Friday, July 3, 2015

Gypsy Whimsy

Gypsy Whimsy
5.5" x 8.5" 
colored pencil on toned paper

I'll just save all that HOLY COW IT'S BEEN SO LONG SINCE I LAST POSTED blah blah blah and jump straight to the point. :)

I'm still drawing. A lot. It will always be something I have to do. I just love it so much. 

And I've been finding a lot of satisfaction, and joy, in drawing more whimsically. . . More illustrative I guess. I no longer am a slave to a photo reference and I LOVE that. While part of me still sometimes misses getting lost in realism, for now I'm very happy to be drawing this way. 

Thanks for sticking with me for so long CCA fans. I sure appreciate your support.I still have this omnipresent itch to get those watercolors out. . . But just haven't made myself do it yet. But one day soon I will!

Listening to: AWOLNATION
Reading: The Ruby Circle
Watching: New Girl
Snacking on: egg whites and chicken breasts (I'm on a diet BLERGH)
Drinking: Ice water (see the BLERGH diet above^^)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Paisley Illustration 30/30 #3

Paisley Pony Illustration
9 x 12
copic marker on illustration board
Lagging behind pretty bad on this 30/30 challenge. :) I knew it would be tough to fit a painting in every day since I'm pretty much working full time now, and honestly accepting the challenge was mostly just a shove to get me to paint again. And for that alone it's been  a success.
I did make a start on a larger watercolor portrait of my son the other day, but it's not really at a showing stage yet. (in other words, it's a bit scary right now. Ha!)
This is an illustration I did for a client, a new whimsical style I don't think I've shared with you guys before. It's a lot of fun and I love working this way.
Watching: Master Chef
Reading: Alla Prima
Listening to: the dog snore
Snacking on: Peppermint Patties
Drinking: dirty diet coke

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Retirement 30/3 #2

6 x 6 inches, oil on gessobord
Painting #2 for the 30/30 challenge.  I took this photo  few years ago one morning after I had dropped my kids off at school. This old horse, evident by the grey on her muzzle and her deep sway back, stood grazing in a field, with the sun just rising over the mountains behind her.

The rim lighting on her was so gorgeous, but what struck me the most was a feeling of deep sympathy for her. She looked in good health for being so old, she looked to have a good life, but you could see that she wasn't going to be in this world for long. It's something I can't quite put into words, but it really moved me and I've wanted to paint her ever since.

Still trying to get back in the painting groove. :)

Watching: Sleepy Hollow
Reading: Alla Prima II
Listening to: The Dead Weather
Snacking on: lemon raspberry scone (YUM)
Drinking: chocolate milk 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Snow Hat 30/30 #1

"Snow Hat"
6 x 6 oil on gessobord
This painting is a series of firsts for me.
The first painting in my new house. (YAY!)
The first painting this year.
The first painting for the 30 in 30 challenge hosted by Leslie Saeta.
And probably some more that I just can't think of right now.
This is from a photo of my oldest son (who is 12 now) when he was just 2 years old wearing a big ol' snow hat.
Starting this painting after nearly a year off was full of surprises for me. The main one was that I hadn't forgotten as much as I thought I had. It didn't take me very long to get back in the groove of painting. Which was a welcome relief. In a way, being back at the easel felt a little like coming home.
But it was different as well. After spending so much time making stylized, cute animals (Tumble Creatures), I've developed a new way of seeing. A sort of shorthand, which was really, really cool. I no longer feel like a slave to a reference photo, which always bothered me a lot before.
I'm really excited, and so thankful to Leslie for having this challenge (and that no one else from Utah had signed up, which is what prompted me to sign up in the first place.) I know I won't be doing a painting every day for this challenge, I still have a lot of other art obligations I'm already committed to. But I'm happy to be back painting again, for me this time. <3 p="">
How have you all been??? I've missed you all so much. :)
Reading: The Search for WondLA by Tony Diterlizzi
Watching: Top Chef
Listening to: One Republic
Snacking on: Granola bars
Drinking: water (boring I know. ;)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Crash and Burn - and finished portrait

'Her Soul' 
16 x 16 inches 
oil on gessobord
SOLD - private commission
Hello? Anyone still out there??? I'm back. .. for now. :) 
The last half of this year has truly been a whirlwind for me and my family. With the majority of it spent prepping our old house for sale, showing said house to prospective buyers (ARGH), selling house, packing and moving out of house, moving into a rental condo for 2.5 weeks waiting for our new house to be ready, moving out of rental condo, moving into new house. 

