Friday, February 27, 2009

The Painting Soundtrack

As a young art student, I remember teachers who insisted that music was a distraction, that it interrupted the creative flow. Others felt it was OK - a personal choice, although few allowed it in the classroom, because tastes and preferences vary; what one of us finds inspiring, another may find disturbing.

For me, music and painting are deeply entwined. There are days I spend more time choosing CDs or uploading a playlist than I do choosing a palette for a new piece, and often the music will lead me in a completely new direction...

The playlist here on the blog (scroll down on the right) is pretty typcial of what I like to listen to, although the CD player is often loaded with entirely Celtic music, or strictly classical, and on rare occasions rock. Never rap, never metal, and never country.

Commission work is different, because the direction of the piece is already established - so I'm not as careful with the music selection and tend to listen to whatever I'm in the mood for.

With two commissions in progress, this is one of those days, and the music doesn't get any better than this: an NPR broadcast of the brilliant Leonard Cohen, live at the Beacon Theater in New York, recorded just 8 days ago. A dear friend sent me the link yesterday knowing how much I'd enjoy it, and just I have to pass it on. Seriously, give this a listen, it's incredible! (I would sooooooooooo love to see his upcoming Philadelphia concert, but with funds limited and tickets going on sale Monday, it's doubtful.)

So how about you? Is music important to your creative process? What inspires you? Do you like silence....something mystical...or maybe something high energy? Inquiring minds want to know....

(And do you think I should paint myself a CD cabinet one of these days, hehe?)

~ Carolee

Monday, February 23, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different...

Sometimes a new path presents itself, and you just have to follow....

I've been feeling the need to pick up pen and ink again (a favorite medium long ago, in a galaxy far, far away) and finally this week I gave in to the temptation.

I admit to being bit of a purist when it comes to pen and ink. No markers or technical pens here. I use a pen holder with various size nibs, dipping the pen into an inkwell as artists have done for centuries. There's something very zen and sort of "old world" about the process, and I love the fine detail a crow quill tip allows.

Here's the piece in black and white (If you click on these, they'll enlarge a bit):

And here it is completed, with watercolor washed over the ink:

"Twilight Harvest", 8" x 10" on illustration board.

I may list the original on eBay or Etsy, not sure yet, but since I've also been toying with the idea of having a few prints made of my work, I was thinking this piece may be the first. What do you think?

In the meantime, other work/fun continues in the form of assorted commissions and eBay offerings. This little bunny is listed on eBay now, having travelled a couple of states away by mistake. He's back though, and ready to make another journey to his new home:

Finally, I have to share I won this giveaway in the One World One Heart blog event - a pendant and two pins which arrived this weekend all the way from Alaska! Many thanks to Pat of Wigglebutt Clay Creations. :)

That's about it for now...It's shaping up to be a very busy week, but I'll try to pop in again soon! And please accept my apologies for not responding to all the lovely comments you leave here. I soooooo love hearing from you, and do apreciate that you take the time to write....but the painting schedule doesn't allow as much time for correspondence as I'd like. I'll try to do better, I promise. ;)

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`• Carolee

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Giveaway Winners!

Drum roll, please.....

There were almost 40 entries for the collector's giveaway, and as I wrote all the names on pieces of paper this morning, I was soooooooooo wishing I could send everyone a piece! Your support and encouragement, especially during these difficult economic times, means more than you'll know. And I DO hope that eventually I will be able to send you each a little something - the plan is to have these blog giveaways for collectors monthly, so please do keep checking back. The next giveaway will be in March and the rules will be the same - anyone who's purchased my work in the past 60 days will be entered automatically, and anyone who's recently bid or has ever purchased my work and leaves a comment here will also be entered. If you fall into both categories; that is, if you've purchased work in the last 60 days AND leave a comment, you'll be entered twice. :)

Okay...I'm getting on with it!

The first name drawn was Andrea (email on it's way!)

The second name drawn was Barbara (email on it's way as soon as we know which piece Andrea chooses!)

And the third name drawn was Renee (I need your email address!!)

No clue what the march giveaway will be yet - I'm torn between something with an Easter or St Patrick's twist, or pure Halloween! (stay tuned...)

Thanks so much for participating, everyone! I'm off to work on that very detailed piece I've been telling you about....

Have a magical and creative weekend!!
~ Carolee

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Tunes :)

Just a quick note to let anyone who listens know I updated the playlist again...Most of the music I like is pretty quiet, but there are a couple of noisier pieces near the end (well, noisy for me anyway, hehe!) I'm afraid I'm showing my age with a few of the tunes here, but I like to think they're timeless...

