Creating ACEO’s is a challenge, which requires a steady hand and an eye for fine detail, but they are also a lot of fun. Once you start collecting them, you just can’t stop! These miniature works of art can be collected in an album, displayed in a frame, or traded with friends.
Now, to celebrate gaining my first 100 ‘likes’ on the Jo Hards Facebook page I am giving one fantasy art fan the chance to start, or add to their own ACEO collection. On Saturday, 22nd September, I will give away an ACEO original, featuring a tattooed Gothic mermaid. This collectible art card, on 300 gsm, hot pressed watercolour paper, is entitled Violet Mermaid. For this piece, I used Inktense soluble ink pencils, blended with water and a fine brush. For the outline, a 0.05mm fine liner pen was used, to produce a high quality, fade resistant finish. The card is initialled in ink on the front, and titled, signed, and dated, in full on the back. As with all ACEO cards, Violet Mermaid measures exactly 2.5 x 3.5 inches, about the size of a baseball trading card. This is the original piece, which is one of a kind. It is not a print.
To win this ACEO original, all you have to do is answer one question:
What does the acronym ‘ACEO’ stand for?
Please send your entry, including your full name, to email@example.com . When your entry is accepted, you will receive an automatic confirmation by email. Entries will be accepted until 11am [gmt] on Saturday 22nd September. The winner will be chosen at random from the correct entries, and notified by email from 12pm the same day. The winner’s name will be publicised on the Jo Hards Facebook page.
Because I hate spam too, your contact information will not be used to send unsolicited mail and will not be shared with anyone else. This promotion is sponsored solely by johards.com
Your chance to bid on an original 5 x 7 inch acrylic painting from just £9.99
I don’t often list artwork on eBay, but this week I decided to put one of my paintings up for auction. Beauty & Cruelty is a 5 x 7 inch acrylic painting on 1/8th inch thick canvas board. The painting features a European Peacock Butterfly [Inachis io] caught in a deadly spider web. Although somewhat dark and Gothic in nature, this piece is a little different from my usual subject matter. It was created for the EBSQ Butterflies & Moths art exhibit in June this year (more about that here). Beauty & Cruelty is sold unframed. It will however, fit perfectly into a standard 5 x 7 inch frame of your choosing. The auction ends at 20:08 UK time [BST] on Thursday 6th September 2012.
In the current economic climate, owning beautiful, original art can sometimes seem out of reach to many people. It can be difficult to justify spending your hard earned cash on a masterpiece, when you have school uniforms to buy and bills keep rising. However, art can be viewed as an investment, which will only appreciate in value over time, so how do you get a foot on the art collecting ladder when times are tough? One fun, inexpensive, way to begin is the ACEO card.
The idea of miniature art cards is not new. Examples of wallet sized works of art can be traced back to the sixteenth century. The late twentieth century saw the birth of the ATC (artist trading card) movement in Switzerland. Artists began trading baseball card sized art pieces, with the intention that they should never be sold, or exchanged for anything but other artists’ ATCs. However, in recent years, with increasing opportunities for artists and art collectors to trade over the internet, using websites such as eBay, collecting these tiny treasures has become a popular pursuit, no longer restricted to artists. Art cards, which are created to be sold rather than traded are known as ACEOs.
ACEO stands for Art Card Editions and Originals. To qualify as an ACEO, a piece of art must measure 2.5 x 3.5 inches. Other than the size, anything goes! ACEOs can be made from paper, card, canvas, or any other material you can think of. They can be rendered in acrylics, oils, watercolour, pencil, ink, collage, or even embroidered. They may be originals, or limited edition prints. Subjects and styles are as diverse as the materials used to create them. They can be matted and displayed in frames, or organised in albums. However, it seems that one is never enough. As any ACEO collector will tell you, once you start, you just can’t stop!
Gothic and Fantasy Art by Jo Hards on Etsy
Some of my fantasy artwork and Gothic art dolls can now be found in my brand new Etsy shop. Etsy is worldwide community of artists and artisans, much like a giant on-line shopping mall for art, handmade and vintage goods, and art and craft supplies. In my shop, you will find a selection of paintings, drawings and art dolls, including some exclusive, one of a kind items, which you won’t find anywhere else. You can even request custom dolls.
Eve – Fantasy fairy art in acrylics on 8 x 8 x 2 inch canvas View Listing
If you haven’t shopped on Etsy before, it’s easy. Just add an item to your shopping cart and pay with PayPal (You don’t even need a PayPal account). I will be adding new items to the shop regularly, so if you already have an Etsy account, please don’t forget to add me to your favourites, so you won’t miss a thing.
