Ravens and Orcas

My beloved’s favorite family of animal is corvidae, which includes crows and ravens. They are phenomenally clever and also have a delightful sense of humor… Traits that my beloved possesses in abundance himself.

His intelligence, playfulness, and graceful strength always makes me think of another animal that I adore — the orca.

Ever since I met him in 2015, I could get lost in the windswept energy of the lively, free-spirited, force of nature that is Nick. I tried to capture a little of this feeling in my artwork and I ended up making this series of drawings for him as gifts each year.

 

This was the first one that I drew for him. I drew it in my sketchbook leading up to the first time we met in person (we corresponded through email for the first couple months of our courtship). He loved it and put it up in his bedroom.

RavenOrcadA
For Nick, pencil in sketchbook

The second one I drew for his birthday in 2016. We were now officially a couple and we were overjoyed! I used charcoal so I could get the darks very dark.

JoyofUs
The Joy of Us
 charcoal on pastel paper

This year I drew one entirely with crayons. I really wanted to create something bold and surprising!

OutoftheMist
Out of the Mist,
crayons on watercolor paper

Green happens to be his favorite color so I added hints of green here and there, but it’s a fun change to make pieces almost entirely in gray scale. I plan to continue adding more in this series in the years to come.

Advertisements

Horse Ornament

One day, I realized that I had never made a horse. And then I remembered that my mother-in-law’s favorite animal is a horse. So for Christmas last year, I needle felted her a little horse ornament. It has a loop of wire at the withers so it can hang on the Christmas tree.

 

It was a lot of fun making this little guy. I researched a lot of other needle felters’ work to get inspiration.

 

Here’s one that I love:

66d3565a5928711b5fe90132f25ed74e
By BossysFeltworks on Etsy

And this one is just so fabulous!

il_fullxfull.667727278_4k4w
Horse mobile by BondurantMountArt on Etsy

 

Seeing these lovely horses, each with their own unique personalities, really gets my creative juices going! I’ll definitely make more felted horses over the coming years.

 

What other artists’ work has inspired you in your life? Let me know in the comments.

Bats and spiders and books

It’s finally October and that means: Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday. The eeriness, the fall colors, that chill in the wind, the suspenseful feeling of something about to happen, the candy… I love it!

One of my favorite things to do to celebrate Halloween is make a bookmark with a spooky theme. Reading scary stories in the fall evenings, all wrapped up in a cozy blanket, is one of the best things! And matching a bookmark to the mood is fiendishly fun!

One year I made one with bats!

You can purchase a download of it here: Halloween Bat Bookmark on etsy by Familiar Oddlings

I made the artwork by using paper collage and acrylic paints. I really enjoyed getting the moon to glow behind the swarm of bats.

 

This year I wanted to do something with spiders and autumn leaves, and this is what came out:

Purchase a download of this one here: Halloween Spider in the Leaves bookmark on etsy by Familiar Oddlings

Crayola crayons again. They are wonderful! The brightness of the colors are fantastic! I get a thrill from the challenge of getting these to blend and fade as smoothly as I can. I wanted the vibrant fall leaves to pop forward from a subtle gray leaves/cobwebby background, all within which the glorious spider suspends on her thread!

 

I hope you all enjoy these and have a spooky Halloween!

Peaches Portrait

I made an oil pastel portrait of my mother-in-law’s cat, Peaches, for her birthday back before I was married to her son. I knew the cat was very near and dear to her heart and although the cat had passed over the rainbow bridge many years ago and I didn’t have the blessing of meeting her, my work gave me a special closeness to her. Looking into those majestic eyes, pouring over the photo references my husband — then boyfriend — smuggled to me, I felt like I had spent considerable time in her watchful presence.

My mother-in-law loves the portrait and hung it in her living room where Peaches can gaze down on everything, like a queen surveying her domain.

Pink carnations are my mother-in-law’s favorite flower.

PeachesPortrait
Peaches oil pastel, 24 in. x 18 in. 2016

I used Sennelier oil pastels for this piece. They are a joy to work with! They glide on so smoothly and blend by the simple act of drawing a stroke on top of another. It’s almost like using oil paints, my favorite medium for two dimensional work. The only difficulty I have with them is getting the end of the stick sharp enough for getting those tiny lines for the fur and whiskers.

 

PeachesPortrait_Detail
Peaches – detail

My snail succulent themed wedding

At the end of January 2017, I married my biggest cheerleader, Nick. He is the love of my life. He’s also my favorite art subject.

MyNick
My Nick, oil pastel

This was the most fun I’d ever had making a portrait! It doesn’t quite capture his magic, but even just that tiny bit there in the pastel strokes makes me gaze and gaze at it… Attempting to capture him is the labor of love I am going to relish for the rest of my life! Expect to see more of this guy around here. ^_^

 

I knew our wedding would be unique. We chose snails and succulents as our theme and it was even more otherworldly than I could have imagined! My family and friends helped tremendously to pull off the most beautifully breath-taking wedding I’ve ever seen. Shout out to my incredibly talented and dear friend, Valkyrie Johnson, who made the gorgeous bouquets and boutonnieres.

