Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Studio in Ocala

tropicalart77's Story
When we lived in Ocala, I was able to convert our family room into a studio space.  It was spacious and worked so well for my art.  I was just off the kitchen and I even had a half bath.  I miss that space!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Working through the feelings

We had some dreams unexpectedly crushed this Christmas.  Effy Wild does a brilliant job of working through feelings in her art.  That is what I am doing in this page.  I created the face on the back of a Christmas card envelope with Copic markers.  One of the fun things about Silks is that you can use clear gel medium applied with stencils over the wet Silks and get these fun textural effects.   

Friday, December 28, 2012

Here is a snuggle for you.

Photography Prints
There are times in which we need someone to love us enough to be present with us, hear our heart beat, and simply snuggle with us through the struggle.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas with a Different Background

Merry Christmas Doodle for You

I was gifted with a Copic Bleedproof Marker Pad for Christmas today so I tried out my Spectrum Noir and Copic Markers to create this doodle.  I then scanned in the doodle and added in a background that I created in Photoshop.  (I learned how to create patterned backgrounds with my own artwork when I took Stephanie Fizer Coleman's Doodle Class.)  All of this to say, my heart is with you and yours and I am sending you many blessings for the New Year.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Trip To Tarpon Springs

Our Christmas treat was to visit my parents.  
While we were there we went on a day trip to Tarpon Springs, Florida.  
In Tarpon Springs they harvest sea sponges.
Besides shopping for natural sponges and other tourist items, Tarpon Springs offers tour boat trips.
 Tarpon Springs has a large Greek community with wonderful food and the beautiful 

St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

 This is a statue of Saint Nicholas with the cross.  
The Greek Community in Tarpon Springs hosts one of our nation's largest Epiphany celebrations with the annual diving for the cross celebration and many other activities.  To learn more about this amazing celebration visit this site:
All photo credits go to my father.  <3

Friday, December 21, 2012

Free Stencil Offer

I am so excited! I won some beautiful stencils from +Pam Carriker! Thank you so much, Pam!  The stencils are from  I am very excited and look forward to creating with them and sharing with you the results.

You can get your own FREE stencils by following the directions on this page.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Am Thrilled to Announce the opening of Registration For My Intricate Doodles Class

I am thrilled to announce the opening of registration for my 

Tammy Gray
Learn pen work techniques to create intricate doodles,
zentangles or mandalas. Replicate and create unique
repetitive patterns for art pieces suitable for framing.

Here is the pdf with registration and class information.

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Mentors: Stephanie Fizer Coleman

It was a break through for me when I finally decided to take some art classes.  Other than watching tutorials online I haven't had art since grade school.  The first class I took was Stephanie Fizer Coleman's Inspired Doodles class.    I learned so much about how to use my illustrations to create patterns with Photoshop.  Stephanie opened the world of online learning for me and helped me to be brave enough to try.

Source: via Tammy on Pinterest

Stephanie has agreed to be my first ever Guest Blogger.  Here are her answers to my questions:

1. What/who inspires you?
Although it might seem like a silly answer, it seems that these days pretty much anything can spark a bit of inspiration for me. Inspiration tends to strike me most often when my mind is sort of wandering--usually when I'm doing some "mindless" sort of task like washing the dishes or drying my hair, which inevitably leads to me dropping whatever I'm doing and running off to grab my idea journal to scribble some notes/sketches.
In general, I'm inspired by vintage children's illustration, the awesomeness of nature, music and fairytales. I'm an avid reader and usually have 3 or 4 books that I'm reading at any given time. As I’m reading, I'm usually dreaming up the scenes and characters in the story which I'll usually scribble out in my sketchbook at some point.

2. What are some resources you find helpful in your artistic journey?
Again, books. I have always and still do read every book I can get my hands out about art, art history, art techniques, etc. I'm interested in learning about art styles and techniques even when they don’t necessarily mesh with my style. Curiosity  I've found, is the best teacher.

3. How have you learned to express or accept yourself whole heartedly?
It took me several years to really embrace my artistic identity, to be brave enough to say "hey, I'm an artist!" When I really started to put myself and my work "out there" for other people to see and started getting good feedback, selling work, getting freelance jobs, I finally started to feel like "hey, I'm an artist and I'm actually pretty good at this stuff." And with a little bit of success came the ability to be more confident in my work and the good habit of wasting less time comparing myself to other artists.

4. How can someone sign up for your course?
Well right now, through my Etsy shop: I'm in the process of revamping my website so my usual registration page is under construction at the moment. Inspired Doodles will only be available through the end of February 2013. As my freelance schedule has gotten more intense, it's been difficult for me to keep up with teaching classes online so I'm whittling things down a bit in the new year. I am working on some new mini-workshops though, more in the how-to-draw specific things sort of vein. These will be available early next year, delivered via email as week long workshops. I'll be posting more info on those on my blog soon!   

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Love Makes a Cozy Quilt

Love Makes a Cozy Quilt: Art Journal page 
using Jill K. Berry's new Artistcellar stencils, Silks acrylic glazes, craft paint and paint pens. ♥ To you! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Artistic Journey: ATCs and Swaps

As I said, from photography I ventured into creating Scrapbook pages and from that I found my way into Altered Art. Altered Art opened up a whole new window for me as one needs a lot of little items to put into collage work. So, being the thrifty person that I am I used the free resources I posted about earlier and I began participating in swaps.
Swaps are brilliant ways of sharing goodness with others while adding to your own art supplies. I participated in all kinds of swaps and have only been let down once or twice but was overjoyed repeatedly.
Participating in swaps led me to creating Artist Trading Cards which are baseball card size pieces of art that you trade with other artists. I have a brilliant collection of artwork created by artists around the world through my participation in ATC swaps.
The three ATCs that I have shared with you here are a representation of the hundreds of ATCs I have created and shared.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Window To My Soul ATC

Window To My Soul ATC by tropicalart77
Window To My Soul ATC, a photo by tropicalart77 on Flickr.

This is an ATC I made for a challenge. We were to create a window and show who we are in the window. I love this vintage image of a woman reading and the dove. For me, the book is a Bible and the dove stands for peace or God's faithfulness. The flower for the fact that I am always growing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Additional Sources For Free Images

Morguefile, where photo reference lives. This morgue file contains free high resolution digital stock photographs and reference images for either corporate or public use. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for illustrators, comic book artist, designers, teachers and all creative pursuits. There are additional sources and copyright information available here.

Florida Banded Water Snake in the Aloe Vera Plants

I, apparently, can be so drawn to eyes that I can even take a portrait of a snake. This was quite a moment of bravery on my part. :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

See Me As I Am

My hands create fantasy and reality, truth and hope. My sketch for today: See Me As I Am was inspired by Lisa Thorne's beautiful photograph and face painting. Her photo was used with permission.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Jennibellie Studio: How to: Make a Large Box Art Journal

You can learn to make a completely recycled journal using this free tutorial.  Jennibellie Studio: How to: Make a Large Box Art Journal: Hello December!! =D I'm both excited and appalled that you're here so early! I've so much to do and not much time to do it in and then it's...


"FIVE GOLDEN LETTERINGS"...a FREE CLASS with Joanne Sharpe: "TWO GOLDEN LETTERINGS": Lesson Two: part one: "A GOLDEN SAMPLER"  included in many of my classes is to create a  A valuable reference tool called  "supplies sampler".  This is...