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Hey, friends! If you’re new to this site, feel free to look around and check things out. However, if you’re familiar with my work and like it, I encourage you to sign up for the GLA Newsletter. Once a month or so, you’ll receive an email with insider scoop on my latest work, plus you’ll be the first to know about discounts on my art or even FREE art giveaways! To join in the fun, click on the GLA Octopus!

How Natalie Got Her Domain Back (Plus “Belle and Beast” Part I)

GraceLineArts.com is mine once again! Ha ha! If this doesn’t seem like a large accomplishment to you, I totally understand. But it is. So this website is now listed at that address!

[Note: If you're interested in reading the saga or you're not well versed on domain protocol and think you might need to know about it someday, read the next paragraph. Otherwise, skip it and check out my art below!]

Back in April, I decided to close my full website where I meant to keep archives of all my finished pieces and attempt to sell art directly through the site. I’ve been getting way more traffic and commissions through my blog here, so paying for a full site was useless. However, I also decided to cancel my domain name subscription. Dumb. After months of trying to understand the very complicated world of web domains, I realized that if you desperately want a domain name that you used to own, you’d better buy it again during the grace period immediately following your cancellation or you’ll have to sit on pins and needles for almost 90 days to see if you can capture it again. In late June, I noticed that all of my accounts and business cards send potential buyers to http://www.gracelinearts.com rather than the more tedious (and free) http://www.gracelinearts.wordpress.com. I had to get it back! But another company had a hold on the name until the 90 days was up. The waiting is made more frustrating by the fact that if enough people visit a web address, the domain will often be auctioned off right after the hold expires, normally at a price a normal person like me couldn’t afford. Thankfully on Tuesday, the “pendingDelete” status was finally lifted, no auction happened, and I grabbed it before anyone else could!  Victory is mine! ;)

In other news, I’ve been spending a good deal of time working on yet another puppy portrait. I honestly think this painting has been the greatest challenge of any piece I’ve ever worked on, rivaling the horses we made in my high school art class out of sticks, leather, and wire. Unfortunately because it’s been so daunting, it’s taken me SO long to get anywhere with it. Poor Ashley has had to wait about 6 months for me to get the fire under my butt to finish. Granted I did have a baby in that time period, but I’ve definitely been lazy, too.

I want this piece to be the best it can be, so the intense detail in the original photos created that dauntingness (I know it’s not a word) that held me back for so long. I left the painting at that last picture for probably four months. But in just the past two weeks, I’ve been flying. Stay tuned to see the finished piece in all its glory!

Just chuggin’ along,

Natalie Grace

“Adventure II”

Maybe it’s a weird way to get work, but I’m actually excited about a new venue for my art. A couple weeks ago I went to my midwife for a postpartum check-up. As I waited for her to come in, I was noticing some of the beautiful art on the walls and then noticed that one large wall was completely bare. I could fill that, I thought to myself. I love doing art work for children, and most if not all of the women sitting in a room like that have children or are just about to give birth to precious new ones. At the end of my appointment, I asked my midwife if they ever took artwork from patients. Her face lit up! She told me that she would be moving down the hall to her own offices soon and didn’t have any art yet for her walls and would be thrilled to have some of my work there. So my brain immediately started going through the art that I’ve produced so far to figure out what I could take to her.

My first thought took me back to Christmas. You might remember my post about a Tigger and Pooh painting I did for my nephew. As a rule, I try not to ever do the same work twice. I get bored really easily. ;o) But this one was pretty easy to pull off and I had so much fun doing it the first time around, I figured I could just try some different colors and challenge myself to try to make it better. Here are the results:

So here’s a side-by-side of the first piece and the second:

Which is your favorite?

-Natalie Grace

“Peanut the Precious Pup”

It’s been so long and so much has happened! Our sweet princess is now three months old, and we’re all doing well. She’s starting to get into her laughing and giggling phase which is a major payoff for those first couple months of crying and fussing. And like any good parent, I will do absolutely anything to make her smile. Ah, motherhood is delightful!

In the midst of all of this, I have finally finished yet another pet portrait. Koda’s owner, Jeff, showed that final piece to a coworker of his, Cheri. After taking off several months to prepare for birth and care for our little one, I got back to work and sent out her commission!

And the final painting:

Peanut Finished

Peanut Finished

I have been having a blast getting to know all these pups and working with a variety of mediums and canvases. I have to thank my husband, too, for giving me a second opinion and helping me see past my biases on these pieces to make them the best they can be.

Also, in case anyone is wondering, my full website that I had been paying for is no longer available. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t getting much traffic while this blog has multiple followers, so I’m going to try to upgrade this site’s domain name soon instead and send all traffic here. Thank you again so much to all of you who are following these updates! It means a lot to me! If you have any questions, comments, or something you’d like to see here, please let me know!

Feeling accomplished,

Natalie Grace

New Look!

Okay, okay. Breathe. Don’t freak out. Sometimes, change is good. Really! ;o) I’ve been meaning for ages to update this blog’s Theme, but haven’t gotten to it until now. And I LOVE it! Hopefully, you do too. I find it much easier on the eyes, it fits my artistic personality much better.

