Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit

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Friday Featured Artist: Finnabair

They say it’s nice to share. So with that in mind, I’m starting this new feature-The Friday Featured Artist-a periodic blog post on Fridays on a new-to-me-artist.

Today’s featured artist is Anna Dabrowska also known as Finnabair. She is an artist originally from Poland now living in Ireland. I love her melding of Steampunk, mixed media, and collage, and her use of color.

Check out Finnabair’s blog and portfolio here.


Frida Inspired Angel

Life has a curious way of distracting us from our other plans. Such as it is with my attempts at blogging on a more consistent basis. However you might define consistent.

Anyways, I finally put my butt in the chair and uploaded the rest of the pictures for my Frida-inspired angel. This is the angel created in the first lesson of Kara Bullock’s “Angels Among Us” online workshop. You can see the first installment here.

Picking up where the previous post left off, here are more work-in-progress (WIP) images and the finished piece.

The initial layers of her face, hair and halo have been painted. Now it was time to sketch in her shoulders, torso, necklace, and wings.

Then came the color of her necklace, dress, and texture for her wings. And a few more tweaks to her face and neck. Of course.

I found a picture of Frida online and in it she is wearing this groovy necklace made of crocheted flowers. That became my inspiration for the necklace in this painting.

At some point, you have to stop focusing on the little details and move on to the background. It’s really easy to obsess over the little details. I lost count of how many layers of paint are on her face. Or how long it took to paint in her hair, adjust the width of each row, and make sure each section landed evenly on both sides of her head.

With the background painted, she really started to pop off of the canvas and the painting finally felt like it was coming together.


An Eye Popping Background

From this point I focused on finishing her necklace and making some final adjustments to her dress and face. She had finally come together and I was super happy with how she looked.


Frida-inspired Angel (cropped)


Frida-inspired Angel (iPhone version)

I even pulled out my Nikon to take a few pictures of this piece. I’m a little rusty on taking art photos with a digital camera in manual mode. And the location where I set up this painting and my equipment wasn’t ideal. However, the resulting images give a slightly different “feel” to the painting; a more “aged” icon kind of look.


Frida-inspired Angel (Nikon version 1)


Frida-inspired Angel (Nikon version 2)

Since this painting was finished, I’ve completed a second lesson creating an angel using watercolors and am in the process of working on another angel using acrylics. I’ll share those with you after the Thanksgiving holiday.


A New Angel On The Scene

Dropping in here to share my progress on the first Angel I’m creating in Kara Bullock’s Angels Among Us online workshop. The workshop features 6 artists and 12 weeks of inspired creations.

First, here is the sketch of my angel’s face. She looks good on paper. However, will she look the same or even bear any resemblance to this drawing once I put paint onto the canvas?

Angel Face Sketch

Angel Face Sketch

Instead of hoping I might be able to draw her face free-hand on the canvas, I opted to transfer the original sketch directly onto the canvas. Painting her face is challenge enough.

Sketch Transferred to Canvas

Sketch Transferred to Canvas

Okay, first layer of paint and you can see some resemblance to the sketch. Right? Some sort of modern abstract contemporary thing going on here. Face it (haha, no pun intended. Maybe), this is ugly stage. I am digging her turquoise nose however.

First layer of paint

First layer of paint

More layers. Now she’s kind of rockin’ a Picasso look with that dramatic dark eye.

More layers

More layers

At this point I feel like she has too many layers of paint on her face and I need to move onto a different aspect of the painting. Onto adding her hair and a halo. Just because.

Face, Hair, and Halo

Face, Hair, and Halo

Here is what I’ve learned so far.

  • Using a combination of Liquitex and Golden Fluid acrylic paints may not be the best idea.
  • Be careful if you dampen your paintbrush with water, dry it, then paint again. You will pull up a layer (or layers) paint. Then Angel face looks like she has age marks on her cheeks.
  • Put enough paint on your palette. This is still a challenge for me. I seem to have this mental block between squeezing enough paint onto my palette, not wanting to waste paint, and seeing dollar symbols rise from the paint puddle. You know the issue: “I paid a lot of money for this paint. I can’t waste it!”
  • Using a paint extender can counteract the above problem. And, covering the left over paint with some plastic wrap kept it viable for painting later or the next day.

Angel Face still has a ways to go. I’m way behind in this online workshop. Haven’t even attempted the other lessons yet. Fortunately, we have “lifetime” access to the videos. Maybe I’ll be all caught up by the end of the year.


An Angel Appears

The month of September has come and gone. And with it we officially entered a new phase of life. Gone is the home we lived in for 12.5 years. Sold to a new family who seem to really love it and want to make it their own. It was a busy and stressful month with lots of back and forth between the old homestead and the new, moving out all those things we didn’t need, bringing home items that we wanted, and donating, selling, and tossing stuff in the trash.

Now it is time to breath and get back to the studio.

Today I want to share a newish painting that I created in over summer. In my last post, I mentioned a free tutorial offered by Kara Bullock . This angel painting was inspired by Kara’s tutorial. It is not the subject of her tutorial. I didn’t want to create the exact same thing and simply used it as a springboard for this piece.

An Angel Appears

Since I was thinking about taking Kara’s online class “Angels Among Us” I decided to try my hand at creating an angel painting. I combined some of Kara’s techniques with techniques learned in other classes. Here is the result.

I almost always consider the beginning (and sometimes the middle) of a painting to be the ugly phase. An angel is no exception.

At this point I was relearning how to draw and paint faces. The errors in my face sketch became more evident when I started painting on the details. Eyes too close. Flat features. Asymmetrical. Oh well. It was a good time to move my attention to her gown and wings.

