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…




The “Guilt” of Thinking

The opening date for my solo show at the Dare County Arts Council is quickly approaching, I need, I MUST be painting non stop to finish the paintings that I will be hanging soon.  Today I was expecting to be painting first thing in the morning and yet, it has not happened yet. I’m just about to start, right after I finish this post. I happen to have spent all my morning “thinking, researching, planning”.

A couple of weeks ago I was doing a little bit of accounting just to realize that, at this point of the year, almost 100% that I have earned in my art business, I have re-invested, leaving me with about $500 profit…yikes. I wanted to cry when I saw those numbers.  My husband reassured me: “how much would be the profit for all the inventory you have and have not sold yet?”….ok, the numbers started looking much better. My business is completely new. I would say I did not start seeing myself as an actual “business” until this year; and then, something as obvious as an the initial investment to create the necessary inventory for the year, took me by surprise. Even though I know I now have quite a bit of inventory that will generate profit, I’m still “thinking, researching, planning” constantly (what new materials can I use? what other framing options do I have, what new product could be a “hit”), to try to make that ongoing investment as smart as possible.

Even though I believe that all that “thinking” is necessary, I can’t help but feeling guilty that I didn’t spend my morning painting. I know I could have left all of “that” for another morning after my show opening, but I guess I couldn’t help myself, after all, all of “that” is very important as well, if I intend to make a living as an artist.

But so is creating more artwork, so… I better get to painting now!

It’s all so worth it…

I had a goal for this year:  to be in as many art festivals as I could. So far I’ve been in ten festivals in three months (yikes, that’s quite a bit of shows)  some of them lasted two or three days, some just five or six hours.

I actually flew to Costa Rica, my home country, for a weekend show in May that takes place in a cute shopping center. I’ve done this show since 2008 :). Here’s a picture of that show, it was a good one for me.


I started worrying a little bit last week realizing that some weeks I had spent three days out at art shows and then two days out doing my part time job (rental homes cleaning on Saturdays and Sundays), meaning that I was only being left with two full days to actually paint.

I recently took some drastic measures to ensure that I could continue to produce new work to be in all of these festivals and for my solo show this coming September. I no longer have to clean houses on Sundays (yeyy!) and I got my neighbor to help me on Saturdays, which means that I come home now, after cleaning, and I still have energy to paint. Next year I will stop Saturday cleaning all together. The owner of the houses is such a nice lady (and art supporter, she’s bought a couple of my paintings and is constantly checking what new pieces I’ve produced) that I don’t want to leave her hanging now, in the middle of the high season, plus, let’s face it, it’s nice to know that there’s at least a tiny bit of my income that I can count on every month.

From all these ten shows I’ve done so far this year, some have been ok, some have been great and one was definitely no good, you can read about that one here. I’m a pretty positive person and I love what I do …yet, what can I say,  this year I’ve attended a couple of shows that have made me question my work. It sounds a little “bumming”, but I guess questioning is a good thing. It may cause some uncertainty, but what would be of us if we never did question what we’re doing creatively? I guess questioning yourself, or “reviewing” -that might be a better word for it?- your creative work, allows it to stay fresh and truth to yourself.

This weekend I headed for yet another art festival, I was invited last minute to attend, after they’ve had a cancellation, and I actually almost said no (I was starting to feel overwhelmed about the amount of shows I’ve done in a few months and the bunch I have coming up!). I’m so glad I didn’t. This show ended up being the best so far for me and I sold a big original, that had me a little bit in that “questioning” mode. I loved this painting and it got a lot of comments when I first posted it on my Facebook page, many people loved it and “platonically” wanted it, yet, it was so big and colorful that after a year of carrying it around for shows, I wondered, “who is ever going to want to buy this big ol’ colorful piece?? it’s too much!”.

Well, this weekend was that “ever” . This really great couple came day one to the show -I did not have this painting with me- saw the picture of this painting in my portfolio, fell in love with it, I brought it next day to the show, they came to see it and also saw a bunch of originals they had not seen the day before, went back and forth several times between the “big ol'” colorful piece and other originals that they liked, and yet, that was the one they wanted and they got it. These customers made my week I gotta tell you. The way they showed such interest in my work and the way they couldn’t decide between one or the other, it just made me feel really good about my art. Any doubts that I might have had last week about my work just dissipated and it made me think: all the work that it takes to make every one of these pieces, all the time that it takes to set up for these shows, all the times you end up questioning yourself because you were maybe at a show where the crowd was just not “your crowd”;  it is all worth it when you have a show like I had last week, where people were just grabbing small originals off the tent walls without much thinking because they knew the price was right and the piece was beautiful, or when a couple takes their time to decide among several large originals, because they just “love them all” -as they said- and then just take the biggest, most colorful one, that one that you love but that sure-it’s-taking-a-lot-of-space-in-the-guest-bedroom-oh-lord-please-make-them-want-that-one-pretty-please-…it makes it all so worth it.

The following day I went to clean my Sunday house for the last time. Oh, so worth it…

The Windmill

The Windmill. Also known as “The Big Ol’ Colorful Piece”. 36 x 48 inches. SOLD ;)

The Windmill and other pieces on display in my booth at Stockley Gardens Art Festival last May: (Click on the link to see yet another picture of me next to the the Big Ol’ Colorful Piece at Stockley Gardens and some highlights of the show :))

Booth Shot 2013

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!


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 :)