25% off all art in my shops through Cyber Monday

Blue Dryad, sale price $30

I'm having a Black Friday -  Cyber Monday sale. 

The Messenger polaroid transfer tile, sale price $7.50

Everything in both of my art shops is 25% off through midnight on Monday 11/29. Some items also have free shipping.

Blue Eyes, polaroid transfer + mat, sale price $11.25

On ArtSnark.ArtFire.com the discount has already been calculated & pieces have sale prices on them.

The Mysterious Case Of Dr. Varulv, sale price $18.75

Etsy doesn't have an easy sale system set up yet, so when shopping ArtSnark.Etsy.com use the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY2010 to get 25% off your order.

Ship Of Fools, sale price $18.75

Click on a caption to visit the listings shown here. Also, if there's anything you've seen on this blog that isn't in the shops, just drop me a note. There are several pieces I still need to list one of these days.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend! 
By the way, have you entered my random drawing for a print from BlackBaroque on Etsy? If not, leave a comment before next 1 a.m. (EST) next Thursday (12/2) & you are entered. For details & for an interview with the artist, click here.


Te Deum

Not because of victories

I sing,

having none,

but for the common sunshine,

the breeze,

the largess of the spring.

Not for victory

but for the day's work done

as well as I was able;

not for a seat upon the dais

but at the common table.


Happy Thanksgiving!


Almost Wordless Wednesday - She's Just No Good

She's Just No Good Etsy Treasury by Wintergarden

Are you a Red Riding Hood fan? Check out this fantastic treasury created by Wintergarden. I found several new favorites.

New to "treasuries"?  To create a Treasury an Etsy seller comes up with a theme, then features several pieces available on Etsy that fit the topic. Treasuries are a fun way to search for items or just enjoy some eye-candy. While viewing the featured photos, the shopper just click an image for more info on each piece.


Secret Santa Steampunk Ornament Swap

As always I'm sliding in at the 11th hour. This time with an ornament for the Secret Santa Swap over at The Steampunk Empire, a fun site full of creative folks sharing their interesting projects & ideas.  The Empire has loads of great groups for music, movies, fashion ... you name it. It is a membership site but is free to join. If you like steampunk, click through & check it out. If you sign up, drop me a hello  over at my page:  http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/profile/StaceyMerrill.

Each year my family adds 1 new ornament to our tree, so I'm excited to see what my Secret Santa sends. I'll be sure to post it here as well.

Are you joining in on any swaps for the holidays? Or working on some fantastic new creations?

By the way, have you entered the random drawing I am hosting for Black Baroque? Winner gets a fantastic free print. Just comment before 12/2 to enter. For details & photos: http://artsnark.blogspot.com/2010/11/interview-new-giveaway-from-artist.html


ArtSnark on Artfire finally opened + Tampa Portrait show


How have you been? Life has been keeping me away from the computer lately (nice change to be honest). I did manage to put a few items in the ArtSnark Artfire shop. Don't have much time to promote (or create) art lately but decided to move the eggs into a few new baskets. ArtSnark.Etsy.com is still open.

I hope to reopen ColorTheSky.Etsy.com this week. There are a bunch of Christmas/winter themed stickers, stamps & other supplies I keep meaning to destash.

Have to get moving - dropping off some Steampunk portraits for a local group show this afternoon, including the whimsical Wenchie & a few others from my ongoing Rogues Gallery series.

"Trust Me" portrait of Wenchie

I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend. If you haven't yet entered the new random drawing for a Black Baroque art print, leave a comment & you're in. Click here for details + an interview with the sponsor, artist Alexandra Wolf. 


Interview & New Giveaway from the artist behind Black Baroque

Last weekend we visited the studio & boutique of artist Alexandra Wolf from Black Baroque on Etsy. (Click here if you missed it). Today Alex is back to share a bit about her Etsy shop and the inspiration behind her fantastic creations.  She is also generously sponsoring the new Thursday Giveaway - more info on this after the interview.

I'm running behind today so Alex and Poni's loquacious bird, Merlin has agreed to conduct the interview for me. (By the way, click the captions on any photo for more info about each piece.) From Merlin's bio: "Merlin was offered a job with Rolling Stone magazine, but they would not allow him enough breaks during the day, to play with his tiger who he is in love with. So he keeps a low profile and is a sort of, silent partner with Black Baroque. However Merlin (and Poni will attest to this) being a chatty birdie, is not too silent!"

