Illustration Friday - Obsession

Dark Obsession

The creative habit is like a drug. 
The particular obsession changes, 
but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts.
- Henry Moore

I am soooo loving IllustrationFriday's new prompt, Obsession. No time to play today, so I dug up this oldie from 20 years ago - yikes, has it been that long? 

I admit, obsession drives much my life and art. I'm one of those people who really falls for an author or topic and immediately reads every book in the seriesI'll do the same with a new technique or quirky idea.

Cure for an obsession: get another one. - Mason Cooley 

Subjects also simmer in the background, resurfacing long after I thought I'd gone beyond them.  The creepy fellow above popped up a few years ago in this cut paper ACEO. It is mounted on a base of red reflective paper.

Dark Obsession ACEO at ArtSnark.etsy.com

What is your latest obsession? Post a doodle online & link it over at IllustrationFriday.com - while you are there, click around & see what everyone else is fixating on this week.


Halloween digital doodle

Stay out of the woods on Halloween night - WIP

Funny to be thinking about Halloween in the heat of summer. I've signed up for some spooky swaps & promotions on etsy, so it is time to start thinking about my favorite holiday. Just playing around a bit before bed. Think I'd rather draw this one... hmm.... & maybe print on metallic paper to pop the background? What do you think?

Images adapted from this great stock-
Model: Stock 179 Dark Fae by Jaymasee
Background: AshenSorrow premade background 1277


Buried Treasure Blog Hop - a blast from the past

Search for Buried Treasures at The Altered Page

Seth Apter is offering a fun challenge to bloggers today - and great reading material for everyone! The mission is to revisit your favorite blog post and then share the wealth.  

The tough part was picking a favorite.  I took a walk down by the bay last night to think about my  2.5 years of ramblings (a light drizzle and not a soul in sight - perfect conditions for tuning inward). I always enjoy sharing Etsy finds, IllustrationFriday and unofficial polls.... but.... the Artist Features and Studio Tours are by far my favorite posts. It was not easy to pick a fave, but here we go! Hop into my time machine! We are off to May 2010 for a visit with Bruce Rosenbaum, owner of The Fabulous Steampunk House. Sorry about the wacky spacing, blogspot is acting up - guess I should have sprung for the time-travel upgrade..... :


Today we are off to Sharon, Mass to visit with Bruce Rosenbaum - restorer, dreamer, and Steampunk fan. Throughout this post click on any of the photos & links for closeups and more info.

Bruce's Company, Modvic, takes home restoration to a whole new level. While a traditional restoration renews & preserves the beauty of an older property, Bruce adds his own unique spin to the process. Visiting his Sharon, MA home is like stepping into a story by Jules Verne or H.G. Wells ....and yes, Bruce does have a Time Machine (purchased on ebay). In fact this time machine plays key role in the Modvic company. Click here to read more about it.

But 1st, for anyone who is still wondering What is Steampunk? This is how Bruce explains it on his Modvic site:

"It was a phrase first coined in the 1980s that describes, in essence, an alternate reality where the Victorian period (late 1800s or early 1900s) coincides with the modern technology era. The term can refer to a subculture (think ‘renaissance’) or fashion (think ‘goth’) or design aesthetic (think Jules Verne 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or H.G. Wells Time Machine)."
So, to "steampunk" an item Bruce's company "can take authentic Victorian items or homes and modernize them for today’s use or (2) Take modern items and “Victorianize” them to appear they are original from the period. Either way – you get an amazingly beautiful, well crafted piece that fits into today’s lifestyle and use."

So, are you ready for liftoff?
Grab your goggles or a cup of something tasty - lets get going!

How did you become interested in restoring Victorian houses?

BR: My wife, Melanie and I purchased a beautiful 1901 Victorian/Craftsman home in Sharon MA in 2000. The roof was leaking and we wanted to do it right by installing a new roof with architectural shingles. The snowball just got bigger from there – new gutters, chimneys, clapboard siding, brackets, decorations and on and on. That was just the exterior. Then we started to tackle interior projects – making each year a new project.

We enjoyed the process so much (and was still happily married) that we wanted to start a Victorian Home Restoration. In June 2007 we created ModVic (Modern Victorian) – where the thought was to sensitively restore and fully modernize a Victorian home to sell (and make at least a little money as a result).

