45 degrees off

Seeing the same thing from a different angle.

Category Archives: Fine Art America

Zombies, Witches, and Skulls… It must be Halloween!

I love Halloween! Besides the fun of costumes and watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, I love spooky stories. I love the traditions. I am drawn to the idea that the dead may not be as “dead and gone” as we tell ourselves. I once tried to find the ghost of the pirate Jean Lafitte on Galveston island. I didn’t have any more success than the year I tried to find gnomes in the woods (which means, no success), but I was drawn to the idea enough to try. Halloween appeals to that aspect of me. Admittedly, it also appeals to the part of me that loves tiny chocolate bars.

I’d like to introduce you to a new friend of mine this Halloween. This is Annabelle.

Art PrintsPlease do go over to Fine Art America and say hello to her. There are quite a few details, such as the spider webs clinging to the picture frame, that aren’t clearly visible in such a small preview.

A dear friend agreed to pose for the reference I used to get Annabelle’s expression right, so I’m not surprised that she turned out to be rather pretty. For someone who is neither truly living or truly dead, of course. I suspect she hasn’t been a zombie for long. Her hair hasn’t completely fallen and become matted and tangled. Her flesh isn’t showing advanced signs of decay yet. Even the flower in her hair still has color, though it is looking a bit dry and wilted. Annabelle seems to have developed a taste for blood, and I can’t help but wonder whether or not she still has memories of the friends and neighbors she feasts on.

I would like to thank everyone who voted for or suggested a name for her on my Facebook page. Even though I didn’t know what her name would be until I’d finished the art, knowing her name changes the way I look at her. You all helped complete the piece by naming her for me.

Prints of Annabelle’s portrait are available at Fine Art America (just click on the picture above), Society6, or RedBubble. You can also find a die-cut sticker that follows the shape of the picture frame at RedBubble.

If you’re looking for something a bit more functional, Annabelle is available on a variety of products through my Everyday Myth store.

Everyday Myth is also the best place to find my Witches Stitches line, and you just can’t have Halloween without witches!

There are two designs available in the Witches Stitches collection. The art is the same, but one advertises “poppets – curse-stitching – quilt binding” and the other proudly proclaims that Witches Stitches is “A member of the H.A.G. Guild (Handmade Arcane Goods)”.  It’s all about putting the “craft” in “witchcraft”.

Day of the Dead follows Halloween, and my sugar skulls can be found over at Graphic Content by Rosa Amarilla. The collection grew a bit this year when I added my La Bella Muerte piece, but you can also find a more colorful and whimsical sugar skull there. Don’t be scared off by the name of the store… neither the graphics nor the pun will bite. ;-)

Happy Halloween, everyone! May you always have a lantern on hand when you find yourself in strange dark corners, and may the Great Pumpkin always find your pumpkin patch to be the most sincere.

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La Bella Muerte

I declared the start of Zombie Season several weeks ago. Oh, sure… zombies are there all year long, just waiting until you relax so they can eat your brain. The closer it gets to Halloween, though, the more I think about zombies.

I’ve been working on a zombie portrait. I needed to take a break from it, but I didn’t want to let my focus stray too far from the Halloween season. No problem! I’d just draw a nice, creepy skull. Like zombies, I think about them more around Halloween but they stay popular year-round with some folks. What I ended up with isn’t exactly a creepy Halloween skull.

La Bella Muerte by K. Martinez

I love working in this style! It’s very relaxing. My usual way of working is to either have the house quiet or put on instrumental music. I have trouble focusing on words that I’m hearing as well as the piece I’m working on. When I work in this style, I can let my mind rest. It’s a good time to put on some music with vocals or listen to a podcast. I get lost in the repetitive patterns and nearly always end up surprised by just how things turn out in the end.

I saw early on with this piece that it could be a bit like the sugar skulls for Día de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead. It’s an observance that has never played a significant role in my life, but I see a lot of beauty in the traditions. I can also see this piece as being something like a tribal mask, but it’s the sugar skull inspiration that really resonates with me so I’ve titled the piece La Bella Muerte – the beautiful death.

The “black on white” isn’t going to work for everyone. I know some of you will insist that a skull should be white. I was thinking of you! This piece is available as either “black on white” or “white on dark”. I say “dark” because the backgrounds can be customized in many cases, so you might choose navy blue or a rich dark green. You won’t find all the same options in both cases, but most things are available with either choice. I try not to judge what people may or may not want to buy my work on. At the same time, I don’t want to put it on something where it just doesn’t fit well.

La Bella Muerte is available as prints from both Society6 and Fine Art America. I encourage folks to look at pieces on Fine Art America even if you’re not looking to buy or if the prices there are a bit high for you. I like the square-by-square full resolution previews they have. It’s fun to get a close view of different areas in a piece.

You can also find this piece in my Black and White Art gallery on RedBubble. Both versions are available as prints, cards, and on shirts. The “black on white” option is also available as a die-cut sticker

Both versions of La Bella Muerte are availble from Graphic Content by Rosa Amarilla on a variety of items. Mugs, postage stamps, cards, shirts, iPhone cases, necklaces, keychains… there are a lot of choices! If nothing else, stop by to see the picture of my cat at the top of the page. She’s investigating the mug with art she was the model for on it.

Art Contests

I have pieces entered in two contests right now and would truly appreciate votes and spreading the word about them.

Muppet contest entry on Threadless

This is the design I’ve entered for the Muppets shirt design contest from Threadless and Disney. You can see and score the design here. If you aren’t familiar with how designs are presented on Threadless, please look for the three dots in the upper right corner of the picture on the Threadless site. You can click those dots to switch among the three slides I prepared for presenting my work.

This contest, because Disney is part of it, is a pretty big deal! The winner gets a rather large prize package, including a set of Muppets figurines designed by Jim Shore. And Disney will buy the winning design from the winning artist for $2,500.00. The competition is pretty fierce!

The theme of the contest is friendship, so my design is a tour shirt for the Muppet band – Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. It’s the Endless Friends Tour.

The winning design will be chosen on June 27, 2011, so you have until then to vote.

Sell Art Online

The second contest I have a piece entered in is a contest at Fine Art America, and the entry is my This Side of the Looking-Glass piece. You can vote for it here, and you do not need to be a member of Fine Art America in order to vote. This contest has a short run. Voting just started today (June 8, 2011) and will end on June 11, 2011. The prizes are much smaller than what’s at stake in the Threadless-Disney contest (Fine Art America gift certificates for winners), but it’s a nice opportunity to have my work seen and see work from other artists I may not have found without a contest to call attention to them.

Memorial Day Garden Gnome

Photography Prints

Flanders the garden gnome was inspired by the poem In Flanders Fields by LtCol John McRae.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

I decided to do this piece with a program that simulates painting with brushes and paint, rather than my usual drawing and coloring in Photoshop. It was a very different experience. I had to pay more attention to how I handled the tools and make more purposeful strokes. So I spent a lot of time with this gnome and got to know him while I was painting him. We had a nice chat about how youngsters these days never watch where they’re going, just running along and tearing up all the flowers as they go. And he told me it is his honor to guard these poppies because there is no older or more potent magic than the spilling of blood, and the blood spilled where these poppies grow was the blood of men who volunteered to let theirs be spilled so others could live in peace and safety. It was impressed upon me that the gnomes would rather not have human wars breaking out on their doorsteps, but they know honor and love when they see it.

You can find my Garden of Remembrance Gnome at Fine Art America; RedBubble ; or on cards and postage, keychains, and other small gifts at Everyday Myth.

Sale on Prints of This Side of the Looking-Glass

Sell Art Online

This piece is being sold for a limited time and in limited quantity at a reduced price for canvas prints. It is available with a variety of printing options at full price, but the sale on canvas prints will only last three more days There are only ten canvas prints available at the sale price.