Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Going Batty!

I wanted to offer something really different for this month's EHAG Emporium, and here it is...

A hand painted wooden bat house. :)

Suitable for mounting on a post, tree or house to give these beneficial creatures a home, and decorative too. How fun is that?!

It measures 11" tall x 7 1/2" wide at the top, and just over 3" deep at the actual box part. It's painted in water based paints and varnish, which is what conservationists recommend so as not to repel the bats.

Signed and dated, the only one of it's kind (I can't get these boxes any more) $85 plus shipping to the first person to email me. :)

- Thanks so much for looking, and please check out my eBay and Etsy offerings too!

~ Carolee

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sketches and Paintings and Projects, Oh My!

Have you ever experienced such a rush of creativity you hardly know where to begin?

I'm not talking artistic creativity necessarily, but any kind of creativity - whether it's art or music, cooking or writing...knitting, sewing, tending a garden - whatever your particular bliss is. Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by it you completely lose track of time, of days even, and one idea sparks another until there are so many images swirling around in your head you feel breathless, and can't decide which ones to grab first?

It's been that kind of week here, completely inspired and exciting, - although there's also been a bit of sadness too, but I find that even that can fuel creativity. Self expression in any form is good for the soul, don't you think?

I have three pieces to share...the first is a sea witch treasure box, my version of a magical mermaid of sorts. It was inspired in part by music I was listening to last week; "Atlantic Driftwood" by Norland Wind - always the perfect inspiration for something from the sea - and Blackmore's Night, "Ocean Gypsy" in particular, (although this one is more of an ocean witch). Wonderful imagery in their music. The shell handle atop the box is one I found on a beach in Freeport many years ago....

The next piece is another painted from an aerial perspective (soooo fun painting things from a different vantage point), "Merlin's Magical Flight", an acrylic painting on gallery canvas....

Does it make you feel like you're flying?

And third, "Wisdom", an owl plaque inspired by the now famous Molly of the San Marcos owl cam. Yes, I admit it, I'm completely addicted, hehe....

Owls are such magical creatures, aren't they? I've been sketching Molly all week, and can hardly wait until the owlets are a little bigger - I'd love to paint the whole family, or at least Mom and a baby or two. This one will list on eBay tomorrow night.

As if all this isn't enough (insert loud fanfare of trumpets) tomorrow is the day the door opens on the March EHAG Emporium (at 9 PM eastern)! I have a super fun piece for this one, something completely different for the yard and/or garden, so check back tomorrow (March 31st) at 9 for details.

In the projects department, I have something very exciting to share which I hope will make at least a few collectors happy. There have been several requests over the years to illustrate a deck of cards, and I'm thrilled to report the opportunity has finally presented itself! The very talented Lunaea Weatherstone (who readers of Sage Women magazine will know as a contributor and former editor) approached me recently about illustrating an oracle deck she is in the process of writing. What fun! Working these illustrations into the regular schedule will be a challenge, and probably result in a limit on new commissions, and in getting a much earlier start on Ghoultide Gathering pieces, but I'll work it out. ;)

Next up (just a few more days) is a truly special piece for eBay; a table or bench, painted with mystical imagery from a recent dream. I often dream I'm painting something, and the subject is so vivid I wake, thinking it was real, and want to run to the studio to continue the painting. Is that crazy? Don't answer that, hehe...

In the meantime, it's another cold, rainy night here, so I'm off to warm a kettle of leftover soup, and call it a day.

Back tomorrow with details on that Emporium piece....

♥ Carolee

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ups and Downs, Highs and Lows, Smiles and Sadness

It's been a crazy week here....and has it really been a whole week since I've visited? Sometimes working at home (and largely in fantasyland) can completely throw you off...Not that I've ever had much of a sense of time or date. Don't wear a watch, don't really have any clocks in the house, except on the computer of course...Just not much of a schedule kind o gal, I guess.

So it's no surprise I completely forgot John's birthday until two days before, when a birthday card arrived in the mail (thanks, Mom!). Better get moving, right?

Yet once again time got away, two days became one, and I found myself here with no present (not unusual, we don't really do birthday gifts) no card, and no cake. I foraged in the pantry for a chocolate cake mix, unsweetened chocolate - anything chocolate really - and came up empty handed. But I did find a strawberry cake mix. And enough sugar and butter for icing. And strawberries in the fridge. And pink glitter sprinkles....I know, I know, not exactly a guy kinda cake, but it sure sounded good. ;)

Ten minutes later, pink cupcakes in the oven. In Mary Englebreit "Queen of Everything" cupcake wrappers, no less. Figured I may as well just go for broke, hehe.

The Fresh strawberries in the icing made it more of a glaze, but they're soooooooo good. Happy 53rd!

Cupcakes also made an appearance in the art this week, with these two little paintings. One sold right away, but one is still up for grabs, at least until this evening. I love the little red buttons as cherries on top of the cakes.

