Friday, August 10, 2018

Silhouettes and Shadows

There's something mysterious about silhouettes and shadows don't you think? They allow our imaginations to expand and run wild. Anything is possible since nothing can be proven. We can give a person or thing any kind of look we want; violet hair and yellow eyes, or sunset pink wings with multicolored tail feathers. Is it a ugly witch or a pretty fairy with her wings down, flying on the broomstick? And really, just what are those shadows on the moon?

I see lots of silhouettes and shadows while sketching in the wild; on sunlit leaves, running through the brush with the setting sun glowing behind them, and perched in fairy tale trees. I can guess what the creature is, but I am never really sure. And that mystery of shadow and silhouette is all part of nature's magic.

But these silhouettes should be a bit more familiar. 
But then again, one never really knows for sure.

Is this my resident hummingbird or a fairy king who has lost his crown?

It's not a fairy king missing a crown, but a duchess who finally found her bonnet.

A cardinal lurks in the mimosa tree, trying out poses for me.

This one feels flirty and right!

A catbird perches on a branch of the cherry tree, teasing the stray kitties with his calls 
while wishing for a better seat.

His wish has been granted.

A drenched robin who has forgotten his umbrella, hopes the rain will stop 
and let the flowers burst forth.

And a crow claims his spot on the tip top of the pine tree late in the day 
waiting for the masquerade party to commence.

And inside The Crooked Little House, a cat studies the silhouettes and shadows 
wishing he could join in the fun.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Rain Rain has gone away!

After weeks of rain, today offered up a bucket of sunshine; enough to encourage the fairies to grab their favorite books and tuck into the grass for an hour or two.

I didn't have time to go sketching since I have a 2 day show coming up, but I went off to a meeting with a lighter step. There were no puddles to step into or mud to adhere to my shoes.

I told the bunny he could safely put away his umbrella.

And I finally found my Itsy Bitsy who had relocated from the 
drain spout to a cozy nook near my front door.

I'm hoping the skies remain clear tonight so I can do some stargazing and perhaps have a conversation with a moon moth. Now wouldn't that be fun?

I'll be studying the sky for ideas too since this is how I want to paint my front door this fall. I've already purchased the paints. And I'll just need a few dry days.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Rain, rain... Come again another day.

Week two of steady rain day after day. Sometimes it has been so loud it filled The Crooked Little House with a roar, scaring the kitties. Yesterday, Thor was sending down bolts of lightning and stomping his feet when they missed his intended targets.

I can't get outside to do yard work or go sketching or just sit under the pergola listening to the chatter of the ever growing chimney sweeps soon to fly, fly away.

I have asked my angel to pray for a little break in the rain, for just a peek of sunshine. But she may have more important things on her mind these days.

My cupid keeps playing his flute in his sheltered spot under the dripping trumpet vines.
Nothing ever seems to get him down. Can you see him tucked in there?

Mary's sunflowers offer me the promise of golden days ahead though.

Rain pours through the downspout and the itsy bitsy has relocated to the spot
 above the garage door where its safe and dry.

So I'll be content watching the trees' reflections,

and drawing pretty parasols.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Every so often I get the urge to see my art in another format. I get tired of the usual paint on paper placed into standard sized mats and frames. Sometimes I need more. I like to stretch my boundaries a bit, do the unexpected. And I have learned to listen to my customers, telling me their walls are full, and they have no more space to display art. So I'm always looking for alternative ways to show, share and sell my work. One thing I have learned is to be successful, you must be flexible and adapt.

Ideas present themselves to me seemingly at the right time, just when I need a little challenge and fun. In the past I have placed my work into ladies compacts, made accordion fold books and created charms displaying my whimsical work. I have illustrated Christmas letters, created handmade cards and used my artwork in creating jewelry. And of course I delight in licensing my work and seeing it on all kinds of cool products.

But recently, some unusual options have presented themselves. I've been working on a couple of series using vintage tins that inspired, or rather demanded the subject matter. I was able to purchase eight Mothene tins from the 1930's at an affordable price. They were begging to house a display of Corsa designed moon moths. How could I say no?

The very next day I came across a set of vintage Distinctive Silk typewriter ribbon tins. Well of course these had to host my Itsy Bitsies; spiders for those of you that have forgotten the childhood rhyme. (Only one of them is poisonous.)

