Thursday, March 31, 2011

Original Mandala Art: Sun at the Center for sale on Etsy

I have been working with this color palette for quite some time. It was originally inspired by my love for a particular kind of quartz crystal called Ametrine. Ametrine is a combination of citrine and amethyst. Pieces I've seen are usually a light purple with small spots of orangeish hue. It's just so pretty...

Palette for this piece is red, orange, magenta, black, white, and a very warm yellow. In person, yellow center is slightly warmer than it appears on my screen.

Sun at the Center was created with artist grade acrylic paints, black acrylic gesso and white gel pen on a 6x6" Ampersand Gessoboard with a 1/8" thickness. Made from sustainable forest products that ensure the protection of wildlife, plants, soil and water, Gessobord is formaldehyde-free and contains no harmful volatile organic compounds. This piece was lightly sprayed with a sealant.

Piece has been signed on the rear of the image and is ready to be framed, matted, or displayed on a small easel.

Buy this piece of my original art on Etsy.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Inexpensive Art Inspiration

For my birthday last year, I treated myself to a pair of these old art auction catalogs that I found at a local antique co-op. I liked them so much I went back and bought two more. The vendor had 4 bookcases filled with them and ever so patiently, I looked through every title searching for the best ones to showcase my favorite contemporary artists.

I spent a whopping $16 for these 4 books - each densely packed with images in both black and white and color covering a wide variety of artists. Each image is cataloged with the artists name, date, materials used and an estimated selling price. With all of the art inspiration found inside? These were a bargain!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dolphin Watercolor


Fiddling around with my watercolors, this sort of just "happened." White doodles were done with a gel pen. Black from a marker.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Original Mandala Art: Big Bright Breath for sale on Etsy

Photos just can't do this piece justice. This mandala is *exploding* with color and energy. Created over a period of a year and a half, it started as a watercolor piece that sat until it was ready to be combined with numerous additional layers of colors and details. The center mandala "petals" are coated with gloss medium which give them additional shine and *pop*. Colored pencil petroglyphs blend into the background layers while the foreground just leaps off the page.

"Big Bright Breath" is a mixed media piece. Created on 9 1/2 x 11 1/2" Clairefontaine Acrylic fine art paper, I used artist grade watercolors and acrylic paints, colored pencils and white gel pen. It is signed on the front and is ready for you to frame or mat.

Buy this piece of my original art on Etsy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

A while back, I purchased one of Daniel Smith's Try It samplers. From my experience, Daniel Smith makes the best artist grade watercolor paints, Period. Super vibrant & highly pigmented, I've said this before. If I was going to start all over again buying watercolor paints, I would have bought all Daniel Smith products.

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

This is how the sheets came, and I wanted to test them in some kind of organized way so I cut them apart-

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

Then stapled them to small pieces of heavy weight rough handmade Indian watercolor paper. (I used rough so I could see the way the paint would lay on the surface and in the nooks and crannies.)

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

There wasn't really enough of the Interference samples for me to get a good idea how they would work. I have some interference acrylics from DS that i like, but have not yet tried any of the watercolors.

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

The Iridescent paints were okay, but I can't see an immediate use for them.

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

A few earthy colors that didn't do much for me. Like the purple a little.

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

Again, barely enough of the Duochrome & Pearlescent samples to adequately judge them. Bummer. Really wanted to check out those top two as well...

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

These are "Hues." A hue is a synthetic alternative to the real thing, (often due to price.) and typically do not look as good as these. I prefer to use the real thing when available.

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

I *LOVE* the DS Quinacridone paints. From the DS site: "Turn your palette from ordinary to extraordinary! Quinacridones combine the power of the staining pigments with the luminosity of the transparents. They flow beautifully for extremely smooth washes, have incredible depth of color and can be lifted easily while still wet. Quinacridone watercolors are exceptionally strong yet transparent. They're ideal for glazing and many artists use them as vibrant replacements for earth colors."

