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Review of “Pop Painting” by Camilla d’Errico


Pop Painting-Inspiration and Techniques from the Pop Surrealism Art Phenomenon
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       Camilla d’Errico is a Pop Surrealist Artist who, in her book Pop Painting, has opened the door to her studio, and her mind, and given us all an up close look at the makings of her beautiful paintings. When you pick up this book, you aren’t just getting a step by step guide to painting, you are getting a personal one on one look at the process and techniques used by a wonderfully talented artist, Camilla d’Errico. You are getting a look at her studio environments, what inspires her, what started her with painting, her journey into the Pop Surrealism Art world, and how through it all she stayed true to herself as an artist.
         An artist myself, this book was so much more then I could have imagined it would be. It was as if Camilla herself was a close personal friend or mentor, her book is so laid back, and funny, as we as inspiring and encouraging. I’ve bought, borrowed, and checked out so many art books in my lifetime, looking for the one that would help me better myself as an artist. All had tips and tricks, the typical walk through/study guide, and how to’s. It’s easy to read a book that tells you how to paint with acrylics, but it’s not the same as actually seeing it done. Camilla gets down deep and personal, and delivers a complete step by step of her paintings.
        When I chose to review Camilla’s book, I hadn’t really spent the time to look into it, and upon receiving it I instantly became a huge fan of her work. I grew up a manga fan, and actually spent much of my childhood drawing manga, so there was no question I loved Camilla’s style. Within the first couple chapters you get to know Camilla more. Being an artist myself made it so easy to connect with her personality, and I literally found myself laughing and agreeing with every silly habit and artistic quirk she has. Again, it was like hanging with a good friend, she made reading her book so easy and so much fun.
      Camilla introduces you to Pop Surrealism, which was a first for me, as I knew art had it’s classifications, but I had never really read far into what art classified as what. Next you get to know Camilla a little more, and what it is to be an artist. Part of what I loved about her book, was amidst introducing herself, she manages to turn the focus on you, yourself, the reader. Next she starts walking you through inspiration, choosing color, creating titles for your work, and little tips and tricks to being a better artist.
       Her book is set up in two parts, Part 1, Chapter three is where she introduces you to the tools of the trade, her materials, or weapons of choice, when creating her masterpieces. Whenever I walk through a studios, fairs, or any place where I can get a up-close look at another artists work, the first thing that goes through my mind is; what brand of paint do they use? What brushes are their favorites? What surface is their canvas of choice? Do they free sketch their work first, or just put brush to canvas and hope for the best? Do they use water or a mixing medium? Literally, a million questions go through my mind. When I got to chapter three, my face was glued to her book like it was my bible. I was taking in every bit of detail I possibly could.
      When I got to the photos of her work station, or studio, I was all smiles. I love getting to see the work place of other artists. My dream is to one day have a real studio of my own, one I don’t have to clean off my living room or kitchen table when we have guests over, ha ha. Next, and I know this might sound silly, but I love studying another artists paint pallet. They way they arrange their pallet and mix their colors speaks to me in a sense. Art is just a beautiful process, and getting to read/see another artists process is just beautiful.
Camilla pretty much answered every question I would ask, all in a few chapters. She graciously opened up her studio to those silly, curious young artists like myself to admire. She covers everything from painting surfaces, to setting up and organizing your studio, to choosing the right place and/or lighting for your studio. Chapter five covers sketching, from sketching your inspirations into a book to getting it onto canvas. From there, chapter by chapter, Camilla walks you through building your work of art. Using her own paintings as a guide, she covers things such as, Composition, Blending, Light and Shadows, Depth, and So much more!
      Part 2 starts with Top Ten Questions people ask her, followed by Tips and Tricks, and then goes into Step-by-step examples. Now, I loved this part, of course. It really is the next best thing to watching an artist paint on You Tube. She goes through the entire process of painting her girls. She starts with their eyes, then the lips, their hair, and their skin, which, if you’ve ever tried it, is not as easy as it looks. Next she walks you through painting some of the animals you can find in her work, some special effects she uses, and some of her black and white work. Her book then finishes with her journey from Passion to Profession. She touches on how she learned to love painting, how she found a home in Pop Surrealism, and how she dealt with becoming a professional artist (as well as dealing with rejection).
      Camilla’s book now sits on my studio table at all times. It is definitely one of my favorite reads as of late. Most might think of artists as a special breed of human who can just put a brush to canvas and like the fairy stepmother’s wand just Bibbidi-Bobbidy-Boo, create a masterpiece. But it truly is hard work that takes loads of time and dedication. Painting is my passion, but some days I will find myself grumbling and pouting as I drag my feet, coffee in hand, and make myself sit down and work a piece. I have been up into the wee hours of the night, eyes held open by toothpicks, and my hand  barely able to hold a brush without cramping up.
     Then comes the nerves of delivering a piece you just spent hours upon hours pouring yourself into. Your heart is pounding, your palms are sweating, and part of you, a very delicate part of you, could break into tears any second as you wait to see what people will think of your work. Art is an emotional mess from beginning to end, a rollercoaster that takes you through inspiration, excitement, and ambition, to artist block, then frustration, want to throw your canvas out into the rain, or punch a hole through it, to I love it, it’s mine, it’s my baby, I could just stare at it for hours, followed by heartbreak, letting go, hoping, praying, trusting that those who adopt your work will love it, treasure it, and put as much care into it as you have. It’s a crazy ride, but we love it!
Thank you Camilla, for opening your heart, mind, and studio to an artist like myself, who has barely got her foot at the door, just waiting for an opportunity to open up so I might make a home in the art world for myself. You are an inspiration, and I am elated to have gotten the opportunity to review your book.
-I received this book for free through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
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Evolving with my Art


