Floral Madness!

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It's been floral madness around here for several weeks and I have enjoyed it sooo, soo much. I still have about 11 more florals to paint to complete my #30daysofflowers challenge. It's has not been a daily thing some weeks, some weeks it has, but I'm very happy with what I have so far. I really recommend taking a challenge like this on whatever subject interests you (or even a subject you have difficulty with!) to see some magic happen in your art and creative process. I would also like to invite you to check out amazing artist @victoriajohnsondesign , who is working on a 100 days of florals challenge!! for some serious floral eye candy. In this picture you can see some of what is now available on my website www.carolinacotoart.com as prints (and some of them also as originals). Pheww, that was a long post :) #floralchallenge #floraldesign #floraldecor #floralart #flowers #floralpainting #becreative #calledtobecreative #carolinacotoart #creativeminds #creativehappylife

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New Work for August: Surf’s Up Bro!

Summer, around here where I live, is packed with outdoor shows. These last couple of months I’ve been participating in 1 to 3 art shows a week. I know. Bananas. They are not all big shows, but they all take some preparation time (some take a lot more than others) and a full day (or days) of being somewhere else but in the house/studio, painting. So, painting time is limited, but I feel pretty good about the pieces that I have finished so far this month.

Also, two of them already sold, yaayy!

So, here they are, 100% beach and surf inspired, the first two are based on photographs (with his permission) by Ben Gallop (find him on Instagram also). On the first two, click on the image to see the photo by Ben that inspired them.

You can buy prints of these images (and more) on my online shop.

"Wave 2.2", 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. ((Inspired by photo by Ben Gallop- @eastbynoreast on Instagram-)

“Wave 2.2”, 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. ((Inspired by photo by Ben Gallop- @eastbynoreast on Instagram-)

"Big Waves and Pier", 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. Sold. (Inspired by photo by Ben Gallop- @eastbynoreast on Instagram)

“Big Waves and Pier”, 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. Sold. (Inspired by photo by Ben Gallop- @eastbynoreast on Instagram)

"Calm Seas and Cruiser", 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches. Sold.

“Calm Seas and Cruiser”, 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches. Sold.

Viva el Arte in Costa Rica – Part1

Since I moved to the U.S in 2011, I’ve been trying to come back to Costa Rica, my home country, a couple of times a year to see my family and participate in the two art shows that I used to participate in before moving (it always surprises me to think that I currently participate in about twenty art shows in the Outer Banks every year! Most of them are very small shows, but still!). Yesterday was the last day of Viva el Arte, this really, really cool show in Costa Rica at a shopping center called Plaza del Sol in the busy suburbs of Curridabat, San José. Every time I’m getting ready to travel for this show (specially the day I’m packing!), I feel a little overwhelmed and think it is a little crazy to come for only a week, attend the four day show (1 day is set up and opening, the other three days we are here for nine hours), and then try to hang out with friends and family for the remaining days. But as soon I’m here, all set up, I feel so happy that I made it. The artists here are so awesome, so much fun to be around; my friends and family come and visit here as well, so it is great to catch up in between tending the customers, not to mention that I can usually cover my airfare with the sales. Win/win situation, no doubt.

I wanted to share a few pictures of some of the booths of the artists that were my neighbors this year, as well of a couple of pictures of my booth (I will share pictures of other artists tomorrow).

Arturo Santana, Venezuelan/Costa Rican artist who has resided in Costa Rica for decades, and his wife, Lilibeth Martínez were to my left. Arturo started his art career as a painter but currently sculpts as well. I’ll let the images do the talking, here are some pictures of their work, taken yesterday at the show.

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Next to Arturo and Lilibeth was Adrián Gómez, his colorful paintings and characters, inspired by the Caribbean of Costa Rica always get a lot of attention at this show. Don’t let the picture fool you, he’s always cracking jokes, you’re guaranteed to be entertained if you’re his neighbor at the show, he’s not as serious as he looks in the picture!


