Saturday, January 31, 2015

Thoughts of Spring

It may still be crispy cold outside but the sap is running in the trees and bushes and the light is most definitely changing. I predict spring will arrive early this year. I'm offering this image to take the chill off the day and remind you of what's to come.

This ligustrum bush stands guard by my front door and each spring it bursts forth with magnificent vanilla colored blossoms that only last for a couple of weeks. The variety of birds and insects that visit it each day is astounding.  When my youngest son was still living at home, he and I would sit on the deck each evening, and exactly at 8:30 pm, the catbird would arrive to pluck the little white moths from between the leathery leaves.

This painting depicts one day of visitors.

Copyright E.M. Corsa
I call this "Bee Bush" and it is executed in watercolor with touches of colored pencil. The bottom area is collage work with various handmade papers.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Real Me

While cleaning out the studio last weekend, I came across an older painting I had done for a show a few years back. We were asked to create a piece that revealed who we were inside, or something similar to that. I can't recall the exact phrasing of the theme.

It was a rather large painting for me so that alone was quite unusual. I've always been rather fond of it since it reminds me of my children and how we would, and still do, explore the woods and collect all sorts of treasures. I feel I instilled a love and appreciation for nature in my boys in the same way my parents did for me. It has lasted a lifetime.

I thought you might enjoy getting a glimpse into what moves my soul.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

All Ears and a Bonnet

My island, as well as The Crooked Little House, seems to burst forth with bunnies in the early warmth of spring. Last year, near my juniper bushes, I caught a glimpse of one rabbit adorned in her spring finery. So I've painted her portrait and will be releasing it as a card this year. I've titled it, Rabbit in the Hat of corsa!

Copyright E. M. Corsa 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Morning Company

Had another visit from my sharp-shinned hawk this morning, as well as a one-legged house finch, poor thing. But he seems to do rather well for himself. Please excuse the poor quality of these pics. I am certainly NOT a photographer.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Quick Sketch

Finally had a few moments to do a quick sketch of my camellias. I am not a flower painter but I'm rather pleased with this study.

A Dusting of Sugar

Overnight, the sky let loose and I awoke to a simple sprinkling of snow, looking like powdered sugar on the yaupon bush. To complete the sweet picture, I brought in a few camellia blossoms and placed them in a vintage sundae dish, less calories than what the dish is usually used for!

 Of course I'll paint them later.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Another Sweet Tweet

Remember a few days ago I told you that for me, the first sign of spring is the red-wing blackbird? Well, today I saw the first one of the year at my feeder. Spring can't be too far off. So to honor my most welcome visitor, here's another Sweet Tweet. Think four and twenty blackbirds...

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Back Where I Began

The Crooked Little House is small, more like a cozy cottage. Space has always been at a premium and like most artists, we always desire and need more of it to store all our materials including tables for framing, filling orders, shipping, as well as the paints and brushes and papers needed to create our masterpieces.

My house has three small bedrooms and when my two sons were young, I painted at the dining room table. When they left home to pursue their own dreams, I turned the master bedroom into my studio. I kept the smallest bedroom for me and the middle sized one for a guest room since friends and family end up here rather regularly. It's not the kind of guest room I'd like since lots of art stuff is stored in it, and when company is coming, I have to drag it all into the already crowded studio.

Now I also have a good sized dining room. I love this room. I love where it is located, the light and windows. I do entertain a little bit but most of the time, the table only gets used for plopping groceries bags on it as I unload them from the car. For some time, I have envisioned redesigning a bit so I could have my studio in this space. But it had to still function as a dining room when needed.

Well this weekend, I decided to give it a go. It's my house after all and it should please me. My "studio" is now back at the table where I once began. How funny is that? And the studio is now a fabulous place to fill orders, make cards, work on messy creative projects, frame and pack items for shipping. Finally I have enough space. And the guest room is now a welcoming place for a weary friend or child. Of course the desk and dresser are still chock full of artwork, but at least it's hidden.

So that was my weekend; lunch with a couple of friends yesterday and non stop hauling and cleaning today. Can't wait to have enough energy to work in my new space.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Signs of Spring Already

Here on my barrier island, spring arrives early. While walking the other day at a favorite site, I noticed lots of bushes with little nubs beginning to grow among the rosy colored stems. I think I read somewhere that the blush color first noticed this time of year means the "sap" is running.

Copyright E.M. Corsa

I've been thinking a lot about spring lately. Though I love the off season here, spring is when the island comes back to life; my wild cherry tree produces fairy-like white blossoms, the trumpet vine brings forth doily shaped leaves and the summer birds return, claiming their favorite bird houses.

When I lived in New England, the first sign of spring was always the robin. But now, when I hear that musical "gurgle", I know spring has sprung. The red-wing blackbird has become my robin. I read that they return to us in waves of three; first the breeding males scouting out their territory, then the females and lastly the juvenile males.

Last year I had one red-wing blackbird that would come to the feeders. Apparently he didn't share his find with the others because I only saw him.

So here's to spring, riding the coattails of winter.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Here's my completed "Sweet Tweet."  Hope it was worth the wait.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Step 4

So now I've completed the pencil work on the nuthatch using an HB and 2B pencil.

Step 3

Here's step 3. I was eager to get some color into the bonnet so that's what I concentrated on.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Step 2

Next I began to add details in the hat with pencil.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Year of the Bird

For me, 2015 is definitely going to be the year of the bird. I am producing my new series, "Between Heaven and Earth" which is comprised mostly of birds, and now I'm beginning a new licensing line, and the subject is, you guessed it, birds.

