Monday, November 16, 2009

Douglas Squirrel ACEO Watercolor and Ink

"Sweet Douglas Squirrel"

It is a dark, gray, cold, soaking day in the Pacific Northwest. So what better way for an artist to spend it than painting something fun, bright and cheerful.

Here is a watercolor and ink painting of one of our local Douglas Squirrels. These are the most active forest creatures I know. They just can't sit still for any length of time. These adorable bright rust and ochre colored, small squirrels literally zip about in the trees, dashing here and there so fast - it's a challenge to keep your eye trained on one. We have a few that visit our feeders and they are quite brave and will challenge the larger introduced species, gray squirrels - even though the little Douglas is half the size. Also, one individual in particular will alert me when I'm in the kitchen or the garden - to the fact that the feeder is out of seed. He stands on his favorite oak branch and just chatters and chatters at me until I add sunflower seeds to the feeder. This time of year they also enjoy the winter berries. I just love these little squirrels!

The bright colors and large expressive eye really make Douglas Squirrels fun art subjects. Also, with the green background and red berry - I must be thinking of the holidays. Enjoy!

"Sweet Douglas Squirrel"

2.5" x 3.5" Watercolor and ink by Colleen K Carrigan


Coral2Cove Website

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fun Designing Christmas Ornaments!

Christmas Dream'n

This has been a fun week. I am designing a few porcelain ornaments that will feature my daughter's and my art for the holidays. These make wonderful Christmas gifts. I have a collection of different subjects to choose from - my art focuses on wildlife. Visit my Website, browse and Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions here on what subjects would work well for ornaments.

This is a design that I enjoy - a mother and kit red fox. The ornaments come with a red ribbon to hang them on your festive tree! Visit my Gift Shop to see more ornaments and magnets.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween 'Tweet' - Raven Magic!

Raven "Moon Magic" by Colleen K Carrigan

Happy Halloween Everyone!

This was a fun way to send out a couple of Magical Ravens. Thanks for the Comments!!!

Here is a fun treat. The first two people who leave a comment on this post will receive a free Art Card (2.5" x 3.5") print of my "Moon Magic" Raven painting. This is a great way to add to your collection of ACEO's!

Be sure to email me your snail mail address so I can have these prints winging their way home. My Email:


Black as Pitch

Mystical as the moon,

Speak to me of magic,

I will fly with you soon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Christmas Mouse Art Card

"Golden Mouse and Holly"

The cool crisp days, wood smoke scents and leaf littered garden are signs that winter is not far away. Over the past few weeks, I thoroughly enjoyed painting two sweet rat pups. Rodents have been part of our 'family zoo' during the years Kathryn has grown up. Presently we don't have any rodent pets but we do enjoy the antics of the squirrels and chipmunks in the garden.

My most recent ACEO is of a sweet little golden mouse investigating a bit of holly. The holly has an artistic design that gives the painting some movement and softens the thorns on the leaves. (I love swirls and spirals.) This art card is in memory of our first pet mouse - "Apple". He was a beautiful golden color and his name just seemed to fit him perfectly. He became rather round as he aged!

"Golden Mouse and Holly"

Watercolor and ink 2.5" x 3.5" by Colleen K Carrigan (c) 2009

Golden Mouse for Sale

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Baby Rat in Autumn Colors

"Sweet Pea in Autumn"

This week I enjoyed painting another baby rat. Over the years our family has raised several wee fuzzy rats to adulthood and they have been wonderful pets. This painting is dedicated to "Ralph" our first little rat pup. When Kathryn was 7, her little pet 'Apple', a lovely golden colored mouse, passed on. I went to the pet shop to purchase another mouse, but at the time they did not have any tame ones. But they did have a clutch of hand raised rat pups. I had never owned a rat and wasn't too sure. But when this sweet Chinese blue hooded pup was put into my hand - I had to take a closer look. He reached up with his tiny paws and took my pinkie and began 'nursing'. That was it - and I think I said something like, "Do you have a box?"

Kathryn loved Ralph as we all did. He would follow her everywhere outside and squeak if she got more than a step or two away. He would hop in the grass over to her and climb up... up and up until he was on her shoulder - which was his favorite place to be.

This painting includes the brilliant yellows, oranges and reds of autumn and bright green peas (one of Ralph's favorite foods). The background is rather abstract but has elements from some of the local foliage I gathered for inspiration.

"Sweet Pea in Autumn"
Watercolor and ink 2.5" x 3.5" by Colleen K Carrigan (c) 2009

Coral2 Cove Website

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wild Cat in the Woods

"Cougar Cub" ACEO Watercolor and ink by Colleen K Carrigan (c) 2008 SOLD

Autumn Cougar

A couple of weeks ago my brother and his wife, who live very near the Snake River in Idaho, were awaken in the night by "the most blood curdling screaming" they've ever heard, just back in the woods.

"It sounded like a woman screaming at the top of her lungs, to the point that I was getting ready to dial 911! Then, I realized what we were hearing: a mountain lion. At times it would become a throaty growl and extremely loud." B.W.C.

