Sunday, December 12, 2010

More Great Art to Choose From

"Antique Ornaments", 11" x 6", framed egg tempera painting, 
$225 on Etsy

"Christmas Flowers," 7 1/4" x 8 1/2", framed egg tempera painting, $750 on Etsy

A purchase link to each painting is provided if you click on the art.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gifts For Your Holiday Giving

"Victorian Toy Story" (left side detail of painting) $1200 on Etsy
"Victorian Toy Story" (right side detail of painting) $1200 on Etsy
"Christmas Holly Cake", $200 on Etsy
"Cat's Christmas Mischief" $300 on Etsy
"Fruits of Christmas", $200 on Etsy
"Madonna in the Leaves" $600 on Etsy

Twenty five years ago I did 33 paintings for a Harper Collins book called Christmas At Our House, A Family Memory Book. Above are a few examples of these Christmas paintings, many of which are now on sale in my Etsy store along with my Madonna miniature paintings and other surprise treats. If you need a gift, please check out:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Latest Miniatures Framed

"After the Davidson College Graduation", 4 5/8" x 3 3/8", egg tempera on panel in black lacquer frame

"Self Portrait at 34", 3 3/4" x 3 3/8", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum in a gilded wood oval frame

And here are the two most recent minis framed. The gloss of the black lacquer is hard to capture in a scan, but it makes for a richer black wood to surround "After the Graduation".

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"After the Davidson College Graduation"

"After the Davidson College Graduation", 4 5/8" x 3 3/8", egg tempera on true gesso panel (click the image to see it enlarged)

Here is the completed version of this miniature, and I'll share with you the framing solutions I've used for my two most recent miniatures in my next post.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Self Portrait at 34"

"Self Portrait at 34" (shown actual size @ 3 3/4" x 3"), egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum

If you'd like to see the reference photo I took when I was 34, and worked from to create this traditional portrait miniature, I've posted it too over on Mona Conner Portraits.

After trying to paint my rhinestone necklace at miniature scale, I esteem even more the great work of Nicholas Hilliard (1547 ~1619) whose specialty in miniature portraits was elaborate jewelry and lace details. If you Google his name as an image search and scroll, you'll find many of his amazing portraits in miniature.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Self Portrait at 34, in progress

"Self Portrait at 34" in progress, shown at actual size

Here is a peek at a self portrait which I'm painting from photos I took myself with the self-timer setting of my camera at age 34. I'm wearing one of my all-time favorite wardrobe items, a black velvet cocktail dress, which makes it all the more fun to paint, and the tricky part will be to see if I can articulate in a pleasing way the details of the rhinestone necklace I was wearing. Haven't decided yet how I'll frame it, but an oval might be nice....we'll see.

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Blog News, and Two Miniature Drawings

"Sandra at the Lotus Pond," 5" x 7", graphite on card

"Martha," 7" x 5", graphite on card

Since I need commissions at this time, my emphasis lately has been over at my portrait blog. If you haven't been watching it, or would like to help me spread the word, here is another opportunity to see what's cooking, by clicking: I now have email subscription capability to all of my active blogs for those who prefer receiving the latest posts via email. On my portrait blog the subscription sign-up is at the bottom, (just so you won't miss it there.)

Above are several miniature-scale drawings I've done recently to thank a few dear friends, Martha and Dwane of Charlotte, NC, and Sandy and Dwight of Trenton, NJ, who have graciously hosted me in their homes this year. It's great keeping in touch with old friends, and most of us, (except Dwane), all attended college together. Grounds For Sculpture in Trenton is the location of the lovely lotus garden where I drew Sandy. I'm hoping to have some time this week to start a new miniature, and to finish After the Graduation.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Grant Application Prep

Working on several larger paintings pertinent to an important grant application deadline. Wish me luck! I'll see you 'in miniature' in another week or so.......

Saturday, July 31, 2010

"After the Graduation" in Progress

"After the Graduation," (in progress), 4 1/2" x 3 1/4", egg tempera on gessoed panel

This pretty little miss was in the audience at my niece's college graduation, this Spring, and apparently over two hours of calling names was too much for her, so here she is, after the graduation! I loved how ready for the party she looks except for the part about softly falling asleep.

