Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Art / Craft Sale at the Tractor Tavern, February 3rd & 10th

If you want to see my art in person - as well as meet some other local artists - stop by

The Tractor Tavern
5213 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle WA 98107

10:00--3:00 Sunday February 3rd, 2013
10:00--3:00 Sunday February 10th, 2013

You can also visit the famous Ballard Sunday Market, which will be going on about a block away.

I hope to see you on Sunday!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


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

This little painting is 5x5" and features a beaded figure with a ceramic face from Earthenwood studio. I did the beading on ultrasuede, then I glued it to the painted canvas. I used a bunch of different techniques for the canvas - some collage layering, patina paint, and acrylic paint.

This sweet little tiny painting can be hung anyplace you need a reminder to breathe!

Speaking of breathing...
Yesterday was a rare day - it actually was sunny for part of the day and got up to the 50s! This sometimes happens in Seattle for a day or 2 in February, but to get a day like that in January felt like a real gift. Enough to make me want to live here in winter. Of course it's grey and raining today. I walked down to Starbucks, enjoying the sun, and then I enjoyed a tea latte and sat and drew. I attracted a small flock of children who wanted to see what I was doing. It's been a while since I drew in public - It's always enjoyable!

Acrylic, mixed media, & beadwork
available on Etsy

Friday, January 25, 2013

Art at Cafe Lati

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

For the next week or so, you can see my art at Cafe Lati in Seattle at:

11003 35th ave NE
Seattle WA, 98125


Wednesday, January 23, 2013


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

11 x 14"
Pen & Ink
Available on Etsy
This is a drawing I finished over the weekend. And then I did some exercises for carpal tunnel. Actually, painting is a lot easier on the arms / wrists / hands than drawing is. And I'd had a flu shot so eventually I just decided to take a break and read. I read a book about Victoria and Albert, then a book about infectious disease (good thing I got my flu shot), and now I am reading
Modern American Memoirs: 1917-1992, edited by Annie Dillard. It's really good, and includes "such diverse writers as Margaret Mead, Malcolm X, Maxine Hong Kingston, Loren Eisely, and Zora Neale Hurston."

I think after all that nonfiction, I think I might need to cleanse my mental palate with some fiction. What are you reading?

Ok. I am off to work on an octopus painting.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inscribed Girls & Some Thoughts on the Past

Inscribed Girls by megan_n_smith_99
Inscribed Girls, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
This is my latest pen & ink drawing. It's 11 x 14". I started with the center and sort of spiraled out. I started with the girl leaning on her hands. Then I wandered up to the long-haired girl on the left. Eventually I made it over to the temple on the right, then down towards the bottom, and I did the top last. I didn't exactly plan most of it. I did do some pencil outlines of the girls and the temple, but most of it just sort of grew or happened.

Inscribed girls is about girls inscribed by - what? the past? sacred scars? truth? or are those lines across their bodies lace or the shadows of lace? perhaps they grew, like vines or encroaching moss or lichen. How you see it depends of what you bring to the page as the viewer.

Inscribed Girls
11 x 14"
Pen & ink
Available on Etsy.

So, speaking of the past... I was just thinking of the whole concept of "reuse" and "upcycled" etc. -- those hipster terms. But it's what our grandmothers and great grandmothers just called "using" or "being practical." of course they reused fabric - be it remaking dresses or using feed sacks for curtains. They reused jars and containers. They redid dresses to follow trends. They shared and loved and passed on outgrown toys and clothing. they shared and passed around books and recipes. They did not even know they were being cool. They were just being practical. I guess it's great that people are thinking about stuff like that again - but what would they think about the term "upcycled"?

I kind of think they would find it silly.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Little Beadwork

111907beads2 by megan_n_smith_99
111907beads2, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This is an in-progress shot of some beadwork I did a few years ago. I really loved the fabric. I had just gotten home from a trip to Taos and the color + the silver horse reminded me of the Southwest. This is still a favorite piece of mine.

I did some beadwork today - working on a couple of new paintings. And I did a little pinning of beadwork for inspiration. You can look at that Here if you need some inspiration! But don't spend too long looking. There is only so much time you can spend looking at other people's art. You need to go make your own. I sometimes get inspiration from other beaders, but actually am more likely to be inspired by other things - landscapes, nature, a favorite quote. And the fabric I bead on and the beads themselves provide quite a bit of inspiration.

