December 28, 2010

Somerset Studio Frida with Poppies!

St. Frida the Divine with Poppies

Good news in the post! Look what arrived, my Frida Kahlo inspired mixed media piece will be featured in the Jan/Feb issue of Somerset Studio Magazine. I couldn't be happier really, Frida's story and art is such a powerful inspiration I both longed and resisted the urge to paint her. Finally the poppy's song rang true as one of both loss and hope and I was able to paint this tribute to her.

This year I read a story about Frida to my students and some of them painted large canvases as another student posed in costume as Frida .. they turned out so glorious that we did a "Frida Exhibit" in the library!   I can't wait to surprise my students with the Somerset magazine when we get back from break!

December 23, 2010

Bright Winter Blessings!

Happy Yule! 

Holiday time! Most of you know my day job is teaching art in a public school, so hurray for winter break! I'm so fortunate to have time off at the holidays but its still a whirlwind! We took the girls to the cabins at Disney (yes my idea of camping has heating and hot water ;) for a few days family get away which was wonderful.. but when it was time to come home we hit the ground running!  Tomorrow I'll slow down and bake cookies with my daughters ( I wait till last minute or I will be the one eating all the cookies!) and preparing for friends and family that will start arriving tonight.  I was supposed to clean house today but ended up rearranging furniture and framing art. (I'm sure this isn't a stall tactic ;)
and of course I have visions studio time dancing in my head!
I hope you are staying warm and cozy and doing the things you love this season!

Wishing You Bright Winter Blessings! 


December 09, 2010

Weekend Sale!

Weekend Sale! A special sale for my lovely followers, buy two prints pick one free, just leave your choice in notes to seller when checking out. Sale ends Sunday night.  Darkling Woods Shop

November 29, 2010

The Care and Keeping of Hearts

"The Care and Keeping of Hearts" (bell jars, ribbons and string)
                A little tribute drawing for Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman on the momentous event of their still life wedding *tosses rose petals*

November 21, 2010

Sleepwalking indeed..

About 3 am (an appropriate time for moon paintings I suppose!) I completed my Moongirl "Sleepwalking"

So very fortunate to have some time off this week for the holiday (hence the all night painting!).   Wish I could continue to hole up in the studio but alas the big dinner is at our home so preparations much be made! 

Enjoy the night!

November 13, 2010


I've started a series of moon girls, this ones a weary walker. I thought I'd share a bit of work in progress on this watercolor one.

November 12, 2010

Into the Woods

 What is the very first fairy tale that you remember? Was it sweet and filled with promises, glass slippers and magical kisses? Or did it involve dark woods, wandering alone... dropping desperate breadcrumbs?   I adore all types of tales but the dark ones were the first to draw me in, the the little girl in the flashy red cape.

A few of my favorite red caps to take you into the woods....

from Cart Before the Horse 

A whimsical world of wonders awaits you here!

Isabella's Art I have a soft spot for black and white and Isabella hits it!  

    The Fairies Nest  
Enchanting Dolls with the sweetest faces! (and wait till you see the tiny little boots on this one!)

And coming this spring Red Riding Hood as a gothic horror movie produced by Leonardo DiCaprio

November 11, 2010

Running With Wolves

    Servant of the Moon

 He was the oldest, and wildest of them. Through moonlit bracken he padded, seeking to be closer or was it further?  From her

Servant of the Moon, he howls, his worship shattering the calm

He’s witnessed it all, since she first unfolded the night and scattered the stars

The remembrance darkens his heart, for as he gets older the days grow distant and only night is real

The only lightness comes carrying a basket of offerings

The fecklessness of her enchants him, draws him closer to her brightness, the sweet scent of wildflowers in her clutch intoxicate, the blood red of her cloak hypnotic

  Lesser beasts dare not stray close to his wandering Little Red

so I do sometimes tell stories....

I created this mixed media piece awhile ago and finally was able to get good photo's (it was very hard to capture!)  The front piece is print of my Into the Woods painting, melted wax, petals and papers. The writing in gold is from the above.  The back of the canvas is a painting of the wolf , Its a deep canvas and can sit free like a shrine or hang.  This is the only piece I've made in this shrine style, This Little Red seemed to call for a  hidden wolf.

For more on the traditional Little Red stories visit  SurLa Lune a treasure trove for fairy tale lovers!

