Saturday, October 31, 2009

And again I say, Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween again, this time on the actual day of course!!  It's windy and rainy here in New Jersey and unseasonably warm (72 today) and humid.  Kind of weird when you're expecting a crisp clear autumn day but it was nice not to be freezing!  It's mellow here, just watching old Simpsons Halloween specieals, the obligatory viewing of Night of the Living Dead as we flip through the channels, and some Dark Shadows for me later.

I wanted to share one of the trailers we have up on YouTube for the children's book I am illustrating!  There are several trailers up now and I will share more in the upcoming days and weeks!  Above you can see one of the illustrations I've done.  There will be more than a dozen in total. The book will be coming out in 2010!  Visit for more information!  And if you missed the link above, Click Here to see one of the trailers.

I also wanted to say a big Happy Birthday to my lifelong like-a-sister-to-me friend Deirdre who you can visit over at Blackbird's Learning to Fly blog and you can also visit her at, and also on Facebook here.

And you most definitely want to visit her Artfire page at to look for holiday gifts this year!!

In other linky news, the EtsyNJ blog page has one of my crypt ghost paintings on today's entry and some other cute stuff too!

I think that about covers it for the big Halloween link round-up. I've got a lot more TV to watch now! ;P  And I have a vague desire to start a NaNoWriMo novel though I have NO IDEAS whatsoever and no time either!  But it's a tradition for me to at least start one on Halloween night every year and let it fizzle out by my birthday (Nov. 8)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I know that since at least 50% of the art I do is Halloween themed that I should probably have something to say around Halloween itself! I pretty much think about pumpkins and witch hats all year long so it just seems perfectly normal that they should be everywhere this week! But since I'm not a party-going type, the actual day of Halloween is basically just an excuse for me to be myself. I usually wear one of my more fabulous dresses that I've made out of Halloween fabric or which looks particularly wonderfully haunted, and I just sort of enjoy the fact that for one day everything looks like it does inside my head!

Since my camera isn't much for taking pictures in low light, I am not absolutely sure if I'll be able to take neighborhood decoration pics tomorrow so in the mean time I am posting some of my more little-seen paintings from the past decade! These are ones that I have not featured on my Web site or which I have not done repaints or prints of to my recollection. Some of them, like the one above and below, were too large to scan. They have long since gone on to new homes!

This one above was a 16 x 20 and I remember wanting to do a painting with all of my favorite 'characters' in it from my first couple of years of selling art online. A little blonde witch, a pumpkin man from early 1900s postcards, a pumpkin man and a black cat were my favorite characters, along with little wide-eyed wisps of ghosts.

This one had some vague memories of Dark Shadows associated with it, even though I hadn't seen it for 20 years when I did this!

That little white cat on the jack o'lantern is my cat Shizuka of course!

Anyway there's a few visuals for you on the best day of the year! More Halloween goodies coming tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween around the house

I realize that Halloween has truly -- sneaked? snuck? -- up on me this year because I've barely taken any autumn leaf pictures (too rainy on days that I have time) and I haven't gone anywhere or done anything relating to the season. I just listed this painting on Etsy, which probably has a Halloween association of some sort since it's got an owl and groovy night stuff in it, but then again it's kind of an all-purpose fantasy painting.

But, you know, having Halloween stuff in the house all year long I kind of lose track of when the actual holiday is. My Halloween stuff is messy and unorganized, but it's always there!

I do love my horror dolls by Bastet2329.

The Halloween curtains are always up of course.

Anyway, that's just a few clicks around my messy abode, where piles of books and records/CDs are pretty much on every available surface. I don't put much of my own art on the wall because that would mean I'd have to frame it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yay 50 followers!

I just noticed that I hit 50 followers here, not counting those who have subscribed via email. Thank you to everyone who is looking! I read through the postings on my blogroll every day, and I am trying to comment whenever I can, so your views are very much appreciated.