Since many of you seem to enjoy seeing the process, I'll show you over the course of a few days how I brought this little one to life.

I begin with a detailed drawing based on my own photographs and sketches. (Most of my subjects are those birds which frequent my feeders since I only use my own pics.) And remember please, these are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Appropriately Named

Welcome to the newest visitor at The Crooked Little House - a Painted Bunting.

Our resident expert helped me identify this beauty. It's a Painted Bunting, either an immature male or a female. Relatively rare this time of year this far north, I attribute it to the fact that I have made my yard wildlife friendly; native plants, berry laden bushes, and a "hedgerow" along the back of the property - a haven amidst the ever-increasing manicured "beach".

Every artist should have a Painted Bunting nearby.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sing Forth

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2014
When I was a child, I recall asking my mother what my shoulder blades were. She told me that was where my angel wings would grow. I checked every day.

I have always loved winged creatures, and I spend hours watching and sketching them. The majority of my fascination is centered on birds. Throughout history and in many cultures today, birds are considered to be divine beings bringing us messages from the angelic realm if only we would listen. It's not just the brilliant cardinals, charming chickadees and the bejeweled hummingbirds that carry this honor even though these are the birds we are most excited to see at our backyard feeders.

But did you know the ordinary sparrows in their various shades of browns and beige symbolize an awakening, representing self-worth and dignity? Their message is to show you how to survive, using their song to urge you to sing forth in your life. Perhaps we need to look beneath the "feathers" of our daily lives to see all the beauty in an ordinary day.

"It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds."    Aesop

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Sweet Tweet

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015
I often wonder about the intelligence of my cats. I know Buddha's got it going on but Erb? I'm never really sure.

As usual, I was up late last night working, and I always have a feline nearby. I'm spending lots of time working on my new series, "Between Heaven and Earth", and though there will be insects involved, most of my subjects are birds.

On my table were two studies and the beginning of a small original. I always keep a camera nearby, and I caught this pic of Erb with squinty eyes, licking his mouth as if he had just eaten a sweet treat. Upon returning to my chair, the smaller sketch was nowhere to be found. Just saying.

You decide; smart kitty or foolish feline.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Check 'em out!

Here's the other two dish images being offered by Creative Co-op. This is a wholesale company only but anyone can visit the site and see my other products including ornaments, resin figures, trays, buckets and more.

Visit  and put  e.m. corsa in the search bar.

Then you can go to your favorite retail establishment and order some!

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2014
Copyright E.M. Corsa

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Buddha and Erb are famous!

I am extremely pleased to announce that Buddha and Erb made their appearance as catfish at the Atlanta Trade Show this past week along with an assortment of my birds. I am so fortunate to be working with a fabulous company, Creative Co-op, who now offers my work on a variety of gorgeous products including dishes, trays, ornaments and more. Ask your favorite retailer about them!
Copyright E.M. Corsa 
Copyright E.M. Corsa

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Here's a few more studies of the spirits that inhabit the realm of wind and currents. They will eventually be incorporated into finished paintings for my series, Between Heaven and Earth.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

Quick Sketches

I took a few minutes this morning to sketch the birds under the pergola. I like to work with a pen so I don't spend time erasing in an effort to make things perfect. I wasn't concerned so much about getting details; more excited about getting the postures correct for work in future finished paintings. I find this to be a great exercise - learning to quickly capture a subject that doesn't sit still for long.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Spot of Gold

This winter has brought in a fair number of goldfinch to The Crooked Little House. They come for the peanut butter I spread on the rails of the deck. I've never painted one before but since I've had the opportunity to sketch and photograph them this winter, I decided to paint one on a cloudscape. I'm rather pleased with this.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

From Sketch to Painting

I thought I'd show an example of how a sketch from the field ends up as a painting. I did this sketch one afternoon along with a few others and took a couple of pics at the same time. After going through my sketches and pics, I placed my subject on one of my cloudscapes. This is a perfect way for me to work utilizing the experience of being out in the field and the luxury of working inside the studio.

Copyright E.M. Corsa

This painting along with four others will be part of the Animals in Art Show at Seaside Art Gallery in Nags Head, NC for the month of February. For more details on the show visit:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

from The Crooked Little House Beastiary

Want to read a little story to warm your soul on a cold winter night?

Go to the link below.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Day at TCLH

I took some time to walk around the yard this first day of 2015 to see how The Crooked Little House is greeting the new year. I thought some of you dear readers might enjoy seeing some pics. I have saved the most amazing one for last of course.

By my front door, the geraniums are still thriving. Maybe they'll survive the winter 
and bloom again in the spring.

The roosting box holds feathered creatures at night keeping them safe and warm.

My sweet angel keeps watch through sun, rain and evening's chill.

Blue bottles sprout from the earth offering a spot of brightness on cold, dreary days.

My rosemary bush is beginning to bloom. If you look closely, you'll see periwinkle blossoms that will lure hummingbirds even in the winter.

The camellia bush is loaded with buds and has begun to burst forth. 
I will take a few inside to float in bowls of water.

The holly still has some red berries left for the birds.

The bird houses sit cleaned and ready for the first tenants of 2015.

I'm hoping my old chairs on the hill make it through another season.

The trumpet vine has released its seeds so I am assured of many new vines to drape on the pergola.

This time of year, my alligator comes out of hiding.

Seashells and quartz share space with their cousin the river rock.

The mimosa tree assures its ancestry will continue.

The most amazing sight of all this morning!