OMG! A Scheduled Blog Post!

A blog post on the scheduled day?  How could I!
In all seriousness I just did not have anything to write about.  It is challenging to come up with something to write about twice a week.
It would be awesome if you awesome readers could give me a hand.


I am not sure what to write on Mondays. I ran out of motivation for Motivation Monday, and my life is just not interesting enough for me to post about that weekly.

I was thinking about doing product reviews or some simple tutorials.

Maybe a random topic selected from a comment on a previous post, or from Facebook or Instagram?

Ask me a question or give me a suggestion so I can write about that on Mondays!

It gets better!

The person’s who question I choose to answer will get free art!

Questions should be art or business related.

Leave a comment or send me an email at carissa at artbycarissac dot com.


New Video!

I have scheduled a bunch of time lapse videos to drop every Thursday!
This gives me something to write about on slow weeks (like this one.)  It also allows me to actually share the videos and get the traffic that I need to be able to get a personalized YouTube URL.
This week is the video for The Shadow fan art that I did.
I had a lot of fun doing this one.  It also sold as soon as I shared it on FaceBook!  That made me so happy.  The person that bought it requested one for The Phantom.  I need to get on that.
I have a few other Fan Art pieces that I am working on before I can work on it.
I love being busy with art.
Here is the video.  Enjoy!

Learning from Mistakes

I was hoping this would be a happy “this is what I am doing” post. Sadly I messed up on something and feel I should share it. Hopefully I will not make the same mistake again and prevent someone else from doing the same mistake.

I did two full color puzzle paintings. I painted them in Gouache (goo-ash) for a few reasons.

1. Gouache is opaque. Any guide lines I drew on the puzzle would not show up.

2. It is something I want to practice more with. I usually use acrylic paint; for the puzzles I wanted something that was more opaque and something that I could blend more without over working the cheap cardboard the puzzles are made out of.

The down side of Gouache is that it is still water based. Get it wet (even sweat) will lift the color. Kids with sticky fingers or adults holding onto the puzzle pieces could end up with color on their hands.

I needed to seal the paint onto the puzzles. I cannot use my normal varnish, as it is wet and I would have to brush it on. I needed some spray varnish.

I went to the art store and picked up some Golden Varnish in a spray can. This said is was good to use on multiple types of mediums, including water color. I had some other things that needed to be sprayed, so this would work.

When I got home and got the lid off the can, I took my puzzles outsize and gave them a quick spray. The first one I did was the red one. It was almost all white. The blue one fared much better.

Now I have two puzzles that I cannot really use.

I have some brush cleaner that says it can remove dried on paint. I can see if it will remove the varnish from the puzzles. I put some in a sauce cup and use some cotton swabs to try to remove the varnish. I tried three times, each time the varnish would dry again and go back to white.

On a whim, I use the cleaner all over the red one, then brush some of my normal varnish over it. I hope that the “good” varnish will isolate the white and work some magic. It did not. The red one is now un-salvageable.

The blue one is better. I might be able to salvage it by repainting the background and a few touch-ups on the limbs. I am not sure if I am going to do that. I might just redo both of them and save the blue one for more varnish testing.

If I had stopped and taken a moment to look at the messed up space I would have seen that it was only on the background. The subject was just fine. I could have just put a quick coat of the background colors and tried resealing them.

In the end this is a good lesson.

Prime the spray varnish.  Let a stream of spray out of the  can to ensure that the mix was good. Who knows how long it has been sitting.

Do a test patch with a different item that has similar properties to your actual item.

Stop and look at things if they do mess up. It might be easily salvageable.


A bad varnish job. That I tried to fix three times. Lessons were learned.

My E-Store

In my last post I shared that I started up an e-store.  If any of you checked it out, you might notice that it is NOT on WordPress.  It is actually on a different platform, has its own blog and mailing list.

I chose to use a different platform for a few reasons.

