Sunday, December 1, 2013

a little note

I have been a terrible blogger, but I have been still creating, and that's the really important thing.  I am back working full-time + a commute and it's taking a lot of energy, something I have never had in excess.  I am trying to create some sort of peaceful feeling by listening to music at work - everyone in my department is glued to headphones and our tasks do not involve interacting with people or answering the phone, etc.  also I try to find something that feels meaningful to me to do on the bus - the zen of knitting or reading a good book. sometimes I read or sketch on my breaks. I notice a lot of people reading on their breaks and it makes me so happy that people still read.  some of them are even reading real paper books! (I like both. ebooks a great to get from the library and perfect for your average paperback, but some books just need to be on-paper.

I recently read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. I really enjoy Ms. Valente's work - everything I have read of hers. She is wildly inventive and her work is quite varied and far-reaching.  She's also very prolific yet her work is of such exquisite quality.. I really can't think of anyone else who produces such finely crafted work so quickly - so there is plenty for you to enjoy.  Anyway, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland  is a children's book, or i'd say all ages - very charming - and even better, gorgeous illustrated, so that's a book you want to read on paper.   I highly recommend. Also I love her Orphan's Tales books, and all of the rest.

So, on to the art, the core of lie. Here are some peeks of things I have worked on recently:

Happy Creating!
p.s. some of the work shown here is available in my Etsy Shop:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fall Unfurling

Watercolor by megan_n_smith_99
Watercolor, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
This is one of the paintings I have been working on this week. It only needs a few last finishing touches so maybe I will finish it this weekend - I hope so! The gorgeous colors of autumn are really inspiring me as they do every year. I have a hard time not painting autumn all year round - well, sometimes I just go for it anyway. But this time of year it is pretty much required and I am happy to oblige.

I've also been working on more little paintings with pencil and watercolor. One can really make art on the go with very little luggage - I carry a few bits of paper and a mechanical pencil w/ an eraser and I am ready to go! (I usually do the watercolors when I get home but I did sit at a restaurant early this week with my homemade travel it of Daniel Smith watercolors and got a lot done!) I was there for a drawing group and a man at the next table over was working on an amazing piece using just a number 2 pencil so the message is this : you don't need a lot of trappings to make art. All you need is the willingness to open yourself up and come to the page.

In other news! To celebrate a month of spooks, I am having an Etsy sale. Use the coupon code:


to get 13% off through Monday at:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Meandering Watercolor

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

This is something I was working on last week, and should get back to. I miss having more time to paint but I am making an effort to at least paint for a little while most days.  I can really tell a difference if I stop for even a few days -- I have to ease my way back into it if I do. Maybe my paints and brushes miss me when I'm "gone."   Actually I have a couple of paintings I am working on now - though more usually I focus on one at a time.

This painting is a good antidote to today. The fog never entirely cleared. I work on First Hill - also called Pill Hill, because there are several hospitals there. Looking down across downtown to the water,  I could not tell where the water ended and the sky began. The horizon was lost. You just had to take it on faith that there were mountains there, across the water, that you were not looking out from the end of the world.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween Tree

halloween tree by megan_n_smith_99
halloween tree, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

"The wind outside nested in each tree, prowled the sidewalks in invisible treads like unseen cats.
Tom Skelton shivered. Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows' Eve. Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet. Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades. From kitchen windows drifted two pumpkin smells: gourds being cut, pies being baked.”
― Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree

The title of this painting was taken from Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree, quoted above. The inspiration was all around me - tree changing color, piles of pumpkins at the market, and the glorious autumn sunsets.

Halloween Tree
8 x 10"
watercolor & ink
Available on Etsy!

I've also got some sugar skull prints on etsy, if you want to celebrate the season!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Update & Some Monsters, for your consideration


I have been in the mood to paint and draw monsters lately. The friendly kind, like Muppets or things Where the Wild Things Are.
I've also, after some experimentation, found a print vendor who produces work that meets my exacting standards. I've added a few to my Etsy Shop.

These are beautiful giclee prints on somerset velvet paper, which is 100% cotton rag watercolor paper. The quality is excellent. Some of the artists I have shown them to thought they were originals. I've got a few for sale now and will be adding more in the future. Let me know if you have any suggestions for what you would like to see prints of. I also have 1 greeting card design from the same printer. It's on thick watercolor paper with a deckle edge and comes with a matching envelope.