I'll post another update on this when it is further along....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Getting back into gear

It's been a tough and discouraging summer for me in a number of respects, but I'm at least happy to report that after several weeks of not being able to work in my studio, I'm kicking into painting gear once again.  Expect a post sometime soon on several new miniatures in progress.

Thanks also to those who left kind comments about the return of my missing miniatures.  I wish I knew the story of their journey back to me, but was glad to be able to post a few of these for sale once again.  Those who have followed this blog for a while may recognize a newer version of "Eve and Her Dog"  recently posted on my new portrait blog.  And if you haven't visited my etsy store recently, nine miniatures are also currently listing there for direct purchase online.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Some Good News!!!

"Ruby Slipper Wishing Shoes", available for sale in my Etsy shop
© Mona Diane Conner 2006

"Kimberly's Eye II"
© Mona Diane Conner 2009

"Pink Lotus Flower", available for sale in my Etsy shop
© Mona Diane Conner 2009

Well, in spite of a practical problem in the studio which is still not cleared up, I'm happy to at least report some good news! Last year after my participation in a show, three of my miniatures which were due back to me in the mail became lost. It's been almost a year, but today a package arrived at my door with all three miniatures. There was no note, name, or return address, so I don't know who to thank, but I am so relieved to have these back. Thanks to anyone who gave their prayers to this concern of mine, thanks also to my friend Val who suggested to pray to Saint Panurius, and thank you Saint Panurius!

The titles of the three miniatures are: "Ruby Slipper Wishing Shoes," "Kimberly's Eye #2," and "Pink Lotus Flower." I'd like to say thank you to whoever returned these paintings to me. I've already posted one of them for sale online today, and more to come soon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

studio problem

Just a note that until it is fixed, a practical problem going on in my studio is preventing me being able to work normal hours, but I hope to be able to resume posting soon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Introducing Mona Conner Portraits

I have started a new blog which will incorporate among other things, both miniature portraits and miniature eye portraits, although not all of the portraits will be miniature in size or scale.  It's called: 
"MONA CONNER PORTRAITS ~ Portraits Large and Small" and it's my fourth blog!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Sacred Art of Icon Writing

I reviewed in an earlier post this Spring the topics discussed at a lecture/demo that I offered at Kingsboro College. Among these topics was icon-writing. For anyone who is interested in knowing more about the art and spiritual practice of icon-writing, and the Prosopon School where I have been fortunate to study, I have done a post about this today which I invite you to read on my spiritual portraits blog, Grander Joy of Spirit.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Lauren's Graduation Day"

"Lauren's Graduation Day," 5" x 7" miniature scale silverpoint, graphite, and egg tempera on blue-toned panel

Here is the completed silverpoint drawing of my niece, Lauren at her May graduation, which is also a promotional example for portrait commissions.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Silverpoint, graphite, & Egg Tempera on Gessoed Panel

5" x 7" miniature scale (1/6th of life size) silverpoint, graphite, & egg tempera work in progress on blue-toned gessoed panel (click on the image to see it at its actual size)

I still have a little work to go on this drawing, a miniature scale small work, but wanted to post it in progress, since it is an example of how nicely egg tempera combines with silverpoint. This is my first try at silverpoint, a method of drawing with silver which produces finer lines than are possible with pencil, which tarnish and darken over time. Silverpoint was utilized by the old masters for preliminary drawings for egg tempera or oil paintings. Modern acrylic-based silverpoint ground can also be great to apply to the surface and draw on, as one of my next miniatures will demonstrate, but in order to include egg tempera, I drew this one on another great surface for silverpoint: true gesso panel.

This drawing is mostly silverpoint with graphite applied in the darkest areas, with soft highlights in white egg tempera. If questions arise, my upcoming Egg Tempera Workshop is a great place for solutions about mixed media with egg tempera too. I was inspired to try silverpoint by two of my friends and colleagues in art, Koo Schadler, and Barbara Freeman. Please take a moment to see their beautiful work in silverpoint.

