ve always been creative and doing something with my art, whether it was embellishing t-shirts, making jewelry, taking photos or doing floral design. But it wasn’t until I lost my job in Fall 2009 and my sister-in-law gifted me with a few lovely vintage wallpaper books that I realized creating mixed media paintings was something I wasn’t just drawn to, but something I absolutely had to do.

Please describe your materials and medium you use in your pieces.
I love mixing all sorts of materials in my paintings-acrylics, spray paint, charcoal, pencil, ink, pastels, origami paper, glitter, vintage sheet music and wallpaper. I usually create on canvas, but lately have been experimenting on large sheets of Bristol paper and wood triptychs.

Who are your favorite artists? Why?
There are three artists that have inspired me for ages:
Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin creates these amazing fabrics for home décor and clothing. Her stitching is gorgeous and she uses incredible color and lines! I just adore her product line. Everything is made by hand, using a combination of new, recycled and organic materials. In college, I met a good artist friend of mine, Ryan Spring Dooley whose paintings, graffiti, and animations always inspire me. And I always smile looking at Catalina Estrada’s super colorful and whimsical work. Her art has appeared on some beautiful clothing too, which I so admire.

What’s been your favorite project so far?
My favorite project is usually whatever I am currently working on. Right now I’m creating all of these videos for my How To Paint An Owl E-course. I’m recording lots and lots of paintings from start to finish and it’s been so much fun to edit the videos, put them to music, add animations and intros and know that I’m sharing a huge part of my work too. I’m also learning a lot about my own painting process as I go through the videos. It’s been a huge learning experience!
What is a constant challenge for you and most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
It’s really been challenging to find a balance between creating paintings and running my creative business. I have to be really careful not to let the business side carry too much weight and always make time to paint and allow for space for new creativity and ideas to enter my daily life.

It’s been incredible to inspire others as an artist. I never thought my paintings would matter to anyone, so I stopped painting after college and just stored all of my work in the basement. Now to hear that I’ve inspired someone to start painting again, to get out their camera, or to host an art night is seriously amazing!  It all keeps me having art shows, posting on my blog and sharing my art with the world.

What do you do when you are not working?
Right now, I’m really into Agatha Christie novels. I think I’ve now read twelve in a row! I also love seeing music, travelling, visiting outdoor markets and throwing dinner parties. We started a dinner party club where we meet every other week at someone’s house and bring food according to that night’s theme. So far we’ve done Spanish, Thai, pizza, and cheese nights! So much good food and good friends!

How do you use your blog for your art?
I post to my blog 3-4 times a week. To me, everything I post is all my “art,” whether it’s a new painting, photos I take on a walk or at dinner, or stories about things that make me smile. I especially love to post start to finish photos of my paintings and paintings in-progress. My paintings go through a big evolution as I create, and there’s usually a little story that comes out of it and becomes really important to the entire piece. I love keeping track of those stories and sharing them on my blog too.

I noticed that your pieces have owls in it, and was wanting to ask you about that.
When I first started painting, I created a lot of girls and loved to cut their outfits from the vintage wallpaper my sister-in-law gave me. But then I came back from a trip to Australia and painted a lion. And after that, the owls started coming out in my work…and now I can’t stop! The owls made me remember how much owls were a part of my life growing up and how much they represented my childhood and what they meant to me.
Growing up, we had this gorgeous carved wood owl that always seemed taller than me. It had these incredible golden eyes and I always remember feeling like it was a little protector around our home. There was also a wall hanging my mom had found (I have that in my home now) and the pattern is made up of lots of writing and symbols, but I always thought it was a giant owl!

Now I hear owls pretty much wherever I go. We have them in the trees behind our house and when I was out at an art retreat in California a few weeks ago, I had an owl hooting outside my window!

Describe your work on which you are currently working?

Tell us a little about your "How To Paint An Owl" e-course.
My e-course bloomed from an article I wrote about my owl paintings for Somerset Studio magazine. I realized that my owls are made up of simple shapes, which made it easy to paint new owls and make them their own unique characters by adding elements I loved- like long eyelashes, feathers around their neck, and crowns on their heads.
For the e-course I share my owl painting process layer by layer using videos, text and photos to show the steps for creating various backgrounds, owls, embellishments, and scenes! I share the drawing template I use to create my own owl characters, breaking them down into the simple shapes so anyone can easily create their own! There are 3-4 weekly posts on painting technique, inspiration and life as an artist. It’s a class for anyone who likes owls or wants to learn a bit more about my painting process.

