April Exhibition - Painting No. 1 ... and No. 2!

It felt almost like an eternity, but I finally finished my first painting for the April exhibit! To be exact, I finished it at 8 a.m. today despite having gone to bed at 1 a.m. the night before (I’m an intense early bird even when I don’t want to be).

And, before starting on my second painting, I needed to take a pause. In the midst of the craziness of trying to prepare a total of six large pieces over just a couple of weeks while working full-time, I had to remind myself to enjoy this time of fully using the right side of my brain.

So, I took some hygge time to myself, enjoying a mug of coffee while watching the steam rise from the cozy mug and watching my two adorable little cousins play in the backyard. If you don’t know what hygge means, it’s an amazing concept I live by (read exactly what it means here).

 

Okay, on to Painting No. 2! I decided to go for the same image as in Painting No. 1 except I used the colors of Elliott Bay Brewery’s logo: beige and red.

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And so, that is where I am right now with the second painting. I still need to add a second or third layer of red paint followed by the touch-ups with the beige paint, then I should be done by the end of the day tomorrow! Stay tuned …

April Exhibition - Painting No. 1, Part 2

Last night, I finally reached the stage of my painting (also referenced in my previous blog post) where I traced my drawing directly onto the canvas with my No. 2 pencil.

One thing I have to mention here is how great it felt to use the No. 2 pencil! I felt like a little kid as drawing on the paper and smelling the lead took me back to those good ol’ elementary school days before smartphones existed. I almost forgot about those days, and it was nice to be reminded.

Another thing I want to say is it was exciting overall to take on this task. I had never done anything with a canvas before that didn’t involve painting tools, and so it was a thrill to face this new challenge of mine.

 
 
 

What came after tracing the drawing? Painting over it, of course! That’s what I’m in the middle of right now. Here are some snapshots …

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So, for the rest of this Friday night I’ll be finishing painting over the portrait while in my house clothes and bingeing on Persian tea to try to stay awake. Wish me luck and stay tuned for more updates!

April Exhibition - Painting No. 1

Hey guys!

So, I thought I’d give a live update of sorts in the weeks leading up to my solo exhibition at the Elliott Bay Brewery. Last night, I started on my first painting for the exhibit (I know, so last-minute). So far, I’ve just been laying out the gold background before I’ll eventually add on the bright-blue border and the simplistic portrait at the center of the canvas. I honestly lost count of how many layers I added of the gold paint, but that’s okay — When it comes to gold, there’s no limit, am I right?

Anyway, here are some snapshots from this morning as I kept painting on the gold (you can tell by now I love gold paint):

Best morning view ever. Also, you’ll notice my adorable corgi mug to the left and the classy 90s stools flanking the canvas.

Best morning view ever. Also, you’ll notice my adorable corgi mug to the left and the classy 90s stools flanking the canvas.

 
The infamous gold paint. I swear by this brand. It’s a little pricey, but it’s totally worth it.

The infamous gold paint. I swear by this brand. It’s a little pricey, but it’s totally worth it.

 
 
Besides the gold, I’ll be working with the blue you see here. Fun fact: The palette used to belong to my grandpa who spent his life painting still life and drawing incredibly detailed portraits.

Besides the gold, I’ll be working with the blue you see here. Fun fact: The palette used to belong to my grandpa who spent his life painting still life and drawing incredibly detailed portraits.

 

Stay tuned for more updates!

Just a few weeks left!

Guess what??

My solo exhibition at the Elliott Bay Brewery in Burien is coming in just a few weeks! So, if you’re looking to enjoy some fresh-new paintings while drinking delicious beer, April 5, 2019 is your opportunity.

Stay tuned for details on opening night. :)

April Exhibition Facebook Page Is Officially Up!

If you are an avid Facebook user, this is a quick note to let you lovely people know that I’ve just created the official Facebook event page for my April exhibition, which will be taking place at the Elliott Bay Brewery in Burien, WA. :)

https://www.facebook.com/events/2268654260017536/

And, I will end this short and sweet blog post with a small preview of what my brand-new paintings will look like …

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Exhibition(s) Announcement

So, 2019 is already off to an exciting start! I got confirmation a few days ago that my art will be hanging at two locations in the next few months, and I’m so excited I literally cannot even. Here’s the general info …

April 2019: My acrylic paintings will be at Elliott Bay Brewing Company in Burien, WA. Something extra exciting about this exhibition is not only will I recreate my 4 x 4” pieces in larger scale but I also plan to do a piece specifically for the brewery.

June 2019: It is yet to be determined whether it’ll be the paintings, portraits or both on display, but during the month of June I will have my artwork hung at Third Culture Coffee in Old Bellevue.


