~ featuring the art of Cia Williford of Briarwood Studio ~

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Blue Angel

I finally found some time during this crazy holiday season to do some painting/collaging. And it felt soooo good. I really do miss my 'art therapy' when I have to do without for extended periods. This is my latest work-in-progress. She's almost done, but I'm still working the details. I'm calling her my "Blue Angel" for now, don't know if that will stick. Anyway, enjoy. I hope she brings a smile to your face.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lots of Navel Gazing Coming in 2012

In a huge burst of spontaneous combustion, er, I mean confidence, I have signed up for not one, but two, year-long art journaling classes: Willowing's Life Book 2012 and Wild Precious' (Precious'es? Precious's? My Preciousssssss?) 2012 Book of Days. Why? Because, like Mount Everest, they're there, and I feel like climbing.

Heh. Not really. The real reason is that I want to do lots of personal art and introspection in the coming year. Not sure where either will lead, but I think it's one of those deals where the journey is more important than the landing. I'm quite sure, though, that as the year progresses, it will get harder and harder to keep up with both classes, but you know what? That's okay. I'm going to enjoy the ride, revel in the scenery, take pit stops when I need to, and not sweat the small stuff.

And not sweating the small stuff brings me to the word I've chosen for my 2012 Book of Days. In Effy Wild's class, we will spend the year exploring our chosen word and it's implications in (on?) our lives through our journaling. My word, which jumped up in my face and wouldn't go away, is 'release': releasing feelings, expectations, people, old grudges, whatever it may be that no longer has a place in my life. Releasing it, letting go, and moving on.

Should be an interesting year.

I'll blog here about my progress in both classes as 2012 progresses. For now, I'll leave you with pictures of the journal I decorated for the Book of Days class. As you can see, it has my chosen word front and center. That way I won't forget it. :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

No painting, but I have been designing!

Ack, I hate to say it, but  I almost wish the holidays were over so life can get back to something near normalcy. I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time for painting, but I have been designing. I've had an influx of web clients in the last two months that have been keeping me busy. And that's okay. I like busy. Even more, I like paying the mortgage. *grin*

Here's a peek at the latest blog design I did. You should check out this site. If you have a little one in your life, Nana G.'s darling handcrafted clothes would make the cutest little gifts!

Mad Max is back...and a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Me: You don't fool me.
Max the Cat: What? I don't know what you're talking about.
Me: You're excited because Santa's coming on Sunday.
Max the Cat: Santa who?
Me: Don't give me that. I have incontrovertible proof you're in the Christmas Spirit.
Max the Cat: *yawns* Please, how can you possibly prove...
Me: I have pictures.
Max the Cat: No you don't.
Me: Yes, I do.
Max the Cat: Of what?
Me: You. Singing Christmas Carols.
Max the Cat: Absurd. I...do...not...sing...Christmas...Carols.
Me: We had a hidden camera in the family room.
Max the Cat: Go away. You're boring me. 
Me: Okay, fine. But remember this. I have pictures.
Max the Cat: *yawns*
Me: And Santa likes to hear good little boys and girls sing.
Max the Cat: He does?
Me: He does.
*momentary silence*
Max the Cat: "Hark the herald kitties sii-ing...."

Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays to all! May all your wishes come true in 2012!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heart and Soul

Like many artists, I'm sure, there are days when I really struggle to get what's in my heart and soul down on paper. This time, I succeeded. I love this quote, and I love the way the painting turned out. This is a heart and soul painting. Can you feel it?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mothers & Angels

Exploring new techniques.

I'm dedicating this one to online art instructor extraordinaire, Tamara LaPorte, who, at this writing, is several days overdue and chomping at the bit!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Smile for a Monday

Just a little something I played with over the weekend. Painted, then photoshoped a bit. Hope it makes you smile.  :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Promise

When you make a promise, you have to keep it. And I promised a little fella a penguin. :)

Nico is the son of a friend of mine. He likes penguins. And airplanes. (I threw in the polar bear because *I* like polar bears.)

I'll be giving it to his Mom tomorrow. I hope he likes it. :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Special Project

I was commissioned to do a very special piece for a mother and son. It's mixed media collage on wood.

I'm very proud of it. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Love my Derwent Inktense Pencils!

So, I got a set of 36 Derwent Inktense colored pencils for my birthday last month and I finally found a few minutes to play around with them today. I really love how they feel going on the paper, and they blend nicely. And the colors? Wow, they pop. And I haven't even tried adding water to them yet. (They are supposed to get *really* intense when you use them with water.)

I had fun. :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Introducing Spoonwood Gallery

I'm so proud to be part of this venture with some very awesome artists!

The artists of the Greater Westmoreland Creative Collective (GWCC) are pleased to announce the grand opening of their online gallery, Spoonwood. Spoonwood is a juried marketplace (named after Mountain Laurel, Pennsylvania's state flower) that provides a new venue for GWCC members and guest artists to showcase their work. It also serves as an adjunct to their annual Fall trunk show, An Artful Affair.