What prompted you to get creative with your home instead of sticking with a traditional restoration?
BR: I can appreciate beautiful things to look at and behold – although I’m more of a practical person and love to have beautiful items in my home but want the pieces to function and have practical uses. ModVic or Steampunk was a way to blend the aesthetic form with function.

I’m curious. Which comes 1st, the cool idea or a great antique which you then find a modern use for?
BR: It works both ways. However most of the time I see a great Steampunk-inspired item that I just have to have. It sits in my office for sometimes weeks or months – and then it hits me – wouldn’t that be cool if it was a…(fill in the blank). In other cases – for example, I needed a mantle for a Steampunk entertainment center – so I went on an intense search (that took weeks) for a specific mantle with certain dimensions and other desired attributes.

What has been your favorite project? What is your dream project?
BR: My most favorite (and complex) project was my Victorian Organ Command Desk. It took over 6 months to plan, design, acquire objects, build and install – working with 3 other furniture and electronics specialists to make it happen. It makes me smile every morning when I come into work : )

BR: My dream project is designing and building a Steampunk Workshop and Showroom in my sprawling, stone foundation basement. I already have lots of ideas and items that I know I will be using. I actually recently purchased a 7 foot round wood mold gear that I will be using for a working ‘door’ to the outside.

The Steampunk aesthetic has been infiltrating the mainstream the last few years. At the same time you have been taking the lifestyle to a new level, beyond the cliché of corsets, cogs & cosplay. Is Steampunk “growing up”?
BR: That’s exactly what I’m trying to do with the aesthetic – make it grow up in a way. I love the gears, gauges, cogs, etc – but I’m now trying seamlessly and authentically blend the old with the new and create a design solution for people who love everything Victorian, but don’t know how to make it modern for today’s use. The idea is to use authentic Victorian objects, furniture and pieces and infuse modern technology so you can enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship of the period but also incorporate it into your everyday, practical life in your home, office or business.

What prompted the creation of the 1st annual Steampunk Form & Function Competition?
BR: The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham MA approached me to help organize the New England Steampunk Festival that is happening on May 1st from 10:00AM – 4:00PM. After about a month of planning, I thought it would also be a great way for the museum to increase membership by holding a worldwide Steampunk Design Competition. In addition, I wanted to get to know more Steampunk artists so I could create a network of talented folks to work on bigger Steampunk projects in the future.

So the 2010 First Annual Steampuffin’s Steampunk Form & Function Competition was born. The competition brings together outstanding Steampunk design innovations, details the design process and promotes the role of the Steampunk designer/craftsman. Along with recycled items, all Steampunk design solutions are primarily built using authentic Victorian (1850s to early 1900s) objects, salvage items, clothing and antiques that incorporate modern technology and have specific functions for modern day, practical uses. Another exciting opportunity for Steampunk artists will be a film documentary we are planning on the competition. SteamFusion: How Steampunk Artists Infuse Modern Technology into Victorian Homes and Objects.
Everything you need to know about entering the competition is available on www.steampuffin.com. Folks can also call me at 781-784-0250 with any questions.

What is SteamPuffin?

BR: I’m a puffin fanatic – learning how to sail on a small sailboat called The Puffin. It taught me valuable lessons on how to be independent and how sometimes you need to tack back and forth if the wind isn’t going your way. I collect lot of puffin stuff and thought that SteamPuffin would be a great image for a new business…www.steampuffin.com. I actually created Steampuffin artwork by using a 3’ diameter elevator solid bronze gear, handcrafted flying wood puffin, Victorian cable message sender, kerosene lighter and clock pendulum. You can see the artwork on my website and it has now become the imagery for my logo.

The initial phase of the site is the place for folks to go to enter the competition. Ultimately, Steampuffin.com will offer unique ‘Steampunk’-inspired architectural salvage and antique items, project ideas and modified Steampunk Victorian modern appliances, inventions, innovations and gadgetry to high-end Steampunk enthusiasts, homeowners, home restorers and designers.

I enjoyed visiting crmi.org. It looks like a fantastic museum. How did you 2 find each other?

