Monday, November 12, 2012

Work in Progress!

I'm painting again after months of hiatus:) Here's what I've got so far:
I'm trying to slow down and take my time with this one, as I usually rush to get things done due to time constraints. I'm happy with it so far!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I've recently finished a book cover for an excellent soon-to-be-published fantasy novel (I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek), and I'm rather proud of the result. Dragons have never been a strength for me, but I really like how this one turned out.
I will post a link as soon as it is available!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Hi! Been a while, I know. Painting had been on the backburner for quite some time, as it happens. There have been a few new projects since the summer, since I last posted, most of which occurred in December. However, I have been experimenting a bit.

And then I decided to give paintings as Christmas presents. I like how they turned out!

This painting is in honor of Julie Rose's latest novel, Oleanna.

This one was inspired by Heather Domin's epic/romance/epicromance The Soldier of Raetia.

And this one is inspired by Catherine Scaff-Stump's novel-in-progress (which I have been privileged to read thus far) The Substance of Shadows.

This one was for my friend Yolanda:

And this one for Jenn:

Trying to get away from digital for...well, don't really know why. I just prefer watercolors. Also, the studio is a much more pleasant place to be in since I spiffed it up and actually hung my artwork on the walls. Pictures to come once the whole thing is finished.

So that's that. Am hoping to keep up more online as opposed to just dumping new pictures on my tumblr account, which is so seductively easy. Hope all is going well for everyone!

Friday, July 29, 2011

More Avian Fun

Two more for the road!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Raptor Rapture!

I've always loved raptors, especially owls. Whenever we go on vacation, we tend to visit raptor sanctuaries and bird shows if they're nearby. I am proud to say that I've walked around for about a half hour with a beautiful Indian eagle owl named Jessica perched on my arm.

What a beaut!

So I should have been painting owls and raptors all of this time! I suppose I was afraid of all of the detail in the plumage, but now that I've started, it's really a great deal of fun.

Trial and Error Owl

This first guy took quite some time, mainly because I focused so much on the individual feathers, which still don't look particularly realistic. Fine with me, but not my favorite.

Trying a looser style here, which, aside from speeding things up, contributes to a better texture. Still working out the bugs.

Now we're owling!

Theerrrre we go. This guy is far and away my favorite. Watercolor is a great medium for painting birds, as the gradiations in feathers and shades blur in a really nice way. I went a bit overboard on the "ears", but I don't care. That's why painting is fun.

And now, let's throw a hawk in the mix. One of the things I love about raptors is how expressive their faces are, how they seem to look as if they're disapproving. This little guy cracked me up.

So...while I'm working on the rest of the travel log, expect more birds to visit:)

Friday, July 22, 2011

On Oslo

Jumping ahead for, well, obvious reasons. I cannot get Oslo out of my head. I've been obsessively checking twitter and newsfeeds for information, something with which to cobble some sense out of this senseless situation. The best that can be construed is that it was a random act of insanity by a man of extreme right-wing beliefs. Not an immigrant or Muslim (the conclusion many immediately stampeded to), a strapping young fellow with the chiseled blond handsomeness so common in Norway, someone you would pass on the street without giving a second glance (or would, if so inclined). Someone who, if his facebook page is to be believed, enjoyed True Blood and World of Warcraft. Someone who, upon looking at him, you would not guess that inside he had the wherewithal to throw an entire city into chaos or murder scores of kids trapped on an island.

Truth be told, when I was in Oslo a month ago, it did not resonate with me. The museums are incredible, the people pleasant and polite, and yet I was left cold. I balked at the sky-high prices for even the most mundane of dishes and was disappointed by the huge but conventional shopping centers. It's not a fair assessment of the city, I know. Had we seen more of it, I'm sure I would have been won over. But at the time, if I saw Helsinki as a kooky, vibrant artist mama welcoming me to hang out, Oslo was a wealthy dowager who never dressed in anything other than formal gowns, every hair perfectly in place. However, the events taking place today have shown me that the grande dame is so much more than that, a reminder that she can handle any situation that comes her way with grace, dignity, generosity, and bravery.

Her people are truly special. I cannot help but remember the young woman who perched herself perilously between a dock and high platform to fish Catherine's Oslo pass out of the water when it had slipped through her fingers. The businessman who grinned impishly at me through the window upon seeing me take a comically large bite of an unwieldy sandwich. The raucous kids heading in a line toward the Folkesmuseum, proving that children all over the world are pretty much the same. I look back and see that Oslo is an amazing place, one I wish I had better appreciated when I was there.