What are your future plans and dreams?
My next big dream is to see my artwork on fabric! I saw an episode of Iconoclasts with Stella McCartney and Ed Ruscha and she was interested in using his artwork on fabric for her upcoming clothing line. That would be my dream to see my art on fabric for her clothing!  I’d love to wear that dress!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Paper Owl by Esther Ramirez

Esther Ramirez handmade this paper owl for Renegade. I am loving the use of gorgeous colors which Esther says "is supreme in my work; it is the only constant. Other than that, I like to work outside of a given format. My pieces no matter the medium should tell as simple story through color and pattern..."

Rui Paes and Madonna

Rui Paes is a portugese artist, currently living in London and Suffolk. He completed an M.A. in painting at the Royal College of Art in London. He has worked in collaboration with theatres, galleries and has painted mural around the world.

"Lotsa de Casha" written by Madonna was his first children's illustrated book. It was published in 40 languages in over 100 countries and made the Top 10 New York Times Best Seller List. The shown images from the book are of the animal characters with human bodies in watercolors are simply breath-taking. Mrs. Owl blew me away, when I read some more about her, this is what I found. Rui shares: "...Madonna who was also the inspiration for the image of Mrs. Owl with the bowl of spaghetti." Isn't that cool! I knew there was a good reason to share this book with you all :)

Book available here.

Interview: Jacqui Oakley

Tell us a bit about yourself, location, present job, personal stuff.
I was born in Canada, but spent my formative years in Bahrain, Zambia and Libya, while my parents travelled for work. I finally settled down in 1989 in Canada, after going back and forth from England, where my parents are originally from. This gave me a rather strange accent that often puzzles people. So now, I've been a freelance illustrator for about 10 years having clients such as Rolling Stone, Financial Times (UK), LA Weekly, The Boston Globe, ESPN, etc. I work on these illustrations in my Hamilton studio/home just outside of Toronto in Ontario, Canada & I also teach part-time at OCAD U, Ontario College of Art & Design, in Toronto.

What inspired you to become an artist and how old were you then?
I've always really loved working on art and when I was a child I'd make cards for family & friend's birthdays. I think growing up in Middle East and travelling a bunch really got me excited about all the colour and textures around me. When I was young, I would especially love to go shopping at the souk markets in Bahrain where my eye would be attracted to the intricately decorative Persian rugs & the masses of colourful spice stalls. I think that love of pattern has always stuck with me.

Please describe your materials and medium you use in your pieces.
I specialize in hand-lettering, portraiture and nature illustrations - I love blending peculiar patterns and textures. I typically ink my work and paint with good old-fashioned oil or acrylic and elbow grease. Occasionally for commercial work, I render colour digitally, when a modern mood strikes.

Who are your favorite artists? Why?
There are certain artists that will always be so thrilling for me to look at including Rauschenberg, Bruegel, Hopper, Freud, Toulouse-Lautrec,  Klimt, & Schiele. But, I also get inspired by illustrators such as Moebius & vintage comic book illustrators such as Winsor McCay. Recently I've been amazed by the colours and textures of Henrique Oliveira's large scale found-wood sculptures. My inspiration comes from more than just other artists, I also look to book cover design, vintage posters, textiles, folk art, record covers, architecture, & various old ephemera especially antique type work. Not to forget that there are certain film directors and cinematographers that will always impel my urge to paint.

What’s been your favourite project so far?
I've really enjoyed a bunch of projects I've worked on this past year or two, since recently I feel like I'm enjoying the process of creating art so much more. I just finished a series about Hawaiian Ukulele music which was so much fun & now I'm thrilled about the new animal paintings I'm doing for an art exhibit in Hamilton, entitled ZOO coming up in July.

What is a constant challenge for you and most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
It is so satisfying to work for myself and actually get paid to paint. I love having my own hours and working at home but the tricky part is the balance between work and leisure time, especially when you enjoy working so much. I have to give myself permission to stop sometimes and remind myself that it's alright and important to do other things. It's hard to do that when it's busy. Being a freelancer you never like to turn down a job, so sometimes you have to get used to working very long hours which I find harder as the years go by!

