Posts Tagged ‘design’

Looking for Light

July 12th, 2013 • by Karen A. Chase • 4 Comments

In an effort to get out of my writing chair, I recently began taking an impressionist painting course with local artist, Mark Hierholzer. Each week I have joined two friends, and I have stood before a canvas, trying to paint light. Not color. Not scenes. Not objects. Light.

The approach for this type of impressionist painting goes something like this: (see the images below)

Step one: look for light in terms of shapes. When you squint, where are the tones or shadows melding together? Paint those–just four to six shapes total.

Step two: now where is the next layer of light? Or the next division of light and shadow? The sides of the shrubs? In the grass or trees? Paint that.

Step three: (which also might happen four or five more times), add detail lighting. The blue path, the foreground trees. Always searching for what the light is doing. Where it is. Where it isn’t.

While my painting skills have a long way to go, I put the emphasis on the word light, because after each three hour class, what I end up feeling is light. All my hours of sitting and writing and worry slide away. We listen to classical music. Drink wine or coffee. Laugh. And we focus on the light. In life, I think I will choose to make this my focus, too. And so, painting leaves a great impression.

(Sorry, could not resist the pun. Nor could I resist the subject of my first landscape painting. These are the necessaries–outhouses–at the Wythe House in Williamsburg.)


The original photo I took.

Step One. Blocks of Light.

Step One. Blocks of Light.

Step Two: Using light to define shapes.

Step Two: Using light to define shapes.

Step Four (through however many it takes): Add more lighting details in layer upon layer until done.

Step Four (through however many it takes): Add more lighting details in layer upon layer until done.





Guest Post: The Sweet Lindy Dale

January 25th, 2013 • by Karen A. Chase • 1 Comment

My guest blogger today comes all the way from Australia! Lindy Dale is an author of Chick Lit and paranormal romance (wow). After writing books for ten years, she recently went through a brand redevelopment for her books and author platform. So grab some coffee or chocolate, curl up and read on…


When I first started out, I had a homemade cover and a book. No website, no blog, Facebook Page or Twitter accounts. It didn’t take long for me to realize that if I wanted to be noticed, I was going to have to do something more. If I wanted to be regarded as a professional I had to have a professional look– not some tacky thing that screamed “DIY”. That’s where branding came in.

The first step was to define myself.  Okay. I’m a Chick Lit and Women’s Fiction (WF) author. My Chick Lit runs to the humorous side and my WF is often sadder. The common thread is love. Always love.

Next, I created a logo with a cute, fun caricature. You can see it on my Facebook page. It defines the type of book I write–fun, easy to read, happy endings. I carried this over to my website and blog.  I also changed my pen name from L.A. Dale to Lindy Dale to strengthen the Chick Lit theme–you don’t hear of many CL authors using initials. It’s a more personal, friendly genre.

Then late last year, I engaged a cover designer to redesign my covers to give them a cohesive look. The font and style will be the same, though there will be differences between the Chick Lit and WF that will instantly tell the reader what type of book they’re going to read.

The last stage has been the blog and this is a work in progress.  Instead of the hit and miss process I had before, it now has a structure with regular posts on topics chosen by my readers. It comes out weekly and is backed up by a newsletter of exclusive content only given to subscribers.

So what about you? Have you ever considered branding yourself?

You can find Lindy on her website, her Facebook and Twitter under @LA_DALE. Below is a screen snapshot of her oh so cute website redesign.



Guest Post: Kelly of Austen Hill

January 11th, 2013 • by Karen A. Chase • No Comments


Today’s fabulous guest is the lovely Kelly Fitzgerald, founder and creative voice behind the lifestyle blog Austen Hill, where she writes about fashion, design, travel, food and more. She created the site as an outlet to share things that inspire her, and she’s come to chat about how it all started. Kelly…

Take a Chance on Yourself
When I began Austen Hill I had no idea how hard it would be, but I had felt for some time that there was a burgeoning designer inside of me just waiting to get out. What did I want to design? I had no clue. I just knew I had all of this creative energy and I needed a way to channel it. Blogging seemed like a wonderful way to explore things that I loved, and also write a bit.

Step 1: What do I do well?
A lot of my friends have asked me to help them plan parties, re-decorate rooms, or pick out the perfect shade of gray. I soon realized I had a knack for designing, and I was never asked to run the final length of a relay race. So I can’t run very fast, but I can design the heck out of a tablescape.

Step 2: Find my style.
For those of you in the marketing world, you know brand is everything. Articulating my brand, or style, consistently ensures that my readers immediately identify Austen Hill. What is my style and why does it matter? I created my Pinterest Board  to get started and I always come back to it for inspiration and continuity.

Step 3: Drink a lot of wine!
It can be scary putting yourself out there. What if people don’t like what I’m doing? Through this experience I’ve learned to trust my design instincts and go for it. I took a chance on being myself and I’m so happy I did.

Check out her blog, AustenHill! Or visit the blog’s Facebook Page. Starting Monday, 14th, AustenHill will be holding a week-long give-away in conjunction with moi! If you like Paris and free books, this contest will be for you.

For her day job, Kelly travels the country working on health policy issues, but calls Richmond’s historic Church Hill home, where she lives with her dog Miss Austen. Below are a couple of her lovely pics from her blog, including an appetizer set-up in her living room, and a mood board she put together inspired by Les Misérable.

apps_Kellys copyLesMis