Evolving with my Art

As an artist, your talent evolves with every stroke of the brush. When I started painting, I painted as a form of therapy, a way to express those struggles and feelings I felt I needed to hide away deep within myself. As time went on I decided to take my painting a different route, and I tried painting because I merely enjoyed it.

Sadly, when you depend so much upon a talent as a way of expressing yourself, it isn’t always the same when you paint just because you want to. I needed to NEED to paint in order to see results that satisfied. At one point I gave up painting all together.

It wasn’t too long ago that I decided to pick up that paint brush and go at it again. I painted a wedding tree for my sister in law. Her faith in me, as well as my NEED for this tree to be perfect, really pushed me to see that I really did have a natural talent hiding somewhere inside me. The tree was beautiful, and I felt inspired again.

I wanted to paint again, and I decided to try my hand at something I had a real love for. I grew up on Disney movies, the Lion King being my all time favorite, so much so I knew the entire movie by heart. As I grew, that love for Disney became all the greater. I dreamed of going to school and becoming a Disney animator or artist. Though my path in life didn’t really take me in that direction, I never gave up on that dream.

I started painting Disney paintings, starting with my Golfing Mickey, and then Donald. Next came my Cheshire Cat, who has been a lengthy piece of work, and now recently my Jack Skellington. I have a few other pieces I have yet to share, including a fishing Goofy that will debut soon on my blog.

My Cheshire Cat I started months and months ago, and when I first shared him on here he had been sitting for quite a while. He was one of my first pieces, and my first attempt at such detailed color. Being my favorite, I wanted him to be perfect. I struggled to see the results I wanted, and eventually gave up.

I went through quite a few other pieces of work, not all Disney pieces, before I picked up my Cheshire Cat again. One of those pieces was a Fishing Goofy painting I did, inspired by my brother who loves fishing. I stopped halfway through, satisfied, but again struggling to see the perfection I wanted.
My husband and I took a trip to Disneyland, where I begged to go by the Wonderground Gallery. I knew this was where Disney artists had their work up for sale, and all I wanted was a chance to get up close to their work. If my work could compare, maybe I would find the strength to push forward. Sure enough, I realized after seeing those art pieces that I was being really hard on myself.