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

"No other colors have both the intensity and transparency of the quinacridone family. They are synthetic organic pigments, created in the world’s most advanced color laboratories. Minuscule pigment particles are exceptionally uniform in size and shape, which translates to unfailing behavior in the paint."

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

And now on to the Prima Tek samples; unique paints made with pure, authentic mineral pigments mined directly from the earth. I don't have any of these, (they can get a little pricey) so I was eager to try them. This batch was nice, but not really anything I'd use.

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

Nice colors, many of these tend to be on the light side.

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

I'll stick with SAP and Hooker's Green, thanks.

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

This batch offered up a fascinating combination - though I still think I'd be hard pressed to use such light colors in what I do.

Daniel Smith Watercolor Sampler

Can you see the sparkles in the Sugilite?

I had fun playing with the samples, but didn't really find anything I'd want to buy outside a few of the Quinacridone colors that I don't already have.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



I create a lot of art. "Lots and lots of them." - Raymond Babbit

It's actually pretty unusual for me to get attached to a piece but well, here's one of them and once again, it didn't turn out as I expected. I wasn't patient enough to mix the color of blue I was imagining but who cares. This is great! Live & learn from our happy accidents.


It's painted on a heavyweight Indian handmade watercolor paper. The paper has great texture which is why I like to use it.(Can you see the face?)


Super bright artist grade acrylic paint colors like Cadmium Red Deep, Cadmium Orange, Diarylide Yellow, Cerulean Blue Deep and Pthalo Blue (RS) from Golden make this piece just POP!


By playing around with the paint, I managed to create this three dimensional effect that looks like some kind of old stone carving.


This piece makes me very happy. If I can find a good way to reproduce it, I will consider selling the original.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Scraps for my Inspiration Book


Before tossing any magazine, catalog or piece of junk mail, I look it over to see if there are any interesting bits for my inspiration book. I've been keeping a cheap composition book filled with such bits for the last 6 or so years. It's relaxing to snip out the bits and the same to match them up by color, texture, design, etc. It's fun and I sometimes I had a huge old wooden table to spread it all out on and play...

Friday, March 18, 2011

So I've got these sticks....

Driftwood Sticks

Last fall while visiting with my friend Jen in Findley Lake, I drove a few miles up the road to Northeast, PA and wandered the beach of Lake Erie gathering up these amazing pieces of driftwood.

Strange as it may sound, this was my first time really seeing driftwood in any kind of abundance. Instinctively knowing that I would put them to some crafty good use, I bought them home and now they await a project.

I used one of the sticks in the above picture. These are whatever you want them to be. Magic wands, Talking Sticks. or simply decoration. Pieces of leather, a coil of copper, feathers from the craft store pretty, pretty yarns and crystals. Quartz in the one, Danburite in the other.

I'm thinking of making more like these- maybe painting a few.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kick-Ass Creativity

Kick-Ass Creativity

This book is absolute kick-ass.

Even the most creative of people can use the occasional kick in the rear so they can move on to the next stage of their journey because all in all, a lack of inspiration leads to stagnation.

This book was not at all what I expected and exactly everything I needed. It is quite in alignment with books such as The Secret, or Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires and Creative Visualization. It encourages the creative soul to closely examine their core beliefs as a way to achieve their desired outcome. Like attracts like and attitude IS everything. While reading the book, on more than one occasion I wanted to scream out "Yes Mary Beth, Yes! Right on the Nose!" and highlighted sections with notes that say "This is freaking phenomenal!"

I am admittedly on a very conscious path of personal progression/transformation and am an artist/writer/teacher. This book resonates deeply with me- right where I am in looking to move on to that next step. (Or sort out my many steps.) All of the exercises are optional but I found I learned a lot about my methodologies by taking the time to work on them.

If you are open to the idea of the power of positive thinking, this book is for you. If you are not ready for an upbeat spiritual cheerleader to guide you to the next level of your creativity, that's okay too.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Learning a New Language

Learning a new language

This isn't how I imagined this piece turning out at all... But it's so awesome, I love it! Very different from my norm, which is why I called it, "Learning a new language."