Key Notes from Black Baroque

Merlin: What inspired you to open Black Baroque?
AW: I love collecting rare antique books, miniature, 1 -2 inch books are my favorite. I have been collecting for years. Here is Cinderella. I received this book for my birthday. It is a very rare book with the illustrations all being in the center of the book. All of the pages with illustrations are different sizes. It is so beautiful.

AW: Being an artist much of what I create whether designing my retail store interiors, a room in my home, or new products, I am completely inspired by images from long ago. With my illustrating and photoshop work, and my love of antiquing, it all just came about as an extension of who I am and what I have a passion for.

When the book is open to the center there are smaller pages inside

Merlin: How did you come up with the name of Black Baroque?
AW: One rainy day, I was arranging vibrant vase of daisies to help chase away the gloom. Against the backdrop of a darkened stormy sky, the bright bouquet of flowers stood out all the more. I took a photo; it was so beautiful that I framed it in the Black Baroque Frame I use over and over again in my shop! That frame and picture, along with the black raised words on antique book pages, and my collection of antique books, inspired me to create Black Baroque and name it Black Baroque.

Mysterious Coral from Black Baroque

Merlin: Is Etsy your day job?
AW: Yes it is and I love it! I had 4 Retail Stores over the past 10 years. The last one was named after my puppy, Poni, "Poni's Parlor" Gifts with a Twist. I sold gifts for people and pets. You can see photos of my gorgeous pink, white and black store in last Sunday's Studio Tour.

I had recently closed the store as I had moved to a new area, by the ocean, 2 hrs away from where it was located. I have a new product I will be manufacturing this year using the same company in China I used for our Pet Lounge products. But other than designing that in my spare time, etsy is my full time job.♥

Poni's Parlor - Gifts With A Twist

Merlin: Tell us a bit more about President Poni.
Well I really work so he can have more toys. He came to me as Shadow from a breeder; after I had lost my Beloved Dakota, I was devastated. But God gave me Silly Poni as all he does is make me laugh everyday. I renamed him Poni, as he trotted and cantered so much like a pony! He has his own website that I designed/illustrated all his products and pages. I stopped selling his products online, as he was complaining there wasn't enough time for frisbee but kept the website up it is so cute. shadowsbeautypalace.

Poni's Dogcart, I pimped it out myself. Sometimes Poni and I just go out for a quick ride and end up getting home 3 hrs later. So many neighborhood kids want a ride.
Merlin: What other products have you created?
AW:I had a cardigan line called "Comfy Cardigans" which was featured in Country Living in 2004. It employed over 20 Grannies as we called them who were retired and this gave them extra income sewing our garments for us.

I also designed bowl sets for pets and the cutest ball sets for pets manufacturing them out of China. You can see them at ThePetLounge.com. The bowl sets were featured in Country Living, Cat Fancy, The New York Post and over 25 other magazines. Both lines, cardigans and pet products, were in stores all over the USA and in Europe too. The Pet Lounge was inspired by my Beloved Dakota. Once he passed away I closed it but keep his website up in memory of him. Over 50 animal charities were supported with sales from The Pet Lounge, including "Phinney's Friends" in Boston. Phinney's cares for the pets of people who have HIV/Aids so their pets can keep living with them even though they have become to ill to care for them.

Doggy A-GoGo set from The Pet Lounge

Merlin: What did you do before you started creating your own products? 
AW: I was an agent in NYC for film directors who shot feature films, commercials, and music videos. I learned a great deal about products, advertising, marketing, graphic design, etc, during those years as well as I just had a blast!  

Merlin: What would you tell other artists or people who are searching for their artistic talent?
AW: Do you what you love! Find your passion and from that your talent will grow. To me everyone is creative, they just have to find their gift. I just do what I love whether I make money at it or not. Usually the more fun I have, like my prints, the more successful I am. If a person just comes out with a product because they see another artist doing well, it will never sell as well for them as their heart is not in it and their heart did not create it. Plus they do not get the satisfaction of it really being their own. But if they get in touch with what they really love, then they will have list of things to make like I do with my prints which is a mile long. In addition to all the other things I have yet to create in the future. 

