Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Dearest Deer

So here is my first ever deer painting. These will all be acrylic on stretched canvas. This one is for debrbts. Also in the mail by Saturday, I hope.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Calosoma Auropunctatum

Yup, there he is. This guy goes by several names: as seen above, calosoma auropunctatum; spitting ground beetle; and in Africa - oogpister, which roughly translates to "spits in your eye."

When these beetles feel threatened (which apparently they do quite easily), the turn around, lift up their back end and spray a noxious and painful chemical at you. Lovely, no?

But, what is lovely is this bug's exterior. He is gorgeous. Those spots on his back are actually pits coated in the most impressive copper/gold. Those pits sparkle and shine like nothing else. And depending on the direction of the light, they seem to change color - from a deep copper to a shiny green. Really incredible.

This painting is the result of The Artful Insect, which I took during RISD/CE's winter session with instructor and Natural Science Illustration Advisor, Amy Bartlett Wright. Amy is an amazing instructor and I loved every second of this class.

Amy brought in her own collection of over 500 insects (!) and let us each pick the one we wanted to draw. The second I saw this oogpister, I knew he was the one. It was love at first sight. We used binocular stereoscopic zoom microscopes and fiber optic lighting and over the course of 3 Saturdays (21 hours) drew and painted our new friends.

I learned so much and am very grateful that Amy let me borrow the bug so that when my new microscope arrives in a couple of days (!) I can add the finishing touches to my painting, like the tiny hairs on his legs.

Here's the technical stuff: 140lb Arches hot-pressed paper, and mostly Winsor Newton watercolor paints. I wish I could remember the mix I used for the warm brownish first wash, but I was just experimenting till I found the right shade. The black, however is the standard Alazarin Crimson mixed with Pthalo Green. For me, squeezing the paints into the well, mixing them together while all creamy and then adding enough water to make thin it out a bit works best.

The spots/pits were first painted with Twinkling H2o's (mustard green) because they have such a nice sparkle. But it was too dark, so Amy suggested creating highlights and adding depth by putting a swipe of white acrylic along the bottom of each pit, then when that dried, adding a bright yellow acrylic over the white. I couldn't believe what a huge effect that little bit of paint had.

His actual size is 10"x6".

I hope you like him.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Random Acts of Creativity - Found Art

This winter I found a wonderful tutorial on A Little Hut for making bowls out of magazine pages.

It takes some time to fold all those pages up, but I really enjoy the process. I can listen to NPR while I'm doing it, which is nice.

I made some as Christmas gifts, but still wanted to make more. I have so many magazines around the house and I hate to just throw them away. I tend to rip out recipes and craft ideas, so they wouldn't be good to pass on to anyone.

So, I decided to keep making them, whenever I get a hankering, and I'm going to leave them around RI for people to find. I designed a little card so people will understand what I'm doing. It says, "You are the recipient of a Random Act of Creativity. Please take this item home and enjoy it, pass it on to a friend, or leave it here to brighten someone else's day.

I made my first drop last week at the Starbucks in Barrington. It was a small green/yellow one. I had so much fun leaving it on the napkin/spoon counter-thing. I felt like I was doing something bad, slipping it out of my bag and surreptitiously leaving it there, hoping no one was noticing me.

Today I dropped these two off at the Barrington Library. One in the teen room and another on a window sill. I love daydreaming about people finding them. I hope it makes them smile.

When I get tired of making these bowls (is that possible??), I'll move onto something else, hopefully another re-use type item.

I tried to find that site, which I haven't visited in some time, but it appears to be gone. What a shame. I did find this fun site, though, by artist Rosa Murillo. She does Found Art Tuesdays. I have to do mine on Thursdays because it's my only day without the kids. I think it's fun that she sometimes hangs out to see who finds her art. She also has her name on her art, which I haven't done so far. I like remaining anonymous.

I need to think of more places to leave my bowls. Any ideas?

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Matchbox Cars & Paintbrushes

Wow, I haven't posted in a really long time.

Being a full-time mom means having limited time for art, and I'm afraid that means having almost zero time for blogging.