BR: Wow – what a Steampunker’s Paradise! Amazing working Victorian era equipment, tools, machines, steam engines, bikes, cars – everything to get us Steampunkers wide-eyed. Ellen Hagny, Director of the Museum found me through all the press I’ve been getting locally and nationally with ModVic and our Steampunk innovations. It’s taken all my energy – not to just walk off with a display of incredible large scale machine gears in the museum.

Do you have any favorite Steampunk artists, writers, musicians?

BR: I have a lot of appreciation for many types of Steampunk artists – but I lust after some Steampunk work more than others. I love Art Donovan’s lighting; Jake Von Slatt’s DIY works as his Steampunk Strat and Mark Eliot Schwabe, SteamSmiths Steampunk jewelry. I’m not that involved in Steampunk literature or music – but I’m now reading again the works of Jules Verne – maybe the first ‘Steampunker’.

While enjoying the photos of your Victorian Organ Command Center, I think I spotted one of SteamSmith's fabulous airship brooches. Love the presentation in the porthole, by the way.

How did you discover SteamSmith’s wonderful creations? (I’m a big fan of Mark’s work & he kindly shared a photo tour of his studio on this blog last fall)

BR: I spend a lot of time on Etsy looking for Steampunk ideas and artists. I found Mark’s Airship's Revenge Steampunk pin and fell in love with the piece and all of its moving parts! I didn’t want it to go to waste sitting in a drawer, so I created a lit porthole along with brass plumbing fittings to hold it in place. Now I can enjoy it every day in my little porthole window about my desk. I’m planning to wear it at all my Steampunk conventions including the New England Steampunk Festival and the Steampunk World’s Fair (www.steampunkworldsfair.com) where Melanie and I were asked to do 3 workshops on Steampunk Architecture and Design.

Thank you for your time, Bruce. If there is anything else you would like to share?

BR: I’ve also been recently approached from a restaurant owner who is opening the first Steampunk-themed family restaurant in the country! It’s going to be in a restored, stone, railroad station in Newton MA. I’m now asking Steampunk artists if they would like to consign some major Steampunk art work and collections to display and sell within the restaurant.
Thank you Bruce for taking the time to visit. It has been a true pleasure. I look forward to viewing your future creations!
Want to see more of Bruce's wonderful world? Just toss him into google & you'll find photos of Bruce's treasures all over the web. Here are a few of my favorites:

A 360 degree virtual tour of Bruce's Sharon, MA house
the Sharon, MA house on steampunkworkshop.com
Details of the Victorian Organ Command Desk at Steampunkworkshop.com
Artizen Online Magazine page 26
CBS interview (via skype, using the modded brownie webcam)
Angie's List Article

We are now back in real-time. Thank you for messing about with the space/time continuum today. Please place your tray tables & seats in the upright position (Phew - that was close - we nearly ran out of fuel for the trip home. You almost got stuck attending your 2010 office Christmas party again!). 

Looking for more time travel tours today? Visit The Altered Page & see where everyone is blasting off to.

Wondering what Bruce has been up to lately? Oodles of fun stuff! Please note that some of the links below take you directly to the info. Others, like TV episodes that haven't aired yet, just go to the show's website (so you can bookmark for later).

Nov 2010 

NYC in the steampunk section of the The Pier Antique Show. Click here for more info & a photo of Walter K. Parker's time machine

Nemo’s Steampunk Art & Invention Gallery by Steampuffin (through May 2011)

ModVic’s “The Steampunk House” on Discovery Channel’s ‘Oddities’. (episode TBA)

ModVic’s “Green Steampunk House” for the Green Builder Magazine & video

ModVic’s “The Steampunk House” on Cable Station. Scheduled for Spring/Summer 2011 airing
Steampuffin’s Steampunk Form & Function – An Exhibition of Innovation, Invention and Gadgetry . Running through May 2011

 ModVic’s Back Home to the Future Show and Sale – March 2011

Independent Film Channel “Young, Broke and Beautiful” Travel Show –Scheduled for Spring/Summer 2011 airing.

ModVic’s Back Home to the Future Show and Sale at the Pier Show in NY – March  2011

ModVic's Steampunk Machinist Computer Workstation on the new Reality TV series: NY Ink - show to start Spring/Summer 2011

August 1, 2011 -  Last Call for The 2nd Annual Steampuffin’s Steampunk Form & Function Competition in Waltham, MA - click here for details.

