I am so excited to finally have my new Christmas ornaments for sale in my Etsy shop, Curious Portraits! I’ve been having so may requests for ornaments featuring my curious portraits and I have been busy researching the items I needed to make them. I finally found the perfect little bronze frames 2″ in diameter and the glass cabochons that fit inside. I am so pleased with how sweet they look. They come with a red satin ribbon for hanging and arrive in their own red felt pouch tied with a mint green satin bow ready for gift giving. You can now hang Victorian Mouse, Cat Dandy, Santa and Elf Squirrels, Polar Bears, Snowmen, Foxes and more right on your Christmas tree! Happy Holidays to everyone!
I want to mention today how honored I am to have been featured on two wonderful blogs this week!
The first is by Evelyn Pelati, a talented jewelry designer who has a knack for finding interesting artists, craftsmen and designers to write about on her blog. Just click the image to read more of her post about yours truly! You can see her beautiful jewelry on her website: evelynpelati.com
The other one is called Papoose Clothing by Ashley Duggan Smith who makes the most adorable and charming children’s clothes. Just click the image to read more of this wonderful post. You can find her unique clothing line in her Etsy shop Papoose Clothing.
Thank you Evelyn and Ashley for your very kind words about my work!
My dog Bingo is facing his deepest fear (of water) this Halloween for his annual card. He has bravely donned his diving gear to explore the mysteries of the deep. I hope he will be an inspiration to you. A very Happy Halloween to everyone!
Prints of Deep Sea Bingo are available in my Etsy shop Curious Portraits!
I am so happy to finally be able to post this new kitchen towel design. I finished it nearly two months ago but because it was to be a surprise I had to sit on it until I could get it to it’s intended recipient. It was designed to celebrate my friend’s wonderful beach house in Cherry Grove, Fire Island where we have spent many happy hours surrounded by colorful people and amiable animals eating, drinking and always laughing. I incorporated as many of the key elements as I could fit that make this place special such as his favorite deer and the squirrel that lives in the roof not to mention the drag personas they have come up with for the Pines Invasion every July 4th. It is a magical place and I truly wanted to honor it in the kitschiest way possible.
It is available for purchase at my Etsy shop The Curious Kitchen.
Every year around this time I find myself on the lookout for that first little bit of orange at the green grocers, usually in the form of mini pumpkins. Then follow the larger pumpkins and decorative gourds soon after. It truly marks the beginning of autumn which is my favorite time of year. Last year I was wandering through the farmer’s market in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and I found a treasure trove of the most beautiful decorative gourds! I bought a whole bunch and they inspired me to paint this Pumpkin Varieties Chart to help usher in the season. Just looking at these makes me smell the wood smoke and feel the chill in the air. Soon it will even be time to pull out my vintage Halloween decorations and begin carving a pumpkin. I like to try out different faces each year, usually scary and since it is always so hard to decide upon one, I thought I would do a painting of all sorts of Jack O Lantern faces, some scary and some friendly. I added in a black scroll border complete with crows to finish it off! Both paintings are available as prints in my Etsy shop The Curious Kitchen.
I just finished this painting and thought I ought to do a post about it. Apparently Uncle Omelette is frightening people (if my friends reactions are any indication) and I am trying to understand why. I suppose the somber colors and his inscrutable expression might be a factor. I admit that Anthropomorphic Food, one of my favorite subjects, can be a little creepy to some. I thought that telling the story of how the portrait came about would perhaps make the subject seem a little more friendly.
Originally this was going to be a portrait of Humpty Dumpty who seemed the perfect subject to be included in my series of anthropomorphic food icons.
One night during a bout of insomnia (when many of my best painting concepts appear) I had the idea that he shouldn’t be sitting on a wall, as he is often portrayed, but should be shown doing something domestic, to sort of show Humpty Dummpty “at home”. It occurred to me that it would be funny if he was cooking bacon since he is after all, an egg. The painting then evolved into the second sketch. I was even going to paint him in bright, vintage kitchen colors with a pistachio green wall and vintage pot holders hanging in the background.
I began the painting as I always do with a grisaille underpainting using brown and white to block in the light and shadow.
At this point I became distracted with other projects and put the painting aside for about two months. A week or so ago I decided it was time to work on it again. I know that sometimes when I let a painting sit too long I lose my train of thought. I felt strongly about this particular portrait and thought it deserved to be finished. I began to add in glazes of color and it became clear to me that all the background elements were unnecessary. The slightly green background against the burgundy shade of his suit felt almost flemish to me. I found the contrast of this formal painting style with the absurd subject matter very exciting. I knew that the painting was nearly finished.
When I look at Uncle Omelette I see a kind, caring face. The fact that I named him “Uncle” (something that again came to me during a sleepless night) made him seem immediately familiar. Cooking for someone, in my opinion is a very caring act; in my family it is the best way to show people you love them. So in my imagination, Uncle Omelette is a benevolent and loving family member who is trying to take care of me.
That being said I must also add in that according to my friend Danielle, because I am often attracted to bald men and am always saying that I would love a chef as a partner, this is actually a portrait of my ideal husband. I may like her interpretation the best!
I am always reading articles on Etsy’s blog about having great photos for your listings. Since my items are all prints of my artwork I didn’t think there was much I could do to improve them. A few weeks ago I had some extra time and decided to look over my shop with a critical eye. I realized that my jewelry listings were abominable! When I first began to carry jewelry I was so overwhelmed with all the details of finding the proper supplies, deciding how to package them in an appealing way, and how to photograph them properly. I found that it was very difficult to get a good clear photo (with the camera I had at the time). I did however want to get them up and running to see how they would do, intending to polish the listings up later so I just photographed them all against a soft blue suede background. Two years later I realize that they continue to sell well despite the terrible photos so I thought it was about time to do some polishing! I decided to put cheery backgrounds behind them in polka dots, stripes and damasks that I thought helped to convey the feeling of the image. With a little help from Photoshop (and my new camera which I love, a simple point and shoot Nikon Coolpix S8200 ). It has a terrific wide angle that allows super close up shots and in just about every setting allows you to adjust the color balance and light exposure which is important especially when you don’t use a flash. It was so much fun putting in the backgrounds and seeing them come to life. The good news is that with these new flashy listings sales have definitely gone up so I am grateful to Etsy for all those inspiring and motivational articles ! I have included a sample of the before and after of my Christmas Elf Squirrel so you can see the difference.