Thursday, December 27, 2012

Organization Rainbow

When I make art, I sift through piles and piles of papers I've made, used, recycled, painted over, used again, recycled, painted over, cut, recycled..... you get the picture. 
 It takes FOREVER, but I feel like it's completely worth it because sometimes ideas take that long to fully evolve, and it's a good way for me to keep my train of thought/vision going from project to project.

[I found one scrap that was dated back in 2006!!]

With a 2013 resolution to work SMARTER, not HARDER... I used (read: exploited?) the patient help of my 11-year-old sister to sift through my thousands of scraps of paper, categorizing them by color.

We came up with:

 ...ocean + rain + sea kelp hues...

 ...tangerine + meyer lemon + citrus brights... 

...rose + fuchsia + Valentine's shades... favorites, black + white...

... and my other favorites, shiny star-bright metallics. 

I bought these cardboard boxes to house all my scraps, and am now playing with ways to display them. The color cubes are utilitarian for now, but expect something more creative (and maybe a cool shelving unit?!?!) in the near future.  

[All photos, artwork, and content by Ann Howell Brown, 2012]

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The creative process: FAITH

When I was in Kolkata, India, I went to 6 a.m. Mass almost every morning at Mother House, which was right across the alley from where I lived. After Mass, the sisters said their morning prayers, which always included the Prayer of Saint Francis.

When I read this prayer, I can hear their voices softly reciting it, kneeling on the cement floor with the morning light streaming in through the handmade blue checkered curtains. It brings such a feeling of peace, and is an incredible mantra for daily living -- regardless of your background, age, challenges, or faith.

This piece is the first in a series inspired by the life and words of Mother Teresa, and profits from these works will fund summer visual art and creative problem-solving workshops for at-risk students in North Carolina. 
[This workshop concept is still in the "dream phase" -- stay tuned. :)]

Imagine the reassurance this piece of art would give you if placed in an office space, where countless hours of hard work, trial and failure, over and over again were happening every day... or by your front door where you could see it every day as you go out to face the world. 

The glitter pieces are the ones that I can't stop looking at, and I wish these pictures did justice to the way the sparkle glows out against the black...

acrylic paint, recycled paper, glitter, vintage book pages.

[All photos, artwork, and content by Ann Howell Brown, 2012]

Two hearts are better than one

Inspired by this song 
(enjoy the nice slideshow of pictures that accompany the video... YouTube uploaders' creativity is really one-of-a-kind)

I love the edges of this frame... the layers of paint make it seem ancient and storied 

acrylic paint, watercolor paper, vintage book pages, pen and ink. 

[All photos, content, and artwork by Ann Howell Brown, 2012]

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Linus Mariah Brown!!!!!

My first Christmas tree ever!!! Here he is riding home in my car...

One of the reasons I liked this tree so much is that it's still alive, with roots and everything -- I can plant it when Christmas is over and have a tree growing on my porch year-round!! I covered his plastic pot with grocery bags and pink tape.

Then I tried to hang all my ornaments on him, but he's so wispy that the ornaments bent all the branches down and/or fell off. 

So, I decided to make my own Christmas ornaments out of paper, light as a feather and exactly how I want them. 

To make an angel for the top of my tree, I cut a cone shape...

...and taped it together.

Then I tried the angel body on my tree to see if it would fit. 
(This picture cracks me up; the tree bends sideways so endearingly and I can't make it stand up straight. I like Linus Mariah even more because of his flaws!) 

Angel gets a face, and some crazy star hair that also serves as a halo.

(This is also where Linus Mariah's first name comes from.)

Then, I decided that this would be a "joyful and triumphant" angel, inspired by this song

(This is also how Linus Mariah got his middle name!)

 I tucked in some white, pink, and gold stars to serve as a backdrop for my joyful and triumphant angel... 

Note the angel's pine needle goatee...

Wishing you a very lopsided, handmade, sparkly, Merry Christmas filled with love! 

[All photos and content by Ann Howell Brown, 2012]

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

boots + books

When I first moved into my apartment, these 3 little steps were among the first things I set up. The plants were beautiful and green, the books were too big to fit on the built-in bookshelves, and my cowboy boots (my first Christmas gift ever from my boyfriend and my most prized possession; I wear them literally every single day to school) could not find a good steady home in my closet. 

[The glasses were purchased for about 2 cents on the side of the road in India; I sometimes wear them. They're bifocals, in case you were wondering.]

So, I plopped them all on my 3 stairs and they lived there pleasantly as reminders of things I love (books, plants, boots, nerd glasses) and as homes for much-used and hard-to-house objects.
NOW, in preparation for my first ever Christmas tree (more on that later), I had to clear those steps. I moved things all around, up and down, in different corners... and subconsciously, the boots and books still ended up together. I didn't notice this until I was flipping through old pictures and found the one above. 

Boots and books in their new home.

[remember this bench from when I went shopping??]

I am taking this all as a sign, and the boots and books will always live together, for as long as I can help it. 

p.s. - The Indian glasses didn't make it on top of the stack of books this time because I'm currently wearing them.

[all photos and content by ann howell brown, 2012]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

made me laugh

The Owner Of This Vehicle

[from buzzfeed]

thanksgiving eats

this year i am thankful for: 
family + friends
(in particular, aunts who are fantastic chefs and cocktail mixers)
health + happiness
gainful employment
kale and roasted root vegetable salad (with dijon vinaigrette)
sweet potatoes with sage, pistachios, and goat cheese
peppery bloody marys
live versions
the beach
the sun, moon, and stars
pictures like this one
the great state of north carolina
videos like this one
...and a thousand other things. :) 

photos by ann howell brown, 2012