Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to one and all, near and far, two legs or more. Sleep in Heavenly Peace.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Strength of An Angel

Almost 40 years ago, before I had children and even before I was married, my husband-to-be and I spent our first Christmas together with no more than a small tree and this cardboard angel. She was the only one to be found in any of the stores that close to Christmas.

And through many holidays, she perched on the highest bough. There was never a thought of getting a different angel or star. And each year, the boys alternated as to who would have the honor of placing the paper angel atop the tree.

Times change, children grow up, marriages sometimes fail. But this angel has always found a place in my home. I no longer put up a big tree preferring to decorate with my collection of vintage tabletop trees. The boys have no problem with this as long as the angel makes her appearance - somewhere. The blue lights however will be another story.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Alligator River Calling

Finally my show season is winding down with only one more show this coming weekend. Now I have more time to sketch, paint and get back to being an artist.

Living on my barrier island, everything is far away. I had to make a delivery to Edenton yesterday, a couple of hours away on the mainland. And of course, each time I have to deliver art, it's raining.

My route on the way home goes past my all-time favorite place to wander and sketch - Alligator River Refuge, and yes we have alligators here on the mainland. I can NEVER pass by this refuge without pulling in for a while. The sky was beginning to clear, and the sun was highlighting the fields with burnt golds and reds. So even though it was getting late in the day, I managed to stay until darkness began to set in. It's amazing to me how easy it is to fall right back into my sketchbook, no matter how long it has been since I've been out working on location. I did a few quick sketches, watched the bears for a bit, then headed home.

Many of you know I teach field sketching. I am a big believer in keeping sketchbooks and working on location. I just booked 9 brave souls for a workshop in mid January. It is my favorite thing to do.

Hopefully I'll now have some time each week to explore my favorite haunts and to share my sketches and thoughts on this blog a bit more often!

Monday, November 28, 2016


I am still in the  midst of holiday shows; two more to go. But I found some time to finish a project I began a while ago.

I have a fondness for old children's books. It's not the content I am drawn to. It's the covers showing cute little animals or the catchy titles that capture my imagination. The way my mind works, I envision how I would illustrate the book. So when I find one for a good price, I purchase it.

All of these books are gutted when I get them. Sorry to those of you who just gasped. Some of them become my sketchbooks. My old Winnie the Pooh has end papers of the 100 Acre Wood, so this one was perfect to use when I go to sketch in Nags Head Woods. Others become a visual story with my artwork, both original work and reproductions, based on the title of the book.

These artist books take a lot of work and a lot of time. They are not completed in a single sitting or two. And they are priced quite high because of all the work inside. So when one is sold, it's very meaningful to me.

And that's just what happened at the show this past weekend. My book, "Night" sold to a lovely woman who treated it so gently, hugging it to her chest and saying she couldn't go home without it. I'd like to share the pages of that book with you. Featured is the masked Sandman, the Tooth Fairy, the Astrologer disguised as a hare, and other snippets found in those wee hours. I even managed to add my sketch of this year's Super Moon.

All Art Copyright E.M. Corsa

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Super Moon = Super Fun

The Super Moon brought me lots of inspiration beginning with an afternoon cloud formation that took my breath away. On November 14th, around 5 pm, I glanced out my studio window to the southeast and was awestruck. Grabbing my paper, paints and brushes I dashed outside to set up in my driveway and try to capture this glorious sky.

Normally I work quite small, always have, ever since someone told me my paintings were little jewels. But for some reason I felt this sky needed to be big (big for me). So instead of the little jewels I went for the Hope Diamond and did a 16 by 20.

And of course later in the evening, around 6 pm, the super moon made its appearance. I wasn't particularly impressed with the size of her but the brightness blew me away as she climbed above the ocean. I managed a little sketch.

Now normally when I paint a cloudscape or nocturne I only work on location, never from a photograph. But I will sometimes work from a sketch though I never capture that freshness again. But it's still much more alive than it would have been if I had relied on a pic.

