Monday, August 31, 2009

Woodland creatures on parade

Well I'm posting this on all the sites that I frequent, because I'm just tickled with how it turned out. Although by calling it "Twilight Halloween Parade" I might be inadvertently inviting fans of a certain sparkly vampire series to click on it, that was certainly not my intention. Sometimes 'twilight' does in fact refer to the time of day!

I like the long rectangle as a canvas size and I have a few blank ones lying around for other purposes. Since I'm not a fan of stretching my own canvases (believe me, I would just break everything in the house in my attempt to stretch them...and also my entire workspace is one-half of the sofa, so I don't have a lot of room to maneuver) I am happy when they offer interesting sizes in the stores.

The critters in this painting are inspired by my woodland friends and things I've encountered over the summer. The woods have been full of mushrooms in every shape, size and colour this summer, and I've seen an unusual variety of moths and caterpillars even during the day (though not a luna moth yet this year, I am sure they are around). As for black cats, well I have one so they are always around. We had an owl in the vicinity this year that I heard many times at night, and we had bats in the attic last year -- this year I helped to build bat houses for a conservation group. The ponds were full of giant snails and everywhere I went I seemed to be walking smack into a spiderweb.

So here is a little parade of my friends as they carry their jack o'lanterns on a trick or treating expedition. This painting will be featured in the Etsy holiday showcase tomorrow most likely, and I will try to book another showcase spot later in the month for something or other as well.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New web address

I've managed to finally hook up my art gallery web page to an actual domain name, so it is now at, though the previous address will continue to work.  Of course all of this hinges on the fact that I may have accidentally paid twice, sohopefully in correcting that problem I won't accidentally lose everything!  But I am pretty sure I'll be able to work it out.

In other small accomplishments, I relisted a couple of these gothic ghost novel inspired paintings on Etsy and did a new banner.  And now I must go be in the woods for awhile.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Three little paintings!

Three little 5 x7 paintings all in a row -- on eBay this week to usher in September, when suddenly it starts to seem a little less weird to the average person that I have ghosts and pumpkins all over my clothes.  Ahh, the best two months of the year.  I watched Blood from the Mummy's Tomb while I finished these up and made progress on a large, 12 x 24 piece.

I can't really tell whether people in general like big or large art better.  I've had commissions for pieces as big as 3 x 4 feet -- they would have been larger, but there was no earthly way to ship them unless they were picked up in person, if they were any larger.  I have a hard time scaling things down to something 5 x 7 inches, but on the other hands it can be hard to fill up all those large spaces in the big paintings.  I think that I'll always like 9 x 12 the best...just big enough to balance on your lap while you watch monster movies.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mummies and UFOs

I've been enjoying mummies a lot lately. They don't get a lot of attention, in the grand scheme of horror type stuff, the way vampires and zombies do. I'm not saying that mummies need to have an HBO show or that a series of teen novels about sexy, sparkly mummies would necessarily be popular, but hey -- there's vampires, werewolves, zombies and mummies, when you get right down to the classics (and "Frankensteins" if we can call that a category, and maybe creatures that crawled out of lagoons), and let's have a little mummy love!

I think you can see what happened here. UFO crash, pyramid, etc. etc. equals glowing radioactive mummy brought back to life. You know how it is, these things happen! Anyway, I still see mummies making an appearance in Halloween stuff on the shelves so the dears haven't been entirely forgotten.

I listed this as 'geekery' on Etsy for a change, since I kind of like the idea for that category and they don't have a "just plain weird" option as far as i can tell!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pumpkins and funeral parties

I'm on my way to go look for mushrooms to photograph in the woods, but I thought it was about time to put a couple of Halloween paintings up on ebay from a stash that I've been holding onto for a couple of years. The first is guaranteed to get the Cure song "Funeral Party" going through my head. I like the guy on the right, I'm not really sure what he is, underneath that hat and coat, but he has lizard feet and a curling tail. Both of these images link to their eBay auctions.

And then there's a cheery witch stacking distressed pumpkins.

Just a couple of classic Halloween themes to usher in the season proper! Now I'm off to visit the mushroom woods, where I hope to find some moth or bird friends to give me some more ideas.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to the basics

The first painting you see above is the very first Halloween painting that I sold on eBay, close to 10 years ago.  My scan from back then was not the best quality, but you get the idea -- I was very interested in trying to capture the look of the jack o'lanterns from the turn of the century postcards, in my paintings at the time -- but since then those images have become somewhat popularized as the postcards have been reprinted in various forms, so now I'm doing simple carved pumpkin faces like the one below, for the most part.  

I wanted to do a simple pumpkin and cat painting again to usher in the season this year, so the one below is up on Etsy right now!  My first pumpkin cat was a 12 x 16 painting I think though and this one is a delicate 8 x 10 which has always been my preferred size for easy framing.  I wanted to use bright, bold colors and a lot of green in this one -- though the same black cat modeled for each, even if she doesn't know it!  Certainly, she wouldn't have sat still for that long if she knew she was being watched.

