Sunday, March 31, 2013


Just a little furry fun on this holiday Sunday!

"Patches" 4x6 watercolor/acrylic on hot-pressed

If you celebrate the holiday, Happy Easter! If not, happy day-before-all-the-chocolate-bunnies-are-75%-off day!

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Big Reader

I just love books. If I'm not in the middle of a book, I feel off kilter. I probably read between three and six books a week (which really makes me wish I had a library that had any selection at all, rather than being the size of a public bathroom, but that's what you get for living in the country.) I have a kindle that I read all sorts of things on, but I admit to still loving the feel of a good, solid, heavy book. I especially love the old tomes that you simply never see anymore with their amazing bindings and covers that seem to be something of a lost art.

In the studio, I really wanted to do a full-size dragon, and a friend suggested one with multiple heads. However, I wanted to tackle a full grown dragon with just ONE head first, before I started complicating matters for myself. I didn't realize my dragon was going to be a book lover too, but as I worked through what I wanted him to be doing, I couldn't shake the books, and that resulted in this:

Before I layered in the background, I realized he wasn't quite fancy enough yet. So, I finished him off and then decided on a smokey rust background.

I should note that this is on the paper that ruined my elf painting. Since I figured out to treat the dragon scales as I did the peacock's feathers, I realized the rougher and absorbent surface might actually work to my advantage. Which is good, because losing a whole block of paper hurts my poor frugal heart just a bit! I am going to order the Fabriano for my fairy paintings, but until then, I still have this block staring at me. Mocking me.

I thought I'd be able to finish the dragon quickly, because the one in my previous painting snapped into place quickly once I figured out what I was doing. I realize now that the small amount of space it took up had something to do with the quick pace of painting, because a dragon that fits a 12 x 16" surface is not a wee small beastie!

Getting the face done helped. It's my connection point with a piece, the face. I know many artists put off the face until the end, but without the eyes to look into I feel a bit lost. I did have some help, a color consultant... but he's a bit of a diva:

Figuring out the armoring scales on the front of the dragon felt good too, once I hit on how I wanted them to look.

And then he was done:

"Lire" 12x16" acrylic watercolor on hot-pressed paper.

I have to tell you that I flat out LOVE him. And it is a him, as I think a female would have a more slender snout than this handsome fellow. The entire dragon is done in iridescent paints, and it shifts and glitters in the light like it's moving just a bit. Makes it tricky for a picture, but in person? I wasn't even sure I was going to put it up for sale because I like it so much (I did, but it was a close one.) Interestingly, I accidentally flipped it black and white when I was editing the print file, and it turns out those iridescent paints work beautifully for this purpose. You can see all the brushstrokes, and how detailed it actually is when turned like this. I liked it so much that I polished it up and released it as a print option as well:

"Lire" in black and white, print only.

I've managed to come to a resting, breathing point which is nice. I have been working hard, flat out, for several weeks now. More things are stirring too - I'm starting a new company! Art based, I just filed my LLC papers. I'm not losing my current one either, but it's something new. Something more, that I'll be excited to share more about when I can.

Busy busy busy! And now I'm taking stock of things. I know I need to run full tilt into Alice. Alice needs to be finished, as she's gone on far too long, and I'm not even sure I'm half way with her. I have the Cheshire Cat in progress, but there is much further to go. Red queen, Jabberwocky, Alice herself.  Yes, I believe an "Alice Binge" is on the horizon for me!

Easter is this weekend, and every year I have planned to do Ukrainian Easter eggs, and just never manage to get the kits together. This year, not only did I not manage to get the kits together, I didn't even pull out any of my silly Easter decor either. No eggs hanging on trees, nada. Some days, I have been working so hard that I am ashamed to admit that I have often forgotten all manner of basic human chores. *sigh*

But I'll leave you with a picture I took last year of myself, and the wishes for a happy weekend for you all - whether you celebrate the holiday or not!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Making Up

Last night, we had family movie night. We don't really enjoy going to the theaters any more because of many things (people are exceptionally rude to the point that it causes simmering anger just to sit there, the seats are uncomfortable, it's a long drive to get there, it's seriously over priced, etc.) Luckily, my husband loves his toys and we have a large screen with surround sound, a fluffy couch, comfortable PJ's and more. We had a make your own pizza night, my parents came over, and we were all finally able to see The Hobbit!

Well, I should say "most of it" because both my husband, my daughter and I fell asleep at different parts. Now, this wasn't because of the movie. No, our dozing episodes had a great deal more to do with the time when the movie finally got started and some very full bellies while snuggled down all warm and comfy together. We're going to watch it again later today. My son, who didn't fall asleep, LOVED it, and wants to watch it more than once today (which is overkill, once should be plenty!)

After murdering that painting a couple days ago, I started that other one quickly to make up for it - and I finished it:

"Malvina" 9x12" watercolor on paper

It's fascinating how a face and body takes so little time compared to hair. Good grief, there are only about 3-4 layers on the body, but well into the double digits on the hair! Another thing I find fascinating is that I remember hearing that pretty much everyone in real life has every color of hair on their head, and that their hair color is determined by which one shows up in a dominate amount. I'm finding that to be a true statement when it comes to painting hair. In order to give it depth, no matter which color you choose, you're going to end up using all of them and just leaning heavily on one in particular to make the overall color.

I used iridescent paints again (I just don't think I'll ever be able to stop) on the hair and the dragon. The best thing about this painting is the dragon, because I had a little breakthrough of sorts: I started painting the body like I did the peacock's feathers from My Steed.

I started thinking to myself how short feathers and scales don't look remarkably different, and I think I actually heard the "click!"  I really feel like I improved my dragon so considerably that I am planning on doing a full sized one today (sketching it out anyhow!) Now all I have to decide is how I want him to be, exactly. I also have thought since this technique is rougher, perhaps that paper that let me down and killed my painting from before would actually work for this? I don't want to kill another painting though! Hmm....

Friday, March 22, 2013


I killed a painting today.

This one:

Actually, if you click on the picture and make it huge, you can see how rough it was. Really, the death of this one was due to materials malfunction. I'm working on hot-pressed, and it just started falling apart. I've had problems with this brand (Laquarelle) anyway with shedding, and then I switched masking to a different bottle, and when I pulled the masking off, it just... well, it's almost like it unraveled the top of the paper. As if the hot-pressed part of the surface that kept everything together simply broke.

I worked hard to salvage her face, and it was OK, as you can see in the picture. But when I got down to her bodice and skirts? The problem wasn't something that could be worked through. It all looked rough and muddy, and... ARGH!

I paced the kitchen. I ate a waffle (I'm a stress eater.) I cussed at it. Several times.

Finally, I realized that it is better to let it go - even though I've put a lot of hours into it already. It's better to let it go now, cut my losses now, than it is to keep working and complete at BEST a mediocre piece that I'd be embarrassed to sell.

So, I stopped. It's now among the collection in my daughter's (14 yr old) room, because she has been fishing out all my rejects from the trash and keeping them. I'm not sure why, but I'll let her.

So, this painting is dead. Which makes me really mad. I have my shopping cart all set up with Fabriano blocks (unless you all have a better brand suggestion for a smooth, non-shedding hot-pressed?) and I'm just waiting for a good coupon/sale to come up so I can order.

I did sketch out something fast on my other block which is still OK. I felt like I had to make up for this. I need to do something to erase this mistake!

The upside is that while I know this failure-block (different from the one currently in progress) won't work for future paintings, it will on sketches. I have had several people ask me to just finish out the sketch in pencil, that they'd like to see something like that. So, I'm going to give that a go. A solution to my murderous circumstance, such as it is!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Precious

I finished one of my watercolors I had been working on, and I decided to call it "My Precious". This may, or may not have been influenced by the fact that I had Lord of the Rings going on in the background. *ahem*

"My Precious" 9x12 watercolor on paper

I really love how she turned out. I think she's my favorite so far!

I still have my elf with her fancy dress to finish and then I'll have two for the week! I think it's doable! And then, maybe, I'll give the kitchen table back to the family. Maybe.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Working, working, working

So, I didn't get to my Video Monday again. Honestly? Minus doing a show and tell, or introducing you to the family pets, I can't quite figure out what would be interesting to talk about!