Learning a new language - WIP

I started off with a Blick canvas panel which I primed with Blick black gesso. I then applied what I had intended to be thinly layered blue blocks but I got impatient with my lack of patience for mixing the appropriate colors and also for not applying the paint in thinner layers. At this point I wanted to paint over the whole thing.

Learning a new language - WIP

But instead I pushed on, growing frustrated at how I was wasting paint on this inevitable disaster. I had stopped here and showed it to my husband. I told him I didn't know what to do with it. As I was yammering on and on about my frustration over the piece, a tiny voice inside my head said the word, "Symbols" and fortunate for me, I was focused enough to catch it and that was that.

Learning a new language - WIP

First came the dividing lines, then the random symbols. (All made up on the spot.) I could have left it alone but I knew there was more I could do.

Learning a new language

White gel pen. Now it's complete. I am looking into having prints made from this piece. I will let you know once they are available. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Original Art: Red Girl Rising

Red Girl Rising
Red is the color of action. This red girl is simply vibrating with creative energy. Is she reaching? Stretching? Dancing? Celebrating? I'm not sure, but she is certainly inspiring to behold.

I started painting small figures such as these about six years ago and they have been popping up in my art ever since. What began as a few small movements with a watercolor brush, has become one of my favorite artistic elements regardless of the media I choose to depict them in. I call them "Spirit People."

Piece is matted within a white archival 8x10" mat which has a black core. You can pop this piece into a standard size frame.

"Red Girl Rising" was created with Blick Matte Acrylic Paints, Liquitex Black Gesso and a White Gel Pen on 5x7" bright white Fabriano Artistico hot press watercolor paper. It is signed on the front and is ready for you to frame.

Purchase this one of a kind piece of my original art on Etsy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Big Ones


Do you want to radically start changing your life? Yes? Then pay close attention to these things whether or not you hold them against yourself, or against others. This whole idea started for me when a wise woman I met last year in Ohio told me to stop using words like "should" and "need" as they were unhelpful judgments against ourselves. (That we haven't yet done this or that.) She suggested I declare, "Today I release all judgments past, present and future."

Boy oh boy, did that ever click into place. I'm not saying that I don't still falter but when you become aware of the habit, pattern or behavior you wish to change, you are already on the path to change it.

Hanging out with these Judgments, I found a few of its siblings: Conditions, Resentments, and Expectations. Why not toss them all out the window? I really don't need any of them. Seriously.

I just want to make clear that I am not speaking of any kind of actions surrounding forgiveness because that's a whole different discussion for another day. All I'm suggesting is that you abandon self limiting behaviors which arise in the form of judgments, expectations, conditions and resentments.

Just for today, let them go. Notice how much lighter you already feel? You can do it again tomorrow if you like. :o)

Have you read this post? If no, now might be a good time.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fee Bean Art: Buy Original Biffybeans Art on Etsy

I have heard you loud and clear and I want to thank you. You have asked to purchase my original art and I am happy to comply. I now have a shop called Fee Bean Art on Etsy where you can purchase my original art.No reproductions at this time, this is all the real deal. Original Biffybeans Mandalas, Spirit People, Handalas and Handoodles in watercolor, marker, pen & ink, acrylic.... Pretty pieces to decorate and motivational art to inspire.

All credit cards are accepted via PayPal and US shipping is free on many pieces. New pieces are constantly being added, check back soon!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kindle Love: Highlighting on the fly

Kindle Love: Highlighting on the fly

I really love my Kindle.

I was never one to write down quotes or note favorite passages, but with the Kindle, I can highlight my favorite passages in a book and return to them any time. I tend to read fast and sometimes forget a lot of what I've read and there are times when I *know* there was something good in such and such a book but what was it? This makes it so easy, and you can share them with others and also see other popular highlights in a book by activating that option in the Kindle's settings.

As I've probably mentioned a million times prior, I am a big fan of Stephen King and now and again I come across a passage in one of his books that really hits the mark and to be able to look back on something like that instantly draws me back into the book as if into a time warp.

