Friday, December 13, 2013

Outdoor Fresh Markets

It's nice living in Florida. I LOVE the weather. It's the perfect environment for these popular weekend markets that have popped up everywhere around here.

You can find beautiful produce, unique items and a community of artists selling their wares all in one venue.  It appears people enjoy venturing out to the "Fresh Markets" to shop and connect with local vendors. A nice switch from ordering on Amazon.

It's been a bazillion years since I participated in an outdoor show.  But alas, I did it again. These shows are a little different than the old traditional shows and most are held once a month. A community of regular visitors makes it a nice atmosphere.

I enjoy the face to face connection with customers.  The shows can also be a great test market for new product concept ideas for licensing. Definitely a good 
place to get feedback.

I'm pretty sure that this is only the beginning of my "Fresh Market" adventure.  Follow me on Facebook to keep current of my schedule of where I'll be exhibiting next. Hope to see you there!

If you aren't local to Tampa and want to purchase some of my items on line, you can visit my Etsy shop, where I'll be adding more new items shortly. 

Have a great day!!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Studio Happenings at the Santaella Studios for the Arts - Karen Embry Designs

I can hardly believe it's been almost three years since I moved into the Santaella Studios. Initially it was to simply be a working studio, but I have been pleasantly surprised to see the changes since I arrived.

A big thanks to Kerry Vosler  for being the workhorse behind organizing the tenant artists to team up and put on the wonderful resident art shows in our building. Someone mentioned that trying to organize these events with such a large group of creative individuals was something like trying to herd cats. Sometimes it seems impossible, but Kerry always manages to accomplish it with the help of our artists.

                                         Our next big event is this November 8th, 2013. 

With more new artists than ever in our building, it will be our best show yet.  I'll also be coordinating the grand opening of my new studio in suite #314 for this event on November 8th. I have been working diligently on finalizing the studio d├ęcor as well as creating many new pieces that will debut at the show.

Our last building event was organized by a private group, The Krewe of St. Brigit. They held a wine tasting and social along with our a tour of our open studios. We have an awesome gallery in the building, the "J.D. Van Pelt Gallery", that can be rented for private events. This brings in a wonderful variety of guests.

This is the brochure from the Krewe of St. Brigit that listed the tenant studios that were open for the event. 

I had a chance to step out of my studio before this event began to visit with some of my third story neighbors and snap their photos in their creative spaces.  

                                       Rick Reeves  -
                                        and Sharon Dixon with a  "New Leaf Floral Designs"
                                        ( are in studio #313


Lorrie Mason - Suite #300

Laszlo Horvath Suite #315

Marilyn Silverman

 Suite #305 I am in my studio #312.  This is the last photo in my old studio...lots of new things happening in my new studio #314!!

The eclectic mix of artists makes the "Santaella Studios for the Arts" a unique venue in Tampa, Florida.  I hope you can make it to our next show!

Do what you love, love what you do!!!!!!!!!

To stay current on on all of my creative activity you may also follow me on:

Saturday, June 8, 2013

HERE WE GO AGAIN... but change is always good!

Almost three years ago I moved into a really cool art studio. It was in a renovated cigar factory that was over 100 years old. I put a lot of work into my studio, making it just perfect. The only problem seemed to be that I was outgrowing my space. What I had intended to be just a working studio had evolved into a gallery as well. So when the space next door opened up (which was more than twice the size of my original space), I jumped at the opportunity.   
I spend so much time at my studio it's sort of a "home away from home". I am working toward designing an environment that is welcoming as well as an inspiring place to create. Here's the studio progress so far. 
           Here is what it looked like when I first acquired the space (looking in from the entry door). 
This is now.

                                                      Facing the entry door...

                                   A little brighter and happier...don't you think?

It's a little messy and I am not anywhere near finished organizing the space or with this project. I still have the old studio next door and I am very tempted to just make a doorway through to connect them. I am not sure yet if it will be cost effective to maintain both spaces. For now I'll see how it goes for the coming months as I try to get this new place organized and keep up with my licensing work.

Yes, "CHANGE" is always good. It's what keeps life interesting and keeps this artist motivated.  I think Winston Churchill said it best, - "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often".

What do you think about change?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I recently found a couple of my first drawing and craft books my parents gave me as a child. I loved these books. I drew every animal and made almost every project in them. As you can see by the $1.00 price on the "Drawing Animals" book that dinosaurs had probably just finished roaming the earth...well maybe not that far back but who can remember when any drawing book was only a $1.00??? 

As a child, I was always encouraged to draw and create. Having a father that was (and still is) an artist certainly had its benefits as a kid. He was an art director and commercial artist for an advertising agency. He designed the newspaper ads and produced television commercials. Occasionally my sister and I were extras in commercials.  My father's skills still amaze me to this day. I am still learning from him... and I continue to draw animals....

Just a few weeks ago I mentioned to my dad that I was working on drawing three dimensional animals (dogs and cats). Since most of my designs are whimsical, the images don't require exact realistic anatomy, but they have to  portray an accurate representation of the the subject.  My father always said this about drawing, "you have to know the rules before you can break them". If I am going to draw a whimsical dog, then I need to know the realistic anatomy and form of the animal.  Drawing from the front perspective is generally simple but sometimes designing the dimensional animal/characters is a bit more challenging.

This past Sunday when I visited my parents house for a family dinner, I was surprised by some new things my dad was designing and working on in his studio. How cool are these?????????????????

Three dimensional prototype models of a dog and cat! 

They are still a work in progress and you can see from the sketches below that dad has it all planned out. 

These are great perspective models showing different angles for sketching dogs and cats. The dog's nose is attached with a magnet and comes off to show how it can be viewed from different sides.  He designed these for me so that drawing different perspectives of dogs and cats would be simpler. These started out as just round paper mache balls. He's added all of the details (eyes, cheeks, noses) and elements.  AMAZING!

There are always amazing things when I look around my dad's studio.

 Funny sketches...he draws on anything. 
Artwork by Gene Howell

Lobsters with personality too!
Artwork by Gene Howell

And this guy has been around longer than I have...

Oh and this is really cool. Not sure where he is going with this but it's made from copper and epoxy - unusual, but I wonder what it will look like when finished?

A couple of his paintings around the house...
Painting by Gene Howell

Painting by Gene Howell

I am lucky to have grown up in this creative home. I would have probably learned a little more had I not been a bit stubborn growing up. On the other hand, I believe that with the artistic talent, I also inherited the stubbornness. My dad and I still laugh about it - like father - like daughter?  

I am lucky...thanks DAD!