Far away places and sketching faces

Posted in Uncategorized on October 19, 2016 by rcscreations

So, it has been over a month since I’ve shown up here. For good reason… 

(Photo edited with the Prisma app on my phone, the Mosaic filter)

Here’s a hint…me, standing on a boat, on a sea, near an island filled with glaciers and volcanos and geysers. That would be ICELAND. A belated 30th anniversary BIG trip to an unexpected place. We saw lots of beauty, felt the chill of the icy wind in our faces…and every day wore many many layers of clothes. It was quite an adventure!

Here’s a few photos to share…


 Strokkur Geysir (Icelandic spelling) about to blow…

Thingvellir National Park…where the Viking Parliament gathered many many years ago. This was a beautiful place!

Seljalandsfoss and rainbow. My husband walked behind this waterfall…I stood here, taking photos and NOT getting wet!


Gullfoss waterfall…this was an amazing sight. What you don’t see to the sides and behind me, are the many many many tourists here. Some were smoking…Not as peaceful (or fresh airy) as I would have liked. 

Skogafoss waterfall…complete with rainbow.  Beautiful place!   I cropped out the tourists below.

Black sand beach near the town of Vik….as you see….there were LOTS of tourists. I couldn’t crop them out of every photo. What must it be like in summer???


This photo was taken from the tour bus on the Southern Iceland and Waterfalls tour.

A very talented horse🙂

Rainbow and Reykjavik

The Sun Voyager sculpture in Reykjavik Harbour

I had the idea that I would be a pretend “Urban Sketcher” on this trip, but the walking, the tours, the cold air, wind and rain, wiped me out, so that I only had the energy to do that a couple of times while I was in Reykjavik. My husband actually sketched more than I did on this trip!

While I enjoyed sketching this one (in my new sketchbook journal that I bought in Iceland), I was freezing, so I sketched fast, and I promptly got up from the concrete step, and said I needed to get inside, somewhere warm! The building in the background is the Harpa building, their beautiful glass concert hall, and inside it was toasty warm. There was a conference going on inside, and we got to hear a piper playing the bagpipes as he was coming down the stairs, he was wearing a kilt!

This one, I worked on after I came back from my trip, from our photos, in the warmth of my home. Trying to get the hang of adding watercolor to my pen sketches, and trying to figure out how much and how little to add.

I was inspired by the street art I saw in Reykjavik, lots of paintings on buildings…this one was especially beautiful.

A poetry wall by street art duo, Harekut. I LOVED this so much!

Iceland was indeed beautiful. But….If you are headed to Iceland, make sure you have plenty of $$$$…as prices are sometimes double and triple, the cost in the U.S. Make sure you have LOTS of layers of clothes, and make sure you can put up with lots of tourists. One of the disappointments of this trip… people   e v e r y w h e r e.     We took a few tours outside of Reykjavik, and at every stop, every waterfall, loads of tourists…even in October, when we thought the tourist season would be calmer. And don’t even get me started on the fact that we were cramped like sardines in the Reykjavik airport terminal, and one hour late for our flight because of it (we heard from the Icelandic Air employee, that this was a daily occurrence).  

We went with the hopes of seeing the mysterious Northern Lights…but 8 nights of cloudy or rainy skies did not produce a light show for us. We were one week late…we came just after a phenomenal week of the Aurora Borealis. We were REALLY disappointed.

I came home to jet lag, and then two days later…a very bad sinus infection that I am still plagued with. So, it has been slow going around here. I still haven’t gone through all our photos yet.   I am slowly trying to get back to art.  Only a few scribble sketches finally done last night, forcing myself to pick up a pen again. Before the trip, I had gone almost three months straight of drawing every day. I am trying to get back into that habit.

Here are a few drawings I have done before and since my trip…starting with the latest.

An iPad drawing from the airplane ride home (where I probably caught the nasty germs that are now making me sick).

Sketching on junk mail🙂

And a few more tea bag portraits

Possibly my favorite tea bag so far…another Vincent.

Quite a few of my tea bags have sold and I am thrilled about that. The one above, I gave to a friend. I can’t wait to get back to painting more!
And a tiny cardboard jewelry box, painted with a Rococo portrait…with lots of pink!