November 01, 2010


 I hope your treat bags are bursting at the seams this morning!

The wheel of the random number generator has been spun (or whatever magic happens in there, I like to picture a little hamster twirling it!) and the winner is .. dear Kambriel!

 Kambriel  will receive the Halloween grand prize of print of her choice and other little serendipitous sundries from the studio.

 I decided one prize wasn't enough for my special followers on such a special holiday so I made that hamster run the wheel 2 more times!

marilavado  and Laume  
will also be receiving their choice of print!

Thank you all for for your entries and thoughtful comments, really thank you, thank you! 

October 30, 2010

For the Love of Monsters

A work mate smiled kindly at me yesterday and said, you really like that fantasy stuff don't you?

Oh my, I've let my slip show haven't I?

 I've always been one of those odd ducks, you know the ones clutching the fantasy or poetry book.  As a little girl I loved Poe (why is no one surprised?).  I thought the Bride of Frankenstein was the most beautiful creature ever. 

Why Monsters?  A little pigtaled girl with her nose in Fangoria at the news stand  (no one would buy it for me, if I was lucky I would get a Casper comic!)
  I don't like modern scary movies (you know the ones) all gore, no wonder.

Then so eloquently, Mr. Gaiman sums it all up in a quote by Ogden Nash.  When asked in this interview, "Why monsters?"  He replies with the quote by Nash,
         "When there are Monsters, there are miracles"

    Which pretty much sums up why Gaiman's stories are so powerful. When I read his tales the characters and places are so very real because there isn't just dark and light but all sorts of gray. He does all this and yet weaves it with such care to the wonder ..miracle that beating heart of whatever beast he has awoken for his tale. Being a caretaker of monsters is no light task, he dares to walk the tightrope and you feel it in every story.

                          My wicked little "Snow White" drawn after hearing (and seeing) the Atlanta Raido Company perform Gaiman's "Snow Glass Apples"  Hope she doesn't come knocking for treats tomorrow night!

pssst... here is the lovely interview with Mr. Gaiman below!

October 25, 2010

Trick or Treat!

 It's almost the big day! Masks will be donned, pumpkins carved and apples dipped.  We attended a Witches Ball Saturday night and had great fun taking the costumes on a test drive before the big night. I can't wait till our girls join us in their Wonderland best on Halloween! 

My dear Hatter says I'm just in time to squeeze in a treat for your goodie bag! 

Trick or Treat!

    Just pop over to my shop and leave in the comments what your favorite print is. On Halloween I'll draw a lucky trick or treater to win their choice of print plus some special treats from my studio stash! (and no tricks!)

Oh Look, Dear Hatter says, "Don't be late!" you need to enter by Oct. 31st to be put in the hat! 

If you would like more than one chance to win, just blog, facebook or twitter the giveaway and leave a comment about each!

*passes bowl of candy corn*

Happy Halloween!

October 18, 2010

A winner!

Congratulations to  Brandy the winner of the octopus prize!  Thank all of you so much for entering, be sure and stay tuned there will be another giveaway soon! 
Here's a sweet little cephalopod to bring a smile to your day because you always brighten mine with your kind words!

October 07, 2010

Cephalopod Eve, A Giveaway to Celebrate!

"Blush" 2010 Cat Mallard
Yes, tomorrow  October, 8th is International Cephalopod Awareness Day!   and to celebrate its giveaway time! 
The winner will receive a signed 8x10 archival print of my newest painting "Blush"

To enter:
1 entry leave a comment 
2 entries tweet or post the giveaway on your facebook and mention this in a new comment
3 entries?  Blog about the giveaway or "Blush" be sure and comment again so I'll know!

Just look at this blue beauty. Do you think he might help me draw the winner? Hmmm he might be too grabby!  In any case the winner will drawn on Friday, Oct. 15th

Happy Cephalopod Day!

October 01, 2010

Daphne and Halloween memories of the classic 70's

   My offering for this month's EHAG Emporium where you will find a collection of original Halloween art created by the EHAG members.

   I never tire of dreaming up new witches, just as a girl I choose being a witch for Halloween  more often than not. Although I have to admit when I was a little thing my costumes were those sad things that came in cardboard boxes with thin elastic bands on the masks that would break long before the big night.
I'm pretty sure this is what made my dreams come true one fine  October day back in the early 1970's
Oh Sabrina... You were a dream come true!