My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with the people of Norway. May you find peace and comfort in this terrible time.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Adventures in the North! Chapter 2: Hello, Helsinki!

I'd had two destinations in mind when I was to reach Helsinki: Suomenlinna and the Akseli Gallen-Kallela museum. I was more interested in the latter as the artist is one of my favorites, in my opinion up there with Wyeth in skill and visual storytelling. Both destinations required a fair bit of travel and walking, especially the museum, situated as it was in Espoo with at least a 2 mile walk just from and to the bus stop there. As it was my first and final day in Helsinki, I had a choice. Suomenlinna, the Gallen-Kallela museum, or taking it easy in the city. Perhaps I could have run myself through the first two destinations out of sheer force of will, but after the third dizzy spell during Hotel Linna's sumptuous breakfast, taking it easy seemed essential. As it turns out, three days of travel, a heaping serving of stress, and very little sleep can really take it out of you. Fortunately and unfortunately, one day in Helsinki was enough to make me fall in love.

Well fed, we strolled down the street, and I was immediately intrigued by this:


I don't know what it signified, but it struck me as whimsical, these lines of bright shirts tied together and slung between elegant 19th century buildings. Soon enough, we came upon a statue honoring the esteemed Elias Lonnrot, collector of the tales which make up the Kalevala.

Not fifteen minutes into our walk from the hotel, and I was already charmed by the city. From what I had read about Helsinki and her residents, I was expecting a cool, reserved place in which people rarely made eye contact and kept to themselves. Helsinki is cool, but not pretentious. There's an energy here like in all of the great cities of world- but Helsinki has a personality all her own: artistic, eccentric, and welcoming all at once. I'd dressed in one of my usual crazy-colored outfits complete with a flower in my hair (hey, if you're going to go all out, it may as well be in a foreign city), slightly worried that I would stick out. Not so. Everyone seemed to have their own individual style, thoughtfully chosen and, for the most part, flawlessly executed. Regardless of age or gender, an interesting hairstyle accompanied by a streak of wild color was the norm. It was wonderful. As for a reserved populace, smiles came easily here, and the people with whom I interacted were friendly and warm. Catherine mentioned that when she had been alone, whenever she checked her map a local would appear to offer help and directions.

After a visit to the excellent art museum (I did get to see some Gallen-Kallela paintings after all:) and a leisurely ramble, we retired to a cafe, where we enjoyed coffee, giant pastries, and the sight of an unfortunate fellow having his lunch swiped by a seagull (and this was in the middle of the city, mind!). Bellies full and brains caffinated, we moved on, stumbling across a small street festival in which there was a dancing contest, a little market of handmade goods, and a guy rapping Biggie Smalls in Finnish. Hipster guys off to the side were painting graffiti on large canvases for an appreciative audience. Smiling tattooed punk families pushed babies in strollers. I was officially smitten.

After dinner, we returned to the hotel where I decided to avail myself of its traditional sauna. There I encountered a charming Scottish mother and daughter duo, and chatted with them while steaming away the tension in my muscles. I'd mentioned my troubles in Iceland, and my regret that I hadn't been able to visit the hot springs there. The daughter laughed and mentioned that she had been, and that if I would go there that I should be sure to wear a bathing suit and bring my own soap ("Ah went with mah school one year. It's natural, so yeh know they can' clean it. I grabbed the soap- fulla pubes!" This line also proved that a Scottish accent makes anything sound awesome.). Normally I would be averse to being social in such a place, but gabbing with these funny ladies turned out to be just what I had needed.

I returned to my room refreshed and light of spirit, and found that my appetite, after two days of airport snacks, had returned with a vengeance. It was well into the evening at that point, and my companion very sensibly wished to turn in. However, since I only had a few more hours to spend in this city, I wanted to get as much out of the evening as I could. Led by my roaring stomach, I ventured forth and came across Bar Loose, where I enjoyed the BEST VEGGIE BURGER EVER. Seriously. As a stylishly mod DJ spun 60's tunes, I entrenched myself at a table, took out my sketchpad, and drew for hours. When I heeded the call of nature, I found that the bathroom stall was covered in silly sketches and Spongebob Squarepants quotes. I added a little scribble of my own to the graffiti, and the thought that a little bit of me still resides in a cool club in Helsinki brings me much joy. At around 1 am, I made my way back to the hotel on quiet streets feeling perfectly safe in a way that is rare to find in large cities. Heavy metal dudes nodded genially as I passed. Arriving back at our hotel room, I prepared for bed, already sorely missing Helsinki.

I need to go back someday.

In front of the amazing Hotel Linna, not ready to leave