Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Real Snow

This morning, I woke up to cold. Not chilly, but COLD! After I chased the children out the door to the bus (why I still have to do this at their age continues to baffle me), it started to snow. This is the first snow, with big fluffy flakes, that I have seen in a very long time. We had a bizarre winter with almost no snow at all. Storms would come in and leave a hole over the state where it was too warm to snow or just flat out sunny blue skies. I missed snow so very much!

But today! Today it snowed! The flakes came down furiously for about 30 minutes, and then they eventually lightened up into sunny blue skies once again... but I saw them! I saw the snowflakes! It looked like winter! I curled up with a book in front of the fire and with my pumpkin spice tea while it was happening, and simply enjoyed it!

Once it was over, off to the studio I went. It was a shame it couldn't continue on all day!

It's funny how some paintings take a lot of time, and some take almost none (by comparison, anyway.) It's also interesting how a groove just takes over and that's all you want to do for a while. I'm well and truly in the holiday mood for painting, and I've managed to make these three little ones (I'm really enjoying the fast nature of the 3x5" canvas panel, even if they are rough as burlap):

"Snow wave" $30, Etsy

"Bendy" $30, Etsy

"Night Light" $30, Etsy

They're so little, it's a bit odd to finish so fast - as in an actual day, instead of MONTHS for a change! Sure, they still take several hours of work, but there's something about starting something in a day and finishing it in a day.

Also, it's a novel feeling to hold such a little, yet complete piece in the palm of my hand. For now, I really like it!

I'm also working on a commission piece, the one with the Irish theme? I couldn't figure out where to put the Celtic knot work in it (although I have a tree sketched out on the left, I might sneak it into the trunk):

Although, it's a bit too far to the left I think unless I get really tiny (and this is only a 6x6" anyway, so that's unlikely to happen, without testing my sanity.) We've got Irish castle ruins on the right, hills, tree, flowers, and picking clover. Her flower-basket won't be empty, I just didn't feel the need to plot it out.

I'm finding that at a certain age, girls become difficult to draw. It's easy to draw them as babies, toddlers, young children, late teens/adult. But that in-between stage when they're not so little anymore and yet not womanly yet either... tricky. Seriously tricky. I ended up having to scrap a canvas (well, set it aside for something else to cover it up) because of it. This one, well, she may end up looking a bit older than I'd like once she's painted in, but my hope is that won't happen. It's the plot-lines on the face that make her look a bit older right now (I'm aiming for the 9-10 range), and the expression, while looking peaceful (adultly sedate?) like that, I think with a blush can look younger as well. Still... tricky.

So I'm working on my Irish lass, and then switching to a bit a snow and sparkle, then back again! We've got a cold weather week in front of us, but it's unlikely to snow... still, a girl can hope!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

In the Season

I'm finally working on some snowy, holiday work! Yay! I love it! It's also just started spitting snow outside, so even better! Before Thanksgiving, I finished my first holiday painting of the season:
"Orb"5x7 Canvas Panel Normally a 5x7 would be $85, but I'm kicking off my holiday season with it on sale at Etsy only for $65 (incl. shipping US & Can). On my main website, it's the normal $85 price.

Then this morning I managed to finish a happy snowman and his little feathered friend:
"Snowbird"5x7 Canvas Panel$85 (inlc. shipping US&Can)
Zazzle merchandise is up too. I spent some hours this morning on that!

I had so much fun getting to paint these seasonal paintings, that I have two smaller ones in process right now. One will be a Christmas tree with a moon, and the other has a ball ornament and a pine cone together. They're small (3x5 or smaller, I need to measure...) so they're just fun! 

I've been struggling with listing paintings just on Etsy or just on my main website. I sell most of my paintings through my main website, but with these fast numbers I've been leaning more on Etsy. Unfortunately, I think that might leave some of my customers in the dark when I'm coming out with something quick and new. So, this morning I worked a little bit to put some of the Etsy minis up on my site, but I'm waffling on putting up the snowman on Etsy just yet. I don't know how some of the artists manage to get their stuff up consistently on so many sites. The time spent on that alone just boggles my mind!