There were a lot of amazing artists in there, but when you got up close and personal with their pieces, you see that their art isn’t all perfect as you may think. It took taking a step back from their paintings to see that I was staring too closely at my own. I needed to take the time to step back and relax.

So I picked up that paint brush, and put my Cheshire Cat painting back on the easel. Not only did I start to see my painting differently, but I found that all that time spent between starting my Cheshire Cat and now, I had evolved as an artist, and my Cheshire Cat had evolved with it.

My Cheshire Cat is still a challenge for me. He gets a few hours at a time on the easel before he’s sent back to the wall (I think he is like this intentionally), but I’m not giving up on him. In the mean time I am loving watching my art evolve the way it is. Jack Skellington is an amazingly fun piece. I sometimes can’t believe it was my hands that painted him.

In the end, I have to give it all to God, for if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have the talent I have. When I look at my Cheshire Cat, he is a reminder of the work God is doing within me. He is a reminder that I am still growing as an artist, and a person. I may not be where I dreamed I would be, but God is still growing me, and when I’m ready, I know God has great plans for me.

Preview of Jack Skellington Holiday painting


Preview of Jack Skellington Holiday painting

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a preview of my works in progress. There is nothing I love more then the holidays, except maybe Disney, and so I decided to put that love of both into another painting.
My sister is a huge Jack Skellington fan, and when I started taking my Disney paintings seriously she told me I needed to make her a Jack painting. Of course, she asked me not to worry about making it too big, but I just laughed at that.
Jack has been such a fun painting for me, and aside from the Cheshire Cat, is my only other Disney painting I’ve done in color. Jack, much like my Golfing Donald and Mickey, just came so naturally to me. Once I put my brush to canvas everything else just started pouring forth.
Honestly, I really hope one day my paintings, such as Jack, will serve a greater purpose. I’ve always dreamed of taking my art somewhere. Only God knows if that somewhere will be because of my Disney paintings. No matter what, I thank God for giving me the ability to express myself in such a way as this. I am truly blessed. 🙂

Hungry Caterpillar Coloring Page


Hungry Caterpillar Coloring Page

The Hungry Caterpillar

The Hungry Caterpillar was, and still is, a very popular book for kids. When you are working or raising kids and you hear the word caterpillar more often then not you are going to think the Hungry Caterpillar. This became the very reason when I was doing preschool that I decided to revolve one of my art projects around this figure. I was one of those teachers that of course came up with art projects on the spot so this page here happens to be one I free handed from a book in my classroom.

My idea of art and crafts in the classroom always involved using lessons and creativity together in a way that allowed the children to learn as they created. I liked to get involved in the craft by sitting with my kids as we performed the crafting project. In this particular craft I decided to teach the kids about the cycle of the caterpillar to butterfly. We read the story of the hungry caterpillar first so as to get the lesson across and moved on the art project after.

For my project I chose caterpillar and butterfly stamps and washable glitter paint, My children in my class were of toddler age and this provided an opportunity to teach them which of the stamps were caterpillars and which were butterflies. The hand eye coordination of them having to paint the stamps before stamping was also great practice for this age. The glitter paint was a great way to make their pictures all the more colorful and fun, especially as they decorated our classroom.

The caterpillar coloring page can be used in many different ways. I provided the example as inspiration for those who may not have thought of using stamps as a way to color a coloring page. Feel free to use this caterpillar and my ideas on this page to provide lessons and fun for children of all ages. I look forward to posting more projects such as this and hope I can provide lessons, crafts and fun for parents and teachers such as myself.

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My Love For Disney Will Not Stop (and neither will my art) ;)


My Love For Disney Will Not Stop (and neither will my art)

Mickey is finally reaching it’s final stages! Ha ha, slowly but surely. It’s funny how Donald made his way to the finish line first, but Donald was a two step project. He happened in the flow of the moment, whereas Mickey was my first. Golfing Mickey started in slow, small steps, and I think it came from my desire not to go overboard with him (something I had a tendency to do with artwork in the past). I fear doing anything to mess him up, and so he’s taken a lot longer.

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Mickey was the start of a life long dream, though yet to be realized. I do not know what God has in plan for my life, but I know where my heart is, and Golfing Mickey was a result of that. I find when I paint from the heart, and a purpose, amazing things happen.

Though Golfing Mickey and Donald had yet to reach their final stages, inspiration struck again, and a new painting was on it’s way. Although I love Mickey mouse, and Donald was a long time favorite of my kids, the crazy in me needed an outlet, and the Cheshire Cat was born.

The Cheshire Cat is special to me, one of the largest canvases I have worked on, aside from my Mickey Abstract, and being attempted in color, unlike my last two. I was intimidated by my addition of color to my Cheshire Cat. He looked really cool in black and white, and for a while I thought I might just leave him that way. But I knew it was fear holding me back, and I had to at least try. (Even then, if I failed, I could always recreate him)

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For years I have given in to that fear. Fear I’m not good enough, fear of all those other amazing artists out there, who have and can do far better then I can, fear that I will never be noticed, and that my art will just sit for years and years, and never go anywhere. I was living under the intimidation of those who have already walked my path in life, instead of seeing them as inspiration, and mentors. I was seeing my reflection in the enemy’s mirror, rather then looking at myself through the eyes of my father. But I knew which one was the real me, and which was was merely a reflection of my fears. I tore down that mirror, and saw the raw potential my father was gently crafting with his own two hands.

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It was that moment, when I placed my trust in the hands of my creator, the greatest artist I will ever know, that I realized I was just like my Cheshire Cat. I am in the early stages of life, merely an outline of God’s vision for me. Although I have been a canvas all my life, it is only recently that I started really seeing color, and getting glimpses of his vision for me. My art is just starting to take life. I have hardly begun to see what potential I have. I need to not fear having confidence in myself, because I know, with God’s help, I can take my art somewhere. And if it be his will, I will. 🙂

Up and Coming Trees


20130708_172129With the opening of my Etsy shop, I thought now would be the time to start producing more pieces to sell. Seeing as I’ve been in a little over my head in projects, I decided to take some time to update on my progress.

Here to share with you today are three pieces in progress, from brand new, to getting close to being done. The more complex tree to the left is one in which I have been working on for some time now. I started this a while back, during a time when I was hardly painting at all. This piece, though a beautiful one, has been placed on the back-burner due to priority changes in my life, but is slowly coming to life.

The next in line, on the right, though closer to being done then my complex tree, is my newer 9 x 12 inch fingerprint tree. Inspired by my love of Mickey Mouse, seeing as Disney always sneaks it’s way into my art, this tree is one in which I hope to make prints of, and start selling on Etsy soon.

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Next is a project I am most excited about. A piece inspired by a friend of mine, who, while visiting her salon, encouraged me to take that leap of faith, and start getting my artwork out there. Having gotten offers to hang some of my artwork at not only her salon, by having had the same offer from a family’s salon as well, I decided to do a piece that would not only represent beauty in it’s natural form, but also the beauty of skin of all shades and colors. (Both salon’s do natural spray on tans, and I want this painting to be a representation of that)

Though I will have to admit, I have far more going on right now then one single artist should at one time, I am enjoying this stage in my artist’s life. Taking on art contests, painting my trees inspired by day to day life, working on more Disney pieces, and being inspired by new found talents from reaching new stages in my paintings, and preparing myself to start creating some fun abstracts. I just can’t contain the inspirations exploding with every new painting I make.

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And this isn’t even venturing into my other half, the hidden author just waiting for her moment, reading books, reviewing books, getting to know authors, and writing fiction all my own. It takes a lot of division of my time, and a learning curve, as far as how to balance out my time, but I am loving the learning process too much to stop now.

My biggest inspirations in life come from the greatest artist this world has ever seen, and I can’t go on without thanking God for blessing my life as much as he has. Even though I have yet to make a way for myself using my art, or my writing, I know God has a plan for me. I need only my                   faith to pave the way, and for me to take that first step.

Cute As A Button Tree (example)


Cute As A Button Tree (example)

So I finally opened shop! My nerves are on edge as I think about actually taking on this journey of painting for complete strangers. I’m excited, cause this is really what I want to do. I want to use my talents, I want to live out my passions, and I know this is going to move a lot faster then me finishing a novel, LOL.

The “Cute As A Button Tree” was one I designed and painted for my niece for her birthday. I was super excited when adding the buttons, loving how it turned out. It was that moment that I decided I was going to start my shop. I wanted to make more of these, and to start selling my work.

I have three works in progress, with hopes to have more original pieces for sale, although I will be doing custom work. But I look forward to doing special pieces, that come from the heart, and putting them up for sell to share that heart work with others.

I look forward to growing my talent, building my shop, and going bigger and better! I want to start doing bigger canvases, more extreme pieces, more room for more detail, and providing for my customers beautiful pieces that will make an impact in their lives.

I love getting to share my artwork, and look forward to posting those pieces to come. 🙂

The Purple Grace Tree


The Purple Grace Tree

As I work towards opening my Etsy shop, I decide it would be worth it to share with you one of the items that will be up for sale there, not because I’m in any way advertising, but because I love getting to come on here and share with you my most recent paintings.

I thought at first that this would go up for sale as a fingerprint tree, but then after finally finishing this painting I decided that I would leave it up to the buyer to decide. I think this would create a beautiful fingerprint tree, but also is a wonderful piece all in itself.

This would be the first of my paintings I’ve ever sold, and I’m actually really nervous about it. I’ve only ever given paintings away to family, and although they were great pieces of work (some of my personal best) I fear my work being good enough to sell to a complete.

My Purple Grace Tree is a twelve by sixteen acrylic on flat canvas, and is probably one of my most favorite pieces. Although almost all my trees turn out to be favorites of mine, I just love the colors and the way they complement each other.

Although the picture I took makes the background look more pink then white, it’s actually mostly blue and white background, with a slight pink hue around the curls. I still need to find a room in my house, with lots of natural light, to photograph my artwork. I also live in Oregon, and we get little natural sunlight, even now. (Yes, it’s june, but it’s cloudy and raining, lol)

My hope with my Etsy shop is to sell already created artwork, although I would love to do personalized pieces. I guess you can call me a timid artist, for even though I would love to do for my buyers what I do for family, I am also a perfectionist, and want to provide for them an amazing painting, and fear not being able to provide that.

I know I need to just have courage, and trust in the gift God gave me. I will never settle on a painting not worthy of ones wedding, shower, party, event, or special occasion. I love what I do, and wish to do nothing else (well…that is other then writing). I can’t wait to get started my shop, and start making more beautiful paintings. 🙂

Golfing Donald

Fingerprint Tree


Fingerprint Tree

Only on the second phase of this tree, but here is a glimpse at my first fingerprint tree that I will be putting up for sale on Etsy. After doing a fingerprint tree for my sister in-law, which you can see in my earlier posts on this blog, I found I was capable of painting in a way I never thought existed within me. I found my tree turned out great, and that I loved doing it. After inspiration struck me, I decided it was time to get started on another tree. I was nervous at first, after only having gotten the sketch done, that this wasn’t going to go as well as my last. I got discouraged, and even put this tree aside for a couple months. Then after my last two Disney paintings I decided I was being silly, and needed to believe in myself some more. So I pushed myself to at least reach stage two, when I get my first layer of color, and see how I feel. And how do I feel?? I feel really good! So far I think it’s turning out great, if not better, then what I first imagined. So I will eventually post the finished product, but I still have one question. I have never sold art before and am not sure what to price a painting such as this, acrylic on canvas, 12 by 16 inch, original. Anyone who has knowledge or experience selling art such as this, I would greatly appreciate any feedback you might have. Obviously a finished product would give you a better idea, but I am more so looking for a general idea and any advice you might have. Thank you so much. 🙂