18 December 2012

Holiday Hours Notice - The Shop

While I will unavoidably be working away in amidst the family and friends visiting for this holiday season, I have to draw the line where necessary.
From December 18th through January 2nd all purchases of greeting cards and prints are absolutely welcome - encouraged! - however, please keep in mind:

Click HERE to view the Shop
Also! Feel welcome at any point to contact me with inquiries or concerns. I will be happy to reply.

Thank you - again - for your patience and support. A very merry next few weeks of festivities to all.

15 December 2012

Pillar Lounge Arts & Crafts Flea Market

On a bit of last minute whim, I signed up for a booth at the Pillar Lounge Arts & Crafts Flea Market in down town Lancaster just a week ago.

Today was the event.

Assigned booths - Mine is behind the fireplace.
Across the way, the fellow vendors.

I have not been a vendor before, but I came away from the experience quite pleased with my decision to be involved. It was a mild but steady flow of browsers and the day was fine for it. I certainly gleaned various insight into methods of self-improvement!

Photo courtesy of Emily Atkins. And we had couches to lounge on for the day...It is called the Pillar 'Lounge'.

My sincere appreciation to college buddy Emily for coming down (and taking a few pictures with me in the frame for proof), as well as the abundantly supportive presence of my Michael (unfortunately not photographed here). And it was good to talk to some other PCAD students and alumni.

I had protected works on display, packages of ten cards and envelopes, single cards with envelopes, business cards, and a printed sign-up form for my newsletter...Extras on the side.
Emily pulling a weird face for the camera while visiting the show.
For more, check out my website! http://www.mairintajcaya.com/greetings--prints.html

Happy Holidays!
Keep well.

14 December 2012

The Shop - Winter Reveal

My website now has a shop for browsing and purchasing available greeting cards, various prints, and the occasional watercolor or graphite original work, signed and dated.

Click HERE for more!

If you have any questions regarding the sales, or would like to contact me about specific order requests, there are regular links to 'Contact the artist' throughout the shop. Please feel welcome to any inquiries you may have!

All works sold are packaged in a protective plastic covering and are reinforced with backing board, unless rolled in a tube for larger print orders. Cards and their envelopes may be purchased by singles or in larger quantities.

Limited edition prints, signed and dated, will be available for certain works.
All copyright of art displayed belongs to Mairin-Taj Caya. Please do not copy, distribute, reproduce, or use my work without my permission. Purchases of artwork and/or prints do not entitle the buyer to reproductive rights.


If you are interested in learning more about my work, current news and projects, or receiving direct notice of the studio's events, click on the link below to submit your name and e-mail for my official newsletter!

Click HERE for more!
Here's to merry holidays wrapping up the year of 2012, and a very prosperous 2013 for all to come!
Next up - office hours for the season's festivities, and work update.


28 November 2012


If you are interested in receiving updates regarding seasonal greeting cards, small prints, and select original paintings and drawings for purchase, please check out my Sign-Up form to subscribe to my newsletter.

I will be putting out a holiday update - the first newsletter installment! - with this winter's feature, soon!

Here at my website is an official Subscribe page:



Thank you for the support, friends.

26 November 2012

The Urge To Portrait II

...Which brought me to revisit the concept of 'Self Portrait'. I haven't done one for quite a while. In fact, I was really only putting them down by my school's instigation. And of course before that, naturally. But the attempt had not been made since graduation, until now.

I enjoy the furrow - I like the many implications behind it, even though most associate a furrowed brow with anger, disappointment, or confusion. For me it frequently accompanies focus, inquiry, fascination, and contemplative amusement. So, I used it this time around.

Here I am as of age 24:

'Mairin-Taj Caya', Graphite, Self Portrait, 8x10", Sketchbook, 2012.

The Urge to Portrait I

Graphite doodling is a sketchbook thing. Portraiture is an 'inspiration by character' thing.

Here is what happens for me when the two worlds intersect...a Venn Diagram formed by 'graphite-doodling' circle one and 'portraitur-ing' circle two, if you will:

'Michael Roy', Graphite Portrait, 8x10", Sketchbook, 2012.

02 November 2012

In The Sketchbook...

There are plenty of continued projects I'm maneuvering to produce all at once, so here is a bit of a sampling of what is going on in my head, on the page, in the reference stage, and on the painting board.

Explanations, elaborations, and exposure on the underlying ideas will follow as more comes along, so please visit back and explore again soon!

*Note: Certain titles, descriptions, and otherwise possibly helpful information is given at the bottom of each image in this blog post. Thanks for reading!

Character Posturing & Anatomy, No Reference, 'Ruined Woman' Concept, Graphite, Sketchbook, 2012.
'Ruined Woman' Thumbs, Roughly 1x1 1/2", Graphite, Sketchbook, 2012.
'Blodeuwedd', The Mabinogion, Welsh Mythology Portrait, Graphite Drawing, 2012.
'Blodeuwedd', The Mabinogion, Welsh Mythology Portrait, Border & Dragon Design, Graphite, 2012.
Character Posturing & Anatomy, No Reference, 'Gandalf' "Halt!", The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, Graphite, Sketchbook, 2012.
Character Posturing & Anatomy, 'Gandalf' "Halt!" - The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, Graphite, Sketchbook, 2012.
Gandalf "Halt!" Thumbnail, Graphite, Sketchbook, 2012.
Sample PA Renaissance Faire Study Sketch, Roughly 10 Minutes, Graphite, Sketchbook, 2012.

More to come!
Please visit back, everyone.

31 October 2012

Elven King's Halls - Mirkwood : The Hobbit

Long story short, here is a graphite page from my sketchbook featuring my visualization of J.R.R. Tolkien's well-described Gates to the Elven King's Halls in Mirkwood.

Second 'Stage', Value, 'Gates to the Elven King's Halls', Graphite, Sketchbook, 2012.

Facing Page Thumbnail and Notes, Sketchbook, 2012.
First Draft, Line Work, Graphite, Sketchbook, 2012.
More to come! Please return.

07 October 2012

'Wheel of Time' Character Portraits - Sketchbook 2012

Lan & Nynaeve, 2012

I only recently picked up the 'Wheel of Time' series, having known about it for some time, but with an endless list of reading, not chosen it until now.

Amongst other projects, bits of research, and certain themes, I read, and by the fourth book could no further ignore the itch to sketch down the characters.

So, here follows a bit of indulgent doodling from my head; no reference, just grabbing faces out of the white void via the means of a graphite pencil. In no way do I wish to impose my imaginings on fans of the series, but this is what I see when I read Jordan.

And of course, I'm still reading them. I'm on...'Lord of Chaos', now!

Rand & His Three Women, Sketchbook Page, 2012

*Note on the approach: I drew them nude because frankly I was not concerned with costume aesthetic at the time. They are also really just portraits. The focus is structure, features, the physical posture, at most. I love the human body, and I wanted to show when the shape and stance of the shoulders or torso was imperative to character. Example: Perrin's well-developed smith's shoulders, chest and arms.Working these things out was a part of the character portraits, for me.

Moiraine Sedai, 2012
Lan, 2012
Nynaeve, 2012
Egwene, 2012
Mat, 2012
Perrin, 2012
Faile, 2012
Elayne, 2012
Min, 2012
Aviendha, 2012
Rand, 2012
Loial, 2012
Thom, 2012

That is it for now, though as I am continuing on with the reading, I may want to put down other certain characters as well.

Up next, the Renaissance Faire experience with photography and doodles. More besides...

22 September 2012

On Petar Meseldzija’s Blog - 7th September 2012

Petar’s post on 'Nature in Contemporary Fantastic Art' struck a few cords with me. I found, a little ways in, he was pointing out that artists could and should depict more intentionally. He was talking about what I call ‘creative responsibility’.

The presence of Nature in the bulk of work today was a major point of concern in his article – for my part, I appreciate this – and he went on to explore the reasons for why it seemed increasingly absent.

One of his reasons was that maybe we are simply “following the current trends and hypes…In other words – our unscrupulous professionalism” is the driving force?
He observed that in the increasing absence of nature, “violence, destruction, deviance, weirdness and ugliness” is the popular “state of mind” being reflected back onto the world.

I have considered versions of this subject, noticing the trends with writers and entertainment at large, and of course art is an irrevocable link in that chain. But art should not be without its creator’s values. If we are visualizing the trends of philosophy, what we are visualizing is just as important a consideration as how and for whom.
But it isn’t a one-time consideration. Being conscious of the value of the stories we depict along with concern for the value of the depiction itself would build artistic integrity. The work grows in proportion to the mind behind it, no?

Being highly imaginative as we are, there is power in our imagery – and to take a nerdy moment – ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. Even though, being artists, we keep largely away from public reception, our work goes places, the concepts and stories they represent go places, so let’s be aware of what we take on to illuminate and put forth.
To use Petar’s proposed term, “unscrupulous professionalism” shouldn’t need to be the mental state of a creative individual. Perhaps those veterans in the business would consider my thoughts naïve and idealistic, but I do not hold that we need anything prefacing “professionalism” in order to have both employment and principled work.

And if I can assume as such, it is comforting to think some of what Petar has proposed is of similar philosophy.

To view some of Petar's work, check out his website here.

20 September 2012

Follow Up to 'The Process In Progress...' - The Final

No nonsense; I indulged my ramblings last post. Here is the completed work of 'Brigit' for Spring. To see the first installment with 'Cailleach' for Winter, follow here.

As you might have guessed, Summer and Autumn will be following, but in amongst other projects, as the first two were.

'Brigit', Spring/ Imbolc Greeting, Watercolor, 2012. *Greeting cards available on the shop site soon!

