Saturday, January 31, 2009

Antigua Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala used to be the capital of the city until the earthquakes of 1773 destroyed a big part of the city, back then it was known as Santiago de los Caballeros. When the new capital was settled, it received the name of Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción -which in turned made Santiago the "Antigua Guatemala"-.
Antigua is pretty close to today's capital, so close that I can get there from my house after a short 30 minutes ride! I'm absolutely in love with the city -which by the way is a Unesco World Heritage Site- because it has a wonderful colonial style, with amazing streets and extraordinary houses, surrounded by amazing hills and volcanoes. We went for lunch with some friends last December, and while walking around we stopped by the Hotel Posada de Don Rodrigo and took some awesome pictures in one of the courtyards. I used these for my inspiration for a swap over at iATCs, the only requirement in this one was to use only colored pencils; so all of these are done just with my beloved Prismacolor colored pencils!
I highly recommend visiting La Antigua Guatemala Daily Photo where Rudy Girón has been posting a daily photo from Antigua since 2006, his photos are really extraordinary as well as his posts and you will get a true feel of what life is like in this beautiful city.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One World-One Heart

Thanks for all the comments! It was so much fun coming here everyday and reading such wonderful notes about amazing people all over the world. I hope you also had fun and found other extraordinary blogs!
Ok, being a new blogger I have several new things to learn. I just discovered about this one and I think it's truly fantastic. One World-One Heart was started two years ago by Lisa Swifka, it's an amazing way to get to know other bloggers and on top of that to have the opportunity to get amazing gifts back! Besides, after reading Lisa's intro I couldn't resist joining:
I planted a seed and hoped for a bloom....the first year there was a flower, the second year it became a garden and now this year.....well this's as if I planted magic seeds. There are beautiful wild flowers everywhere and the magic from those seeds is still spreading like the down on a dandelion. I am filled with joy people, pure joy!!!
After an afternoon of hopping from blog to blog and finding out new amazing people out there I decided to join the caravan and the fun! I'll be giving away this original framed painting of poppies done in watercolors, black and white ink, and acrylic metallics backgrounds. The painting comes in a black wooden easel-style frame with metal legs measuring 6"x10".
Just leave me a comment in this post (if you don't have a blog be sure to leave me an email address I can use to get in contact with you if you win). I'll close comments on Feb. 11 at midnight (My time!) and I'll anounce the winner on the 12th.
Make sure you go browse the other amazing blogs taking part in this great movement!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Busy Work

As a teacher I've come in contact with students often being assigned "busy work", which is basically an assignment given to them to keep busy, there's no real objective and it can go from drawing and painting whatever you want to a last minute "projects". It happens quite often when there is an absent teacher or when teachers just don't prepare their classes and cannot figure what to do to end up their scheduled time. Well...I had some busy work of my own this weekend, I had no inspiration whatsoever and didn't even feel like picking up a pencil since last Friday, but I still felt the need to "make" something so the weekend would not end up as a big bust. So, I looked for an old turqouise knit sweater that had not seen the light of day for years and I started unraveling it and getting these amazing looking balls of yarn. Now the question is, What to do with all this yarn? Some of it might end up in chunkies or in bookmarks, I'm planning on crocheting some small bags for another project -that with my crocheting skills might take up a couple of months to get completed!-, and some other bits might end up traveling with my future swaps and trades. For the first time I'll have to say "Yay for busy work!" even if the yarn ends up lasting for years who can complain of the beauty of all of these balls put together.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Alice in Wonderland

Ok, it's the turn of the Mixed Media Alice in Wonderland Swap. Funny thing about's not one of my favorite reads ever (it gets way too crazy for my taste from time to time), but I find the characters to be fascinating. I chose my 3 most favorite characters for this swap over at AFA, and here they are with a description of the mediums used.
Alice's background is made with two scrunched up pieces of tissue paper (aqua and light blue on top) since I added lots of sealer on them the wrinkles are still there as well as a mix of the colors, I added some small dots of pink glitter on top of that. The area around the card is made with a different piece of cardboard on which I added more torn/wrinkled tissue paper and added lots of acrylic paint on top. Alice was drawn on a different piece of paper and colored with different mediums, the hair has markers, prismacolor crayons, black and white ink; the face is done with prismacolor crayons, the blouse is done with blue wax crayon and the dress with a small piece of Asian paper
Now for the cat...the background is a piece of some music sheet with green, yellow, and some brown oil pastels on top; I added some gesso on top, added some clean water and wiped most of the gesso away (this way I can mute most of the oil pastels). The branches are done just like the frame around Alice; cardboard, wrinkled tissue paper and acrylics. The flowers are dried flowers we can buy over here for crafts with lots of sealer on top so they won't flake. The cat is done on a scrap of patterned paper, shaded with wax crayon and I added some details with white and black ink on top.