Next to Adrián, one of my personal favorites, awesome young designer María José Da Luz, I, of course, bought a couple of her illustrations and I’m thrilled. I think the design world needs to keep an eye on this one (I believe they already are ;)), I have no doubt that she’s going to make it far.


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And last, I would just like to share a few pictures of my space….I had a great time at this show as always and I’m looking forward to next year. Tomorrow, I will share some images of some of my other neighbors, including a couple of my other personal favorites :)

Have a great Monday!

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Finding Shapes in the Clouds

A couple of weeks ago I shared one of my new pieces: “Balloon” in this post . It’s funny how that painting came to be. I have my little work area just next to our kitchen, I was quickly doing dishes after dinner but had my mind on these three small paintings I had started that day, and I was looking at them from the kitchen. The one that was going to become “Balloon” was laying flat on my desk, it was only a background at that moment, random brush strokes, and I had not idea of where it was going. As I continued to wash dishes and look over at it on my desk, the random brush strokes transformed so clearly into an air ballon. I though: “yes!!”, that’s what that painting it’s going to be. I love when that happens, but in reality, it happens so often. Even if you sketch first (I sometimes do before starting a painting, very often don’t), the sketches are so often the result of that lightbulb going off in your head after seeing something or doing something that is just part of your routine or your daily life, in moments that we would consider not creative. Seeing that Air Balloon so clearly in those random brush strokes made me think that sometimes making art is like finding shapes in the clouds.

By the way, I thought that was a cool quote, and I looked on the internet and I couldn’t find it anywhere….did I come up with a cool quote and a cool painting idea on that same day? it might be! Should I claim it? (I know, I’m being such a dork now, maybe I’m the only one that thinks that’s a cool quote, but you know what?  I’ll claim it anyway ;) ):

“Sometimes making art is like finding shapes in the clouds”

Here’s some of my new minis (5×7 inch paintings) that have balloons in them, and now I’m off to find some more “shapes in the clouds” and hopefully come up with a few more paintings before I leave for Costa Rica this coming Wednesday to participate in Viva el Arte.

"Orange Ballon". Acrylic and acrylic markers on wood panel, 7x5 inches.

“Orange Ballon”. Acrylic and acrylic markers on wood panel, 7×5 inches.

"Clouds and Balloons". Acrylic and acrylic markers on wood panel, 5x7 inches.

“Clouds and Balloons”. Acrylic and acrylic markers on wood panel, 5×7 inches.

"Big Balloon". Acrylic and acrylic markers on wood panel, 7x5 inches.

“Big Balloon”. Acrylic and acrylic markers on wood panel, 7×5 inches.

Happy weekend!


Behind the Scenes (Or the Headless Dancer)

A couple of weeks ago I finished this big painting, there was quite a bit of fun involved in painting it. I would like to share some images of the processes and a couple of videos that were the result of waaaay too many hours of painting.

The painting is called: “A Tree Full of Dreams” and I had no idea of what it was going to be when I started. I very often don’t sketch before starting a painting and just let it “tell me” what it is going to be.

This is how it started:

Painting in Progress-Carolina Coto Painting in Progress-Carolina Coto

Then progressed into something kind of different, but keeping the drips and many of the “flowery” elements:

Painting in Progress-Carolina Coto

Then this happened after many many hours of painting one day:

Some “Chicken in the Corn”  (that song is awesome!) headless dancing:

And then I HAD to record a few other dance moves with and even “awesomer” song (doesn’t it just make you super happy and gives you this urge to dance??…love it!)

After many hours of painting and a few headless dancing videos, this was the final result:

"A Tree Full of Dreams". Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches, $1200, 2014.

“A Tree Full of Dreams”. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches, $1200, 2014.