Merlin: What are you most thankful for?
AW: My little Poni and my birdie, Merlin. It is a wonderful life, taking Poni to the beach for frisbee, antiquing most weekends, eating at outdoor cafes in the summertime, or just sitting on the porch having wine and chatting with friends. I am very blessed with my little family that loves me and I love and worship them back.

(This interview is adapted from one which originally posted at BlackBaroque.etsy.com)

Birdie Darling from Black Baroque

Thank you Alexandra (& Merlin) for that fun interview. And for sponsoring the new random drawing.

In 2 weeks one lucky winner will win their choice of print from BlackBaroque.etsy.com! Want in on this great giveaway? Simply leave a comment on my blog before 1 a.m. (EST) on 12/2 and you are entered. It is that easy. The hard part is going to be picking your favorite print if you are the winner! Winner will be randomly selected. This drawing is open worldwide with free shipping.

Once again, thank you to those who stop in and leave their thoughts. Many of the artists featured have mentioned just how much your feedback means to them. It is your interest in these interviews, studio tours & giveaways that keeps them coming.

Want to find out more about Alexandra's world? Visit the links below

We have a winner of the framed "Secrets" print

With help from random.org the winner is.....

Congrats Shelbers! I'll contact you today for your shipping info

Many thanks to all who entered the random drawing for my framed print, "Secrets".

Pop back here later to enter a new random drawing sponsored by BlackBaroque.etsy.com. Winner of the new drawing will be picked on 12/2.


Studio Tour #29 - Black Baroque

Hey there! How have you been? 

I can't believe it has been almost 4 months since the last studio tour. Thanks for your patience! Today we are off to New England by the Sea to visit Alexandra Wolf from BlackBaroque.etsy.com.

I stumbled into Black Baroque while looking for Halloween imagery. I couldn't resist  these fantastic flying skeletons.  To make them even more tempting, they are printed on a page from Dante's Inferno. (By the way, click on the captions for more info on these fun pieces).

Alexandra and her loyal assistant Poni have invited us to check out her studio as well as the retail shop they owned until recently when they moved closer to the beach. This fun boutique, Poni's Parlor -gifts with a twist, was such a cute creative space, I asked Alexandra to show us around. Now let me get out of your way, so you can get a better look.

AW: Poni, so happy waiting for customer's to come by & say hi. He was all dressed up for the Meredith Bloom Festival. Even though he is a boy he still likes pink. People loved seeing him in his pink flower collar I made for him.

AW: "Before" photo of the main room of the store.

AW: "After" photo of the main room. Our tin ceilings look like whipped cream.

AW: The awning was actually a large piece of fabric I bought. It was not scalloped but had more white coming across where you see the black pattern. I cut around the black pattern, then using a plate marking the white area and then cut so it would be scalloped as well. Then I hot glued pom pom trim to the edges. The taller desk with the black area has my computer in it. I kept a black piece of fabric to cover it when the shop is closed.

AW: Poni has his own line of all natural chemical & preservative free spa products for dogs. You can see them on the tables with the blue labels.

AW: The red bowl sets I design and manufacture. They have been featured in over 18 magazines including Cat Fancy and The NY Post.

AW: My office in our home. I just decided to take black paint and start painting the room to look like a cartoon lounge to go with My Pet Lounge Company. This is where I have fun coming up with the pieces that end up in my Black Baroque Etsy shop.
Friends Come In All Sizes print from Black Baroque
Thanks for the great tour, Alexandra  & Poni!  And thank you, readers, for stopping by and leaving a comment. Your interest is what keeps these studio tours & artist features going.

Come back Thursday (11/18) to find out more about Alexandra, Poni and the art of Black Baroque.  I'll also announce the new giveaway, with a fantastic prize donated by our generous hostess.

For more about Poni's spa products visit ShadowsBeautyPalace.com - (Shadow is Poni's secret identity). Also check out ThePetLounge.com to view Alexandra's fun pet bowl sets. 10% of the profits from these 2 shops goes to help animals in need. Click the links to read more about this.

Before you go, have you entered the current random drawing for a framed print of my "Secrets" painting? Everyone who leaves a comment on my blog before 1 a.m. (EST) on 11/18 will be entered into the drawing. Click here for details and to view that prize.


