Monday, February 29, 2016

With a Hop, Skip and a ... Leap

Copyright E.M. Corsa  2016
It's Leap Year! I know most people hate February because it usually brings nasty weather, and adding one more day to this "foul" month is depressing. But for those of us who have a birthday in February, it can be a pleasurable event. And this year, because I am a Leap Year baby, it's especially significant since I have a real birthday. (That explains a lot doesn't it?)

I don't mind birthdays at all. I have found every age brings something enjoyable with it, something I have not experienced before. I can honestly say, I have never been happier in my life. Today I will celebrate with good friends and bad food, or is it "bad" friends and good food? So here's to getting older. And for me, I only have to face a birthday once every four years.

From my brother and sister-in-law.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

It's Here

I heard him before I saw him; that bubbly gurgle that makes my heart flutter.

For me, the first sign of spring at The Crooked Little House is the appearance of a red-winged blackbird at my feeder. It doesn't matter what the calendar says; we operate on island time anyways. This black beauty was sporting his bright epaulets, precariously perching on the tube feeder, stuffing his beak with sunflower seeds. If he took the time to look below him, he would see the table strewn with seeds.

He's hanging out with a large flock of boat tail grackles who have found the table and the sunflowers and the suet, their green and blue and purple feathers glowing in the sunshine. The morning light has changed too, no sign of winter anymore. Even if it should snow again, this light will not revert back to winter rays.

Welcome Spring.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Heart Flutters

You all know my passion for birds and collecting antique maps and charts. This one is a German medical chart of the heart. This brought to mind all the other things a heart does besides pump blood throughout our body. Our hearts soar at a new dawn on a spring day, sigh with the smell of a newborn and flutter at a first kiss. So this is my tribute to that magnificent, beating organ lodged in our chest. May it continue to bring joy.

Copyright E.M. Corsa  2016

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I Smell Spring

Spring comes early to my island. Though the temperatures are still cold and raw, and the wind can be brutal as you try to open your car door in a wide open parking lot, I can smell the new season toeing its way in. It creeps ever so slowly with my mockingbird becoming very territorial and my mouse now vacating his nest in the birdhouse. The purple weeds that I don't know the name of are springing up on the hill and the Yaupon bush has it's gorgeous red berries.

With Easter coming so early this year, I am busy as a bee in the studio, creating new paintings, hand made books and jewelry. It seems all the artists are now putting their images on everything from coffee cups to cutting boards to tiles, and that's fine for them. But I want a piece of myself to be in every offering this year so all my items are hand crafted by me alone. It's time consuming but I am so proud of the work. This year I've added hand made blank books adorned with my fanciful animals. Lots of springy things like butterflies and bunnies, birds and beetles.

So when the cold wind blows and the temperatures plummet, keep in mind, Spring is just around the corner by the cherry tree.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Simple Subjects

Yesterday's weather was so spring-like, I couldn't help but put down the broom and dust cloth and wander the gardens. In all honesty, any excuse will do to delay housework. I always find something to ponder and sketch in my yard. I think I could be happy just drawing and painting the inhabitants and plants and skies at The Crooked Little House for the rest of my life.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


I love to experiment; not so much with my paint choices but more with the vehicle in which I present my work. I've had these vintage compacts for some time and finally feel they are ready to share. This one is called Fashion. I have included bits and pieces of vintage jewelry and ephemera along with my own art of course. I've even included a piece of an old French souvenir bracelet. I have another that is almost done I've titled, Night. I'll share when it's completed.



Friday, February 19, 2016

Prince on a Lily Pad

As soon as I awoke this morning, I checked beneath the kitchen sink to be sure there were no more leaks...or herons. All I found was one small prince, sitting on the dampened wood. I kissed him, hoping for the best, but nothing happened so out the door he went.

Copyright E.M. Corsa  2016

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Water, Water Everywhere ...

Last night I heard a strange noise coming from under the kitchen sink. When I opened up the cupboards, I found a waterfall cascading down the back wall. I'm guessing a pipe has burst within the wall from all the cold temperatures we've been having lately. My water is now shut off and a plumber will be coming this morning.

After brushing my teeth with melted ice cubes this morning, I wandered out to the kitchen to feed the boys and found this adorned avian searching for fish under the sink!

Copyright E.M. Corsa  2016

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

For the Love of Rocks

One of my favorite events of the year is coming up this weekend - the gem and mineral show, sponsored by Treasures of the Earth. Anyone who knows me knows my obsession for rocks. I grew up digging for crystals with my Dad and brother, and as my boys got older, they became involved too. When I relocated here 20 years ago, I sold most of my furniture but lugged my huge quartz boulders and rock collection with me. Just cupping a green opal or a piece of bluestone in my hand makes my heart soar.

I love painting them too; either on YUPO or on hot press watercolor paper. I then reproduce them and create greeting cards complete with the meaning for the stone. My favorite is Picasso Stone, (actually a marble) said to be the stone of artists, acting like a muse to awaken intuitive painting. I keep a piece of it on my work table. Following a close second for me are the agates of which there are hundreds. The patterns and colors are glorious and a real challenge to paint.

