Tuesday, June 30, 2015


I have not seen a garden spider, or writing spider as we call them, at The Crooked Little House in over 15 years. There used to be many of them but one year they, along with the lizards, frogs, walking sticks and others just vanished. There were theories; too hot of a summer, too cold, too much mosquito spraying by the town, etc. Who knows. But I am happy to say, yesterday, the most beautiful girl decided to make her home at my house.

The proper name for this beauty is Argiope. I noticed her after she had strung her home between the front door and the door mat, allowing me only a couple of feet to enter the house. So I gently relocated her to the urn near the door where she would be safely out of the way. Half an hour later, she was back to her chosen site. Once again, I had a talk with her and moved her to the pot. And sure enough, she came back. So I decided to her be and would be extra careful when I exited through that door. I also had to remember to tell friends she was there so they didn't harm her when they visited.

Look carefully, halfway up the wooden oar on the left.

What a surprise this morning when I carefully stepped outside to check on her and found her suspended above the urn of geraniums and trumpet and honeysuckle vine. She would get fat there with all the insects that frequent this spot. I noticed two more things. One; she has eggs meaning I will hopefully have garden spiders for some time to come, and two; she had written a message to me in her web. It simply said, "Thank You."

Writing Spider's new home.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Hummer of a Summer

Everywhere I go, from Alligator River Refuge to my pergola at The Crooked Little House, hummingbirds abound, flitting from blossom to blossom and branch to branch.

You can expect to see more paintings of these little jewels from me in the near future. This is the newest, also available as a greeting card from my Between Heaven and Earth line.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Birds and Bugs and Bear, Oh My!

For those of us who live on the Outer Banks, it's a rare treat to have the time to leave the island on a summer night. Typically our lives our filled with work and sleep during the season and we leave our fun excursions for the off season.

But last night a friend and I went over to Alligator River to look for bear. Not only did we encounter four bears, but we were also fortunate enough to see some wood ducks, numerous dragonflies and butterflies, hummingbirds, warblers, blue grosbeak, turtles, and of course millions of biting flies. We left the refuge under a summer sky filled with iridescent clouds and glowing edges, and traveled back to our island with lightning beginning to make its appearance over the bridge.

Please keep in mind I am no photographer!!! But I wanted to share these pics with you.

female wood duck
blue grosbeak
black bear

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Value of a Sketch

I use my sketchbook every day. I can't emphasize enough how important this is to me as an artist. It is the first step for me in beginning a painting. Working quickly from life allows me to learn more about my subjects and helps me truly see what's in front of me, not what I think is there and not what a 2 dimensional photograph shows me. I work mostly with ink, preventing me from taking valuable time to erase. These are just sketches after all; no need to be perfect.

These may look like chicken scratch but it's enough for me to go further and explore a subject for a painting. The most valuable thing I get from my sketches is posture. It helps me take a subject that has been done many times before and execute it in a fresh, new way; a way that only I observed.

I have many artist friends who work from photographs, and I too use my own photos for reference. Everyone works in their own way and I get that. But for me,  nothing replaces working from the real thing whenever possible.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

C is for ...

C is for ... crab cake of course. This is the best kind of cake; well cheesecake is good too.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Little Boy Blue

This is the other image occupying the second vintage frame; a pretty pair I think.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Trumpets Calling

My trumpet vine is now in full bloom, blossoms cascading over the pergola. It is teeming with life; ants, bees, leaf-footed bugs, Great Crested Flycatchers and of course hummingbirds.

I found a pair of these lovely, vintage frames. After watching the hummers visiting the vine, I decided to paint one and put it in one of the frames. It's only about four inches in diameter.

Copyright E.M. Corsa  2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

I miss my Dad. He died way too young. I remember so many amazing things we did together. He was a professional golfer and owned a golf course yet he always made time for my brother and me; hiking, fishing, building a skating rink each winter, working to build up icy layers on cold New England nights after working hard all day.

The other father in my life, or rather my boys lives, is my brother John. When my husband left, my two boys were very young. My brother stepped in and showed them what it means to be a good father; setting a good example as my Dad had done and spending valuable time with them. And though my boys are now grown men, because of John they too will be wonderful fathers one day when the time is right. My brother has always been there for them and for me, and I know he will continue to be for many years to come.

Happy Father's Day to all those men who value their role as a father.

My Dad on tour.

My brother when he was here last Christmas.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

S is for ...

Living on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, shrimp is plentiful. There's nothing better than stuffed shrimp...or butterfly shrimp, shrimp gumbo, fried shrimp,....sound familiar?

So, S is for Stuffed Shrimp. (Don't forget to remove the little coats and ties before consuming.)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Who Knew?

I had no idea that another prince lived in the kingdom of The Crooked Little House. He wasn't pleased that his portrait wasn't included. So here he is. I believe this royal rules the violet covered hillside.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What We Do For Fun

Last night, a photographer friend of mine and I drove over the bridge to Hatteras Island to the old Frisco Pier. Storms have ravaged the structure and the next one will probably take it down completely. We went with a purpose, to watch the Milky Way rise in an arch above us and over the pier which will soon be lost in time. I have never seen anything quite like it; a swath of milky stars, more than I've ever seen before, above the ocean, arching over our heads. As soon as my friend posts the photographs from last night, I'll share a link so you can see what I saw.

All the way down to Frisco, I watched this cloud change shape and take on various colors. I couldn't sketch it while driving since I'm one of those people that get sick if I try to read anything in a moving vehicle. So when I returned home around midnight, I did a quick sketch as a remembrance.