  1. Wix was cheaper than WordPress.  I got a five year plan for $300 ish dollars.  It came with the e-store set up, support, the domain, and an “easy to use editor.”  Yes, WordPress has all those things, but it would have been $200 ish more.
  2. I have experience with WordPress E-Stores…  And I get a headache every time I think about working with them.  After setting up my store I have discovered that it is not just WordPress E-Stores.  They all seem to be a headache.  I could have gone with Shopify or maybe Etsy, things that are built to be only E-Stores, but that would deprive me of a lot of the control I want. Plus most have a surcharge on each transaction.
  3. Just to see what is out there.  I have used WordPress, I tried Etsy and I know several people that use Shopify and Store Envy.

I learned during the process.  Unless I want to shell out more money I do not have inventory management and my only option for payment is to go through PayPal (yaay transaction fees.) Which is fine, it is a small operation.  Setting up mailing lists is a pain in the butt.  WordPress has better social media interaction and links (Wix does not support G+ for example.)

I am trying to decide if it is worth adding advertisements to my site.  I have a steady job so I do not need the financial benefits.  I am not sure that there are any other benefits to having the adds.  RESEARCH time.

My summary:

If you are going to do an E-Store, shop around and find out what you NEED, WANT and are willing to pay for it. You should also plan for scaling.  If you are staying small, 1-10 items, Shopify, Store Envy, or Etsy might work fine for you.  If you are planning on growing or want the extra bits (such as a separate store blog, mailing list and email account) find a platform that offers what you need and want for a price you are willing to pay.


Know Your Medium

Know Your Medium

I want to stress the importance of knowing your medium.

While working on a portrait I needed to fix some errors.  The paper was off white, so I would have to make my own correction fluid to color match the paper.

The plan is to mix a brown with white until the color is as close as possible.  I have two colors of brown, Burnt Umber and Sepia.  One is warm and the other is cool.

When mixing them with the white I discovered that the Sepia turned grey!  Not what I was expecting.  I quickly abandon the idea of using the Sepia.  Now I know that if I need a toned grey I can use it.

The Burnt Umber mixed well and gave me the correct tone I needed for the paper.

Below is the swatch tests I did.

You can see the differences in color.

Not all browns are the same.


The bottles are backwards!  The Sepia (bottle on the right) starts in the middle.  The Burnt Umber (bottle on the left) starts at the top.  I did several more swatches before I started on correcting the drawing.

Feeling Colors

I am fascinated by colors and what they make us think and feel.  It amazes me that we can be influenced to think or feel a certain way about an object just because of the color that it is.  I am going to outline a few of the things I have picked up about color and what they have to do with being an artist.

Using color allows an artist to manipulate the way you think about a drawing, painting, or sculpture.  The color in a piece can change the story that is told.  A street scene that is mostly blue will make a viewer think of being alone on a cold night , whereas a street scene in oranges and yellows will make the viewer thing about a warm evening probably with friends or enjoying happy thoughts.  Color has a huge impact on how we think about things.

It is kind of hard to figure out the best way to present this information.  I think I will go down a list of common colors.  Feel free to comment if you have questions.

Color-GradientRed:  Red is a “hot” or “warm” color. Psychologically it makes people feel like they are warm, standing next to a toasty fireplace. It is usually associated with passion, recklessness and urgency. Being “hot headed” is a red head trait.  A person in a red room will get agitated and anger easily. Using red in an art piece usually denotes warmth, heat, and urgency.  Red calls to our baser instincts do DO something.

Blue: Blue is a “cold” or “cool” color.  Psychologically it make people feel cold, like they are standing outside in a snow storm.  Blue is usually associate with calm, cold, sadness and trust.  Put someone in a blue room and you will see that they get sad, cold and unmotivated.  Using blue in an art piece usually denotes cold, emotional distance or detachment and calm.  Blue calls to us to think, ponder, stare at they water and figure out the pattern in the ripples.  Blue is also a color of loyalty.

Yellow: Yellow is a “warm” color.  Psychologically it makes us happy. It is the color of sunshine and daisies.  Blonde’s have more fun because they are always happy (so says their hair color.) Yellow is also a bit weird when it comes to being a wall color for a room.  Many people that go into a yellow room will come out happy and ready for action.  Others come out agitated and paranoid.   Yellow is also an action color.

