Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: Having to Remember Everything

It's the last day of 2014, and time to reflect upon how much of a whirlwind 2014 was. I have to think really hard and dig deep in some file folders to be able to come up with an accurate number of all the stuff I did this year! I'll break it down by category, to make things easier on myself!

The first convention of 2014 was Boskone. I had panel space for the first time after beating around the bush for a few years. Boskone to me is like a winter retreat to do nothing but stay inside with a nice hot toddy, looking outside at the bitter cold of Boston Harbor with sadness that eventually you will have to venture outside again come Sunday evening. Regardless of the disdain towards the weather, I'm excited for Boksone 52 come February!

Spectrum 2014
I attended Spectrum Live this year as an exhibitor, and in Carly-fashion, I opted to drive to Kansas City, spanning the 22-hour drive over 2 days. I had an amazing time, and met a lot of amazing new people I wouldn't have otherwise had the chance to meet. In 2015 I'm attending a wedding in May; I haven't gotten a booth or a table, but I would like to make it back as an attendee for the awesome community experience!

Illustration Master Class 2014
The IMC is just a yearly commitment now. I kept trying to wean myself off from the workshop, but it just remains an incredible experience that I cannot live my summers without. This past IMC I worked on a personal project, a piece for a gallery show at Krab Jab Studio. It was an experimental week, deviating from comfort zones, but I like to think my piece was a fun learning experience!

"Kodama" 18"x24" oil and acrylic on board
In fact, having not really looked at this piece in a few months, I'm pretty amazed at some of the choices I made, and textures and effects I accomplished. Not too bad for flying blind!

A huge event this year was IlluXcon. It was my second year behind a table in the ballroom Showcase on Friday and Saturday night. Two pieces found happy homes this year, "Avian" and "Moonlit Assassin". I could not be happier with their new owners, I know they will take good care of my babies!

I ♥ IlluXcon!
I cannot wait for IX 2015, primarily because I have been juried into the Weekend Salon! I am so honored and completely tickled to know that a jury deems my work in such a high regard. Words cannot describe!

2014 was also the year of my first major accolade as I had the honor of being featured on the cover of Nightmare Magazine, a publication which I hold a deep respect for. Thanks to Galen Dara--love you!--I was put in contact with Lightspeed and was the cover artist for their Nightmare Magazine Halloween issue, exclusive to women artists and women writers! It truly is an honor to have taken part in such a project, and I cannot wait to work with them again!

Nightmare Magazine issue 25
Speaking of works that feature creative women, I have also been asked to be a contributing artist in Cathy Fenner of Spectrum's book project Women of Wonder. The book will debut in the first half of 2015, and will be available for purchase at Spectrum Live in May! Keep your eyes peeled!

Women of Wonder
This year was definitely a busy one. From January to December, I have been in more gallery shows than I can recall by memory, but thankfully for me I have them documented and the tally is... 13! It could be 14 to 16, but I only started documenting shows on my website since April. I have shown with so many new venues this year including Arch Enemy Arts, Modern Eden, Alexi Era, Slushbox, Krab Jab Studio, and Hive Gallery. I have painted things from tarot to androids, cats to ghosts, plants to bears, arrows to bees... and I can't get enough! Already for 2015 I have enough shows planned to keep me busy all year, but I'm always aiming to keep an even fuller schedule. I want to give a big thanks to all the gallery managers and curators that have invited me into their families. Without you, I wouldn't be pushing myself as an artist as much as I am today, you continue to provide me with new and interesting subject matter to tackle. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Here's to a new and exciting 2015!  Cheers!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Month of Fear #5: M A S K S

"Premeditation" 8"x10" oil and acrylic on board
I took a different turn in interpreting masks. Rebellion, dissatisfaction with society and government, it's all very scary and very serious and very, very real. As a race, us humans have gone through a lot lately, and for our benefit, I hope to see that we will all rise up and fight for what we believe in and change the world for the better through intelligence and cooperation rather than violence.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Month of Fear #4: Haunted

"White Lady" 5" x 7" oil and acrylic on board
 I live in a hotbed of the paranormal. Growing up, every October Ed and Lorraine Warren would come to my high school and do a presentation about the hauntings in the area and about the exorcisms and investigations they've conducted.