Next week, my Painterly Portraits class with Julie Johnson starts, so hopefully I will be well enough, and energetic enough, to get back into the art room and sling some paint around. For now…I will just slowly ease back into life, and health.



The Fascination with Tiny Art

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2016 by rcscreations

If my calculations are correct (and I think they are)…then I have completed 70 painted tea bags as of today. Seventy painted tiny treasures in five weeks. Don’t ask me how…  All I can say is that I feel like I did over 10 years ago, when I first learned what an ATC (Artist Trading Card) was…and I had to make a bazillion of them, because I thought they were so cool!


Part of the secret to my success…or obsession…is THIS…my make-shift “stay wet palette”. Now, I have wanted one of the Masterson ones for years, but have never bought it.  So, I decided since I have been snatching moments to go into the art room to paint tiny tea bags, I should try not to waste paint. Here is my solution…  a disposable pie plate, with cover, several wet napkins on the bottom, and deli sheets with paint on top. When I am done, then I cover the pie plate. And the paint remains wet for a few days.


I am still very much in love with the process of painting on tea bags…so much so, that I have been trying out different kinds. I prefer not steeping the tea bags with the tea leaves in them. They take longer to prep. The steeped and dried tea leaves are not easy to get out of the bags….and I just love the painting part of it. SO, I found that acrylic Burnt Umber Liquitex Ink does a great job in “faking” tea stain. And I can blow dry them in seconds, and start painting!

My favorite tea bag of choice (at the moment) doesn’t come with any tea in it at all…they are disposable tea bags, and thank you Amazon for delivering them in two days!🙂 Summit Tea Co.


Twins – one of my favorite tea bag portraits…ever.

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Here is the process of painting it. With Burnt Umber acrylic ink, and then a coat of clear gesso over the top of that…it makes a wonderful surface to paint on. The dimensions of this tea bag is 3 3/8 x 3 7/8 inches… So…that’s way larger than a typical tea bag. Which enabled me to paint multiple people on one bag.


Three Sisters – Yep, I can fit 3 on one bag!  Trying for some looseness in these portraits. I put down these brush strokes and didn’t mess with them much after that.


These two are the Celestial Seasonings Vanilla Rooibos tea bags…steeped and oven dried, makes them a bit crispy to work on. They do wrinkle a bit.



The Summit Tea Co bags are more fabric like in their feel, and a real pleasure to work on…not too many wrinkles to navigate.


This is one of the five tea bags that has already sold. That makes me soooo happy that other people love my tea bag portraits too!!!


Love the swatches of color on her face! I am pretending to be Matisse!


I was smitten with this one right away… Antonia… And surprisingly the afterthought of a Fleur de Lis emblem was easy enough to paint.  Someone in my tea bag portrait class bought this one.


You can never get too tired of Rococo pink wigs, can you???


And dots for hair!

In the last week, I have added a BUNCH of tea bag portraits to my Etsy shop. Take a look.

While not officially a tea bag…I decided to paint even smaller…a tiny cardboard jewelry box. Only 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches…one of the smallest portraits I’ve ever done!


I am just a little bit in love with this one…ok, more than a little bit. My teacher in this class, has dared me to paint a portrait on a postage stamp!!! Now, THAT is tiny!!! I am looking for a largish vintage stamp to paint on…IF I attempt it. You know me, always up for a challenge!!!

One of the assignments from the Tiny Bags of Love class, was to make a tea bag journal. And since I am not fond of sewing, I made a no-sew accordion style tea bag book.





Unpainted tea bags, prepped with gesso, and then drawn on with a Micron pen.



It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a paper cutter, glue stick and tape!

I am still doing my scribble portraits every night before bed. Sometimes it is just with a pen, and other times I add colored pencil.










And I am still playing with my Prisma App! It completely changes the look of these drawings.









I printed out some of the Prisma altered art photos, and made thank you cards with them.

I have a pretty big addiction to iPhone photography and art apps…in case you didn’t know. I think my very first purchased app, was Hipstamatic, and I still love using it to this day. I have purchased a few (ok, more than a few) of their “film and lens” kits for the app, and there are days I wander around the house trying them out.