Also, I plan to try and organize opening receptions for these exhibitions. I will post deets on them as they come in. In the meantime, stay tuned for lots of behind-the-scenes posts I’ll be sharing! :)

End of an Era ... Sort Of

As of tomorrow, my art will no longer be hung at the CoCA gallery or Freshy's Coffee. It's truly been a wonderful and surreal experience showcasing my work in these venues, and I am so grateful I that had those opportunities.

When it comes to trying to get your artwork hung in public places, I've found that it requires being super proactive and persistent. I've had so many cases where I contacted a venue several times (of course I would leave some breathing room in between messages because obviously I don't want to seem like a crazy person) and never heard back. But, it's one of those things where if you notice something isn't working out or going anywhere, you just have to move forward and look out for your next possible opportunity. 

I look forward to getting my art hung in more places hopefully soon! I will keep all you lovely artists and art lovers out there updated for the next time you can see my portraits on display. :)

Exhibition at the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA)

Exhibition at the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA)

Exhibition at Freshy's Coffee in West Seattle

Exhibition at Freshy's Coffee in West Seattle

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Exhibitions Going on Now

Man, this has been a major week! I now have my art in two locations at the same time! :)

Until the last week of May, you can see "Daisy #2" at CoCA (find out how to get there when you click here) and 9 of my charcoal pieces (including "Daisy #2") at Freshy's Coffee (the West Seattle location). Also, when you drop by Freshy's you'll get to see some beautiful paintings by Eva Lu

Below are snapshots I took at both locations ...

First Thursday opening reception at CoCA

First Thursday opening reception at CoCA

At Freshy's Coffee in West Seattle

At Freshy's Coffee in West Seattle

Also, check this out! This is the catalog CoCA had printed for the exhibition.

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Anyway, I hope you'll be able to stop by at either or both places before May comes to a close. And, if/when you do, let me know what you think!

SongS of the Week

Sorry, guys! I know it's been a few weeks since I did a "Song of the Week" post. To make it up to you, I'm going to do two songs in one post ...

This week, I randomly decided to binge on Calvin Harris' music. I had always loved the dreamy quality of his songs, and I had realized a lot of time had passed since the last time I blasted them on the radio in my car or on my iPhone. 
Sometimes, whether I'm drawing or going about my daily life activities like getting ready for work, it's just necessary to get lost in music and allow it to take you to a different world, and I feel like his songs have that effect.

Songs of the Week: "Feels" and "Slide" by Calvin Harris

Yep, I Totally Framed Her

This may be a sort of minor update, but I was so excited about it I just had to share! 
Today, I framed my "Daisy #2" piece that's going to be featured at the CoCA gallery this May. It looks so much more like an official art piece now ... though I still have to take off the annoying cardboard corners. I'll be leaving this task to the framing experts at Michael's, simply because I don't trust myself to do it without accidentally ruining the frame.

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Guess What? My Art will be in a gallery this May!

I have a major announcement: My piece "Daisy #2" (below) will be featured in an art gallery exhibition this May! Specifically, the gallery is CoCA (Center on Contemporary Art), located in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle. As someone who had two amazing internships and volunteers there, I feel super proud to have my work be in its space and I couldn't be more thrilled!

Click here to read details on the exhibition and be sure to mark your calendars for the opening reception, May 3rd, 6-9 p.m.! :)

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Song of the Week

What's my top song of this week, you ask? Well, here it is:

Song of the Week: "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!

Lately, I've found myself playing the song over and over as it acts like an instant mood booster. I've also noticed that it helps me get into my creative mode, but not in the way you'd expect. I don't mean creative in the usual sense of doing something artsy like drawing or dancing -- I personally believe creativity not only can exist in the artsy way but also while you're doing everyday, non-artsy tasks. Every morning, for instance, I wash my face, put on antioxidant serum, rub on my daily moisturizer and facial oil and then add on my makeup. With certain random songs like "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," I've been able to get in the zone and actually enjoy doing what is usually seen as totally mundane ... And I did not expect to share part of my morning routine in detail with you, but there you go. :)

Song of the Week

I'm trying out this new thing where I share "Song of the Week" posts. Music has always been an important part of my life and also one of my must-haves for when I'm creating my artwork. I thought I'd share whatever particular songs have helped me get "in the zone" while art making, and also it's always fun in general to talk about good music!

What songs get you in the zone when you want to get creative? Here's one of my top choices ...