Bruce's fantastic steamy realm has been all over the radio & newspaper this year. I have  to run now but will dig up some more links & add them soon.


Random Drawing Reboot! Myke Amend Giveaway - ends 8/4

Hey Hey! Time for another Thursday Giveaway!
 By the way, if you are looking for the winner of this morning's ACEO random drawing click here.

Every now and then someone enters a random drawing and fails to claim their prize. Rather than let the good stuff sit around collecting dust, let's rerun the latest neglected prize.  Last month, the always fabulous Myke Amend sponsored a giveaway of his Coloring Book for Grown Up Kids. More than just a coloring book, it is 30+ pages of steampunk/ sci-fi/ Chtulhu eye-candy! The winner was a no show, so let's have a redo

Next Thursday (8/4) I will pick a new random winner to take home this artist's fun book.  Just leave a comment before 1 am (EST) on August 4 and you're name goes into the hat. If you  commented on this blog between June 30 and July 14th, you are automatically reentered. 

 Need to know more about this talented fellow and his unique prize? Here is a recap of the original prize announcement:

Cover of Myke Amend's new coloring book

We are in for some fun today! Time for a new Thursday Giveaway!

Are you familiar with one of my favorite fantasy artists, Myke Amend? I am happy to own this wonderful Steampunk Alice drawing:

Mach Turtle by Myke Amend

I also crazy-love his cast of characters (C'mon, Steampunk Boba -what's not to love?!)
Slave 1881 by Myke Amend
and assorted airships
The Albatross by Myke Amend

His pieces show up here from time to time .... as I find something new to desire. You may have also caught this feature/giveaway post last fall. So what is this talented fellow up to these days?

Myke Amend's Coloring Book pg 4

Somewhere between the magazine covers, steampunk conventions, and the ambitious Infernal Device project, Myke pulled together a fun coloring book featuring 30 of his black & white pieces.

Myke Amend's coloring book pg 9

Do you love Lovecraft? Crave Cthulhu? Go CooCoo for Cocoa Puffs ? Okay, not that last one... but if you like tentacles, spooky chicks and things that go bump in the night then this gem of a book is for you. And....

On 7/14 I am giving a copy away to one lucky winner!

Myke Amend's coloring book pg 13

To see more images from this fun book, pop over to the artist's website. You will find a link to the web rez version of this coloring book at the bottom of its sales page - click here to check it out.  Ooh - just remember to leave a comment here before you go, so your name gets tossed into the hat. Ya never know, you could be the lucky winner!

Want to see more fun stuff? Peek into a bit of Myke's world:


By the way, you can also click on any of the purple image captions for more info.


Extra Note: Today is the Buried Treasure Blog Hop sponsored by The Altered Page. All participants (including yours truly) have been asked to replay a favorite blog post today. Soooo... I'll be back in a little while with mine. (Not an easy choice with all of the Featured Artists & Studio Tours that have appeared here over the last 2.5 years). Hope to see you then!

Winner of the ACEO giveaway!

October Country ACEO

I have been listing like a fool lately - trying to fill a dusty shelf of my Etsy shop with ACEOs in time for today's random drawing. Now there are 30 pieces .... with more to come. If you'd like to take a peek, clicking here will take you directly to the mini-art department. (By the way, all of my ACEOs sell for $4 each and  ship free worldwide).

Now let's get this party started! With some help from Random.org today's winner of a 1 free ACEO of their choice is....

Woohoo! Congratulations! 

Many thanks to all who entered! Your encouraging words are appreciated more than you know. I have been meaning to take the leap into selling prints for years. Your kind comments have helped me feel like this is the right time to jump.

Looking for a new Giveaway to enter? Pop back later today. You can have a 2nd chance at an unclaimed prize. 

After that I will be be participating in The Altered Page's Buried Treasure blog hop later today. A bunch of bloggers will be sharing one of their favorite posts from the past. I realized last night I've been babbling up here for almost 3 years - wow - that is a lot of chatter from someone who originally never wanted to get into blogging !


Last chance to enter ACEO giveaway - Ends 7/28

Night Sky Diver ACEO
Hey there. How is your week going?