I'm also working on learning Celtic knot-work (or relearning, I used to doodle in class... a lot. *ahem* But it's been almost 20 years since I was in High School, so it's been a while.) I have a commission with an Irish theme, and in addition to that it's my heritage on both my Scottish and Irish sides. I have a... need to start working some knot-work in. But! I have to relearn how to do them in the first place, and it's not easy.

I'm working on a clover right now, and I keep finding myself going a wee bit cross-eyed and losing track sometimes. It's there, my ability to do them, it's just rusty. Really rusty.

You can see where I went wrong easily in the top one. The bottom one is trickier, but it too isn't correct. Not all my over-unders went that way. Some of them went over-over-under and so on. *head*desk* But that's why I'm practicing, playing on notebook paper (I just got my hands on some graph paper, so that should help.)

Oh, and I just this past week received some pendants from my Zazzle store:

I had some extra credits to spend, and I thought what the heck? They're so pretty! I just didn't realize there were different sizes until they arrived. Anyway, I'm only sharing them because I thought they were cool (no matter who's artwork is on them.) I've been really impressed with Zazzle, especially considering my old experience with Cafe Press and feeling like CP's stuff was just so... cheap. My iPhone covers I ordered are simply fantastic (I did the Vibe cases), and I ordered postcards from several of my favorite artists on there and was impressed again. It's just nice  not to be let down!

I hope your week has been wonderful! Who's got something new on their easel?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Snowy Moods

I finished the little commission I was working on:

"Two Owl'Clock"
5x7 canvas panel, Acrylic

While it's sold, I set up some items through Zazzle with it on them (like cards'n'stuff.)

I have another commission I'm working on involving an Irish theme, but my head is completely in the snowy-mood (even though it's bright and sunny - if freezing - out!) With that in mind, I'm digging into more of the holiday decorations and today I'm tackling the main Christmas tree because there are some ornaments I want to use as inspiration for a few paintings... but I can't GET to them without going through everything, and if I'm going to do that, I might as well put the tree up! Plus we were able to get ahold of LED string lights this year (for two years running, they've been sold out every time I have tried to purchase some) and I'm dying to see how they look on our tree...

See how I just made putting up a Christmas tree a work-related activity? I know, you're marveling at my brilliance.

Well, it was brilliant right up until I remembered that there are 90-bajilliony pieces and stereo-type-instructions to get it together. I'm determined though... I have a holiday painting similar to the owl one I'm working on too. Moon, tree, and ornaments... I have the moon done so far, but I really just need to do a quick dive into a couple of these and then I can focus on other work again.

I think, deep down, I'm hoping it'll make it snow.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Playing Catch-up

I can't believe it's been a week since I've posted! I've had a lot of projects against a deadline hounding me, I've had a nasty cold, and my daughter is also in a school play (which means all our schedules have been completely dumped on their heads! Just last night I was sitting in my freezing car at 11:45PM waiting for rehearsal to get out so I could take her home. The poor girl was so tired, she was almost tearful this morning!)  Fortunately, it's show-weekend, so by Monday that part of the stress will be over!

I did get my finished Halloween Kittens up for sale...

on my main website: here, and prints starting at $17: here.

I also just finished another piece for the upcoming issue of THRICE Fiction Magazine. I can't just post a picture of it, because it is NOT work-safe. However, you can view it at the following link: here.

I'm working on a cute little commission right now of two owls in a tree:

And I realized that I'm simply dying to start painting snow, holiday type paintings. I was grumpy, working along, until I started painting that snow. Once I started, I felt my mood physically lift. I want to paint snow-stuff!

Queued up I have paintings of holiday ornaments, a snow queen, a Santa Claus, a snowman, and more! It's time! I've even started one that's similar to the owls, but in the branches I'm going to paint three ornaments. I haven't figured out which ones yet, but there will be three, and if I can make them shiny with iridescent paint - I will!

I've also started trying to learn how to sketch Celtic Knots. They're so linear that you can get a bit lost at times. I'm waiting on some graph paper and pencils, but I'm going to spend my doodling time on this right now so I can work some knot-work into some of my paintings (as well as possibly on another commission I'm still fleshing out a bit right now.)

Oh, and lastly, I've decided that if I can get my facebook page up to 300 likes, I'm going to give away a free 5x7 (acrylic, canvas panel) original in a drawing. Once I hit 300, anyone is eligible - I'll put the call out, and then have a random drawing to see who wins (they don't have to be new to the page.)

And that is where things are at! I'm in a Christmas mood, and just trying to keep up with my schedule! I hope everyone else is doing well!

Friday, November 9, 2012


Alright, I can finally share what I was up to with my watercolor pencils. I won't explain the backstory because it's personal to the recipient, but I'll leave it that she and her husband lost a member of their furry family.

I simply couldn't get the images out of my mind, and before I knew it I was pulling out my cold-pressed and my watercolor pencils and sketching away! I wanted to use the pencils because I thought I could bring a uniform look to the texture that way, but it backfired on me. It was even more rough in texture than I could have imagined (I should have gone with the hot-pressed, but it still has my Halloween witch on the block.)

I quickly grabbed my brushes and set to wetting the color and I ended up pleased with the results. While I like the hot-pressed smooth results, the cold-pressed texture gives a little bit of movement, a hint at it not being in stasis. 

This sweetie had the most perfect heart on her side that I have EVER seen on an animal. It wasn't subtle at all! So beautiful!

I definitely plan on exploring more projects with the watercolor pencils and both the hot and cold pressed. It's definitely a new avenue for me to explore!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kittens and Sketchbooks!

I finished my Halloween Kittens painting, but the daylight has been so low that even with my studio lighting I haven't been able to take print-worthy files of it. So, here is just a quick snapshot of the finished painting:

My grey kitten came out a little grumpy looking, but my husband thinks that's fine for a Halloween painting!

I also took a few snaps of a print of Tea Time I ordered, with the original before I shipped it out, so I could show what a print looks like in comparison:

Honestly, I really was quite thrilled with my print that showed up. It's relief to know that partnering with Fine Art America was the right move for my business!

My print gallery at FAA is here: http://kyra-wilson.artistwebsites.com/ 

For me personally, I haven't decided if I'm going to keep the print for myself or sell it as a signed copy... I'm leaning towards keeping it. I really fell in love with this painting. I'm so pleased the new owner loves it too, but I admit I miss it a little. It was such a long process!

Switching topics here, I have decided I'm going to pick up a bunch of sketchbooks. I stopped working with them when I shifted to selling everything, because it felt like I was wasting my time on work that wouldn't go anywhere. In other words, I forgot how to play! Shame on me!

I've been waffling back and forth over it, but I finally realized that I really want to do this for a couple of reasons. The first is that I need to develop (or decide whether or not to develop) a "type" for my people/women/girls characters that I paint. I have a developed style, but I've been wondering if perhaps there is more to discover as I am heading back towards painting people once again.

The second reason is that I want to work on my Celtic drawings, in particular knot-work. I used to play around and draw out knots when I was bored in school, but it's been so long. I have a strong Scottish and Irish heritage, there's something about it that just calls to me. I think it's about time I start answering!

I'm hoping having a goal with my sketchbooks, that it will allow me to start playing again. I want to stop worrying over making something that won't go anywhere (or worry that I'll put something fabulous down on a piece of paper that isn't archival!) It's time to play! (And yes, I owe it to all of you wonderful artists who shared your sketchbooks and reminded me what it was like to have one! Thank you!)

...so, who's got snow?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Yesterday, I found myself simply at loose ends. I woke up feeling off, and sort of fumbled about the house, reading, drinking tea, warming up in front of the fireplace... but not painting. It turns out I have a bit of a cold setting in, but I'm hoping it won't be a big thing. I'm shooting for "just annoying" and passing quickly!

It was also election day, and so I knew I had to head out and not only get my painting and print shipments out, but also stop in the town hall and vote. It doesn't matter what your politics are, if you know your history, you know what a big deal it is to be able to go and vote - and how cool it is that a little peon like me is worth just as much as the most successful person in the voting booth (although, I would imagine they have a much cooler car to drive off in! One that probably doesn't make that weird knocking-wobble sound which I'm certain is heralding my impending doom...)

See? I voted and got my sticker. Stickers are the best. I love stickers. I used to collect them when I was a kid on the back of my bedroom door. I have no where to put them now (my husband would frown on the whole door-thing), but I still like to get them! Stickers are just fun!

Anyway, knowing I had a bunch of errands to run also threw me off a bit. I paint a lot better knowing I don't have to be anywhere, than I do when I know I have to "stop at * time and get ready to leave." I think I fear getting into my groove and having to stop. It really is awful when that happens!

Once I returned home, I brought up a minion studio helper to hang out with me.

This is Chester. Isn't he just fabulously fluffy? (for those keeping count, we have 1 giant cat, 3 dogs, 2 rabbits, and 25 chickens. It'll get worse in the spring when we add geese and pheasant to the flock. My husband keeps lobbying for alpacas, and my daughter for horses, my son wants a pig, but I can barely keep track of what we have now!)

I was able to paint a bit more and actually made some progress for a relatively small window of time. I worked solely on my Halloween kitten painting because I really need to finish it. I managed to finish the sleeping kitten:

I'll add whiskers to him tomorrow, but other than that he's done.

But now I'm a bit stumped on what color to make the kitten in the boot. Originally he was to be grey, but I'm worried that will be too dark what with the hat and boot right there. The sleeping kitten ended up basically brown, even though it's meant to be black because it's just too dark to show proper values otherwise.

It's a bit blurry, sorry about that.

Maybe sticking with grey is the way to go. Hmmm... Well, anyway, I'm hoping for a more productive day today!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sleepy Studio

I ended up taking the weekend off to focus on the family, and so I thought I would be jumping right into studio work today. Instead? Well, I recently quit coffee (as in Saturday I quit - health reasons) and I found myself falling sleep and lacking motivation for most of the day.

I'm rather disappointed, because I'm finally down to working on the kittens in my Halloween painting:

I know it's blurry, sorry. The cell phone only does so much, it seems!

I finished the boot, and I really like the textures I achieved (in particular in the checkered areas.) Tomorrow, I'm planning much kitten-goodness.

I also did manage to finish a secret project which I hope to share in a few days... But until then I'll just say I played with watercolor pencils, thinking I would just use them like colored pencils on cold pressed, but I ended up wetting them to smooth out the values. I just don't like rough-choppy in my own work. I'm fine with it in other's, but on my own it drives me absolutely batty. I want smooth!

I have plans, once I finish the Halloween painting, and two commissions (which I'll post the sketches to soon), to start in on the backlog of holiday paintings. My kids took down our Halloween decor, and put up some of the winter holiday decor, and I'm simply dying to start painting those! Especially since I have some left unfinished from last year! It'll be good to paint with the season, and to clear out the backlog!

I'm also itching to work on an unfinished painting of my Alice, but I'm thinking she'll probably have to wait until the slower season in January. Clearly, there's never enough time - but that's complicated by the unexpected napping from the caffeine withdrawals!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I've been doing a lot of thinking about my studio space lately. It's been amazing to see other artists' spaces, and then to take a second look at my own. My studio space used to be in the basement, but I found the darkness a dreary and draining sort of heaviness that I couldn't stand, no matter how many lights I brought in. So, I ended up moving my studio into one of the bedrooms upstairs.