Halloween is only a week away and I am completely at a loss for what to do about it. I tend to have a little Halloween in every day of the year, so the actual day is intimidating. I usually don't do anything special, I'm afraid!

Looking back through some old photos though I found these -- photos of the large 3 x 4 foot paintings that I did about five or six years ago, around this time of year. They are the largest paintings I have ever done - versions of a couple of things from my web gallery,, with a few extra details thrown in. Shipping was the most difficult part of the whole thing, because they were too large for the USPS. I remember taking them to the UPS store, where they had to ship them in bicycle boxes and I think it was around $150 to ship them just a few states away. I would love to do something large again but I would probably have to have someone come to pick them up if they were any larger!

I did get my new batch of 5 x 7 prints this week, so I'm slowly getting around to listing them. This Halloween owl playing with a clutch of sugar skulls, was a favorite painting when I did it three years ago, so I wanted to make prints of this one for sure...

And in the meantime a psychedelic autumn owl wound up happening as well. This is just listed as an original right now, but like anything that I have a high-res scan image of, I can make a print from it.

That's about it for now...hopefully I'll have time to do something festive this week!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Obligatory autumn foliage, plus new art

There haven't been a lot of opportunities for autumn leaf viewing yet this year because as soon as they started to turn, the temperatures plummeted. Today though was the most perfect weather imaginable! It's horrifyingly nice! And it might be the one and only perfect autumn day we get...

The bright daylight kind of makes my hair look about five shades lighter than it actually is, so don't let this fool you. What am I looking so intently at? The timer on my camera, since I'm not sure if it's about to go off or not. There is no squirrel crashing the photo, unfortunately! Also, I normally don't wear pants. I mean, I wear skirts. Pants are an anomaly, but I got used to wearing them in the woods to keep the ticks off this spring and summer. I still was constantly picking ticks off of me though!!

Completely unrelated, my recent viewing of Dark Shadows on DVD led me to think about some of my favorite obsessions -- hallways full of doors, candelabras, you know the routine. I watched Dark Shadows when I was a kid, of course, in reruns in the 80s, and one of the enduring images for me was Angelique's dream curse, where each dreamer is presented with a hallway of doors. Behind each door is a rather unconvincing horror. But it still made an impression on me! I don't quite know what the story is behind these mysterious figures but I like the ambiguity they suggest. What is behind these doors? What power does that jewel hold?

I have a ton of new matte 5 x7 prints of new and old paintings to list on Etsy in the upcoming days. My older scans, which were smaller files than the ones I save now, look absolutely great in the 5 x 7 size if I do say so myself! I'll be listing them over on daily.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Feels like winter...

(the painting above is not on my web site but it will be one of the pieces I'll have available as a print within a week, if all goes as planned).

The leaves are still mostly green but we're on day five of grey winter coldness, around here. Normally I'd be out enjoying the leaves, but the cold snap has me staying in and thinking about the months ahead.

I just placed an order for a handful of matte 5 x 7 prints of some of my older paintings as well as a few new ones. These will have a 1/4 inch border around the edge. I should have them by the end of the week and if I'm happy with them I'll order up some more and make them a regular offering in my Etsy shop.

Meanwhile I am going back through some of my older pieces of which I only have small images saved. When I did them, in the early 2000s, I was using a scanner with a lower resolution and I didn't have a lot of disk space to be saving giant files all the time, so I don't have a way to reproduce those old paintings now since they have long since sold. So, my plan is to re-paint some of my favorites, and have them on hand as permanent originals from which new prints and other items can be made.