I've also started back working a "real" job - I guess here I am using the word real to mean a job with benefits and that involves leaving my studio! I'll still be doing as much art as I have time for.

If you are in the Seattle area, I have artwork up right now at:

Cupcake Royale
1111 East Pike Street
Seattle, Wa 98122
(206) 883-7656
Mon 7am-10pm
Tue-Fri 7am-11pm
Sat 9am-11pm
Sun 9am-10pm

I will have work up there through the end of October and will be there for Capital Hill Art Blitz on Thursday October 10th.

I will also be hanging art at Miro Teahouse next week, which will be up until the end of October, and I will be there for Ballard Art Walk on Saturday October 12th.

Miro Tea
5405 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 782-6832
Mon-Sat 8am to 10pm
Sun 8am to 8pm

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Megan Noel at Oddmall!

I'll be at Oddmall on Sunday, September 22nd, 2013 at the Lynnwood Convention Center near Seattle. You can get more info at  I hope some of you will come see me! I will have some new prints!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fall Shows & News

Hello, dear readers. I have some good news to share. You'll be able to get out in this crisp late-summer-early-fall air and see my art in public!

From September 1st through October 31st
Cupcake Royale, Capital Hill (Seattle)

Mon 7am-10pm
Tue-Fri 7am-11pm
Sat 9am-11pm
Sun 9am-10pm
You may want to come during the artwalks, Sept 12th and Oct 10th (2nd Thursdays, 5pm to 8pm.) I'll be there with more work for sale.

Sunday, September 22, 2013, 10am--6pm:
Oddmall Seattle: The Emporium of the Weird
Lynnwood Convention Center
3711 196th Street S.W.
Lynnwood, Washington 98036
There will be lots of vendors, great food, and live music and entertainment!

From October 1st through October 31st
Miro Tea
5405 Ballard Ave N.W.
Seattle, WA
Mon-Sat 8am-10pm
Sun 8am-8pm
I'll be in attendance for Ballard's Artwalk, Oct 12th (2nd Saturdays, 6pm to 9pm)

I hope to see you!

also, you can always visit my etsy shop!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sweet Pea Vase Pattern to fit over Stabucks bottle

This pattern I've written is now available for sale!
These vase covers are hand crocheted using scraps of sock yarn and fit over Starbucks Frappuccino bottles. The bottles come in two sizes – 9.5 oz and 13.7 ounces. I’ve included patterns for both. These vase covers don’t have a bottom, but just slip down to cover the bottle, so it’s easy to remove them when the vase is washed. You can whip up a flock of these in short order, using up your yarn scraps as you up-cycle a glass bottle – it’s earth friendly all around.
Most of the yarn I’ve used here is Koigu KPPPM. I’ve also used some Cascade Sock Yarn & some Curious Creek Wasonga. This pattern works great with any sock weight yarn – but I particularly like it with hand-dyed yarn – it’s a great place to show off those amazing colors.
The pattern is easy and includes how-to photos and includes several variations- you can do this even if you are a beginner!

You can purchase and download this pattern on Etsy!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Once Upon a Time

I recently was in search of some like minded artists and i was having a hard time finding any... i really just wanted to find some interesting, hopefully somewhat laid back people to sit around and draw with. It took me a while, and eventually I found some folks who were pretty into comic art and gaming art and stuff like that. But they were also very open to other kinds of sketching, so I was welcome too.  This did, however, lead to my getting interested in working on my own comic art, too. I had done a bit of this in the past, in zines, and in my art journals, but it had been a while!  I am working on some things now that I may show you later - in fact, will probably release as a zine - but here is something you can enjoy now! Click to view larger.