Gothic fairy cloth art doll ‘Aeshna’ View listing
Sometimes when I’m painting, my Gothic rag dolls get a little jealous. They seem to think my time should be devoted to them. I’ve tried telling them that I still love to sew, but sometimes I need to do something else. However, they won’t take no for an answer. They creep into my art and take up residence in my paintings …
In one of my recent ACEO’s, titled First, Last & Always, a heartbroken young girl clings to her Gothic rag doll for comfort. This one of a kind original, in ink and Inktense pencils on 300gsm watercolour paper, measures 3.5 x 2.5 inches. The ACEO card is initialed on the front and signed dated and titled on the back. It would make a wonderful addition to any ACEO collector’s album. First, Last & Always is currently available in the online store, priced at £10.
My latest acrylic painting also features a Gothic doll. The 5 x 7 inch piece, on 1/8th inch thick canvas board, is titled ‘Lost Doll’. Somehow, this creepy, button eyed, rag doll has become separated from her owner and is looking rather lonely. This painting will fit a standard 5 x 7 inch frame, which is not included. Lost Doll will be added to the online store within the next few days. In the meantime, if you are interested in this piece, please don’t hesitate to contact me for details.
Wildflowers, Butterflies and the Art of Staying True to Yourself
I’ve always loved a challenge. As an artist, it’s easy to fall into the habit of drawing or painting the subjects you know you can do well and avoiding those that you feel more unsure of. The thing is, it is by entering that unknown territory and tackling the more tricky subjects that you grow and develop. You gain new skills and take what you have learned into your next project.
Here is where themed art shows come in. This month for the first time, I decided to create a couple of pieces for the EBSQ themed monthly exhibits. I felt it would be a great way to stretch myself a little, but then the thought occurred to me, how do I produce something that fits into a theme, which seems totally unrelated to my usual subject matter, whilst retaining my own individual style?
The first theme I chose to tackle was ‘Wildflowers’. I have painted flowers before, usually as an adornment in a faerie’s hair, or to add interest to the surrounding scenery, so wildflowers shouldn’t pose too much of a problem, right? Yes, I could paint a field full of poppies, or dandelions, but it doesn’t really say Gothic fantasy art, does it? I spent a morning drinking coffee (it’s a hard life) and leafing through gardening and wildlife books, looking for inspiration. That’s when I saw it, and I knew exactly what I was going to do.
Clover is a plant, which is often considered a troublesome weed, but holds many childhood memories for me. I remember lazily counting the tiny leaves on the school field, hoping to find the rare four leaved variety, and marveling at the intricate detail in those delicate purple flowers. With the right camouflage, a patch of clover would be the ideal place for a tiny faerie to hide. I remembered seeing a jade green moth, resting on a leaf in my garden. It’s wings blended perfectly with the surrounding foliage. It occurred to me, that if faeries were to live in urban gardens, they would need a similar form of defense.
The result was ‘Clover’, an 8 x 10 inch acrylic painting, which aims to capture the spirit and essence of the flower, but remains true to my own style. You can view the Wildflowers exhibit here. Anybody can vote for their favourite by clicking the Facebook ‘Like’ button next to the picture.
Pleased with my effort in the Wildflowers exhibit, I simply couldn’t resist entering the EBSQ ‘Butterflies and Moths‘ exhibit. Butterflies have always fascinated me. I have often taken elements from species found in nature and adapted them to create faerie wings, but I thought this exhibit would be a good opportunity to develop my skills, to really study a butterfly and paint it as it is. The European Peacock butterfly [Inachis io] is a frequent visitor to my garden in summer, and without a doubt, one of the UK’s most beautiful species. However, their delicate beauty is short lived and nature can be cruel. In the 5 x 7 inch painting ‘Beauty & Cruelty’, a tragic end to this butterfly’s short life means survival for the spider. I learned a lot from painting this one. Never before have I studied the detail in those colourful wings so closely. I am looking forward to taking the experience into my future work. I have a feeling that Peacock butterflies will be making further appearances in my paintings … though perhaps in faerie form!
A cute, creepy, collectible art card by Jo Hards
Nyctophobia (fear of the dark) is something we have all suffered from at some point. When I was a child, I couldn’t sleep with the wardrobe door open, even just a crack, and the curtains had to be tightly closed, because as soon as the light went out, my imagination created all kinds of creepy apparitions. In my latest ACEO, it is clear that even Gothic rag dolls are sometimes afraid of the dark.