If anyone would like to visit my art gallery at and suggest any paintings from any of the categories, to offer as prints, please let me know! I will be starting by doing some winter witch art, for the upcoming months, and a few other favorites of mine. I am particularly fond of some of the patchwork witches on the Halloween page, and some of the pieces on the first Gothic page so I will be doing those along with the winter witches to start. I'll be offering 5 x 7 matte prints at first but I will also offer some 8 x 10s if it seems like something people want. I'm open to suggestions! I prefer matte but if glossy is something people want I'd do that as well.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween rain

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I can't get over how COLD it has been lately. It is going to be in the low to mid 40s and raining for around five days in a row, and we're completely unprepared for it since this usually doesn't happen until November, here in New Jersey. October usually hangs around the 60s and the 50s for most of the month. I think?

In that spirit, here is a painting I did last year in the summertime, of dark clouds and thunderstorms, with the peering eyes of a dark haired young woman who wears skull barrettes with orange bows in her hair. I have her up on Etsy for the Halloween season. I thought it was a particularly appropriate sentiment for a rainy Halloween season though. It's raining out all of my autumn woods walking, and pumpkin patch picking and everything!

It does mean more time to spend indoors watching Dark Shadows though, and learning how to crochet amigurumi. I'm almost done my first piece which is a hippo, so if he's presentable I'll share him soon. Looks like they only take a day or so to do (well not a whole day, obviously...but this one took an episode of Fringe and couple of episodes of the BBC comedy Peep Shows to almost complete).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ghosts in the woods

I haven't had much time this week for anything so I am just going to post and run, to share some autumn ghosts while the leaves are still on the trees. It got so cold so fast that I can't even remember where the sweaters are this year. Hopefully the leaves won't all be blown away before I can go and look at them.

They say there are more ghost sightings in October than any other month. It certainly feels like ghost weather. I expect to see something in every window of every empty house, and behind every tree in the forest at dusk.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Absurdly nice October day

First, a very big thank you to for featuring me on her blog today! She has a wonderful blog with regular features on artists and crafters, and her etsy shop is full of positively amazing stuff!!

It was almost comically pleasant outside today -- the kind of day where you pretty much have to just cancel everything and spend the entire day outside. The leaves aren't really in their autumn colors yet, though some that turned early were already blown off. But the rest are still mostly summer green, though starting to brown around the edges. In the woods there is already a thick carpet of gold beech and birch leaves.

Mushroom hunting is a little more difficult because of the thickening layer of leaves on the forest floor. The Psychedelic Slug painting in this post has been marked down temporarily to mark the end of the forest mushroom season. (and again, I note, I never pick mushrooms, I only photograph not disturb your fungi friends!)

Above, you see some growing on a log at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve last week. Below, from Clayton Park this week. Just out of frame there was a fuzzy white and black caterpillar inching along. Some internet research suggests they were destined to become Hickory Tussock Moths. I saw several in the forest in the same vicinity. They kept wanting to crawl onto the path that is often traveled by bikes so I moved them back off the trail. Reading up on them I see that some people can have bad allergic reactions to handling them. I did not have a reaction, but I just let them crawl onto a finger and quickly moved them out of the line of the path...but I should try to remember that bright white and black marked things with spines jutting out of them, might just be trying to send a "do not touch" message.

It's funny, because I had just been reading the horror story "Couching at the Door" by D.K. Broster, which deals with someone who is haunted by something long and furry that resembles a feather boa or caterpillar. So seeing furry caterpillars everywhere was in keeping with my mindset -- rather like the time I read "The Willows" while traipsing through a swampy area with willows growing everywhere. Ahhhh, atmosphere!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Artist feature: Timothy Renner

Above: "The Benefactor"

The featured artist today, Timothy Renner, also happens to be one of my best friends, for the past 10+ years, and I'm featuring his artwork because it -- along with his music -- is what brought us together in friendship and creative partnership. The image you see above is the cover art for the new vinyl LP being released by our band, Stone Breath, this fall -- "The Shepherdess and the Bone White Bird." As mentioned on the label Web site, The LP will come with a lyric booklet containing psychedelic illuminations for each song by Timothy. Many know him for his black and white, pen and ink illustrations, but he has added bright bursts of hypnotic color to his detailed, visionary artwork for this project.