I didn’t realize the challenge of creating angel wings with feathers. When I first added the feather detail, her wings looked like they were hijacked by Spiderman. A fair amount of white paint and paint marker did the trick. More work on her face and her hair. Then, all of a sudden, a pretty angel emerged from the canvas.

Nearly finished...

Nearly finished…

A few final details on her sash and repeating the color around the neckline of her gown really pulled this piece together.

An Angel Appears

An Angel Appears

I did sign up to take Kara’s workshop, “Angels Among Us” and recently started working on the first lesson. I’ll share the results of those pieces in the coming weeks.



One reason I haven’t posted much in recent weeks is that I’ve been spending a bit more time in my studio. Yay me!

Since we’ve moved, the transition to a new home, getting settled, traveling, waiting for my studio space to be completed, all impacted my ability to engage in creative activities.

Once my new space was finished and I had unpacked and set up my work areas, I poked around at some things here and there, but simply was not feeling the pull to get my butt into the studio.

I stopped working with polymer clay last year and was not feeling inclined to pick it up again. I’ve taken a couple online painting classes with Flora Bowley and Pixie Lighthorse. Both were enjoyable. I learned some new approaches to painting and felt a new release of my creative muse.

Yet something still felt “off.” I’ve been dabbling with this intuitive painting approach yet still didn’t feel it quite coming all together.

A Shimmer of Light

During the WordPress Blogging 101 course we were given a task to find new blogs to like and follow. It must’ve been through that assignment that I came across Kara Bullock’s site and her upcoming online course, Angels Among Us. I’d been thinking that I wanted try my hand at painting faces on my intuitive painting canvases. Not necessarily portraiture. But something a bit more detailed than the simple faces or the faceless beings that were appearing in some of my pieces.

Kara offers a free online tutorial when you sign up for her newsletter. That gave me enough motivation to set the wheels in motion.

From there I discovered, through a different artist’s blog post, Dina Wakley’s video for drawing and painting faces.

Now the lid on the box where my creative muse had been lurking was blown off. Combining some of Kara’s instruction with what I learned from Dina’s videos, I started drawing and painting faces with more intention.

Then, on one of my rabbit hole trips on Google and, I came across Pam Carriker’s book Mixed Media Portraits. Ruh-oh George. Our library didn’t carry her book so I did the next best thing. I ordered a copy from Amazon.

The Eyes Have It

Now I’ve got a basic understanding on how to draw faces. We spent quite a bit of time drawing them in my four years of high school art classes. But skills get rusty when not used or maintained.

So, for about a week, I took time each day to draw a face from my imagination.

First, a sketch that was done about 3 weeks after I started watching Kara’s videos. This was created during a weekly sketching group using a live model.

Sketching Group Live Model

Sketching Group Live Model

Here is a face sketched after watching Dina Wakley’s video. I watched the video again while drawing this face.

Face Drawn Using D.W.'s Video Guidance

Face Drawn Using D.W.’s Video Guidance

Here is a face I drew following Pam Carricker’s directions.

Face Drawn Following P.C's Guidance

Face Drawn Following P.C’s Guidance

Below are the same sketches side-by-side for comparison.

And here are a weeks worth of face sketches.

Face Practice 1

Face Practice 1

Face Practice 2

Face Practice 2

I didn’t use much shading until the final practice sketch. This does give her face a bit more depth and definition. Through this practice I noticed some similarities in the faces; the longish noses, the tiny lips. The only face that was drawn while looking at a picture of someone is the first face on Face Practice 2. It really does help to have some sort of reference because most of the other faces all seem to have a serious look and a blank stare.

Now I plan to spend time sketching just eyes, noses, and lips. It seems as I get better at drawing one facial component, the other parts suffer. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pull all the facial components together in due time. Practice, practice, practice.


Getting Sketchy

Well, I haven’t been quite as dedicated to the 31-Day Drawing Challenge as I intended. I find the task of beginning and sticking with a practice, just about any practice, to be more and more challenging as I get older. Which seems to be the opposite of what I thought would happen. You know, you get older, have more time, more wisdom, so starting something and sticking with it should be easier.

At least that is the impression I picked up somewhere on this journey.

But I digress from the point of this post. And that is to share the latest sketches that I have completed as part of the 31-Day Challenge (which, incidentally, ended with the month of August. But who’s counting? Not me. Obviously.)

“Nest:” Trying not to be too literal and go with the first thing most people might think of, a bird’s nest, I opted for a picture of Nesting Dolls as my inspiration. Perspective was much more challenging to capture.



“Breeze”: How does one interpret this prompt?



“Warmth”: This prompt brings to mind several images. I went with something quick and used colors as inspiration.



“Forest”: Can you see the forest through the trees?



“Rain”: I’m not sure if I would’ve created this drawing in this manner if I had not visited the Van Gogh exhibit at The Clark Museum. It was in that exhibit where I saw Van Gogh’s depiction of rain as inspired by Japanese paintings (which inspired one of his paintings.)



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On Using Our Hands

…”she connects the importance of using our hands with the way in which we understand and find value in ourselves and in others. There’s something so honest and pure about her thought — that we gain a deeper, more meaningful relationship with our own humanity and our greater world by using our hands.”

I wanted to share this post from the OnBeing blog. I was deeply touched by Renate Hiller’s words. I agree with her in that we have, at times, lost our connection to each other, the earth and spirit by not using our hands as technology becomes more and more commonplace. Whether used to create, to heal, to touch, to hold, our hands, as editor Trent Gilliss states, grounds us.

Engage with your hands. Put down the technology. Make something. Dig in the dirt. Clasp them together. Shake your hands in the air like you just don’t care!

A World Through The Hands


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