A Touch of Royalty in the Rain

I woke up to a slightly overcast sky and moisture on the grass. It must have sprinkled a bit during the night or early this morning. These princes only appear when there's a bit of "wet" nearby. If we get a good rain the rest of the kingdom might appear.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rockin' Robins

I never tire of painting robins. My resident red-breasts have such personality and attitude, more than any other bird at The Crooked Little House. The mockingbirds and jays and others may be loud and boisterous but these robins don't need to brag; they set themselves apart by just being who they are.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Feeling Blue

Thought you'd enjoy seeing the preliminary sketch and the finished paintings of these two bluebirds. Each was done on a plein air cloudscape from May 31st.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Copyright E.M. Corsa

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Mid-Day Cloudscape

Despite the suffocating heat, I just had to drop what I was working on and venture outside to capture this cloud.  I painted it yesterday at 1:30 pm, facing South.

Copyright E.M. Corsa  2015

Friday, June 12, 2015


My beloved cherry tree lost one of its larger limbs yesterday. Unfortunately it was the branch that the wren house had been anchored to. When I went over to inspect the damage, I found the birdhouse had fallen topsy turvy, spilling out the contents of the nest inside - five nestlings, just born, wiggling and opening their tiny beaks.

As the mother wren chattered above me, I managed to get four of the five babies back into the house. The fifth baby didn't make it. I took the opportunity to inspect the bird and marvel at the miniature wings and feet. I buried it under the violets.

I rehung the birdhouse close to where it was originally. I watched the mother return and look but not enter the structure. She did this numerous times as I held by breath hoping she would go in. But as I stepped outside this morning, I am happy to report she was flying back and forth, going in and out, feeding all her babies.

FYI :  It is a myth that a bird will not return to a baby that has been handled by humans. So ALWAYS return one to its nest if possible. If it's a fledgling and the environment is safe (no cats around), leave it where you find it and the parents will take care of it.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

T is for ...

People often ask me the following two questions:

1. Where do I get my ideas?
2. Do you ever run out of ideas for paintings?

I think I can answer both of these questions together. My ideas are all based on life; things I overhear, dialog between my family and friends and being observant. Life is a neverending bag full of "paintings" for me. I can honestly say I have never been at a loss for subject matter.

That being said, you no doubt know what I'll be doing this morning. It's time for the dreaded dental cleaning. T is for ... Tooth Fairy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Do ewe knit?

We have a fabulous yarn shop on my island. Well actually, it's more than a yarn shop. I don't knit but I swoon when I walk through the eggplant colored door to find a luxurious seating area on the left and wall to wall color everywhere else.

The owner has been a great partner in sales, always keeping my sheep cards in stock. Today I'll be delivering some bookmarks to them. The name of the establishment is Knitting Addition in Kitty Hawk, NC.  If you ever visit my island, stop by and say hello to Jeanne. You can also visit their web site -  knittingaddiction.com   Maybe I'll take up knitting in the off season.

Assorted sheep bookmarks

Monday, June 8, 2015

W is for ...

My all time favorite story is The Wizard of Oz so I'm betting you can figure this one out!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Seeing Red

I'm seeing red everywhere these days; red feathers that is. I can't seem to stop creating images based on the numerous cardinals at The Crooked Little House. In this case, "seeing red" has a whole different meaning!

Cardinal Brooch with vintage costume jewelry; part of my Between Heaven and Earth series.

One of my favorite cloudscapes hosts this bird from my Between Heaven and Earth series.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Cloud Cover

Yesterday brought the most glorious skies all day long. This is just one of the paintings I did. It will end up as a backdrop for a piece I'm planning. It was painted at  3:30 pm  facing SW.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

B is for ...

B is for ...  Bullfrog of course, wearing his matador hat. You can't see his red cape because it's on the riverbank. He didn't want to get it wet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Small Tweet

This wee house finch measures only 3 inches in diameter. I love this old frame; the wood is satiny smooth with age.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Inquiries: ofcorsa3@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

There's a Good Moon on the Rise

At 8:45 this evening, I stepped outside to look at the sky and in the southeast, over the ocean, sat this glorious orb. My pics don't come close to what it really looked like. I actually gasped out loud, wanting to scream throughout the neighborhood for everyone to come outside and see it. I resisted the urge since the neighbors already think I'm strange when they look over and see me in the dark with a clip on light trying to paint the night sky. Alas, there was no time to grab my paints this time so I took some pics to remember. Just wanted to share.

Monday, June 1, 2015


A new flock of my Between Heaven and Earth brooches have flown in.  All are made with vintage costume jewelry and come with an antique hatpin. Price on Request

Inquiries:  ofcorsa3@gmail.com

All images and design copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Midday Matinee

Yesterday, the skies showed their true spring colors. Spring and summer skies are the most anticipated here on the island, at least to anyone who watches them in earnest like I do.

It was so refreshing to get outside and let paint fly, especially after a harried few weeks. The colors, the movement, the smell of green permeating everything around me, just glorious! For me, there is nothing more invigorating than working outside, seeing what's "true" including all the nuances that don't show in a photograph.

Here are the two plein air cloudscapes from yesterday. Soon these will host feathered creatures, the skies allowing us a glimpse of heaven while the birds will keep us tied to the earth.

May 31, 2015    12 noon     facing South

May 31, 2015    12:30 pm     facing  SW