What inspires you?

Friday, January 18, 2013

I Never Liked Laura Ashley.

Two in Autumn by megan_n_smith_99
Two in Autumn, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I like to paint flowers, and I like to admire fresh flowers - preferably still attached to their roots -- but I NEVER liked Laura Ashley. I was born at the appropriate time but I simply found it cloying. There was a lot of abuse of florals going on from the late 70s into the early 90s. I did have a couple of Gunny Sack dresses - those were sort of sweet in a Little-House-on-the-Prairie / Holly-Hobby sort of way. I was once a bride's maid in a ghastly large-print floral. I think it came from Sears but it looked like someone's drapes. Any only Fraulien Maria could pull that off.

So now I paint flowers that are meant to be wild and earthy and bright. Not contained or tamed. Not duplicated. Just their selves.

There is probably some hidden moral, I'll leave you to find it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Watercolor - Flowers & leaves

Flowers & leaves by megan_n_smith_99
Flowers & leaves, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I said I would be back to watercolor soon, and today was the day. i usually like to finish one drawing or painting before i start another, but this time i left a pen & ink drawing incomplete, so I hope I get back to that soon, too.

I am not 100% what is unfolding here, but some sort of homage to autumn, the harvest, and unfurling. I started out thinking i'd be using mostly mustard, brown, and dark shadowy violet, but as is usual my Quinacridone paints wanted to be represented and so i've added more bright red, purples, and oranges as well. the background still has a moody, musty autumny feel, like fallen leaves on the forest floor, leaving their forms and colors behind until they reappear in another time, another place.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Secret Garden Heart

Secret Garden Heart by megan_n_smith_99
Secret Garden Heart, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I am still beading away.. well, I was. Then I vacuumed. And now I think I will take a little break from beading and enjoy having a clean carpet. The really great thing about my carpet is that it's really flat and no beads can hide in it. The really awful thing about my carpet is that it's really flat and no beads can hide in it.

So I've gone over to pen & ink for the day. And reading about Queen Victoria. I've just read the note of condolence that Abraham Lincoln sent her after the death of Prince Albert. It was quite sad. And of course he died not too much later. (Albert died in 1861, Lincoln in 1865.) I don't know if she sent a letter to Mary Lincoln. That would be interesting to know - and it reminds me that I need to go see Lincoln. Did you see it? What did you think?

This painting is:
Secret Garden Heart
Available on Etsy.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Shades of White

shades of white by megan_n_smith_99
shades of white, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

I made this mosaic a few years ago - but it still inspires me. What inspires you in winter?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

True Blue & Traveling in Time

valentine2b2013 by megan_n_smith_99
valentine2b2013, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This is another one of my beaded pantings - True Blue. The canvas is 4x4" and it's listed on Etsy.

It's been a clear and cold day, I hid inside and drew and read. I finished reading Stephen King's 11/22/63 a couple of days ago. It was pretty good but probably could have benefited from a little pruning by an editor. The sex scenes really could have benefited from some more fade-outs and ellipses. They were sort of embarrassing. As if you'd walked in on something you should not have. I'd have rather have had that left up to my imagination -if even that.

But I know a lot of people loved it - I have a few recommendations for you if you liked it and /or would like to read some other quirky books featuring time Travel:

To Say Nothing of the Dog, Doomsday Book, Blackout, and All Clear by Connie Willis

A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones

Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

If you try any of those, let me know what you think! I am reading a book about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert now.


"Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."
— W.B. Yeats

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Red Tree

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

This is painting from a couple of years ago which I was really happy with. I liked the way the colors come together, and of course I never really get tired of painting trees.

Today my mother and I went to Daniel Smith - a little late-Christmas shopping. I am set for a while on paper, paints, pens, and brushes. It's such a relief to know that one a small stash of paper, waiting.

Red Tree was in a show which just came down, so I've added it back to Etsy along with a few others what were at the show. I have an excess of framed paintings! My condo looks a little like a gallery at the moment...

I've been doing pen & ink this week and I think I will be going some beading tomorrow. Already Christmas feels like months ago, though I am sure next Christmas will be here in about 5 minutes.

