Meet Mary H. Case

July 20, 2015

One of the first things I jumped in helping with once I started working at Biscuit was an upcoming artist collaboration. When Bailey's farm house was featured in the April 2015 issue of Country Living Magazine, the painted longhorn piece above the fireplace mantel received a good amount of attention and excitement. No one was more excited than the local Houston-artist, Mary H. Case, who up until she started receiving emails from interested customers, didn't even know one of her original works ended up on the glossy pages of Country Living. Mary reached out to Bailey to graciously thank her for the buzz the original piece had garnered and from there a relationship bloomed with Biscuit.

Everyone was interested in working together again and after comparing notes with Mary and bouncing a few ideas back and fourth about how we could make her art more accessible to interested fans, we landed on a clear collaboration.

Mary has always sold her pieces in the form of originals - a great thing when she has works available to buy, but a tough reality thing when you're wanting a specific piece or the instant gratification that comes with purchasing a print. We at Biscuit are really excited that we got to work with Mary to produce exclusive giclée prints and a limited edition glass tray that feature her sought-after longhorns - available through Biscuit and Mary's online shop. What we love most about the drawings are how straight forward and beautiful they are…they strike a balance of clean and bold; the contrast between the elegance of the sepia ink lines used along side the contemporary composition of the masculine subject matter makes each piece striking and special. Because we want everyone to know a little bit more about Mary H. Case as an artist, her process, inspiration, and techniques, I did a Q+A session with her that I hope you all enjoy!

 

Q: I think the most common question I love to ask artists like yourself is, “How did you get started?”
A: I remember when I was young that my favorite books where ones with artwork. I studied them as a child. I’ve also been fond of line/mark-making – I even considered my 3rd grade cursive lessons to be “fun.” My first experience with fine art making came from the classes I took in high school. That led to getting a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. My love of painting techniques led me to do murals in homes and  faux finishing while I kept my hand in a smaller body of personal work. When moving to The Woodlands (just outside of Houston, TX)  I transitioned exclusively into creating and selling fine art.

Q: Talk to me about the pieces you do with animals – they seem to be a favorite of your fans and Biscuit Home.
A: Drawing is my immediate reaction to the world around me (and I would say this body of work is drawing). Since the beginning of time man drew man first, then turned to the animal. Along these lines I enjoy drawing figures but definitely have developed an affinity for drawing animals, starting back in art school days.  After moving to The Woodlands I visited the Houston Zoo and did a series of drawings based on the animals there. That led me to drawing farm animals…and then I got hooked on longhorns. (no pun intended)

Q: Yes! Bring me up to speed on how longhorns became such a focus of yours?
A: Texas Longhorns are a special kind of cattle and I’ve come to see them as beautifully built animals. Aside from finding them visually enjoyable, I like that they have an interesting history intertwined with economics. The cattle came from a blend of Spanish and English stock brought to Texas in the early 1800’s. After the Civil War millions were driven to market in a boom but faced extinction eventually due to the several factors one being change from free range land to fenced properties and the need for different qualities in cattle on these ranches.  They are still today a more lean, tough breed and also represent a part of history treasured by many ranchers. The massive horns can make them appear dangerous to each other but they have such an awareness of their horns and body size – the way they are able to move is really incredible. My cousin owns some longhorns and I’ve been lucky to observe them. I just love them and they are my current muse.

Q: Your longhorn pieces each have a unique feel to them. How do you work accomplish that when representing the same animal over and over?
A: You could say that I like to “obsess” over a subject matter. I enjoy working the same subject (in this case, the longhorn) over and over. It’s important as an artist to push the work around with technique and represent them in different ways while keeping the subject the same.

Q: Let’s talk about your medium and techniques with the longhorn pieces…
A: I use varied medium to draw but a favorite is sepia ink. My technique is a cross between drawing and painting. I use fountain pens, reed pens, a variety of brushes depending on if the piece in process is going to focus on subjects represented by tonal values, contour lines or both. The sepia ink adds warmth and the dried puddles lend spontaneity. The pen brings back some control. Sometimes I have a general picture of a piece in my mind and other times it’s spontaneous and a surprise. Not every piece makes it!  It’s exciting when I end up with a successful piece.

Q: You mention that when drawing the longhorns a piece will either focus on being done with tonal values or contour lines – can you speak to that difference a little bit more?
A: My Bocelli and 29 Head giclée prints are examples of works done with tonal values. Texas Longhorns are known for their diverse coloring and many have beautiful markings and spots…you can see in both those pieces that I’ve put a good amount of details in the work, taking artistic license to place longhorns with contrasting and complimentary coats in various spots and highlighting certain parts of the animal. Longhorns like what you see on the glass tray and in the giclée prints Field Store Muster and Napoleon are less detailed but defined by contour lines that vary in ink hues and line quality. I should mention a fun fact: Bocelli and Napoleon are the actual names of two of my cousin’s longhorns!