Only a little over two more months of enjoying Halloween decorations in stores!  But it will be awhile before people start decorating their houses, around here.  After all it's still 90 degrees out!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Moon Owl

I don't usually do horizontal paintings these days but that was my preferred style, back in the day. I'd use 16 x 20 canvases and do a complex fantasy/D&D sort of scene that I'd never finish because it seemed like too much space to cover. I switched to 9 x 12 after scanners came along and that became my preferred size. Now, I still use those but I really like these little 6 x 8 canvases. I can do just one small, focused idea where I'm not spending a lot of time filling in foreground or background, and I can just take a small subject and do a lot of different variations on it. I don't know why but I really like 6 x 8.

Anyway, here's an owl! I've purchased a showcase spot on Sept. 1 in the Holidays section on Etsy, in hopes to getting my Halloween stuff out there at the start of the 'serious' Halloween season. I usually flake out!

I wanted to do something that was simple and not complete looney the way my tastes normally run. Just a nice owl!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The other recent Halloween painting

I somehow actually wound up doing things on my vacation this week so I didn't get around to posting this the other day.  She is also on Etsy but I'm not sure if it's time to start shoving Halloween down everyone's throat quite yet so I'm just sort of letting them hang out there for awhile.  I'm watching Dark Shadows right now, because I found a cache of box sets for sale used at a local record store.  I'm finishing up watching Box 5, Disc 4 from Netflix so I can get started on Box 6!  Last year around Halloween I watched Dark Shadows every night while I knitted a Dr. Who scarf, earning me some sort of mega-nerd cred somewhere, I'm sure.

I amenjoying reading Bram Stoker's book about mummies and I realized that the Hammer film "Blood From the Mummy's Tomb" is based on it so I am going to have to keep an eye out for that.  

Monday, August 10, 2009

Halloween begins...and also, Artfire

"Emeraude Feels Festive" is the first of my small (6 x 8) Halloween pieces I hope to have completed this year well in advance of Halloween.  It happens every year -- I mean to get a lot of stuff together before fall, but I suddenly look up and it's October and the stores have already switched over to Christmas.  

The little Egyptian symbols on her sleeve are a nod to the fact that I've been reading "The Jewel of the Seven Stars" by Bram Stoker, his mummy book -- I finally got a copy with both endings, as oposed to an "abridged" version.  There's a nice little reprint available under the title Return From The Dead .

Otherwise, although these are in the Etsy shop, I hope to start a small Artfire store as well under the name Sarada.  I thought I had already registered there but I guess I didn't!  I thought their monthly fee was a requirement, but apparently that's only for a premium membership.

I don't know if anyone reads this, but if anyone does, and has any thoughts -- I'm trying to determine whether it's worth posting any art at all on eBay, which used to be the main place that I sold stuff.  But now I can tell no one is even looking, when I list art.  I miss my old customers!  I wonder if I should have just kept listing stuff every week, even when no one was buying, but it was really hard to keep it up.  Inspiration only comes in bursts, and it's hard to force it.  

Saturday, August 8, 2009

We're gonna sit at the welcome table

When I start a UFO cult, this will be the cover for the brochure. I don't know if we're been watching too many UFO documentaries on late night cable, or if it's listening to Ya Ho Wha 13 in the car or re-playing Katamari Damacy again on the Playstation, but apparently something has snapped and I think I might have joined a rainbow flower hippie alien gnome UFO flower mushroom cult at some point in the last 24 hours.

And just to confuse things a little, there's some Tarot card imagery, with the black and white trees in the background similar to the pillars in the High Priestess card, and various planetary symbols scattered throughout, on the staves that the alien and gnome friends are holding.

The mystic white-robed priestess welcomes the craft to earth with a crescent moon in one hand and a red star/pentacle in the other. She is draped with blue flowers, her robe adorned with moons and stars, and a rainbow of flowers blossom over her head. An eye in a pyramid, and a crown-like headpiece with a third eye on her brow, complete her ritual garb. The UFO projects rainbow beams in all directions. Welcome, Alien Friends!

This one is on Etsy.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hooray for Bing!

My online gallery of Halloween and Witch art is the first hit that comes up on Bing for the search "witch art", isn't that neat! My web page will soon have its own domain name, I think I clicked the button I needed to click yesterday to make that happen but it hasn't gone through yet. It will still be reachable by the same address it currently it, but there will be a new, easier to remember domain name. It won't look any different though (yet).

