Thursday, April 28, 2016

Virtual Paintout 26: Sri Lankan Princess!

Yay, I finished in time!

This paintout was irresistible. How could I NOT paint an adorable little elephant I discovered along the roadside in Udawalawe National Park, Sri Lanka.

That's where the Virtual Paintout gang went for the month of April: to Sri Lanka. It was a blast! They revere elephants there, and even decorate and beautifully paint them for festivals. 

In light of that, I imagined my little Asian elephant was on her way to a Festival, and gave her a leg bracelet with turquoise stones and golden bells.

Here is the original location where I found her (you can click on any pics to enlarge):

The design surrounding our Princess was influenced by the traditional style of arts and crafts in Sri Lanka, and I left some of the birch wood showing in the finished painting.

First layers and linework:

Starting to add shading and hints of color:

 Working on grasses and the Princess:

"Sri Lankan Princess"
Sri Lanka
acrylic on 8x8x1.5  cradled birch

I hope you enjoyed meeting our Sri Lankan Princess!


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Princess

Here it is almost the end of the month, and once again I'm scrambling to finish my painting for the Virtual Paintout! I really did start early. Life just loves to get in the way!

My new goal: defend my Studio Time like a Mama tiger!! :-D

In the meantime, below are a couple of pics of my progress on the painting based on Sri Lanka, the country we are virtually visiting this monthly.

When I spotted this little elephant along side the road, I knew she was my subject. They revere elephants in Sri Lanka, and even decorate and paint them beautifully for festivals.

Fun factoid: Sri Lanka has more festivals in the year than any other country in the world!

I included border design based on the arts and crafts of Sri Lanka, and since my little elephant is on her way to a Festival, I gave her a beautiful belled leg bracelet.

Here are the first layers of Sri Lankan Princess - let's hope I get it finished before the end of the month!!

Hope you like my Princess,


Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Stamping My Feet with Excitement

I'm excited! My new chops have arrived from China.

While I enjoyed painting Carpe Diem Rabbit, I had a heck of a time making a nice looking "chop" signature to go along with the Asian theme for it. It's sort of... chunky/funky. :-}

So, I did something I've wanted to do for a long time: ordered my own genuine Chinese signature chop that has my name, Retta, translated into Chinese. In the same order, I had one created that translates to Blessing.

I found a wonderfully talented Master Seal Cutter on Etsy named Feng Zhuo. He did an amazing job. The square one (my name) is a green agate with a light swirl in the stone, and the other is a very dark purple with a shimmer. Beautifully and delicately carved. I am so impressed!

I can highly recommend Feng Zhuo. He works with you, and personalized my order. He answers emails promptly, and shows you a sample from your stamp for your approval before he ships. 

His Etsy shop is called Chineseseal, HERE.

This is from his About Me page on Etsy:

About Me:
Feng Zhuo, poet, master of seal cutting, was born in Confucius’ hometown: Qufu City of Shandong Province, China. He is the 28th generation disciple of the Dragon Gate sect of the Complete Reality School of Taoism. He graduated from Jining Polytechnic, majoring in Foreign Trade English, and then got his bachelor's degree at Jining University. 
He worked on a project for the development zone and translated the instruction of the film washing machine. He also worked at the press centre of Jining Electric Power Company where he earned the title of Excellent Editor.
Seal carving is a personal, artistic, and professional exploration for Feng. His inspiration for this craft follows in the tradition of seal art from the Qin and Han Dynasties. For Feng this is a combined study of history as well as of his self-expression. His capability and expertise is broad and suited for all interests from traditional to contemporary. He has pleased customers world-wide who can offer enthusiastic recommendation.

If you get one for yourself, let me know, I'd love to see it.
Now, off to make a painting so I can stamp it!

Happy stamping,


Friday, March 18, 2016

Ready to Cowgirl Up?

I've been busy lately puttering around in my Zazzle store, learning how much I did NOT know. Hopefully soon it will be organized.

