Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Feliz Día de los Muertos

     Have you seen the movie "Coco"? I had never paid much attention to the holiday "el día de los muertos" prior to seeing it. I thought it was simply a Mexican angle on Halloween with prettier skulls. But, it's so much more wonderful than that. El Día de los Muertos is not scary, it's beautiful. It's a day (or rather a couple of days - Oct. 31 to Nov. 2) to honor, remember and celebrate the lives of friends and family members who have died. The characters in the movie invite the spirits of their loved ones into their homes for a yearly visit and they prepare by setting out photos and the favorite foods of those loved ones. The movie is not only touching but visually spectacular! Click the link below for a peek.

On Monday morning I took a long look at a Halloween decoration I've had for over 20 years:

By early afternoon it was all gussied up and happily celebrating a new holiday, honoring the people in my life who came before, and those I've loved and lost.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Boy oh boy, have I caught the paper craft bug! After all that experience this summer with paper flowers I just couldn't stop so I moved on to this. Here's a link to a youtube video showing how to do that glorious large snowflake on the left - large snowflake 

Quilling is an art form that has always fascinated me. If you google images you will find some incredible pieces of artwork.

To make it easy here's a few samples by artist Sena Runa and a link to her website:

I want to be able to do this when I grow up.

I borrowed a couple of quilling books from the library and for only $15 bought a quilling start up set on Amazon. Here's one of the books I borrowed "Quilling Art", along with what $15 bought me 
(there was also a little glue bottle that didn't make it into the photo):

By the way, "Quilling Art" has the instructions for the other type of snowflake at the top of the page.

I'm also planning to try my hand at some book making. Today I'll be throwing acrylics around to make some decorative papers used in that process. 

I haven't stopped painting. The following piece was another study that I shared here several weeks ago. Like last week's post, I decided to finish this one up too. No sense in having a bunch of studies hanging around my studio staring at me. (Literally in this case).

Mardi Gras Vase - 12"x18" acrylic on illustration board.

See you next Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Fiori Isabella (again)

8"x10" oil on canvas

In 2013 my step-daughter and her then fiancé shared their love of travel with the family and invited us to a destination wedding in Florence, Italy. It was one of the most amazing and inspiring weeks of my life! I took a ton of photos that I've been using over the last five years and, including my 2"x3" miniature paintings, I've done over 20 pieces! 

One of the first ones I did was Fiori Isabella:

It remains one of my all time favorites. It was 16"x 20" (I think). I'm both happy and sad to say that it sold back in 2014. 

Before I painted it I did a small 8"x10" acrylic study that looked like this:

It has been hanging around my studio, not polished enough (in my opinion) to sell, but too nice to throw away. A couple of weeks ago I started doing something about that. I began applying oil paints over the top and here's what it looked like after the first day:

And after a couple more days:

I kept going a little here and there until I ended up with the image at the top of the page. So, that little study is not simply hanging around my studio anymore. It's almost ready to varnish and it's up for sale in my store. Here, by the way is a link to that store:

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Pinocchio and Friend

5"x7" oil on clayboard

A 5"x7" is so much more fun for me than large pieces.  I wanted to set up a quick composition with these two masks (souvenirs from Italy) and paint from life with no photo reference but I chose to be looking straight down on them and it was difficult to paint from that angle. Not to mention the fact that it was a dark room with one spotlight light source. So, this ended up being painted (mostly) from my photo reference.

Here's the first step, in acrylics:

And one more step after I began to apply the oils:

I'm still working on the mask I started making of my son, but I'm so happy with the way it's turning out that I think he's getting it for Christmas. Haha! I'll share the results after the holidays. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Happy October!

My favorite month of the year!

I have skipped two weeks on my blog. (Shame on me, shame on me.) However, I have not been lazy. (Well, okay, a little lazy but not entirely, worthlessly lazy.) I switched gears for a while and concentrated on a short story idea. The first draft is done and marinating in a dark drawer for a few weeks before I get it out and edit it to shreds, then, hopefully, end up with something really cool. 

I finished my Halloween tree! I ended up covering the styrofoam cone with artificial leaves from an old garland that had seen better days. I pinned on my homemade paper flowers and then some buttons and baubles from JoAnn Fabrics. Here's what it looks like on my mantle:

I also pulled back out my manuscript for "Serenity" (a children's book idea that I've been working on little by little for quite some time) and played around some more.

I went from this - a digital piece done over a year ago:

to this - done in acrylic:

I wanted Serenity to be more of a toddler, and when I finally do this thing (putting the book together) I want the freshness and energy of real paint. I think my final composition lies somewhere between these two pieces. In the meantime, I'll keep on sketching and working it out.

By the way - the pumpkin at the top of the page is an oil painting from my Serenity file.

I'm also still working on the mask of my son, I started another 5"x7" oil painting, and I'm trying to learn the art of quilling. If you're not familiar with quilling, stay in touch. I may have something to show you before the end of the month.

See! I've been doin' stuff.