Lego Painting

Jonathan just finished a commission for a collector family in Atlanta. This is #2 of 4 paintings for their four boys. (The first painting in our blog header.) For each painting, the collectors' sons give Jonathan ideas of their favorite toys and then he creates a "dream scene" with the playthings. For this painting, Jonathan built a couple of the models himself from Lego parts we had lying around. The other objects were from existing model sets. He told me this was his way of being "creative on two levels." Really, I think he just likes to play with Legos.

Love this one! You can see a picture of the beginning of this painting, here.

 

A painting of Lego toys by Jonathan Fenske Denver Artist

 

 

Denver Corporate Client Mural

Jonathan finished up this week's mural project Tuesday night (or should I say Wednesday morning?) for The Regis Company in Golden, CO. He worked at night (by his request) so he could cruise along and not disturb the company's employees. (I have mentioned it before, but Jonathan started out as an artist back in the day painting murals in homes). This client (awesome, awesome people willing to take a chance on an animation-ish, whiteboard style mural) found Jonathan's whiteboard animation/video scribe work online and contacted him to see if they could work together.

A mural by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

The mural is 16'Wx8'H and is painted on MDO signboard. I have to brag on my man: he engineered this cool way to hang the panels on two strips running horizontally. The panels are fitted with 45-degree-angle pieces of whitewood that interlock for easy removal. Why not just screw the panels into the wall, right? Well, this way, the company, which is growing like gangbusters, can lift off the panels in a jiffy and take them to their new corporate space one day when it's needed.

You might notice the empty cartoon bubbles on the mural. Those are for removable vinyl art that can be applied for various client visits or other uses. Using these removable pieces of vinyl allows the mural to be updated with projects, awards or anything relevant that happens later.

Detail of a mural by the Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Detail of a Colorado mural by Jonathan Fenske

A mural for a corporate client by Denver artist Jonathan Fenske, detail

Thanks for stopping by our blog! Check out our Etsy shop for some original art from $49 or canvas Giclee prints from $99, all by Jonathan, of course. And don't forget, Woodward and McTwee debuts March 20, 2014 for the young reader in your life. 

Fisher Price Supa Dupa: Original Art from $49

Hi all. Jonathan looooves to sketch and draw. This week, in between children's book stuff and painting commissions, he sat down and sketched some of his favorite vintage Fisher-Price toys and other playthings. I asked if we could put them on our Etsy store, and he was cool with that. So....drumroll...here are four new drawings that are perfect for the beginning art collector (priced at $49-$59, unframed). An original sketch by Jonathan Fenske of a bear from Goldilocks Fisher Price playset

Denver artist Jonathan Fenske's drawing of a bear from the Fisher Price Goldilocks playset

Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske's sketch of the black Fisher Price dog

A drawing of the Fisher Price knight by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Jonathan Fenske's sketch of a 1950's deer figurine

A graphite drawing of the knight from the Fisher Price Castle playset by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

A detail of a Little People Fisher Price drawing by Jonathan Fenske

You can find these one-of-a-kind drawings at our new Fat and Appy Etsy store. We're planning on using the Etsy shop as a place to experiment with new products, so if you have any ideas or suggestions, leave them in the comments! Thanks for stopping by, as always. We love ya'll.

Art for Sale: Original Fenske Drawings

It's time to move art! (You know we love doing this...) Jonathan and I are making room for some new pieces on our walls, and we have a few drawings we're going to sell. As a side note: it's sometimes hard to part with favorite art. But as we tell the girls all of the time (when they want to hoard things like paper wrappers from straws): "We can't save everything."

If you are interested, please shoot me a note (jennifer AT fatandappy DOT com). Shipping is additional to the prices below.

The Little Woman,  graphite on illustration board. Image is 11"x14"; total board size is 16"x20"; 2008. $99.

Fisher Price cowboys

A drawing of a Barbie by Jonathan Fenske

An image of a vintage bear

The drawings will need a frame with glass. (We like frames at Dick Blick.) If you would like Jonathan to paint something just for you, please contact me as well for commission information. And we feature a fun line of Giclee prints of Jonathan's work (on well-made, gallery-quality canvas) at www.fatandappy.com. Prices for prints start at $99.

We also just uncrated four paintings from storage. Fun to see these beauties from a few years ago.

A painting of a red tricycle
Ride Free, 30"x24", acrylic on board, 2008.
A painting of a spring horse from a playground
Spring Chicken, acrylic on board, 18"x24, 2008.
A spring horse from a playground
Buck-A-Duck, 24x18, acrylic on board, 2008.
A painting of Legos by Jonathan Fenske
Building An Empire, 16x20, acrylic on board, 2008.

First On, Last Off

An image of a vintage Fisher Price school bus painted by Jonathan Fenske I was snuggled deep in covers this morning when our eldest girl joined me. It was barely light and rain drummed on the roof of our Colorado home. Rain is rare here, so I relished the quiet, the stillness, the sweet child beside me.

All of a sudden, a school bus lumbered past our house. It was barely 6:30 a.m. I said to my girl, "You know, that's a school bus taking kids to school. Daddy sees it when he's running." We're on the western edge of our school district, so some kids get picked up really early. And then they are bussed about ten miles east.

Immediately, I thought of a painting Jonathan did a while ago, which sold at the Matre Gallery in Atlanta. It's called "First On, Last Off." When Jonathan was a child, his bus driver lived in his neighborhood. He would walk down to her house and climb on the bus. Then, they picked up all of the other students. Since it was a private school, the students were all over the place. Of course, the ride was repeated on the way home and he was last off.

It's neat how in art your childhood can surface pretty much anywhere. I wanted to share this one in honor of the new school year. Happy new lunch boxes and backpacks!

Confidential to RK in NYC: I hope you are loving Kindergarten! Hugs and kisses, your Godmother and Godfather

We Went West

In a few days, we'll mark seven years as Colorado residents. We've added two more girls to our family here, wrote novels and children's books, bought our second home, and made amazing friends. We've climbed mountains and trod family-friendly loop paths. We've amassed some killer outdoor gear. We've feasted on the stunning views of the Rocky Mountains' Front Range every day. We're blessed to live here. In honor of this family anniversary, I thought I would show a few of Jonathan's many Western-inspired paintings and illustrations. Enjoy!

P.S. Don't forget to enter our awesome contest that ends this Friday to win a gorg necklace from Etsy shop budpnq. Enter the Fat and Appy contest now!

A Fisher Price cowboy painted by Jonathan Fenske

An American Icon, acrylic on board, private collection

kowboy krunch final

Kowboy Krunch, illustration

when coach was first class

When Coach Was First Class, acrylic on board, collection of the Booth Western Museum

A painting of Yosemite bears by Jonathan Fenske

Yosemite Bears, acrylic on board, private collection

A painting of cowboy themes by Jonathan Fenske

Yeehaw Colorado, Giclee canvas print, available for sale from FatandAppy.com, $119. 

A Fisher Price painting of an American Indian by Jonathan Fenske

Surveying What Was Lost, acrylic on board, private collection

Art on a Budget: 6 Ways to Find Art That's Affordable

Jonathan and I love art, and we share our home with paintings and other special one-of-a-kind pieces that mean a lot to us. I know from talking with friends who come over that they often want original art---but don't know where to start. It's too expensive, right? Well, of course, it can be. But it doesn't always have to. With a little work, Googling and luck, you can have beautiful art, all for not much money. We're living proof!

Okay, if you're still with me, read on for a few tips on buying art on a budget. (Or finding art on a budget...but we're getting ahead of ourselves!)

Art on a Budget Tip #1: Find An Artist You Love and Then Figure Out How to Buy from Them

I'll let you in on a secret: artists like to sell their work. And they usually do it with a smile on their face. So, get out and meet artists. You'll be collecting on the cheap, so head to undergraduate art openings at a college or university near you. Stopping in at the local yogurt shop? Chances are, there's an artist on the walls that month. Even Barnes and Noble displays art on the hall leading to the bathroom. Look for artist "studio tours" in nice weather. Go on gallery crawls where there are pop-up exhibitions happening on nearby streets.

Use Twitter to find artists by following hashtags such as #illustrator and #artist. Strike up Twitter friendships with artists and visit their websites. Often, artists will set up online stores where they offer paintings, prints and even pillows of their work. Want something different but completely cool? DENY Designs based in Denver sells home decor goods printed with amazing art, including stretched canvas.

