Monday, December 31, 2012

My Favorite Daniel Smith Watercolors

  by megan_n_smith_99
, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This is a little snippet of something I am working on. Speaking of working, I finally did something I've been meaning to do for a while, namely make a list of all the Daniel Smith Watercolors I own to prevent the purchase of duplicates, which has happened a few times. I thought I'd share with you my favorites:

Burnt Umber
Cabazole Violet
French Ultramarine
Opera Pink
Payne's Gray
Perylene Violet
Phthalo Turquoise
Quinacridone Coral
Quinacridone Gold
Quinacridone Fuchsia
Quinacridone Burnt Orange
Rich Green Cold
Shadow Violet

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Recent Sketch & More Notes on Art Supplies.

Sketching by megan_n_smith_99
Sketching, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

...It was really sort of a doodle but if you add shading to a doodle, I think it's respectable enough to call it a sketch. This was not all done with the 2B pencil shown, there is some darker pencil in there as well. I forget what it was - something I bought to experiment on and am not too impressed with. My favorite lately is 6B. There are a few brands I like. I think my favorites are:

STAEDTLER Mars Lumograph Drafting Pencil


Koh-I-Noor Toison-d’Or Graphite Pencil

Though if you want something fun & trendy you could also try the Palomino Blackwing 602.

The paper I used is Stonehenge. I recommend something with a little tooth. I don't normally use stonehenge for watercolor, though it is thick enough for a little mixed media, so I may try doing a light wash over this sketch. The gum arabic in the watercolor will actually set the graphite so it does not smear. I use water pretty sparingly, but then I usually use a little restraint with my water when it comes to watercolor - that's how I get vivid colors and fine details. And there is some layering too.

I like using a heavy paper that can take some blending on the paper - lately Arches 140 lb and 300 lb - either cold press or rough press. I like either one in blocks, but I like to use 300 lb if It's not on a block. Mostly because I don't have to mount it on anything. It can stand up to a lot so you can also do acrylics on it and mixed media.

I hope to do some cleaning on New Year's Eve (my life, so exciting) and some artwork on New Year's Eve. More exciting. Seems like a good way to start the year.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Gnome of the Day & Thoughts on Experimenting

Gnome by megan_n_smith_99
Gnome, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Today I did very little, which was exactly what I needed. I drank some tea, read a bit, drew a bit, and really was generally fairly ineffectual. I read some stupid stuff on line. That's really not (generally) as satisfying as reading a book, but on an aimless day I suppose it does not matter too much.

I experimented a bit with watercolor, and was not entirely happy with the results (this gnome was not from today, it's from a couple weeks ago.) Anyway, I shall try some layering and see what I think.

With watercolor sometimes if you do something you don't care for, you can go back with a wet wash and, either just plain water or you can also use a sponge or paper towel and pick up some color. And sometimes you can glaze over the top. Or you can go over with ink, pencil, or colored pencil. It's not like acrylic, though, where you can just sort of cover things up and start over. --

(i just interrupted that thought to go spill some loose earl grey tea and now my kitchen smells great.)

-- so i find that sometimes that makes me less inclined to want to experiment, and that's not so great. experimenting is good. one needs to spend some time doing it, even if the results are not always what one wanted. I may try going over today's work with a bit of white gauche, but it will take several layers to get a surface I want to work on. And you need to make sure it is dry between layers unless you want colors to sort of bleed through.

Ironically most people tell me they don't like watercolor as much as acrylic because they can't control it. i find i have a much easier time controlling watercolor than i do acrylics - i just have not spent as much time with acrylics and my brush technique is not as good. and i think i will always love watercolors the most. there is something special about them. you can control them (with patience and care) or you can let them surprise you, and more and more I am trying to do both in the same painting, in different areas.

The gnome seen here is:
Daniel Smith watercolor,
white prismacolor,
pitt artist pens in B & S, in several colors,
& White gel pen.

& the photo was taken with my iphone and manipulated in Instagram.

I have discovered I like the sort of fuzzy halo I can get by adding a bit of white colored pencil over watercolor.