This cute, creepy miniature work of art measuring 2.5 x 3.5 inches, is now available in the fantasy art store, priced at £10. It is drawn in artist quality coloured pencil, on 300 gsm watercolour paper, and set with UV resistant fixative to give many years of enjoyment. The artist’s initials are on the front in the bottom right hand corner. The watermark is for online purposes only. It does not appear on the original. The piece is signed and dated on the back, along with the title and website address written in ink. Nyctophobia is supplied with an EBSQ Certificate of Authenticity. UK delivery is included in the price.
This highly collectible art card would make a wonderful addition to any collector’s album, or an unusual conversation piece displayed in an ACEO frame.
A brand new fantasy art website
As many of you will have already noticed, there have been a few changes going on at Strange Little Girls. This is because as well as making cloth art dolls, I love to draw and paint. I recently began listing some of my fantasy artwork alongside the dolls in the online store at www.strange-little-girls.co.uk and on the Strange Little Girls Facebook page. My paintings and drawings got a really good reaction from those who saw them, but I couldn’t help feeling that this wasn’t the best place for them. Strange Little Girls is the perfect setting for my Gothic rag dolls, and maybe even for other types of art doll in the future, but I would love my fantasy artwork to speak for itself and find its own place in the online art community, rather than remain a side project.
I considered several forums for my artwork, but in the end, what works best for me is what I have at Strange Little Girls, a dedicated website and Facebook page. So, with steely determination and a slight sense of panic, I began the unenviable task of starting a new website from scratch. That was a week ago, and by this morning, I felt I had enough content to launch the new site, complete with a brand new online store.
My brand sparkly new fantasy art website can now be found at www.johards.com. I also have a new Facebook page for my fantasy art. The Strange Little Girls website and social networking pages will continue as before, with new OOAK dolls and old favourites. I plan to keep this blog running, as a kind of summary page, with updates from both websites. I may even give it a little revamp.
The future is looking rather busy and rather exciting, and I’m only just getting started!
Acrylics Addicts Anonymous – The Story So Far
I’ve been a little busy lately, battling a new addiction. It all started during a visit to my parents’ house in Yorkshire. I was discussing art with my talented artist dad, when he made the seemingly innocent remark that would lead to my downfall.
“I think you should try painting in acrylics” he said. “Acrylics?” said I “no, I don’t think so”. My memories of painting were not good. I remembered grappling with cheap standard issue brushes and gaudily coloured tubes of gouache, back at art school, whilst the red faced, balding lecturer yelled “let your painting grow … let it take on a life of its own … let it speak to you!” The girl next to me leaned over and whispered “Is your painting speaking to you? Mine is, It’s telling me it’s rubbish”. Rubbish wasn’t the exact term she used, but you get the point.
“No, I really can’t …” I protested. “Have a go” said my dad, “I think you’d be good at it”. Well, you can’t argue with that, can you? A week later, I had bought a selection of acrylic paints, a set of brushes, a big tub of gesso primer, some painting panels and a B&Q tool box. After many hours spent nervously Googling various painting techniques, I was ready to start. A simple portrait to start with … What about the background? … A sunset, perfect! I took a broad brush, loaded it with colour and tentatively drew it across the canvas. Wow, it actually didn’t look bad. Several hours later I was still there. I was hooked, building up layer upon layer, experimenting with strokes and colours. Within a few days I had completed my first acrylic painting ‘Carmen’.
I couldn’t wait to get started on the next painting, another portrait, but a little different. I wanted to include a fantasy element … Of course, a mermaid! The result was ‘Changes’. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried this before! Carmen has already been sold, but Changes is available to buy now from the online store, priced at £65. I’m now working on my next acrylic painting. This time, a faerie. I have a feeling she won’t be the last. All paintings come with an EBSQ Certificate of Authenticity. To keep updated and see new paintings as soon as they are released, you can find me on Facebook or Twitter.