The next day my brother found the skeletal remains of an adult mule deer that had been completely consumed during the night. Mule deer are large animals - a doe weighs an average of 150 pounds. From tracks it appeared that there were two cats, an adult and juvenille cougar at the feeding site.

This true story inspired me to paint one of my very favorite wild cats.

She's just watching with that intelligent cunning gaze. Cougars bring forth the gifts of power and strength.

"Autumn Cougar"

Watercolor and ink ACEO (2.5" x 3.5") by Colleen K Carrigan (c) 2009 SOLD

Autumn Cougar for sale

Coral2Cove Website

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Halloween Baby Rat ACEO SALE

"Sweet Stash"

This week, I enjoyed painting a wee baby rat and her special Halloween stash. Over the years, our family has raised several mice and rats from fuzzies to adults. One of my daughter's favorite subjects to write about in elementary school, was her little female rat - 'Peanut' - a true sweetheart. This painting is dedicated to Peanut's memory.

My sketch for this ACEO includes one of my favorite Halloween treats as a child - candy corn! With the addition of the candy, the name of the painting became 'Oh so clear'. Writing down titles as they come to me helps in the process. Sometimes the most challenging aspect of a painting is giving it a title.

As this miniature progressed, I needed some fall items for the surroundings. Since we have several 100+ year old white oak trees right out side the front door - I did not go far for inspiration. An acorn seemed to be the perfect natural element to add to the little rat's treasure collection. I used a fine golden glitter ink to include a touch of gem quality to the acorn.

The finished painting shows rich autumn colors and the baby rat seems quite content with her 'sweet stash'.

'Sweet Stash' by Colleen K Carrigan (c) 2009 watercolor and ink

Visit My Coral2Cove Gallery to view 'Sweet Stash'

This painting is a sweet price - starting at $0.01!!!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sea Turtle Hatchling ACEO

"Sand Flying"

This week - the joy of painting my very first sea turtle hatchling. I begin with a sketch:

Then I use pre-cut watercolor paper that I attach drafting tape to (rolled up on the center of the back of my art card). The miniature sized 'canvas' is adhered to a piece of recycled copy paper. I use this as my test palette while I progress through the painting. Generally, I only need a one half sheet size for testing my colors. This allows me to use one piece of copy paper for up to four art cards - refolding it to find a clean surface as needed.

The finished painting: a newly hatched sea turtle beginning the precarious journey from sand to sea. I had the pleasure of working with one of the most endangered of these beautiful creatures - Kemp's Ridley sea turtle from the Gulf of Mexico - many moons ago. What a wonderful experience it was to care for several very healthy active individuals. They grew so quickly and thoroughly enjoyed their meals of fish, squid and scallops. At feeding time - it was literally a splashing fest! The care taker was always soaked - I gave up on the apron idea very early on as it did not do much to keep my face, neck and shoes dry anyway.

Sea Turtle Hatchling "Sand Flying" 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor and ink by Colleen K Carrigan SOLD

Visit Coral2Cove Gallery to view this art card.

Sand Flying

Website: Coral2Cove

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Orca Mother and Calf ACEO

Orca whales are a favorite subject of mine to paint. I love the high contrast of the lights against the darks and their sleek appearance as they glide effortlessly through the sea makes them a joy to capture on art cards.

Here is a recent painting of a mother and calf as it progressed. First a sketch in pencil is drawn of the orcas swimming at the surface.
After transferring this image to watercolor paper, ink and a wash are added. Background washes are the first area I apply paint. After saturating the background areas of the paper with water, colors in a wet on wet technique are added. This gives a nice flowing and blending effect. Also, for my orcas, I always under paint with blues or mauves depending on the surrounding lighting. This painting has ultramarine blue added first to the whales, then several layers of Payne's gray. Highlights are left white or in some cases, added towards the completion using Chinese white.

The finished painting includes the details and the calf's dorsal fin was set back slightly from the original sketch.

"Keeping up with Momma" 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor and ink by Colleen K Carrigan SOLD

View this painting in my online gallery - Coral2Cove Gallery

Website: coral2cove

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Welcome to My First Blog Entry!

Welcome, my name is Colleen K Carrigan and as a naturalist/artist, I have devoted many years to animal behavior studies and nature observations. I thoroughly enjoy producing OSWOA (Original Small Works of Art) and art cards - ACEO's - (Art Cards - Editions and Originals) miniature treasures trade card size 2.5'' x 3.5''.

Here is one of my recent watercolor and ink paintings. I generally begin with a sketch.

Then, after transferring the image to watercolor paper (making alterations as needed) - ink is added over the outline using a Pigma Micron 02 archival ink pen. These pens work wonders - and don't blend when a wash is added moments later. I start with a background wash then add layers of color. I love rich vibrant hues and often under paint areas where red results with shades of yellows to brighten the reds. This painting had a couple of changes from the sketch - the palm fronds were moved slightly and the horizon was raised to enhance the contrast between the darker water and the dolphin's splash.

"Sunset Palm 'n' Dolphin"

This 4"x6" OSWOA is available in my Coral2Cove eBay Gallery.

For all the listings this week checkout - Coral2Cove Gallery

My Website: Coral2Cove

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