Oh and all the hustle and bustle that just comes with raising a young family. :) 
And right in the middle of this I decided to start a new little side business for my little clay animal figurines that sort of took over my life. In a good way. :) I've been busier than I ever thought I would be, selling out of my little creatures faster than I can sculpt them. Here's my Facebook page if you want to take a peek: 

It's been an incredible blessing to be able to make a living from your creativity. While I've done really well with selling paintings and commissions it hasn't always been exactly reliable. There have been dry spells that stretched for a very long time, and a lot of the time lately when I was painting I felt like I was up against a wall. Painting because I had to not because I loved to and I just had had enough. I needed a break.
And while sculpting is not painting, it still rings all those creative bells that painting does, in fact. . . I think it does it a little better. Because these creatures are more imaginative, more whimsical. It's been a dream of mine for a long time to be a children's book illustrator but I really struggled to come up with unique and cute characters. Now I think I finally have, just in the form of clay.

I really had lost the love I had for painting. I dreaded it more and more. What used to be a joyful feeling of opening up a box of paint and holding a brush had started to feel like the worst form of torture imaginable. Finishing up these last few commissions took all my strength of will. I pushed through them and was very happy with how they turned out. But now I'm closing down painting commissions. I'll let you guys know when and if I open them up again. 

It's been just over a month since we moved into our new house and we are starting to feel settled. It's starting to feel like home. There's still lots to unpack, paintings to hang, photos to display, but it's starting to feel like home. :) 

Lately I have really wanted to paint again. I am starting to miss it more and more, and I know when that happens it's time to break out the brushes again. But this time I will be a little more slow to post them, and it will be a little more irregular. I don't ever want to feel that burned out again. 

I promised myself that this time I will only paint when I really, really want to. :) 

I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season! Merry Christmas to all of you. 

Hugs and cupcakes,

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oil portrait work in progress

 16 x 16 inch oil portrait commission
In progress

Still working on commissions, but I thought I'd show a pic of this one in progress. Nearly done (well. . . the hardest part is anyways). 

And here's a little Last Unicorn doodle I did while drawing with my son the other day. :) 

Hope you all are doing well!! 

We've sold our house and will hopefully be all settled in to our new place by the first part of November. Then life can get back to normal, lol. It's been a crazy last few months!

Reading: Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan
Listening to: The Monstrumologist (audio book) by Rick Yancey
Watching: Supernatural
Snacking on: buffalo spiced Wheat thins

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

So Studious

'So Studious' 
16 x 20 inches
oil on gessoboard
private commission

Finished up painting number 2 in my commission series of portraits. I am really happy with his face. I think I captured something special there. But I'm not sure what. . . What does that say about me you think? ;)
I miss daily painting, but still have found it difficult to get much painting done lately. So far, my weekly goal to post once a week has not come to pass. And. . . I'm okay with that. For nearly 4 years I have been diligently posting and painting, mostly to fill this blog. And I feel like it's okay, more than okay, to slow down now. 

Maybe I should have done so sooner. There are more important things in life after all than paint and brushes. I worry that sometimes I get too caught up in the day to day 'have to's that I lose sight of the big picture. 

My children. Growing before my eyes. My littlest is in kindergarten now and it was just a few weeks ago that he clung to me and didn't want me to leave him when I dropped him off in the morning. Now he runs off with a wave and a 'bye mom!' shouted over his shoulder. 

But that's the way it's supposed to be. I'm glad that he's happy and secure enough to know that I'll come back for him. 

But still. The shift from being the center of his little world, to not so much anymore is hard. But I know that this too will pass, and soon I'll be okay with it. After all, I know he'll always be my little boy, my best friend. He whispers it to me every day when we hug goodbye. :) 

I'll post when I can again, but not sure when that will be. Hope all is well with you good blog friends. Sending hugs and cupcakes your way. 