Friday, May 28, 2010

What's Next / An Important Update on My Summer Workshop

My next post will be my next completed miniature, a portrait drawing in silverpoint, graphite and white on toned gessoed panel. Until then, an important announcement regarding my next egg tempera workshop:

I will need to hear from five or more definite participants by June 10th in order to hold the opportunity of the private summer workshop in egg tempera in position for early August. To help you decide if you are considering attending, here is some additional information:

The location in Brooklyn, NY is within driving distance from most neighboring major cities and approx. 30 minutes from mid-Manhattan via subway. PLEASE NOTE: the dates have moved slightly to Tuesday through Thursday, August 3, 4, and 5. The cost is $300 for two full days of instruction 10 AM to 6PM with a one-hour lunch break, and $400 for three full days, excluding accommodations which are running approx. $200 and up per night, BUT only if booked now at the Holiday Inn Express and and at similar locations very near the venue in Brooklyn. The workshop fee also covers a gesso panel to paint on, and a few basics (like eggs!), but not all of your art materials, so please plan to bring paints and brushes with you, and a reasonable supply list will be provided to guide you on what you will need.

For those who wish for it, and because I have included the optional of three days instruction: if it is the group's desire to spend part or all of the additional day out on a field trip, it is also my personal delight to take you to one or more possible locations: The Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium at Coney Island, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, or a New York City Cathedral tour including St Patrick's Cathedral. I hear that an exciting new version of the musical "Promises, Promises" is returning to Broadway this summer, and there are many exciting ways to spend your evenings in the Big Apple during your stay.

Your $100 check holds your spot in the workshop, but I will need to at least receive your email responses by June 10th (please email Inquiries also welcomed.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Miniatures and small works for direct purchase in my Etsy shop

"The Bluebird of Happiness," $400 (miniature painting)

"Heaven is Like a Rose in Bloom," $700 (small work)

"San Diego Freedom Flag, Version II," $1500 (small work)

As promised, here are some examples of the items I have for direct sale in my Etsy shop. There is a range in both the items and prices being offered, and there will be a few surprises from time to time too! :-) To see more, or to make a purchase, you can visit my shop here:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

One of my favorite supports for egg tempera and for miniature painting

At left is a 3/16" thick birch ply panel from Pandora, and on the right is a 1/4" thick masonite panel from Chester Gilder

Certain types of surfaces, or supports, are important to use with the medium of egg tempera. Egg tempera requires a painting surface that is both rigid and very absorbent. Some of the popular miniature painting surfaces such as drafting film, mylar, polymin, and ivorine would not ideally meet either of these requirements. The surface most universally preferred by egg tempera painters, which oil painters also still enjoy is traditional gesso, sometimes also called true gesso, which is the gesso that was produced prior to the advent of acrylic gesso. Traditional gesso recipes vary, but are usually composed primarily of rabbitskin glue and some form of whiting.

There is a fundamental incompatibility between the plastic content in acrylic gesso and egg tempera which can be risky for long-term adhesion. The greater absorbency of true gesso compared to acrylic formulas is an additional reason why it is so nice for egg tempera painting. It's piano-key smooth surface also makes it ideal for the refined details in miniature painting. Egg tempera painting superimposes many thin translucent layers with glazing and scumbling as the primary method of paint application, and traditional gesso can absorb these thin layers.

The labor involved in producing a true gesso panel, which involves cooking the gesso, painting at least four to eight layers on a wood or masonite panel, avoiding air bubbles and sanding it smooth, (combined with the difficulty of doing smaller cuts in the case of miniature panels) accounts for the cost of purchasing pre-made gesso panels. In fact, some artists actually prefer to make their own, sometimes doing "panel-making week" once or twice a year to produce the supply they will need.