What do you do when you are not working?
When I'm not working I do love to watch films. I'm also a dancer and have taught & performed vintage jazz and Lindy Hop swing since 1990. I find this is a really great mix and forces myself to get away from hunching over my drafting table.

How do you use your blog for your art?
The blog is a fairly new venture for me. I nervously started it a few months ago, not being sure if what I had to show would interest anyone. But, since I got on my way I've really enjoyed working on it. I like to show my process for my paintings which hopefully helps other people but also forces me to scrutinize & adapt my process. I also include other things that excite and inspire me such as art, design, & film stills.

I noticed that your pieces have owls in it, and was wanting to ask you about that.
I got interested in owl paintings when a couple of friends took me on a very Canadian outing to the sugar shack festival at Mountsberg Conservation Park. I think they were trying to instill a love of the cold Canadian Winter in me! So this is a tradition in Canada where maple trees are tapped for syrup, which you eat when it freezes on the snow. At this park they also have a selection of rescued owls & eagles. I had never seen one up close and they were so striking, especially the Barn Owls with their big staring dark eyes. They had such an otherworldly quality & a quiet strength that I was dying to capture in paint.

Soon after this I had my first solo show in Toronto entitled, Prowl which focused on these owl paintings and had some beautiful owl poems by my friend and fellow owl enthusiast Carolyn Veldstra ( This show was a sort of quirky nature tour, making connections that might have seemed farfetched, between the witticisms of Carolyn and the art.  A lot of the artwork was inspired by old textile patterns and prints, and the texture of owl’s feathers really lends itself to that.  Here's one of the poems from the show:


We see here a pair of Barn Owls—and we gain the distinct impression that we are being stared down by something preternaturally calm, nearly dangerous. These eyes, darker than an ink-dipped coal-miner, give away little of this bird’s soul, and perhaps penetrate a little too deeply in our own.

They know us well. Barn Owls live in close proximity to humans—inhabiting all our dark crannies and feasting on all that goes bump in our night. It’s not surprising that beaten down English serfs saw death in these pale white faces.

Death to voles, surely—a nesting pair of Barn Owls will eat more than 1000 voles in a season. Quick to determine that a bulbous serf (or skinny academic) is less a meal than a flurry of voles, we can rest assured the Barn Owl will most often leave well enough alone; though, keep in mind, folkish wisdom advocates walking around an owl in a tree—of course, the owl will turn and turn and turn its head to watch you, thereby wringing its own neck.

Describe your work on which you are currently working?
I'm working on a few different editorial pieces for magazines in the States and in the process of doing art for a group show myself and my husband, Jamie Lawson are curating here in Hamilton called Zoo, or a Montley Menagerie of Magnificent Mamalia, in July. This is really thrilling since it's the first time in years we've all shown our work together with our talented friends. My contribution will be a series of decorative animal images showing scenes of violence is a beautiful way.

What are your future plans and dreams?
Wow, that's a large question. I'd love to publish a book at some point either about birds or about vintage American dance. It would be lovely to work on more shows and projects that I am in charge of. I just hope as time goes by I still stay inspired by working on different artwork and travelling, but things are looking good so far.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Paper Cut Project for Hermes

Do you remember this mask by Amy and Nikki? This talented duo designed these intricate animal masks "fueled by a love of fashion and an appreciation of the grace and nuance of this humble material" exclusively for Hermes. More pictures can be found here

Swantje Hinrichsen

I am smitten with the adorable illustrations by Swantje Hinrichsen, a Germany based artist and illustrator. Her cute postcards, tote bags, pillows and brooches featuring Frieda, the red cheeked girl and her friend Wilhelmina the owl, can be purchased at her online stores - dawanda and envelop.

