Sunday, May 31, 2009

Awards and Appreciation

I am honored when a colleague acknowledges my work, and I want to say thank you to James Parker who awarded me the "Splash" award, and thank you Akiko Watanabe, for the  "Noblesse Oblige" award.  You can read about these awards on their blogs and take a moment to see some of the excellent work they are doing.   Whether it is a blog award, a sale of my art, or a comment in the comments column, I want everyone to know how much I appreciate all of these gestures of appreciation for my work.

I'm addressing some important personal matters, but check back since I hope to post soon on my next eye portrait, and thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed hearing about this special miniature tradition. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Miniature Eye Portraits, Part 1

"Mother Meera's Eyes" 1 3/8" x 1 3/4", egg tempera on vellum, eye portrait of Indian saint, Mother Meera

"Amma's Eyes", 1 3/8" x 1 3/4", egg tempera on vellum, (eye portrait of Indian saint, Amritanandamayi Ma) available from my website

An example of an eye portrait pin (unknown artist, circa 1805-10) from the Lelia A. and John Hill Morgan Collection shown in Love And Loss, American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures, by Robin Jaffee Frank (p. 264)

My miniature magnifier arrived yesterday, and before moving on just want to mention that fellow miniaturist, Carol Andre, pointed out a very practical and less expensive way of magnification: if you wear reading or bifocal glasses, place a second pair of reading glasses over the first pair to achieve the magnified view (cost is about $1 as opposed to the $17 it cost for my magnifier). Speaking of eyes, it's my next topic!

I want to try another eye portrait. The top two images above are examples of two eye portraits I've done in the past, but lest you think it's my own idea, miniature eye portraits or lover's eyes are a lost art with an interesting history. The third example above comes from Love and Loss, a book I recommend on miniature painting. In the past, tiny jeweled brooches, rings and pins were the frames for a portrait of the single eye of a secret love, the idea being that if you can only see the eye, it is more anonymous--- a form of portrait that no one can easily identify except your beloved. It is said that a former Prince of Wales kept an eye portrait of his mistress which is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection, and a secret lover was often the subject of an eye portrait, one reason that they are a rare find now, but some were not only for secret loves. (See this short online article on Lovers Eyes.)

There are some wonderful examples of miniature portraits online, but since jewelers and museums have pretty strict copyright protection on the images, just Google "miniature eye portraits" to see some further examples.

For Part 2 on the topic of eye portraits, I'll show you an eye portrait I am working on.........

A special postscript for anyone visiting this post late who is interested in miniature eye portraits: please visit my blog for more detailed information on this at

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Video Demo on Egg Tempera, Anyone?

Thanks so much to everyone for your supportive feedback on my website improvements!  It's really helpful to get some feedback on it.

I should soon have the new miniature magnifier that I ordered for $12.99 plus shipping from Bass Pro Shops, a fishing tackle outfit online.  

Hoping also to post another miniature soon, and I want to let you know that within two weeks I'll be posting a five minute demo on how to mix egg tempera medium.  If it's of interest, I'm also scoping out whether I can create a 30 minute instructional DVD (perhaps eventually a series of these) on learning to paint with egg tempera, which would be available for purchase from my blog and website.  Is anyone also interested in this opportunity for more in-depth instruction on painting with egg tempera?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Website Expansion

"Cinderella's Slipper," 4" x 4", egg tempera illustration on Strathmore board

"Floral Illumination," 4 1/2" x 4 1/8", egg tempera on Strathmore board, miniature scale embellishment painted for Anne of Green Gables (Macmillan)

Above are two of the illustrations and paintings now posting in a newly expanded version of my website.  The topics I've been asked to paint over the years are various, so if you've enjoyed seeing some of my miniatures, you might also enjoy seeing another side of my work, as an illustrator and commissioned artist.  Although I gradually add new art and make improvements on an ongoing basis to my website, right now there are approximately 25 additional paintings and illustrations for you to see when you have time for a look at

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Laugh-out-loud, it's not my best week!  My miniature painting magnifier decided it had had enough, and dropped it's lens during the night.  Luckily, it did this without harming anything, and all of my miniatures are fine.  I hope to be back in business in a few days with a new one!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

"Amira", 2 inches x 2 inches, pencil on polymin
(note:  polymin and ivorine are both synthetic substitutes for ivory, a popular surface used most often by miniaturists in the past)

(enlargement for detail)

This miniature pencil portrait of Amira is done for my friends Danielle and Max for how they once allowed an upright piano to pass through their window!  To see more of my large portraits in progress, such as the one below, click here.  Happy Mother's Day to Danielle, to my Mom, and to all mothers out there.

"The 'Mary' in Terry" 25 1/2" x 19 1/2", pastel portrait (in progress)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Baby Dutch Bunny"

"Baby Dutch Bunny",  1 3/8" x 1 7/8", egg tempera on Strathmore board

Saturday, May 2, 2009

First of Two Chocolate Dutch Rabbits & Awards

"Chocolate Dutch Rabbit," 2" x 3", egg tempera on Strathmore board,  (available)

I love chocolate Dutch rabbits, so I thought I'd try painting a mother and a baby.  This is the mother.

Ed Burton recently honored me with the Passion for Painting and the Lemonade Award.  It's my first time receiving the Lemonade Award, given for positive attitude, gratitude, support, and online friendship.  Thanks Ed,  it's mutual, and check out Ed's blog, to see his amazing tromp d'oeil ceiling mural.

Instead of passing these two awards on, I'd like to award two more people Mona's Mini Blog Award:  Rachelle Siegrist, and Dana Lee Thompson.  Don't miss seeing their fine work in miniature, and Rachelle's blog.  Rachelle often features her latest wildlife masterpiece on her blog.  Dana paints beautiful horses and hounds, and I hope she'll be inspired to start her blog soon, but any miniaturist qualifies for this award and can pass it on to others via email if not via blog.

Rachelle and Dana, you can see the rules for passing this award forward in my April 16 post, and here are five more of my favorite movies: " The English Patient", "Nashville", "Days of Heaven" (love the soundtrack in this one), "The Russians are Coming...The Russians are Coming!", & "Rear Window".  (My movie of the year for 2009 is still "Sugar!")  (Note:  I made an error in Dana Lee Thompson's link at first.  So sorry, it's fixed now.)