Mood: Contemplative
Listening to: Hurricane Bells
Reading: The Monstrumologist
Watching: World War Z
Snacking on: chips and my mom's homemade salsa
Drinking: ice water

Friday, September 6, 2013

Smooth and Supple

'Smooth and Supple' 
5 x 7 inches oil on panel
$100 plus $7 US shipping/$15 International

Hello??? Anyone still out there?? It's me Crystal. You know, that crazy, geeked out girl who used to paint a lot? :D 

Yes, I've been gone a while haven't I? Weird. Life has been crazy hectic lately, we just put our house up for sale so the last few months has been a blur of packing and cleaning, organizing, and everything else that needs to be done to get your house ready for perfect strangers to walk through it and go into a crazy amount of debt to buy it. ;) 

I also have been busy with commission work, that's taken all my focus away from daily painting. But I am going to try, really hard, to try to post a new painting or drawing once a week. I feel like that's all I can manage right now, but I recognize that I NEED to do something. Or at least. . . a work in progress post once a week so you guys don't completely forget about me. :) 

This horse could count for 'J' in my alphabet series had I not cropped out his legs and body. Because he's actually jumping in the air. 

I also have broken quite a few compositional rules with this one. But I don't care. I LOVE this painting. And breaking rules is sort of a job requirement for artists. We're rebels at heart. ;) See you next week everybody! Thanks to all of you for checking in with me! Hugs to all of you, and virtual cupcakes too. 

Listening to: Pinback
Reading: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Watching: Revolution
Snacking on: Chips and salssa
Drinking: Dirty Diet Coke's as often as I can get them (the best thing ever and totally bad for you but well. . . see above about rebels and such)

Reference photo by Deidre T on deviantART, thank you! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


12 x 16 inches, oil on gessobord
First of all let me just say that 12 x 16 inches is MUCH larger than 5 x 7. Yes, I realize that many of you are saying in your very best Severus Snape/Alan Rickman voice: "OB-viously." 

I knew that, but, knowing and applying one's knowledge are two vastly different things. Her face alone took me several days to paint, and I must say that I'm very happy with how she turned out. 
Painting so many small paintings, I've gotten used to painting a face in one sitting. That took me by surprise with this painting at first, but it was also very good for me I think. For all the benefits of daily painting (of which there are many) there is also something (or many things, whatever) to be said for slowing down and taking your time with a painting. 

This is the first in a series of portraits I've been commissioned to paint as part of a corporate installation. Also, this one is the smallest size. O-o. 
This will require epic amounts of cookie dough and Supernatural episodes. I'm totally up for this challenge. :) 
Listening to: Grinnin in Your Face by ZZ Ward
Reading: Nothing :(. Ain't nobody got time for that (right now anyways. Life is hectic these days). 
Snacking on: honey mustard pretzels
Watching: Alphas
Drinking: diet coke

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Filigree - Self Portrait

5 x 7 inches, oil on panel

I'm part of a small group of artists that have banded together as a sort of peer mentoring group. We talk about our goals, our vision for our work, share business ideas, and challenge each other. It's full of awesomeness. These women are incredible and I'm so honored to be part of their group. :) 

So we had a painting challenge. It was to paint a self portrait that was a true reflection of you. I kind of suck at that. I've painted myself before, and every time it has been a very uncomfortable experience for me. I don't like looking at myself. I hate drawing attention to myself. In a crowd or group of people I prefer to hide, unseen and unnoticed. 

And a self portrait is basically the opposite of all of those things. It's all about ME. I mean, there's really nowhere else to look. Unless you like grey backgrounds, and if you do then. . . awesome.You've come to the right place. But, I digress.

My way around this is to typically hide part of my face in some way. Like the filigree mask above, or like this: 

Or like this:

So how then, was I to paint a self portrait that was a true representation of myself? I did what I felt most comfortable with. A partially hidden version of me. Again. Because I do think this is really how I am. I could go on and try to think of something really meaningful to say about why I paint myself this way. But I won't.

Because there is no real deep meaning to it. I just prefer to be in the background, instead of the spotlight and that alone says SO much about who I really am that there really isn't anything else to say.