Pens: Pitt artists pens, in black (size S), and two shades of gray (size B)
Paper: Stathmore Bristol

Megan Noel

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Evening Skies

the western sky by megan_n_smith_99
the western sky, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

My condo building was having repairs done and was wrapped in plastic and surrounded by scaffolding for months. About a month ago the scaffolding came down and I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to have my balcony - and my view - back. I've been taking photos of the evening sky. My view is to the west, I can see the Olympic Mountains on the other side of Puget sound. I don't think I could ever get tired of this view.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

9000 Words

My creation by megan_n_smith_99
My creation, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I may not have been blogging much as of late, but I have been painting! These are some of the watercolors I have been working on this summer. As usual I have been using Daniel Smith watercolors, Pitt artist pens, white gel pens, and Prismacolor pencils on Arches paper. (I usually use cold press, sometimes 300 lb and sometimes 140 lbs. )

Sometimes I feel like I put the best of myself into my paintings, and then I am left with not a lot of consequence to say. Hence, not a lot of blogging, but I am going to try - once again - to do better.

What are your favorite jobs for inspiration?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Upcoming Events

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

Hello! I have a bit of news for you!

Last week I hung art at:
Company Bar
9608 16th Ave SW
Seattle WA 98106
Hours: Mon--Thu 4pm--12am
Fri-Sat - 4pm to 2am
Sun - 4pm to 12am

The art will be up for a month!

Also, coming up in September, I will he showing my art at:

Oddmall Seattle: The Emporium of the Weird
Lynnwood Convention Center
3711 196th Street S.W.
Lynnwood, Washington 98036
Sunday, September 22, 2013, 10am--6pm

This painting is:
Title: Pheasant
Dimensions: 8 x 8" (will fit standard frame)
Media: watercolor and ink on arches watercolor paper
Year: 2012
Available on Etsy.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Filtered Light - And Not There Yet.

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

I have been playing with filters & light. it reminds me of graphite. I have been doing mostly pen & ink but i like the misty reality of pencil. My favorites are 6h and 8h. It's a bit bothersome that it smears. unless you spray it with toxic things. Which I do outside.

I have an outside again - my balcony. My building had been wrapped in scaffolding and some sort of translucent plastic for months. It is so nice to see the sky and the mountains. it is nice to get the full effect of the breeze and all the smells it brings in - spring, flowers, grass, & the salty smell off puget sound.

that smell reminds me of this, and of my island, that sort of damp, misty, salty space where you can't really tell if the things you are afraid of are out there - you can kind of pretend they are not - and it seems equally likely that the things you dreamed about might be a step away too. but i guess i am still dreaming and still looking, and not there yet.

p.s. this is a skull i found on the beach w/ part of a drawing i did of said skull, and manipulated with a couple different APPS.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Soot Sprites & The Camphor Tree

Soot Sprites by megan_n_smith_99
Soot Sprites, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
Another recent watercolor... It's the wrong time of the year (in the Northern hemisphere anyway), but I keep wanting to paint in autumn colors. You might recognize these black critters from My Neighbor Totoro & Spirited Away.

from wikipedia:
Susuwatari (Japanese ススワタリ; "wandering soot"), also called Makkuro kurosuke (真っ黒黒助; "pitch-black assistant"), is the name of a fictitious yōkai which was devised by Hayao Miyazaki, drawn by Ghibli studios and known from the famous anime-productions My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away where, in the former, they are identified as "black soots" in early subtitles and "soot sprites" or gremlins in the later English dubbed version."

I first saw Totoro in 1988 or so, before there was a translation into English. It was rather mysterious, trying to figure out what the characters were saying -- I took a year of Japanese but that was a few years later -- but not too difficult to follow. I could watch it over and over, just for the beautiful "scenery" -- it's animated but Miyazaki does animated landscapes that are heavenly.

I especially liked the tree Totoro lives in, a giant camphor tree. These trees can grow to be huge and live a long time -- there is one in Japan that is 1500 years old and almost 100 feet across the crown! I think I want to move into that tree. Totoro's probably there....

Soot Sprites
watercolor & ink
Available on Etsy.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ruby Owl & Why I am an Artist

Ruby Owl by megan_n_smith_99
Ruby Owl, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This is another recent painting. I was pleased with how it came out. It's watercolor and white ink. I was happy with the balance of detail and I tend to want to go overboard with detail. It's a bit compulsive, but space has a lot of value as well.

I was just digging around in some things and found something I wrote for a zine in 2003 which I thought I would share. I am resisting a REALLY strong urge to edit, I am apparently a better writer now than I was 10 years ago...

