background info / jib-jabbering

     So, in the event of my concise little description of each piece not being enough for ya, here's my two cents (er, more like a whole dollar on some of these. I do have a chattering tendency...) on each one- the backstory (if there even was one), details, issues, and any other informational tidbits that you may or may not find interesting. Read on.


     This is weird for me. My art does not usually look like this. At all. Abstract-ish? I don't do abstract-ish! I'm not really sure where this came from. Yes, I suppose that there's an element of realism here to be its saving grace, but still, it's a HUGE departure from what I usually paint. Huge.
     It started out with a brainstorm and a sketch in my sketchbook when I was WAY behind on my deadline. (Usually I turn stuff in on time, but all that slips when it comes to art for some reason. Maybe it's because I don't think art should be rushed. 'Cause if it is, it usually turns out crummy- for me, at least.) Originally I watercolored a background for this, but it turned out awfully- didn't work with the little paper-doll man at all (See!? That's what I mean about rushing! It doesn't work!) so I grabbed a piece of something resembling cardboard and went crazy with acrylics. It's really relaxing to paint when you're not trying to make something look real, when you're not trying to paint something

LLHS Spring Fashion Graphic

     Sophomore year I used to do this a lot more, but I was asked to do an illustration/graphic for a story on spring fashion for our school newspaper. I loved doing it, but I feel like they could've picked someone a tad-bit more up to speed with the latest and greatest styles. Yeah, they did tell me which "in-looks" to include (yikes, I sound like such a high-schooler!), but some I just pretended I forgot about because they confused me. What the heck is a shorts suit? Is that like a men's suit but with shorts? Why would anyone want that? Maybe I should really read the article this goes along with... I've always wondered, though, how people predict the fashions of the coming season. I imagine a stylishly dressed person in front of  a green screen randomly deciding what she thinks everyone should be wearing. I wonder...

Memories Ripped

     Absolutely not a clue in the world as to what to call this, so I'm going with the cop-out, here. Sorry. Unless, of course, I am suddenly struck with a fabulous and inspirational title... Nothing coming to me at the moment, however. Thanks for the assistance:)

     I have no idea where this piece came from. At all. I don't usually work on such a big scale (It's about half as tall as I am, at least), but the past two pieces I've done have been pretty big. Hm... Anyways, I'd been wanting to do something with drawing over book pages for the entire year. Last year, I saw a piece someone painted with acrylic over newspaper pages, and I thought it was so cool how you could still see the words underneath the paint. So this is my tribute to that, I suppose. 
     No, the pages aren't from my favorite book, they're not at all meaningful, and there isn't anything significant about them that in any way shape or form lends to this piece. No. Actually, the day I put the book pages on was the day I realize that this was due... ha. I asked my teacher for a book I could rip pages from- any book, and ended up with a horrifically boring book about Greek art. I could have let everyone think that the words on the pages were, you know, thought out and deliberate, but no, they are completely random. If I had more time, I would've put more thought into what book I was using, maybe use a poetry book or an old classic I love or something at least a smidgen more exciting than the snooze-fest book on Greek art. Oh well. 

He Is Made Up of So Much Imagination

     Noah drives me crazy. His imagination puts to shame anyone who fancies themselves in the least bit creative. If it wasn't so amazing how he pulls creatures and ideas and stories out of nowhere, jealousy would drive me mad. Truly.
     Anyways, a while ago, Noah whipped out his sketchbook and was showing me the creatures he had drawn. They crawl across the pages, little imagined creatures with names and favorite foods and places to live. I grabbed my own sketchbook in an attempt to... Join in? Reassure myself of my creativity? Who knows. Amidst my frustration, this poem came out. (I often find that my sketchbook is more littered with poems than adorned with doodles, but oh well.) Besides the difficulty of the itsy-bitsy writing, the pixel-y picture makes it very difficult to read, so here it is:

is made up of so much imagination 
that it brings me to my knees
gazing up at him in awe
miles above me in the clouds 
as I scrape the dry earth for art.
“Where do you find these creatures?” I wondered
as his animals crawled with life on the pages
of his lined-and-bound notebook.
He shrugged.
I am denied his secret.
“Here,” he told me
as we looked at the tree shrub on the table
sleeping peacefully
“I see a round body- small
very small arms
and one foot that he hops around on 
a claw.”
Then comes the question I knew
he would ask me: “What do you see?”
I sighed.
“A tree,” I told him sadly,
“and that is the difference between you and me.”
He laughed and turned back to his notebook page
as I mourned the loss of my imagination once more.