I still need to post the Greek mythology Art trading card that came in from my Creative Souls swap partner. Pop back in a few days & I'll share it then. But right now I have oodles of fun stuff to chatter about.
Dream Girl ACEO

My wonderful husband surprised us with a mini-vacation - 3 days of fun in the sun .... rounded out with a trip to the Lego Store for our resident brick fiend. A grand time was had by all! But... I fell behind on a few things, including listing dozens of ACEOs in my ArtSnark etsy shop.

October Country ACEO

So, I am cramming today - filling my virtual shelves with mini-prints for tomorrow's ACEO giveaway. 22 listed so far with more to come. Click here to visit the ACEO section of my shop. You can also click the links under each image for more info on that piece.

Fever Dreams ACEO

Have you entered the random drawing yet? One lucky winner takes home their favorite ACEO from my shop. To enter the drawing, simply leave a comment on this blog before 1 a.m. (EST). Please leave your email if your contact info isn't in your profile. 
They're Here ACEO

Looks like I'm posting 3 times tomorrow - (1) to announce the winner of this giveaway, (2) to share the new Thursday Giveaway prize & (3) I am participating in Seth Apter's Buried Treasure Collaboration.

The Altered Page

I have to agree with Seth's comment ..."So Many Blogs, So Little Time...". To make your blog hopping a little easier (or at least more fruitful), he has asked participants to re-post their favorite blogposts on 7/28 and send him linkies. So tomorrow go to thealteredpage.blogspot.com for links  to oodles of prime reading material!

Well, I've got to run. More listing to do. Hope you have a fantastic day!


"One Color" ATC swap

Alchemy ATC - digital art

Finished my Art Trading Card for the DigitalWhispers swap. The theme was "1 color", which made things very interesting. If you like to play with digital art and are not a member of DW, hop on over there and sign up. It is a free ning site with a great group of talented people working at all levels. Everyone is super helpful and there is always a fun challenge or swap going on. If you do join, look me up - my page is here.

Many thanks to the DeviantArt stock providers for use of their fantastic images:
Kristhania - Dark Widow 
Jenna Rose - Stock-Frost Texture1

There is also an original photo & medieval alchemical drawings tossed in for kicks.

The Hatchling ATC by Fiona Randall

Lucky me! The Hatchling is the card I will be receiving from the talented Fiona Randall. Here is the link to Fiona's Digital Whisper page, where you can enjoy more of her fabulous creations. But I think you have to be a member of DW open the link - like I said it is free, so why not sign up today?

Tomorrow I'll share the dimensional ATC  from my partner in the Creative Souls Greek Mythology themed swap. It is really really cool!

By the way, have you entered my 7/28 random drawing for a free ACEO? Until now I have only sold originals, but recently decided to carry prints in my ArtSnark etsy shop. They finally arrived and I have started embellishing with markers & inks (since I can't leave anything alone- haha). Leave a comment on my blog before the drawing date & you are entered. I will have about 20 - 30 Art Cards in my shop by then to choose from. The winner takes home their favorite one. For a sneak peek check out these blog posts: 1 & 2


Tampa Bay Beadwork Group

This was last night's project - tempting, eh? Holly, the owner of ebeads.com posted this colorful bracelet on the Tampa Bay Beadwork Meetup page to show everyone what we would be making. This fun group meets once a month to socialize & create a new piece of vibrant jewelry. If you are in the Tampa area in a few weeks and like beading, come check it out. You can find all the details & sign up at the meetup link above.

This was the group. A fun mix- newbies (like me) and lots of talented ladies who have been making gorgeous jewelry for years.

Some of the bracelets. We all followed the same pattern but picked our own colors. Mine is the blue & green, 3rd over from the right.

And here is my finished bracelet.

I can't wait to find out what August's project will be. If you want to play, check out the meetup link above. Or pop into Beads and visit Holly at her shop on 1543 S. Dale Mabry Hwy. in South Tampa. She also teaches classes at the store almost every day. Check the calendar on her website to find a project that appeals to you.


Sweet! Prints are in....

Wherever You Are I Am Home ACEO

Yay! The mini art prints have arrived! Lots of ACEOs to add to my etsy shop. Here are a few. You can see more in this earlier blog post.

