Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fresh Air and Fresh Paint

Yesterday morning I kept going to the windows watching the clouds build in the north, and by 2 pm, they were rolling in from the southwest. I wanted to begin a new book using a cloud background for pages so I grabbed a sheet of 22 x 30 paper and my brushes and paints, threw on a heavy sweater and went out the door.

I usually work small so this was going to be fun. The only place I had to set a piece of paper that big was the bird seed-strewn picnic table. I didn't bother to tape the paper down, except for a spot on each side so the wind wouldn't take it, because I didn't want to miss the bank of clouds I had spied.

Using 3 inch flat brush, I went to town. When partially dried, I brought it in and hung it on the wall, the weight helping to flatten it out. It will be perfect if I can just bring myself to cut it up. But then again, the true joy is in the act of painting, not the final result.

Oh how I love to be outside painting cloudscapes!

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Fabric of MY Life

Over the holidays, my oldest son was kind enough to help me clean out the over-filled garage. It had been bothering me for ages but I never seemed to get around to doing it myself. At the back of the garage I found a huge tub full of the coolest things that I had forgotten about; wooden spools from the Rocky Mount Mills, built in 1818 at the Falls of the Tar River in North Carolina. This was a cotton mill and the oldest textile mill in the state. I acquired these from my son who got them from a salvage shop where he found out the history of spools.

Burned by Sherman's troops in 1865, it was rebuilt only to be burned again by an incendiary in 1869. It was reconstructed for a second time in 1870 and this remained part of the plant until it closed in 1996 when cotton production dwindled.

The cotton yarn would be transferred from the spinning bobbins to these spools. From the spools the yarn would then be sent to the twister rooms. The various paint colors on the spools would help differentiate the counts of yarns. Some of this paint still remains on each spool.

I have adorned each 7 inch tall spool with my image of Quilting Bees and then hand painted a cotton boll at the top. Cotton fields are not as prevalent in this part of the state as they used to be when I first moved here so this is an important reminder for me. The quilt in the image is from a patchwork quilt my mother made many years ago - from cotton.

If you would like one for yourself, please email me for the price at:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Air Angel Artist Book

I've been spending the last few days finishing my Air Angels book. I had forgotten how much fun it was though it is time consuming and will be hard to part with it. I've developed a format which suits me using vintage book covers, a good watercolor paper for original work and collage elements from vintage sources.

For additional information or price,  email me at:


Back Cover

Monday, January 25, 2016

Earth Angel

As we continue to deal with over development and global warming, animals continue to lose their habitat. The polar bear is rapidly losing ground in an effort to find food and survive. It's frightening to think that they could end up on the extinction list one day.

So here's my Earth Angel, highlighting the beautiful polar bears while we still have them.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Saturday, January 23, 2016

For the Love of Books

Each January I begin the dreaded task of cleaning out the studio. I pull everything out of drawers and sort through it, deciding what ephemera I will keep. I poke through tubes of paint and jars of mediums to determine what is still viable. And I immerse myself in the closet that houses all my packing and shipping supplies to see what boxes I might be able to recycle. I also like to weed out the bookshelves chock full of art books and magazines.

This year I came across two older sketchbooks of mine I had forgotten all about. Each one is filled with original drawings and paintings and notes.  
(I believe I had written a post about  them years ago.) As a lover of books, when I come across an old vintage book with a beautiful cover, I turn it into a sketchbook. Sometimes I sell them, other times they are so personal I decide to keep them. Mostly these books are theme oriented, unlike my everyday sketchbook. Looking back through these made me remember how much I enjoyed creating these volumes, and now with a tidy studio, I may just begin another book or two. 
I'll keep you posted.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Happy Birthday to You

Today is my daughter-in-law's birthday. To me, a birthday is the most important holiday of the year. This is the day you became part of the human race, provided with all the gifts the world has to offer. You were given a responsibility to be kind and compassionate, sharing and loving, and to pursue your passions. Denise, or Denny as we call her, lives all of that and her beauty shines inside and out. Those around her can't help but be better people.

So Happy Birthday to you Denny. I created this card for you with wishes attached that I hope will all come true.

With Love.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

A is for ...

I haven't been paying much attention to my letters lately so when the letter A showed up on my worktable with an arrow, I figured it was time!

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Remembering ...

I feel like part of my teenage years have been snatched out from under me this week with the loss of David Bowie and Glenn Frey. And then Alan Rickman, one of my all-time favorite actors, left me too. (I always had a huge crush on him.)

I don't think about age too often. I just try to make the most of each day, go to bed assuming I'll awake in the morning. I am in my early 60s and had always planned on having 20 more years or so to create. This week I have been brought up short with thoughts of an hourglass pouring sand much faster than I'd like.

But I can't change the cycle so on this cold day I will pull out the vinyl and play Bowie and the Eagles. Tonight, perhaps I'll pop in Love Actually, one of my favorite films with Alan Rickman. And I'll remember my younger years and the music and movies that kept time through each one of them.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Little Light

It's been a rainy, windy, cold and raw weekend here on my island. I'm thinking it's the perfect time for a fire whether in the fireplace or in a candle holder. Light up your life today.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Friday, January 15, 2016

Island Treasure Hunting

We have some good local thrift stores on my island. I go treasure hunting about once a week and usually find fabulous items like vintage, hand crafted frames and books with charming covers I then turn into sketchbooks. Sometimes I'll pick up a pretty dish to fill with baked goods to be dropped off at a friend's house, and just last week I scooped up four small, pottery owls to use as favors for a party I'm planning this spring.