Over The Hill

Went to Busch Gardens for my birthday. Figured if I'm getting over the hill, might as well do it up!

If you're in the the neighborhood tomorrow pop by the blog for a new photo studio tour.

And if you haven't entered the random drawing for a framed print of "Secrets", leave a comment before 11/18 & you're in. Click here for more info & photo of prize.


Garden Girl Antique Postcard for free-use

I'm overdue for an antique postcard post, so here is one for your free use in collage or what-not.  If you need a better resolution, just drop me a note.

I always enjoy sharing bits of my haphazard collection. This one seems to be postmarked 1910 but the last number is stamped too lightly to tell. Addressed to Mister Robert Kase of Lewiston, Pa - the text reads:

Dear Cousin,
I am picking tomatoes, and wish you could have been here to help me. Mother is cleaning house and says she will write later. How are you all. Love to all and lots of kisses. 

If you make something fun, please share; I'll be happy to post it here.

Oh - I almost forgot to mention my new giveaway for a framed print of "Secrets".  To enter just leave a comment before 1 a.m. (EST) on 11/18. Please leave an email if it is not in your profile. This random drawing is open worldwide with free shipping to winner. Click Here to see the prize


Just another Steampunk Monday


How about a little The Cog Is Dead for Musical Monday? 

 Seems to go well with this email from Bruce Rosenbaum. (Remember Bruce his amazing Steampunk Home? He stopped by in May for this fun interview.) Are you lucky enough to be in NYC this weekend? Into antiques or steampunk? If yes, keep reading. (By the way, you can click any captions for more info about photos.) If no, skip to the bottom for some Musical Monday links. 

Bruce Rosenbaum & the Victorian Organ Command Desk - photo courtesy of Jake Von Slatt



NOV. 13 & 14, 2010
Think Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.  Think Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll.  Mix mad-scientist speculation with Victorian sensibility and throw in a bit of Sci-Fi.  What do you have?  Steampunk one of the most fascinating design and lifestyle trends today.  At the upcoming Pier Show, Nov. 13 & 14 on Pier 94, Steampunk will take center stage when six of its most avid admirers and practitioners present the Steampunk House - – a fantastic, futuristic exhibit devoted to Steam Punk creations and design ideas for the home.

With everything on display for sale, this innovative Steampunk House marries the best of bygone eras with the comfort and convenience of modern day living.  The results at first boggle the eye, but are nothing short of spectacular!

“Steampunk design showcases how form and function, creativity and fun, reuse, restoration and reimagining can transform objects, giving them a second life.,” notes Bruce & Melanie Rosenbaum of ModVic, who have contributed their Steampunk expertise to the organizing of the Pier show exhibit and sale.  “In this sense, it is the ultimate expression of going green with antiques.”  Steampunk design takes the best parts of a bygone era and infuses the modern comforts and technology of the present day.

The Time Machine print from BristlesAndNibs.etsy.com
Steampunk is all about technology – a world where human intellect and wonder intersect with science.  During the early nineteenth century, a scientist could make anything in his basement.  It might be clunky looking, but it was compelling and interesting.  And, yes, it would work!  The whimsical bicycle sculptures that Jaak Demarest will bring to the Pier Show’s Steampunk House are a case in point.   Clunky, weird, eye-catching, they are classic Steampunk!

In technology today, most of the working parts are hidden from view. 
No one cares to see how the device or appliance functions, as long as it works.  Not so with Steampunk, where all of the working parts are exposed.  Steampunk relies on “modding,” an expression derived from the verb “modify.”  Creators of Steampunk will take an object – often an antique find – and modify it to perform a function that was not originally intended.

Unfinished "Time Machine". See the finished piece at the show - photo courtesy of Walter K/ Parker II
Examples abound in the Pier Show’s Steampunk House.  At the center of the exhibit is a Steampunk Time Machine Antique Master Bathroom Computer Workstation created by Bruce Rosenbaum and Plumber Artist Walter Parker from Old School Plumbing.  This amazing piece is made of mostly antique bathroom fixtures and parts, but serves as a computer station.  Steve Brook’s reworked Steampunk Guitars are another powerful example.  Vintage gages, working gears, such novelties as soap bar humbuckers, adorn his guitars, giving them new life as a work of art.  “Throughout history, the Arts and Engineering Sciences have been interwoven.  Leonardo da Vinci’s body of work is a prime example of this interaction,” he notes.  Todd Cahill, a professional model maker, creates and builds high-end model steam engines and mechanical sculptures. A skilled draftsman as well, his steam engine prints are as meticulous as a da Vinci drawing.