If you're inclined to give it a listen, just scroll down on the right and click play. :)

~ Carolee

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Work and a Little Inspiration

"Cast a spell...Drink wicked good brew...Seek magic...Reach for the stars...Dance in the moonlight...Ride the wind..."

Words of wisdom, and so much fun to paint! It's listed on eBay now, although I was truly tempted to keep it here as a centerpiece for the dining room table I'm painting. Well, okay, the dining room table I WILL paint, I swear it! This six foot pine table has been leaning against a wall in my living room for over two years now (embarassing, huh?) but one of these days it will be transformed into a huge piece of FUNctional art. I just need a few more hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a month, etc...

I know, I know - I'm not alone in this time crunch.....I think many of us are feeling the pressure these days - working longer hours, trying to keep up in this economy. But I'm also incredibly encouraged by the support out there for artists and artisans; the effort people are making to buy handmade goods. To me, buying something someone created with their own hands is not only good for the economy, but good for the soul.... And I can't even begin to describe the feeling that comes from knowing someone loves something I've created enough to buy it...and to send my creations out into the world knowing they'll bring a little joy or magic, it just doesn't get any better than that. :)

Sooooooo, speaking of magic, I have this little video to share with you. It's not new, and I'm sure many of you have already seen it, but if you haven't, it's well worth the watch. Oh, and it's better if you have your speakers on. ;)

Wasn't that great?!

I'm off now to create a little of my own magic here, which involves the morning music/candles/tea ritual before settling in....I'm working on a couple of commissions this week (just a wee bit behind schedule as usual) but also hope to have something very special to share with you soon - something light and ethereal and ultra finely detailed (stay tuned!)

Until next time.....

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`• Carolee

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Well, we DID make it to the movies yesterday, and I have to say Coraline was just WONDERFUL....

The story - a lesson in perspective about how we see the world around us, and the people closest to us - couldn't have been better. And visually, it was just BEYOND imaginative! This is one of those movies you could see ten times and still find something new to delight the senses...truly magical...

The only small buzzkill was the 3-D effect, which gave the entire movie a darker tone. I removed the glasses at several points, and while everything on the screen was blurry, it was also a wee bit brighter...So while the whole thing was visually stunning, I found myself longing (as I admittedly do in a LOT of movies these days) for lightness. That said, an overall darker tone seems to be the trend....What can I say, I like brilliant, vivid, bright COLOR! I may go see this one a second time, sans the 3-D effect, we'll see. ;)

Speaking of brilliant color, I have something very special in the works just now, and I hope to share a little peek later on...This is one of those pieces where I wake up in the morning and can hardly wait to grab a paintbrush - FUN!

In the meantime, I have a couple of rather boring errands to run....Guess I'll be off now, so I can get back here and PLAY, hehe...

However you're spending this beautiful Sunday, I hope you find a bit of time to play too!

Oh - and if you're a collector, don't forget to scroll down to the next post and enter my little giveaway!

Back soon.....
~ Carolee

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My 200th Blogspot Post and a Happy Valentine's Day Giveaway!

At first I thought I'd do a little Halloween giveaway to celebrate my 200th bloggiversary (I think that's what they call it?)....After all, I'm a Halloween artist, right? But then I noticed my next post would fall directly on Valentine's Day. Soooooooo, since I had some little heart shaped boxes...

And all this pink paint....

I thought I'd return a bit of the love to the people who collect my work. :)

I know, I know, by the time I do the drawing, Valentine's Day will have passed...But I think these little guys could be left out all year, don't you?

I think they're so sweet with sparkles on the outside and polka dotted goodness on the inside....

If you've purchased work from me in the last two months, you'll be automatically entered in the drawing. And if you've purchased work and leave a comment here, you'll be entered twice! If you haven't purchased recently, but have in the past, or have even placed an eBay bid on my work, you can enter too - just leave a comment. The rest of you can leave comments too, but this time around the giveaway is strictly for collectors. :)

In one week, on Saturday, Feb 21st, I'll draw three names. The first name drawn will have their choice of the three boxes, the second name drawn may select from the remaining two and the third name drawn will receive the remaining box.

I'll even throw in some of these candy conversation hearts...I read in the news the Necco company is thinking of updating some of the old messages...But I kinda like the old ones, hehe...

My own Valentine's Day will be spent - are you ready for this, it's just soooooooooo romantic......


Yep. You may have read about the high winds Pennsylvania has been experiencing the last few days. Well, there's been a serious battle between said winds and our old metal roof, and I'm afraid the roof lost. Thank heaven for homeowner's insurance, and BOO HISS for deductibles, *sigh*.....