You can see I have little collections of things everywhere, from shells and rocks collected from beaches, to my vintage watercolor paint tins, old books, and dried flowers. Yes, I am a collector.


And last but not least….a “large” portrait. Yes, at this point, 5 x 7 inches seems pretty big when compared to a tea bag! “Janie and her Polka Dots” is now in the Etsy shop.

So there you have it, my fascination with tea bags, and so much more. More tea bags are on the easel… 30 more to go, to my goal of 100 tea bags!


Tea Bags and Scribbling

Posted in Uncategorized on September 6, 2016 by rcscreations


It’s a new month, but it feels like a continuation of August, as I continue with my love of painting tea bags and scribbling portraits. But there is something new I have been playing with, and that is the Prisma app on my phone…I am loving it so much, especially the Mosaic feature. Here are a few altered photos from my Amsterdam 2014 trip…they look like very cool illustrations, thanks to Prisma.




I was thinking how cool it would be to print these out and put them on postcards or greeting cards.  

And now on to the tea bags…they have STILL captured my heart. I am up to 56 painted tea bags as of today.










A few of these were prepared first with plaster (Spackle), or molding paste, to get a very textured background.




And this one, was probably the most challenging one….tall and skinny and oh so difficult to paint. But I LOVE how she turned out, complete with flowered hat.








And this one was painted and gifted to my Mom. 


These two you saw with my last post, but I did find these adorable display stands at Michaels and thought they were really a great way to display these without a frame.


These last two, as well as five other painted tea bags are now for sale in my Etsy shop. I will slowly be adding more this month. I think they are a great way to have original art in your home, without taking up too much valuable wall or shelf space. 

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Before a little colored pencil and graphite…… and after








So, I’ve been VERY diligent in the last six weeks, to do at least ONE scribble sketch a day. Sometimes I only have time and energy for a pen scribble, and other days, I can add colored pencil to them. I really love the look of these scribbles…it’s been ONE YEAR since starting Julie Johnson’s Scribble Art class, and it has changed the way I draw!

I also joined a Craftsy class taught by Urban Sketcher, Marc Taro Holmes, Travel Sketching…and I am loving it so far! If you haven’t taken a Craftsy class, I highly recommend it. The classes are always on sale, and most can be purchased for under $20.  Here I am practicing line work from landscape photos found on Pinterest…

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and the next assignment was to add dark shadows to the line drawings.

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The classes range from sewing to drawing to painting, to cake decorating and more. I am all for online classes…learning in your jammies is GREAT fun!  

And last but not least, a bit more acrylic painting…some on wooden blocks…



some on slate…for my “Nature’s Canvas” class taught by Tania Bain.




And these are two more 5 x 7 inch acrylic paintings on Ampersand Gessobord    


What Dreams May Come – a continuation of my Dream portraits series. These last two, and seven of my tea bag portraits are now available in my Etsy shop.  

I’ll be back soon, to share more art love🙂  




And then there were 36…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 25, 2016 by rcscreations

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So, 2 1/2 weeks ago, the Tiny Bags of Love class started. In my last post, (the portraits above) you could tell I was a bit enthusiastic about the class and the techniques of painting on these tiny “canvases”….  Well, 36 tea bags later (not counting the few coffee filter portraits I did), I am, what I have been called by a fellow classmate, “Beautifully obsessed”.  

In the last couple weeks, I have been pretty unstoppable. I work on these in batches. Some are easy, and some take more than a day, or two, to finish. Painting tiny can have it’s challenges!

Here is the gallery of goodies for you…


One of my very favorites, of course… I call it, Tea With Vincent.


A bit of a self portrait…with the man of my dreams (and my reality)


Frida inspired…. Digging those thick eyebrows.  And a little white gel pen to add words.


I love the unfinished look of this portrait…aiming for looseness, a bit of abstraction.





The round tea bags are Tetley brand, from England. They make such a fun surface to work on.


These next two, are an experiment with gouache. 




And this one above, is an experiment with black ink, white gesso, and a little watercolor added.