Why I am an Artist
by Megan Noel

I was writing a letter yesterday, and I was thinking about why I am an artist and what that means to me. I think of myself as an artist first, then as a human, and finally as a woman. Why is that so important and what does it signify?

I create because it might be the one thing I do that really means something, and that reminds me of what really matters. It takes me outside of the state of the union, traffic, the rising cost of healthcare, and the long lines at the post office. It reminds me what is really important -- maybe not the art itself. Probably my paintings will never be best in show or end up at the Guggenheim . My dolls may never be more than oddities, and I'm not likely to write the Great American Novel. What matters is where they come from inside of me, the space I go to in search of these things, and the place they are reaching towards inside other people.

What matters is that I sit for a while every day and quiet the world all around me, voices mumbling about the deficit, the email I forgot to answer, the mildew on the shower curtain, and weapons of mass destruction. Every day I slow down enough to listen to the things curled up inside me just waiting for me to give them words, pictures, and sounds to be born into. When people see or hear or touch these creations, whether or not they think of them as works of fine art, I hope for one moment they stop, connect, feel something inside themselves. I hope they will leave behind their thoughts of getting to the dry cleaner before it closes, that meeting they have tomorrow, and what they should have for dinner. I hope they might even feel inspired to slow down a bit and create something out of the calm still voices, or the fierce ones, or whatever neglected voices they have, inside of themselves.

So I guess I am not really a visual artist, a poet, an author, a musician, to end up with art, or poems or stories, or songs. It's not about the end result, other than perhaps a state of mind, or the sense of having finished another leg on a long journey. I am an artist, poet, an author, a musician to be in the state of mind where I can give voice to the things I've carried, the things I've saved, the things I've found, the things I have seen. I create art to give form to, to honor, the things I have carried, saved, found, and seen. I am carried, saved, found, and I see by and through the things I create.

Totoro - To - To -Ro!

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

I have not been a very good blogger. I was a bit under the weather and not feeling terribly social. I have been working on art, though. Mostly watercolor. This one, of course, was inspired by Hayao Miyazaki's animated film, My Neighbor Totoro. You've probably seen it, but if not you really should. And it's definitely something you can show your kids without feeling like you are exposing them to any sort of questionable morals or anything. I think Hayao Miyazaki does backgrounds better than anyone else.

I've also been going some pen & ink recently, and acrylics, which I had not done much of in a long time. You can see some more recent works by clicking on this thumbnail to go to Flickr. I've also listed some of the recent work on Etsy.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Winner of Postcards!

So... The winner of my latest give-away is Monica Marlowe.. who I am trying to get in touch with! Monica if you are reading this, please email me from my website: If anyone knows her and is reading this - please let her know!  And I'll try to post some actual ART later today!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Postcard Give Away & The Morning After Show

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

I wanted to let you know that I'll be selling my art this Sunday, May 12th at:

5213 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
every second sunday, 10am to 3pm

Also! It's time for another give-away. Leave a comment for a chance to win 10 blank postcards featuring my art, 5 each of 2 designs, shown here.
I'll pick a winner on Monday the 13th! Check back here to see if you won! :)

I've listed a few new works on Etsy, this week.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A New Floral Lexicon

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

I am still trying to figure out the best way to paint tropical flowers that is consistent with my style. It's a bit odd, actually, I feel like I am learning a new floral lexicon, because it's so different than what I am used to. I'll admit, there are some things I've painted that I probably won't be showing anyone -- but you can't really learn to paint other than ... by painting. Really, there is a limit to how much an instructor, a class, an article, or a book can do for you --those are wonderful valuable things, don't mistake my meaning! -- but at the end of the day you really only learn by painting, and painting, and painting. and sometimes making mistakes - watercolor, unlike oils and acrylics is pretty unforgiving of mistakes -- but you keep going, and you paint more and more, and eventually there is a moment where it all flows and it feels like flying, but those days do not come every day. I've learned to stop trying to reach so hard for them because they really just come when they come, and they come upon you when you are painting, not when you are reading about painting or even just thinking about painting.

so, just paint. if you mess up, turn your page over and try again. it's ok, you don't have to show anyone if you don't want to. just paint.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Watercolor in progress - Honeycreeper

I am not sure how it is that I have not managed a blog post in almost a week. I am not entirely sure what I did during that time - though I did work on a few watercolors and a cat commission and some other projects. And I read and listened to some books. And worked on some jig saw puzzles, which work well to get my frantic little brain to slow down a bit.