So this weekend, I'll be saying hello to my favorite dealers and choosing some new friends to bring home. If you ever get a chance to go to one of these shows, please do. You artists will come back so inspired.

Check out their facebook page:  Treasures of the Earth  to see their show schedule.

This is one of numerous rock-filled dishes throughout my house.

My Card Line
Two of my favorites:  Bird's Eye Agate and Picasso Stone

These quartz crystals and beryl were dug by myself and my brother.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Blue Skies...I Mean Birds

On my way to the grocery store yesterday morning, I spotted the most beautiful, plump, bluebird, hopping about at the edge of the bay. I saw one at this very spot last week too. You would think I would learn to keep the camera in the car, but no.

I painted this from a pic I had taken last year at this same location. I'll admit, this bird wasn't wearing a bonnet in the photo, BUT he should have been don't you think?

Copyright E.M. Corsa  2016

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It's Coming

The tourist season officially opens for us Easter week. With the holiday arriving early this year, I'm incredibly busy in the studio. Buddha is supervising while still guarding his precious beryl crystal on the work table. Erb...well, he's napping. This is the time of year when anticipation and excitement creep in, wondering how my new offerings will be received.

You can just see Buddha's crystal under his chin. He has claimed this as his from day one. My brother and I dug this crystal and many more at a secret spot in Massachusetts. I think it's just the right size for a chin rest for Buddha.

I'm adding to my stack of handmade Air Angel Map Books so I'll be ready to ship 
them out for Easter gifts and to my galleries.

Original Air Angel paintings sit patiently, waiting to be framed while their cousins, 
the Air Angel Pins wait to be packaged.

And my vintage spools are getting restless, hoping to be delivered soon to shops and homes.

So much to do this time of year. Glad I have Buddha to keep me in line.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Big Finish

Thanks for staying with me through this project. I sincerely hope you won't be disappointed with what I am sharing today.

I have taken the finished map painting, reproduced it and then added metallic illumination to each reproduction. Using a variety of handmade papers, I crafted covers adding an envelope on the inside of the front cover to contain the map legend.

So now my Air Angels are available as an affordable artist book that can be opened up to display standing or kept tied closed with ribbon. I am offering them in these color cover choices:  black with gold bird imprints, teal with white bird imprints and white floral with gold until these papers run out. Coming soon will be these covers: yellow with white feathers and blue with white feathers. Email me at : for additional information.

All images Copyright E.M. Corsa 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Painting Process is Complete

The map is now completed. Stay with me for one more day and  I will share with you how it is going to be presented.

Copyright E.M. Corsa  2016

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Whole Map

Now I can show you the whole map though this project is nowhere near completed. It's a slow process but I'm happy with how it's progressing. As you might be able to make out, the map is a Birds-Eye View of the Holy Land published in the late 1800s. I thought it was perfect for my Air Angels. I added the bees since there were the only creatures that were said to have come from Paradise, granted wisdom and knowledge, and are considered messengers too.

Copyright E.M. Corsa  2016

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Other Side

So here is the other side of the map. I promise you'll see the whole map eventually.

I've now begun to add color on top of the inked sketches of the birds. It's difficult to work on these reproduced maps. The paper I've chosen is not particularly heavy, making it tough to work with watercolor. You have to find the right balance with the amount of water and paint you use. And because every drop sinks in as soon as you lay it down (no lifting) you must be sure to get it right the first time. This paper is unforgiving to say the least. But I needed to keep it lightweight for the project this is going to turn into.

I've been painting on maps with watercolor for many years. When I first began, besides the challenge of the ratio of paint to water, I had to find a way to work on the heavily inked design on the map. It can be very slick making it almost impossible to lay down any paint and have it "stick." I sometimes use a little body color and it helps. One of the important parts of my work is keeping the image so the map still shows through. After much trial and error, I feel I have almost mastered this aspect of my map painting, but it's still a tightrope walk for sure. And there's no net.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2016

A Map of ...

 I love working with maps from my collection which are all from the 1800s. Because they are so old, the expired copyright allows me to reproduce them. As you've noticed, I have developed a series of paintings I call my Air Angels, and this project once again focuses on these winged beauties.

I'm going to show the project in steps since people have told me they enjoy seeing the process. Keep in mind, this is more than just a painting as you will see in the final pic.

So here's step one where I've begun laying out my subjects. This is just a portion of the map. All the air angels you see live at The Crooked Little House and have graciously posed for me many times. The drawings are based on my sketches and photographs.

Copyright E.M. Corsa  2016

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Flights of Fancy

Most of you have caught on to the fact that I enjoy working in different mediums. Changing it up brings a freshness to my work so I never burn out or feel I've gotten stale or mechanical. So here's another book I have been working with for some time. I call it Flights of Fancy. 

The book, whose cover I confiscated, is called Moths and Butterflies and was published in 1929. My artist book uses reproductions of my work plus original paintings and quotes. I have arranged the layout to begin with dawn and proceed through the afternoon and well into the night, offering a glimpse into a day at The Crooked Little House.

It was a lot work but such fun to create. Please enjoy perusing Flights of Fancy. For information on price, please email me at:

the finished book
Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015