I'm also busy with commissions this week, and am VERY excited about a new illustration project waiting in the wings, which is a bit of a secret at the moment - actually for a while. But it has my head absolutely spinning with magical images and ideas, which tends to have a kind of snowball effect, one idea sparking another, sparking another and so on. I always marvel at people who say they run out of ideas. I mean, how does that happen? I've always found creativity to be exponential - it just multiplies indefinitely, on and on, ideas and images swirling around until you hope you can capture even a tiny fraction of what you dream....

Which brings me to another place of vivid imagination, the EHAG Emporium! This is only our second month, but we're all just so excited about this event, I can't even tell you. The update will happen on the 31st (next Wednesday) at 9PM eastern, with the absolute finest in Halloween art up for grabs on a first come basis. Can't wait!!

In the meantime, there are weekly giveaways on the blog - this week's being a wonderfully whimsical ornament from EHAG artist Linda Kennon, the Gourdqueen...

Be sure to drop by and enter.:)

Those are the ups....But unfortunately there have been a few downs this week as well.

It's with a very heavy, but still hopeful heart that I share a request for prayers and positive, healing energy. You may remember the Penny Tree Auction a few posts back....A beautiful feather tree adorned with ornaments created by the artists of the PFATT group, in honor of Penny McAllister, who has been fighting acute leukemia for the last several months. (Proceeds were donated to the Alabama chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society).

We all heard yesterday that Penny is fighting for her very life now, so I'm asking you to please send up a prayer if you're so inclined, for Penny's healing and recovery, and for strength for her family and friends.

UPDATE - Penny lost her very brave battle with cancer this past Friday. Please say a prayer for her family and friends at this most difficult time.

A dear friend of mine is spending time at her Father's bedside this week too, as this very good man spends the last days of his life with family and friends before joining his late wife. Again, if you're inclined to prayer, please send one up for my friend and her Father, for strength and comfort as he makes this last journey.

Overall, it's been quite a week - ups and downs, highs and lows, smiles and tears...and so it goes. As we celebrate John's birthday today, we'll remember how truly precious this life is, and how important is is to find magic in every single moment.

In closing, a little thought all the anger and animosity I've seen in the news and on the internet this week; life is too short. Rather than trying to tear something down, rather than anger and fear, let's focus on compassion and building something that truly works. We're all in this together, and caring for each other fiercely should be our first priority. :)

Until next time, wishing you much love, and many magical moments...
♥ Carolee

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"We're All Mad Here."

"Entirely Bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are."

I ask you, how can you not love a story based on THAT premise??

Yes, I saw Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland this week, and thought it was amazing. Which is really saying something for someone who normally loathes people messing with the classics. Have you ever seen "The Scarlet Letter"? Truly painful, but I'm getting off track here...Back to Alice.

To be honest, I could have done without the booming, epic battle scene at the end (de rigueur in movies these days) but there was plenty of magic to make up for the spectacle. Johnny Depp was brilliant as the Mad Hatter, and I loved the on again-off again Glasgow accent. Helena Bonham Carter was perfect as the Red Queen, and Alan Rickman's voice as the Caterpillar, well....I could listen to that voice all day. I mean seriously, I wouldn't care if he just recited the phone book.

At any rate, it's no surprise I came away inspired to paint an Alice piece. Not fashioned after the movie characters, but my own vision. Not sure why, but I've always pictured the Cheshire Cat as being a ginger tabby.

Fortunately, I had one of those handy to serve as the perfect model, hehe. This big boy looks very much like our Arthur. The tea tray is listed on eBay now, with the auction ending Monday evening at 9PM eastern.

Lots of other pieces are in the works as well, including a few commissions, and I'm happy to say I have a newly cleaned workspace to accomplish all this....

Would you like to see it?

You can click on the photo for a larger view. That's Merlin under the table, and just a wee bit of Arthur over by the window. :)

The actual "studio" is upstairs, filled to bursting with wood pieces, shipping supplies, show displays, etc., but I prefer to work downstairs in this space because of the big window, and overhead skylight (not shown here). Nothing compares to natural light for both productivity and sanity, hehe.

It's more functional than decorative, although I DO have a few of my "favorite things" scattered about; the large papier mache cat (painted by a Mexican artist, and named Tequila) was a gift from my late father many years ago.

And giving credit where credit is due, a big thank you to Courtney for putting my space in order last weekend. Being completely organizationally impaired myself, I marvel at her magical powers.

So yes, we're all mad here. Entirely Bonkers. But we wouldn't have it any other way.

How about you? A little mad perhaps? Just a little?

Or entirely bonkers?

All the best people are, you know. ;)

Until next time,
♥ Carolee

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Serious Spring Fever

I know, I's only March. And the Farmer's Almanac says we could still see some serious winter weather. So I'm truly trying not to get ahead of myself.

But there are tiny buds on the backyard lilac trees...

And lilies sprouting up along the fence....

And aconite flowering in the herb garden....

Even the koi seem to be waking from their winter stupor...

Now, I'm generally pretty good about living in tune with each season as it comes, appreciating the natural cycle of things and celebrating Mother Nature's magic as it unfolds.

But my goodness, this winter has been one for the record books!

So I find myself especially giddy anticipating the blessings of spring; longer days, warmer temps, flowers in the garden, birds at the feeder, planning and planting the herb garden at the back of the yard...Life, growth,'s truly a miracle, isn't it?!

Spring has also been making it's way into the work this week (with a little St. Patrick's Day and Halloween thrown in for good measure, hehe)...Here's a sneak peek at four trinket boxes which will be listing on eBay later this evening....

They'll each have a "buy it now" option, so if there's something you can't live without, you can grab it without going through the bidding and waiting process. :)

Oh - and be sure to check back on Tuesday for "Alice in PFATTland", when all the PFATT artists, myself included, will be offering pieces inspired by "Alice in Wonderland". I'm thinking a Cheshire Cat tea chest might be in order for this one, and perhaps a tea tray as well - we'll see what I have time for. I swear, when it comes to time, I'm like a greedy little kid in a candy store, whose eyes are too big for her stomach. I want to do it all, and never fail to underestimate just how LONG some of these projects can take, hehe...Ah well, at least we have an extra hour of daylight now, yes?!

Speaking of which, I need to be off to the studio. There's a commission calling my name, which I'm determined to finish before diving head first down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. :)

Wishing you all the blessings of whatever season you're in the midst of in your part of the world! I'll be back very soon with more goodies....

♥ Carolee

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Very Quickly...

There's a wrench in the works this week in the form of a sick computer. I'll be offline until at least tomorrow evening. In the meantime, I'll share a sneak peek at this Velveteen Rabbit piece, up for grabs on the PFATT Marketplace tonight at midnight Pacific time....

Back very soon!
♥ Carolee

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Of Fairies, Forums and Friendship...

As I watch the snow melt and see the very first harbingers of spring appear in the form of tiny buds on the lilac trees, it's been a week for reflecting here.

Sometimes it's easy for those of us who work at home, tucked away in our own little world as we are, to have a slightly different take on reality...

In my own little world, there's magic in a snowfall, I have meaningful (albeit one-sided) conversations with cats and dogs, tea parties for one, and the gardens I tend to dream about this time of year become Fairie Havens...

I love the idea of setting aside a bit of garden for the fairies, don't you?

Another slightly different take on reality (at least for me) comes in the form of friendships and bonds formed on the internet. I'm constantly amazed at the sheer vastness of the online arts community I've discovered since starting this little adventure back in 2001 - while at the same time marveling how small a world it really is, and how truly connected we are.

When I first went online, I discovered a few "communities" and immediately felt drawn to some. The first was a group of ladies whose common thread was a love for Victoria magazine. The best way to describe these women is gracious, with common interests such as reading, the arts, travel, teatime, and so on...After a time it became clear that some of us had more in common than others, and an offshoot group was formed, of which I'm still a member. And what began as an online relationship with complete strangers has blossomed into true, real life friendships. I love these women, these kindred spirits, and am thankful they're in my life.

Shortly after discovering the Victoria ladies (and in part inspired by some of their entrepreneurial stories) I began selling my work on eBay - and quickly gravitated to Halloween and fantasy art, where I discovered yet another group of kindred spirits; the artists of EHAG (The Eclectic Halloween Artists' Group). This particular group is juried, meaning one's work and reputation must be of a certain caliber to join, so I was honored to be approached. We've gone through changes and growing pains over the years to be sure, but I'm still proud to be a member (and more recently co-leader) of the first, and premiere, online Halloween art group. We chat, we have great fun, and we work in a mutually supportive way to bring collectors the best of Halloween magic and wonder. :)

(In fact, regular readers may remember we recently debuted an online marketplace, The EHAG Emporium, of which we are just soooooooo proud. And I'm happy to announce we're also offering four giveaways during the month of March, the first one posted now! You can click here for details.) :)

Another online community I discovered was the artists of PFATT (Primitive Folk Art Talk and Tea), and the PFATT Marketplace - separate entities, but with much common ground....

These women are all artists, and have formed a sisterhood of sorts, coming together not only to support each other's work, but in times of trouble as well. If you scroll back a couple of posts, you can read about the recent "Penny Tree Auction", which is a perfect example of this group's spirit.

There are other groups out there too, each with their own, unique feel, some juried, some not, some supportive, some less so, some drawn to whimsy and some to the darker side of things. As a friend of mine says, "There's a lid for every pot". ;) I just know I've found my cyber home among the groups to which I now belong, and cannot recommend my fellow members' work and ethics highly enough.

Oh, and lest anyone think I'm one of those people who "live" on the internet hehe, I should mention in closing the many longstanding friendships I'm blessed with, many dating back some 35 years. Whoever said "friends are the family we choose for ourselves" hit the nail on the head, and no matter how "real" the internet seems at times (especially to those of us working in a solitary environment) there's no substitute for tea and sympathy with an old friend.

The key is balance, I appreciate each form of friendship for what it has to offer. To approach online relationships slowly and cautiously, while still appreciating the miracle that brings artistic souls together across miles and even continents.

We live in an amazing time, don't we?

♥ Carolee