In the meantime, after having joined a health support group with some like-minded online friends, I created a new motivational card from my ink and watercolor illustration. It was fun!

I left the side front blank (just place holding words that are removed) , so it could be customized, either with a person's  name, or a special greeting.

 Here's a peek:

Anyone interested can pop in to my Zazzle store here (please excuse the disorganization; it's still under construction!) and visit my Cowgirl.

Have an artful day,


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bunnies on the Brain!

I did it again... another bunny painting!

I entered this white bunny in the Pantone Color of the Year contest. The painting must feature their colors of the year: 

Rose Quartz - a pink hue
Serenity - a blue hue

I've long loved Asian influenced art, so I had fun doing the research and incorporating that type of design in this painting. 

The sides are painted an antiqued red. In Asian culture, red is a symbol of good fortune and joy.

The title "Carpe Diem" (Seize the Day) is painted on the gold stripe in Japanese kanji fashion, though it's hard to see the gleam of the gold paint in a scan. But in person, it's there. :-D

Here is how the background looked at the start:

You can just see the antiqued red sides here:

And the finished bunny:

"Carpe Diem"
8 x 8 inch acrylic on wrapped canvas

Hope you enjoyed meeting this newest bunbun to join the growing Bunny Parade! They pick the 5 winners tomorrow, Monday Feb 15th. Fingers and toes crossed! :-D


MONDAY UPDATE: Carpe Diem Bunny wasn't chosen as a winner. But I'm still happy with her, and glad I painted this one. Totally enjoyed playing with the Asian influenced design.
If you'd like to see the winners, their Facebook page announcement is HERE.
Congratulations to the winners!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bunnies on Plaid - the Poster!

The 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge has ended. There were 1403 artists from around the world participating... wow! I appreciate Leslie Saeta, the creator and host of this challenge. Thank you, Leslie.

Now I get to make my challenge poster, showing all 30 paintings together. How colorful and fun this turned out! (as usual, can click image to enlarge)

"Bunnies on Plaid"
by Retta Stephenson

Thanks for following along, and I hope you enjoyed my Bunnies. And here is the link to Leslie's blog so you can enjoy collages from the other artists. They are so colorful!


PS:  I'm putting the bunnies all together in a Facebook photo album (click on Photos then Albums, and you'll see the album titled Jan 2016 Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days Challenge). It's fun and colorful to see them altogether!  

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Day 30 - Dare Greatly - Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days Challenge

It's over! 

I made it to the end of the 30in30 painting challenge. I truly appreciate the support and comments given. Some days were a real bear, and your interest helped energize me. Thank you so much!

My husband said this last bunny should be named "The End". But it's title "Dare Greatly" is taken from the famous speech by Theodore Roosevelt, which means a lot to me. 

So, I'd like to share the complete version here, hoping it will inspire you also:

"The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, who strive valiantly; who know the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spend themselves in a worthy cause; who at the best, know the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if they fail, fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

"Dare Greatly"
by Retta Stephenson

6x6 inch acrylic on wrapped canvas
Special challenge price of
$30 includes it's own FREE wooden 
mini display easel and 
FREE shipping in the continental US

(other locations please email 
for shipping costs) 

These mini art paintings are being sold on a first come first served basis, so anyone interested please email me at with any questions. If you'd like this daring bunny to come and live with you, simply click on the Button above (you don't need a Paypal account).

Pricing note: These original mini art bunny paintings will soon be listed at an online gallery (I will post the link when it's finalized) therefore the special challenge price will no longer apply. They will revert to normal pricing, around $72 each for the 4x4 inch bunnies, and around $108 for the 6x6 inch bunnies. So if you think you'd like a bunny to come live with you, please consider deciding before the change is made, so I can give you the direct-from-artist best pricing. :-)

As always, thank you for visiting, and I greatly appreciate any and all comments. I hope you've enjoyed following along on this adventure!


PS:  I'm putting the bunnies all together in a Facebook photo album (click on Photos then Albums, and you'll see the album titled Jan 2016 Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days Challenge). It's fun and colorful to see them altogether!