Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Digital She Art

I have to admit that sketching on my iPad is always easier for me than getting
 out the paints and supplies.  Worse on my eyes but creatively it is a
super accessible outlet.  This gal was created in Paper 53 app (my fav!)
 The words as always spill out of me as I am drawing.  

To finish her up I put the image through
Pixlromatic app to add some filters.
And then I felt that "sigh"
 knowing it was complete. 


Friday, December 5, 2014


mixed media on 12x12 birch wood panel

Another piece I created inspired by Mindy Lacefield's Primitive Portraits class!  I am so loving her style of teaching as well as her inspiration to create loose, free, and intuitive.  I have long struggled with being able to do just that.  

Just the other day I tried to start a piece on this wood panel (which btw is becoming my favorite surface to work on!)  and really struggled.  I added some random color, started scraping and brushing it around only to feel as if I ruined it all.  Just a moment when my mind was truly not focused.  So I walked away.  Hours later I went back to it and dumped gesso all over it.  (thank goodness for gesso!)  and soon enough had another blank white space to work on.  

For this piece all I used was a Ranger distress ink pad, black stabilo pencil, and some water.  I had no idea what the ink would do but I loved the result.  I got lost in the moment unexpectedly and tried not to overthink it, just added, taking away, scribbling till it felt done.  Actually I had to walk away before I continued to overwork it.  

As I stood back looking at it I got chills.  That has never happened before in the past 4 years I have been creating art.  I feel as if I have stumbled upon a surface and supplies I really vibed to.  Who knows, I may stray from this as I tend to do but what I do know is that something in this broke something open in me that I have been longing to see within my art.  Possibly a piece of me . . . 

Sharing with Paint Party Friday !


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Going Primitive With Mindy!

"finding my way"
12x12 mixed media on cardboard

I have long been a fan of Mindy Lacefield's lovely artwork especially her primitive faces.  Recently I signed up for her Primative Portraits classes and am really enjoying learning from her! She is super sweet and its a joy to watch her create.  

Letting loose and working intuitively continues to be something I struggle with in my artwork.  I enjoy sketching faces but when it comes to painting them I for some reason just don't like it probably because I tighten up so much and try to be perfect that I end up with a stiff neck when I am done!  lol These classes are so inspiring as well as opening me up to a new loose way of creating a face.  

The above piece was created on cardboard.  I also had some pieces of paper towel laying around on my art table that I added to the board for really cool texture.  I found this girl's face in the background trying loosely to bring her out.  The quicker I work when I create the less critical I am of myself.  Any of you feel the same way??

If you haven't discovered Mindy's lovely work already 
check out her website HERE!

She is offering the third installment of her Primitive Portraits class series 
with Primitive Portraits 3 which I am excited about!  For details on this class and a 
chance to win a spot click HERE!!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lets Fly Away . . .

Late last night I was sketching on my iPad using Paper 53, my favorite drawing app. Of course the drawing was filtered with Snapseed as well.  Just can't help myself.   This sweet girl showed up and her message quickly popped into my head.  

"she wanted to fly away and she did"

I always wonder if the words that come through onto my artwork are things I am feeling and wishing.  I suppose that may be a silly question to ask myself because isn't that what we all do when we create, leave a bit of ourselves on the paper/canvas?

And lately I have been feeling restless and struggling with anxiety.  That tends to leave me with the urge to "run away"  although the way she puts it sounds so much nicer doesn't it? ;)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Her - Filtered

Last night I grabbed my graphite pencils and sketchbook, dusted them off and created this girl.  I tried not to think too much, just created whatever needed to come out of me at the time.  

I miss drawing and sketching.  I have been in a bit of a funk lately, for months actually and am planning on trying to sketch everyday as a daily practice for my mind.  Maybe if I put it out there I will stick to it! 

When she was finished I took a pic of her with my iPhone.  Of course the next thing I did was throw her in Snapseed (on of my fav filter apps)  and filtered away.  

And just like that she is transformed into something completely different.  
If you have never tried this with a sketch or even a painting give it a whirl.  It is addicting and fun!  Snapseed is a great app to start with.  For this gal I used the "drama" filter first and then the "grunge"  filter to achieve the effect you see here.  

Be sure to stop back and share a link to what you create!  I would love to see!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Exciting Somerset News Part 2 !!

As if it wasn't exciting enough to have my work published in Somerset Digital Studio
 I was grateful to find out last spring that 2 of my paintings were chosen
 for publication in Somerset Apprentice! 

I had the wonderful opportunity to write technique articles to accompany each piece. 
 I love how they turned out.  
And had fun writing and sharing my process.  