A constant in our area is the famous White Lady of Union Cemetery. She's almost caused my friends car accidents to avoid hitting her, and my Poppa said that he had an encounter when he was young, but never went into detail, remaining vigilantly silent about his experience.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Month of Fear #3: Demons Within

"Fallen" 12"x24" oil, acrylic, and gold leaf on board
Fallen from grace.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Month of Fear #2: What Are You Afraid Of?

"As Above" (left) "So Below" (right) each 2.5"3.5" oil, acrylic, gold and silver leaf on board

I believe in karma. that any good deed will come back to you, and any malevolent deed will come back and bite you in the ass. I also believe in self-fulfilling prophecy. Life has a tender balance, and to me, when I have a bad day, I can't help but wonder what I could have done to someone or myself to warrant such bad luck!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Month of Fear #1: Things That Go Bump

"Pray the Lord My Soul to Keep" 8"x10" oil and acrylic on board
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I shall die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.
I wasn't brought up in a religious household. I always thought it was pretty deep to drill into a child's mind that some unknown force in the middle of the night could kill them, for no reason, and that you better hope your soul be saved.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Illustration Master Class 2014 Edition

Post-IMC is not so much a case of con crud, but rather a multi-day hangover from excessive consumption of awesome! Now that I've been home for a few days since getting back on Monday, I'm finally rested enough to not feel the urge to just lie down on the couch.

This year I decided to work on a personal piece: a painting for The Dark Woods show coming up next month at Krab Jab in Seattle. The painting is my take on a Japanese kodama, spirits that inhabit old sugi trees. I was originally going to take on the Dragon Rider assignment, even going so far as spending two weeks working on reference compiling and having a final sketch to show for it, but two days before heading up to Amherst, I, in Carly fashion, decided to kill two birds with one stone and work on one of the three pieces I needed to get done for gallery shows coming up in July, and get a good critique on my own personal work. So, in two days I went from zero to sketch, ready for first-day critique.

Sketch Pre-Critique
My focus group was comprised of Rebecca Guay, Greg Manchess, Scott Fischer, Mike Mignola, and Iain McCaig. I couldn't have asked for or picked a more perfect group! Of course they offered great critique, leading me to have the figure hug the curve of the tree to help reinforce the flow of the piece. It wasn't until the end of the week, but Greg brought to my attention how much of a swastika the original pose was... Whoops!

My critique in action!
Day two, Tuesday, I spent the whole day coming up with and finalizing her new pose--primarily sussing out what to do with her arms and hands. The end result on day two was what I ended up transferring onto board and began to paint by Wednesday!

Thursday's in progress photo...
I kind of got too wrapped up in painting and socializing to take more progress pictures, but I at least got this one! Since this picture was taken I changed the pose of her right arm to a much more believable and elegant configuration. Now that I'm home I've worked on it since, and thanks to the slow-drying nature of titanium white, it will take a few more days to finish this than anticipated, but I'm pleased with how it's coming along and am very excited to get it finished! Once it's done it will be of course posted up here on the blog, so look out!

I told myself that this was going to be my last year, because it's terribly difficult for me to afford attending, but it's so hard to say no year after year... Soo many good things came out of this year, potential job gigs and private sales, and seeing friends I wouldn't get a chance to see any other time. I'm going to try my hardest at being able to go back for 2015, so the next few months I'm going to work my ass off! Here's to another brilliant year of the Illustration Master Class!

How could I say no to a week of shenanigans?!

Friday, May 16, 2014

SFAL3 Recap

Home! Even though I got home Tuesday night after a two-day drive halfway across the country, I promptly and unintentionally "lied down on the couch for a little nap" and ended up waking up many hours later. Oops... Wednesday was spent returning the rental car, grocery shopping, and finishing up a job due that day. Now that I had a day to catch up on the latest episode of Game of Thrones and dealing with minor con-crud by camping on the couch, I'm confident my brain is ready to recollect the magic that was Spectrum!