And for no reason, here's a Halloweenish picture from a few years ago. The season has officially begun, as far as I'm concerned, even though we haven't had a genuinely hot summer day yet this year in this part of New Jersey. Looks like that will change on Monday, but hey, it's almost over -- bring on the fall!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lucy of the Crows

First, thank you to everyone who has added me to their blog list or is looking via other means that I can't spy on.  I have plans to actually be on the ball this year and start seriously putting some Halloween stuff out into the world between August and October!  Halloween: it's not just for February through June anymore!  So far I've already bought a few yards of Halloween fabric, and several decorations from craft stores.  Michael's craft store has a "bling" theme this year which translates into lots of glitter, for practical purposes.  Let's call it glam, perhaps.

The painting above will be among those in what I guess is my Halloween showcase this year though really she is more inspired by the Saint Lucy/Saint Lucia than Halloween, specifically, but there is a ghostly aspect to her, with her black lace veil and her grey Victorian gown.  The crows or blackbirds that she holds, clutch a pair of eyeballs.  Her own eyes are obscured by the veil.  

She could be a twist on the image of the Christian martyr who is often depicted in gothic art and in medieval iconography as bearing her eyes on a plate.  Or, she is simply a ghostly apparition with unsettling pets.  

Either way, she is now on Etsy, as I start to direct some dark art in that direction for the season.  In other news: still reading The Castle of Wolfenbach by Eliza Parsons, and it's been very readable -- I sometimes have trouble focusing on the lesser known gothic novels of the 18th century (which is probably why they haven't survived as major classics) but this is exactly what I'm in the mood for.  Also, I ordered a book of EF Benson ghost stories today.  And the BPAL Halloween update was today so that is also on my mind.  Ahh yes, the season is starting.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Snow Summoning

Here's another recent painting, which I actually started at the beginning of last winter, with the clever thought "I'm going to get started early on winter paintings this year!"  Obviously, that didn't quite work out.  I used to do a bunch of snow-themed paintings before Christmas/Yule/etc time each year, such as:

Through the Snow

Snow Cauldron

Snowflake Witch

And oh, gosh, there are lots more that I don't even have up on my web site right now.  I need to create a page just for Winter, actually.

So why am I talking about this in the summer?  I don't know, I got ahead of myself, I guess.  I'm going to start putting up a lot of new Halloween stuff soon, but first I realized that I had to finish this snow painting.  I have put it up on eBay for sale at a low starting price, just for kicks, along with the Summer Strawberry Witch that I did last year who is still looking for a home.

There's so little time before tying up the Halloween stuff, before winter sets in, that I never get a chance to think about winter when it is upon us.  I'm too eager to extend Halloween for as long as I possibly can, but I love all of the imagery of ice and snow as well.  

Ghastly ghost flowers

This summer, it has been unusually rainy in New Jersey -- it rained almost every day in June, and July was unseasonably cool and damp as well. One of the results of this downpour has been the proliferation of every type of mushroom in the woods. And among the strange collection of yellow and brown amanitas, jelly molds and fungus, death caps and destroying angels, a strange flower blooms.

I walk in the woods almost every day that the weather cooperates, even if only for a few minutes, but I have never before seen the elusive Indian Pipe in one of my favorite walking places, though I have looked for them in the darkest shadows among the mushrooms. Pale and waxy, they resemble mushrooms themselves - a tiny cluster of pale white stems bearing drooping bell-like blossoms. Flecked with the dark soil from which they erupt after a heavy rain, they seem to favor woods like the one I frequent, full of birch and beech, pine and poplar.

Among their other names are ghost flower, corpse plant, and fairy smoke -- quite a poetic plant! With that in mind I imagined that at its roots a wan fairy might lie in wait beneath the earth. I will probably do several paintings on this theme, but this is the first. I haven't decided whether to offer her up for Etsy or eBay yet, but I wanted to share her right away.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Scarlet Woman

Welcome to my new art blog, I've been planning this for awhile but now that I have a new scanner it finally seems like time!

I will be posting mainly new art here, sometimes works in progress, sometimes old pieces that I want to share, and information about updates to my web site, currently titled Xelucha's Haunted Menagerie, my Etsy Shop and occasionally - when I have art there - my eBay listings. Oh I have some other pages floating around too, but I'll catch up with those later. I hope to do some major revisions to my regular art page this year.

I got started on a whole bunch of things last night, including completing a piece inspired by my favorite shade-loving summer wildflower in the deep woods, but first I thought I'd start things off with a painting that celebrates freedom, decadence and indulgence. I call her "Scarlet Woman" I have her up on Etsy right now with the following description:

I began this painting as a celebration of feeling independent and free, and embracing all of the things that people say are bad for us, with glee. With long locks of red hair flying free (gee, that might be because I have red hair) and golden butterfly wings, she lifts a gold cup high in a toast to life, and wears a blood red gown, sitting high up in a twisted purple tree. A serpent twines around her legs, a friendly companion celebrating excess and enjoyment. I sort of had the idea of a Queen of Cups or Empress Tarot card in mind when I was designing this, but it is not a strict interpretation.