This is a Hawaiian honeycreeper -- the bird, that is. I did not actually see any of these while I was in Hawaii, but may have heard some -- because I am almost positive I saw some of the flowers they like to sip nectar from -- ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha). I wanted to paint one because they are so pretty. The birds we saw the most were Mynas and Red-crested Cardinal. We also saw a Pacific Golden Plover, and a Hawaiian Hawk. There were some shore birds too, though I did not manage to identify them -- some sort of sandpipers included.

And there were chickens and roosters all over. At first I thought everyone must raise free-range chickens, but then I read that they are feral. It's probably a great place to live for a feral chicken, so I guess that explains why there were so many of them just wandering about. I must admit they were more attractive than the Rhode Island Reds that we had on the farm I grew up on --- testament to the bounty
of the islands, I think.

Oh, and the plants seen in this painting include orchids, red ginger, pineapple, and some things from my imagination.

I hope to get some more painting done this weekend, though I am a bit under the weather, which I have been really for 2 months.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Star of the Sea

One of the things I enjoyed in Hawai'i was a visit to the Star of the Sea painted church. Almost every inch was painted, lit by the light falling through simple, yet beautiful panes of colored glass. It is also interesting that the church was moved to protect it from encroaching lava. I think it might inspire some paintings - we'll see.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Orchids -- in progress

Orchids by megan_n_smith_99
Orchids, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
I have been home for a week now and am settling in. I actually had not done any watercolor in a couple of months - I have been doing pen & ink and beadwork. I've been wanting to get back to it. I actually felt pretty nervous going into it, but I am getting into the flow - so to speak. This painting is not done yet, some details are still to be refined, but I am happy with it so far.

For my own reference, this is a list of various places we visited in Hawai'i:

*Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, the temple built by Kamehameha.
From Wikipedia "Puʻukoholā Heiau meaning "Temple on the Hill of the Whale" was the result, probably on the site of an older temple from about 1580.[5] It was built entirely by hand with no mortar, in less than a year. The red stones were transported by a human chain about 14 miles long, from Pololū Valley to the East. Construction was supervised by Kamehameha's brother Keliʻimaikaʻi, involving thousands of people."

* Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, place of refuge. From Wikipedia: "the historical park preserves the site where, up until the early 19th century, Hawaiians who broke a kapu (one of the ancient laws) could avoid certain death by fleeing to this place of refuge or puʻuhonua."

It was easy to see why this was a place of refuge. It was one of the most beautiful places we visited --pristine white sand, beautiful trees, and just a feeling of peace.

* Punaluʻu Beach / Black Sand Beach
The sand at this beach is black - composed of broken down basalt from lava flows. It was exciting to see turtles on this beach. The ones we saw were honu - green turtles.

* Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park -- there is lots to see here, we visited the Kīlauea caldera and Thurston Lava Tube.

*Ahalanui Park, Pahoa - "This spring fed pool is part natural and part man-made. It is also volcanically heated to a balmy 90 degrees"
It was quite novel for me to swim in warm salt water with beautiful tropical fish.

*Banyan Drive, "the "Hilo Walk of Fame" for the banyan trees planted by celebrities. These trees have withstood several tsunamis that have devastated the town on the Big Island of Hawaii."  I loved the enormous and majestic trees.

*Rainbow Falls, Hilo --80' tall! I need to paint some waterfalls. "Known in the Hawaiian language as Waiānuenue (literally "rainbow water"),[1] the falls flows over a natural lava cave, the mythological home to Hina, an ancient Hawaiian goddess."

* Hawi, Hawai'i. We spent one night in Hawi, and drove up to the Pololu Valley Lookout in the morning. Absolutely beautiful!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I have returned with new inspiration!

Sorry to go silent there for a while! I was actually on vacation in Hawai'i. I feel very fortunate that I was able to go. My mother and I went to visit my aunt who lives there for half of the year. We were on the big island, mostly in the Hilo area.  It was such a treat for some warm and sunny weather after another grey Seattle winter. Especially this winter, since my building has been wrapped for repairs for the last few months and I really needed some light!

