Friday, March 29, 2013


I don't trust spiders, even when they're dead.
I was cleaning my kitchen counters this morning, and had wiped one section down with a Clorox wipe and was working on the next. I turned to set something down and spotted a dead spider on the counter I had just cleaned.

I debated. I should remove it, but what if this is a trick? What if the minute I reach out to touch him he jumps up and sinks his fangs into my hand? Or what if he's a decoy? And as I'm cleaning him up, another spider repels down from the ceiling and lands in my hair, undetected, to attack me at a later time.

I decided to clean all around the spider, then ask my husband to clean the spider up. He isn't afraid of anything and he's bald, so he would notice a spider running across his head.

This is arachnophobia my friends. Don't ever ask me again why I am afraid of spiders. They are Ninjas, obviously. Tiny, poisonous Ninjas that stalk around your house unnoticed until one day they're crawling on you, looking for a tender place to bite.
Luke laughed at me, of course, and removed it, but I am still left wondering where the frack it came from and who killed it.  I didn't kill it.  Is there some sort of demon cannibalistic spider in my house?  How big might this thing be?  My mind is telling me it's probably the size of a terrier and we should burn the house to the ground to prevent it from laying any eggs.
This experience has left me with some questions, such as:
Is there a spider Thunderdome under my toaster?
Should I move the toaster and clean under it, or pretend it's glued to the counter top?
What kills a spider?
Seriously, what kills a spider?
A bigger spider?
It's a bigger spider, isn't it?

I have to go finish touching all my doorknobs 3 times. Have a good day!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Facebook vs. Kickstarter

I've noticed that my links to my Kickstarter campaign are only getting a fraction of the views my other posts, even links, are getting on Facebook.  I don't know why they would, but I suspect Facebook has put something funky into their algorithm to purposely knock down the relevancy of links leading to outside sites that sell things.  As such, a lot of people don't even know about the Kickstarter and it's just not getting the support that I thought it would get from my fans.  So for now I will try bypassing Facebook's dumb algorithm by posting the link in a blog post.  Ta da!

This is what September will look like in the 2014 calendar, minus date boxes since I always do all of that very precise work last.

Here's more views of this newest painting, "Portal to Atlantis", and the Kickstarter information: Click here to go to my Kickstarter

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mermaids With Legs

Of all the questions I receive specifically about my paintings, the one I probably get the most is "why do you paint your mermaids with legs that transform partway down into fins?"

My answer is, why isn't everyone else?

Let's think about it.  Mermaids are usually portrayed with breasts, which doesn't really make sense since they're not mammals, but they also probably shouldn't have hair or skin like ours.  Obviously we're not going for the full fish here, or they'd be a lot less pretty to look at and would probably look like Lord Voldemort with fins.

Let's take a moment to imagine that, shall we?


So, we should probably try to make them a realistic cross between both.  We have breasts to feed our children, and we don't have hundreds of them at a time, so clearly the mermaid is going to need some uh, reproductive abilities outside of laying eggs.

How does the traditional mermaid eliminate (that's fancy-talk for go wee-wee in the ocean)?  How does the traditional mermaid reproduce?  Are we supposed to assume she lays eggs like a fish and the boobs are just for looks?  That doesn't make sense.  Maybe she strips her tail off and has legs underneath?  Why does she live in the water then?  That doesn't make sense either.

Now, truthfully, a half human-half fish creation doesn't really make sense, either, but I think it's okay to try to find some realism in there somewhere.  So I try to paint my mermaids in a way that makes some sense, plus it's more fun to paint them that way.  Sometimes I even give them webbed fingers and ears, gills, or, you know, wings.

 Really, though, they're a mythological creature and the way you portray them is entirely up to you.  I paint them the way I paint them because I think it looks more graceful and natural, but other people prefer to paint them à la The Little Mermaid, and that's okay, too.

You do what you want.  You're an artist!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Slump

I have started lots of paintings recently, but I don't know when or if I'll finish any of them.  This happens from time to time.  Eventually I'll start cranking paintings out again, and they'll probably be better than the last batch.  Then I'll get really frustrated and hate all of my art, and then I'll suddenly be way better again.  It's a frustrating cycle, but I've finally learned to look forward to the "high" instead of dwelling on all the lows.

To cheer me up, and freshen up the blog, here's some of my newer paintings.

I noticed I didn't have many paintings that used a lot of green late last year, and decided I would work on that.  Well, now it seems I can't stop.  Two of the three paintings I have up in Photoshop right now are predominately green - whoops.  This will probably turn out like the winged mermaid phase, which I seem to be out of now.

...But I kind of want to draw another one, now that I mention it.  Double whoops.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Art As Reference

Is it okay to use another artist's work as reference for your own?  Some people swear it is not, in fact many feel this way, and yet many art professors will instruct their students to look at how other people have painted an unfamiliar subject and learn from them.

Often people seem to believe that "reference" is a dirty word akin to "copying" and that could not be further from the truth.  I think it's a rather immature belief, actually, that these two words are at all similar.

If someone copies your artwork, you have every right to be mad.  If they copy your idea, the way you portrayed it, and everything right down to the colors you used, be mad.  That's plagiarism, and it is illegal!  In that case someone has definitely committed a crime against you and you have every right to feel violated and angry about it.

But what if someone just thinks that you are really good at painting Victorian dresses, and they need to paint one but have no idea where to start?  Sometimes seeing things you've never painted before broken down into brush strokes can help you figure out where to start on your own.  That person isn't trying to violate your rights or do anything wrong, they're just trying to learn from someone they consider to have mastered a particular subject.  Be flattered, in that case.

Recently I have been working on a very tough piece and have found myself looking at pastoral scenes painted by all sorts of artists to get a better grasp on what I'm trying to accomplish.  Most of those artists are dead (Thomas Cole) but some are still alive (Jasmine Becket-Griffith) and I don't think in either case that they would mind that I studied their paintings.  Isn't that ultimately why we hope to leave work behind when we are gone, so that the next generation of artists continues to have something to study from?

What do you think?