Welcome to the pattern world! (and a relaxing bike ride to the memorial)

I’ve been away from my blog for almost a week and I feel guilty about it…but I have several very good excuses!

Last week I had two outdoor art shows. I love these shows but man, they really are a lot, a lot of work. My tent weights about 200 pounds when it is all set up. It’s made of a combination of steel poles and fittings that I actually looove putting together (not sure why?? reminds me of a grown up LEGO maybe? or maybe just the sense of accomplishment I feel when I’m done putting up that beautiful “art fortress” all by my little self -the tent is 200 pounds…I’m 115-). My whole set up -putting up the tent, hanging the artwork- takes me about 2.5 hours and then taking it down, about 1.5 hours. These two shows I had last week were only 5 and 6 hours long each, which means that I spent more than half the duration of the show putting up and taking down my whole display. Add to this the loading and unloading the car, it makes for a good day of work and sweat for sure!

Another thing that kept me really busy last week and is still keeping me really busy, is a class I’m taking on Skill Share , is called: “Reign Repeats: Create Perfect Repeat Patterns in Illustrator”. I love it.  Since last week I’ve spent countless hours in front of the computer trying to learn the basics of Illustrator (I used illustrator here and there before, but the few things I could do on it I had figured out by myself and I was still terrified of or had not idea how to use more than half the tools). Well, the close to 40 hours I’ve put into it so far have certainly paid off and yesterday I was able to make my first “test” repeat. I was so excited about it. I’ve always loved patterns but I never “connected” the beautiful designs I saw in fabrics or stationary with how they were created, I guess I must have though that these patterns were just created by “spontaneous generation” or something, ha, and never made the connection with the designs and the artists behind them. So, here I am, learning how put my drawings and ideas into the computer and make cute little surfaces that could go on so many products! love it!

These are two of my favorite final motifs, I hand sketched them first and then scanned them into the computer and started the “magic” with illustrator. The theme is “Picnics” and if it all goes well and I finalize my “official” repeat by Sunday, I will be entering Spoon Flower’s weekly challenge with that theme, along with my classmates.

Bottle Changuchichou

And here is my first experimental repeat using one of the repeat methods (one of so many that I haven’t learned yet, but will be learning today!)

Square Method 1


I was just wowed when I made this. This is just a test but the fact that it repeated correctly and to see this, resulting from a bunch of little hand sketches just got me so excited!

I spent about ten hours (maybe a little more), doing this yesterday, I was determined to end the day with my first repeat, and I did! but after ten hours in front of the computer, I needed to get out of the house. I ended the day with my favorite bike ride around here, I rode my bike from our house to the Wright’s Memorial, about 2.5 miles from here, right at the end of the day. It was the perfect way to end it.

Here’s a painting I made inspired by that bike ride, it is actually called: “Bike Ride to the Memorial”

Bike Ride to the Memorial. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches, 2012

Bike Ride to the Memorial. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches, 2012

So, there. Those are my excuses for very little writing last week ;). Hope you are all having a great start of the week!



Intention: The Universe is a People Pleaser

This blog post is in support of a new book by Michelle Ward and Jessica Swift called The Declaration of You. The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 100 other creative bloggers. Learn more — and join us! — by clicking here.


Thinking about the word “intention”, I guess I realized that I had unknowingly set intentions for my life since I was about 9 years old. How crazy it is that we naturally have this ability of following steps that could lead us to fulfill our wildest dreams and yet we constantly doubt ourselves and/or forget that we are capable of this.