SONG OF THE WEEK: "Desperado" by Rihanna

Back when I spent most of my free time choreographing at the Velocity Dance Center (in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle), I would often find myself overthinking every move I came up with. The song let me loosen up, lose the fear of doing a "wrong" move and just go with the flow. Out of that came some of the dance moves I was most proud of that were part of a performance I did sometime last year.

It turns out the song has had a similar effect when it comes to my drawing process. I tend to get too cautious and worry I'm going to do a "wrong" stroke that's going to ruin the whole sketch, and the song (among other songs from the same Rihanna album) has helped me get out of my head, really focus and lose the fear of making mistakes. Besides, awhile ago I had decided to force myself to make any drawing mistakes look like they were done on purpose, so it all seems to be working out so far. :)

Exhibition Update: Opening Night Details

 

As you already know, my artwork (including the below portrait titled "Hope") will be on display at Freshy’s in West Seattle during the month of May. But, it’s also important to know that May 1 is opening night! Be sure to drop by between 6 and 8:30 p.m. to enjoy some art and delicious beer. :)

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Iranian & Inspired

This was probably because I had spent the last few days reading all about the protests going on lately in Iran, but when I drew my latest portrait this morning I found that the girl looked very Iranian. I had specifically been reading about Vida Movahed and the other "Girls of Enghelab Street," women who have protested the headscarf by each publicly taking hers off and waving it in the air to the crowd. All I could think about was how incredibly brave these women were and I suppose that sort of came through as I was drawing the portrait.

Stay tuned for when I add an Adobe Illustrator-esque touch to the piece ...

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Exhibition in May 2018!

Happy Friday, fellow art lovers!

I am thrilled to announce that I will be showcasing my work at Freshy's (the West Seattle location) during the month of May! Expect to see some of my favorite charcoal pieces as well as a few of the reworked versions I did recently on Illustrator. Not only that, but you'll also have the pleasure of seeing some great pieces by Eva Lu. Stay tuned for details about the exhibition, but for now I've shared a quick preview below. Also, please help spread the word by sharing this blog post on your social media page(s) and/or by sharing the Facebook event page I've created. 

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Rebranding Coming Soon

Hey guys!
I wanted you to know that pretty soon I'll be giving my brand and website a big makeover. This may or may not include changing Black & White by Shirene to a different name. I'm super excited and a little nervous ... and it might partly be because I have at least a hundred business cards with my current brand name printed on them and I wonder how much it would/will cost to print new ones. 

Anyway, stay tuned for the new version of my website! :)

 

With love,

Shirene

A Pop of Color

Last night, I gave it another go at taking one of my charcoal portraits and adding effects and color to it. This time, I did it to "The Gaze" (you can see the original charcoal piece below). I decided to go simple rather than adding lots of color (like when I added pink and green to "Daisy"). Let me know what you think! :)

"The Gaze" (the original piece)

"The Gaze" (the original piece)

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Black & White ... & Red

This past weekend, I experimented a little more with my "Daisy" piece on Illustrator with my Intuos graphic tablet. Being the type of person who always likes to mix things up, I tried for something completely different from what I've done for my previous versions of "Daisy" -- I added some Farsi and a splash of red on top of the black and white portrait. Also, instead of my usual Spotify playlist I decided to give it a go at listening to Anna Faris' podcast (it's called Anna Faris Is Unqualified and it's super funny and entertaining).

Anyway, my illustration turned out like this ...

"Hope" (2018)

"Hope" (2018)

Fun fact: Because the last time I made a real attempt at writing in Farsi was during the Saturday morning Farsi classes I took in sixth grade, it ended up being quite the challenge to master writing what you see above. I think it took me about 20 or so tries to make it look somewhat decent.

Anyway, I hope you like this more intense version of "Daisy." Or, if you don't like it, I'm fine with that as well. As long as the picture is causing some sort of strong reaction, I'm happy.

Getting in Touch With My Inner Leslie Knope

For years, my precious charcoal drawings were sitting in my sketchbook, waiting to be released from their mini prison. Today, I finally set them free. 

If you know me, you know I get a lot of joy from organizing and doing other super productive things. I like to think of myself as a less intense version of Leslie Knope from Parks & Recreation. So, not only did I finally rip the cherished pages from my sketchbook but I also slid each piece in a plastic sleeve and put all the sketches in a (really cute) binder in chronological order. 

Thanks to my inner Leslie, a cup of coffee and a trip I had made the day before to Michaels (where I try not to go more than once a week ... #addict), I was able to get all of this done in a flash. Also, I can't stand how adorable the binder is; I go crazy for coral and simply the act of resting my eyes on the gold pattern makes me happy.

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Basically, it feels damn good to be organized especially when it concerns something you truly care about. Plus, it's a lot of fun.