What are you working on?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Orphelia & a Little Music, a Little Silence.

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

This is my latest pen & ink. I finished it Saturday. Saturday was rather relaxing. I unplugged from social media for most of the day. just went about my day, listening to some music, and some silence, and it was peaceful.

Claude Debussy said, “Music is the space between the notes.” Maybe creativity is the space between ideas that other sources are feeding you -- tv, facebook, netflix, etc. In any case sometimes shutting down feels good. Everything in its place and time. So much input can be overwhelming and I find it hard to focus. I find myself drawing, sitting next to my computer, maybe glancing over from time to time to see if "anything has happened". thinking of something interesting and then googling it -- none of those things are exactly wastes of time but they may be a waste of focus.

think about it.

11 x 14"
Pen and ink

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sugar Skull

sugarskull1 by megan_n_smith_99
sugarskull1, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
Sugar Skull is my most recent watercolor. First I drew the design in ink (pitt pens) and then I went back and added color with Daniel Smith watercolors. I was pretty happy with the results. It was actually a commission, for a friend who collects Día de los Muertos artwork. It was a lot of fun to do! For the most part it was just sort of freeform, but I did intentionally use marigolds for the eyes - "Its flower, the cempasúchil is also called the flor de muertos ("flower of the dead") in Mexico... The word cempasúchil (also spelled cempazúchil) comes from the Nahuatl term for the flower zempoalxochitl, literally translated as "twenty flower". In Thai language it is called ดาวเรือง [DaoRuang], literally translated as "star glittering" "
(from Wikipedia)

Sugar Skull
8 x 10"
Watercolor and ink

Friday, January 4, 2013

Favorite Watercolors, 2012

I did a lot of painting in 2012, and I hope to continue to develop my talent in 2013. It's interesting to look at a progression and see how things have changed. These paintings are in roughly chronological order. If you want to see them close, you can look on Flickr.

Happy Creating!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Violet Eyes & Ephemeral Wisdom

Violet Eyes by megan_n_smith_99
Violet Eyes, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

This little painting has some layering in it, which I was talking about a few days ago. I believe the order was: watercolor, ink, gouache, watercolor, pencil.

it's 5x5" and is available on Etsy. Also I am having a sale in my Etsy shop. 15% off with coupon code YAY2013 .

& Here is a quote about trees, and I think it applies just as well to leaves - Autumn Leaves with their ephemeral wisdom.

"So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness."
— Hermann Hesse (Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte)

I have some painting to do.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Orphelia in progress

Orphelia in progress by megan_n_smith_99
Orphelia in progress, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

New Year's Day got off to a bad start. Sort of a comedy of errors I am not ready to be amused by. But by the end of the day I'd salvaged things, other than having hurt my back, and at least it's not too bad.

This is a drawing I am working on. I am working on a couple of projects around Orphelia - from Hamlet. Some of this sketch was planned and some is still evolving freeform. Which is how most of my work goes. I am also working on a commission.

Happy Creating!

"And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been"
— Rainer Maria Rilke

Little Gnome

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

may my heart always be open to little birds

by E. E. Cummings

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

Little Gnome
5 x 7"
Watercolor and ink
Available on Etsy.

Now through 1/6, use coupon code YAY2013 for 15 % off anything in my Etsy store!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Books Read in 2012

010807home3 by megan_n_smith_99
010807home3, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.
I can hardly bear to post something without a picture, so this is a picture of one of my bookshelves, with 2 of my beaded dolls and a woven basket from Panama.

I read quite a bit this year, and listened to a number of audio books, which I like to do while I paint. So here's my list!