"Wolf, tell me something: am I the herd now?"


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Holding My Power Instead of Wasting It

Holding my power... not wasting it

I think it's in my nature to want to help people. But what does it really mean, "to help"? Call me intuitive or observant, I can sometimes look at a situation (someone else's situation - never my own) and see an extremely clear answer on how to solve it. What has taken me a lifetime to realize, is that knowing this answer is not always helpful. Imagine being given the answer to a difficult math problem. Ok, swell, you have the answer, problem solved, right? Wrong. Because without knowing how to get to get to the answer, what did you learn? When I think back on all of the difficult situations I've encountered in my life, if someone had given me a clear cut "do this to achieve this" I'm not even sure I would have listened because I'm stubborn- I mean, who ever really wants to be told what to do?

For years and years I've been offering unsolicited advice. I've complicated many a friendship by not understanding how much better it would have been for me to keep my mouth shut and simply listen. But I've grown older- and a tiny speck wiser and learned that this wisdom has been gained by learning when to speak and when to stay silent. Discretion being the better part of valor...

In a recent discussion with a good friend, our talk centered around this very subject - the offering of unsolicited advice. He said to me, " I used to do that, but now I hold my power. I don't waste it." It took me a moment to understand what he was saying. At first it sounded like he didn't care, which was odd because I know him to be a very caring and compassionate individual. I then saw that this was like any other unhelpful habit or pattern. It was not serving his highest good and he decided to reclaim his power by letting it go. Fabulous! Right then and there I decided to take mine back as well. Not that I would abandon my desire to help people, but that I would now start to pay closer attention to whether or not I am being asked for advice or if I am simply feeding off of a need to "fix" someone as a way to distract me from my own work.

It is definitely time for me to start focusing that attention inward...

Can any of you relate to this from either side of the equation? 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Always Be You!

Mandala Doodle

Am I afraid to be who I really am?
Why must we always worry about what other people think of us?
Must remember law of attraction - what you put out you get back
Be authentic & you will draw others to you
Live freely
Believe in yourself & the world will too
Take risks
Nothing happens when you don't show up
When you stifle your creativity and put on airs
Be you
Always be you
You are loved


Monday, March 7, 2011

Art on Black Paper 5: Painting it Black

Work in progress

Gesso is an flat acrylic paint primer typically used to prime canvases for applications of additional paint. I say typical because that's not really how I use it. I'm a big fan of working with light colored media on black paper but once I discovered the way art journalers use black gesso on a regular journal page, I knew this would be a great alternative.

I've tried the Bob Ross, Liquitex and Blick brands of black gesso. The Bob Ross & Liquitex are fluid while the Blick is thicker. Of the three, I prefer the Liquitex, a deeper darker black than the Bob Ross, and thinner and easier to use with small brushes than the thicker Blick product. The Blick gesso seems to take longer to dry than the other two and also has a fairly strong odor while the other two do not.

When painting pages with it, I use a sponge brush which allows me to apply the paint in a nice thin layer. I was kind of sloppy with some of the sketchbooks above and had to carefully separate the following several pages because they had been somewhat "glued" together at the edges. (Blick)

Mikey's Drum

While visiting friends in Virginia, my friend Mike Deaton asked me to paint one of his drums and I used the Liquitex and a thin liner brush to paint this design. The gesso is supposedly permanent on any non oil based surface and this Remo frame drum has a synthetic head. Mike was going to use the drum primarily for decoration so I can't say whether or not the paint is coming off through playing. If you want to paint a drum of your own, (or someone else's) please do a little research first to avoid disappointment.

Affirmation Word Mandala

An example of applying the gesso to a page in my Webbie journal and doodling with a white gel pen.

Purple Spirit People

Example of painting with the gesso and then doodling over that.

Before finding the black gesso, I worked with different media on black paper. Here are a few examples of that work: 

Art on Black Paper - Part 1
Art on Black Paper - Part 2 
Art on Black Paper - Part 3
Art on Black Paper 4 : Silver on Black 

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