But this week I found the most gorgeous skirt. I don't care that it's not an expensive label. It looks like someone poured paint all over it, making it perfect for me. It's been given a place in my closet where it can flirt with the winter clothes, while waiting for the first warmth of spring. It's also a reminder that there is absolutely no room for an extra pound to be gained. Dorothy doesn't seem impressed. But what does she know. She wore the same dress through the whole movie.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Winter's Day

I couldn't sleep last night because the winds were howling all across my island. I got up around 3 am to peek outside and saw a sky full of diamonds, crystal clear, suspended in a dome of indigo blue. The urge to go out and stargaze was strong but I resisted because it was just too cold.

This morning the wind chill is around 20 degrees; quite cold for us. But the sun is out and the air is invigorating. But it is one of those days that demands a crackling fire, a good book, a cup of peppermint tea and maybe an afternoon nap. With any luck I will be able to have at least two of those.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Monday, January 11, 2016

Happy Birthday!

Today is my youngest son's birthday. I try to do something special for each of my children on their birthdays, and I'm not talking about the presents. Just because someone is a "grown-up" doesn't mean the day of their birth isn't special. In fact, after Zach received his gift, he told me I made a mundane adult birthday into something special. Great kid!!!

So here's what I did for my son. This is the card I made, a torn paper collage on a piece of matboard which I am quite proud of I must say. The second photo shows the whole package wrapped up.

Do something special for your loved ones, no matter how old, birthday or not. One of my idols died early this morning; David Bowie, age 69. You just never know...

Saturday, January 9, 2016

To Your Health

Like most everyone else, I have vowed to get healthier this year, and I am proud to say after 9 days I am still doing well. I do my aerobic workout in the morning and my Tai Chi in the evening. I am also eating just as I should; lean protein and tons of fresh fruit and veggies. Of course I get lots of help from my wild hare who brings me fresh greens on a daily basis. Now if I could just find someone to do the cooking and the dishes!
Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Friday, January 8, 2016

Wanna Play?

A few weeks ago, a friend I just became reacquainted with, surprised me by telling me he still had and treasured a handmade business card I had given him about 15 years ago. I had gotten hold of a pack of vintage, nude women, playing cards and added elaborate clothing to the girls. Some of the gals were already adorned with leopard-patterned hats and spike heels so I only needed to add a few feathers and that did the job. Others required a bit more fashion designing. Eventually, I had handed them all out and I never gave it another thought. I had hoped because they were handmade, they would be be kept a bit longer than the regular cards. but I never considering creating more.

So after Brad showed me his girly handmade card I decided to make more for those special times when you really want to make an impression that won't be easily forgotten or end up in the trash can that evening. I acquired a batch of vintage cards with an image of a lady riding a hippocampus (sea horse with a beautiful finned tail), perfect for an island-dwelling girl. Combined with my images and info, I think this makes for a interesting and fun card don't you? Plus, each one is an original piece of art!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Quiet Please

Did you ever misplace your car keys or lose a sock in the laundry? I do all the time. I even lose a shoe time and again, usually when I'm packing seasonal clothes away. The Crooked Little House is rather small so I don't have the option of keeping all my clothes accessible.

Well this morning, I discovered an orphaned shoe at the back of the closet. But it had an occupant as so many things do here. On these cold mornings I didn't have the heart to disturb him, so please:

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Surprise Surprise

I awoke to something not so common here on my little island; a white landscape. It had snowed overnight, and as pretty as it is, it is not what I wished for when I asked for cooler weather. My driveway is very steep so it should be fun backing down that this morning. But if I can't navigate it, I'll just bundle up and join this snow bunny for a day of fun.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Monday, January 4, 2016

Too Much Rum

Hopefully all of you have recovered from your overindulgence of holiday food and drink. Sadly, this poor Pirat is still a bit hungover from too much rum. I'll give him one more day and then I'll wake him up and send him back to his ship.

Copyright E.M. Corsa  2015

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Hang a Star for 2016

I don't see my children very often since they both live relatively far away. But this year, my oldest son Josh and his girlfriend Jessica were here for the New Year. One of our family traditions has always been to write our wishes for the new year on a piece of paper and tie them onto the branch of my wild cherry tree. This allows the winds to carry our hopes and dreams off into the universe, fulfilling wishes and granting desires.

I don't take this lightly. I don't write things like bring me a new car or more money. These desires should have more substance to them, something to make our lives or our world a better place. I give it some thought, and I was pleased to see Josh and Jess doing  the same this morning.  Since my youngest, Zach and his wife Denise, couldn't join us this year, I mailed two paper stars to them. They will (hopefully) write their wishes and return them for me to hang in the tree. And throughout the month of January, anyone who visits The Crooked Little House will be offered a star to write on and hang in the tree. By the end of January, when the last of leaves have dropped, I hope to see a star-studded tree full of hope.

So here's a few pics I thought you might enjoy. It is a lovely way to begin a new year.

Josh always climbs to the highest point to hang his star. Either he doesn't want anyone to see it or he feels he has an advantage with the winds.

Jessica prefers to hang hers on the hill near the empty birdhouse.

Two more stars join the galaxy.

So my friends, stop by and hang your stars for 2016.