Books Read 2012

1) The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure
2) Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan
3) The Little Book by Selden Edwards
4) The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
5) The Alice Behind Wonderland by Simon Winchester
6) Bloodshot by Cherie Priest
7) Hellbent by Cherie Priest
8) In The Shadow of the Dreamchild by Karoline Leach
9_ The Mystery of Lewis Carroll by Jenny Woolf
10) Sickened by Julie Gregory
11) Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
12) The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper, ed. By Maxim Jakubowski and Nathan Braund
13) Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper by Robert Bloch
14) Across the Great Barrier by Patricia Wrede
15) The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
16) The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill
17) Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
18) Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers
19) The Rainy Season by James P. Blaylock
20) Winter Tides by James P. Blaylock
21) All the Bells on Earth by James P. Blaylock
22) Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay
23) The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
24) The Wandering Fire by Guy Gavriel Kay
25) The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
26) The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
27) Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand
28) The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
29) Candy Girl by Cody Diablo
30) Cherry by Mary Karr
31) Riptide by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
32) Doctor Illuminatus : The Alchemist's Son by Martin Booth
33) The Moses Stone by James Becker
34) Olivia Kidney by Ellen Potter
35) Available Dark by Ellizabeth Hand
36) Floor Sample by Julia Cunningham
37) Nick of Time by Ted Bell
38) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
39) The French Gardener by Santa Montefiori
40) Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James.
41) Fifty Shades Darker by E. L. James.
42) Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
43) Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
44) The Perilous journey of the Donner Party by Marian Calabro
45) The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride by Daniel James Brown
46) Devil’s Gate : Brigham Young and the Great Mormon Handcart Tragedy by David Roberts
47) Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel
48) Starvation Heights by Gregg Olsen
49) Heart of Ice by Gregg Olsen
50) A Cold Dark Place by Gregg Olsen
51) Homer & Langley: A Novel by E.L. Doctorow
52) Ghostly Men: The Strange but true Story of the Collyer Brothers by Franz Lidz
53) 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
52) Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson
53) The Secret Lives of Hoarders by Matt Paxton
54) Four Wagons West: The Story of Seattle byRoberta Frye Wat

55) The Chestnut King by N.D. Wildon
56) Hard Laughter by Anne Lamott
57) The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
58) Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
59) The Coldest March: Scott's Fatal Antarctic Expedition by Susan Solomon
60) Girl Giant by Kristen den Hartog
61) Neverland:J.M. Barrie, the du Mauriers, and the Dark Side of Peter Pan by Piers Dudgeon
62) The People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry
63) Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
64) The Reluctant Mr. Darwin by David Quammen
65) Darwin, His Daughter, and Human Evolution by Randal Keynes
66) Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand
67) Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper
68) Gibbon's Decline & Fall by Sheri S. Tepper

Audio Books Listened to 2012:

1) The Prestige by Christopher Priest
2) Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
3) Return to Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
4) The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes
5) The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
6) Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
7) The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby
8) The Game by A.S. Byatt
9) Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
10) Beggars and Choosers by Nancy Kress
11) Beggars Ride by Nancy Kress
12) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
13) The Stonehenge Gate by Jack Williamson
14) The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo
15) Emlyn’s Moon by Jenny Nimmo
16) The Chestnut Soldier by Jenny Nimmo
17) Charlie Bone and the Beast by Jenny Nimmo
18) The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
19) Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
20) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
21) The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis
22) The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
23) The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
24) Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
25) Charlie Bone and the Time Twister
26) Welcome Chaos by Kate Wilhelm
27) The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh
28) The Family that Couldn’t Sleep by D.T. Max
29) Beating Back the Devil by Maryn McKenna
30) The Fatal Strain by Alan Sipress
31) Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson
32) Charlie Bone and the Time Twister by Jenny Nimmo
33) Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy by Jenny Nimmo
34) Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
35) Little, Big by John Crowley
36) Skeletons by Kate Wilhelm
37) American Gods by Neil Gaiman
38) Time and Again by Jack Finney
39) The Great Failure by Natalie Goldberg
40) Long Quiet Highway by Natalie Goldberg
41) Grace Eventually by Ann Lamott
42) The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
43) The Mermaid Garden by Santa Montefiori
44) Helen Keller in Love by Rosie Sultan
45) Death is a Lonely Business by Ray Bradbury
46) One and the Same by Abigail Pogrebin
47) The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen
48) The Ghost in Love by Jonathan Carroll
49) A Wicked Snow by Gregg Olsen
50) Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
51) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
52) This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff
53) A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar
54) The Worst Journey in the World by Cherry Apsley-Garrard
55) Scott’s Last Expedition by Robert Falcon Scott
56) The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
57) The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodden
58) The Lost Hours by Karen White
59) Mariana by Susanna Kersley
60) Dr. Mary's Monkey by Edward Haslam
61) The Memory of Water by Karen White
62) Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
63) A Soldier in the Great war by Mark Helprin