These are two of my favorite pieces to date and I am
 so excited to share them with you!

This piece in particular I love for its simple color palette of just black and white.
Those of you that have been following my blog for some time now
know my secret love affair with that palette
 for both painting and my digital art.  

So go pick up a copy of the Autumn 2014 issue of Apprentice on newsstands now!
  Or order a copy HERE!

If you happen to try the techniques stop back and let me know! 
 I would love to see what you create!  


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Exciting Somerset News!! Part One

Back in the fall last year I submitted some of my NYC digital collage images to Somerset Digital Studio.  I was pretty excited to find out that they would be publishing my art and requested a technique article to go along with the images! If you love digital art as much as I do then this is a must read publication.  What I did not know until I received the magazine was my title "Urban Grunge" is on the cover!  I absolutely love the font used for the title and the digital brush used as its background taken from the original photo.

If you are a follower of my blog then you may recognize these images.
 They are some of my

Hope you enjoyed the sneak peak!  Somerset Digital Studio is on newsstands now so go pick up a copy!  

Enjoy the article and all the gorgeous digital artwork featured in this issue!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Eye Selfie

As many times as I use my iPhone I am still amazed at the art that can be created with it.  The other night I took a quick selfie with the native camera on the phone.  Using the native camera will render a higher resolution image.  

Despite the fact that I didn't like the image I knew that I was going to filter it.  First I cropped it down to just one of my eyes looking up.  After stacking filters from SnapSeed and Pixlromatic I ended in DistressedFx for the final layers of grunge with some cool birds.  

Susan Tuttle offers a great online class in iPhoneography.  I am currently taking the class and its pretty amazing! 

Click Here for all the details! 

Are you an iPhoneography addict too?  Do tell!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Digital Sketching And Cards

I have been obsessed with digital sketching these days.  My new combo is to create a digital sketch in  Paper 53 (my fav drawing app!)  and then add photo filters.  Currently my fav photo filters are Snapseed, PicTapGo, Pixlromatic, and Distressedfx.  It gives my sketches that bit of grunge I love so much.  

This particular sketch I printed out on matte photo paper and made a pretty card with it.  It is currently in my etsy shop.  I plan on creating many more of these with my digital art as well as images of my watercolors.  Hopefully I will get those uploaded to etsy soon.  

available on etsy

If you check out any of those apps let me know!  Would love to hear what you think and of course see what amazing work you create!  Paper 53 is a must see!  So fun!

Hope you are all well enjoying the summer which of course is flying by too fast.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Abstract Portraits

I have tried for a few years now to paint portraits.  I am realizing I just do not enjoy creating realism.  Maybe because it is too much of a challenge for me (very possible)  or maybe its because abstract is just more interesting to me.  Either way I grabbed a canvas board the other night along with some paynes gray and white welcoming whatever showed up.  

Whenever I paint this way I always feel as though parts of myself spill out onto the canvas.  I suppose each of us leave small parts of ourselves within our work.  Whether its images or words it would be hard not to.  As artists our work comes from a deeper place, one that we may not even be aware of.  And that place can be very powerful . . . 


Linking up with Paint Party Friday today :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Sketch, Some Butterflies, and IPhone Apps . . .

I found an old sketch I had done very quickly on watercolor paper using a stabilo pencil and water.  I hated it.  lol  Well, hate is a strong word.  I just didn't vibe to the image.  

So when I saw it again yesterday I grabbed my butterfly stencil and some homemade black spray paint.  After a few pumps of the black paint I felt I was on to something.  

I quickly took a pic of it with my iPhone.  It traveled from there to my iPad where I started playing with apps.  I added filters to it with Distressedfx and Pixlromatic. If you have not checked out these apps they are really cool!  I also put it through one last filter via PicTapGo another of my go to photo apps.  

You never know what you can create with a limited supplies!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Playing With Quirky Faces . . .

I have been so enjoying my digital art that sometimes I forget where the paint is!  The past couple of days I have brought out the canvas boards, a surface I loved to paint on, the paints, and some watercolor crayons.  

Its been awhile since I have created faces and backgrounds this way.  I even got out the stamps!  On this piece I collaged pieces of one of my photographs on the left and top right.  Not sure if you can see it but the word scratched into her shirt says "Trust".  Something I continue to try and do daily . . . 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Paper53 and Snapseed . . . A Great Pair!

I am back with more Paper53 love!  I enjoy drawing and painting on my iPad.  The Paper app is one of my favorites.  I created this gal last night.  I wanted to share both versions to show you what you can do combining an art and photo app.  The above image was created in Paper and then filtered in Snapseed.  I added some grunge filters.  I am loving the effect.  