I am proud of myself for trying HANDS! Or shall I say…TINY hands! 


These tea bags are actually disposable empty tea bags, for you to put your loose tea in…which is why there is a draw string on top. I didn’t even know such things existed, until I saw someone using them in class...so I ordered some from Amazon…because of course, Amazon has everything you need (or didn’t realize you needed), and you can have it in two days!🙂   This portrait above was almost a lost cause…and I almost thought of ripping it up and starting over. But the teacher encouraged us to keep trying, and save the ones that were giving us a hard time. There are SO many layers here, the portrait is almost 3D! 


I love how this class is pulling me out of my rut of too much detail…I mean look at some of these loose portraits, and the blobs of color here. It is stretching me to new ways of working…and I like it!


This one reminds me of a Matisse painting.


Two faces on one tea bag…is a challenge!


A Parisian beauty….loving that red hair!


The tape I used to hold the tea bag in place while painting, didn’t want to come off the tea bag, so I have a tear..,..but I love it anyway. This portrait…this face, and all the layers…(swoon…one of my favorites!)






These tea bags are so nice to paint on….larger than the round ones, and once they are given a coat of gesso, they really take the paint well. 


These are the last three I’ve finished working on…yesterday.  The background here, is a piece of cardboard, that I once used as a palette.


This tiny portrait of “Fashionable Sisters”, took probably the longest to work on than any of these…but I stuck with it, and finally ended up with a tiny painting I love.


And this last one???? Well, she is probably the quirkiest of all the faces I’ve done on these bags. There was something about that yellow blob of paint on her forehead…instead of making it more realistic, I went with it, and added MORE yellow to the portrait, and once I tidied up her crazy little hairstyle…I called her finished!  

I have more tea bags prepped and ready to go…. Guess what I will be doing tomorrow????


From selfies to tea bags

Posted in Uncategorized on August 11, 2016 by rcscreations

Some exciting art happening around here…even in the middle of summer. I am taking two online classes that have gotten me so excited about painting. One is Gillian Lee Smith’s Unearth, Gather, Create…which I am loving. She is very detailed, and I love listening to her Scottish/English accent, as she is teaching us to use lots of different materials, and dig deeper into our art. She is even encouraging us to do self portraits. So here goes…  


This is a pencil drawing from a selfie of mine. It sure is difficult getting the proportions of a familiar face just right!  


But I was also determined to paint it…and in using just Ivory Black and Titanium White paint, I was able to concentrate on the values and shapes of the face, without worrying about color. Painting the eyes…ah, that was the tough part! But the funny thing is, as I was painting the eyes, I kept seeing family members, past and present, show up. I guess it’s all genetics, after all. This portrait, this simply painted portrait, is probably the truest and most honest portrait of myself I have ever painted. I see myself in those eyes. And I feel like this is a huge accomplishment in trying to get ME on the painted surface. It is the vulnerable me…with no pretense, no hiding. Just me.

I have lots of teachers of classes to thank for getting me this far, and definetely have Gillian to thank, for pushing me forward with the confidence and skill to do this (as I wipe the sweat off my brow).  


My next class, that started earlier this week, is with Jeanne-Marie Webb…an artist I have “known” since years back…we have been in many Misty Mawn’s online classes together. I have admired her art for a very long time! And in 2015, she embarked on an art quest…to paint 365 portraits on…TEA BAGS! At the end of last year, I was happy to be able to purchase one of her works of art on a tea bag…


  Isn’t she lovely???  

She is now teaching this class online, Tiny Bags of Love, and I jumped at the chance to learn from her. I am really enjoying the videos, that concentrate on drawing and painting, and not just using drawing skills, but also painting intuitively. By the way, this class is closed, but a second class starts August 15th, so click on the link above if you are interested.

Here’s what I have worked on so far…



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And I even worked on tea stained coffee filters




 I have to say, I jumped in feet first, painting furiously, then moving on to the assignment of drawing small portraits. 





I have wanted so much, to paint more loosely…and with these small and fast paintings, I feel like I am striving towards that goal. Who knew that looseness would come by working on tiny “canvases”?!?! I am using Celestial Seasonings tea bags, because they are larger and more of a square format, and they work very well with a little gesso painted on first.