Whatever your favorite media is, I hope you won't be afraid to experiment now and then.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Paintings in progress

Paintings by megan_n_smith_99
Paintings, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This is a little photo I took & Instagrammed last week, in the process of holiday painting! I hope you all had a pleasant holiday. I spent Christmas Eve & Christmas Day with family, and then Boxing day with friends. It was quite festive, but I think I am ready for some down time now. I will be spending the 30th with family again, when my twin sister & her husband come up to Washington State. Perhaps after that I will hibernate for a while.It's really the best thing to do, during winter in the Pacific Northwest. & I have some painting I want to do. I might spend New Year's Day painting all day.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Beaded Star Ornament Tutorial

this is another re-run from the past, but you still have time to whip some of these up before the holidays descend in a swirl of fruitcake and eggnog. i decided to write up a tutorial for these star ornaments i made recently.

step 1) you will need a handful of black tea bags, WOOL or WOOL / RAYON felt, a glass dish, and boiling water. Make sure you are not using acrylic felt. cut your felt into pieces that will fit in your dish.

step 2) place the tea bags in the glass dish and pour the hot water over them. let them seep for a few minutes and add your wool felt, one piece at a time, making sure the wool is saturated. i used a wooden spoon to assist. let your wool felt rest in the tea for at least a half and hour. if you allow the felt to fall into folds then the color will vary a bit, which i like.

step 3) remove the wool felt from the tea bath, squeeze out excess fluid, and toss in a hot dryer for about a half hour or until dry. this will cause the felt to shrink a bit and fluff up, creating a pleasing organic texture.

step 4) when your felt is dry, cut simple shapes from it. you can use christmas clip art, or trace around cookie cutters if you do not feel making a pattern freehand. i drew my pattern on paper, cut out, and taped to the felt then cut out. cut 2 pieces for each ornament.

step 5) using strong thread, stitch beads and sequins to your felt. you can see in some places i staked a larger sequin under a smaller sequin, then went through a bead, then back down through the 2 sequins. i also used some mother - of - pearl buttons. for thread i suggest beading thread, selected to match your felt. if you do not have beading thread you could use 1 strand of embroidery floss, which is also strong.

step 7) lastly, place your back and front pieces wrong side together and stitch shut using blanket stitch or whipstitch. before you go all the way around, stuff the star with a bit of stuffing. add a hanger (i like to use metallic floss,) and your ornament is done! the background in this photo is undyed felt. you can see the dyed felt has a light antique look. if you want yours to be darker, use more teabags.

enjoy! i would love to see what YOU make!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Last minute holiday gift idea - Unicorn Ornament

I originally posted this a few years ago but here it is again.. You still have time to make a whole herd of unicorns before the holidays!

This pattern requires: wool felt, 2 black beads, 4 tiny buttons, novelty yarns, stuffing, flower bead or ribbon flower, and polymer clay.

cut out 2 bodies and 8 legs and 2 ears from felt. whipstitch together, stuff, and sew shut, inserting the horn as you sew shut the head, as shown in diagram. after you have sewed all the peices together sew the legs on with the buttons (ask me if you need more details but i think a lot of my readers probably know how to make button joined legs.) lastly embellish the unicorn by tacking on his mane, tail, and the flower. sew one the 2 black bead eyes and the ears and enjoy! i have also modified this pattern in the past to make horses and donkeys. you could further embellish with beads or sequins, add wings, etc. they can be enjoyed as is or you can add a loop to hang them up as ornaments.

finished product. click on thumbnails to see larger:

making and inserting the horn from polymer and the pattern

full size pattern.

feel free to make, pass on, share, etc. just credit me and please don't make to sell them w/o permission!
edit: an alternate way to make the horn out of wool felt is here. I have also adapted this pattern to make horses (leave off the horn), & donkeys (add mane and change the head so it's down like Eeyore's usually is). you could also adapt it to make llamas, camels, etc.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Peek-a-Boo Holiday House Ornaments

This is a "re-run" of a post from last year - you might like to whip some of these up as holiday gifts!
I came up with this idea a couple days ago. These are easy to make and I must say addictive - I am sure I will be making more!

You will need:
wool felt
novelty fabric with a small scale motif
flower bead and seed beads
embroidery floss in a contrasting color from your felt
needle, pins, and tape

Cut out the little house pattern which is available here. Cut out on the outer line and then carefully cut the window out using small sharp scissors. you may need to adjust the size of the window to fit your motif.

Position the cut out house over your novelty fabric and move it around until you get just the bit you want peeking through the window. then cut out a small square of your novelty fabric that is a bit bigger than your window all the way around.

Lay your felt on top of the cut out motif and position as you want it. Pin it and stitch all the way around the window using 2 strands of embroidery floss.

Sew a flower bead at near the top of your house.

Layer the 2 felt houses together and stitch all the way around the outside of the house to fasten the front and backs together. Work your ends in. Add an embroidery thread loop to the top and it's ready to hang!

Snow Queen

Snow queen shawl by megan_n_smith_99
Snow queen shawl, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This seems appropriate to the season, though it has not snowed in Seattle and I would not be surprised if we did not get any snow this year. I have a view of the Olympic Mountains, though, and they are decked out in white. Well, I have a view of them when it's not too cloudy.

I have not been feeling well ... for the last month, actually, but managed tea with a friend on Tuesday and going to a knit meet-up on Wednesday, and I am glad I did, I really needed to get out of the house. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and perhaps he will have some helpful advice.

This quote seems appropriate to this photo, if not to the world outside my window:

“In the nineteenth century, Fritjof Nansen wrote that skiing washes civilization clean from our minds by dint of its exhilarating physicality. By extension, I believe that snow helps strip away the things that don't matter. It leaves us thinking of little else but the greatness of nature, the place of our souls within it, and the dazzling whiteness that lies ahead.”
― Charlie English

Monday, December 10, 2012

Twilight Tree & A Few Thoughts of Hibernation.

Twilight Tree by megan_n_smith_99
Twilight Tree, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Here is my latest. And Maybe I am painting too many trees and need to take a break? I had a notion to paint a whale but I have not gotten to it yet. Portions of this particular tree also grace items in my Zazzle shop and the original can be found on Etsy Shop.

I am afraid, as is so often the case, that I've been under the weather. For the last 3 weeks. I had not been this bad since February. I really recommend avoiding autoimmune issues if you can possibly avoid it. I keep saying I am going to go to the doctor if it does not get better - maybe this week. I don't really know what they can do and am mostly just trying to be patient and not leaving the house much. I've done some knitting and reading. I've painted when I can but sometimes I just just do better with something a bit more rote.

I am, like many of you I am sure, getting ready for the holidays, or trying to. I am making nearly all of my gifts. I sometimes think my family has gotten tired of homemade gifts from me -- at least my friends aren't showing any signs of being tired of it! We'll see what really happens. I sort of just want to hibernate, really. I am sure there is still some DNA in my genetic code that would enable me to hibernate - I just need to activate it. Any ideas? I have an electric blanket so I think I am good to go.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Spirit Beaded Doll

SpiritDoll1 by megan_n_smith_99
SpiritDoll1, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I've never marked down the prices on my beaded dolls but I have three for sale on Etsy right now, including the doll shown. and they are marked down from $275 & $300 to $220 for this weekend only. Sale ends Sun Dec 8th at midnight PST.

I will also take commissions for a 6" beaded doll for the same price - with a 50% deposit - though I could not promise to have those done by Xmas, so we'd need to discuss the dates.

you can see the dolls

Oh goodness, though, I wish I was feeling as free and serene as the beaded doll appears to be. I think I will be going to the dr. next week - I've been under the weather for 3 weeks and I clearly need a tuneup or something.

I hope I feel like painting today, though possible I will just curl up under my electric blanket and read.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Scarred creatures are my dearest companions"

Red Fox II
watercolor & ink

I found a new quote today that I just have to share with you:

"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could." 
— Louise Erdrich

& I may have shared this one before:

"I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them..." 
— Annie Dillard

& I how can I close without one from Ann Lamott, one of my favorite writers ever-- she's writing for all of us, all creative people, all parents, everyone who feels like they are walking in the dark half of the time:

"I said that I thought the secret of life was obvious: be here now, love as if your whole life depended on it, find your life's work, and try to get hold of a giant panda. If you had a giant panda in your back yard, anything could go wrong — someone could die, or stop loving you, or you could get sick — and if you could look outside and see this adorable, ridiculous, boffo panda, you'd start to laugh; you'd be so filled with thankfulness and amusement that everything would be O.K. again."
— Anne Lamott

Sunset Tree

Sunset Tree by megan_n_smith_99
Sunset Tree, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Groggy. Stayed up too late due to my Earl Grey bender, then woke up too early when my electric blanket controls fell off the window sill. Went back to sleep. Dreamed there was a Mcdonald's salad in my fridge.