I learned a few years ago that to set an intention, I must really be ready for something to happen. I remember wanting something (very specifically, a partner in life, a husband :) ), but being so comfortable with my single life, in my pretty little apartment, I never really asked for it, meaning, I never said or wrote, specifically: “This is what I want”.  One day I wrote down in a little notebook what I wanted. For the first time I wrote down exactly what I desired and I wrote 5 characteristics that were a “must” in that partner in life of mine that I was reaching out to “the universe” for. I thought about it real well, I felt an “I’m ready for this ‘fo’ rizzle‘ ” in my guts and closed my notebook and really did forget about it. A few months later I met this “guy” who a little bit over a year later became my aaawesome husband. Yeyy. Sometime before we married, I found my notebook that had been forgotten in a drawer and I read what I had written more than a year before. I read the list of “characteristics” I wanted in this future husband of mine and I was pretty impressed to discover that “the universe” was quite a people pleaser, what I asked for in that list, I got.  I guess that’s when I remembered that we have this “natural ability” and that’s when I thought “man dang” this thing works. By “thing” I mean, setting and intention, or you can call it whatever you want, “asking the universe” (if you’re a little “hippie” like me), just being ready for that change/goal/ trip /career that you want to happen and just having the “availability” for it to happen.  I don’t know how, but it seems that when you “do it” (again, set an intention, ask the universe, etc) it’s like you wire your brain into that state of mind and you end up doing the right moves, searching for the right things, being in the right places that lead you to that thing you set yourself to accomplish. I don’t know. It’s like magic. Ha ;), it really is…

Has it ever happen to you, that you think about or maybe dream about someone that you haven’t seen in a long time, maybe someone you went to school with but you haven’t seen since then, and then 1 or 2 days after you thought about them, you run into them? in a random place? that has happened to me many times and I always get that feeling that somehow I thought or dreamed about them because I knew I was going to run into them. I know this happens to everybody. If we can be so intuitive with random things like this, imagine with the natural tools that we have, what our brain, what our soul is capable of doing if we set our mind to it, if we set an “intention”, if we ask for it, if we make ourselves “available” for those things that we want. Just imagine…


And we said “I Do”…!
My husband Brian and me on our wedding day.

There will be a little party on Facebook this Friday to discuss and celebrate “Intention”, click on the picture and come join us! they’re fun!

City inspiration

Before I moved to the U.S and to the beach in the Outer Banks, NC, I had lived in San José, Costa Rica, my whole life. About 6 years ago I was taking pictures at night in downtown San José for a project I had in mind and the work that came out of that experiment, started my current line work.

Here’s some examples of that early work:


Avenida. Acrylic on photograph. 2008


City of Balloons. Acrylic and china maker on photograph, 2010


Plaza en Magentas. Acrylic, color pencil and china maker on photograph, 2010

I was painting over the photographs I had taken and had this desire of covering everything I didn’t like, sometimes people, sometimes an overflowing trash can and then of highlighting the things that I liked and adding new symbolic repetitive “elements” to the scene, dots, circles, etc. The results were city images that even though based in real places, were coming out of my imagination: “Imagining Cities” was the name of the first show with those pieces. The work continued to evolve and then eventually the “cities” were no longer coming out of photographs but just from my head, and then the inspiration was not only San José, but any city or place that I felt inspired by, even if they were not real.

Creta. Acrylic on canvas, 2011

Creta. Acrylic on canvas, 2011

In Between. Acrylic and marker on canvas, 2011

In Between. Acrylic and marker on canvas, 2011

San Gimignano. Acrylic and marker on canvas, 2011

San Gimignano. Acrylic and marker on canvas, 2011

Golden City. Acrylic and marker on canvas, 2011

Golden City. Acrylic and marker on canvas, 2011

Fes. Acrylic and marker on panel, 11 x 14 inches, 2013

Fes. Acrylic and marker on panel, 11 x 14 inches, 2013

As my work has continued to evolve, I guess my inspiration is not only the city, the beach, or a place or places, but the possibility of creating a world of  “my own”, my own colorful reality in a little piece of fabric or paper. What’s your inspiration? I’d love to read your comments. Hope you’re having a great Tuesday!


Beach :)

It’s pretty late here in the Outer Banks of NC, but I had to write at least a few lines. Today was a pretty long day but perfectly balanced between work and relaxation time; I got to spend a few hours on the beach at the end of the day, sketch a little bit while I was there and watch my husband surf. It was so beautiful. I moved here 2 years ago and I still can’t believe that this is where I live and that this is my life.

I want to share a few of my paintings that have been inspired by what is now “home”.


Lighthouse. Acrylic, color pencil and marker on photograph

Lighthouse. Acrylic, color pencil and marker on photograph, 2012

Wave 1.2. Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 36 inches, 2013

Wave 1.2. Acrylic on canvas, 18 x 36 inches, 2013

Stormy Turns. Acrylic and marker on canvas.