Gothic Fantasy Faerie Art
Original Drawing by Jo Hards
Ragdoll Heart is the latest original drawing by goth/fantasy artist Jo Hards. Measuring approximately 16.5 x 11.7 inches (A3 size), Ragdoll heart features a mischievous dark faerie clutching a button eyed gothic rag doll, as she is watched over by menacing yellow eyes. The colours and detail in this lowbrow style fantasy piece must be seen in reality to be fully appreciated. The artwork is drawn in light-fast coloured pencil on quality paper, signed and dated by the artist, and set with acrylic fixative for many years of enjoyment. This is an original drawing, not a print! Please note, the watermark does not appear on the original. Ragdoll Heart is delivered, unframed, in a sturdy cardboard mailing tube, for you to frame as desired at home.
To give everybody a fair chance to own this stunning original drawing, Ragdoll Heart is currently being auctioned on Ebay with a starting price of just £4.99. The auction ends at 10pm (UK time) on Saturday 28th April 2012.
Gothic Art – Original Drawing by Jo Hards
Farewell to Daylight is my latest gothic/fantasy piece in coloured pencil. The subject, a dark haired girl in goth clothing, gazes wistfully at the setting sun one last time, before retreating through a gothic archway into the world of darkness where her future lies. The piece was inspired by the weathered, sandstone architecture of post industrial Yorkshire, as well as the vampire legends, which surround the Yorkshire coastal town of Whitby, a place I visited many times as a child.
The original drawing measures approximately 420 x 297 mm (A3 size) and is set with several coats of acrylic fixative to give many years of enjoyment. The depth of the colours cannot be fully appreciated on screen. They appear much richer in reality. For ease of delivery, the drawing is sold unframed, packaged in a sturdy cardboard tube, for you to frame as desired at home. Prints of this piece are not currently available.
Farewell to Daylight is currently listed in the online store, priced at £65. Free UK delivery is included in the price.
An original faerie fantasy piece in coloured pencil
Tansy’s Secret by Jo Hards
If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you’ll probably be aware of my slight obsession with mythical beings such as mermaids, vampires, and of course, faeries. I’ve discussed my faerie addiction here before, when I made gothic faerie doll Aeshna. However, Aeshna is not the only faerie in Gothville. One of the Gothville Girls, Tansy likes to spend her time deep in the heart of Gothville Woods. She knows those woods well and often sees things that others may miss. On one such occasion, Tansy caught sight of a tiny figure darting through the undergrowth. Worried that others may not see the importance of protecting these beautiful, mystical creatures, Tansy keeps this secret to herself.
‘Tansy’s Secret‘ is an original faerie fantasy piece in coloured pencil. This detailed drawing measures approximately 420 x 297mm (A3 size). The scene is composed of sumptuous hues of purple, blue and green. The richness of the colours cannot be conveyed on screen and must be seen in reality to be fully appreciated. The lightfast pigments are set with non yellowing fixative to ensure many years of enjoyment. However, as with all artwork, it is recommended that Tansy’s Secret is not placed in direct sunlight.
The original piece is available to purchase, at the time of writing, from the online store, priced at £65. Gothic and fantasy artwork is supplied, unframed, and well packaged in a sturdy cardboard mailing tube, for you to frame as desired at home. UK delivery is included in the price. Please note, the website URL does not appear on the original. Prints are not available at this time but may be introduced at some point in the future. Gothic rag doll ‘Tansy’ is also available to buy from the online store, priced at £48.
Original Gothic and Fantasy Artwork by Jo Hards
I have always had a passion for gothic and fantasy art. Throughout my childhood, I was never happier than when I was immersed in my own fantasy world, drawing mermaids, fairies and dragons. In recent years, ashamedly, my sketch pads have sat neglected in a large cardboard box, until recently, I treated myself to some new art materials and the urge to put pencil to paper reignited. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love making dolls. I always will, but there is something so satisfying about plucking a scene from the realms of your imagination and watching it unfurl on paper.
My first tentative step into selling gothic wall art online, is Amethystine. This A3 size portrait in coloured pencil is the first of what I hope will be many drawings and paintings which will be made available, alongside the gothic dolls, through my online store in the future. Prints are not yet available, but this is something I may consider for future artwork.
The portrait measures approximately 420 x 297mm and is signed and dated by the artist. It is drawn in lightfast coloured pencil and set with non-yellowing fixative, on heavy weight textured paper, creating a canvas-like finish. The colours and detail appear slightly reduced on screen, due to the image resolution. The original must be seen to be fully appreciated. It will be delivered unframed to keep postage costs low, in a sturdy, cardboard mailing tube, for you to frame as desired at home. Amethystine is available at the time of writing, in the online store, priced at £45. As with Strange Little Girls dolls, worldwide shipping is included in the price. Please note, the website URL does not appear on the original.