So here is my Super Moon painting, based on this little sketch. It too is a 16 by 20. And if you don't know this, cloudscapes and moonlights (the old term for night paintings) look best when viewed from a distance. So to get the full effect of the light, step back from your computer and look.

Art Copyright E.M. Corsa 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Little Show With Big Results

Ready to being setting up.
I had graciously been asked to join a handful of artists I had never met, in a small show I had never been to, at a library I had never seen. It was scheduled for the one weekend I had free for the rest of the year. So of course I said yes.

I knew of the work of one of the artists, pottery unlike anything I had ever seen. I knew whether I made any money or not, a piece of her work would be coming home with me. But I honestly didn't expect more than a couple of small sales. It was the wrong time of year in the sparsest location.

So I brought a little bit of everything including the inexpensive items I had been producing over the last few weeks. Not a one of them sold. But happily, I sold lots of small originals, textile items and other things I hadn't expected to move.

What a fun time it was; a lovely location, wonderful artists and old and new customers. You just never know. Thank you fellow artists for including me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My Best Work

My best work rarely gets seen, kept
between black covers of my sketchbooks. Everyone has heard me speak of the importance of keeping a sketchbook. I have done so for over 40 years, and stacks of them fill bookcases and closets, bursting with treasured memories of my life and my children's lives. That alone makes them valuable; looking back through the pages and remembering a certain trip, a new sighting of a bird...

The other reason I think my best work is contained within these black, spiral-bound books is that the images are fresh, something that can never be recaptured again on paper in the studio. Each drawing or sketch is dressed with sunshine, a breeze, and smells of the earth.

I have found almost all my clients are most interested in my sketchbooks, even more so than the finished work. I have been asked to sell some of them and occasionally I will if they are not personal ones. Sketching on location keeps me in practice. And it doesn't have to be outdoors. I have sketched in a doctors office, hospital, restaurant, etc.

So I'm sharing some of my favorites with you from years past. Maybe it will encourage you to get out a book and begin a sketch journal for yourself.

All Artwork Copyright E.M. Corsa 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Surprise, Surprise

I rarely enter juried shows. A great deal of my work is whimsical in nature and though a judge is supposed to rule on merit and technique, my subject matter hurts me every time.

But a friend decided to enter a show and I thought I'd give it a go if for no other reason than to get some feedback on my Air Angels. They are kind of a cross between the whimsy and the more serious since they incorporate my plein air work.

The show had 218 submissions out of which only 24 were chosen and given awards. The rest of the work will not be part of the show, only the 24 pieces. And surprise, surprise, my osprey made it into the show! I must say it felt good.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fun Art Not Fine Art

By Friday afternoon my horrid week was beginning to feel like just a bad dream. My roof is fixed, siding replaced, got a new Brother sewing machine and my computer is up and running again.

But I still felt a bit worn out and the prescription for that is going into the studio to play. My favorite medium is probably paper. I have buckets of the stuff; scraps of wrapping and decorative paper, art papers, hand made papers, etc. So I pulled all the containers out and decided to come up with some holiday offerings for my shows - affordable things adorned with my images of course. And none would be complete without a touch of glitter. This is not fine art, it is fun art.

My holiday cones have my images on the front and a bell tied on the back. They are perfect to stuff with candy or a small gift or just to hang as an ornament.

My paper hangings celebrate the season with my images, decorative papers and reproduced antique prints and charts from my collection.

Art - for the Fun of it!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Rocks in My Head

I am blanketed with challenges lately; roof repair, siding replacement, computer issues, all while dealing with a limited budget. But as always, creating art takes me to another place where I can put all that aside and forget my daily life for a while.

I've been listening to my friend Randall about learning patience and sticking with things. Because of him I have gone back to working on Yupo, and he was right. A bit of patience works wonders.

Many of you know of my fondness for rocks and minerals. I've been collecting them since childhood, toting them through adulthood along with memories of my dad and brother who taught me so much. Turns out, Yupo is the perfect "paper" to work on for this, one of my favorite subjects. So I pulled out a handful of my specimens and went to work.