The GWCC is a Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, group of artists, craftsmen, designers, jewelers, and growers working cooperatively to promote quality and excellence in products crafted for the public. Our members, and their areas of specialty, include: Merriann Grant, fine jewelry; Nan Loncharich, fabric arts; Cia Williford, mixed media arts; Katie Resch, painted woodwork; Helen Stetina, needlecrafts; and Lisa Hertzog, country decor.

The Gallery is located at www.spoonwoodgallery.com. Interested visitors are encouraged to register (no financial information is required) in order to receive the GWCC newsletter, sales notices, etc.

Keep us in mind for your holiday shopping!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Come to An Artful Affair!

Okay, these are so cute I can hardly stand it. Mini bookmarks and angel cards! These will be available at An Artful Affair on Saturday, October 1st. Those of you in the southwestern PA area, please come by to visit our artists. We'd love to see you!
More info:  An Artful Affair

Oops, almost forgot to show you the back of the mini bookmarks! It's probably my favorite part. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One More Face

Okay, one more practice face then I'll move on to other things...promise!

This one is a study in green and peach, very simple. (It's very overcast today, so the lighting is awful.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


We're currently practicing faces in Jane Davenport's Supplies Me class (see left sidebar for link). Here's some of my sketches.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Friends Share: Giraffes, Too!

My little giraffe painting is done. It's a much simpler painting than I usually do, and there's no collage elements at all, but I'm liking the simplicity. I just need to decide if I want to mount this on wood, or mat it for framing. I'm leaning toward the latter.

On this sad day

This is a work-in-progress. On a day filled with so many sad memories, I felt compelled to paint something happy.  I will be *very* happy if this makes someone smile.

Life goes on, but we will never forget.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

New Class!

I'm becoming an online-art-class junkie, I think. Can't help it. I love learning, I love making art, and I love the fact that these classes can be done at my own pace, as time and real life permit. (I'm a night owl, so being able to do homework at 3:00 in the morning is wonderful!)

My latest class, one which I'm enjoying immensely, is Jane Davenport's Supplies Me Workshop. As Jane says,

It’s for anyone who has bought lovely
art supplies and hardly used them.
It’s for anyone who loves drawing
pretty faces ( or wants to learn how!).
It’s for anyone who needs a break
from the craziness of the world.

In other words, it's perfect for me! (Who hasn't bought art supplies, brought them home, and then never used them because we weren't quite sure what to *do* with them?)

Anyway, here are my homework assignments from the first week. We were striving for a great deal of texture underneath a layer of gesso, then creating on top of that. One thing I learned from the lesson: art pens do not work well on texture. Too bumpy! I stuck to pencils after that.

Friday, September 2, 2011


This painting has been bouncing around in my head for a while. I'm a firm believer in celebrating the good things in life, and friends are, by far, one of the very best things to celebrate...whether they're two-footed, four-footed, feathered or furred.

The painting is entitled, "Friends Come in all Sizes!"

Here's to all my friends, online and off: I appreciate each and every one of you!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hope: She Has a Name

My lovely friend, Kim, remarked the other day that my painting of the "no name" woman made her think of waiting. That struck a chord with me. Also, someone else mentioned to me that the subject looks like she's bathed in candlelight. Those two things made me think of the saying, "Hope lights a candle in the darkness." And the girl in the painting said, yes. That's me.

So, meet Hope. The title of the painting: Hope Lights a Candle. Here she is with her final detail work.

(Thanks, Kim!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Girl with No Name

She wanted very much for me to paint her, but she gave me no clues about her name or the message she wanted to convey. So, I'm waiting, listening, seeking.

It will come.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Magdalena, the Woman with the Alabaster Jar

I had a very unusual experience while working on this painting. If you're an artist, then perhaps you've known that feeling of a piece of work being "divinely inspired" or otherwise coming from a place outside of you.

As I drew the sketch for Magdalena, I felt as though someone was guiding my hand...literally. I've had very little in the way of training when it comes to my art, so most of what I do is intuitive. I try something and if it doesn't work, I try something else. But this time, as soon as I drew a line I knew immediately if it was right or wrong. No, I take that back. Even *as* I drew a line, I knew immediately if it was going to stay, or be erased and redrawn. It was as if I *knew* just how the painting was supposed to turn out...not my usual mode of working. It was an odd, but very amazing, experience.

As many of you probably know, Magdalena refers to Mary Magdalene, otherwise known as "The Woman with the Alabaster Jar." She has come to mean, for many women, the embodiment of the feminine aspect of the divine. I have a special place in my heart for her.

Later, as I was telling my sister the story of my "inspired" painting, she immediately said, "You know who was guiding you, don't you? Mom."

How funny that I didn't see that at first. We lost Mom in December 2008 of complications from her vascular dementia.

Her name was Marion, a derivative of the name Mary. :)

Thanks for the help, Mom. I love my "inspired" painting.