Thursday, October 06, 2011

Mermaids, cats and dryads

It's about time I update, since there are three new paintings. Prints of all are now available. If you are interested in originals please inquire by email.

Morning Glory Fairy - 5x7 watercolor

This fairy was inspired by the morning glory flowers in my garden. All summer I waited for flowers to bloom. Finally the purple plants did in July, and I thought the blue flowers never would. The blue plants looked thin and stunted, and nowhere near the size of the others. One of them finally had a bloom in august, and the flower was 3 times the size of the purples and stayed out all day. Of course it needed a cat with matching blue eyes.

Morning Glory Fairy Prints

morning glory fairy

Curiosity - 2x16 watercolor

I don't often paint mermaids because I always come up against the same problem - What are they doing? This mermaid was looking at something, probably a bubble before I found some amazing jellyfish photos and was inspired.

Curiosity - Mermaid and Jellyfish prints

jellyfish mermaid

Forest Dryad Portrait - 5x8 watercolor
A beautiful face peeks out through autumn leaves and branches.

Dryad Prints

dryad portrait

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

2012 Woodland Fancies Calendar

2012 Calendars are now available on my site.

Instead of going through Zazzle this year, I've had a small print run made. This allowed me to to make some nice upgrades. The entire calendar is on thick cardstock and ring bound. The date pages have a nice parchment style background rather than white and added features Moon Phases, and holidays including Fairy Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day, and birthdays of Hans Christian Anderson and 19th century fairy tale artists. Go here to see more of the inside pages.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Fantasy art tote bags set 1

I posted my current stock of handmade tote bags in my Etsy shop. My next show is on the 19th, so anything that doesn’t sell before then I will remove and take to Anime World Chicago.

Each bag is sewn by me with custom canvas fabric featuring one of my illustrations, and lined in a matching cotton fabric. More designs coming in the future, little by little. Right now there are only one or two of each available (and only one actually finished)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chai Teas - What's the difference?

First of all, "chai" means tea in India. It is usually made with a blend of spices, tea and milk. "Oregan Chai" did not invent it, and is less like the original than most bagged chai teas.

I've tried a couple of ways to make my own chai tea. Spices can either be mixed and added separately or you can find a bagged tea of your preferred spice level.

Ready-made spice mixes:

These can sometimes be found in the bulk section of a grocery store or boxed at an Indian grocery. If you see something called Masala Spice or Garam Masala, don't be fooled into think it is for tea, because it has spices that are better for curries. Masala Chai or a box with tea on it is the label you should look for:

MDH T-Plus Masala
Badshah Kamal Tea Masala

Spice mixes are meant to be brewed wit the tea, not mixed into your tea cup. It's very easy to go overboard adding it to a cup. Spice can be added to a mesh tea ball or strainer with black tea leaves and steeped with the tea. The first time I bought spices, I didn't know this and put a whole teaspoon in my cup which was like drinking hot black pepper.

For something closer to what you'd find in Indian restaurant, put your tea leaves and spice in a tea ball or fillable tea bag and brew in a pot on the stove directly in a mix of water and milk (bagged tea will work just fine too, but you may need more than one). I usually use 1 cup of milk to 1 1/2 cups of water. Honey or sugar can be added as you like.

Making your own spice mix:

Using a list of the spices traditionally used, find them in a grocery store and make your own mix. Some of the spices will probably come whole and need to be ground. My favorite recipe came from a Steampunk blog and involved grinding and roasting the spices in a pan before using: Kagashi's Kitchen: Masala Chai Mix

Pre-mixed loose and bagged teas:

If you prefer a pre spiced tea, there are many available. There is a lot of variation in brands of chai tea and the recipes used at coffee shops. For a long time I wanted to make a list of the spiciest to the blandest in my opinion, so here goes.


• Your Local Indian restaurant's chai will probably come mixed with milk, but without any sweetener.

Frontier Organics Chai A loose tea with fine ground spices mixed in. Needs to be strained well before drinking. Can be found at some Rainbow and Copps stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Stash Double Spice Chai Spicier than their regular Chai bags.


Yogi Tea Chai Yogi and Stash seemed pretty similar to me.

Stash Chai Stash carries both, bagged and loose online. The bags can sometimes be found in locally.

Celestial Seasonings India Spice Chai Can become very spicy if left to steep a long time or with more than one bag.

Bigelow Chai

Tea Source's Reena's Chai A loose tea.


