Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Butterfly house has closed for fall & winter....

But here are some photos I took during the last time that I worked there! Hope you enjoy them.

A Julia drinking from a purple butterfly bush.

Zebra Longwing enjoying a yellow butterfly bush...

Two different longwings sharing a feast!

I plan to make at least a couple into drawings, and hope to use the rest as references for my butterflies in the rainforest painting that is on my agenda... another painting that I dreamed about a few months ago and I must see come to fruition.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Passion Flowers Painting Complete!

"Passion Flowers"
Acrylic on Canvas

Just finished this painting a few minutes ago!... what a load off! It's been on my easel way too long. (I say that far too often.) And unfortunately it's a very dark, cloudy day (the weather is giving me a little preview of winter I guess, ugh!), so I just couldn't get the lighting to work for this picture without using the flash... hence a little bit of a glare on this. But I am impatient and wanted to get a picture of the painting and didn't have time to look for my tripod.

Now the dilemma... I bought a frame for this a while back, and it's a silvery-champagne color. I think this painting looks nice without a frame though- I could just paint the sides a dark green. But I hate to waste the frame that I bought! So later today, I'll bring the frame upstairs from the storage area and see how it looks. I can't attach it yet anyway, since I need to take the painting to get the image capture from my usual wonderful experts at American Art in Annapolis.

I've already started my next painting, which is much smaller than this one, at just 11"x14". A few nights ago I dreamed of this spider painting and woke up feeling like I MUST create it. I know I just recently completed a spider drawing, but the idea behind that one was to be gross and scary and creepy on purpose since I created it specifically for the Halloween show at Gallerie 13. I guess I had the spiders on my mind, but the new spider painting is a more cheerful one- a spring time atmosphere with pastel yellows and greens in the background and a big mostly black spider in the foreground. I think I'll paint a wasp spider... they're pretty cool looking!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oyster Festival Poster Contest

I found out yesterday that my artwork was selected for the official posters of the 2009 St. Mary's County Oyster Festival & US National Oyster Shucking Championship Contest!

I've posted the artwork on my Facebook page! You can see it here:

The Lexington Park Rotary Club and Maryland375 (St. Mary's County Tourism) sponsored a contest to design the poster for this year.
(It was hard to find information about exactly who sponsored the contest so if I'm leaving anyone out, please just leave a comment at the end of this post on my blog!)

Each year the US National Oyster Shucking Championship Contest is held at the St. Mary's County fairgrounds at the Oyster Festival. The winner of the contest goes on to compete internationally in Gallway, Ireland! The St. Mary's County Oyster Festival is an annual event that I've tried to attend each year for as long as I can remember, since I love oysters soooo much.

Momentarily stepping into the time machine.......
Apparently as a toddler, I was a pretty picky kid when it came to food. At a party, a friend of my parents started feeding me raw oyster after oyster, and lost track of how many of them I had eaten. Much to my parents' pleasant surprise, I didn't get sick from eating all those oysters! But it was one of the few foods that they could get me to eat as a kid... Go figure. Imagine my mom and grandma taking me out at lunch time and ordering sandwiches for themselves and oysters on the half shell for the kid! I heard they got some bizarre looks from some of the local restaurant staff.

If you've never been to an Oyster Festival or seen an Oyster Shucking contest, you should definitely make an effort to go. I didn't have much interest in the shucking until a friend of mine entered (and ended up winning!!) the amateur contest a few years ago. Watching the people shucking their trays of oysters was just amazing, especially since none of them even managed to severely injure themselves.

At the St. Mary's County Oyster Festival, there are also oyster cooking contests and demonstrations. Sometimes if you're lucky, after a contest or demonstration the chefs will pass out free... yes, FREE samples of the wonderful yumminess they've prepared! I had an oyster chowder sample one year and can I just say..... Heaven! I've even heard that people who don't like oysters at all often go and try oysters in some fashion that is new to them and find out that.... they do like oysters! Albeit minced and prepared in some kind of tomato based stew, but nevertheless.

For more information about the Oyster Festival, go here:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I had such a blast at Artsfest this year and was so excited that I was invited to show there again!
This year I was able to display on the pavement in the Tent Circle versus the Wooded Path. Don't get me wrong, I loved being in the woods, but wanted to try something different. Plus, both other shows I did this year were in the woods, so it was nice to be on some solid ground! :)

The best thing about being on the pavement was the spot that I was assigned: It was really really close to the entrance, which meant both of my grandfathers were able to come and see me. My grandfather who lives in Maryland takes walks every day, but I don't think he would have wanted to take the hike all the way back to my booth had it been in the woods. My grandparents from Virginia happened to be in town that weekend, too, so they also came by. My granddad had knee surgery a year or two ago, and still walks quite a bit, but I am not sure if he would have wanted to walk all the way back into the woods either.

It was neat getting to show them a little bit of what I'm doing now.

The weather during the weekend was PERFECT, and it was just a wonderful show to finish out my outdoor season.

This was also the first time I did a giveaway at a show, and congratulations to Kathleen who was the big winner! I'm still waiting to hear which print she picks.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Giveaway at Artsfest!

This weekend is Artsfest at AnnMarie Garden in southern Maryland!

I'll be there on the concrete this time (I'm usually in the woods!) in the Tent Circle- spot # 60.

Also, for the first time at an art show I'm doing a giveaway! The prize is an 8"x10" print of your choice from my gallery of art at www.samanthasartstudio.com.