Summer ACEO

I want to embellish them a bit. Give each one a personal touch before I put them for sale.

When Housecats Dream ACEO

I'm still collecting entries for next week's random drawing. 1 lucky winner to take home their favorite ACEO from my ArtSnark shop. There will be a few dozen listed by then to choose from. To enter this drawing simply leave a comment before 1 am (EST) on 7/28. Please leave your email if it isn't your profile so that I can contact you if you win. This random drawing is open worldwide with free shipping to the winner.

What is an ACEO? ACEO stands for Art Card Edition and Original. They are always 3.5" x 2.5".  And can be made in any style or medium. It's a great way to collect work from your favorite artist's without breaking the bank!


Musical Monday - studio groove

Monday again already?


Monoral is one of my shortcuts-into-the-zone-bands. I am trying to pull together a couple of artsy projects that I have (as usual) left on the back burner just a little too long, so the jumpstart helps.

Not sure why these guys click my cogs into place - but when I need to make a quick shift from Mommy or work mode to studio mode this band usually does the trick. As do these talented folks I've posted here before... but they are too fantastic to not share again :D

 (heads up, there is some nudity in this video)
anything Coltrane
or Mozart's Requiem

There are others, depending on what I'm trying to channel for the piece o' art. But these are my current foundation musicians.
So what is getting you into your groove today? If you want to share, pop on over to Xmas Dolly and add your link.

Lynn's girl ACEO

Before I go, here is a link to the new Thursday Giveaway. On 7/28 I'll toss all of the folks who comment on this blog over 14 days into random.org. The name that floats to the top wins their choice of ACEO (a mini 2.5" x 3.5" piece of art) from my etsy shop. So if you want to enter the random drawing just leave a comment. (And if you click the grey link above you'll see a few more of the new ACEO prints I have coming in this week)


Illustration Friday - Gesture


"Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence. " ~Henri Matisse

I had fun with the new prompt from IllustrationFriday.com - Gesture. Click on the pic for larger view.

Many thanks to these fantastic free-use stock providers:

Do you feel inspired by this week's challenge? If so, make something cool, post it online and add a link on the I.F. site. If not, skip over there anyway & check out what everyone else is up to.


By the way, I am holding a random drawing on 7/28. Winner gets their favorite ACEO from the new prints I've ordered. To enter, leave a comment on my blog before June 28. For details & to see a few of the new art cards, click here


Enter to win an ACEO of your choice - ends 7/28

Red's Walk ACEO
Hey there! How have you been? 

If you are looking for the winner of Myke Amend's Coloring Book For Grown Up Kids, click here.

Passing storm ACEO

If you are looking for the newest Thursday Giveaway, then you are in the right place!

Fever Dream #1 ACEO

I've just ordered a few dozen new ACEOs for my Artsnark Etsy shop. They should arrive late next week. 

Trevi Letters ACEO

Some are little prints of drawings I've sold. Others are pieces of digital art that I am printing for the first time.


To celebrate my jump into prints, on 7/28 one random winner will get the ACEO of their choice from ArtSnark.etsy.com. I will have the new pieces in my shop by then. The winner can pick their fave from those, as well as the ACEOs in my shop right now.

Poppet Holiday ACEO

Are you wondering - What is an ACEO? It stands for Art Card Editions & Originals, sometimes known as ATCs or Art Trading Cards. Basically, it is a really affordable way to own a piece of small art. ACEOs can be in any style, topic or medium. The only requirement is that they measure 2.5" x 3.5". Toss the term into your favorite search engine & all sorts of sites will pop up. If you like doodling or collecting, I recommend you give them a whirl. But be warned they are highly addictive, both to make and to collect!

Steampunk Navigator ACEO

Here is a sampling of the prints I have coming in next week. Can you tell I'm excited? Until now I have only sold originals in my shop. But traffic is sloooow, so it is time to try something new.

So, how do you enter the 7/28 random drawing? Easy peasy - leave a comment on my blog before 1 a.m. (EST) on July 28 and your name is tossed into the hat. Just make sure your contact info is in your profile (or leave an email) in case you are the lucky winner. (Giveaway is open worldwide with free shipping.)

Thanks for stopping by.... and good luck!!