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.

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 :)

10290952_9723098-clkfwhw_b 10290802_6001222-clkfnhk_l iPhone-A Field Full of DreamsII iPhone-A Field Full of Dreams 10291012_5007721-plwfr2_l 10291081_14763493-plwfr2_l

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


Make Art that Sells – Part A Recap

As I mentioned in my last post, I had been sneaky taking online art and design classes and not blogging about them like my virtual classmates were. Tomorrow I will post about the Make Art that Sell class, as part of a blog tour that my classmates organized, but I would like to post a “pre-post” about the class, sharing some of the work that I created for the assignments.

Week 1 was about Bolt Fabric. We were assigned to create a design for this market using sketches we’d created with berries and vintage pyrex style casserole dishes.

Scan copy Scan 1 Scan 2 Dutch Berries


This was my final design for that first week.

I actually felt that this first assignment was one that I submitted with confidence and that I felt proud of. I felt the quirky motifs looked like “me”, I was not going to feel this confident, and definitely did not feel proud of the assignment I submitted the week that followed.

Second week was Home Decor week. We were asked to sketch bromeliads, and then for the assignment, design a set of 2 to 4 plates with those sketches (or new sketches if we wanted) but featuring the bromeliads. I sketched and sketched and sketched. I spent so many hours on it and I was feeling really happy with my drawings…but, I ran out of time for the design. The result was me crying after submitting my design and realizing that it looked AWFUL. The horror. I cried and cried. My husband asked: “really? over some plates?”, ha, he was right, but that’s what happened and it helped me get all charged up with energy and enthusiasm and challenged for improvement over the next weeks. During the following week I actually re worked my plates. Here are the before and after designs, so you can see what happens creatively in your head, when you realize how much was wrong about a design you’ve created. Yeyyy for crying!

Plates-Before Plates-After

And here are the sketches that I created. Too bad they did not translate on the first design!

All Motifs-01

Week 2 was Children’s Picture Books. Because of my whimsical painting style, I thought “this is my week”…well, not quite. We needed to illustrate a Russian folk tale called “The Language of the Birds”. I decided to hand sketch first and then design with the computer, because it was going to be “faster” I thought. Another disaster. I ended up using these hideous drop shadows and terrible pastel colors. The result was not good. Two strikes. Holly cow. Major self doubt started this week. Two terrible designs in a row.  Here’s some of my sketches for that week (which I thought were kind of cute). 


And with a lot of embarrassment  I’m sharing the assignment I presented that week. The worst thing is that I initially could not see that it was not working. I just could not see everything that was wrong with it (starting with that outer-glow-drop-shadow-i’m-such-a-photoshop-rookie-effect…jeez!)










Week 4 was Wall Art…now we’re talking. My confidence was a little bit back a this point. The result was kinda cute, but not really my actual style “style”. Regardless, I was proud to submit this one and I’m excited to keep working on new pieces that will have my style and will be more marketable, because, hey, after all, I did not take a class called “Make Art that Sells” to NOT make work that is super marketable right?










Aaand last but not least, Week 5 was Gift. We were asked to design a super lush zipper pouch (and accessories if we wanted. I designed a wallet and umbrella, fun!). Oh yeah…This was the assignment I was more proud off. Here’s the result:


And, to wrap this up, as this post is already mega long and I will be posting again tomorrow, here are all my assignments together. Not very cohesive, that’s something I definitely have to work on, but I feel that after taking this amazing class I’m many, many steps closer to creating a great, marketable design and art portfolio. Best class I’ve ever taken. More about this wonderful course tomorrow. Stay tuned!

All Assignements