I had some fun setting it up on virtual rooms to offer it in my online store:

A-Tree-Full-of-Dreams A-Tree-Full-of-Dreams2

I even grabbed some elements from it to make a couple of patterns (and I will probably be making more), and added them to my Society 6 store, they look kind of cool in some of the products they offer, it’s always exciting to see your art in products :)

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I hope there’s some dancing involved in your day! ;)

Til next time…



Thanks to The Beach…

I showed my new work to a friend and client yesterday, I told her that my colors are changing a little bit, but that I’m pleased with these new pieces and that people have seemed to like them quite a bit as well. She told me that she really liked my new colors, that they are very “beachy”. I was very pleased to hear this, since, well, I live on the beach, and all my “beachy” work is my best seller around here. I guess I realized today, how much living here has really influenced my work. The last couple of years the subject of my art had changed, I had started painting waves and scenery from around here, but I guess the color changes are the result of a more subtle influence that I wasn’t even aware of.

I think that as artists, change is always a good thing, but also, as artists, change is also scary! When you hear over and over that people like what you’ve been producing for a couple of years, and then you suddenly start evolving and changing it a little bit, there’s always that fear: “what if they don’t like it???”. It is definitely reassuring to come up with something that feels different from what you were doing before, but that people still recognizes as 100% “you”, and that people still likes, sometimes even more than what you were doing before.  This is just once again a reminder that, as brilliant Lilla Rogers puts it: “people buy your joy”. As long as you’re producing something that you can’t help but producing, something that really comes from your “creative guts”, I guess you’re good.

In any case, may I present you with some of my latest work; and thanks to the beach for influencing me to produce it! (you can click on the images to see more details about each painting on my website)

Flowers Field Magenta Tree Spring Beach Snow


2013: What a Wonderful Year! (In Images)

I was trying to write this post…it had been 3 days, and I was not even close to finishing, so I decided, I’ll let the images do the talking, and I’ll show you, with images -and a tiny bit of text-, why 2013 was a wonderful year!

I know we are 1 month into the new year, but I guess it is never too late to recap and be thankful for everything 2013 was, so, here it goes (you can click on the images to see them bigger):


In 2013 we got to travel to Holland, Canary Islands and Morocco, getting to do all this traveling with my husband is a dream come true :). In Holland we got to stay with my dutch “sister”, Noemi and my nephew Móan, and they got to meet my husband Brian. I love her, I love the Netherlands and we loved staying with them (she’s got the most comfortable guest bed ever!! I love european comforters too…it’s like sleeping in a cloud, I swear! -that’s what it feels like to me anyway-)


This year that past I participated in a total of 20 art festivals, including 2 in Costa Rica, I got to experiment which ones are a better fit for my art and I’m so happy that I got to test them and figure that out. There’s always going to be some “fine tuning” needed every year, but I definitely got to get a feel for different kinds of festivals.


I became and aunt in 2013!! :D I got to meet my nephew in May 2013, when he was only 2 months old, and got to see him again, and play and cuddle him so much in December. He’s so much fun now at 10 months old, so playful and smart. I’m in love.


These are some of the original pieces I sold in 2013, some were quite small, but there were a few of the big ones too ;). Selling original art is not necessarily easy, so I’m really grateful for last year’s outcome.

All Assignements

I went back to school! (online school that is) and signed up for some amazing classes, including “Make Art that Sells” taught by Lilla Rogers and the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, taught by surface designer Rachel Taylor (now Davis). Both classes included Facebook groups for the participants, and both the classes and the interaction with my virtual classmates have been life changing for me as an artist. These images are the designs I produced for Lilla Rogers class.



I’ve been in the Outer Banks for 2.5 years now and I feel lucky for the friends I’ve made here. I also feel lucky that I get to have nice times with my new friends here in the Outer Banks and that I get to go and spend the holidays with my family in Costa Rica and see my friends over there as well. This was the case in 2013. Is the best of two worlds.

I could go on, because there’s definitely more…but I think you get an idea. 2013 was a great, great year!