Wishing all of you dear readers a wonderful Autumn season!

September 26, 2010

Goldilocks and Friend

"Just Right" 
After the porridge an unexpected friendship began. 

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one”  C.S. Lewis

 Sometimes friendships start under the most unlikely of circumstances.  I'm always happy to embrace a bit of serendipity! 
A new little painting of Goldilocks and Bear, I'm working on another pair of friends tonight and I'll get "Just Right" listed my shop 

September 14, 2010

Julia Cameron, sharing a favorite inspiration

    The ethereal world of Julia Margaret Cameron's   photography is so sensitive and evocative I feel like I'm stepping through to another world whenever I take time to visit them.

    Julia was gifted a camera by her daughter in 1868 as a remedy to loneliness, her children were grown and husband traveling on business.   Julia was 48 years old when started taking photos and soon became entranced with photography turning her chicken coop into a dark room!

    I find Julia's work so inspiring, not only did she start her work with a new technology quite late in life (and 48 was later then than now!) she seemed to have little regard for the conventions of the medium, reveling in the soft focus, grains and magic that came with the large glass plates. She was a true pioneer.

This piece is her Merlin, so delightfully atmospheric!

Don't you adore the chicken coop story? I love to read the magazine "Where Women Create" but I don't think anyone can top the coop!

August 05, 2010

St. Frida the Divine

"St. Frida the Divine with Poppies"

Frida is such a powerful figure to me on so many levels, I've longed to paint her but hesitated. I've decided there is no doing her justice I'll just try to pay tribute. 

The original is mixed media, the poppies I made by hand and collaged on. I was inspired by the Veteran's Day blooms that my Grandmother wore when I was a little girl. Forevermore poppies represented loss and strength of a feminine nature to me.

I'll be back to teaching next week so I'm very happy to have this piece I've been working on ready to share with you.  Sometimes I feel like I'm swallowed up at the beginning of the school year!  This year I have a new art room which is large and shiny but I'm still in a state of overwhelm of arranging and organizing it. 

All in all though the fall is my favorite part of the school year. The anticipation and eager faces of all those young people starting that adventure of Junior High, nothing like it really! 

 If you have young people in your life (or adore picture books like I do!) please take a look at this book I just got for my classroom,  It is poignant, dreamy and powerful. A beautiful introduction to Frida for even the youngest child. 

"Frida" by Jonah Winter illustrated by Ana Juan

August 01, 2010

"Winter's Muse"

In the middle of this summer heat wave I'm so happy  to reveal "Winter's Muse" book one to you!
I've spent several years painting the Winter Queen, on the cover she lies sleeping but soon she will awake....

I'm so excited in fact I've brewed up a special offer, its for a limited time and includes a custom drawing for you!

The Winter's Muse package includes

 *one copy of "Winter's Muse"

*an original 4x6 custom key word sketch

Cost 25.00

Please allow 2 weeks for delivery

Please leave the word you would like me to work from in notes to seller when you check out. Please keep in mind I work intuitively and your sketch will be an original made just for you. 

Of course you can also purchase the book separately, both are available in my etsy shop

*tosses snowflakes* oh but they melt quickly here in Florida!

July 30, 2010

Queen of Hearts Crown, Where are my tarts?

   Well this hatter has completed her crown,  I've made a tutorial for the crown, just click the link at the top of the page. 
I'd love to see your photos if you make one! Remember you don't have to make a Queen of Hearts crown the pattern can be used for any type of crown a White Queen, or Princess for example.  What I like to do is pull out all my magpie supplies (see previous post) at least twice as many as you will actually use so you will have plenty to choose from and spread everything out, mix match and try different things together, you might be surprised what you do end up using! Heavier trims can be attached with hot glue or even wire.
Wouldn't shelf holding a row of these little crowns look divine?  Of course I just  want to wear mine every day!

July 13, 2010

Painting the Roses Red

Painting the roses red? I've pulled out all my red and rosy scraps, bits and bobs. You see Dragon Con is right around the corner and I'm determined to make my own "Queen of Hearts" Crown to wear. I've never made a crown before so this should be fun! Should I take photos in progress? Also working on fancy hat pins for Mad Hatter Hats, I love working on the details for costumes!