I prefer to buy mine pre-made so that I can spend more of my time painting, and there are a number of panel makers out on the market producing quality panels. It's easy to see how True Gesso got it's name, and their panels come highly recommended, so I look forward to trying them too. My suppliers so far have been Pandora, which also produces icon panels, and Alexandra Hadik of Chester Gilder (*click on 'custom framing') who airbrushes the gesso on. Pandora will cut to custom sizes, and Alexandra has been willing in the past to cut me a batch of small mini panels to approximate sizes for my workshops, or for my own use, which for a flat fee gives me an ongoing supply.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

my lecture/demo at Kingsborough

One of a series of large spiritual portraits in progress which I brought along to my lecture/demo for the illustration class and Art Club at Kingsborough College. The dark red area is red clay bole painted over the gesso in preparation for water gilding. At right are two patches---one of burnished gold leaf, and the other of a mother-of-pearl tile, which will border the gold leaf area of the portrait.

Right on the heels of my lecture/demo at Kingsborough Community College and producing an article on my work in miniature, I travelled to help and support my family at two graduations in New York and North Carolina. It felt wonderful to be present on these special occasions in my niece and nephew's lives, but it's great also to finally have time to share with you in more depth my experience at Kingsborough, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm told that the article I wrote for Small Talk, the Miniature Art Society of Florida's newsletter, will be published in the next issue, which comes out very soon.

For the lecture/demo at Kingsborough I covered highlights on three topics: miniature painting, egg tempera, and water gilding. I wish I had a picture to share with you of the enthusiastic and attentive illustration class and Art Club in attendance! (If anyone present took one, I hope you'll email me at I talked with this group about the world of miniature art competition, sharing four of my miniature paintings along with some favorite show catalogs and books on miniature art. Among them were Wes and Rachelle Siegrist's Exquisite Miniatures, Love and Loss, American Portrait and Mourning Miniatures, by Robin Jaffee Frank, and The Monarchy in Portrait Miniatures From Elizabeth I to Queen Victoria, by D.S. Lavender Antiques, Ltd.

Next I demonstrated how I prepare egg tempera medium, and mix my egg tempera in several different ways, both in advance and on my palette. I showed them where I was in my progress on the egg tempera portions of the large panel painting above. I explained how with this spiritually-toned portrait I am borrowing aspects of icon painting to echo a spiritual feeling, such as working on a traditional arched icon panel with it's niched edge, and the inclusion of water gilding.

Having painted several layers of red clay bole on the background of the painting in progress, I demonstrated the laying down of one piece of gold leaf after moistening it with the breath, known in icon painting as "the breath of God". The professor who invited me to do this demo, Valerie Sokolova and I took lessons together in the past at the Prosopon School of Iconology, where more recently she has become a teacher, so in tandem with her I talked with the class a little about icon painting, it's spiritual significance, and how it involves both egg tempera and gold leaf.

I also brought along an actual icon painting I have in progress, and since Daisy, an Art Club member in attendance, expressed an interest in learning about icon painting, perhaps I'll do a post on this topic in the near future on my spiritual portraits blog,
Grander Joy of Spirit in Portraiture. Interesting questions arose on all three topics, and all too soon our time together was over. Delightful refreshments were served afterwards. Special thanks to my friend and colleague Valerie Sokolova, to dept. chair Judith Wilde, and to all the students and members of the Art Club in attendance. I really enjoyed meeting you!

Since I am catching up, tomorrow is when I'll cover just part of a topic that I will be including in this summer's Egg Tempera workshop: true gesso as a painting surface.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

An article in progress on my work in miniature

Today I am preparing an article on my work in miniature art for next issue of the Miniature Art Society of Florida newsletter. More coming soon....

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Parklane Miniature Show, Opening Tomorrow

The Parklane Gallery's 18th Annual Miniature Show begins tomorrow, May 4th, with over 300 miniatures on view, and will remain open til June 6th at 130 Park Lane in Kirkland, Washington near Seattle. Park Lane is open from 11AM to 6PM daily. I'm pleased to report that both "Madonna in the Leaves" and "Tulip Garden at Giverny" shown in my April 27 post, have been juried into this international miniature show.