This was my first year at SFAL, both as an attendee and exhibitor. It was also my first time west of the Mississippi. And it was the longest road trip I've taken to date. From Connecticut to Missouri was around 20 hours give or take, one way. Although in the past I made one-shot trips to and from Dragon*con in a single day, the trip to Kansas City was split into two days each way. I'm glad to have decided upon staying in Indiana on the way there, because by the time John and I reached the Super 8 we were staying at in Greenfield, after dinner I was so out of it I got scared and confused when in the parking lot of the Steak 'n Shake my car wasn't backing out of the parking space because my foot was on the break, not the accelerator... A good night's sleep was definitely needed.

So, to talk about Spectrum Fantastic Art Live! It does live up to its name, it's pretty fantastic. I could say it's comparable to IlluXcon, but only in that it's a convention that brings together artists in the genre. Considering the jury-less first-come-first-served nature of purchasing booths and tables I was extremely pleased by the level of skill all around. There were tons of people there that I knew, but also tons of people there that I never got the chance to meet before, and knew that SFAL was going to be the only venue I might have ever gotten the chance to meet them.

Way back there in the corner...

My only grievance is that it was a pretty slow con for sales. I only moved prints, no originals, however that's the general consensus I heard from even the most seasoned artists. I was in the way back, in a rear-facing booth towards the back wall. By the time we saw new faces throughout the day, even by the end of Sunday, people already had armfuls of prints and swag, and were visibly tired and just cruising through for the sake of seeing every nook and cranny.

However, SFAL for me was more about networking. I got to finally sit down and chat with Jon Schindehette about my work, and had a heart-lifting portfolio review with Mark Chiarello of DC Comics. Saturday night I got to have a fantastic hour-long discussion with Arnie Fenner about my work after the awards ceremony as well. All the talk during the weekend made me giddy, and made the drive back home from Kansas City strangely easier.

My booth! Well, half of it.

Will I go back next year? I absolutely want to! Will I drive? I don't want to don't make me... I will probably end up flying, but there was discussion of me possibly offering a courier service to artists in the area to drive their work to SFAL for a reasonable fee. But, that's something I don't exactly want to think about right now... The drive is brutal, especially after a sleepless con, but in spite of the exhaustion I feel my batteries are charged to capacity, and all I want to do is paint!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tiny Pleasures

3"x3" oil and acrylic on board
Jon Schindehette of The Art Order brought the artists together yet again! This time for Tiny Pleasures, a celebration of tiny paintings. All paintings will be on display at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live this year. So if you're there, check it out! I can't wait to see them all hung up together!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Field Guide to Hiveland

8"x10" oil and acrylic on board
Name: Domus Apidae

Realm: Forest of Zzub

Special Skill: Crystal Honey - Domus Apidae oozes honey from
her bark, creating a hard crystalline shell offering extra protection against damage.

Short Story: Born a dryad in the Forest of Zzub, the young sprite befriended its buzzing inhabitants after admiring the bee's dedication to the Queen. Wanting to offer help in her own way, the dryad grew tall and strong to offer herself as a walking shelter to protect her friends from harm.
Honey Power - 20
Dance Moves - 10
Pollen Processing - 10
Wing Potential - 5
Sting Power - 20
Exoskeleton - 35

Be sure to check out this piece at The Hive Gallery on Field Guide to Hiveland on its opening night in Los Angeles April 5th!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Month of Love Week #4: 69 Love Songs

7" x 5" oil, acrylic, gold and silver leaf on board
The song I chose is "Long Forgotten Fairytale". The song (my interpretation, at least) is about abusive relationships and the Stockholm syndrome that often manifests in the abused towards their abuser.

That and I just love new wave. Don't judge me.

I'm glad I finished off 2014's Month of Love with a piece I'm quite happy with!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Month of Love Week #3: Fetishes

5" x 7" oil and acrylic on board
Formicophilia - having sexual interest in being bitten by and crawled upon by insects. Among other things... but that can be deduced with your imagination.

One more week to go!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Month of Love Week #2: Favorite Love Story

5" x 7" oil, acrylic, and gold leaf on board
This week's theme for Month of Love is to illustrate a favorite love story!

One of my favorite love stories is a Russian folktale called The Tsarevna Frog--The Frog Princess. The story is about a prince whose destiny is determined by firing an arrow towards whom he's to marry, a frog, who in the end turned out to be more than he could ever ask for.

The whole story can be read here: The Tsarevna Frog.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jeff Easley Tribute

16" x 20" oil and acrylic on board
Jon Schindehette a while back had sent out a call to artists to help celebrate a tribute to a father of modern fantasy illustration:
I was never able to help Jeff get permission to create his art book when I was at Wizards of the Coast, and I would like to find a way to celebrate what he has contributed to our industry. I could only think of one way I could do that - through ArtOrder. Join me in paying homage to a man that directly influenced the fantasy illustration and gaming genre. Create an image that celebrates the man and his art.
My main influence from his work is how he can paint in one hue, but give it so much life, depth, and diversity. This piece was painted with just titanium white, mars black, and alizarin crimson.

Happy birthday, Jeff!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Month of Love is Back! Week #1: #nofilter Valentine

9" x 12" oil and acrylic on board

The first week's theme for 2014's Month of Love was #nofilter Valentine. Breakups are a an unfortunate aspect of love. It can hurt, a lot, but eventually with time the pieces are put back together... perhaps with the help of someone new!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Fire Can't Take the Art Away

Sadly, early this morning a fire claimed a building in the town where I grew up that was home to the first art school I attended as a kid: Bob Boroski School of Art. It was here where I would go on Saturday mornings and spend the day making art, spending time not only with other kids who loved to do art, but also the college-aged faculty that I looked up to and wished to be someday. Kind of crazy to think that I'm now in that position, years into the future!

Bob Boroski
 I owe it to Bob for pushing me and teaching me what was not being offered in public school. I hope he will be able to rebuild his business, so he can continue to push other kids like me in the right direction. Viva la Bob!

Hive Tarot!

I did the Nine of Pentacles for this year's collaboration.The show will be up until the end of January for your viewing pleasure. Check it out!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Looking Back on 2013: Not That Unlucky!

This year has treated me amazingly well. At this particular moment, it's hard to really remember everything that happened, but I suppose that's a good thing! My goals at the beginning of 2013 were to complete 2 paintings a month, and to get my first freelance job. I'm excited to say both were met! Here's a reflection on this past year's happenings:

Kick-Ass Art Show

IMC 2013
  • I participated in a 4-person show, in which I sold my first painting ever to the amazing tattoo artist and great guy Joe Capobianco.
  • Did a painting for a Sandy Hook benefit.
  • Quit my day job teaching to devote all my time to painting.
  • I tackled my biggest painting yet at this year's Illustration Master Class; a 2-by-3-foot painting of Jon Snow and Arya Stark from Game of Thrones.
  • I conquered a 15-hour drive down to Atlanta for my very first Dragon*Con in which I hung my work, met tons of amazing people, and sold two pieces. Then had to drive back...
  • Was a part of the wildly successful Amanda Palmer Tarot!
  • Not a week after, showed my work for the first time at IlluXcon, and sold a piece to the wonderful Winona Nelson!
  • Participated in two monthly art blogs: Month of Love and Month of Fear. Both kicked my ass but gave me confidence in my artwork and time management skills.
  • Got my first freelance job! The title goes to ZoĆ« Robinson for picking me up first!
  • Starting participating in shows across the country in California!
  • On the horizon I have my first solo show on January 11th!
  • This list cannot be finished without mentioning all the wonderful people that I've met, and all the old friends I was able to see again.
 I participated in 5 gallery shows, went to 3 cons, and if I recall correctly, I painted a total of... like, 34 pieces? Some simple, some more time-consuming, some frustrating, some elating, some I wanted to share, some I wanted to burn and have no one ever see them.

IlluXcon 2013
Suffice to say I'm pretty happy with how this year went. I've come to know what makes me most happy with my work, and discovered what I need to work on. My goals for next year are to keep improving, go to more conventions, be less intimidated and to promote myself like crazy so I can participate in bigger, better things! All so I can comfortably begin to support myself solely by my art. Cheers to a new year in the works!