Finally, my favorite character, the Mad Hatter. The background is a page from an old dictionary with yellow and red circles and gesso on top, and some white ink dots to finish it. The frame is just like the previous two cards and the Mad Hatter has an embossed paper shirt with patterned paper bowtie and had and Prismacolor colored pencils for the face.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pastels and Orchids

This is an orchid from the ones my Mom has in our front garden; the beauty of these orchids is the fact that they can take years to bloom and sometimes bloom only once in their lifetime. I know you have probably seen tons of gorgeous orchids in nurseries or if you are here in malls where they have them for sale, and all of them have these beautiful, perfect flowers...unfortunately, the ones we have bought here end up dying pretty quickly and we found out it's mostly because they are given special supplements to bloom and when they stop receiving these they die. We have finally found a couple of vendors that bring gorgeous orchids and we have been lucky enough to keep them alive. We are hopeful the second bulb in this one will also bloom! I took this one inside today, and made a pastel painting based on's been a year since I played with my pastels, and I had quite a fun -but messy- time doing this.
*Funny childhood story* The first time I heard about pastels I was like 5 or 6 years old, and my mom asked my dad to go to the mall to look for some "pastels", when I heard this I immediately jumped into the conversation and asked to come along too; we went over to the mall and I was ABSOLUTELY disappointed when I saw that the "pastels" my mom had just bought were crayons... to understand my disappointment you should know that "pastel" in Spanish means "cake", which explains why a box of crayons was not what I wanted to see in that moment!

Interested in the painting? Check it out in my Etsy

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fun Sunday!

I joined the Wizard of Odd swap over at AFA and a whole odd side of me came up... Poor Dorothy ended up like a streetwalker with the Scarecrow as her pimp! I didn't want to end up making poor Tinman into a dealer so I decided to finish my 3rd card in a geometric style with all the gang in it. I ended up having a lot of fun with this one though, all the images are hand-drawn, inked and colored with Prismacolor colored pencils -they are my first art love after all-.

Now, for more fun I just received an award from Jennifer's blog Trial and Error...and I'm to confess 5 addictions and pass the award to 5 other bloggers. Ok, let's face the addictions then:
  1. Coke -if I can drink it everyday I'm a happy camper
  2. Pollo Campero-Guatemala's version of KFC, only 100 times better
  3. Art supplies- I'm always buying more and more, even though I'm not using them
  4. Mail Art - I'm so hooked on ATCs, chunkies and swaps!
  5. And last, but not least...My blog -Even though I just started it this year, and I complained at first over what a hassle it was...I cannot help checking in everyday and finding more stuff to write about.
Ok, so there are my addictions...let's hear from other bloggers addictions. I'll pass the award to other 5 bloggers so they can fess up!!

  1. 365 Drawing Project
  2. Pumpkin's Patch
  3. Lagaz Designs
  4. Seeking For Art
  5. Purple Realm

Friday, January 16, 2009

Passion Flower

A few years ago we planted a Passion Flower vine to cover the terrace railing and it just took over the whole front of the house, it was beautiful! And then... a handyman that was fixing some odd ends around the house decided to trim it back a bit; our poor vine was dead within a couple of months. Dad was upset because the vine reminded him of the vine in his childhood home in Yepocapa (yeah, I dare you to say that 3 times in a row!), Mom was mad because 1 "nobody" trims her flowers and 2 the great ecosystem for all the butterflies and hummingbirds that visited us came to an end, and I just hated seeing the bare railings exposed without all the wonderful greenery. We finally got another vine going last year, and although this one has not taken over like its predecessor it has began blooming and this is one of its wonderful flowers. I found some interesting facts in Wikipedia about the Passion Flower, here are some of them:
  • In the 15th and 16th century Spanish missionaries adopted the symbols of the plant as parallels to Christ's last days on Earth, so the word "passion" refers to the Passion of Jesus Christ.
  • All flowers have 10 petals that represent the apostles (minus Judas Iscariot and St. Peter)
  • The 3 stigmate represent the 3 nails used in hands and feet.
  • The 5 anthers represent the 5 wounds (2 hands, 2 feet, and the lance wound in the ribcage)
  • The filaments represent the crown of thorns.
I worked on another mixed media painting the last couple of weeks and I just ended this one today; it's painted on a 10"x10" canvasboard, with layers of book pages, gesso, acrylics, white ink, black ink, and metallic acrylic paint. The passion flower is all done with Acrylics, the photo is awful because the day has been too cold and there's just not enough light for a good pic. This one is going into my Etsy as well.

Here's a link to the Wikipedia page if you wish to read more on the Passion Flower.

Hearts Everywhere...