Tazo Chai Tea bags

Adagio Masala Chai Tea

Teavana Chai


• Starbucks Coffee - As far as I know uses Oregan Chai concentrate, which is good if you like sugary pumpkin pie flavor, without a lot of spice. This was probably the first chai I encountered, so I can't say it's horrible.

• Oregan Chai mix - This is a liquid concentrate that Starbucks and a lot of coffee shops use. It's already sweetened (a lot), so if you prefer less sugar it's probably better to brew your own another way.

• Caribou Coffee - The last time I had a Caribou Chai, I saw the sign that said "New Milder Flavor!" too late. That was the last time I drank any. They decided Minnesotans couldn't handle spice and replaced it with hot nutmeg water.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Glow Fairy

This glowing moth-winged fairy watercolor was painted almost entirely at Anime Central this year. It is 4x5.5 inches in watercolor and ink.

The original painting is for sale on Etsy.


Below are some step by step photos I took while painting over 3 days.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fanciful Notions - A Victorian Sewing Fairy

I imagine this fairy is having a wonderful daydream of the fancy fashions she wants to create. She wears and appropriate outfit, complete with a hat that takes the shape of a pin cushion and measuring tape ribbon, and wings made of sewing scissors and lace.

Fine art prints of Fanciful Notions are now available. Scroll down for a detail image of the painting. Many of the details are too small to see at web size unfortunately.



Home is Where My Cat Naps

Truer words were never spoken, and often my cat's favorite napping spot is directly on top of what I am working on. There is nothing like cat to make you feel at home.


Fine Art prints of Home is Where My Cat Naps are now available. Head over to my zazzle shop for Tshirts, mugs and bags featuring this painting.

A photo from the work in progress stage:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The art of aceos - new and improved!

I've been working on improving my ACEO cards. I have always printed them on 4x6 paper to allow me to mat them for shows. Many people at art shows I attend do not know what aceos are, or the shows require that I display prints in mats. So until now I trimmed them down for customers who requested it.

Slavic costume girl ACEO print/card

I recently learned that the cards will fit in trading card sleeves, even with a tiny border included. All new cards will be trimmed and mounted on heavy archival watercolor paper. The thickness gives card a really nice feeling.

ACEO card close up

You can still find them untrimmed and matted at any of the shows I do, or if you'd like to use a larger frame simply request "untrimmed" with your order.

Matted ACEO - it's not art without a kitty.

Here are a few ACEO cards made from details of larger fantasy paintings that are now available. All my available ACEOs are listed here.

ACEO prints

If you don't know what an aceo is, you can find more information at

"ACEO stands for "Art Cards, Editions and Originals". These cards have one main rule - they are 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches - the size of a trading card."

ACEO Art cards can be open or limited edition prints, or original paintings and drawings. The only rule is that they should be 2.5x3.5 inches in size. They will fit in tiny wallet size photo frames, trading card sleeves or collectable card binder pages. Art cards can be displayed as a group in one frame or group of small frames on a wall, kept in a wallet, used as a bookmark or traded with friends.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chinese Zodiac - Year of the Rabbit painting

This year I wanted to paint a companion piece to the previous year's Chinese Zodiac Tiger painting. The tiger painting was and ACEO, but that size can be pretty confining. This painting is 6x8 inches in watercolor, and inked with acrylic ink and a tiny paintbrush instead of a pen.

In China and Japan rabbits are associated with the moon. The moon is said to have a rabbit on it instead of the "man in the moon". I can't see it myself so I'll just take their word for it! Bunnies are definitely cuter.

The original painting is available on Etsy (detail pics at the link).


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Newest fantasy rubber stamps available

Sweet Pea Stamps has released quite a few new rubber stamp designs based on my work since I last wrote about it. It's been great seeing what customers create with them on stamping blogs. Everyone comes up with a unique color scheme. These two steampunk stamped cards from the blog In My Quiet Time are especially nice.

All the stamp designs available can be found here.

plate78c.jpg Plate94c.jpg

Illura - Fairy of the Moon and Stars

Illura is based on an older painting from 2005. I had always liked the character design and colors, but felt the pose drawn was awkward. I decided to paint a new version of her last winter. I turned the former art nouveau border into a theatre stage.

Fine Art Prints of Illura are available in several sizes.


Illura painting from 2005 illura_mdillman.jpg

Crazy Kitty Time

Does your cat zoom around the house at midnight chasing invisible things, leap in the air and chase her tail? It's Crazy Kitty Time, AKA The Midnight Crazies!

Perhaps the fairies are chasing them, but that's just my theory.

Fine Art Prints of Crazy Kitty Time are available in several sizes.

crazy kitty time

Saturday, February 05, 2011