Q: I love the names! And I really love how you have taken the Texas Longhorn – an animal that sparks a combination of recognition and symbolism – and elevated it to become something beautiful and unique. 
A: Thank you! My hope is that my prints can be appreciated and by people who have a love of art, animals, or both – longhorns might be a symbol of Texas but that doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed by all.

Shop the pieces from the collaboration here!

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Dresses by Dawn Wolfe Designs

July 31, 2014

With a move in the very near future, I feel like I am constantly browsing the internet for various home pieces my fiancé and I still need. He keeps having to remind me that we only need to buy the "necessities," but can't everything be seen as necessary? For instance a dining table and chairs. I guess we could eat on the sofa for awhile? Its hard to know what we should place a top priority on and what we should save to put on our Christmas Lists. I am also basically going to be moving in "sight unseen," which makes it even harder to know what we need when I hardly even know the space that we are working with! Crazy, right?

 

One Kings Lane is one of my regular haunts and can have some pretty good pieces. Most especially, in my opinion, artwork. They sell so many amazing pieces by artists that I have grown to know and love including; Sarah Boyts YoderMichelle ArmasLisa Golightly, and Slim Aarons. Its a mecca for art I tell ya! Also among those is Dawn WolfeDawn uses handmade papers or papers she finds and gives them new life by folding or cutting them to create something different and eye catching.

Funny enough, two summers ago (almost to the day!) when R and I visited Breckenridge for the Fourth of July, the art fair was going on and we happened to walk through it one day with my uncle. What caught my attention the most? These darling little dresses – think baby sized – that we’re made from maps. The dresses we’re perfect and featured fan folded skirts and darling rounded peter pan-like collars – I am drawn to art pieces that are “3-D” and these we’re just that. Imagine my surprise when 2 years later I am browsing One Kings Lane and come across these same dresses and at a time when I am actually in need of art to outfit a new apartment. Pretty exciting, really. Tiny, framed dresses made from beautiful and colorful maps and papers – you can always find room for those, right? The teacher in me realllyyy wants to make the “Penmanship” version mine, but I also love this one and this one, too. How great would these be in a nursery, too? Talk about an “investment piece.” Think I can talk my fiancé into one? Or two?

(Images via One Kings Lane)

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The Big Love Ball

July 9, 2014

Ever since the Fourth of July weekend ended, I literally have not had one good nights sleep. I have tried using Melatonin and Magnesium, but haven’t had much luck. My fiance has become accustomed to 2 and 4am emails from me with all sorts of random things and information. Apartments I’ve found for us to look at in San Francisco, or my recent discovery through the black hole of Instagram – Big Love Ball. At least good things are coming out of these sleepless nights, right? Obviously, initially it was the photos that pulled me in to the Big Love Ball…

Ever since the Fourth of July weekend ended, I literally have not had one good nights sleep. I have tried using Melatonin and Magnesium, but haven’t had much luck. My fiance has become accustomed to 2 and 4am emails from me with all sorts of random things and information. Apartments I’ve found for us to look at in San Francisco, or my recent discovery through the black hole of Instagram – Big Love Ball. At least good things are coming out of these sleepless nights, right?

Obviously, initially it was the photos that pulled me in to the Big Love Ball concept. Lifestyle pictures of people with one (or five) Big Love Balls, photos of the ball as actual art in a home, or photos of couples with the ball – there were no limits. Big Love Ball was created by Canadian Designer, Wendy Williams Watt and was first displayed in the window of Grace Studio in Vancouver to “spark dialogue within the community.” How. Cool.

“In a culture ready for lightness and love, Big Love Ball was overwhelmingly embraced. Playful hearts far and wide can now create moments with their very own Big Love Ball. It brings people together to say ‘I am. I’m in. I do.’ Our intention is to send Big Love Balls to places we’ve never been, events we cannot attend and to friends we’ve never met. We want to charm, disarm, honor and i n c l u d e the many people in the world who celebrate LOVE.”

How can you not appreciate the intentions of the company? The simplicity and ability of the ball to be completely open to ones own interpretation is what has totally drawn me in. My fiance obviously felt the same way because his text the next morning said, “How can we use it?”