Here is the purely Paper version before grunge . . . 

I like them both but I think I am partial to the grungy version :)

Would love to hear your experiences with either of these cool apps!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Sunday Sauce

Or as my Grandma used to call it "gravy".  That is often a debate among italians.  My husband's family referred to it as "sauce"  Every Sunday without fail she would be up early starting the gravy that would cook for hours.  Dinner was always at 2pm another italian tradition that I am sure she grew up with.  As the years go on I notice that I miss those little things.  

So we decided a few weeks ago to start our own tradition.  We are bringing back Sunday gravy.  Lou does most of the cooking.  Its a combination of his mom's meatball recipe and my grandma's gravy recipe.  Today I want to share that with you.  Its on the sweeter side but we always enjoyed it that way.


1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 28 oz can tomato puree + 1 can of water
1 6oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp sugar

Heat oil, add onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Sautee the onions and garlic till fragrant and they begin to brown.  Add can of tomato puree, can of water, and paste stirring together.  Then add the basil and the rest of the spices.  Simmer for about 3 hours.  The longer the better!  

Oh and we also watch Goodfellas while the gravy is cooking!  That is one of my fav movies and definitely my favorite mob movie ever!  

Hope you try this recipe and enjoy!  Let me know what you think!  

Would love to hear about any family traditions you have!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Landscape . . . Trying to Loosen Up

"field of longing"
acrylic on paper

I don't know what made me do it but the other night I decided to try a landscape.  It has probably been over a year since I dabbled in it.  Mostly because I have been on an abstract and digital art super highway but probably out of fear.  

Landscape always seemed to have too many rules for me.  Those that have been following my blog know that I don't vibe with that!  However after discovering an amazing artist named David Dunlop that all seemed to change.  He is a landscape painter, using primarily oils but his approach is one of looseness and freedom.  I found him so very inspiring.  I felt encouraged to try even knowing I would make mistakes.  It became more about the moment of fun in creating rather than creating the perfect horizon line.  

For this piece I used a limited palette of cerulean blue, cadmium red light, and titanium white.  I chose those colors knowing that as complimentary's it would create a nice effect.  I used chip brushes from home depot (similar to those David uses) and found them to be great for texture and just plain old fun to swoosh around.  I approached the paper with speed knowing that I had to keep my mind quiet to be loose.  I didn't use a reference photo, just an image that popped up in my mind's eye.  

I have to say that I enjoyed the process for the first time in all my attempts at landscape painting.  I am nervous about painting another but I know that I will go at it in the same manner which should help me be more successful.  

For more info on David Dunlop check out his website HERE

Sharing today at Paint Party Friday :)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Full Circle With Misty . . .

I cannot remember the last time I took pencil to paper.  I used to sit with my drawing pad and graphite for hours, always keeping it close by.  That was quite a while ago.  I am talking maybe 2 years.  Since I got an iPad last summer that has been replaced with digital drawing.  

I signed up for my 3rd class with Misty Mawn, an artist who inspires with her amazing, raw, soulful artwork.  If you have not yet experienced a workshop with Misty it is definitely worth it!  There is always something for everyone from drawing to painting to photography to writing and more.  I am always amazed at how much she packs into a class!  Check out her latest class HERE.  

I worked on this charcoal sketch last night upright on the easel.  I forgot how messy charcoal can be.  I tried not to think to much as I went along.  Tried to silence the inner critic who is ever present threatening to ruin my art!  She is messy, a bit dark, but has a message of love.  

Sharing today over at Sunday Sketches!  

Click HERE to join 


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Novel Excerpt

Today I thought I would share some writing.  I am continuing to work the novel I started back in November during NaNoWrimo.  So from time to time I will be posting snippets here on the blog.  I am making headway and it is exciting to watch this story come to life.  I mocked up this cover art using my own photography and of course filters.  Once had the visual it kept me going. 

The following excerpt is a memory that my narrator Carly is recalling about her alcoholic father.  

Hope you enjoy today's snippet!

I would hear his footsteps coming up the stars.  Heavy footsteps, a hard clunking sound.  A very determined sound and this sound would slowly get closer and closer to the bedroom door.  The door would fling open as I listened to it almost come right off the hinges.  And there he would be standing like a shadow in the light of the doorway bracing his stout drunk frame on the door holding onto the knob for dear life as if it could ever hold up his weight.    He would stumble over to the edge of my bed.  As he got closer so did the smell of beer on his breath.  I pretended to be asleep.  Sadly that never worked.  The smell of his beer breath turned into a warm breath I could feel on my face because he was so close. I’m sure as warm as the alcohol felt pumping through his veins.  His eyelids were heavy but still open enough to see through to his bloodshot eyes.  I closed my eyes tight in a futile attempt to protect myself wishing with my whole heart that my mom was there to save me.  He reached up to touch my face and my toes curled in anticipation of the horror I would feel.  