Natural imagery of skulls erupting from dark blossoms, or blazing within a storm of rainbow fire; sacred images of the Shepherdess, amidst falling leaves or globes of light, are among the inspired pieces in this series.

The quiet, intricate world of his art drew me in before I even heard the music, back in the mid-1990s. Trees, leaves, hands, eyes, sheets of paper fluttering in the wind; the moon, rabbits, moths and birds - infused with what was obviously a complex personal mythology drawing on many sources in religion, art and literature, rooted in a deep love and appreciation for the natural world. Like his music, it had a personal quality that affected me immediately and I felt as though I was finally picking up the strands of a conversation begun centuries before. It affected me enough that I reached out to contact the artist as soon as I gathered the nerve, and we've been working together ever since on musical projects -- Stone Breath, The Spectral Light and Moonshine Firefly Snakeoil Jamboree, Breathe Stone, Crow Tongue and others in between, with many other talented musicians. (I don't count myself among the talented, musically, but they let me sing with them anyway!)

"The Vision of the Face in the Well"

Some of the original artwork used in the booklet for this CD is available for sale at the label Web site, Dark Holler Arts, on this page. The original cover artwork is still available, as are several other pieces -- each comes along with a copy of the LP and some other goodies as well. And, of course, the LP itself is available for $20 and includes a cd-r of all of the tracks -- the link for that purchase is at the very bottom of the page I linked to above.

To see the full catalog of titles available in the music catalog, visit the main page.

"The Shepherdess of the Fiery Wheels"

Illuminated letter from lyrics booklet, letter "I"

To hear music from the new album, or from some of the older releases, please visit the Myspace page at

There is also a newly launched fan page for the band over at Facebook.

I can't really do justice to my friend's work in a single blog post so I hope to share more of his pen and ink work later this year. Please visit the sites, take a listen and enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Forest of eyes

Walking through the early autumn woods near twilight, the colors of the sky and trees strike me with their beauty. In the fall the world seems full of rainbows. The colors in the trees bleed from crimson to tangerine, gold, lime green and soft olive. The shadows stretch purple across the cooling earth. This year many of the trees were blown bare by brisk October winds before they even changed into their autumn outfits.

Although the eyes in these trees may appear sinister I don't think of them as being baleful beings -- trees are alive, even in the colder months, and whatever earthy intelligence they possess continues to watch over the woods even in the winter. Dark guardians of silent secrets.

More artist features coming soon, I just wanted to post a little something about this while it was on my mind.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I am working on a post about a favorite artist who is also a best friend, but while I am doing that here is a painting I began quite some time ago but only recently got around to scanning. She's on Etsy now. Since I'm a redhead I have an affinity for woodpeckers, but this isn't a self portrait. Though I DID make a corset kind of like that once.

This spring I saw so many amazing birds in my woods walks (before mushrooms took center stage) -- everything from hummingbirds to bald eagles. The most breathtaking of all, though, was an enormous pileated woodpecker. If only I could have taken a picture! The woodpecker you see above is not a pileated though -- I decided to paint an ivory-billed woodpecker, which is thought to be extinct. They look very similar to the pileated (which has a black bill). I hold out some hope that the ivory-billed will be found to still exist -- I've read some encouraging things but it still seems unlikely. Then again there was a time last year where I was convinced I was seeing passenger pigeons everywhere I went, even though I know they are long gone. On a positive note though I did really see bald eagles this year, just in regular old central New Jersey. In Princeton and further south, where I live, I know there are nesting pairs but had never seen them before here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Artist feature: jojosart

Above, "Restless Night" by Joe La Fargue

"RIP 1994" by Joe La Fargue.