I am sure I will be posting a lot of new art soon -- inspired by Hawai'i! I am not quite settled in yet.  Most of my photos are still on the camera or on my phone.  I need to take care of that -- but first I really need to do some laundry!

Here are a few photos I took, more to come!
Happy creating!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

You could win an Octopus Village Print !

052407art1 by megan_n_smith_99
052407art1, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
This is a print of one of my watercolor paintings from a few years back:

Octopus Village
paper: 8.5 x 11"
image: 7 x 10"

The original is ink and watercolor.
For a chance to win leave a comment below telling me why you like octopuses! I will pick a random winner of Friday 3/29/2013. I need to be able to get in touch w/ you after the drawing - sometimes that has been a problem - so please check back to see who is the winner. I will post it on Friday.

Beaded Owl Necklace

Beaded Owl Necklace by megan_n_smith_99
Beaded Owl Necklace, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
I have been working on some new necklaces - trying to find ways to incorporate beadwork into more aspects of my artwork - and i guess my life - and the world. I've started a new series of small bead embroidered pieces set into bezels. This is one of them, and you can see it plus two others on Etsy.

What do you think?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Shaman Beaded Painting

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

I have been doing beaded paintings as of late and this is one of my favorites. I just loved the frame and I made the piece specifically to go with it. The ceramic face is from Earthenwood. I also used seed beads, glass beads, a freshwater pearl, and a copper feather charm. The frame is 4 & 3/8 x 3 & 1/2" and the beaded portion is 3 & 1/4 x 2 & 1/8".

I was feeling like a hermit today, but I managed to get a doctor's appointment when someone canceled, forcing me to leave the house. After my appointment and stopping by the lab, I felt inspired to sit in the sun and read for a while. I am glad something gave me an excuse to do that! And I must do it again tomorrow if it is at all nice out. I know some of you are digging out from under snow right now -- I hope Spring arrives for you soon!

Shaman is available on Etsy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Owl moleskine & Spiral Moleskine

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

These are two of the beaded moleskines I have made recently and which are on Etsy. They were fun to do. I love owls. well, really I love all animals. I saw a meme recently saying something like "When I meet a new animal, my 1st reaction is to make friends. When I meet a new person, my first reaction is to avoid eye contact and get away." I don't really like to think of myself that way, but I guess there is some truth to that. I don't have any pets because my condo is so small, but I do enjoy meeting all the dogs that live in my building.

Yesterday was gorgeous and I got out and enjoyed it! I read in the park. It was lovely - I think that's the 1st time I have done that this year. And I guess it was worth it, even if my seasonal allergies are in full-swing this morning. Perhaps this tea I've made will wake me up and I'll go out into the world again today, armed with a book, a sketch pad, and some pens.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Autumn Creatures

Autumn Creatures by megan_n_smith_99
Autumn Creatures, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
Granted, it is Spring. But I still love autumn themes and without really planning to, I drew this the other day. I suppose the urge to hibernate is till strong within me, though we have had a few nice days. (Yesterday afternoon was quite sunny and nice, after the morning snow of course.) My building is currently wrapped in a product called Scaf-Lite. That's the stuff they wrap buildings in when they are being worked on. It lets in more light than I would have expected, but it's a sort of muted and grey light and I have to go out to determine the weather. I will be so glad when the repairs to my building are finished!

So, I think living in a somewhat grey world has possibly induced my hibernation response, which frankly is never far below the surface, and hence we have this cozy little mouse, pumpkin, mushrooms, toadstools, and more.

I can walk down the street and spot tiny mushrooms and flowers on the parking strips, I can spot spiral shells the size of the head of a pin on the beach, yet I still walk into furniture and fail to recall the names of all of my neighbor.--in my myopic little world, rich with detail, but sometimes a little cut off from the rest of the world.

Autumn Creatures
5 x 7"
Pen and Ink
Available on Etsy.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Deep Time

Deep Time by megan_n_smith_99
Deep Time, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

From wikipedia:

"Deep time is the concept of geologic time. The modern philosophical concept was developed in the 18th century by Scottish geologist James Hutton (1726–1797)"

I had a good time with this drawing, parts of which were inspired by Ernst Haeckel's work. . He did many intricate and beautiful drawings of creatures from the sea and the land, the present and the past.