Interview: April Nemeth of Little Korboose

Tell us a bit about yourself, location, present job, personal stuff.
My name is April Nemeth and I have worked as a professional graphic designer and illustrator for 7 years. I am currently the owner of and principal designer for Little Korboose. Little Korboose is a design and illustration shop whose collections range from unique screen-printed tees for tots to modern  housewares. The sophistication of clean, simple lines and minimalist design,  inspire a wide selection of baby, toddler and home decor goods. Little  Korboose creates unique and beautiful spaces for both children and homes. All of Little Korboose materials are carefully sourced to guarantee that they are of the highest quality and produced in a sustainable manner. Our products are also created and manufactured in the USA, many in our studio in Ohio.  Merchandise can be found in shops around the world from Australia to Chicago to San Francisco. Little Korboose strives to keep costs at a minimum while maximizing style and originality, because good design just makes life easier. When I am not designing for Little Korboose you can find me working as a designer for large greeting card company (my day job), in Cleveland OH. I attended Kent State University where I earned my BFA and was able to develop my Swiss design skills and really explore the relationship between form  and function.   

What inspired you to become an artist and how old were you then?
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember and I am in love with simple, clean design as well as mid century modern architecture/design. My parents are large advocates of the arts, my mother being a bit of an artist and entrepreneur herself. I was always encouraged to pursue my dreams and support from my parents helped me to believe I could do anything. My mother would drive me around from grocery store to grocery store in search of coloring contests that I was sure I could win…and often did! I always had a crayon or pencil in my hand ready to create.

Please describe your materials and medium you use in your pieces.
I make Eco friendly baby and home décor goods, most of which are screen  printed. A few products such as the pillows and plates have various printing and production methods.

Who are your favorite artists? Why?
This is a tough one. I actually do not really have a favorite fine artist. My favorites lie in the great multi-disciplinary designers: Paul Rand is one of them. Rand’s most widely known contributions to graphic design are his corporate identities, many of which are still in use. IBM, ABC, Cummins Engine, Westinghouse, and UPS, among many others. His ABC trademark, created in 1962, epitomizes the ideal of minimalism while proving Rand’s point that a logo  “cannot survive unless it is designed with the utmost simplicity and restraint.” A  philosophy which I completely believe in. My great interest in Paul Rand is not solely due to his design philosophies and corporate identities, however. It is magnified by work he is not so widely known for: his children’s books. Little 1 and Sparkle and Spin are two of my favorites. He was able to be a successful   corporate identity designer, yet still write and illustrate playful children’s books using his simple and minimalist design aesthetic; reevaluating each project appropriately. My hero, really.

What’s been your favourite project so far? 
My favorite project would have to be a 3-color oversized (20” x 20”) screen  print of my hand drawn motorcycle on wood — a commissioned piece. Hard to print, but the results were very gratifying.  

What is a constant challenge for you and most rewarding part of having a creative profession?
A constant challenge is TIME! With all of the book keeping, product analysis,  marketing, etc for Little Korboose, it is hard to actually find time to ideate and  make…which is of course my favorite part of owning my own business. The  most rewarding part of owning my own business is putting a smile on the faces of many with the products I create. It is heart warming. I also really like connecting with people. As my business grows, the more people I get the opportunity to connect with. 

What do you do when you are not working?
When I am not working I do a ton of YOGA, ride my bicycle, play with my  Russian Blue Kitty cat – Corbusier and eat mint chocolate chip ice cream. 

I noticed that your pieces have owls in it, and was wanting to ask you about that. 
Owls! Yes, Little Korboose currently makes owls pillows and screen printed  organic owl onesies. Stickers coming soon! I love the juxtaposition of qualities that owls have—mysterious/strong yet cute/inviting—all in one!  

Describe your work on which you are currently working? 
Right now I am working on refreshing the line for Fall 2011. That means: new designs and new products. I am also working on getting merch together for a 3 day event with , which will be happening May 24th.. will  sell a limited amount of my merchandise at a special rate for 3 days only. I am  also working on a super top secret deal that I will be able to release more info about in a couple of weeks! See my blog and facebook page for new happenings. You can also sign up for the Little Korboose newsletter on my blog. 

What are your future plans and dreams?
My future plans and dreams: The sky is the limit! It is a priority of mine to be cognizant of all opportunities surrounding me and to take advantage of the opportunities I feel are ethical, realistic and relevant. I plan on taking my business to the ultimate level and to, one day, work with an even larger team that can  help amplify Little Korboose efficiently and effectively.