Stormy Turns. Acrylic and marker on canvas, 2012

Pier 2. Acrylic and marker on canvas.

Pier 2. Acrylic and marker on canvas, 2012

Disclaimer: I’m new to blogging and I just HAD! to add a little poll here ;), I’m just so fascinated with all the cool things you can do in a blog.

Good night everybody! And thanks for reading :)


Some things you can’t control

In Art Festivals’ world, there’s 2 things you can’t control: sales and weather. Yesterday I participated in a new local art show, the Windmill Point Art Fair, here in the Outer Banks. I’m glad that I was there, I got to practice my set up (which takes me 2.5 hours) and just be there, showing my art, hanging out with other artists.  The weather was brutal towards the end, the wind started knocking down people’s stuff from their tables and many people was forced to start packing up early. I have to say that I’m really glad that I invested in a good tent at the beginning of this year, my mesh walls were flapping a little bit though the show but my art work was “hanging in there”, no problem, the whole time. Take down was a different story, I thought the wind was just going to take all my art work as I was taking it down…same thing with my panels, tent top, etc. All my framed stuff was covered in dirt that the wind was carrying, same as me, I was not sure what was sun tan and what was dirt, seriously. Besides that (and the fact that I did not sell 1 thing, nothing, cero), I’m just excited to keep painting and getting ready for future shows, and even if we can’t control the weather, or sales, I’m going to declare, I will do good next show ;).

Here’s a picture of my set up yesterday, what y’all think?

photo (9)

and I really want to share this other pic, with my friend’s Dawn Gray‘s permission, this is Dawn and her little baby Marbella, who was a real trooper yesterday at the show, Dawn set up this little “pool” for Marbella to stay cool and have some fun during the show, I thought it was brilliant…Marbella napped and played through the day at the show…just a normal day for an artist’s baby :)


And now I’m off to paint (and re frame some of my art work that got all dirty from the wind yesterday :/ )

Over and out :)

So, here we go…

First post in my new blog…yikes. What now? I’m feeling a little bit wordless. I’m just going to start writing. I’m just going to tell you, like I would tell a new friend why did I start painting and all of that good stuff. So, I started painting when I was about 9 I guess, inspired by my dad who is a pretty good self taught painter, I was not very disciplined of course, but I pretty much figured out back then that I wanted to be a painter.

Fast forward hmmm, lets say, 10 years. There I was, a student in Universidad de Costa Rica, second year in art school, first year in painting class, “Painting 1” .   Teacher says, for our first serious project: “Pick a subject that you are very interested in”. Well, Carolina Coto’s pick? (I’ll like to make a little parenthesis here and ask you to go look at my portfolio on this blog and guess what subject I picked -if you’re familiar with my art, then jump right to the subject guessing :) – rainbows? flowers? color, color, color?) The Holocaust. That was my pick. Yes. From age 16th to about 21 I was very, very interested, shocked, obsessed in an existential “how-in-this-world-could’ve-something-like-this-happened” way. And so I immersed my self into it, read, read and read more (more than I had already read in the past 4 years about it) and dreamed, yes, I possibly dreamed every other night about it. The art work resulting was very intense, very heart felt and it was very very dark. And it got me a 10 in that class that semester.  The rest of my student years were filled with very introspective and exhaustingly emotional work. Fast forward to 2008. My current line of work started. What happened in between? A lot of experimentation I guess, life experiences, growing up. I came to terms with a lot of things that I needed to paint about in early years, and “digging” in my “soul” just became unnecessary and almost annoying to me. A lot of my younger years’ art where about self discovery, and then at some point I did not feel like I needed to do that anymore. The result is my current work. “Happy art” people call it, and that’s perfectly fine with me. I’ve felt self conscious about my current line of work, sometimes. I wonder if it has the necessary “depth” to it, -conceptual depth I mean-, but all I know is that I am painting what I really want to paint. My art work now is the most honest, comfortable, “happy” (I guess I use that word to describe it, too) that I’ve ever painted, and I guess that’s all that matters for me right now. One’s art is always evolving, so I’m sure there will be changes in it. But I feel I’m painting and I am creating right now what I want and what I need.

Phewww. There. My first blog post. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see y’all next time :)

Disclaimer: English is not my first language. I apologize for all the funny grammar errors I might have made ;)