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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!

My New Best Friend, the Wacom Tablet

I got a new toy yesterday. :) Actually, two, to be precise. For years, I’ve heard about Wacom drawing tablets, but I always assumed the learning curve would be huge, and I didn’t want to put too much time into trying to grasp it. With a tablet like Wacom’s Intuos, you draw on the blank tablet which sends your movements to the computer monitor, so your hand is out of your sight-line or barely in your peripheral vision. To me, that sounded nearly impossible to get used to. My next project is illustration-heavy though, so I started doing tons of research into drawing tablets. I thought a tablet that lets you draw right onto it would be awesome, but Wacom’s Cintiqs are stupidly expensive and the off-brand Yiynova was still a little high for my taste at $600+. So I checked out Craigslist for Wacom Intuos tablets. I figured I might be able to at least try one out through a personal seller and see if it might work for me. I got in touch with a seller who had a small and medium Intuos4 for $200. Now we were talkin’! He was gracious enough to let me meet up and try them, too. And as soon as I put the pen in my hand and started sketching, I fell in love. :) No learning curve here! Here’s a pic of the first sketch I did once I got them home:

FirstWacomDrawingEver

First Wacom Drawing Ever

Since then, I’ve been playing around with drawings for this next project, but I can’t post them just yet as it’s a surprise! Instead, for now I’ll share a pic my friend Liz sent me of “Rocky Boy” on her wall:

"Rocky Boy" On the Wall

“Rocky Boy” On the Wall

I love seeing my art in its final place. It makes me feel more like a real artist when it’s up on someone else’s wall.

Wacom’s newest convert,

Natalie Grace

“Belle & Beast” are Complete!

Finally! They’re done!

I have to say one of my absolute favorite parts of doing art is the reveal. When we dropped this piece off to Ashley, Belle and Beast’s owner, she was ecstatic. I never really know what to expect from a customer, but maybe it’s because I’m so critical of my work that any kind of excited reaction brings me immense joy. I love knowing that something I’ve spent so much time on and poured my heart into is just what the customer wanted and maybe even greater than they had envisioned.

So here’s a slideshow of the entire process:

(If you missed a couple  because you were reading, hover  over the show and hit the back arrow to start with the white outline!)

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And here is the final piece by itself:

Thanks for the commish, Ashley! This was so much fun.

Aaaaaaaaand on to the next project,

Natalie Grace

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