(All images via the Big Love Ball Photo Collection)

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Drawbertson X Crewcuts

July 2, 2014

 Drip Tee // Cupcake Tee // Besties Tee Donald Robertson – he’s a dad to five (two of which are adorable infant twin boys), Creative Director at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, and Instagram-famous fashion illustrator. If you don’t know him yet that’s okay…but I have a feeling he will be a household name before long. I can’t even tell you how I found his Instagram account but I spent a good hour going through the @donalddrawbertson archive of snaps – obsessing over his witty art that feature materials like colorful duct tape and cereal boxes, chucking about his hashtags, and wondering howwww he has so much artistic talent.…

 Drip Tee // Cupcake Tee // Besties Tee

Donald Robertson – he’s a dad to five (two of which are adorable infant twin boys), Creative Director at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, and Instagram-famous fashion illustrator. If you don’t know him yet that’s okay…but I have a feeling he will be a household name before long. I can’t even tell you how I found his Instagram account but I spent a good hour going through the @donalddrawbertson archive of snaps – obsessing over his witty art that feature materials like colorful duct tape and cereal boxes, chucking about his hashtags, and wondering howwww he has so much artistic talent. I want to be his stalker friend and I really want to get my hands on some of his work.

Since Mr. Drawbertson is a hot commodity these days with more collaborations and partnerships that I can keep up with, I’m thinking that his work is not so easy to come by. Maybe I can just get one of the adorable t-shirts he designed for Crewcuts and frame it? The #wearthecupcake tee is especially calling to me. I applaud Jenna and company for putting Donald’s fanciful and fun illustrations to good use but why couldn’t they have gotten him to do the same in adult sizes? Maybe this fall… Check out the Q+A J.Crew did with Donald on their blog! And if you want to know even more, take a look at these write-ups: Bobbi Brown BlogVanity Fair, New York PostTory Burch Blog, and Elle Decor. #obsessed

(Donald Robertson for Crewcuts T-Shirts // All artwork via @donalddrawbertson)

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HMK Perfect Personalization

June 5, 2014

The two of us always joke that Sally’s main love language is gift giving because there is literally nothing she loves more than thinking of unique presents for the people in our lives. It’s less about the material act of giving and much more about showing people how special she thinks they are. We both have a weakness for showering our two favorite little people with love and gifts – Bailey’s babies Grace (two and a half years old) and Harry (four months old) are like our pseudo niece and nephew and we jumped at the opportunity to give them some…

The two of us always joke that Sally’s main love language is gift giving because there is literally nothing she loves more than thinking of unique presents for the people in our lives. It’s less about the material act of giving and much more about showing people how special she thinks they are. We both have a weakness for showering our two favorite little people with love and gifts – Bailey’s babies Grace (two and a half years old) and Harry (four months old) are like our pseudo niece and nephew and we jumped at the opportunity to give them some personalized pieces from HMK.

You might remember the post we did about the gifts we found for Mother’s Day at HMK…similar to our first time at the HMK store in Southlake Town Square, our second visit brought warm snicker doodle cookies (a store signature to snack on while you shop!) and personal attention. The store HMK Specialists helped us choose a customized book for Grace and a monogrammed onesie for Harry. They had multiple story books that could be personalized with a child’s name, hair color and style, eye color, and skin color – we picked the ballerina book for Grace since she will be starting her own ballet classes this fall. The HMK Southlake store features several local designers and 3 Marthas is one of them. Started by Abby Davis, Juli Dewar and Rachel Furguson, the company makes darling baby clothing and accessories. We picked out a sailboat onesie and got Harry’s name embroidered on the front. Both the hardback book and onesie were customized in less than an hour and ready to be wrapped for us to take home!

One of the most special offerings HMK has are their handcrafted silhouettes. The two of us planned ahead and asked Bailey for profile snaps of both Grace and Harry so they could be sent to the store and then off to Kansas City where a Halmark artist took the photos and created a hand-cut silhouettes. The silhouettes were then sent back to the store and waiting for us to pick out frames upon our visit.

We had a little too much fun picking out the gifts but the best part was watching Grace and Bailey unwrap them. G was completely enamored with her book and kept saying, “That’s me!” Although Harry’s too little to fully appreciate his personalized ensemble, Grace helped unwrap it and Bailey loved it. By far the biggest hit were the silhouettes – the two pieces so resemble Harry and Grace and made for such timeless and sentimental presents.

If your interested in creating your own personalized items with HMK we suggest stopping by their Southlake or Kansas City store locations if they’re near you or contacting the stores to place orders over the phone. You can learn more about the custom services they offer here!

Images taken by MBM for A Piece of Toast // This post was brought to you by HMK!

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