03 August, 2014

Moving on...

Hello! For years I've run this blog, updating it all the time, lots of art and photos. And really, there is little interaction between myself and viewers. Heck, not even that many viewers. I have moved on now to Tumblr - where I am getting loads of interaction and able to communicate better with those who find my website.

Please head over to my Tumblr which is what will be updated from now on - for the foreseeable future.

Thank you!

23 June, 2014

Icarus 2 - melting in this heat...wax and bone

Icarus 2 - mixed media - 11x14” -by Crystal Smith
This is the second of my “bat icarus” set of mixed media pieces. I like this one a bit more than the first one. More natural colors, less darks. The melting wing came across well.
The bits of blue were the first thing I did, and half way through I realized what they were! Icarus is breaking through the sky to get to the sun, even as the sun melts his wings and breaks him apart. Very determined and tragic.

22 June, 2014

Illustration Friday - Summer Strawberries!


Need I say more? Fresh sun warmed strawberries off the plant. Ya. Basically the best thing ever. I grew two plants this year, but the strawberries aren't doing great, they remain small and green despite my best efforts. Alas, I was resigned to painting them. 
This pieces (oil on canvas board, 8x10) is up for sale on my Daily Paintworks site.

Icarus - flying too close to the sun and other stories in painting and drawing

Icarus - 11x14" mixed media

This piece is, of course, inspired by the story of Icarus who flew too close to the sun with his wax wings, and they melted. Bats always remind me of this, because of their translucent wings and fragile bones. I'm starting a series of mixed media pieces based on this, and my love for bats!

This piece was done with pencil, charcoal, watercolor, chalk pastel, acrylic and ink.

09 June, 2014

Daily Painting - Oil - Seafood Noodles!

Sushi bowl!! One of my favorite things, lots of fresh fish and veg on top of warm rice. I especially like how the prawn turned out. This is up for auction at Daily PaintWorks.

08 June, 2014

Lungs - Breathe - The idea and graphic design

First of a series I'm planning that uses graphic design to denote anatomy with text. (Prints are available to be seen at my etsy shop)

I started out by getting excited about simple graphic design images of different parts of the body. I thought I'd start with the lungs, as they have large masses that could be fun to design patterns or textures into. I have a large collection of scanned and found texture images including papers, rust, metal, wood, paint messes, etc.

What are the lungs for? Breathing...what do we breathe? Air. Oxygen. Spores. Dust. Lots and lots of dust. I thought I would represent the things we breathe in with circles, as most of them can be thought of in a spherical sense (molecules especially!). Then I'd do simple graphic patterns on each circle, with layered textures.

For a color scheme I used my friend Kuler (website here, if you don't know about it....GO NOW). And created "breathe", for this design. Of course it's just a guideline, but I find it incredibly helpful to have somewhere to start.

human lung system
I love the spider web of veins in this image, and used textures that kind of reminded me of the same patterns.

As well, anyone remember these? Fisherprice ball poppers?? I loved these. Especially the multi-colored balls. So I used them as inspiration for some of the lung design. It's weird where you get inspiration sometimes.

The final piece really surprised me with how textured and layered it got, but I think that adds a playful complexity to the image. Enough to look at for a while, rather than just a glance. 

And because it IS lungs...I couldn't help but turn it into t-shirts. Way too good to pass up!


These are the colors I like best, but it puts it up on a whole slew of varieties. If your interested, they can be seen here.

Geo*Sky - Geometric graphic design and photography mixed

These are my geo*sky series phone cases, now up at Society6, in my SkyFull shop!! I'm very excited, these are the first ones I've designed specifically as phone cases, with the shape and dimensions in mind from the beginning. As well the images were ones I thought would make interesting/beautiful phone cases, rather than ... wallprints for example. (Although these are offered as both, ironically) 

Really was I was trying to so was take photographs, and add a flat (ish) graphic design elements...the geometric designs...to turn them into something else. Rather than a "realistic scene" they now became "art", and not so much a "space" as an "image". I think it draws the attention to the flat surface, and the case itself, rather than the photograph.

This Girl - Blue Ink

Just a quick ink study today, looks better in blue.

07 June, 2014

Refreshing Old Work - digging out the old artwork and creating something new

"Elephant Attraction"

Wanted to do some digital composite work, and realized that these old (couple months?) ink paintings of elephants that I did were never fully realized (link here to old post with the originals). I like 'em but they don't have the oomph I was looking for. So I created these two images, using digital tools (photoshop etc). I used scans of textures and watercolor messes, then layered them with the originals and some photos of leaves and ferris wheels.

Edge of Civilization
I think the color and more complicated images keep your attention longer, and really realize what I was trying to do in the first place. I enjoyed the simplicity of the originals, but these are more satisfying for me! 

(If your interested, I do have them up as prints in my CeruleanRoom etsy shop)

Stacking Stones - my exploration of textures, shapes and color in graphic design

In trying to simplify things, and get back to basics in some of my art, I am building these rock structure pieces I call "Stacking Stones". I'm focussing on layered textures, color and composition. It's amazing how these things come back to you, after all these years since my first studio classes. Things like how to weight a composition, or build movement with tension, etc. In "Relatives" above, I made the stack off balance in order to create energy in the picture; as you look at it you feel like it's going to fall any minute. As well I'm working on my color theory. (Difficult since I have problems with blues/greens/purples and telling them apart).

"The Three Rascals" Is purposefully an impossible stack of stones, however, the three rascals on top have somehow taken control of gravity. I really like this color scheme, it feels restful, even as the composition of the rocks gives it energy.

I am less sure about "The Best View", above. I tried something different by using a blur effect to create perspective. Although I enjoy the more natural stone texture, I feel as though the impossible balancing stone on top is less "energetic" and more just annoying. I may change this one.

"Little Brother and the Sky" is the one where the rocks have the most character, I think. I image the smaller stack is the little brother, and they are watching the aurora borealis together. The simple patterns of lines on the stones give it a less sophisticated feel, and definitely make it more flat and graphic.

I've put all of these up as prints in my SayHeyCrystal shop on etsy, if anyone is interested. Also, stay tuned for more! Possibly expanding into body parts. 

30 May, 2014

Illustration Friday - Temptations!!

Apparently I like to paint food - well...I like to eat it, so what's the diff? Donut and fruit tart...now I want to go eat something sweet! Illustration Friday what are you doing to me?? 
These are oil on canvas board, 8x10, and one is up for auction at my Daily Paintworks site which you can visit here.

03 May, 2014

Soul Silhouettes - Composite Photos with a romantic and mysterious feel

Soul Silhouettes - I created these composite photos digitally, using a woman's profile silhouette as the base. I feel as though they have a unique feel to them, as though we are seeing inside a person's mind, rather than their physical form. Adding layers always creates surprises and ads an element of chance to each piece. Each photo has a different mood and feeling. When I look at these I feel as though they are discussing the feelings, memories, thoughts and mood of people around us.

Prints of these are available at my photo shop SayHeyCrystal Photos. 

18 April, 2014

Natural - Illustration Friday - Fox in a nest - Watercolor and ink illustration

Little fox asleep in his nest - Watercolor and ink 8x8" - And you can even bring him home right here.

Quick ink sketches of Elephants - Trying to create movement and mood

Ink sketches of elephants  - 5x7". Trying to create some movement and mood using brushstrokes and washes. Elephants have such a variety of shapes, volumes, wrinkles, lines and shadows. 

Sketching in mixed media - Elephants and collage

5x7" mixed media collage elephant drawings - I'm trying out some new sketching techniques that include collage and other materials. I'm enjoying using ink and am very inspired by the work of Barron Storey.

15 April, 2014

Elephant Works - Mixed Media Artwork

These two jumbos are mixed media paintings using acrylic, watercolor, charcoal, pencil and ink. They measure 18x24" on paper. I've uploaded some detail shots below. I super enjoyed doing these, and am 
also enjoying all the research I'm doing on elephants and the troubles they are facing from ivory hunters. Hopefully I can complete a series on these beautiful beasts and help show how amazing they are.

06 April, 2014

Sri Lankan Elephant - Don't kill one - Mixed media painting

Sri Lankan Elephant - 18x24" mixed media - Graphite, charcoal, watercolor and acrylic. 

Did you know the Sri Lankan elephant is protected by the government and killing one carries the death penalty? This is an endangered species. 

29 March, 2014

Polar Bear Drawing - Mixed media in the Arctic

Drawing of polar bear on ice - mixed media - charcoal, graphite, watercolor and acrylic. 
Prints available through Blue Canvas here - 

I've added some detail shots below :) Had a great time doing the fur, charcoal really lends itself to that. 

26 March, 2014

Cheetah and the Dark - no 1 and no 2

Finished the set of two charcoal and acrylic mixed media paintings/drawings featuring two cheetahs.