We had hoped to go see Coraline today, and still may if the roofing guy shows up early. Either way, John and I will have a nice, romantic dinner at home tonight, and at the very least we'll rent a movie and toast our almost 30 years together. ;)

So Happy Valentine's Day!!

However you're spending it, whether you're single or part of a duo, I hope it's filled with magic and bliss....Do something fun and spread the love....

Until next time,
♥ Carolee

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I ♥ Giveaways!

I also ♥ blogging!

And I ♥ making these little ♥'s, teehee!!

Okay, now that I have that little bit of silliness out of my system, on with the winner of the One World One Heart giveaway! I had really planned to write all the names on bits of paper (in calligraphy no less) and drop them in a cauldron or hat, but with over 500 comments and very limited time, I decided to go the much easier, albeit boring route of using a random number generator....

And the winner is #37, gracebeading! Congrats, Grace - I'll send the little star box on it's way as soon as I have your address! It was SUCH a blessing to participate in this event, I feel like everyone's a winner on some level...and next year I'll definitely try to pull together more than one item - at 505 comments, the response was overwhelming!

While we're on the subject of giveaways, I received the beautiful yarn from the Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm blog giveaway (supplied by Dye Dreams) the other day, and just have to share it. It's called "bouganvilla". Isn't it absolutely yummy!?

The only little snag is that it's sock yarn. And it came with a beautiful but complicated sock pattern....

Soooooooo, since my knitting skills are pretty much limited to scarves, shawls and the occasional tote, I need to sign up for a sock class. :)

And while we're on the subject of knitting (like these little segues?) how cool is this "smitten"? I found this one blog surfing....



pattern. ;)

Which brings us right back around to ♥'s.....

I have several little boxes in just that shape waiting to be painted. And since the very next post will be my 200th, AND on Valentine's Day, I'm planning a special giveaway just for collectors....because I ♥ you too!

So check back here Saturday....and remember, this one is for collectors only!

NOW I'm off to work! The little canvas with espresso sipping kitties ("Cafe Chat Noir") is very nearly finished and I can't wait to share it with you. I may even have to make a few prints of this one, not sure yet....

I'm off now, but not before wishing everyone a magical and CREATIVE Thursday!

Until next time....
♥ Carolee

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Signs of Spring

I know, I know....I'm a Halloween artist. And it's February.

But we're having a bit of a warm spell this week! Well, warm for February in Pennsylvania anyway. And although there are no signs of crocuses or daffodils yet, no tiny green spears pushing up through the dirt, no robin sightings and no frog songs, the thick layer of ice which has covered the pond for weeks now has all but disappered, and that's enough to turn my thoughts to warmer weather and longer days!

Can you tell I have spring on the brain?

This little guy made his debut on the PFATT Marketplace this morning. I think the lavender blossoms and black and white checks give him a tres chic country French look...

And this is my beautiful Merlin (soooooooooooo tempted to keep this one!) Isn't he a handsome fellow? The real Merlin is strictly an indoor kitty, but this is how I imagine him in a field of lavender (I also apparently have lavender on the brain this week, hehe!) He's listed on eBay now.

And finally, St Gertrude of Nivelles. If you've been reading here a while, you may remember I painted her last year on a framed panel. She is the patron saint of cats and gardeners (yes, there really is a patron saint for everything, and how cool is that?!) Her feast Day is actually the same as St Patrick - March 17th. :) This piece is a bit smaller than the last one, and could easily be mounted on a garden fencepost, although I think she'd look wonderful indoors too and would weather a little longer. The sparkling pieces in her halo are Swarovski crystals....Look for her this evening on eBay at 9PM eastern.

The "Cafe Chat Noir" painting I promised is still in progress, along with several commissions and a few other goodies I have up my paint spattered sleeve for next week.

In the meantime, there are the daily doings around the house, the cooking and cleaning and errand running and phone calls and million other things to fill the days.....

Speaking of which, it's time to brew a pot of tea, answer the morning correspondence and get to work!

Until next time, warm and magical *springtime* wishes!
~ Carolee

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"Herbes et Potions"

The thing about snowstorms is they inspire all kinds of creativity and productivity...Too cold to venture out for more than a few minutes, I've spent the last couple of days sipping tea and painting this tres French Witch's herb and potions chest (actually a salt box, whose history you can read about in the eBay listing.:)

I sooooooooo love the detail on this one....

From the scrollwork at the top, to the larger compartment and two drawers, the woodworker's craftsmanship is just beautiful....

I like it's versatility too - that it can be set on a countertop or mantle, or mounted on a wall or hearth... and the possibilities for it's use are endless; a place for keys, wallet, a pet's leash, for herbs and oils in the kitchen, makeup and toiletries in the bath, set on the dressertop as a jewelry many uses!

After much agonizing I decided to set what I feel is a reasonable reserve on this one (which I'm happy to share if anyone is interested - just email me)...

Switching gears a bit, the next painting will be another cat piece - the Cafe Chat Noir. No details yet, but the colors will be vibrant, and the inspiration comes from the caffiene-like buzz which propels my own cats through the house at 100 MPH in the wee hours of the morning, hehe....

And look for new work on Etsy soon, and a giveaway just for collectors. :)

That's about it for now, except to wish our amazing daughter Courtney the happiest of birthdays! She's 27 today, but don't tell anyone - I'm far too young to have a 27 year old daughter, don't you think? ;)

That's about it for now. Oh - almost forgot! There's a new badge to the right which you can click to find me on facebook. Just send me a message. :)

Until next time.....
~ Carolee

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Into White

Today is one of those blissful, perfect, zen kind of winter days....a pot of jasmine tea within reach, Iron and Wine in the CD player, scented candle burning, velcro Aussies warming my feet as I paint...and a winter wonderland outside the window.....

The pond, surrounded by snow covered ivy. If you look very closely, you can see the two koi, huddled together, dormant until the water warms in the spring....

Another view, a little farther back. You can see our next door neighbor's charming old shed in the background....

The red berries on the pyracantha beside the house....

Inside, I'm still working on the "Herbes et Potions" chest, and thinking since the whimsical cat painting auction ends tonight, another one is in order...Perhaps "Cafe Chat Noir"...I'm picturing cool kitties sipping espresso (thinking of how they thunder through the house at all hours as if on some kind of bizarre caffiene buzz, hehe)...

Until then, I'm off to brew another pot of tea and resume painting (too many ideas, too little time!)

Wishing everyone a magical, creative day....

~ Carolee

Monday, February 2, 2009


....But in a good way. :)

No new art today, as I'm a bit fuzzy from medication following a root canal earlier today....

But I thought I'd pop in to say a quick THANK YOU to everyone participating in the One World, One Heart event..... I never in my absolute wildest dreamed of such an overwhelming response to my little star box giveaway - over 400 comments/entries and counting!

The best part about this online event has been "meeting" new friends and discovering so many creative souls out there...I'm still winding my way down the list of participants (I think I'm up to almost 300 now!) and am entering many drawings, but am refraining from entering those that much as I love, couldn't use - I don't have pierced ears, so would rather those gorgeous earrings offerings go to someone who does, I don't do scrapbooking, so would rather see someone who can use scrapbooking supplies benefit from their use, etc...

But I am SO enjoying visiting each and every blog! It's both encouraging and heartening to see the amount of positive, creative energy out there in the world, and it gives me hope for the future. :)

So if you haven't already, please do drop your name in the hat by clicking here and while you're at it, click on the link to the "gypsy caravan" of participants and check it out - you'll be so glad you did. :)

Until tomorrow,
~ Carolee

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Just a Glimpse.....

"Herbes et Potions"; a beautiful chest, hand made here in rural Pennsylvania in the tradition of old salt boxes.....

A good basecoating of paint applied, some beautiful paper antiqued with sepia ink and decoupaged on the drawers and interior, it's now ready for detail. No plans yet - this is one of those pieces which will lead me in it's own direction once I begin....

Although I can already tell I'll be tempted to keep it here, mounted on the brick hearth beside the woodstove, hehe.... Tempted, but not likely, so look for the listing on eBay tonight or tomorrow. :)

In the meantime, I'm off to brew up a pot of tea and select some CDs...Tea, music and art - the perfect way to spend Super Bowl Sunday, don't you think?

At the risk of being run out of the state on a rail, I have to admit we are NOT football people. I'd rather have root canal than sit through a game, and John would just as soon read a good book or play his guitar. Growing up in England, it just wasn't a thing. In fact, I have an amusing story to share about this....

After moving east from California some 15 years ago, my husband's first day at the new job was near the beginning of football season. So his co-workers were anxious to see what the new guy's thoughts were on the subject of Pennsylvania teams...

"So, what do you think of the Eagles?" one of them asked.

"I like them a lot. I was really bummed when they broke up" answered my husband.

Which pretty much sums up what we know about football, teehee....

Okay, off I go....Wishing everyone an enjoyable day however you're spending it!

~ Carolee