But I'm grateful for what time I do get to create. I'm also grateful to my father for funding my return to school. I am enrolled in the Natural Science Illustration Certificate Program through RISD's Continuing Education Dept.

This past summer I took a class called, "Making Pictures Tell Stories." This self portrait was an assignment from that class. Can you guess what story I'm trying to tell? That of a mom desperate to be the artist she is, but feeling overrun by her children and her children's toys? This was done in acrylic paints on vellum.

Next up is "The Artful Insect: Entomological Illustration." I'm very excited to work in RISD's Nature Lab and draw some bugs!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Painting for Sale!

I've been looking at this little monkey for months. He needs a home other than my tiny little studio. You can bid on him here.

I will be donating 10% of the purchase price to a Portland, ME organization called A Company of Girls, whose mission is to strengthen and empower youth and the community through the arts.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More on "Save Handmade!"

I just received this encouraging email below, but we still need to spread the word on this. As of February 10, if I decided to sell my needle-felted creatures, I couldn't do it because they could possibly be given to someone under 12. And I can no longer sell my colorful animal paintings, like the monkey above, which are intended to brighten up children's rooms.

Here's the email:

Thank you for your support on! Because of your votes, 'Save Small Business from the CPSIA' is now one of the top ten ideas for change in America on These ideas were presented to President-elect Obama's team at a press event in Washington DC this past Friday, January 16th.

With 12,280 votes from supporters, our issue is now part of a campaign to increase national awareness of the lack of provisions for small business in HR4040, the CPSIA, and bring about positive changes to the law. In the upcoming week, we will be working with the team to engage an appropriate non profit group to help us further our cause.

A forum has been opened for discussion on how to most effectively turn our idea into a successful national campaign, and the Handmade Toy Alliance would love your suggestions on how to bring about this Idea for Change. You can join the conversation here:

We still have a lot of work ahead of us to make it possible for the thousands of American craftspeople and small businesses to stay in business, and to keep unique, beautiful hand-made children's products available to consumers. But this was an important milestone in our journey, and we are grateful to you for helping us to reach it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Domestic Endeavor #2 and The Accidental Bear

Holy cow, I'm on a roll! Tonight I cooked a delicious dish from this month's Real Simple magazine. It's called chickpea pasta with almonds and Parmesan. And it came out truly yummy! I'm feeling pretty good right now. And full.

And last night I attempted my third (we won't discuss the second) needle felted animal, this time after having received the excellent "Little Felted Animals" book.

This actually started as a cat, but by the end I decided he was a dog. When I showed it to Chris, he said, "Nice bear." So, after a little arguing about which animal this most resembled, I conceded defeat, went back to my desk and made a few edits - changed ear position, made the legs bulkier and most importantly, snipped the long cat, er dog, tail.

He's pretty cute, no matter what he is exactly.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reused Food Cans

I am in no way claiming to have had an original idea here, but I wanted to show you what I did today.
I'm really into reusing items whenever I can. So many of our food items, especially baby stuff, come in these great containers. I love storage items, so I had set these aside, trying to think of what I could do with them.

Then I remembered all the pretty scrapbook paper I bought on sale a couple of months ago and came up with this:
The one on the right is turned backwards so you can see the seam. With a slight overlap for your paper, the length you need is 13 inches. We all know scrapbook paper is 12 inches, so you can stick either white or a contrasting color under there first.

So easy, so quick and I feel so proud of myself. Quin loves these snacks, so I'll have them all over the house for pens, etc. I just don't recommend them for wet things like paintbrushes, because the cylinder is made of cardboard/paper and the bottom is metal - likely to rust. So, I'll stick with my mason & tomato sauce jars for those.

Speaking of reusing, I'm a big time thrift store shopper, but selling children's items there will be against the law as of Feb. 10th per my post below. Because it's retroactive, thrift stores will have to pull everything for kids under 12 off the shelves and would have to have them independently tested before selling. Since that runs about $4,000 per item, I'd say it won't be happening.

First thing next month I'm stocking up on clothes for the kids, etc. just in case it takes our lovely congressmen ages to get this stupid law amended.

See more info here: