The Coffee Cup Critters aka the “Cuppa” Series

I really love drawing animals. When I’m stuck for ideas, I find some reference pictures and draw an animal.

And then…..and then I give them a coffee cup.

I don’t know why.

It just makes me happy.

So, here they are (most of them, anyway). I hope they make you happy too!

If you aren’t a coffee person, think of them as giant, steaming, mugs of tea.

Several of these are up on my Redbubble shop already–the rest are pending! I’m also hoping to get some of them as stickers for sale on my Etsy. But that’s a project I’m *just* beginning. Let me know in the comments which ones you think would be the best stickers.

What animals would you like to see cherishing a nice steaming cuppa?

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Fanciful Dragon

This one has a story.

We were at a friend’s house to play games, and one of their daughters (who is…5?) presented my husband and I with paper and pencils and told us we each had to draw half the picture.

I think it was me who suggested a hobbit hole, with the circular door being in the middle. I sketched out the left half of the hill, and when I looked over at my husband’s side, he was putting intricate scales on the head of a dragon.

The little pencil sketch ended up being really cool so the next day I sketched the whole thing out again, and then painted it.

I used a piece of paper too big to scan easily, so I’m still trying to get a clean image so I can upload it. But I really love how it came out. Especially the tall grass spines of the dragon.

This picture also reminds me to be imaginative and try crazy things. I never, ever, would have thought of making the hill a dragon, but he did. And I love it!

*

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clothes

I really love clothes.

They are SO HARD TO DRAW.

The eyes of an owl? Easy. The drape of…well…anything? Not so much.

Pinterest is my friend and tutor. I scroll through pictures and collect images and cobble together outfts off a selection of reference photos. Most of them aren’t really practical, but I like to imagine the one above is actually quite feasible and also flattering. Imagine linen, a thick elastic fabric, and leather.

I’m finding that often less is more, when putting paint on paper. Which is sort of disappointing sometimes because the very act of putting paint on paper is fun.

This is Zare, the heroine of the stories I write over on ZareCaspian.com. I paint her often. Sometimes it comes out great. Other times it REALLY doesn’t. But it’s all educational.

I used to fashion blog a little, part of me misses it. But not really enough to get back into it. Taking pictures is time consuming. And not looking like a doofus–regardless of what you’re wearing–is also an art form. I am out of practice šŸ˜› But I still like clothes. I like to play around with make up some days–I refer to it as war paint. Because that’s what it is, in many ways.

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galleries

At the end of August I collected the last of my pieces from the Firehouse Gallery and moved them all to–plus a lot more original pieces–to the Leesburg Town Hall. I was in such a rush I didn’t really get pictures of everything once they were on the walls–but they DO look good I think.

All the pieces are for sale, of course. I actually last minute switched out one of the works (my Blue Ridge Mountains) just so I could say that. The Blue Ridge stays with me!

I think one of the hardest things for me to do, as a artist, is put the brush down and let a piece be finished. I did that with the Blue Ridge, and it is just so pretty.

pure ultramarine

Here is the one picture I have of the arrangement in the town hall lobby:

It was also cool, then night we held an opening during First Friday Leesburg, to see so many of my products on display. Most of them owned by my very supportive mother–but some of them are mine.

I have these gorgeous painted boots you can see in the back there–not for riding anymore, if ever–perfect for a Kentucky Derby Party, or maybe a Steeple chase tailgate. I have a couple more pairs needing painting, I should probably paint them all up and then list them all at once instead of dripping them out into the world.

Also, you should know: Product pictures are a thing. There are moments when I think, “OH! I can totally do that.” and others, usually when I am holding a camera, when I realize that it is MUCH harder than it looks. Hats off to all you product picture people. Good work!

The exhibit runs to the end of Nov, you should swing by the Leesburg Town Hall if you happen through Northern VA. The downtown is incredibly cute, lots of great food and fun shops, plus, you know, this really awesome art exhibit by this artist you follow on the internet.

I’ve already started thinking about Christmas and I’ll be planning out time to paint. If you’re interested in a commission piece, they are shockingly affordable and make amazing presents. If you aren’t sure about something, just ask me.

You can hit me up here, or go straight to my Etsy shop and place an order there.

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A new thing for me: Sip and Painting

I often sip wine while I paint or draw in the evenings. But I’ve never before tried to teach anyone anything about art. Ever. Before this summer.

I like teaching. When I learn how to do something, I always end up teaching it to someone else eventually. Mostly, though, I’ve taught things like basic understanding of laws. Not things like art, which is so much more instinctive.

For me, anyway.

I’m not really sure how to teach drawing. I learned from books, and copying and tracing and drawing relentlessly. I know some words and principles that might help people draw better, or at least….help them even TRY to draw…but I don’t really know what anyone could possibly do beyond that. You learn to draw by practicing, and learning a few principles about how to draw what you actually see, not what you think you see.

With the sip and paints, a sketch is provided. So I’m mostly trying to convince people to let go of their inhibitions and let the pigments play. That’s the point of watercolors, really.

I myself painted the same rose 3x before the event (4, actually, but I only brought 3) and 2x during, different every time, to encourage people to think outside the box and let go of the pigment.

My mother in law will laugh if she reads that, because I had a hard time letting go, myself.

The blue rose was my final piece.

It was fun, I have a better idea for how I would arrange the table, how I would talk people through some of the techniques a bit better. It seemed to really help them to watch me paint, and this time I’d set myself up behind a pitcher of water and a vertical display of the color wheel–which literally no one looked at. Next time, I’ll forgo the vertical color wheel, put the pitcher somewhere else, and make sure to show people things before I unleash them to dip their brushes in pigment.

I think everyone had fun, and they definitely came up with some great combinations and turned out some very nice work. Best of all, they smiled a lot and talked about how relaxing it was. Creating art has, of course, been proven to relieve stress. One of its many benefits!

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