     And it's true. It's depressing to find out that your imagination has up and left you for someone else. Boo hoo. 
     Anywhoo, I made Noah model for me one early morning before school, and then decided to paint him in a tree since he's so fond of tree-climbing and all. Gotta love my Noah.


     "Carly, I've noticed something really interesting in all of your pieces," my art teacher told me after summoning me into the gallery. We stood in front of my little wall with all my art tacked up. "In all of your pieces where the eyes are showing... they're always closed." I tilted my head, eyes scanning all of my work. Huh. I hadn't noticed that before.
     "Weird. I don't know why, exactly."
     "That might be something you want to explore a little," she suggested, "since it keeps finding its way into your work." I tilted my head the other way and stepped back. 
     "Hm. Okay." 

     I'm sure Freud would have something deep to say as to the meaning of all this...

Seven AM Summit

     This picture captures one of those rare moments where I am found out of my warm and cozy bed in the cold early morning air by choice. I got up before the sun, I think, to go hiking a summer ago with my step-dad. The getting up part is pretty much awful, but once I'm out there with cold air coursing through my lungs leaving them with a thin velvety veneer of frost, first rays of sun winking over the mountain that makes me squint, and that burning feeling in our legs that all of us hikers love to hate... that's when I really start to enjoy myself and pretend I don't mind getting up so darned early. And believe me, this WAS one of those burning hikes. It wasn't too long of a hike, but it was a complete grind up to the top (guess that's one way to wake you up, huh?), and we're not much of along-the-way break-takers, so we took an extra-long one at the top. 
     The vista looked out over the entire Bay Area as the sun finished coming up and painted the horizon line rosy. I plopped myself right down on the ledge, glued my Camelbak tube to my mouth, and drank it all in.
     I don't usually paint myself (that feels weird, somehow...), but I needed something to keep me busy, and I really liked this picture. (And it's from the back, so it doesn't reeeeally count, right?) This was one of those paintings that I worked on for a while, forgot about, picked back up again, forgot about, then found again just as I needed a piece to turn in for deadline the next day and quickly finished. There are a couple things I still need to tweak when I have a second, but I figured it'd pass all right for being complete.
     You can't see it too well in this picture, but I thought that the ponytail turned out really well. I got pretty bored with the hills, so those aren't really my favorite.


     Warm feet, good book, hot tea, and I've got it made. Hey, i'm pretty easy to please. 
     Anyways, this idea stemmed from a picture i saw online of someone standing on a hardwood floor in their socks with stuff strewn all around them. The perspective struck me as really interesting, so i figured I'd give it a whirl... and I'm pretty happy with it, I've gotta say. I'm really not quite sure what my aim was with those drips. I had this great vision of them all being haphazard  yet converging in this line of color at the bottom... not so much. other than that, though, I like the way this one turned out. I'm particularly proud of the hardwood floor, considering the fact that wood can be tricky to mimic (for me, at least).
     In typical Carly-procrastination fashion, I remembered at 11 at night that I had better get started on this the next day if I wanted to get it finished in time. So, instead of waiting for someone with cute little feet and nice clean socks and real tea to model for me (let me assure you, there would be few takers in my house at that hour), I pulled on my old soccer socks, grabbed some books off of my shelf and a tea cup that i had left in my room from a couple days before and took pictures of my feet with my laptop's camera. I made sure to gussy-up the soccer socks a little bit and made the wood floor look a little nicer than the one that actually exists in my room. 
     I've been kinda painting a little looser lately, with the drips and all. And if you look close, you'll see I painted it with blotting-ish brush strokes instead of nice clean ones. Not as out-there as the one I did before this (see below), but a little more free that my usual style... and I think I like it. We'll see where this goes.
     This right here is pretty much my ideal rainy evening: cozy socks, hot tea (loving yogi tea and licorice spice tea right about now), and an old Nancy Drew novel I've read three times before. Oh yes.

Not Again

     I didn't post this one at first because... well... it looks kind of gruesome. And I didn't know if I wanted everyone to read it. And it kind of looks like her shirt's coming off, and I'm pretty sure my grandparents read this- But it's not supposed to be like that at all, so don't freak out and re-examine your pre-existing impression of me. No. I obviously won't spell out exactly what it means because that's zero fun; the person looking at it is supposed to figure that one out. But I do promise you that this is not the start of me painting either battle scenes or doing nude figure drawings. You can breathe easy, Mom.
     This was never supposed to be an actual finished piece. It started out as a poem and an accompanying sketch in my sketchbook. As I started to ink it over, I thought, "Hey, this isn't half bad, Carly!" and just kept going. After I was finished, I ended up becoming aware of the "coincidence" that words keep finding their way into my paintings, and decided to continue that theme for my AP Art concentration this year. 
     Fabric is tricky to draw.

Two Hands

     This is not my usual style of painting. At all. I don't paint outside the lines, really, except for when I'm feeling all artsy and splatter paint on edges or something (see painting below). But every once in a while, I feel like I need to shake everything out, to loosen up, and just see what happens. That, I believe, is a sort of remedy for becoming STIFF, which artists never ever ever want to be. Well, me, anyways. Ideas and emotion flows so much better when you're... free. So with this one, I went crazy. I painted the outline with india ink and then messily watercolored the rest. In an effort to be suuuuper fancy shmancy, I added a poem at the top ('cause poetry makes everything better, right? poetry=great, art=great, poetry+art=well, greatER. Oh yeah.) By painting the words in water and then dropping in bits of color. Not sure if the words are even remotely legible since I, again, was going for the "undone and messy" approach, but it says:

               our two can only stop 
               so many tears 
               but the right two from 
               somebody else can break 
               down walls and calm 
               our most 

     I'm not so pleased with the way the second set of hands turned out... they look too nebulous to me, but after toying with them for too long, I decided that I was finished. 

     Doesn't this just make you want a big old hug?

Bookworm After My Own Heart
     It was wonderful to get back into the swing of things. I haven't really watercolored in a good long while (save a few little bitty projects over the summer), and this was a nice way to kick off my AP art concentration for the year. 
     Her eyes gave me a lot of trouble 'cause I'm pretty sure I painted her irises at the wrong angle and they should be more elliptical since her head is turned... Oh well. Water under the bridge. 

Dad and A
     I'm not sure, exactly, why both of my sets of parents thought it might be really fun to have their anniversaries only a month apart. (hence,  a frenzy of gift-preparing since I am not one to get things done way ahead of time. No.) I don't have much experience with charcoal, but I just bought a new charcoal pencil set since someone stole mine last year (Shame on you. But haha, the joke's on you since it was only three dollars. You didn't get to my nice set, now didja?) and thought I'd give it a swing. Since I take art class at school with a charcoal genius, I was a lil hesitant to enter into her medium of brilliance, but I actually don't think I did too shabbily...
     And parents, in keeping with parental tradition, loved it. Phew. My dad was even pretty excited 'cause he thinks I made him look thinner than he actually was. Not my intention, but hey, I'm here to make everyone happy.

Provo, Utah

     Well, it doesn't exactly take a genius to figure out where I was when I did this piece... (uhhh, Utah? DINGDINGDINGDING! correct!) We were on a summer vacation with my family and a group of friends this past July. Our family rented this cute little grandma house on the edge of a creek running through gorgeous provo canyon. Our front porch overlooked a garage and a wood storage area (which, despite various break-in attempts, we could not unlock and explore) with a verdant green lawn and a towering pine tree. During one of my aimless doodling sessions on that porch in the warm evenings, Bryan commissioned this drawing for his office (which technically doesn't exist yet, but hey, you've gotta decorate it sometime). "I want you to draw THIS," he told me, spreading out his arms to include most of our side yard. "Uh, okay." I figured I had to knock out a "plein aire" still life (like that vocab, eh? "Plein aire" means that you paint it while you're actually looking at it, not from a picture. Don't worry- I completely didn't know what that meant before those two words appeared on my summer homework sheet.) for art by the end of the summer anyhow, so this one may as well be it. Voila!

Sore Feet
     After a booty-kicking 9-ish mile day of backpacking with a few minor detours courtesy of my dad's navigational skills, I plopped myself down on a log jutting into the water of the lake we had set up camp at. Being the overachiever student and bored backpacker that I was in that moment, I decided to knock out one of my AP art summer homework assignments: draw your feet. Admittedly, I did clean them up a bit since they were far from pretty at that moment. Actually, they were being swarmed by this one particularly persistent and obnoxious fly. I did not appreciate his attention.
     When I paint/draw/art (yes, art can be a verb... as of now), I always fall victim to the trap of over-blending. I can't help it- I can be a bit of an art perfectionist. (Alas, this does not spread to all aspects of my life. Just check out my closet.) So for this, I took the sketch I did on the lake and painted it without blending AT ALL. When sketching, I focused in on areas of light and dark and dividing those into shapes instead of blending and smudging my way through the whole deal like I normally do. if you look up close, you can see that it's painted in layers of color. It doesn't make for as realistic of a look, but hopefully this will loosen up my frantic blending tendency... 


     First off, no, this was NOT supposed to be me. So many darned people have asked me that, I felt it necessary to include a disclaimer here. Maybe artists have a tendency to paint themselves, be it their emotions, insecurities, or actual face... They do say that great artists put themselves into each piece they create. Not putting myself in the category of "great artists", but I guess some artists are easier to find in their pieces than others (ie, here).
     Secondly, no, she is not floating on a bed in the ocean, nor are there any mountains whatsoever in this (Ashley! I'm talking to you!). I absolutely love sleeping, which started off this doodle while I was bored in art class. I also played off of the idea that nothing can hurt you while you stay on your bed (You know, if you sleep with your arm off of the bed, that monster under there can chop it off, but if you keep all arms and legs on board, you're good to go? Did you ever think that when you were a kid? No? Okay, then...). Most people see their bed as being a safe place to escape and to relax and forget about all of the muck in life while they spin dreams in their head.
     Okay, now i'm just rambling. I didn't set out to paint me, but maybe she turned into me, in a sense...

Smudgy Summer Legs

         We spent a few weeks in art concentrating on figure drawings in charcoal, which all culminated in this project. After not leaving enough room on the page to draw my sketching-buddy's body (Oops! Sorry, Carlie), I decided that I actually kind of liked it like this... It's a different angle, at least. Charcoal is SO INSANELY SMUDGY which drives me insane, so that was difficult. 

Girl With Tea


     Creative name, huh? I've never been one for coming up with jazzy names for things... oh well. This was probably one of my favorite pieces to work on because it smelled SO GOOD. I brewed all of the different kinds of tea we had and experimented with them all in my room until the entire place smelled nice and... well, like tea. This is probably the most cliche tea pose ever.

And She Shouts



      No, no, she does not have halitosis. (sigh) After i painted that green in, I noticed it rather resembled that dreaded mouth-condition... but what's done is done. This was for a creative writing project in school, so we had to incorporate a poem with a graphic of some type. For whatever odd reason, a poem about shouting came into my head. Odd since i can't remember the last time i shouted... Here's the poem:
          bitter and angry, trapped, clawing at the walls
          of your throat to get out, rising like steam to
          pour out of lips clamped shut, seeping out at corners before
          exploding in a pressurized avalanche tumbling out between
         teeth in unstoppable waves that cloud stinging eyes 
         and block nostrils, waves
          that block out sound with a deafening rrroar that 
         steals your breath from your chest and set off
          clanging bells in the labyrinth of your ears.
                              just breathe.

portrait of doris


      Our school participated in a project called "The Memory Project" where we were sent pictures of kids in an orphanage in Honduras to paint/draw/sketch/artify in some way shape or form. The background was not cooperating in the least bit, so i went for the oh-crud-nothing-else-is-working-I'll-just-paint-blobs approach. Hey, whatever works. We're still waiting for the picture we'll get soon of our kids we painted. Look below for the picture of her holding my painting. She's so darned cute, but looks waaaay different now. I'm half-convinced they took the picture of some random girl:)



     First watercolor portrait EVER! Can you believe it? I was pretty darned pleased, if I do say so myself. I didn't paint it on watercolor paper (whoops), so it looks kinda bumpyish and the paper started to get peely a little at the end, but it turned out pretty decent, considering. I'm particularly proud of her mouth, for whatever reason. Hm. Abby walked in when I was about halfway through and told me it looked like Ash had a dirty neck. Whoops! that seems to happen a lot with watercolor, so I cleaned it up a bit:)


       Wow, again with these creative titles... Yeesh. Well, obviously, this is my mom... In this piece, I was trying to emanate Leonardo Davinci's style in his piece La Scapigliata. That piece of his was actually unfinished (as so many are), but I loved how it felt like it was just about to turn into something and wasn't finished yet. The nicole piece (with the abhorrent paper) was my first attempt at imitating his style, but I got so carried away with trying to cover up that darned paper that I completely finished it. Oops! This, my friends, was a slightly more successful take two. 



    I cannot begin to describe how much I absolutely do not like this paper. Having never really used pastels before, I had no idea that a natural textured paper with twig bits or something would be so noncooperative. Uhg. Pastels are frustrating- just imagine trying to get in all the small bits like eyelashes and lips with a huge hunk of chalk. Not my new favorite medium, but not horrible either... There are so many layers and layers and layers on here- just look at how smooth her hair is versus her face which doesn't have nearly as many layers of chalk globbed on.



     Crummy picture, huh? I really need my own camera... This was an art assignment: draw your hand holding a glass bottle. That's about all I have to say about that. Can't say it's the most exciting thing I've ever done...



     Again with those creative titles, I'm just outdoing myself here. Psh. This was what we did on the first day of art my junior year. We looked in a mirror while we drew ourselves without a) picking up our pencil, or b) looking at our paper. At all. Crud. It was pretty difficult, as you can tell by checking this out.  I call it my picasso approach instead of admitting I have poor sense of distance. Heh. It's growing on me, though...

Digital Photography Sketch


     Quick watercolor sketch for a procrastinator's (no, not me) school project. This was, mind you, with about a two day notice. Thanks, huh?

Mom and Bryan

     At the tail-end of our camping trip to Hat Creek in 2011, Mom and Bryan were camped out by the creek in their folding chairs. Being both bored and in a sketching mood, I made them sit still until I had finished. Too bad for them, since I'm not really a speed-sketcher of any sort. I couldn't get the background in, so just imagine a quick-rushing creek running by them in the background surrounded by trees.
     Artist perk #4: easy gifts. This made a nice anniversary present, don'tcha think?


     Her 8th grade graduation present. I'm actually in the piece too, but I wasn't crazy about how I came out, so I didn't make it into the picture. Alas. It's always really weird drawing myself for some reason. This pic was taken while we were in mexico in the back of this sketchy taxi-van thing. It was so hot that our hair was plastered to our foreheads (yum-o, huh?). One of my favorite artist perks is that I can just edit that on out... Sweaty? What are you talking about?



  1. No Comments? Well I will fix that real quick..ahem! ahem! oh! oh! oh! I am the first person to comment! I think that means I get Wingstop and Jamba Juice.. woo woo! Ok..ok.. "Just Breathe"

    These drawings/watercolors/charcoals...these thing-a-ma-jigs are amazing. You have a true talent for sure. Beautiful thing-a-ma-jigs.

    Loved the Mural for Mitch, thats so awesome. I was hoping for a big T-Rex (no,no, I am not spelling it all out..because..I can not, and no im not googling it, rawwr) chasing some Gallimimus in the background, but oh well.

    Anyways, great job! *air five*

    P.S. I say in behalf of all of us that have looked through your thing-a-ma-jigs, thank you for the background information on how you got those ideas to draw/paint etc. I am sure many were curious.

  2. "Untitled" Titles..

    Serious Titles:

    Torn Memories, Memories Ripped, The Dream and the Nightmare, Reflection

    When I first saw the piece, I thought perhaps that maybe something was taken from her or ripped/torn from her memory (which works on two levels since you really did rip/tare the pages out of the Greek book lol) and maybe she was trying to get that back..or to forget it entirely since her eyes are closed, almost like reflecting on something.

    Funny Titles:

    The Empty Nostrils (fyi those nostrils are bigger than mine! wow!) lol

    I was Hungry.. (my personal favorite because come on, for all we know she could of taken a bite out of those pages)

    Well you did welcome suggestions :)

  3. Oh Noah.......I love that poem and painting, it totally represents his bug fad.