And nowhere will you find more material for your Steampunk project than at the Pier Show. Vintage pill cases, thread cutters, gardening and kitchen implements, cutlery, old plumbing, cast off iron parts from machines, gears and vintage watch hands – all become part of a Steampunk creation.  Dealers specializing in industrial design – furniture, fixtures, and lighting that comes from old factories, warehouses, and buildings – already are familiar with the basic concepts of Steampunk.  By recycling these industrial finds into sleek, polished furnishings, they have given us a hint of what Steampunk has taken to even greater heights.

Bruce's Study - photo courtesy of online property showcase
 How to live with Steampunk?  Imaginatively and beautifully!  Steampunk as a trend is gaining nationwide attention.  Major magazines such as Victorian Homes, Old House Journal, and Globe Home Magazine have been quick to pick up on the trend in editorial spreads that featured the Steampunk home. Decorating in “Steampunk style” can be simple.  A plain room can be instantly “steampunked” by adding a cog heavy clock or a wall display of “Steampunk” objects.  Theme rooms, such as a dirigible-inspired bath, a mad scientist den, or a library with an explorer theme – are also ways to integrate Steampunk into the home. David Erickson’s antique modernized Steampunk stoves are in demand for Victorian home renovations and in the modern kitchen where they instantly become the “center of attention.”  He will have several outstanding examples at the Pier Show.  Even a computer can be steampunked by adding an old-fashioned, custom-made keyboard.  Or try tucking your cell phone into a brass cover that looks like an antique cigarette case.  That’s Steampunk too!

Zephyr sleeve garters - photo courtesy of choklit.etsy.com , photomato & KrankBoomClank
In fashion, Steampunk flourishes.  You can see it in Manhattan’s “Alphabet City” where young female club goers don black combat boots, pink paisley bloomers, a white lace corset with a black flannel shirt.  That’s Steampunk at its colorful best.  Steampunk can also be “Fusion Fashion” – a mix of vintage garb with contemporary pieces.  Picture a pair of fitted jeans with a purple velvet waistcoat, white peasant shirt and finished off with a neon-colored silk tie.  You’ll find plenty of vintage fashion at the Pier Show’s Fashion Alley to complete your Steampunk look.

Who’s into Steampunk?  Everyone!  No, it’s not just for rebellious teenagers, although Steampunk is far less scary than Goth for concerned parents.  Vampires inhabit the Goth world and they’re very scary.  Steampunks take watches seriously and no one is scared of a pocket watch.  In fact, some folks see steampunk as a fashionable backlash to Goth and Punk.  You’ll find Steampunkers in their 30s and 50s.  After a trip to the Pier Show, you may become one too!

Show hours are Saturday and Sunday, 10am-6pm.  Admission is $15.  Pier 94 is located at 55th Street and 12th Avenue, New York City.

Time Traveler from ArtSnark.etsy.com

Sounds like a grand day out to me! If you go, I'd love to hear about it. And if you shoot any photos, I'm happy to post 'em here.

Looking for more Steampunk? Some entertaining reads include: The Steampunk Workshop, The Steampunk Tribune, The Steampunk Home & Antipodean Steampunk Adventure

Plus there are always fun finds over at Totus Mel's Wunderkammer, The EtsySteamTeam & TheSteampunkEmpire (This one is a ning site. You  have to sign up but it is free to join.)

And if you are near Waltham, Mass. check out the Steampunk Form & Function at the Charles River Museum.

Looking for more Musical Monday? Try Bloggin'withAmanda, Run DMT & The New Xmas Dolly.


I almost forgot; comment before 11/18 to enter the random drawing for a framed print of my "Secrets" illustration. Prize ships free worldwide.  Click here for image & details. Hope your week is off to a fantastic start! Catch you later.