I'm also preparing for a lecture/demonstration which Judith Wilde and Valerie Sokolova have graciously invited me to offer at Kingsborough College in Brooklyn this Wednesday, and I hope to have a picture or two to share from that experience later this week.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Two Miniature Shows Opening Today!

"Carribean Cruise Flag," (shown at actual size), 3 1/16" x 2 1/2", (framed size 5 7/8" x 4 7/8") egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum, at Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, North Carolina, or visit my art at Seaside to purchase this painting online

"Niche in Aix en Provence," (enlarged for detail), 1 7/8" x 1 1/2", (framed size 3 1/2" x 3 1/2") egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum, The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA (to purchase visit The Snow Goose Gallery)

I also have lovely items for sale in my new Etsy store online, which I'll introduce next post, but it's here too: Art by MonaDianeConner at Etsy

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Tulip Garden at Giverny," and more tulips at home

"Madonna in the Leaves," 2 5/8" x 1 7/8", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum

"Tulip Garden at Giverny," 2" diameter (shown enlarged for detail), oil over gold leaf on bone

view of the open basket box and lid

Tulips at home in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Bird bath at the Litchfield garden

Tulips and grape hyacinth at the Litchfield garden

I'm hoping Parklane Gallery (in Kirkland, Washington) accepts "Tulip Garden at Giverny" since it has a dimensional quality to it. I've sent two miniatures to the Parkland Miniature Show, and the other one is "Madonna in the Leaves," shown here at the top.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Local tulips at Litchfield

tulips in Brooklyn's Prospect Park at the Litchfield Villa

More on my tulip painting of Giverny Gardens soon, but today on my walk I very much enjoyed these local tulips in the park on the hill at Litchfield.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Progress on the Giverny Bone Box

My painting of Giverny Gardens in progress, oil over gold leaf on bone, (2 inches diameter)

Here is a bit more progress on my bone basket box lid painting, as seen from under my magnifier. Still working on the left-hand side.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Spring Walks

Japanese cherry blossoms on my block

stoop gardens

bleeding hearts

grape hyacinth and ranunculus

tulips winding around an old tree

Life has been busy behind the scenes for me the past few weeks, but I hope to share an update soon on my Giverny bone box miniature. Even when I'm working hard, I try to carve out an hour for a nice walk each day, altering my route each time to make it more fun. Last week I finally remembered to bring along my camera to capture just a few of the sights of Spring, on my block or close by in my Brooklyn neighborhood. Within these scenes there's a miniature or two that I'll look forward to painting.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Egg Tempera Workshop Dates

materials used in painting with egg tempera include yolk of egg and powdered pigments

The dates set so far for my Egg Tempera Workshop in Brooklyn, NY, are two full days in August: Thursday - Friday August 5th and 6th. Please contact for more information as it develops.

If there is enough interest in June too, I'll consider setting up a second workshop.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Announcing My Summer Workshop in Egg Tempera

If it's step-by-step paintings, you know that I do them, both here and on one of my other blogs, Grander Joy of Spirit in Portraiture, but there is so much more to know about painting with the medium of egg tempera! With at least 10 or more participants, I'm pleased to announce that I am planning to hold an egg tempera workshop this summer.

Dates, cost, and details will follow when I know how many are interested, but it will take place in Brooklyn, NY. It helps to have some general experience in other painting media, but beginning artists are also welcomed.

If you'd like to participate in my workshop, please email me at: and please let me know your preference for a June or August workshop.

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Heaven on Earth"

(double hand-painted museum mats in floral frame (click image to see it larger)

"Heaven on Earth Rose," 2 3/8" x 2 7/8", (shown actual size), egg tempera on vellum
$600 + $15 shipping/handling ~ on Etsy

In honor of my late father's birthday in March, I'm offering for sale the completed and framed miniature painting of the floribunda rose called "Heaven on Earth."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Giverny Gardens on Gold Leaf

(click to see it larger)

Miniature painting of Giverny Gardens in progress, 2 inches in diameter, oil paint over gold leaf on bone basket box lid (my photo of Giverny Gardens is on the left, isolated in a similar circle)