Here I have included living and extinct sea urchins, barnacles, trilobites, and more. Sea urchins and some of their relatives have five fold symmetry, which I knew when I started this drawing. I thought barnacles also shared this trait, but while drawing this I realized that at least some groups of barnacles have six-fold symmetry, which was very exciting. Barnacles are more closely related to crabs and lobsters than they are to sea urchins. And the larval stage of barnacles roam and drift about until they are ready to settle down and attach to a rock or boat or piling.

Deep Time
Pen & Ink
Available on Etsy.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Grin without a Cat

  by megan_n_smith_99
, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; " but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

Well, this is a cat with a grin!

Cheshire is available for sale, and I also have grumpy cats & custom cats to look like your favorite cat, from real life, a book, a movie, what have you!

Available on Etsy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cat Portraits

3 kitties! by megan_n_smith_99
3 kitties!, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I have started working on cat portraits. Here we have Sigrun, Grumpy, and PJ.

Sigrun belongs to a friend of mine. She actually looks slightly more tolerant here than in general. She's a beautiful cat but always looks a bit distainful. Humans are so sub-standard.

Grumpy - well, I am sure you know who inspired HIM.

And PJ is a sweet old-lady cat. She's 18! I do have a weakness for white cats.

I would be happy to make a cat portrait of your cat, or your favorite cat from tv, fiction, etc. Most cats are $35. Feel free to send me an email if you have questions!

Beaded Scarab Painting

I have been working on some new small beaded paintings in interesting frames. The frames are included as part of the piece and each piece is custom designed to work with the frame.

I was especially happy with how this piece came out. I was thinking of the Victorian passion for naturalism. Back in those days, if you were a gentleman of leisure (do those still exist?) you would naturally become an amature naturalist, collecting butterflies and insects to mount, recording observations in a journal, and taking collecting trips through forest and field. This elaborate frame reminded me of those times.

Title: Scarab
Dimensions: The frame is 5 & 1/4 x 4 & 1/2". The beaded portion is 2 & 1/4 x 2 & 5/8".
Media: antiqued brass scarab and glass beads charm sewn on Ultrasuede, + frame. The frame is included.
Year: 2013

Available on Etsy.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Morning After...

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

'll be selling my art at this Sunday (tomorrow) a:

The Morning After Art And Pure Craft Show
Tractor Tavern
5213 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
2nd Sundays, 10am to 3pm

I'll have Easter goodies, new beaded paintings, watercolors, pen & ink & more!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Secret Life of Plants

Title The Secret Life of Plant
Dimensions: 9 x 11 & 1/2 inches
Media: Ink
Year: 2013

This intricate pen & ink drawing features a solitary gardener, delicately tattooed or embellished or shadowed and entanged with leaves, vines, trees, roots, and flowers. like a dream, you lose yourself in another inky world.

The title was taken from a book byPeter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. There is also a quote from poet and diarist May Sarton - also used as one of her book titles - "Plant Dreaming Deep."

“It always comes back to the same necessity: go deep enough and there is a bedrock of truth, however hard.”
― May Sarton

Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.
May Sarton

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Secret Life of Plants, detail.

This is a little sneak peak of the last pen and ink drawing I finished. I need to scan it. I started another one but am also working on some other projects, and actually i have a sinus infection and am not up for working on much of anything.

But here is a quote for you:

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.

--Chuck Close

Friday, March 1, 2013


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

This is another one of my little beaded pieces. I made it for a friend's birthday. It is, as you may have already guessed, inspired by the Emily Dickinson poem:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

I can't help noticing how much authors from the late 1800s loved to use dashes. I suppose it was a way of ornamenting the words, just like they covered everything else with trim, beads, ribbon, etc. Which makes this vintage-style frame appropriate for this piece as well.

I have a number of art ideas at the moment but am still getting over my cold - or what the Victorians probably would have called the vapors or something, so anyway I am going to get some more tea and go back to my book now.

Oh! I did pin some more paintings that inspired me, you may enjoy seeing them here.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Permission to ...Fly

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

I am feeling a little better today. Those February colds can really get you. I still feel really tired, though. I think I am going to spend the rest of the day reading and drinking tea. I must say, it is so much nicer being sick with a kindle than without. I am on my 3rd Barbara Vine novel of the week.