Valkyrie_Bouquets
Photo by Pamela Palma

All my wonderful bridesmaids helped make colorful paper snails for table decorations. Both my mother and my mother-in-law made cakes. My mother also made my dress, which was so perfectly “me” it’s hard to believe it wasn’t done with fairy magic.

Nick’s music, the first song he ever wrote for me, accompanied me down the aisle. Absolute magic. You can listen to the song by clicking on the title here: A Golden Spiral.

Not only was our wedding beautiful, it was unique and just a bit quirky. The perfect blend of elegance and oddity.

I made personalized snonkeys to go on the scrumptious purple cake my mother baked and which my friend, Priscilla, decorated with modeling chocolate succulents (she’s amazing! She seriously should consider a profession in cake decorating).

SnonkeyWeddingCakeChocolateSucculents

NickinaSnonkeys1
Straights’ Snonkey Cake Topper, 2017

 

I made the invitations myself and had them printed at moo.com as postcards (I highly recommend their printing services). I loved using postcards because I could make a full drawing on the back in addition to the smaller images on the front next to the invitation text.

I drew each image with crayons, scanned them, then made up the designs in Photoshop.

SnailSucculentWedInvit_Designs_web
Snail and Succulent Wedding Invitations, Crayola crayons 2017

Here’s a closeup where you can see that funny crayon texture:

SucculentSnail_Invitation_detail
Snail and Succulent Wedding Invitations – Detail

 

And I was able to print a custom sticker at moo.com that sealed the envelopes!

SucculentShell_sticker_web
Snail Succulent Sticker, Crayola crayons 2017

 

After the wedding, I made thank you postcards to continue the theme. Again, I used crayons and had them printed at moo.com

SnailSucculent_ThankYous_web
Snail and Succulent Thank You postcards, Crayola crayons 2017

 

I would like to again thank everyone who helped make our wedding so beautiful. It was a perfect day and I cherish the memories that flood back every time I think of it. Thank you!

And a thank you to anyone reading this. I am so grateful to share all these wonderful things with you! My art is the joy of my life and using it to celebrate the day I united with the man I love is truly blissful.

Tapir mother and calf

A while back I was commissioned to make another mother and calf Malayan tapir pair. I love making these. The majestic shape of the mother is hard to capture in my felting somehow… I think it might be the unusual tapir face and how it flows into the neck and shoulders. The patterns on the baby are definitely a challenge too, but one I delight in taking on!

2MotherCalfTapir2BabyTapir copy2MotherCalfTapir_22MotherCalfTapir_32MotherCalfTapir_42MotherCalfTapir_5TapirMom2_Feet

 

I love these animals. The long mobile nose is the cutest! Have you ever heard a tapir chirp? This is what it sounds like. Did you know they have three toes on their back feet, but four on the front feet? There are a couple different varieties of tapirs, including the Mountain Tapir, which has long fur — such a fuzzy guy! One of my goals in life is to needle felt all species of tapir.

Green and Pink Snonkey

Here is the latest snonkey! A custom request, green with pink face, chest, and palms. This little guy is going to live in Portugal.

 

 

The previous snonkey was also a requested custom color. A teal one:

TealSnonkey_web
Teal Snonkey, needle felted wool 2017

 

 

….Check back soon for updates on the needle felted anteater I’m working on.

Tamandua is a genus of anteaters

I love anteaters. I love their long snouts and their impressive claws and their strange color patterns — that bright stripe along the shoulder of the giant anteater! Amazing! Every anteater is fascinating in its own way, but the tamandua anteaters are especially dear to my heart because of that long semi-prehensile tail. There are two anteaters in the tamandua genus, the northern and the southern tamandua. The northern tamandua has a distinctive V-neck color pattern, almost like they’re wearing sweater vests, while the southern tamandua is much lighter in coloring and some just have a hint of the V pattern.

 

If you want to be charmed by these wonderful animals, just watch this adorable video: https://youtu.be/2TNp9EyBmcc

 

Have you ever wondered how an anteater’s front feet differ from their back feet? What their grooming routine is like? How much they sleep? What their poo looks like? You can find the answers (with pictures!) at Tamandua World.

 

Have you guessed the subject of my next project? Yup, I’m working on needle felting an anteater… It’s not like a real tamandua (yet discovered anyway!) but it’s very much inspired by the northern tamandua. I’m embellishing my anteater by felting elaborate patterns into the fur in fantastical colors.

 

Here are some in-progress photos.

IMG_6953

IMG_6954

More photos to follow! Check back for the finished anteater sometime soon!