Perhaps some watercolor will perk me up.

This is:
Sunset Tree
Watercolor, ink, and colored pencil on paper
Available on Etsy

& for you, a quote:

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
— E.E. Cummings

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

All Small Critters

I've been painting some small critters lately, as is my wont -- one of them, anyway -- and I've designed some clothing, mugs, etc. with some of my critters. You can see them at my Zazzle Shop. Zazzle has a lot of sales, too, and they're posted in the header, so watch for handy coupon codes.

As I quoted on one of the mugs:

"The fox knows many tricks, And the hedgehog only one; But that is the best one of all." --Archilochus:

what other critters do you think I should paint?

Cool Art on Etsy - Patricia Anders & Andrea Stern

I am not the only one selling cool art on Etsy. I'd like to introduce you to two other artists whose work you'll enjoy ...

Patricia Anders paintings and sculptures are all kind of creepy cool. And I don't know anyone who paints better hair!  Who hasn't felt this way when untangling holiday lights? And everything else she paints has her own slightly off-kilter - but delightful - world view. She's got prints, originals and more in her Etsy Shop. You'll love her Ornies - when she has them - they sell out fast so be sure to add her shop to your favorites.

Andi Stern's beadwork & paintings are amazing. I fell in love with her beadwork first & it's my favorite - but her mixed media paintings are equally charming.  The centerpiece of this necklace is a hand carved netsuke and is gorgeous-- truly one of a kind! There's a lot more to see in her  Etsy Shop.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mice and Hedgehogs - Oh My!

I have not not been a very good blogger over the last week or two. I have not been feeling well.  I think I am getting better. When you have chronic health issues, you are never really sure what better is going to men. I am just doing my best and we'll see where that goes.

I have been adding new items to my zazzle shop. It's been fun to use my artwork to design various items.. The mouse and hedgehog are features on several items - infant and toddler clothing and mugs.

I also have t-shirts for adults using some of my more elaborate paintings. And a few mugs, water bottles, tea pots, etc.

And of course I still have original artwork on Etsy. Check it out -- You may get some ideas for gifts!

And I am also working on a few new paintings. I think I'll have something to show you tomorrow.

Can you believe it's already December? I'm also trying to think about holiday gifts and I ordered my holiday cards!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rose Cottage & A Winter's Tale

Rose Cottage by megan_n_smith_99
Rose Cottage, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
I am listening to Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin - a book I've also read a number of times. It is unique in being fantasy, sci-fi, AND magical realism. It is a really wonderful story. Here is one of my favorite quotes from it:

"Who said," lashed out Isaac Penn, "that you, a man, can always perceive justice? Who said that justice is what you imagine? Can you be sure that you know it when you see it, that you will live long enough to recognize the decisive thunder of its occurrence, that it can be manifest within a generation, within ten generations, within the entire span of human existence? What you are talking about is common sense, not justice. Justice is higher and not as easy to understand -- until it presents itself in unmistakable splendor. The design of which I speak is far above our understanding. But we can sometimes feel its presence.
"No choreographer, no architect, engineer, or painter could plan more thoroughly and subtly. Every action and every scene has its purpose. And the less power one has, the closer he is to the great waves that sweep through all things, patiently preparing them for the approach of a future signified not by simple human equity (a child could think of that), but by luminous and surprising connections that we have not imagined, by illustrations terrifying and benevolent -- a golden age that will show not what we wish, but some bare awkward truth upon which rests everything that ever was and everything that ever will be. There is justice in the world, Peter Lake, but it cannot be had without mystery.”
― Mark Helprin, Winter's Tale

This painting is:
Rose Cottage
watercolor & ink
Available on Etsy.
I've also got some new hats on Etsy.  Through the end of the day Monday, take 15% off in my Etsy store w/ coupon code NOV2012.

 & Zazzle is having some sales today too.. If you click the banner on the top of the zazzle page it will give you discount codes for a variety of products. My zazzle shop is:

I hope you had a wonderful and peaceful thanksgiving!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Well Dressed

Well Dressed by megan_n_smith_99
Well Dressed, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you are in North America. I enjoyed times with friends, including my mostly adorable little god kinds, who were not QUITE on their best behavior as a result of excitement and pie. No one got hurt, and no parents last their minds - quite.