I did take photos of my newest artwork though!

Dimensions: The frame is 3 x 4". The beaded portion is 2 & 1/2 x 1 & 3/4".
Media: beads and wing charm sewn on Ultrasuede, + frame. The frame is included.
Year: 2013

It's on Etsy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Grumpy Cat Plush

Grumpy cat plush by megan_n_smith_99
Grumpy cat plush, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I have been sick this week and not good for much. Being sick with a Kindle is a minor improvement on being sick without one. I've read two Barbara Vine novels. I have failed to make any art. So this is something I made in January for a post-holiday "white elephant". (except this is an annual event that people bring cool stuff too, not just the stuff you can't believe anyone actually paid money for. Well and there was a shake weight and a battery operated duck and that was just weird.)

Grumpy Cat is so not amused.

Grumpy Cat
wool felt & polyester stuffing
I think he was about 8" tall.

Friday, February 22, 2013


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

This drawing was something I finished earlier in the week. I have not played my violin in a while but I pulled it out. I am sure it is dreadfully out of tune and I hope it does not need new strings. They are not very old - or at least have not been played on much -- but they should be loosened for long term storage and I do not think I did that. Well,I also did not intend it to be long term. At least having it out of the closet and leaning against the wall is a start. (In its case, of course.)

These sketches were more inspired by another violin - not the one I play. I have another one I got to paint. It's a 3/4 violin made in germany between 1891 and WWII. it is, i think, boxwood with a maple back and rosewood fingerboard. That violin is painted and hanging on my wall, and I pulled it down to be a photo reference for this drawing. I have another violin to paint, full sized. In theory the painted ones are playable but I still don't want to paint my good violin. I just feel a lot of attachment to it just the way it is - even if I have not played it in a very long time.

I'd like to draw some more violins... violas... cellos... maybe an accordion -- we'll see.

pen and ink
available on Etsy

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Art Girls - Art Saves Me

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

This drawing started out as one thing and quickly turned into another. This often happens and I've learned not to fight it. It was sort of inspired by a couple of on-line art friends discussing how they wanted glue sticks for Valentines. Though I opted to draw regular old school glue instead, as being more interesting to draw and more iconic. And I actually don't use fan brushes much (though maybe I should - they do fascinate me) they ARE fun to draw. Mostly I use small round brushes - 2, 4, and 6 the most. Sometimes 8. Natural fiber. The synthetic brushes probably do last longer but are not the same. I don't buy super expensive brushes. They last a few months or until they couch eats them at least. With watercolor there is less a tendency to leave them sitting in water - which is bad for them. With acrylic of course you are trying to clean the paint out of the brushes so it's easy to forget and leave them in water. I suppose someone might tell you otherwise but I find that if I set a watercolor brush down mid-painting - without rinsing it off first -- it's fine when i got back for it. Which is good since once I start making art, I tend to turn of the logic part of my brain - which is also probably why i find art so relaxing. Like many people, I think way too much. That may be one of the dangers of being an introvert. Art saves me, it really does.

Art Girls
8 x 10"
Pen and ink
Available on Etsy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tree Spirit

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

This is a painting I was working on last week:

Tree Spirit
Watercolor, Ink, & pencil
Available on Etsy.

Over the last couple of days i have been doing some cleaning and organizing. Though I must say, it still looks like an artist lives here. I also hung a lot more art on the walls. Some might say it's too busy -- I am sure my stepfather would say that, as he prefers bare walls, perhaps he finds them soothing - but I am pleased that a lot of the piles are frames are no longer reclining in front of the fireplace. Though they will be replaced by more framed artwork when I take down the work I have at Cafe Lati at the end of the month. (See sidebar for info on that.)

Someone told me there are 2 kinds of artists - thought who have their own work on their walls and those that have the work of others on their walls. I think I am about half and half. I'm not sure what that means.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ghost Tree

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

I am kind of in love with this painting even though I painted it myself and that seems possibly slightly vain or something. Anyhow, here it is:

Ghost Tree
watercolor & gouache
Available on Etsy.

inspired by:

“I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future - the timelessness of the rocks and the hills - all the people who have existed there. I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.”
― Andrew Wyeth