When paint isn’t available, it sure is great to have a cheapie little PaperMate mechanical pencil to do some drawing.  The 1st set of drawings above, were intuitive drawings with no references. The second set, were taken from some of my 5 x 7 inch paintings, shrunk down to 2 x 2 inches. I hope to paint more tea bags next week!

I am also trying to be diligent with my daily scribble art drawings. Even if I can’t paint, I can always take a few minutes to draw. It’s calming to me, and also helping me with my painting skills. 














Some of these drawings are with Staedtler or Micron pens, and some are with added colored pencils and white gel pen. This last one, is just pencil…a cross between a Frida and a Modigliani.  

That’s all for now…

I hope you are keeping busy with art too!!!

Escape from the sun

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2016 by rcscreations

Yes, it’s the middle of summer….

 while most people love the chance to be warm in the sun…I hide from it…I always have an escape plan, and that escape plan usually includes ART in the air conditioned studio art room.


One of my favorite purchases of the summer…my Raskog cart from IKEA…a perfect place to have drawing supplies on wheels!

We took a short vacation to the ocean last month, and I took a small arsenal of art supplies with me. 


At this table, I had a view of the ocean…pure bliss.




I am still enamored with Scribble Art, as you will see.





And while I took a short break to paint, I always come back to the mighty pen.









These are the last eight days of scribble portraits. I am trying to do one a day…again. I had a good routine going, then things got in the way. And now the goal is back…all I need is a comfy place to sit, a Staedtler or Micron pen, and a piece of paper.


This character is one of my very favorites!






I haven’t forgotten my love of painting. In fact, I was happy to delve into water lilies again! They have a way of calming me. All of these water lilies are in my Etsy shop.


I knew I wanted to paint a couple Rococo inspired pieces, so I found some vintage fashion illustrations, and made some drawings first in pencil.



Then came the paintings.


Maria Louisa


Anna Marguerite

Both on 8 x 10 inch gessobord and I’m happy to say, both are sold to repeat customers. (insert happy dance here)

I am taking a “Fractured Portraits” class from Kate Thompson, because I am trying to get more loose in my brush strokes…not so tight and detailed. Here are the stages and the final painting of Mia.







Mia – 12 x 12 inch acrylic on canvas panel (available on Etsy)


And another attempt at painting looser…from start to finish. From graphite pencil, to inktense pencil and water and brush…


to the addition of acrylic


and more layers



And the finished paintings. This is Alita – 5 x 7 inch acrylic on gessobord


Aimee – 5 x 7 inch acrylic on gessobord


Maryl – 5 x 7 inch acrylic on gessobord


And this is Mercy – also a 5 x 7 inch acrylic on gessobord  

All four paintings above are now in my Etsy shop.

And this week, my newest portraits…still trying to keep the “looseness” theme going, but I constantly want to go back and blend brush strokes…old habits are hard to break!


Theodora – 6 x 6 inch acrylic painting on gessobord (SOLD)


Lillian – 6 x 6 inch acrylic on gessobord


Kitty – 5 x 7 inch acrylic on gessobord


And look! A side view portrait! I think I can count on one hand the amount of side view portraits I have done! But Kate Thompson’s class is encouraging me to try again. This is Gwendolyn. These last three are available in my Etsy shop.

This week, after a couple sales, I decided to buy a self study course by Gillian Lee Smith, called Unearth, Gather, Create. I am excited by this course, because I completely loved her Drawn to Expression class I purchased in April. I am watching a few videos every day…there are six weeks of videos, from drawing, to charcoal, to pastels, to acrylic, and oil pastels, and more…she is an awesome teacher. My next post should show work from that class. 

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer, whether it is out in the sun, or in an air conditioned room…I hope you are creating some sort of art!


A little Dr Seuss (and art too)

Posted in Uncategorized on June 6, 2016 by rcscreations

 How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before its afternoon.

December is here before its June.  My goodness how the time has flewn.

How did it get so late so soon?

~Dr. Seuss


Looking for June quotes, I came across this one. I LOVE how Dr. Seuss made up his own words! What an imagination!

Yes, time has “flewn” so very quickly! And yes, it’s June….and a very HOT one it has been so far. Not my favorite season, this so-hot-but-not-even-summer-yet  kind of weather, that we seem to have just about every end of May, into June. Not a fan. In fact, it just makes me tired…and though I have loads of artwork I want to try…I am sluggish. On days it’s too tiring to paint, I read about painting. Or watch class videos on drawing or painting. Or sometimes I just veg on the couch and watch a good British mystery. I rarely recommend movies or shows, but I just finished one called Doctor Thorne on Amazon (free if you have Prime). If you like Anthony Trollope (The Way We Live Now) or Jane Austen (Emma and Pride and Prejudice) you will love this series.

My love for making art never wanes. When I’m too whooped to paint, drawing with my pens, pencils, colored pencils, etc…makes me happy. I can do this on the couch (and even in my pajamas, if need be). 


I’ve been drawing a lot on toned paper, and really loving the look of it. When you add a little colored pencil to it…it gets quite dreamy.


While I was on the phone, I started drawing on the cardboard on the table. I liked it so much, I decided to add colored pencil.


I am loving Prismacolor pencils lately…so much!



And I am playing around with more pens. I found a few inexpensive pens at the art store and decided to add a wash to them, with an aquabrush. I love how the shading happens…




And I am still loving the look of Scribble Art portraits.



I started a new journal a few weeks ago, and have been filling it with faces…


Most of these faces are from Master Drawings found in museums. This is from a portrait of Anthony van Dyck.












And some of these are drawings from my paintings. This one was inspired by a painting of a painting, by Marie Laurencin. This has been a fun way to practice faces. It’s a small book, about 4 x 5 inches, but a great way to do quick sketches. I hope by the end of summer, it is filled with fun little portrait sketches!


I didn’t know that Strathmore made a paper pad specifically for Colored Pencil, until I went into a small art store in a university town. I thought I would give it a try.


I like the texture of this paper very much! And color pencil work looks great on it!

Last month, I decided to try an assignment from Gillian Lee Smith’s class, Drawn to Expression. It called for spraying your watercolor paper with water, then adding ink and paint, and spraying it again, and then adding pencils, and more ink, and letting things flow. A lesson in looseness, and to play with the unexpected.


When they had dried, I went in with colored pencils, carbon paper, and graphite, to add more detail.





How’s this for looseness?!?!?!  I really LOVE how these turned out. I would have never thought to work this way. This is an awesome class assignment (an awesome class!) and I can’t wait to get back to some of the exercises.





  I also played around with paint last month…craft paints actually. These are Hand Made Modern Acrylic Paints, recommended by Mindy Lacefield. They did a great job on these Spring Mail Art cards that were sent out a few weeks ago. The colors are vibrant. I think I will use them in my journal, instead of my Liquitex, Amsterdam and Golden paints. For an average of $2 a bottle, I am ok with that!

There are also new portraits in the online shop!


Sweet Dreams






Hope and Dreams


Esperanza (it means Hope)

All five of these are on 5 x 7 inch Ampersand gessobord, and painted with acrylics. Esperanza was an experiment in composition, and I think it turned out well.

All five of these are now in my online shop, ArtcyLucy Studio on Etsy.

And finally, one last painting…for my husband’s niece who graduated from high school this weekend. I hope she likes it!

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Process of painting…
and the final painting -Samantha

 I’ll be back in the art room soon, back to organizing and tossing out or giving away things I don’t need, in order to give me a bit more elbow room when I paint. I also may treat myself to a new easel in the near future, so any recommendations would be great. I have an H frame easel at the moment that works fine. And I have been using it for the last four years. But things are starting to fall off of it, and I think it is telling me it wants to retire (poor overused and unappreciated easel)🙂 It’s led a noble life.

I hope you are surviving the heat (or cold, depending on where you are!).

 Here a bit more Seussian wisdom for you.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.


It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.


You are you and that is true, there’s no one in the world who’s you-er than you.

(Dr. Seuss)