In Celtic cultures, the 'Clootie Well' is a sacred spring or well, often noted with a particular tree, which is decorated with strips of colorful cloth, or 'clootie'.

The most common times of year to visit such wells are the festivals of the seasons, the spring festival being Imbolc, often represented by Brigit.
In Irish mythology, Cailleach - personifying winter - would shed her age in spring waters and become the maiden aspect again, Brigit of craft and healing.

'Brigit', Detail One, 2012.
'Brigit', Hand Detail Two, 2012.
Thoughts are welcome, as always.
As I mentioned in my previous post about the process, 'creative camaraderie' is a good thing, and hard to come by.

'Wheel of Time' character sketches and more, to follow.

17 September 2012

The Process in Progress...

Towards the End!, Studio shot, 2012.
Initial Painting, Detail Shots, 2012.

 As a follow-up on recent posts with regards to a piece called 'Brigit', I've had it finished for a little time now. Only, I had a bit of a hiccough with the scanning.

It is my first dissatisfaction with the place I go to, but whomever was scanning for the day decided a scan meant scanning the original and then playing about with it in Photoshop, instead of just giving me the untouched scan. Well, taking it home to edit, I opened a black and yellow file. Not fun.

Corrections are under way, but until then, if it isn't too disjointed a system, I'm going to put up the PROCESS images of the work now, with concerns and commentary, and then in a post or two the full FINISH will be displayed for any discussion or critique. And now for the bad news...

Third Attempt Stage, Painting Process Detail One, 2012.

I had several tiers of challenge with getting this idea out. Throughout it's conception and execution I've had loads of second-guessing (more than usual), plenty of putting it on hold for the sake of other, more 'sea-worthy' pieces, interjections for a client or two with a quick job, and weeks of seeming defeat! It was horrible. I couldn't even look at the bloody thing on it's board, spotty with layers of color and exposed pencil, oozing mockery.

Anyways, I found my way slowly, here and there, one rock turned a-right this day and another down the road a bit that day. The last push through to clarity was actually my weekend visit to the Allentown Art Musuem in August for their much anticipated 'At the Edge: Art of the Fantastic' exhibit.
I talk a little bit about it in my previous post here, but visiting numerous originals in a wide array of media from such a grouping of admirable artists helped my mental and emotional preparation for re-attacking 'Brigit'.

I think when an artist - at any level - is divorced from examining the work of their inspirations by the reproduction barrier (not to say reproductions are useless), much is lost. I haven't had many experiences with studying a living painting face to vivid face, and less experience doing so with the creations of those I consider my un-consenting teachers. So the 'hand-made' quality palpable in the rooms of 'At the Edge' was just one component of the experience that gave me a creative pat on the shoulder. I came away with ease, with eagerness, with my particular inner-battles won. (To mention nothing of the war).

Third Attempt Stage, Painting Process Two, 2012.

Now, a few of the photos I took while working are up, and as I mentioned first, the finished scan will be up in a following post, yellow-and-black-theme free.

Creative camaraderie is proving difficult to build, even so soon after the college years. I was warned of this stark awareness by instructors and mentors while in school, as we all were, and I could understand why. While there is some beautiful relief in finally being alone in one's process, having even a small circle of colleagues to springboard with, to judge with, to analyze and improve with, is much needed.

Third Attempt Stage, Painting Process Three, 2012.
Next up, the completed piece!
Please stop back for more.


02 September 2012

'At the Edge: Art of the Fantastic' at Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley

I managed to make a trip out to the 'At the Edge' exhibit at the Allentown Art Museum this past weekend with my parents, and it was a truly rewarding experience for all of us.
My mother was eager to view her favorites - Arthur Rackham, Don Maitz, Donato Giancola - and my father was absolutely fascinated by the life-like sculptures of Thomas Kuebler, not to mention N. C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle's work.

I walked through with my sketchbook clutched close; doodling, jotting, scrawling.

Observing originals truly does put more into proportion. It reveals the experience of the work’s making, its hand-made qualities, which are all but washed over in digital, published versions. Once something is duplicated the secrets close up, flatten out, and vanish beneath glossy glamour.

So, standing up close to the bristle marks, thumbprints, smudges, smears, remnant graphite, uncovered canvas, and patches of untainted paper, I saw the pieces for all their home-made glory. To be honest, it was just what I needed to aid in my preparation for going back to ‘Brigit’ Spring.
(More to come on that shortly).

Here is a link to a post by Matthew Innis reviewing the show and the work that produced it.

Underpaintings: 'At the Edge' by Matthew D. Innis

There is also an interesting post by John Jude Palencar about the exhibit on the 'Muddy Colors: An Illustration Collective' blog. Different imagery is shared with a brief historical commentary.

At the Edge: Art of the Fantastic Exhibition by John Jude Palencar

Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, featuring 'At the Edge: Art of the Fantastic'. 2012.