Congratulations to Melissa winner of the Mad Tea Party drawing! And thank you to all who stopped in for tea! I'm still making it around to everyone's party (is the saying "always late to the party"?) I'm so enchanted by the feeling the event takes on. Its like our little portal through blog land that happens every year now, amazing really. Thank you Vanessa for being such a wonderful hostess!

June 22, 2010

Mad Tea Party 2010 and Give Away Prize!

That clock is exactly two days late! Oh Alice, I do know how you feel! You see I'm very excited the Mad Tea Party will be on my Birthday this Saturday the 26th (not Unbirthday but the actual big day!) But now I know I won't be home and was feeling a little perplexed over what to do.... When I heard the rustle of leaves outside my window. Wandering out what did I catch a glimpse of but this lovely spirit.
I do believe she is dressed for tea! She beckoned for me to follow her through the garden.

I trailed behind till we came to the back garden gate, curiously there was a key left out, I opened the gate and followed her through. (she didn't need a key of course!) I have to admit I was feeling rather sheepish at this point, Would I be letting her and other ghosts of tea parties past and future down by not having a tea party on my birthday ... Then she turned and smiled and said, "Silly goose, looking glass time runs forwards and back whichever you choose!"

She then disappeared, just like that, leaving behind her hat on the gate post. I placed it reverently upon my head like a crown and raised a cup to her. Promising to remember to let time be on my side for a change!

And to remind yourself to take some time out to be *mad* here is my birthday giveaway for you! An archival print of "Mat Hatter" raising his cup and an original ATC (artist trading card) "Tea Time" To enter just leave a comment! I will draw the winner July 4th!

I hope I'm forgiven for having my Mad Tea Party a bit early, But I'm on Wonderland time!
Be sure and visit the magical Valencia's blog to find the rest of the Mad Tea Parties! (most of which will start on the proper date of June 26th!)

*Passes out cups, and toast with jam* (yes, jam today! ;)

June 16, 2010

Distracted by Shiny Objects

A Magpie Post....

I went out to purchase a bath mat, and was distracted by a giant wooden key and scissors. What do you think came home with me? Let's count hands.. Bath mat *peers about room* strange oversized objects?* Yes! you have met me!
Well these unsuspecting plain Jane scissors had to sit and wait for me to have a day off, and when I did I pounced. I think it was time for some art therapy because it took two cans of pink spray paint and a large assortment of rhinestones to complete.

I'm quite pleased with the results, this blingy pair of scissors is just what my studio and creative spirit needed!

And speaking of creative spirits I came across this great series on creativity (posted by firefluff on twitter) this article on being eccentric and creativity.
Check out the list of eccentric tendencies

Score 10 out of 15 on this doctors list and you are quirky my friends!
I'm not big into taking quizes but this list was an eye opener for me. You see, not only do I fit just about every item listed, I never grasped why others didn't, and often feel/felt so sad for them. Really, bored? There is so much in this world to marvel at and learn! Of course we all have off days but I can't imagine not having interests and passions. My stress is not having time for them all! I'm so fortunate to have all of you here in blogland who are so eccentric (and I mean that as a high complement!) with bright eyes and open hearts! You are much appreciated!

What do you think, does eccentricity and artistic talent go hand in hand?
Or are eccentric folks simply more likely to feel free to pursue their artistic passions?

Food for thought, and do eccentrics ever own bath mats? I wonder....

June 10, 2010

Mad Tea Party 2010

It's almost time again Hatter's, Hare's and sweet Alice's don't be late... time to sign up for the 3rd Annual Mad Tea Party Hosted by "A Fanciful Twist" just visit her blog to sign up. Its a wonderful romp through blog land!
The party isn't an Unbirthday one for me, the 26th is my birthday so I will be working on a special giveaway to go with your tea and cakes!
If you missed my 2009 tea party (which was crashed by the doormouse ) you can take a peak here.
*runs off to gather tea cups*

May 17, 2010

The Mad Hatter

*Clean cup Clean Cup!* Well this little dandy is finally presentable! Hare, Please pour the tea, would you?

I worked my little thimbled fingers on this one, he just insisted on everything just so... well dandy! The most challenging was his little waist coat and jacket (which silly me added needle and thread after the glue dried*ouch* ) and the most fun was making his teeny tiny hat pins! The mushroom grove was a delight to imagine and create, I hope to revisit it someday soon, maybe with another Wonderland resident.

I couldn't be happier with how the prints turned out, the colors are so rich and the mixed media pieces just pop, looks almost 3-D! available here in- My Shop

April 29, 2010

We're All Mad

A new member has joined my mixed media Alice family, Cheshire Cat sitting pretty in a tree!

I've been in a pink mood of late and it just spilled over to this "in the pink" Cheshire kitty. I always loved how Cheshire might mad, but always so calm and cool. A good role model I think!

Prints available here

April 11, 2010

Bits and Bobs

Sometimes I get the urge to sew, although my relationship with my seam ripper is stormy one. What I love most is gathering, finding the perfect bits of trim and velvets one thing leads to anther and I've landed into a new project. I had all good intentions of completing this on my "spring break" a bus trip to DC ( I had 15 hours after all ) but I underestimated the distraction of 45 8th graders, and motion sickness. Lets just say I wasn't very productive. But no worries, I'll be back to busy hands in no time now that I'm home again! So soon this little pile of trim should become sweet little cuffs!

I'm actually even more motivated after our trip, I don't get to travel much and I'm not much of a monument girl so I had an eye out for fashion without realizing it. Not trendy/pricey fashion of course, but what real people might be wearing in another place, especially a big city (like Philly!) Imagine my dismay to see only a sea of drab sad drab sad drab, actually worse than home! Now of course we didn't get to go clubbing, this is malls, museums and on the streets and metro. Hope I'm not offending anyone as Cliff and Stacy would tie me up and burn my closet in an heart beat (my own person style ranges from Wednesday Adams to Punky Brewster, I don't take it seriously!)
I've actually thought of starting a fashion blog but I'm afraid Cliff and Stacy would hunt me down!
And a shopping hit, London based Accessorize href=""> where we found the cutest hair flowers in DC!

March 29, 2010

The Time Has Come...

Sometimes I read a poem or hear a phrase and the images float around until I have time to land them on paper. This is one of those pieces. The quote is from Song of Solomon "The time of the singing of the birds is come" from the first time I heard it spoke of freedom in all of its aspects. My image is of the birds circling around the spirit who holds the key to their escape.

Wishing you a joyful springtime!

(print available )

March 22, 2010

Somerset Studio Hurray!

Happy Spring! Still a bit chilly here (and I'm in Florida!) but the flowers are starting to bloom and we've packed away the mittens. I've been placing pink flowers by our front door and have a few in the studio as well, pink always makes me think of spring (and cotton candy... but then everything reminds me of candy!)

I have a bit of exciting news..two of my mixed media paintings are featured in the March/April issue of Somerset Studio! "I'm Late" and "Down the Rabbit Hole" were the two selected. This issue is chock full of whimsical wonderland creations, be sure and check it out if that's your cup of tea!
Hope the days are getting warmer where you are with many blooms!

March 04, 2010

Cutie Pie!

What a cutie pie! I had the pleasure to paint this little sweetie as a recent commission. She asked to be painted in her favorite dress in the style of my "Poppy" painting. It makes me smile to think of a little girl out there with this "dolly style" portrait hanging in her room!

My girls are growing so fast (one is learning to drive!)... seems like yesterday they were in little sundress like this!

February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day!

Hello m'dears! Wishing you a day of candy hearts glitter and hugs!

Sharing a Valentine sweetie named Poppy, and my favorite romantic poem by Yeats.

Cloths of Heaven

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats

thank you all for entering my giveaway drawing and making such kind comments, I'll be doing the drawing and announcing the winner tomorrow! good luck!

*tosses out candy hearts*

edited! The winner of my OWOH giveaway is Moonfairydreamland congratulations!
I have to say I was overwhelmed by the response for the giveaway and wasn't able to keep up visiting all the blogs but I plan to start my rounds a little at a time!

January 25, 2010

One World One Heart Giveaway!

Welcome to my One World One Heart Giveaway for 2010!

be sure and grab a magic ticket and visit all the blogs on your way

One World One Heart

The theme this year is magic carpet ride so I'm offering a print that features a magical journey from the fairy tale "East of Sun, West of Moon". Our heroine ( who I call Snowdrop) is shown here riding on the back of the white bear. "Hold tight to my shaggy coat" said the bear. Off they go into the unknown, love and adventure lie ahead!

To enter my giveaway just leave a comment (and a way to contact you if you aren't on blogger) the deadline to enter is Feb 14th and I'll draw the name and announce the winner Feb. 15th

Good luck and happy travels!