Thursday, August 29, 2013

About the Name

I've always loved antique glass. The more humble the piece the better. Even though I do appreciate cut crystal and fancy stemware, I'm much more drawn to pieces that have been heavily used or that I am not afraid to use. Alas, the ordinary jar. Canning jars and simple, colored bottles are exceptionally beautiful in my opinion. Something about their being useful adds to their allure. I suppose that could be a metaphor for all of life in some way. Being useful makes us feel alive and real. There's something not quite right about something that CAN function but doesn't.

When my daughter decided to use old, blue glass canning jars to decorate her wedding, I was thrilled. The gears in my artist's brain started turning immediately. I had ideas before I even knew what I would do with them! As it turned out, the jars featured prominently from early on when I designed invitations that featured a watercolor painting of a blue canning jar with the couple's last name and wedding date on it. The calla lilies were a consolation to my daughter, who wanted the real thing at the wedding, but settled for cheaper flowers. A smaller, blue glass bottle containing two lilies made it onto the RSVP cards. Both pieces showed up again on the artwork that wedding guests signed at the ceremony.
Means Wedding Jar; 5x7" watercolor
Lily Couple; 4x6" watercolor
Means Guest Artwork; 18x24" watercolor
Earlier this summer, when I decided to start marketing my artwork, it made sense to me to incorporate my love of common glassware and a bit of the lovely memory of the big family event we had just experienced into the naming of my new venture. Blu Jar Studio was born.

My goal for Blu Jar Studio is to produce art that is fun, accessible (read "affordable"), and livable (meaning you like it enough to live with it). My favorite things to paint are common items, mostly found around the house, and I hope my paintings will appeal to others like me, who see beauty in ordinary and useful things. I am an illustrator, first and foremost, so I plan to focus on that strength. I doubt you'll see very many grand landscapes or large pieces of fine art at Blu Jar Studio. But, it's very likely you'll see plenty more jars and maybe a bottle or two!

Below is a sample I'm working on for the soon-to-be Blu Jar Studio shop on Etsy. This jar commemorates my own wedding back in 1986. Maybe you know someone who would like a jar commemorating their "big day." Maybe it will even be filled with a bouquet of favorite flowers! Stay tuned. More details are coming soon.
Horst Wedding Jar; 5x7" watercolor on mixed media paper

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Back in March, I quit my day job to focus on my daughter's wedding in June. Then, I spent the entire summer of 2013 getting ready to start my own business to sell my artwork online. The business will launch sometime in September, I hope. The whole process has been quite an education. Most of it has been fun and exciting, but certain aspects have been terrifying, like communicating with the federal and state governments and opening a bank account. There's just something about banks and governments that make you feel small and a little bit afraid that "you're doing it wrong." But, I've plowed through all the legal jargon and made decisions about what to call myself, what to call my business, and how to tell the world about it. One of the first big challenges was the brand design. I worked on it for weeks, but I'm please with how it came together. I'll explain the rationale and the process in a future post, but for now, here it is:
Blu Jar Studio logo