I had promised myself I would cut back in my swaps this year, but then again there are so many cool swaps I want to get my hands into that this is getting pretty difficult to do. These are cards I made for a Mixed Media Heart at AFA (I hadn't even signed up to the swap I hope I'm in, otherwise I'll have these available for trading!). I used canvas paper for my bases and I added different layers, they all have an altered magazine image, acrylics, gesso, metallic acrylic paint, black ink, and white ink.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pick-a-Theme Cards

In a Pick-a-Theme trade (PAT) you create a card for each person in the group based on their theme. I had fun with this month's PAT, they had to be all hand-drawn and I got amazing artists in my group, here are my cards for them.
Angel for Martha (SeekingForArt)
Ink and pastels over book page

Skull for Sarah (TheMuppet)
Ink and pastels over a book page

Flowering tree
for Shirley (Lilbad)
Ink, pastels,
wax crayon over book page

Turquoise/Brown for Sarah (OriginalYouth)
Acrylics over book page

And finally a host card for Carole
Altered magazine image

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Partner Trades

I'm an ATC fan! I found an online forum on September '07 and I was hooked from the beginning, it has been an awesome experience because I've met some of the most friendly, creative, funny, and sometimes a bit crazy people around the world. I have traded and collected awesome art, made some great friends, and had the chance to learn more about art and my own process in creating it throughout this time. Last year in one of my regular hangouts, ATCs for All -AFA-, a new type of trade was set up; it's a monthly trade where you are set up blindly with another member, and you create a card especially for that member. It's a great way to trade with new people and try your hand at unusual themes. My January partner trade in AFA was Dawn (AKA Upwiththesun) and I made her a coffee ATC, it has a music sheet, way crayon, gesso, sharpie, stamps, gold pen, hand drawn image, collaged butterfly and ink.

This month a similar trade was set up in Mail Art World -MAW- and I got paired up with my dear pal Shirley (AKA Lilbad); she loves sheep, so I made a queen sheep for her! This one has scrapbooking paper, asian paper, embossed paper, hand drawn image, magazine text, sharpies, and wax crayon

Click here to see their galleries

Dawn's Gallery

Shirley's Gallery (MAW)
Shirley's Gallery (AFA)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Art Goodness

Art Trader Magazine #5 is out!
This is an amazing web based publication full of awesome mail art, great inspiration and interesting tips and how-to articles. All of the awesome art has been created by the artists of

Check out all the great eye candy in this edition!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Yellow Rose

I had a trade set up in Illustrated ATCs with Bonnie (Balletbon) for a 4"x4" rose, and with the holidays and job hunting I'd been dragging my feet with trades and swaps. Inspiration finally came today and I worked on a yellow rose for her based in one of the pics I took from my Mom's roses (read previous post). I chose the yellow rose because yellow roses carry such a beautiful meaning of sunshine and general happiness. I used watercolor paper, watercolors and white ink for this.

You can take a look at the beautiful Sunflower Bonnie did for me here.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mom's Roses

Ok, it's time to boast a bit about my Mom, as I've told you before she has an extraordinary green thumb, but the funny thing is that whenever we visit a nursery to get more plants she acts like a child looking at baseball cards "I have this one...I don't have one in that color...Oh, I need this one" Among her favorite flowers are roses and we have quite a few of those in our terrace, unfortunately we had to get our roof fixed in December and the poor roses paid quite a high are pics from few of the survivors.

I on the othe hand do NOT have a green thumb...and I'm kind of banned of anything to do with the flowers lest I'll accidentally kill them... So I consider myself to have a colorful thumb instead and stick to painting them instead of planting them. Here's my latest inspiration coming straight from my Mom's roses; it has several layers of paint, gesso, paper, ink, texture, etc and a hand drawn and painted acrylic rose on top. It measures 10"x10" and is painted on canvas board. You can find it in my Etsy store.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Flowers Everywhere

January can mean cold and lots of snow for many of you, but in Guate you can go really crazy with the weather; we can start with a very cold morning, work out to a hot afternoon and start getting cold again by early evening, this is why colds are so hard to shake off! The positive side of this weird weather is the fact that flowers seem to love it and you can find flowers all around you. This pic was taken in my own house (my mom has an extraordinary green thumb), this vine is called tumbralgia (let me know if you know its name in English) and it has taken over the whole backyard in just over a couple of months. (Mystery solved!! It is called a "clock vine". Thanks Jean for the info)All the wonderful colors around have inspired me to create a set of bookmarks with floral designs, here are some of them. They are for sale in my Etsy shop, so come by and take a look!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Why Springtime Inspired

am 28 years old and have been getting more inspired to create art for the last 3 years. A while ago I started thinking in where my inspiration comes from when I'm creating; and I now realize that most of it comes from my daily life and the great love I have of my country. I'm from Guatemala and although it's a small country (yeah, most people cannot say where it is!) it is full of beautiful landscapes, exotic flora and fauna, interesting traditions, soothing music, savory aromas and great things to discover each day. One of the things I love the most about it is the great weather we have; we only have two seasons -summer and winter- and this is why Guate is also know as the Land of the Eternal Spring, it is always green and with flowers blooming all year round, anyways this is where Springtime Inspired comes from. I hope to share more of my country with you and to keep trying to translate this extraordinary small country into my art.