I am hoping not to leave the house today unless I decided I need some groceries. Crowds are not for me. But if you want to do some shopping in your PJs from the couch:

Zazzle has lots of deals today - 50% off ornaments, 30% off mugs, 20% off tote bags, $10 off electronic sleeves and covers, and more. use code BLACKFRISALE and visit my zazzle shop!. & I am still having a sale on Etsy too, see my previous post for info on that.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sunset Roses

Sunset Roses by megan_n_smith_99
Sunset Roses, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

For my readers in North America - happy Thanksgiving! I hope your holiday is peaceful and relaxed. I am wondering when the holidays became synonymous with stress. Were they 100 years ago? 200 years ago? Well, a peaceful holiday is the best thing I can think of.

Speaking on holidays...

celebrate orange Friday tomorrow and support independent artists! i am having a sale in my etsy shop now through Monday nigh, midnight PST. use coupon code NOV2012 to save 15% in
My Etsy Shop.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise by megan_n_smith_99
Birds of Paradise, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Good morning, Blogosphere. This is a painting I did last week and just listed on Etsy. I don't seem to get tired of painting birds and exotic and often wholly made up plant forms. Though there are some plenty strange looking plants without my inventing new ones....

I've come down with the latest in my 2012 set of cold / flu-like viruses, though at least this one is not too bad, provided I don't do anything more strenuous than lie in bed and turn the pages of books and ebooks. And it's absolutely pouring, so who wants to go outside anyway? Well, I need to go to the post office later but I am wearing my rain boots. In Seattle, especially if you don't have a car, a good pair or rain boots is a necessity, not an accessory.

In other news, I've opened a Zazzle Shop, where you can purchase items such as mugs and tote bags with my art on them. Could make good holiday gifts?

I think I may now need to retreat into the biography of J. M. Barrie I am reading. Well, i thought it was a bio of J. M. Barrie (author of Peter Pan), but it seems to have veered off into talking extensively about the lewelyn Davies boys, who served as a model for Peter Pan, and their grandfather George du Maurier, author and cartoonist for Punch magazine, and their 1st cousin Daphne du Maurier, author of Rebecca. I have not read Rebecca, but I ought to. Rebecca won the National Book Award for favourite novel of 1938.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Flora Teapot

Teapot by megan_n_smith_99
Teapot, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This is a teapot I had made with some of my art at Zazzle for my sister's birthday. It's from a scan of one of my original watercolor paintings. Hopefully I will be offering these for sale soon, if you might be interested.

I've been drawing, painting, and freeform knitting & crocheting this week. I think when my visual part of my brain gets going, I have a hard time thinking of anything to blog about, because that's more the verbal & word-oriented part of my brain. Maybe I should just post more pictures and not worry as much about words? What do you think? Do you read my blog for the words or for the pictures or both?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another Page & Thoughts on Darwin

Art Journal by megan_n_smith_99
Art Journal, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
This is another recent page from my sketch journal. It's got some bits from here and there - whatever I was reading, thinking, etc. at the time. I had just finished re-reading Katherine Dunn's Geek Love. It's a very odd book. But that's not what I am thinking about now.

I just watched the 2009 film, Creation, which is about Charles Darwin's struggles writing On the Origin of Species. Chiefly he was troubled by ill health, the death of his daughter, and conflicts between his religious views and scientific investigations - which also lead to strife between Darwin and his religiously devote wife. That's certainly enough to trouble anyone, and he was rather a sensitive person. It's quite sad, really. If he had been born a bit later he may have found religious views a little less strict, and might also have had access to better medical treatments. No one really knows what was wrong with him - it may have been a chronic disease like Crohn's Disease or Ménière's Disease, or it may have been an infectious disease, possibly something he picked up while voyaging on the Beagle, or it could have been a hereditary disease. His daughter Annie had something similar and died as a young girl - though some my have died from TB or scarlet fever.

It seems pretty certain that Darwin also suffered from some form of mental illness -- depression and anxiety at least, which exasperated and was exasperated by his physical condition. He also suffered from great guilt at the thought that if the condition WAS hereditary and passed on to his daughter, then it might have come about because he and his wife were 1st cousins. And of course heredity was the subject of his life's work so he could not escape from those fears.

The movie was beautiful done. Paul Bettany was wonderful as Darwin, with Jennifer Connelly as his wife, and two wonderful cameos - Benedict Cumberbatch as Joseph Hooker & Toby Jones as Thomas Huxley. (I think the script writers could have reined themselves in a bit when writing Huxley's lines, he wasn't that .. rabid. But Toby did a very good job with the lines as written and it did illustrate one of the viewpoints that Darwin felt hemmed in by.)

I did not realize until after I watched the movie that Paul Bettany & Jennifer Connelly are married in real life - hopefully more happily than the Darwins, though I think that the Darwin's marriage was a little happier than shown in this film. It was just complicated.

Martha West was delightful as young Annie Darwin. It appears to have been her only acting role - I hope there will be more to come.

The soundtrack and cinematography were also beautiful done, with many shots of the diversity of life. The opening and closing credits featured Christopher Young's  piano & violin composition "Creation", which to me somehow captured the many variations on form which Darwin wrote about.

The film is based on Randal Keynes's book Annie's Box, which I now need to locate. Of this volume Wikipedia says:

:Around 2000, Charles Darwin's great-great-grandson Randal Keynes discovered a box containing keepsakes of Anne collected by Charles and Emma. He wrote a biography of Charles Darwin centred on the relationship between Darwin and his daughter, entitled Annie's Box; the script of the 2009 film Creation is based on the book."


Friday, November 2, 2012

Starting to Be & Neverwas

Art Journal by megan_n_smith_99
Art Journal, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This is one of the recent pages in my big art journal. I've started a mini one - classic moleskine sketchbook that i am going to try to fill in November - sort of artist version of NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. I hope I can get it done - we'll see. I am not feeling very well today.

I did this page a week or two ago and the title is an odd juxtaposition against what become the title of this page - Starting to be & Neverwas?

Yesterday I rewatched a movie that I think is under-rated. It's called Neverwas. It was in the Toronto Film Festival but then for some reason never had a theatrical release - just went straight to DVD. For anyone who has ever fallen in love with a book or tried to heal through art and imagination. I also found this website done by Matthew Cogswell, the production designer. The visuals were impressive. I have seen this movie twice already and I am sure I will watch it again something. It's on Netflix instant right now.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Last Chance to See...

threebirds by megan_n_smith_99
threebirds, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
I just wanted to remind you that I have a show up at Miro Tea in Seattle, Washington. I am taking it down this week so your last chance to see it is tomorrow, the 30th:

Miro Tea
5405 Ballard Avenue N.W
Seattle, WA 98107.
• Monday through Saturday from 8:00 A.M. until 10:00 P.M.
• Sunday from 8:00 A.M. until 8:00 P.M.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Selkies by megan_n_smith_99
Selkies, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I am quite fond of Selkies - seal creatures who become women when they remove their skins to dance on the sand. If you steal a selkie's skin she will be trapped in human form and have to stay with you on land - but she will never stop looking for her seal skin and eventually she will always find it and return to the sea.

Watercolor, ink, and colored pencil
Available on Etsy.

It's a cold rainy day in Seattle and I am staying indoors to paint. Here is some inspiration for you!

Grey and Gray (very appropriate in Seattle today.)

Monday, October 22, 2012


Flora by megan_n_smith_99
Flora, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Two posts in one day - but this one is short. Just a picture of one of my recent paintings:

available on Etsy

& a quote:

“Wonder is the heaviest element on the periodic table. Even a tiny fleck of it stops time.”
― Diane Ackerman

Autumn Gold, My Taos Shawl, & a Glimpse of a Ghost Town

DSCF0154 by megan_n_smith_99
DSCF0154, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
A few years ago I took a trip to Taos with my mother and sister. I'd always wanted to go to Taos, and I sort of dreamed of moving there - which is odd, I'd never even been there. But I guess people dream of moving to Paris who have never been there. I guess I just set my sights a bit closer to home.

We went just this time of year, late October, and the colors were gorgeous. All gold with some dusty green and the brilliant blue sky. I took quite a few pictures but of course you can't really capture a place. I think this picture was taken in a field near the San Geronimo Lodge, where we stayed for 2 nights. I hope I can go back soon!

One of the shops we visited was La Lana Wool.  I got hand dyed yarns in Taos colors and when I came home I knitted a Taos Shawl.