Become friends with your new favorite artist. Get on their email list. Comment on their blog. Be supportive and introduce them to other potential collectors. They'll be grateful and when you commission them to paint the perfect 24"x24" piece for your foyer, they'll gratefully move you to the top of the list.

Once you find something that's in your budget, ask yourself just one question: Do I like this piece? If you do, buy it. This is where you decide to part with cold cash: if you like it, it's yours.

When I was in high school, I was really into Georgia folk artists. I adored R.A. Miller and found out a cool gallery in my hometown of Greenville, S.C. carried a few of his pieces. I walked in the door (probably decked out in a vintage dress and humming an R.E.M. song) and trotted out a few minutes later with this tin cut (below) for $40. (The painting on the left was purchased in Nicaragua off the street for less than $20. It has a cardboard frame...isn't it the coolest?)

DSC_0569

Pro Tip: When buying art from a cafe or bookstore, it's a universal truth that the frames will be atrocious. Look past it---it's okay. Head over to Dick Blick and re-frame your sweet new piece of art.

Art on a Budget Tip #2: Trade Something

From time to time, Jonathan (who is an artist and children's book author/illustrator, if you are a new reader to this blog) will trade with another artist he admires. It's how we got this piece by David Nielson when we lived in Atlanta a few years before we moved out West.

DSC_0566

If you aren't an artist with another painting to trade, maybe you are a graphic designer and can trade a website design. Or maybe you're an attorney who can give some contract advice to an artist. Stay-at-home mom? What about babysitting for an artist who needs help watching kids so she can work? Trading works best if you have a relationship already established with the artist. So, I say ask--you never know what you might be able to arrange. Back in Atlanta, we once traded a painting for a Danish Modern dining room table and chairs. (If you want to see that painting, "Chivalry Is Dead," click here. It's peeking over the shoulder of our friend Brian.)

Art on a Budget Tip #3: Troll Etsy

There are some amazing artists on Etsy.  It's like an art fair on your laptop. You'll have to sift and sort but when you do, slap a heart on shops you love and come back again and again. We purchased this print from 12fifteen and then framed it with a Target matte/frame combo. I love prints and think they are a great way to collect someone you love...even if more than one person has the same one you do. Total cost: $47.50.

DSC_0548

Art on a Budget Tip #4: Ask an Artist to Paint Your Walls

This one takes a little more coordination, but you probably won't be turned down. As long as you are not asking the artist to paint a Disney character (blech), most early-career artists will happily come over and draw something special on your wall and then paint it. Jonathan got his start doing murals all over the Upstate of South Carolina. Send a friendly email...what do you have to lose?

DSC_0552

DSC_0749

Art on a Budget Tip #5: Don't Forget Sculpture

An often less-expensive path to an art-filled home is to remember sculpture, vases, birdhouses, lamps...anything that you love and expresses who you are.

This TimeStone clock makes me happy every time I walk downstairs for a badly-needed cup of coffee in the morning. The bright yellow bird slides back and forth. We found this at a thrift store for less than $5.

DSC_0562

These blocks were a gift for the new baby. They are fresh, modern and so pretty. From tiny giraffe on Etsy.

DSC_0544

Art on a Budget Tip #6: Make Friends with Your Local Thrift Store

Every thrift store in America has a huge bin of mouldering frames, 1970's owl art and assorted motivational posters housed in gold-tone frames. You, dear reader, are going deeper. Remember to disregard the frames and the cleanliness of the art. Pounce on anything that is clearly original and well done. Jonathan rescued this awesome 1982 painting from a thrift store down the street. It's by Denver artist Bruce Clark and I can't imagine what happened so that it ended up where it did, but we couldn't be more thrilled to be the new owners.

DSC_0538

 
I should definitely add that many quality galleries offer paintings in the low hundreds. Some even may have very small works for less than $200 if the artist is just starting out. Or they may sell high-quality prints that cost around $100. But if those prices are too steep for your budget, then I hope some of my ideas may help. Good luck and happy hunting!
Do you have a fun art collecting story? Share it in the comments!  And don't forget to subscribe to more Fenske art news by scrolling to the bottom of the blog and entering your email. Keep up with Jen and Jonathan on Twitter, too: @jenmanskefenske