I'm in an argument with the canvas of the girl and the dragon in the woods. I'm not sure if it's salvageable or not. That's always tricky, don't you think? When to decide that a painting is doomed and to let it die an honorable death, or to keep beating away at it and see if you can pull it out of the nosedive by the end? Tricky, tricky.

While that canvas is going poorly, the Cheshire cat is doing fine, but I was so mad at the other canvas that I left my studio in a huff and snagged my watercolor blocks and sketched out two pieces during a rather weird and energetic bout of insomnia. I'm a natural night owl, living in an early bird world, so I've long been forcing myself up at 5:45 AM (to exercise), and then dropping for an awful nights' sleep around 11PM. However, if my body had its way, I would be up until 2AM, and sleep wonderfully until about 10AM. That makes me energetic and happy, but it just isn't possible (I have plans to try living my normal again once the kids are off to college, but that still leaves me with about eight years to go. *yawn*)

So, imagine my surprise when I couldn't sleep and instead worked well into the night, finally dropping off at just shy of 3AM, and then popping back up around 6AM with no alarm and quite awake. Awake enough to work, and go for a run, and clean. That's not normal for me, at all. Whatever it is that got into me? I need more of that. Well, sleeping normally would be nice, but I haven't felt that energetic in... a decade?

Now I'm back to my normal *yawn* exhausted self. Phooey!

I sketched these two out:
This one is actually mostly full length, I don't know why I snapped the photo so close. It's a larger painting.

Layered in the backgrounds (I don't know why I love the floating orbs so much, but I really do. I can't seem to help it, I just have to have them in my fairytale watercolors right now!):

And then I started working. I took a wrong turn with the purple elf, and I thought I had killed it. But, after long hours working away tonight, I somehow managed to pull her out of a nosedive.

I've taken over the kitchen table again. I figure if I do it often enough, eventually I'll get a bigger studio.  (Yes, wishful thinking. I know.)

She's a bit rough, and I think it's due to this paper that I've been frustrated with (the shedding) and the masking, which seems to have roughened it further and actually made it more absorbent. GAH!  Anyway, I don't hate her, and now all I have to do is her gown. I'm torn between blue, or silver. Or a silvery blue:

I also made good progress on the other one, and I have to say she is turning out to be one of my absolute favorites:

So that's where I've been for a week. Not sleeping well, in a fight with inanimate objects, and taking the kitchen table hostage!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Video Tuesday!

Hi everyone! I managed to get my Video Monday done... a day late. I debated doing it at all, but I decided to get one in super-fast. So, here it is! (OH, and you get to meet my cat, Socrates in it. Before you ask: he's 22 lbs, and I'm pretty sure he's bigger in person.)

A better shot of Socrates:

A better shot of the canvases I'm working on this week:

Two in progress pieces. The dragon and girl (fairy? not sure yet) is 16x20", and the Cheshire Cat is 8x16", both on stretched canvas. I went a little heavier than normal with my pencil on my girl, I think I was getting frustrated. At least I can be a bit more imprecise when on canvas because of the heavier paint. Every stroke doesn't count against you like it does in watercolor. I'm finding it a bit tricky switching between watercolor and traditional painting. I'll be fine once I shake the kinks out!

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I'm really tired this weekend, although I'm not sure why. My plans were to sleep in today, because it's Saturday! If ever there was a day to sleep in, Saturday is it! Unfortunately, my husband has not mastered the task of muting his cellphone on the weekends. Worse, whenever he receives an email it "beams in" with the sound from Star Trek. So, something beamed in around 6 AM. I seriously considered tossing his phone out the window, but I didn't. Aren't I nice? *wink*

I finished my last piece for Thrice Magazine:

"Rachis" 9x12 Acrylic on Stretched Canvas

I really like this one, and how it turned out. Again, it's my take (and twist) for a story (by someone else) in the upcoming issue. However, I like this as a standalone piece as well. I don't want to illustrate a story, I like to express a feeling - so I like this painting without any background included as well, which is good!

Now, I'm staring at the calendar and worried about my deadlines. I can't believe we're this far into March already! I have a lot of goals this month, but I missed two deadlines this week - entirely my own fault and glitches in personality (I procrastinated.)

So, I'm hoping for a rush of productivity that puts me back on course! I wish there were a magical spell for that or something...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Oh, Hello!

I missed video Monday, I know. Stuff was a'happenin'! Life sometimes gets in the way, or all over the place. One of those, or both. I'll have a video this coming Monday, and we'll just pretend this last one didn't happen!

I've been busy working on several projects, as well as playing with my Zazzle store (where I made a new banner and desperately tried to organize it... which isn't going well. I'll figure it out eventually), and more. Businessy type stuff. I did paint a few things though:

"Teremaire" 4x6" watercolor on paper.
I finished this little hatchling last night as the second in my 6-dragon-hatchling series. I really like him, and he's iridescent too (gold) and is so shiny in the right light!

I thought I had several Fabriano blocks, but I didn't. So, when the new blocks showed up, I decided to just outright play and see if the flow was any different (it's not, really - but the shedding is less, which I do like and the hot-pressed is smoother than the other hot-pressed):

"Blink" 5x7 watercolor on paper

And then I've been working on stuff for Thrice Magazine. I've finished two and I'm in the middle of a bigger one right now, but I'm almost done. But, here's one of the finished pieces:

"Juice" 5x5 acrylic on canvas panel.

Once I finish the bigger one for Thrice, then I'll be off and running with a couple other projects. I think I've decided to go with a girl (maybe a fairy, maybe just a girl) meeting a little dragon, but instead of using watercolors, I was thinking of switching it to canvas for this one. Hmmm. Not sure yet, but I want to get it done quickly, so either way will be a lot of work because it's going to be much bigger (16x20, if on canvas - or 12x16 on paper.) I also have Cheshire Cat plans, and I was uncertain whether to start him or this. My schedule is all messed up for this month, and I'm desperately trying to get it back on track!

Friday, March 1, 2013


I used to just love Fridays! Working hard all week, Friday was the signal that the party (and sleeping in) was about to start! Now it's a signal that my workspace will be invaded and focus will be impossible until Monday.

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I think Mondays are becoming my new Friday? They still have that "Monday Stigma" that lurks around the edges, though. So, maybe not. Perhaps having a career doing what you love means defining a new way of looking at the week altogether. I'll have to think on that a bit more.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes! I had much chocolate cake. Much. As in, I'll be running marathons for the rest of my life to work off what I ate, and I already needed to lose 50lbs so I didn't do myself any favors, much. But it was really good.

Well, it's March. And it's muddy. Muddy March. Blecht. It's bad enough, that I'm starting to contemplate mud as a possible medium to work in. I mean, if it's going to be everywhere, there's got to be something I can do with it! I have a potter's wheel somewhere...

I finished my latest fairy painting:

"Alina" 9x12" watercolor on hotpressed paper.
I really love how she came out. Her wings went a little wrong at first because the blue didn't seem right, but then I layered in the shadows and the blue has this deep undertone in it that I just love, and it suddenly worked!

And now I'm working hard on some pieces for Thrice Magazine, (which they may or may not use, and are not illustrative, but inspired by the stories I am given for the upcoming issue) and are in the abstract or surreal realm of my art. It's a jarring switch from fairies to fractured, and because of that I'm trying to get them all done at once... I don't have much time anyway, so that's probably a good thing.

I finished the first little one yesterday:

"Feather" 4x6" acrylic on canvas panel

I have three more (two small, one larger) to go.

I'm struggling a little bit though, because I really want to continue on with my fairies (and have deadlines involving them as well.) I have a fairy and dragon all planned out that I'm going to switch to either oils or acrylics on a 16x20" stretched canvas for, and I really want to get going on it. But while I work in different styles, I can't switch back and forth between the two at the same time. It's too hard, for some reason.

Well, anyway. I'm down to my last "to-do" for today because it's the start of March. I need to get my calendar all laid out with my map for the month structured in it, so I know what the heck I am working on! You wouldn't believe it, but it really helped push me last month to stay on target with my goals for my work. So, here's hoping March doesn't look insane once I plug it all in! *crossing fingers*