When we left New Mexico, we went North on I-25 to Denver. I was in the back seat so I was able to watch the scenery, the desert merging into the Prairie. There were lots of horses and sheep grazing. As it got darker I realized that some of those creatures I was seeing by the last light were deer creeping out in the evening. We passed a beautiful ruined building up on a bluff over the highway - with a little research I determined that it was St. Aloysius Church -- about all that is left of Morley, Colorado.

Wikipedia has this to say:

 "Morley was a town in Las Animas County, Colorado, that existed between 1878 and 1956. The town was located near the summit of Raton Pass and was originally a railroad stop before being developed into a coal mining town by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I). Morley was a CF&I company town for fifty years until in 1956 the mine was closed and the town demolished. [ed. the church was not completely destroyed and foundations of other buildings can also be seen.]   The site of the town was originally named Cima, which means "summit" or "high place", by Spanish traders who traveled through the region in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

The church is beautiful and a little eerie, seen by moonlight. It still looks holy but in a barren and stripped down sort of way. I wish I had gotten a picture.  You can see some beautiful photosa Here at Image Whisperer Photography

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Black and White & White and Black

Oh I meant to post something.. anything .. earlier this week. The opening went well on Saturday, but I needed a break afterwards! The show will be up until 10/31/2012 if you want to check it out. It's at Miro Tea in Seattle; 5405 Ballard Ave. N.W.

I've come down with my first cold of the season. I was hoping to make it till November. I went out in search of thera-flu today and had to settle for wall-flu. No, I did not go to Walmart, I've never been.. I went to Wallgreens. I am not sure that it is too much better but it's close to my house and I did not feel like wandering farther in my delicate state.

I was playing with black and white earlier this week... And here are the results. The Whispers painting is also on Etsy. Also, I am taking commissions for the holiday season, just send me an email if you have any questions.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Autumn Glory & Some Inspiration

Autumn Glory
Watercolor & Ink
Available on Etsy

some inspiration for you:

amazing color palettes:
at Stitch Diva

eerie dreamy manipulated photos:
by Chris Anthony

and i pinned a bunch of dreamy dave mcKean last night:
on Pinterest

and artsy plush and dolls:
also on Pinterest

inspiration for some fairy- tale inspired paintings i want to do:
on Pinterest

what is your favorite fairy tale?

i've pinned some gorgeous paintings lately:
yet again on pinteresst!

happy saturday, i hope you get some good art time in. do it. even if it's only for 15 minutes. even if it's doodling on the back of an envelope. just do it. maybe you'll make a little doodle and later use it in a painting or collage. maybe you'll draw on fabric and turn it into a mini quilt or cool doll.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

River Voyage & Polar Exhibition

River Voyage by megan_n_smith_99
River Voyage, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
This is one of my recent paintings -- a river voyage. Or perhaps a river drift - I've left off oars OR a sail. Perhaps this dapper bird can use his wings as a sail. He could adjust them at will.

River Voyage
Watercolor & Ink
Available on Etsy

I am currently listening to the audio book of The Worst Voyage in the World
by Apsley Cherry-Gerrard, which is the story of Terra Nova Expedition of 1910. This was one of Robert Falcon Scott's attempt to reach the South Pole.

It certainly has a bit of the Victorian pluck - particularly given how the expedition ended-- The narrator, one of the survivors, seems to take everything in robust stride - "The dogs are trying to eat the ponies? Jolly good." etc.

It also amuses me just what they considered necessities on such a voyage -- real silver cutlery, a phonograph, hot cocoa (ok, I agree with them that one.) Shackleton, on his earlier expedition, brought among other things 252 pounds of honey, several oil paintings, and just about every variety of tinned fruit you could imagine. Though I suppose that was practical for preventing scurvy. They brought tea of course, Lipton (odd choice?) though there is no record how much tea they brought. They brought at least 2 teapots.

Another thing that amuses me is that it seems that the polar explorers of that era thought nothing of abandoning food in camps (where it would later be found at eaten by another party, who cares if it sat open for months or years? It's in a giant icebox.) Having been that careless about food, they still took the time to stop and bury any dogs who died, with cairns and one supposes full military honors.

I clearly do not have what it takes to be an arctic explorer..

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Fun Acorn Project for Autumn

more acorns! by megan_n_smith_99
more acorns!, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
I made these acorns using the tutorial at Resurrection Fern. You can make a whole bunch of these in just a short time and They would make quite fetching holiday ornaments!