I felt the weight of him denting my mattress as he reached his cold scuffed hand up to my cheek.  The cement from a day of work was still decorating his fingers.  The smell of cigarette smoke was wafting off of his crew neck t-shirt.  As he looked into my eyes I noticed the tears.  His eyes were welling up.  His bottom lip began to quiver as he spoke.  

“I’m so sorry my little girl.  I promise I will never do this again.” he said as he cupped his head in his hands.

“Don’t worry daddy, it will be ok.”  I responded in my little girl voice as I wondered why my dad was crying.  Dad’s aren’t supposed to cry I thought to myself.  He didn't even cry when my mom died.  Why cry now.  

“I am gonna stop drinking I swear.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that one before” I thought to myself.  

“You are the most important thing in my life.  I never wanted to hurt you. I wish I could bring your mom back but I can’t.  I miss her so much, everyday.” he said with a shaking in his voice.  

My mom Connie Milanti died of breast cancer when I was 10 years old.  They say that when people get sick that it can stem from emotional trauma.  Each area of your body holds significance to a certain emotion.  I read a book recently that tied breast cancer to love, or more significantly lost love.  That hit me like a ton of bricks.  My mom fell in love with an alcoholic, an abusive alcoholic and spent her time with him just soaking up the negative energy like a sponge.  What else could happen?  Nothing good was ever gonna come of that relationship.  Not even me.  

Even when my mom was sick she hid it from us.  She always put on a happy face no matter what.  She tried to smile through her tears always.  A stiff upper lip was a trademark on her once pretty face.  Her mocha colored eyes with soft, long, perfect lashes adorning the edges were chronically filled with sadness and fear.   My aunt had to drag my mom to the doctor when she was so bent over from severe back pain that she wouldn’t even move from the couch.  The doctor immediately admitted her to the hospital where they quickly traced the back pain to cancer that was ravaging her young 35 year old body.  It was in her blood, her bones, it was everywhere it could find to hide and eventually to kill her.  During all of this good ‘ol Vito just used it as a reason to hit the hard stuff.  As if it were even possible he began to drink heavily becoming more and more useless.  If it weren't for Aunt Angie, my mom’s twin, who knows what would have happened to me.  I think my mom died of a broken heart.  No doctor will agree to that theory  but it is what I  know deep within my soul.  "

For a synopsis of the novel click HERE!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sharing The Love . . .

Hello my friends!  
What I love about being an artist  is the community of like minded creatives that I have come to know as well as learn from on this journey.  Kelly Berkey is one of those people.  I met Kelly early on at the beginning of my art journey.  She was and still is lovely, supportive, and encouraging.  I have enjoyed watching her soar as an artist.  I am excited to share the news that Kelly is hosting her very first online workshop!  

If you would like to learn to paint portrait in oils then this is for you!  The workshop begins on January 24th (which just happens to be Kelly's birthday!) It is super affordable at only $55 but if you sign up before January 25th then its only $45.  Check out the video above! 

And then be sure to click HERE for all the details on "Love's Memory Portrait Painting Workshop"!!


Friday, January 10, 2014

State of Confusion . . .

I was pretty startled when I realized today that my last post was 2 months ago.  You may be wondering where I have been.  Let me tell you I have wondered the same.  With facebook and instagram it has become very easy to just post my art and daily musings on those sites however it encourages me to neglect my blog space.  This blog has been super neglected and I am hoping to change that!  

I have been continuing with my art not as much as I would like though.  Digital art has taken the place of paints these days but at least it is something.  This past year was filled with lots of ups and downs however this new year is starting off with yet another family crisis that I am trying not to get consumed with.  

And that is where art comes in.  The journal page you see above was something I quickly worked on late the other night.  I only used watercolor crayons, titanium white paint, and my super cluttered mind.  It always seems that what is going on inside my head during times of stress spills out onto the page.  Hopefully it is a good thing.  I started out drawing a face and then it went crazy from there!  But I do like her.  Maybe because she is a piece of me.  

In other news I am continuing to work on my novel.  I will be sure to post excerpts here from time to time.  You can check out details in my last blog post.  

Wishing you all a good year!  And I am hoping to be here much more often!  Miss you all!