Monday, July 29, 2013

I is for. . . Iron Man SOLD

'Iron Man' 
4 x 4 inches 
watercolor on paper SOLD

Back to work with my alphabet series. 'I' is for, you guessed it, Iron Man - Lego style. In our house, superheroes and Legos are king. 
I got my kids involved with this painting, because I could NOT find Iron Man's tiny Lego mask. And well, without his mask he's just Tony Stark, which while Tony Stark is awesome, he is not quite as awesome as Iron Man. ;) Also Tony starts with a T. ;)

So, we took a bunch of photos of all different kinds of Lego guys, Batman and Catwoman, Storm Troopers and Jedis, and the riders of Rohan and the Uruk Hai army. Not sure that I'll get to painting all of them, but it was a lot of fun. And I organized all the Legos while we were at it for about the hundredth time. Let's hope they stay that way for more than a month.  

We've got a bunch of home improvement projects going on right now, and I am loaded with commissions (a good thing :) so I may need to take a break from this series for a little while, but I'll be back to it for sure. Hopefully soon because it is a lot of fun. 

Huzzah to you my friends! May your week be filled with cupcakes and acts of superheroism! 

Listening to: "The Ballad of John Henry" by Joe Bonamassa
Reading: The Unwanteds
Watching: Supernatural reruns
Snacking on: half baked, fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies
Drinking: diet Coke with lime 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

On the Brink

'On The Brink'
7 x 10 inches
watercolor on paper, not for sale

This is one of my beautiful nieces. She just turned 13 so I thought it was time she had a portrait. :) I love this stage of young womanhood, that in between time of not really a little girl anymore, but not a grown up either (I love seeing it happen on other people, but living it? Not so much)

This girl is sweet, funny (downright hilarious actually), with a huge heart. And of course she is incredibly beautiful, with her jewel colored eyes and rich, dark hair. I just can't say enough good things about her, I love her to pieces and am so proud to be her aunt. She is such a special girl and I have loved getting to see her grow up. I'm excited to see where she goes next. :)  

Lest ye think that I have fallen off the alphabet series wagon, let me just say - Nay, I have not. My next painting is 'I' and I'm all geeked out over the subject matter. And that's all the teaser you will get until Monday. ;) 
Huzzah my friends! May your cookies always be full of chocolate chips!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Alpha - original wolf drawing

6 x 10 inches
colored pencil on toned paper

I have always been fascinated with wolves. I read White Fang and The Call of the Wild so many times as a kid and teen that I could quote passages of them to people who really, probably didn't want to hear it. But good literature should oft be quoted no? ;) 

When I was in high school I did my senior art portfolio test all about wolves. And all of them were painted with instant coffee and water on brown craft paper, and all of the poses were very stereotypical, slavering mouths agape, and chilling, predatory eyes burning in the night. Those art examiners ate my quirkiness up let me tell you. ;) 

I've since learned more about wolves, and how much of their interaction is very gentle, like a loving family and a parent who sometimes has to put their kid in a timeout. I feel like it's kind of a responsibility for animal lovers, especially wolf lovers, to not promote the vicious animal stereotype that surrounds them still, so now I try to portray them in times of playfulness, or love. Like this one. I love that calm, tolerant expression of the wolf who's getting chewed on. :)

In other news, I finally made a cute little clay pony that I'm really happy with and I'm putting her in my new Etsy shop as a made to order option for anyone interested. :) 

Listening to: 'What Happened to Goodbye' audio book
Watching: Merlin 
Snacking on: mini Snickers bars
Drinking: coconut/lime diet Coke

Reference photo of the wolves by Bob Haarmans, thank you!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


7 x 10 inches watercolor on paper
not for sale
Earlier this year I took my son out for the day. We went to the book store, hung out and had a treat. Then we drove around looking for a good spot to take some pics for paintings. We found this winding road with an old twisted tree in a pasture with a white horse under it. You can bet I'll be painting that in the future. 

But what I really wanted was to paint a portrait of my boy. I haven't painted him for a while and I was so surprised to see how much he had grown up since I last painted him. Painting this one really tugged on my heartstrings. Kids grow up so fast don't they? It was like I was trying to put his younger features on his older face because I was used to painting him that way, as a younger little boy. Is that weird? 

In any case, here is H for Hoodie, continuing with my alphabet series. :D
In other news, I also decided to open up an Etsy shop for my little clay critters that I've been making. And I started a facebook page. So my good wonderful friends. If you want to come like me, you'd really make my day. :D You can click here to see it. 
Reading: The Unwanteds
Listening to: AC/DC (yeah baby)
Watching: Supernatural (surprise surprise!)
Snacking on: apple slices with peanut butter

Related Posts with Thumbnails