So now that the two series have been completed, I'm ready to return to the paper, mats and frames. These occasional, alternative excursions keep me inspired and fresh, helping me to look at my work with new eyes, even though I only have two of them!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Back to My Roots

I have taken about a year and a half to explore other subject matter; landscapes, bird studies, cloudscapes etc. But I never gave up my whimsical work entirely. All you need do is visit my Etsy Shop and look at my food paintings and celestial art. Whimsy is what I became known for over 30 years ago. It has provided me with a good income to raise my sons, and it produced a following of the loveliest of clients. But like all artists, it's our nature to explore new ideas and branch out, not just for the pleasure of it but to get inspired again and prevent burnout. Friends told me I would go back to doing what I do best one day; whimsical animals. I wasn't so sure at the time. I needed a break, a respite, and honestly wondered if I would be inspired to go back to the fanciful subjects.

Never Been Kissed

My clients have stuck by me; admiring and purchasing the new work, and I am so grateful to them. But I continued to hear and see feedback asking for the return of my fanciful work. So after a much needed rest, I have come back inspired and eager to return to my first love. I will not abandon my new work but I now see I can create both, the serious and the whimsical, and let them share my time and my life.

I am ready to return and leave the dance with the one that brought me. But this last year has taught me new techniques and a broader outlook which will make my return a fresh experience for me and for my collectors.

So here's a new take on an old subject.
My friend and I were recently talking about the best kisses we have ever had, and no I won't tell you his name. But think of all those poor frogs who have never even been kissed. This painting combines my new work on Yupo with my old technique of collage using antique book illustrations. I am thrilled with the way it came out. And of course there will always be octopuses. Yes, the plural of octopus is octopuses, not octopi.

All the better to hold you my Dear.

I'm excited, refreshed, inspired and eager to renew my friendships with the animals I have always loved. And of course, I will add a touch of magic any time I can.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Modern Touch, Antique Paper

Book page from 1884
I have a passion for drawing and painting obviously, but I also have a love of printed materials; old books, maps, charts... Turn me loose at a flea market or antique store and I'll head straight for the ephemera. Whoever said that drawing and painting could only be done on a blank piece of paper or white canvas?

A printed page or map makes my heart beat faster. It encourages me to experiment, to add a part of me to the page, not to better it but to make it more personal. Let me clearly state I do not tear apart books. I use only those that are literally falling apart. The brown spots and yellowing of the antique pages only add to my vision. And an old engraving can spark an idea.

I use a variety of paper backgrounds from the 1800s up to the 1950s. Each page or map is different; paper thickness and surfaces which can range from slick to soft and pulpy, just soaking up the colors. Some papers are so old and brittle they will fall apart at the touch of your hand. Gradually I have learned to work with all of them. If it's a valuable antique map or chart and the copyright has expired, I'll reproduce it on cardstock. But the book pages I use are all original.

The way to handle these papers is to tailor your medium to the properties of the page or chart you're working with. For the thin, older papers, colored pencils are my choice. For the thicker, less porous ones, watercolor washes work beautifully. And for those in between, like Goldilocks, a combination of different tools is just right.

So here are some examples of my pages, charts and maps. Go visit a thrift store, find a book that interests you and is on its last pages and give it a try.

Original book pages from 1883 to 1937.

Colored Pencil

Colored Pencil

Colored Pencil, Ink

Reproduced maps from the 1800s

Colored Pencil

Colored Pencil, Ink

Watercolor, Ink

Watercolor, Ink

Reproduced Star and Moon Chart from the 1800s

Watercolor, Colored Pencil

Watercolor, Colored Pencil

All artwork Copyright E.M. Corsa 2018

Saturday, June 23, 2018

I heard it through the ... trumpet vine.

Living in this climate is like living at the edge of the jungle. You cut your grass, pull the weeds and the next day it's all back and doubled in size thanks in part to nightly thunderstorms dumping rain. Vines especially thrive here, and we have many different kinds of them. They can be a nuisance, and at the same time, can also be a spot of beauty or something to promote contemplation.

Trumpet Vines drape themselves over my pergola, across my neighbor's fence and snake their way through the juniper that covers the dune in front of my house. The blossoms are striking; orange, reds and yellows with delicate toothed leaves. These blooms attract ants, leaf bugs, hummingbirds and other creatures. But at the same time, they take over everything, becoming thick and huge, prying up deck railing.

The Honeysuckle Vine offers a fragrance that wafts through the open windows for a few short weeks, then it continues to grow, reaching out for anything and everything to grab ahold of. As pretty as it is, it is an invasive species, pushing out other native ones.

Briar Vines give it to you right up front with what they are, sharp and prickly and tough. So tough that a weed whacker can't cut though them. They boldly say, "Accept me or back off."

And the Virginia Creeper, the Bless Your Heart of the vines; pretty to look at but does damage as soon as you turn your back; like some people we all know.

But you have to appreciate their stamina and grit. When other plants give up in this climate, these vines hang on through dry, salty conditions, days of constant wet and through every hurricane. I just wish we could swing from them like Tarzan does in his jungle.