Yupo, for those of you who don't know about the stuff, is a synthetic paper, basically plastic, challenging to say the least. It doesn't absorb the paint so you must manipulate it into your subject. I work with watercolors making it even more tortuous. But because it doesn't get absorbed, the colors stay true and bright. And the end results, if done right, are well worth the effort. And it's always inspiring to try new things. That's what artists do.

So here's a peek at some of my most recent efforts. I'm rather pleased!

Rainbow Flint

Botswana Pink Agate

Rainbow Agate

All artwork Copyright E.M. Corsa 2016

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Moon Magic

Last night's glorious moon, painted from my deck around 11 pm. 
I managed to get two small paintings done on Yupo.

Friday, October 14, 2016


A Night Full of Magic


I like small. I have a small car, a small house and a small desire for "things."

I am finding I also love to paint small; small birds, small insects, all done in a small scale. So I've been working on batches of smaller originals for my upcoming holiday shows and my Etsy shop.

My mini Quotable Clouds

I have created a line of small, original feather paintings, cloud paintings and mineral paintings as well as my Air Angels. It makes sense to me to go small these days. Many of my clients say they have no more wall space, and lots of younger people can't afford large original paintings. So from a sales point of view, it's a good idea.

3 by 4 inches
Small mineral paintings.

Besides, I like small.

See some of my small creations here:

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Storm That Wasn't Supposed to Hit

Our beach road.
Well this was the storm that wasn't supposed to least not for us. For days the experts had been saying the hurricane was going to swing back in a loop and we would just get a brushing. Were they ever wrong!

With 100 mph winds, The Crooked Little House shook off lots of shingles but otherwise held tight while many of my friends were flooded and stranded.

Once the wind and rain abated, I did manage to get out and do a couple of quick paintings about half an hour ago, 5:30 pm, looking west. It's always so beautiful after a storm. The sun is crystal-bright right now and a soft wind is rustling through the trees.

The bridges are still closed so for a short time there will be very few tourists and the island once again belongs to us. I wonder if this was the plan all along; the island just needing a break from the madness.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Playing Hooky

I apologize once more dear readers for a lapse in posting. I've just come off three back to back shows so I hope you'll forgive me. But now I have a nice long break before the final rush in November and December.

I am so relieved we are going to be spared the storm this time but my son is in Florida as many of you know, so I am worried about him.

But yesterday, the weather on my island reminded me of why I love it here so much. The sun was out, the temps were in the 70s with no humidity and there was a lovely breeze. I ditched the studio and played hooky all afternoon, pruning bushes and doing the last little bit of yard work for the season.

I also dug my spot for my container water pond. It should have been an easy dig but then I hit massive roots from the ligustrum. What should have taken half an hour took much longer, but with some choice curse words and all the strength I could muster, I finished the job. These pics don't look like much now but come spring when the plants are added in the tub and around the edge, it'll be gorgeous.

A sweet lizard kept me company the whole time I was digging, and once I added the water, he hopped up on the edge to peek in. Soon he was joined by an inquisitive Carolina Wren and a wasp that stopped in for a drink. It certainly doesn't take long for wildlife to appear at The Crooked Little House.

Looks like I need to refill that feeder - again!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

What's Bugging Me Lately

This lovely lady resides next to my Camelia bush.
Thank you for allowing me some time to work on show preparations. I now have all my ducks in a row and would like to catch you up on what I've been up to. Shows of course, but I can't paint all the time. I have begun taking a few hours in the evening to pursue one of my other interests, sewing.

As you know by now, I love working in all kinds of mediums so when I acquired a large batch of vintage men's neckties, my brain started whirring. Right now I am concentrating on insects since I have a solo show at the state aquarium booked for Spring 2017. So I thought I could also "tie" in, (get it?) my love of insects with these ties.

I have always liked to wear a cool men's necktie as a scarf or looped around my neck. And now with insects, I'm hoping they'll appeal to both men and women. To see more, visit: