Friday, July 31, 2009

New Greeting Card Illustrations

Cynthia Emerlye -
Finally, the four new greeting card designs I've been working on for the past couple of months are done and off to the printer for proofs. They will eventually be for sale in stores and online at my 1000Markets shop. I will be posting one of them each day for the next few days on my art blog HERE while I work on a tattoo commission.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gallery at Home

Inspired by the possibility of an open studios, I decided to use part of what we call the 'long room' in our house as a small gallery.

I'm still sorting it out, I've made a sign on a that says 'Open Studio' and have put it out on two sunny weekend afternoons - so far no one has stopped by.

I'm not disappointed, we live on a fairly quiet road and I'm enjoying arranging and rearranging my the paintings.
---Carol Egbert

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rusty stories

Over a number of years I've been collecting odd pieces of rusty metal - old nails and screws, hinges, wire fencing material, parts of tools. I've used a few in some three dimensional work in the past, but I'm now trying to create a series of small pieces that incorporate lots of these little treasures.

I like this old stuff. Each bit of rust must tell some story, even if I can't know what it is. The shapes are often interesting and I'm challenged not only in creating a composition, but also how to adhere the pieces in a way that works from an aesthetic and practical point of view. Charles has kindly cut some wood bases for me and I love the sense of physicality in wielding a hammer.

It's invigorating to work with different materials. I'm using shellac and wood stain, sandpaper, whatever works. It might be interesting to melt some wax on the wood or metal. My studio is just brimming with all kinds of mediums and "stuff" that is begging to become what might pass as art.

Barbara Bartlett

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thistle Motif

I was featured today in a new Etsy treasury about Thistles. You can see it HERE.
As you see, thistles have been a frequent motif in my handcrafted kirigami papercuts....
To view more of my kirigami work you can visit my art blog at or my Etsy shop at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The process of art making is an interesting one and probably there are as many ways to proceed as there are artists. Lately, I've been taking a digital photo of work in progress at the end of each studio day. This is a useful tool for me. When I get home, I download the photo and print it. Looking at it in 8 1/2" x 11" format, I find it easier to see where to go the next day. I can draw on the print, collage over parts of it, black out sections, change the values and hues and come up with a plan for continued work. At a given time, I'm often working on several paintings simultaneously and these photographic "studies" help organize what for me can be a somewhat chaotic process.

Below are three of the photos I used in creating Veil #4....

Stage One -- under painting

In the photo above, the movement I wanted to communicate from the Hubble photos of the Veil Nebula has been translated onto the gessoed paper with a roller. Texture has been added with modeling paste and a basic pattern of dark and light values has been established....

Stage Two -- intermediate stage

At stage two, the color palette has been established, hard edges have been masked off and added and some of the texture has been submerged by acrylic paint. When I look at this photo at home, I can see that the painting needs some simplification. It is too busy and scattered and my intended sense of movement has been obscured....

Stage Three -- finished Veil #4

In the finished painting, background blues ground the composition and collaged paper and gold paint add a sense of transparency to the painting, evoking a sense of the mystery and chaos of the Veil Nebula. It has come a long ways from the first stage. Many changes have been made in the course of work. This journey is complete.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Oil Pastel Landscape

The beauty of the mountains, hills, valleys and fields in Vermont are irresistible. This is an oil pastel landscape painted on wood. I began to work with oil pastels a few months ago and love the intensity color and ease of use.

Oil pastels are loaded with pigment, as permanent as oil paints, and are more stable than any other medium. They can be worked without using brushes, medium or solvent so cleanup is a breeze.

My plan is to create a series of at least twenty five landscapes that will be hung in a grid creating a fractured landscape, inspired by what I see as I travel around Vermont.
---Carol Egbert

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First in the Orion series

The beginning of my latest series is based on Hubble photographs of the Orion Nebula. This is a cavern of gas and dust, forming thousands of stars. The energy released by these young stars whips their surroundings into fantastic forms.


Although the tumultuous clouds of gas and dust are illuminated by ultraviolet light from four hot, massive stars within Orion, still the Hubble images are more lovely and pastel than those of the Veil and Eagle Nebulae which inspired earlier abstract paintings in the nebula series.

In this painting, I tried to capture the feeling of movement and transparency that exists within this vast space and to contrast the mysterious darks and lights created by the collision of forces inside the Orion Nebula.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Think Small

Carol recently gave me some blocks of wood, only about 4x4 inches, thinking I might find it easier to work on a small scale for the time being. I started out painting some landscapes with oil pastels, which was an interesting change.

But today I became inspired by an rather lovely square of used sandpaper found in my studio. It seemed just the right size to attach to one of the blocks. Suddenly I began collecting things....old nails and tacks, a box full of rusty bits of metal, my container of buttons and beads, and attaching them to the board. Voila.....a 3 dimensional collage!

This was really fun! I'm inspired to keep working, using the blocks as my base. Who knows what I'll find to use on these mixed media pieces. Right now, small is perfect!

Friday, July 10, 2009

My First Tattoo Commission

This week I was commissioned to create a tattoo design for someone. I have had my black & white designs used as tattoos before, and I have adapted existing designs into tattoos but this is the first time I've designed something strictly for a client's body. It should be interesting. I will be done with it next week, so stay tuned.

This is one of my images designed to encircle a mug and someone used it as a tattoo.
-Cynthia Emerlye

Monday, July 6, 2009


It's somehow easy to be doing. For an artist, doing is definitely related to creating, to making something, to using the mind, body and spirit in a process that usually results in some work. For me as an individual, doing seems to be hard-wired into the system.

I've been recuperating from a couple of surgeries over the past weeks and have found my need to be doing challenged. Suddenly I'm unable to be in the studio and don't have the energy to be creating. It's very frustrating. I am missing my old life.

I have before me this wonderful opportunity to simply be. I can rest as much as I like without feeling lazy and can sit and watch the geese family gliding across the pond to my heart's content. I can read for hours and nap in the middle of the day. It sounds idyllic but it doesn't feel like a choice. So my challenge is to simply be, to accept this quiet time and to know that at least it must be feeding my spirit.

Meanwhile life in the world goes on. I had a piece accepted in the Ava Gallery Summer Show and that was a big boost for my esteem. I will be showing work during the month of August at Umpleby's Cafe in Hanover so can begin to organize that exhibit. Soon I will be stronger and will be back in action. I wonder how much about simply being I will bring with me.

Barbara Bartlett

Friday, July 3, 2009

Two Dragons - Design for new Quotations Card

Finally, after much struggling with color decisions, I am nearly finished with the dragon design for a new quotation card. I am pretty happy with it, although I may do a little sharpening of edges with colored pencil. Here is a quick scan of the final version. I was able to finish the entire work in watercolor. The center border, the stars, and some of the dots are in gold.

I scanned it into photoshop in order to work on it. I will clean up the outside borders, and format it on the computer to make the 5x7 card. I will spend the weekend formatting all four new quotation cards. My goal is to have proofs printed next week.
Cynthia Emerlye

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Veil #5

For awhile now, I've been working on a series of abstract paintings based on Hubble images of the Veil Nebula which is part of the Cygnus, or Swan constellation. This nebula is the remains of a supernova that exploded between five and eight thousand years ago. What we see now are the wispy leftovers of this explosion. It is a dark place, veiled with bright streams of multicolored light, difficult to see and wonderful to behold....


My interpretation of this nebula is 18" x 22 1/2" in size. It is a mixed media piece in which I used modeling paste, acrylic paint and collage on gessoed paper. For me, the gold lines and shapes represent the human intrusion into space--into all of nature.

I am very happy that recent repairs to the Hubble telescope will make it possible to capture more of these wonderful images. My painting is a far cry from the original Hubble photos, however. For me, they are only a starting point--a beginning. I hope this piece captures a bit of the feel of that amazing, long ago time when there was a clash of energies and the Veil Nebula was born.