Not only does this blog look different, but my body sure does, too. Thank the Lord pregnancy (normally) takes a full 9 months, or this would be way more painful. I’m in the middle of week 38, and I’m so ready to meet our little lady. But I have to say, I’ve really enjoyed pregnancy. Despite the swelling, the fatigue, the weight gain, the acid reflux, and a slew of other fun changes, it really is all SO worth it. To feel those precious little kicks and rolls inside, knowing there’s a little me in there… it’s awe-inspiring.

I do have to say, though, that a huge part of my success during this pregnancy has to be attributed to my husband and his unconditional love for me and my transforming physique. I don’t know how any woman could mentally sustain 9 months of constant change without a man like mine loving her just as she is and reminding her how beautiful every pound is for the purpose.

"Just the Three of Us" by Natalie Grace

“Just the Three of Us”
by Natalie Grace

I drew this pic a couple weeks ago while being overwhelmed by this feeling of immense contentment and gratitude for my husband. (Neither of these characters look like me or my husband, by the way.) I was also inspired by the sweetness in the art of Brittney Lee‘s work, like in this picture. There’s such an indescribable beauty about this time when all the pieces fit just right and you know that God is weaving your family’s story together for His glory.

Whatever phase of life you find yourself in right now, I hope you’ll take the time to slow down and cultivate a spirit of gratitude each day. It makes any major (or minor) life change look completely different and doable, especially for people like me who are a little hesitant to accept change. Try it out. I think you’ll like it.

So grateful,

Natalie Grace

Relay for Life Commission

Gosh, God is doing some really fun things lately! So Koda’s owner, Jeff, is a Team Captain for his area’s Relay for Life event coming up at the end of this month. Since he liked his Koda pic so much, he asked if I would be at all willing to draw up a piece that they could sell through a silent auction to benefit Relay. This is just the thing I would love to give my time and talents to, so I told him I was all in. My only hesitation was time, since I knew there would be a deadline for this kind of thing and Little Lady could want out whenever. But I’m pleased to say that after about two weeks of dedication to this project, I sent it out to Jeff today, and I’m thrilled to be able to be part of this!

I’m sure by now you’re asking “So… Where’s the Art?” Before this turns into an artistic Wendy’s ad and Clara Peller comes knocking on my door, I’ll show you. Here are the three reference pics Jeff sent.

I had a terrible time choosing the right one to work from. I loved the idea of recreating the Falls, but I thought the pic of the River would maybe be easier to get done in time and a little more defined. So I took that one to Black and White for my charcoal work.

"Snake River" Black and White

“Snake River” Black and White

Finally, I was ready to get started. Here are the pics of the whole process. It’s fun to look back on it step-by-step. And maybe someday I’ll learn, especially with charcoals, that I need to start on the right side of the picture since I’m left-handed. It would be SO much easier that way…

I’ve been really critical of my work on this piece since I’m not REALLY a landscape artist. It’s definitely not my forte or passion. But I certainly had fun trying and I hope it reels in a good amount of cash for the Relay team!

I also had a great time learning about this area. I got started on this project, then finally wondered what I was actually drawing. I know next to nothing about Idaho other than that its potatoes are tasty. Jeff told me this is the Perrine Bridge spanning across Snake River. Of course, I had to look them up right away, and I learned that the Perrine Bridge is famous within the BASE and bungee jumping crowds because it hangs 486 feet above the river. How thrilling! I think I’ll keep my feet on the ground, but art is a great way to “dive” into learning about a place like this!

Taking the leap,

Natalie Grace

“Koda”

And more blessings keep coming! Since posting “Rocky Boy” to Facebook, two friends I used to work with at Disney World have requested their own commissions. I love it, and I’m grateful people love their animals so much. :) Unfortunately where we live right now, pets aren’t allowed, so this gives me an awesome opportunity to feel like I have some pooches around!

The first commission request I received was a great surprise. It was fun discussing what kind of final product Koda’s owner wanted without having seen Koda at all, leaving me wondering what kind of pup I’d get to work on. Ah, but when I finally received this pic, I was relieved and excited. What a cutie!!

"Koda" Original

“Koda” Original

Instead of a painting, Koda’s dad wanted a black and white drawing. Definitely a less expensive choice since it’s going to be shipped well across the U.S.! I chose to go with a sturdy 16×20 piece of Canson art board and dig out my charcoal pencils and stumps. I’m definitely a little rusty on these. Don’t think I’ve shaded like this since my Sophomore year of college (which, hey, wasn’t THAT long ago), but it’s so fun to jump back into using this medium.

The first thing I did was edit the photo to a Black and White copy and print it out for reference. So the progress goes something like this:

And the final product (though I’m always tempted to do more, so this might continue to evolve a little before I send him off):

"Koda" Final (WM)

“Koda” Final (WM)

I’m really happy with the way Koda looks. From what I’ve heard, his owner is pretty thrilled, too, which is really what it’s ALL about. I think an artist’s true mantra has to be “Happy Customer, Happy Life.” As long as my art is making people smile, I’m content. :)

So glad to have another project under my belt,

-Natalie Grace