Purple: Purple is generally a “cool” color.  Purple is the color of royalty, contained passions and wealth. People react in a variety of ways to purple.  In most cases it is treated like a blue with the calm thoughts and coldness.  In other aspects it is like a red with the need for action hidden under a layer of logic.

Green: Green is another “cool” color.  It is the color of nature, money and caring.  Put a person in a green room and they will come out content.  Green is also a bit “flaky.”  Unlike blue that is unfailing and trustworthy, green has a tenancy to over compensate and can miss the mark, but it is the thought that counts, right?!

Orange: Orange is a “warm” color.  It is the color of caution, awareness and innovation.  It is used as a call to action or attention (traffic cones.)  An orange room will leave people energized and possibly a bit crazy. Mixing the passions of red with the happy of yellow can leave a person feeling unbalanced.  Companies that use orange in their logos are said to be innovative.

Brown: There generally two kinds of brown.  A warm red one and a cooler yellowish one.  A nice red brown is reminiscent of red dirt in areas such as Oklahoma.  Yellow brown is more reminiscent of tree bark like an oak tree.  Browns are considered a neutral color in most of the art world, even fashion.  Brown is a “down to earth” color, practical.  Not as imposing or threatening as black, but can hold its own.  Brown is steadfast and will never stray.

Black: Black is seen as nefarious and evil.  Black things are cloaked in shadow and hid things.  Black has an affinity for the things that make us pause in wonder.  Black is fear.  Black also indicates technology and is used a lot in tech company logos.  Black is sleek, fast, emotionless and collected.  Black is the future.

White:White is the opposite of black.  White is innocent, carefree and transparent.  White has an affinity for the things that make us remember and reminiscences about the past and more innocent times.  White is life.  White is used to indication honesty and tradition.

That should cover the basics.  Mixing colors gets you more meanings. For example, a blue and white logo would indicate loyalty, trust, transparency in cations and policy, longevity and thoughtful process change.  Something that a company like GE, Samsung or even WordPress would like you to think about their companies.

Take a look next time and think about the colors and what the company wants you to know, think, and feel about their


A Bit about Color Theory

Every day I come across someone who does not seem to know that Blue plus Yellow makes Green.  This is like forgetting that 1+1=2.  Basic color theory is taught in school (well, it was when I went to school) and not something that I would expect anyone to forget.

I thought that this would be a great post for those who have forgotten or were never taught about colors and how they work.  I am not going to get technical, this is just the basics.  Maybe I can make a series of posts about this.

First thing to know is that Art and Science have different ways of understanding and explaining color.  They have different tools and purposes.  Art Color Theory deals with blending colors and, in some circles, the way they make us react. In Science colors are studied as light waves and how they work with the eyes and brain to make us see.

In Art Color Theory black is the presence of all colors.  In Science black is the absence of light or a surface that reflects no light.  Similarly, in Art, white is the absence of all colors and in Science white is the presence of light or a surface that reflects all light.  It is kind of confusing but important to know.

Color Theory basics: For the Artist

There are three colors that are the foundation for ALL other colors.

Yellow,Blue,Red Sample

Yellow, Blue and Red in Gouache

Red, Blue, and Yellow.

Without these three colors there would be nothing for us to see.  Not even black or white.

In theory mixing the three basic colors together makes black.  If you mix red, blue and yellow together in real life you usually get this really nasty brown.  The colors artists use are not usually “pure” enough to mix the way Color Theory says it should.

2015-11-29 10.38.50

The basic colors blended to make secondary colors.  Plus making a composite black vs using a blank paint (center)

Mixing the basic colors together gives you different colors.  Red and Blue make Purple.  Red and Yellow make Orange.  Blue and Yellow make Green.  Mixed in equal portions you should get a middle or generic of each of Purple, Orange, and Green.  Mix in more of one color and you get slightly different mix, an Orange that is more Red or a Green that is more Yellow.

The best thing to do is buy some cheap paints (Tempra is always cheap and easy to use) and play with them.  Find out what they do and what mixes make you happiest.

Playing with the colors and mediums is the best way to learn about them.

I hope this was generically helpful.