Yesterday I featured SingASongofSixpence, who has many lovely original pen and ink drawings in her shop -- I love black and white, pen and ink art, possibly because I don't do a lot of it myself. I need the forgiving amorphousness of paint since I do not have a steady hand! I really admire the way a talented pen and ink artist can imbue their work with color just by the textures, shapes and forms with which they populate their paper. is full of inspired, visionary art with figures that suggest themes like life, death, time, dreams, freedom and madness.  Above are several examples, included here with his permission.  Another piece this week features ghostly forms with clock faces; others include angelic and dream figures, trees, night imagery, butterflies and anthropomorphic flowers.

He describes his inspiration in his profile: "I'm a self taught artist born and raised near some cotton fields in mississippi. I can remember finding an old tattered notebook on the school bus when i was just a little boy. It was full of all this cool fantasy art. It sparked my imagination and lit a fire in me that i still can't quench."

He offers prints of his work and I look forward to seeing many more. Please check out his shop!

I'm in a treasury this week!

Just a quick note that my Scarlet Woman painting is in an Etsy treasury this week. It's a nice selection of autumn hued items, so take a look!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Featured artist: SingASongOfSixpence

As promised, here is the first in a series of features I'm doing on artists that I admire -- starting with some pen and ink/black & white art by artists I have found on Etsy. has a beautiful selection of drawings and some paintings, with crisp, captivating surreal imagery.  She mixes fairy tales, mythology, and history with a sense for the subtle and silent, and I find her work enchanting.

Objects hover in mid-air or float into space, with snake women, sirens, balloons, and birds among the themes in the artist's personal mythology.  Here is what she says in her Etsy profile about her subject matter:

"Blackbirds, skeleton keys, buttons, and feathers...these are the things I like, and these are the things that weave their way into my art. There's something very old-fashioned about them, and I certainly love everything old-fashioned. Although I'm only 21, I've got an old soul. The aesthetics of the past inspire me...Ancient Roman, Medieval, Georgian, Victorian, and so on and so on. My work represents a harmonious marriage between art and two great passions."

I heartily encourage everyone to keep an eye on this gifted artist and to enter her unique universe.  She is featured on several other places on the web included this gallery in Ottawa.

Although I've selected several black and white images to share here with her permission, her colour paintings are also magnificent, with bright, bold hues, like this spectrum of apples.

Or this painting titled Goblin Market.

Enjoy!  Another feature will be coming tomorrow.

Under the microscope

Thank you to everyone who has added me here recently. If I am not already following your blog please let me know so I can read you as well!

Oh! The painting I posted about this afternoon sold within about 10 minutes, so since I promised more science, sci fi or surreal art in the near future I will get right on with it, and move into my artist features tomorrow!

First, I will say that it was an excellent mushroom day today but I did not have my camera with me. I took some cell phone pictures though which I will send to myself soon and post. One that was a vibrant bright purple was my favorite find of the day. As always though I only look and take pictures, I'd never dislodge from from its loamy home! October is just amazing, the trees are still mostly green but the forest floor is covered in yellowing leaves and there seems to always be a faint scent of smoke in the air.

This little painting above is inspired by a couple of lines in a short story I was reading while having some nice Assam tea in a little tea shop by myself.

"A microscope was, on his eighth birthday, presented to him by an affluent uncle. The uncle showed him how to surprise the secrets of a drop of pond water, which - limpid to the eye, confessed under the microscope to a whole cosmogony of strenuous and undesirable careers."

- from E. Nesbit, "The Five Senses"

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Space girl, and featured artists

First a little show and tell -- I really have too many paintings in my apartment so I have put space girl up for sale! She combines my love of 1950s/60s sci fi pulp novel book covers and movies from that era. eta: aaaaand, she sold already! :) But I have some more sci fi inspired art in the wings that I need to scan. :)

It's thunderstorming right now so I'll make this quick! I will be featuring some pen and ink artists in the next few days, since it is a medium I love to admire but don't do much of myself. In the meantime I am going to take advantage of the October thunderstorm to finish up reading some Edith Nesbitt ghost stories, because apparently I can just NEVER get enough ghost stories...