Sunday, May 1, 2011

Artist of the Month - Denice Barlow Brown

I just had to start today's post with this great Mixed Media collage by Denice. Once you get to know her, you'll know why. Before I begin to share Denice's amazing artwork, writing, and sewing talents with you, I must share her incredible family with you. I honestly can't believe Denice has time to get dressed everyday, let alone accomplish all she does. So without further ado here is her beautiful family...
Family photo by Jennifer Grigg
When I asked Denice, how she gets everything accomplished in her busy life here is what she said;

"I have nine kids who range in age from 22 years to 14 months, plus three awesome older step kids. We have so much fun together! There are so many days that I don't get through my To-Do list, that a thousand things get pushed to the back burner, but I think that's true for everybody. I try not to let perfectionism reign on the things that don't matter and focus on the things that do. Creativity is a huge part of our daily life. I home school my six youngest children, and we try to be pretty relaxed about it while also looking for learning in everything that we do. We try to keep it fun and appreciate the strengths of each member of the team, and it is very much a team thing. My older son is a history buff so it's easy for him to teach that to the younger kids. My daughter loves to cook so she often takes a turn in that role. Somehow it works out. As busy as it is -- and some days it really is! -- it is an awesome ride."

Denice and her lovely family live in Utah where she grew up. Here is what she said about living in Utah;

"I grew up in Utah, and it is a beautiful place to live! The geology is incredibly diverse here so we can go exploring for petroglyphs in red-rock country or spend an afternoon crawling through lava tubes from an ancient volcano or snowshoeing in the mountains and still be home in time for dinner. We are lucky enough live right near a beautiful canyon, so we are literally ten minutes from back country -- yet we still get  to enjoy good bookstores and Starbucks! ;)"
A place after my own heart, beautiful scenery, bookstores and Starbucks!  So now that you know a bit about Denice's family life, let's move on to her other creative side. A big first for Denice is the publishing of her very first children's book.
Denice not only wrote the story in the book, but also illustrated the book.  The illustrations in the book are done in pen and ink, then colored digitally. Denice said she really enjoyed working on the book and learned a great deal, especially about the intense amount of work that goes into a project of this size. Since her youngest is still 14 months old, she hasn't moved on to the next book yet. She does have ideas running around in her head and is anxious to get working on them.

Moonlight Message is a story about two young girls who really did exist, is historically accurate and is a great book for teaching personal responsibility to children. Denice was interviewed by Better Children's Books if you'd like to read more about her book and writing process.

If you'd like to purchase her book for your children or as a gift for someone else, you can find it on Amazon.

In addition to writing books, Denice is also a avid journaler. Here is what she has to say about her journaling:

"I am a dedicated journaler and I find I get pretty cranky without daily writing. I am also an avid filler-of-sketchbooks. My favorite medium is probably a good black pen (favorite: Micron Pigma .03) but I am also drawn to really bright color. Recently I have been moving through several series in different mediums, stretching myself to try new things. So the past few weeks I have done studies with design markers, watercolor, and Prismacolor pencils. My sketchbook is a place to experiment. I try to use it as a place to open up and try new ideas, and even more importantly, a place to practice the discipline of daily active creativity -- I have to keep myself creating in small doses or I will quite easily find that a busy week has slipped by without any time for my creative fix!"

Here is a glimpse at some of her journal pages.

I love the combination of soft and sharp lines that can be found in Denice's sketches. She seems to have a way of capturing the softness of an image or design and also the ability to bring in interesting details. Some of her drawings also have a Zentangle feel to them.

Another passion of Denice's is her sewing. Here is a photo of a beautiful quilt that she made for her son.
Denice made this quilt for her son a few years ago. It now resides in her son's college dorm room at the other end of the state. She said that creating the quilt was pure joy, loving every minute of it, from choosing the rich blues and greens with her son in mind, to piecing together each individually sized strip and then fitting squares in, one against another like a puzzle. She said that it came together organically without any kind of pattern. Denice said, "I rarely (if ever) work from a pattern and I love the process of taking bits of fabric and collecting them into a whole. I find it very much like painting and it is a joyful experience."

To learn more about Denice and her incredible journey as a mom, writer, seamstress and artist visit her blog Inkstitch. I hope that you have enjoyed getting to know Denice and her remarkable artwork. Thanks again for stopping by.


Denice (inkstitch) said...

Stacie, thank you so much for this wonderful highlight! You are very kind.

stacie said...

No problem Denice, I really enjoyed getting to know you and your creative work more. Thanks for all your support!

anne said...

Wow Denice - you are unbelievably talented. So nice to see some more of your work! stunning, simply stunning!

Rebekah Leigh said...

wow amazing! Great write up stacie! Denice I can't believe how much you do! And with all those little people to look after too!The quilt is gorgeous and so are the illustrations, totally inspirational!

Allison said...

Really awesome! Really amazing how she can keep up with so much! I love all the art. So diverse... sewing, drawing, painting... and writing...
all wonderful! The zentangly pieces are fun...
Thanks for sharing Denise with us!

stacie said...

Thanks so much guys for stopping by to read about Denice. I really enjoyed reading and writing about her and her amazing work.

Marisa and Creative Thursday said...

Oh Denice! love you more! so nice to see your beautiful family and all your gorgeous creations.
And Stacie, love you more! for all the generosity and support you show to your fellow artists. thank you xo

stacie said...

Thanks Marisa! I really enjoy learning about all the other amazingly talented artists there are and a bit about their lives. It's very inspiring.