IF - Afterwards

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places."- A Farewell To Arms, E. Hemingway 

Inspired by another fab prompt from IllustrationFriday.com today, Afterwards. The Hemingway quote came to mind first & then I remembered this evocative photo from meowmeowstock on DeviantArt. I've been wanting to do something with it for a while.

This drawing is on a 8" sq. piece of patterned paper. The paper is printed with gold reflective ink which shows up black in this scan. Here is a photo as well - the image didn't come out but you can get an idea of the gold. (I'll try to take a better photo outside this weekend, but those metallics are a tricky business.)

I started with Derwent metallic pencils, then added some watercolor & Chinese white pencil (also Derwnts) plus a touch of Pigma Micron & Pitt Pens.

If you're feeling inspired, you have a week to create your own Afterwards. Be sure to upload it to I.F. & if you have a few minutes check out what fun pieces others have submitted.

A couple of notes before I go:

Have you answered Seth Apter's Call To Artists yet? He has a new book deal based on his blog series, The Artists Pulse. He is seeking wonderful art & thoughts to include in this new publication. Click Here for more info

Do you like random drawings? I'm holding a new giveaway for a framed print of my piece "Secrets".  To enter just leave a comment on my blog before 1 a.m. (EST) on 11/18. Please leave an email if it is not in your profile. Drawing is open worldwide with free shipping to winner. Click Here to see the prize


Enter to win a framed print "Secrets"

Welcome to part 2 of today's post - the new Thursday Giveaway.

Part 1 detailed a Call To Artists. Mixed media artist, Seth Apter is seeking folks who would like to submit their thoughts & artwork to his new book, The Artist's Pulse, which will be published by Northern Light Books in 2012. Click here to read Part 1 or here to go directly to the Call for Entries.

Now on with the show! 

I'm holding a random drawing for a framed print of Secrets. I posted the original here almost a year ago. I am testing some new papers & having a few copies printed up. I will choose the best one and frame in the same style (the distressed frame with metal key) as the original.

The final piece will look very similar this one but wont be exact. It measures approximately 8" x 10".

To Enter: Simply leave a comment on my blog before 1a.m. (EST) on 11/18. Make sure you leave your email if it isn't in your profile. Yep, it is that easy. On 11/18 I'll pick a random winner. This drawing is open worldwide and ships free to the lucky winner.

Thanks for entering this random drawing. It has been a while & I  always have fun doing one of these. Keep checking back as I will be hosting a couple of giveaways each month.

You should answer Seth Apter's Call to Artists

Hey there. How are you today? 

Today's featured artist had a sudden change of plans &, silly me, I don't have the back-up schedule going yet. But I do have a two part post I'd like to share with you. 

Part 1 is an exciting call for entries from one of my favorite artists & bloggers, Seth Apter.

Soteria by Seth Apter
Seth creates amazing assemblages, altered books & other mixed media pieces. His art is often filled with striking colors, textures and something almost primeval. Check some of it out at TheAlteredPage.etsy.com. You can also view Seth's creations in various galleries, as well as a number of books and magazines. Find links to these venues & publications on his fantastic blog, TheAlteredPage.blogspot.com. (By the way, all images in this post are courtesy of Seth Apter. Click on the captions for more details.)

Finders Keepers by Seth Apter
The Altered Page blog is one of my top 10 favorite places on the web. There is always something artsy & exciting going on over there. You never know what you might will find, but you know it will be good! Perhaps you'll enjoy updates on a collaborative disintegration project, or gorgeous photographs of Prague.  Or maybe some intriguing work-in-progress shots which leave you wanting more. 

Elemental lll by Seth Apter
One of my favorite regular features is the ongoing series, The Pulse. Seth presents questions to artists and then shares their replies in a succession of posts. These artists have responded with book reviews, favorite materials, samples of their work, studio photos & other intriguing answers. You can find links to these posts on the right side of his blog.

from the TheAlteredPage.Blogspot.com
And now is your chance to play along! The Pulse is now going to be published as a book. Seth has put out a Call for Entries. There are two opportunities, one is a series of thought provoking questions & the other is a call for artwork. But the deadlines are right around the corner, so don't wait.  Click Here to read all about the new book and how you might be a part of it.

Now git! But be sure to pop back here later for Part 2 of today's post, the new Thursday Giveaway. I have to go feed some hungry boys, but I'll be back in few hours with the new prize & contest rules.