All you have to do is stop by my tent and sign up for my e-newsletter (frequency of said newsletter will vary from seasonal to monthly, at the most). Slips of paper will be provided where you can write your name and email address, then place them into a container. Container is still TBD, hehe. After the show, I'll pick a random name/email address from the container and contact the winner. Then you can let me know which print you would like and where you would like me to send it :)

I'm very excited about being able to offer this giveaway and hope that someone will receive a print that they will truly enjoy- or, if they are picking out a print as a gift, that the recipient will enjoy it as well!

If you click the image below, you can go to their site and print out a coupon for $1 off admission from Artsfest:

Hope to see you there! Weather is supposed to be great- sunny and lower 70's!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Spiders from Mars!

Inspired by David Bowie (duh), I created this drawing for Gallerie 13's Halloween Group Art Show next month! The reception will be held on Friday, October 2nd, with all the usual First Friday wonderful things- free food and wine and live music!

Speaking of music, you can listen to the Spiders from Mars and Ziggy, too by clicking this link!

Ziggy played guitar, jamming good with Weird and Gilly
The spiders from Mars. He played it left hand
But made it too far
Became the special man, then we were Ziggy's band

Ziggy really sang, screwed up eyes and screwed down hairdo
Like some cat from Japan, he could lick 'em by smiling
He could leave 'em to hang
Came on so loaded man, well hung and snow white tan.

So where were the spiders while the fly tried to break our balls
Just the beer light to guide us,
So we bitched about his fans and should we crush his sweet hands?

Ziggy played for time, jiving us that we were voodoo
The kids were just crass, he was the nazz
With God given ass
He took it all too far but boy could he play guitar

Making love with his ego Ziggy sucked up into his mind
Like a leper messiah
When the kids had killed the man I had to break up the band.

Oh yeah
Ziggy played guitaarrrrrr

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dear Harrisburg: I'm not a snob. I promise.

I just got done reading this book, and... wow.
So I'll write a post about it, in case there is anyone else out there with these same symptoms who may also find it useful!

I was recently in a Fed Ex store in Florida (and didn't even almost get arrested this time. Nice). They had a selection of business related books in there and I've been dying for something new to read. I picked up this book initially thinking, from the title, that it was about Fine Art! I thought it was a book about selling your own art... (can you tell I've been preoccupied lately?) I glanced at it again and realized that's not at all what the book was about, but figured it would be a perfect investment anyway. I just did the Kipona show last week and realized I need to have more things to say to people who come into my booth other than "How are you?", "Are you a fan of flowers or a fan of bugs?", or "Where are you from?"
Nothing is wrong with any of those things, but after the person answers, I don't want to bother them any more... so I quit talking. There are plenty of times when no more than a quick and friendly greeting is needed, but I hate being SO nervous around strangers. I completely clam up. I ask a question, they respond. Then what? It just doesn't come naturally to me most of the time. A lot of times people are just at art shows to look, not talk, and it comes across in their body language. I'm always a little relieved by those people- makes my job easy! :)
But for those who want to spend a few minutes looking at my paintings or being social... I've just not had much to offer unless they are the ones asking me the questions.

As soon as I started reading this book, I realized it described me perfectly. I had no idea that my social anxiety was so common. I just figured I sucked at making friends. I never had any problems with that before I moved, though, so thought maybe it had something to do with the area- or the fact that I haven't moved to a place where I knew NO one since college.
Do I dread going into functions where I may not know anyone, or only one person? YES.
Do I shut down in conversations with people because I'm sure they won't find me or what I have to say very intersting? DEFINITELY.
Do I have an easy time going up to complete strangers and starting a conversation? Oh, HELLLLLL NO.
Plus the germophobe in me hates shaking hands- at least if there is food at the event.

"The Fine Art of Small Talk" book enlightened me that often, when people tend to shy away from others or quickly exit conversations to go off and hide somewhere, it can come across as not being interested- or just being a snob.
I always sort of figured that by leaving a conversation, I was doing the other person a favor! Sort of like, "I'm not that interesting. Really, I promise. Let me just skeedaddle before you figure that out for yourself, so you can go spend your time chatting with someone much more worthwhile, mmmkay?"

No wonder I've lived here for almost a year now and have no friends with whom I hang out on a regular basis- socially- on purpose.

Harrisburg, I'm so sorry.
I didn't mean to come across as a snob-
I like it here, and I like the people I've met.
Will you let me make it up to you?


From now on, I'll do my share of work in a conversation. I will even make efforts to start conversations! I will answer questions with more than a one word answer, because maybe the person asking is actually interested in what I have to say. I won't run and hide if someone seems to want to talk to me for more than 2 minutes.
These are just some of the points I remember from the book, but it expands on how to do each one in a lot of detail- so I'm sure I'll be reading it at least a few more times.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Another good news surprise!

First of all: No, my car didn't break down in the ghetto.

Last night was the Hydrant Hysteria awards reception. I found out, much to my surprise, that I won first place in the Professional Artists category! I was so shocked, and honored... There are some GREAT hydrants out there in Downtown Harrisburg!

You can see a bunch of them in JasonTromm's photo set on Flickr:

And more great photos on Flickr from Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau:

I look at all these hydrants and still can't believe that mine was picked. This past Saturday night, I had a dream that one of the women who works for the Downtown Improvement District told me that mine had won. By the time I got to the awards reception last night, I had completely talked myself out of it, just because there really were so many great ones and I thought, "I just painted a bunch of bugs and flowers and things that I like..." I had no idea others would be fans of the bugs, too! :)

Thank you so much everyone who voted.