It originally was my daughter's old bedroom, and it used to be two different shades of Pepto Bismal pink. I'm sure you can imagine my panic need to paint it something else as quickly as possible! It's a very small room (about 9' x 10' at best) and thus any color on the walls can be problematic when painting, because they can change the tones of what I'm working on. I went with something just a touch off-white, to try to avoid the color refraction problem. I cannot tell you the relief I experienced when the vibrant pink was finally covered up! However, this is now the only room in my house with white walls. I'm simply addicted to color, so it's strange to think that where I work is the most lacking in it. Still, it seemed the only solution.

With such a small space, I tend to "leak" into the other areas of the house. I had recently set up my studio table in the family room to accommodate both my need to feel less isolated, and also have access to the television (I simply love shows playing while I work. It's hard for me to sit still and watch anything without finding most television shows annoying, but I can paint through them and follow the stories just fine!) I also had shipments working off the dining room table, and other canvases and prints stacked in other areas. My poor family was tiptoeing around my work, which seemed to have exploded into almost every area of the house!

I reorganized and cleaned up this week, pulling my studio back into my studio space. I have to be constantly vigilant with my space due to its size, otherwise my small space becomes a disaster area! It's all clean, but I'm realizing how... cold it all feels.

This is on the door:

A friendly face to greeeeeet you!
Several years ago, I helped with an elementary production of Alice in Wonderland (before I ever started my current series). I created the Cheshire Cat costume by painting this on fabric (which took forever, having not painted on unprimed fabric before, it was a multi-layer process), and it went on one child's chest. The costume took three kids, all dressed in black. The second had a black cylinder spiraled with bright teal fur, the third had painted legs, fur and tail on them. We set them up in a dark area with a black light on them, and it allowed the Cheshire to come apart or go back together, and really turned out very cool! I kept his face when we were through, although I'm not sure why. I just kind of like him. As I develop my Cheshire for my series, I expect him to be VERY different, but this one will always be my first!

Looking through the door (you can see how Lily has grown!  compared with the photo below?) She's still rambunctious at 6 months old, but she immediately settles down the moment we set foot in my studio. She's my studio dog!
Puppy Lily! Just for reference. 

Art table, brought back up and set up to look out at the mountains (it's a bit dark this morning!)
Without drying racks (or space for one), I've been using my walls. I hang paintings over every spare inch of space (away from my easel, because of the splashing) and I think that I hadn't noticed how barren everything was because I had so many hanging for the Alice show. Since I released them for sale and shipped everything out, suddenly everything is stark once again and I realize I don't like it. 

When I had envisioned my studio, I always thought about collecting things that I enjoy around me, and that inspire. Yet, I didn't do that. I'm not sure why. Space is certainly an issue. I've already proven I can fill up an entire house with my space needs! So bringing it down to such a small space makes it tricky. Maybe if I put in shelves, I can start collecting stuff. I also have a collection of work from other artists and some friends that I'd like to put up, to have around me. I have purchased prints and such, but haven't hung any because I can't figure out how to pull that off. 

In my head, I have a lovely cottage in the woods, with flowers blooming in boxes out the windows which are swung open to let the light in. There are bits of things on shelves and tables, sparkly finds, and more. There is room for everything. Drying racks, a table for shipping, a supply room, a sink. Cabinets, and fluffy chairs. 

Ahhh, some day, perhaps! (If you post or have posted a picture of your studio/workspace, I'd love to see it!)

In other news I didn't get my Halloween painting finished because I was pulling my studio back together and out of the rest of the house, but I did finally start in on the boot! Working on the checkered squares, I think I learned something that will help me go forward in acrylic painting with more speed... I hope. 

Current progress on Halloween kittens painting. 
I layered and then walked away. When I came back hours later, I realized I loved the effect. This is important because I'm a mixer. I want to smooth everything out to get it to work, and layering feels choppy. Yet, with something like acrylics where the drying time is dramatically different from oils, mixing is simply asking for a migraine. I do it, but I know this is what is holding up my progress and costing me so much time. I like the way the checkers came out. If I can sort of adapt to layering and being OK with the choppy nature of it, I may finally be able to speed up my own process. Wouldn't that be grand?

 I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween!