Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Painting in Public

Working in public, Day of the Dead festival in downtown Mesa, AZ

Crowds of people passing by, tables and booths of every type of artwork and hand crafted items. .  .  . a festive mood in the air, with music and the buzz of people laughing and talking. The experience of painting on location at an outdoor event can be intimidating or empowering. It is something that did not come naturally to me, as I wanted to be able to 'make my mistakes' in private and not present my art until it was finished to my satisfaction.  Painting in public takes a certain amount of confidence and ability to let the setting fade from your awareness. It is something that I had to learn to do, and to become comfortable with. It is, however, a wonderful "draw", because people will stop and hang around to watch and ask questions. I like to have a completed piece available, as well as my sketchbook, so they can see the process in its stages. This picture of me "in action" was from the recent Day of the Dead festival held at the Mesa Art Center on October 30. I was stationed right outside the door to the MAC Artist Co-op, which lucky for me was in the shade on that unseasonably warm day!  I was taking my turn manning the "Day of the Dead"- themed display table which was stocked with a wide array of art made by us Co-op members just for this occasion, including the set of "Skulls" pictured in my previous post.  You can click on this image to see more detail. I have a series going of wine bottle and glasses studies, and two are on the walls inside the Co-op. This is the latest one in progress, and it was a fun opportunity to share my work with the public!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

DAY of the DEAD!

"Day of the Dead" Family
2X2" and 3x2" mini canvas with easel

The "Day of the Dead" is a Mexican holiday celebrated on November 1 and 2, when families celebrate and welcome the memories of family and friends who have died. This is a celebration involving decorated skulls in artwork, candies, and 'sugar skulls' which are decorated in colorful icing flowers and designs. It is celebrated in many Hispanic communities here in the Southwest, and is not a time of sadness or grieving. It involves the building of private altars, decorated with marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of our departed loved ones.  With this tradition around us, the Mesa Art Center Artist's Co-op is displaying a collection of "Day of the Dead" art created by its members. This collection of mini paintings is my contribution to the display. The background of each is painted gold metallic, as I was struck by the "icon-like" image that the skulls take on. Traditional icon paintings used metallic gold backgrounds, or sometimes "halos" behind the personality featured, and the skulls represent individuals who have passed. Since this celebration ties in closely to "All Saints Day" and "All Souls Day", the symbolism to me of Death and Rebirth seemed fitting to consider these as icons.

The Day of the Dead art will be on display Saturday, Oct 29 and Sunday, Oct 30 from noon to 5pm. Artwork will be for sale.  I also take commissions on creating these for your particular needs.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Art: It's from the Soul, and Priceless!

I've been busy in my studio. Very busy. Working my little heart out making paintings, drawings, and jewelry and having a blast CREATING!  I am very lucky to be able to do this, to explore this side of who I am, and have markets to sell them in. It is when I am most authentically ME, and bringing what I can to this world of things of beauty and enjoyment. Trying to make it all just a little bit better for whoever sees it. The world may be a dark and scary place sometimes, but we get a much needed soul-break when we can leave it behind for a little while and look at something that brings a smile to our face, joy in our hearts, and peace within.  So this holiday, why not think about giving that gift of Art to those you love? A piece of joy and imagination that can be escaped to, all year long.  A gift that keeps on giving.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Positive, Negative. . . .

5" x 7"

I work in several media, moving back and forth between acrylics, oils and watercolors.  I have several paintings being developed concurrently, all sitting out on their easels, awaiting my attention as I feel moved to work on them. Sometimes I'm an "oils mode" for days or weeks at a time, then feel like working in acrylics, or other media. I like this freedom and the open-ended approach.  It keeps a sense of adventure and playfulness fresh for me, and is the method I work best with.

Here is a small oil painting I completed, using a different approach in the layout. I worked this painting up by painting the "spaces", and then refining the negatives that were then left: the leaves. 


Friday, September 2, 2011

New Art

"Desert Color"
Acrylic on canvas
16" x 20"

The days are warm for sure. . . . we are having record heat this summer, and my roadtrips have been fewer than last spring and summer.  I am working indoors more, and experimenting with new canvas and paints. Studio work is the perfect solution for weather like this!

Here is the latest painting from my easel.  This is done on a new canvas, "Yes" canvas, which accepts watercolor.  I used acrylic inks to achieve a watercolor effect like my series of watercolor/pen & ink paintings, and yet have a permanent, waterproof finish.  This canvas is 1.5" deep, and painted around the edges so framing is not required.  I am very impressed with this canvas, and it's workability.

This piece is available at the Artist's Co-operative, at the Mesa Art Center, which opens next week. I have a collection of my desert foliage paintings available for sale there, so be sure to stop in and check out the new store if you are in the area!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Art "To-Do" lists. .. . .

Wow, it's been a busy two weeks, and I'm still working my way through my Art To-Do lists!

I'm working on updating all of my websites with the new shows information, and updating my art resume too.

I received notification of acceptance into the Arizona Art Alliance's Exhibit to be held at the Offices of the Arizona Attorney General in downtown Phoenix! They will have two of my LARGE acrylic landscape paintings: 36" x 48" and 28" x 36". I am elated to be part of this prestigious show.

The MACfac co-op is opening in just a couple of weeks, so wrapping up what I need to do for that also.

And the Mesa Art League is presenting a member's exhibit at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, in Superior, which is about an hour east of Phoenix. I had a one-woman show there in January 2010, and it is a beautiful and tranquil setting! It is one of Arizona's State Parks, and draws many visitors for the plants, desert appreciation, and birdwatching. It will be wonderful to go out there once again.

No photos this time, but I will correct that!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Art group. . .

"Sacred Space"
11" x 14"

I decided to join the Mesa Art League (MAL) and just received the "welcome" letter. I am really looking forward to becoming active in this group's activities and exhibits, and hope to be able to make it to their monthly meeting which is tonight. I say hope to, because I am still finishing up and packing the artwork I need to deliver to the MACfac (Mesa Art Center fine artist co-op). I've got a LOT of art activities going on right now, and it is a blessing! The MACfac gallery/store opens the weekend of Sept 10,11,12, and that is the same weekend that MACFEST also starts up again, so I'm hoping it draws a lot of shoppers!

I have both paintings and notecards to go into the MACfac, and I'm looking forward to adding more announcements here as events move closer!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Slow down, Relax. . .

New painting posted on my FAA site, part of the wine series. . . .

Art Prints

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New QR code!

I just created my new QR code for my Etsy store!

Outdoor festivals

I was sorting my images and came across these two, and thought I'd post them to my blog today. This sure brought back memories of the outdoor art festivals I've done! This particular festival was MACfest in downtown Mesa on Main Street. I had my booth stocked with my watercolor/pen & ink prints, notecards, and bookmarks! I liked to sit and paint during the day, and used my little travel paintbox (the Guerella box) and water-mixable oils. I had my larger print supply underneath the tables, and could easily restock as needed.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Sometimes all you want is a little black and white. . .
Sell Art Online

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The weekend at last!

So it's finally Saturday, and after the busy week I've had, I decided to take it easy and give myself a little slack time for the day :)) After sleeping in a little more than usual, and enjoying a nice hot cup of Godiva Chocolate coffee (Ken brewed a whole pot full!) I checked all of my email and FB posts, and watched a saved episode of "Mad Men" to kick off the afternoon :))

The prints on FAA are being noticed, and I want to send out a big thanks to those of you who are helping me spread the word. The sales are very much appreciated!

As I promised, I stocked the rest of my "Hearts" series in Fine Art America, and this is just one of the several images you can now see in my Store:

Art Prints

I'm working on producing a series of glass tile necklace pendants of these heart images, too, and they will be ready by next weekend, I think. They will be in my Etsy shop:

The Desert Studio at Etsy

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Busy day in the studio!

So I was painting away in the studio today, and the doorbell rings and I hear a truck pull away. . . . I go check it out, and UPS left me with a huge box from a jewelry supply house. I was puzzled, as I hadn't ordered anything in a while, but my husband dragged it into the house for me, as it was HEAVY. There was no packing slip, so I called the company, and they said to open it up and read them the order numbers from the invoice. Well, this big box was just full of 14 bags of key chain jumprings!! There were over 2500 of them, and that is ALL that was in the box! Long story short, they got the issue sorted out, and UPS will pick this up in a day or so. . . . but that was my drama for the morning! I haven't been making jewelry for a couple of weeks now, but focusing on my painting instead -- I switch off between the two!

So today I posted more art up on my website at Fine Art America, which you can view by clicking this link:

Art Prints


Sunday, July 17, 2011


This slideshow is a feature of my "printing site", Fine Art America. Please view the slideshow, and feel free to explore the links. Thanks for viewing!

Art Prints

New LARGE prints now available!

Busy busy day today. . . I've been getting quite a few requests for LARGE prints of my watercolors, so I added my images to my store on Fine Art America. Now, in addition to having 8x10 prints and notecards in my Etsy shop, those images are available at FAA where you can order them printed on stretched canvas, as a rolled print so you get it locally framed, or as a finished piece: matted and framed in your choice of mat and frame colors/styles!

Here's a link to the store if you'd like to check it out:

landscape canvas prints
desert canvas prints
arizona paintings
southwest canvas prints
southwest prints
arizona canvas prints
botanical prints
cactus prints
cactus paintings
botanical paintings
green paintings
hiking canvas prints
agave prints
agave paintings
Sell Art Online

So, it's been a full day today, and with this now crossed off of my "Art To-Do List", I can finally go to bed!

Good night!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Have a lazy weekend!

To Life
6" x 6"
Oil on Canvas

I knew it was time to relax and unwind a bit.  The late afternoon, the setting sun, a still life that evoked warm feelings of savoring Life and tasting the moment. . . . 

This is one of a series I am developing of simple but vibrant paintings, in this theme.  I am using oils on stretched canvas,  but the canvas is primed in a clear ground, allowing the natural color of the fabric to be appreciated.  I used this as a 'self border', and it makes for a finished look which can be framed or not, depending upon your liking.  I like the neutral color of the canvas against the glowing oils.  The "watermark" is not on the actual piece of art; it is only on the photo.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


12" x 12"
Oil on Canvas

New work on the easel, another in my series of desert life.  I wanted to do these in the style of my pan/ink and water color series that you can see over on this page:   Matus Studio Watercolors
I liked the black outlines and the effect they give against the rich color. I wanted to create the look with oils on canvas for these 12" x 12" square format pieces.

agave paintings
agave canvas prints
agave framed prints
agave greeting cards
arizona memories prints
arizona memories canvas prints
arizona memories paintings
agave posters
spring prints

Sell Art Online

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More color . . . . .

12" x 12"
Oil on canvas

More playing with rich color, and using the square format. This is my newest painting from a very recent field day, before summer is in full swing. This was very late afternoon, when the setting sun and blazing sky colors bring out the very best of everything. . . . .prints and canvas prints available at the link below to Fine Art America. Thanks for looking!

Sell Art Online

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Here's a sample of the other glass tile necklaces I have ready to list in my shops. If you click on the image, you can see a closeup of the pieces.  The 'hearts' are from the series of watercolor notecards I painted, and I thought they'd look great on the tiles too.  I really love to paint these desert flowers and cacti that are all around us here in Arizona in the spring. And making these necklaces was a lot of fun! These all really glow with rich color, and turned out very well. Photographing them is tricky, but this is a good exercise in photography for me!  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Glass Art Jewelry

This is one piece of a new line of Art Jewelry I am making, based upon my watercolor / pen & ink paintings. You can see more, along with the prints and notecards, in my Etsy shop:

"Natural Beauty"
5 x 10
Oil on Canvas
(c) 2011 NL Matus

Here's a small plein aire study I completed recently on an adventurous drive in the desert nearby. The sun intensified the colors in the rock, creating sort of a shimmer effect. I was interested in using complimentary colors to try to capture that visually. And the cracks and effects of erosion are so beautiful when you look at the new patterns they create. The Arizona landscape is full of scenes like this, and is very satisfying to use as a model!  

For prints - on paper, framed/matted, or on canvas, click link below:
Sell Art Online

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Oil on Canvas board
5 x 7
(c)2011 NL Matus

The gorgeous shades of pink, salmon, and magenta just glowed in these cactus blossoms, and I couldn't wait to try my hand at painting them. I worked with a larger brush than I am used to, and painted this in one sitting. My goal was to capture the first impressions I had of these flowers, and not to get hung up in the background, but to suggest the prickly setting they were in. Once again, I worked in alkyds, and find that these are a good form of oils to use in the field. They were starting to 'set up' by the time I packed up to head home, and this was pretty much dry the next day.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Shimmering Heat"
Oil on W/C paper
5" x 5"
(c)2011 NL Matus

More heat. More Agave. This time in oil on heavy, gesso-coated watercolor paper. I liked the raised perspective, and the way this worked well with the square format. This is a studio painting, done from watercolor sketches done on site in the desert.
"Red Agave"
Acrylic on Canvas board
6" x 4"
(c)2011 NL Matus

I am in love with the Agave. There are so many varieties of Agave, and this one, with the yellow bands along the edges, is particularly interesting. The heat of the day makes the color shimmer and sizzle, and this is one of a series I am doing exploring my feelings about this hardy plant in the harsh desert environment.

Blooming desert. . .

Oil on Canvas
(c)2010 NL Matus

Spring has been quite wonderful here. . . . . and summer on the way now. This is the time of year I love to get out and paint plein aire, before the really hot temps of summer make that unpleasant. Here's an oil on canvas that I painted on a trip to Sahuaro National Monument just outside of Tucson, AZ. I can hear the ciccadas chirping and buzzing as I look at this even now. . . . . .