My European Faces: Mary Sidney, Countess Pembroke, playwright, British, European — Guest Blogger Arstyr

Beautiful, talented and unconvential Mary Sidney was counted as the first influential British female poet and playwright. By 1600, she was listed together with her brother Philip Sidney and William Shakespeare as notable authors of her time. Admired by her fellow writers — poet Samuel Daniels wrote more than 30 Sonnets dedicated to her — Lady Sidney was deeply influenced by Continental writers and sought to bring European literary forms to England. She was British and European.

via My European Faces: Mary Sidney, Countess Pembroke, playwright, British, European — Arstyr

Newbie looking for Insight and Resources

After 50 years I have bought a pad and complete pencil set. At five years old ships and horses were my passion and drawn on spiral notebook with a #2 pencil. I’ve looked at the black pencils and see different numbers on them, WOW, this is going to take more learning than I thought.

I plan to start with flowers and leaves or where my mind goes. I can use my love of gardening to help guide me. There are so many great artist on WP, I’m hoping you can think back to your beginning and provide some insight. What sites are helpful if any, for learning or is it better to buy a book on how to sketch. I’m not a read instructions person so using my imagination was the plan.

Once I meet my standard of good I’ll post and ask you for feedback. I know sketching, any style of art is a life time of learning.

Any feedback you can leave is much appreciated!


Marc Chagall Treasured Gift

Marc Chagall

Marc Zakharovich Chagall was a Russian-French artist of Belarusian Jewish origin. An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in virtually every artistic format, including painting, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries and fine art prints.

Some Famous Quotes

“When I am finishing a picture, I hold some God-made object up to it a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand as a final test. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic.”

Marc Chagall

Best anniversary gift to date.  M

Interview with Cynthia Maniglia from Sand Salt Moon

I’m talking with Cynthia Maniglia from Sand Salt Moon at Run over and visit her blog, Cynthia’s work is fantastic, she really captures the each subject. The piece above is called Fall Mums.

Did someone teach you to color as a child? Did you color in the lines?


Coloring in coloring books was a big thing for me and my generation when we were younger. I suppose it still is today with kids, and I know it’s become a big thing with adults as there are many adult coloring books on the market. I used to color with my girlfriends – we’d sit or lay on the carpeted floor and color all afternoon. If we went visiting, we brought our coloring books and crayons with us. We were all around kindergarten/first grade or so age, so at that time we were coloring in school with our classmates and art teachers or classroom teachers. I would say we learned from each other, although I did have a slight little advantage. My dad. He was an artist – so I grew up with paints and paper and art around me. My father was never educational about it at that age, simply encouraging. He brought home paper and paints for me to play with in my playroom. I colored in the lines, but I also liked to draw and color what I drew. I always enjoyed art. It was always a fun thing for me to do as a child.


How did you discover your artistic skills? What age were you?

In school, I noticed that I did well in art class (my teachers and grades affirmed that), and I enjoyed the projects I did in the Girl Scouts (we did lots of arts and crafts). In college, I pursued writing but wanted to drop out and go to art school, which I wished I had done instead of continuing with my degree in English Literature. My artistic skills really came to the fore when I discovered craft shows in my late 20’s/early 30’s. I used to make handmade brooches and they were a big hit in the 80’s with career women and their women friends; my crafty pins made great gifts and sold like hot cakes! My mom was my best critic – she’d tell me what was good and what wasn’t, and then my dad chirped in with his opinion. They were both brutally honest and at the same time encouraging. Eventually, I stopped selling the pins, which I was doing for extra money, when the craft show circuit started dwindling, and I moved onto selling handmade cards to retail shops. The cards sold for $7 wholesale and $15 at high-end retail shops in Los Angeles, California (on Rodeo Drive) and at Longwood Gardens Gift Shop in PA, to name a few prominent locations. I did that for a couple of years for fun. It was a hobby I ran as a business on the side of my day job/career. Those crafty endeavors were just a hobby, but they were certainly a good way to gauge and hone my artistic skills. I would say it was in my 30’s and 40’s that I found out my artistic ability was marketable and I could be successful with it, and when I was in my teens, it was just something I was “good at and had fun with” rather than a career path. I’m glad I pursued writing for my career, however, because I did well with that and was able to retire early. Now, I have art in my early retirement to pursue and have fun with, and I’m never bored.


What advice would you give an artist just starting out?

Decide if art is something you want to do for fun, as a hobby, or as a career. It can evolve and be all three, but if you want to make a career of it and be successful, there are definitely some disciplines and things you may want to focus on in order to give your path positive direction, rather than just being willy-nilly about it and “seeing where it goes.” There’s a lot to be said about developing your own style and having natural talent, but nothing replaces hard work and discipline as well as a good understanding of “basics” concerning mediums, drawing, and other learnable skills in the arts.


Your art is shown at, what lead you to the site?

Another blogger on WordPress, actually, had a Society 6 shop, and so I looked into it. I have a scanner and can upload high quality images of my art to Society6, which is easy to do. Then I promote my work via social media, and most importantly gift items from the site with my artwork on it to friends and family! I have a few things from the site that I bought for myself (a shower curtain, a bath mat, and a few of the zippered canvas bags).


Your favorite or favorites piece of art and why?

I’m going to have to say anything done by Monet and Van Gogh. I really enjoy looking at their brush work. If you mean my work … well, I’m too critical of it to think it’s a favorite – I always see what’s wrong with it!


Do you want to grow into other mediums like oil or etching?

I’m interested in finding more clarity in my painting. I scrumble a lot and am not as good of a line artist as I’d like to be. I want to have fewer strokes, be more definitive with my lines and choice of color, and rely less on mistakes. It’s that discipline thing I was talking about earlier that they teach you in art school that I lack. I’m not really interested in oils, but I would like to do more with pastels as I enjoy drawing.

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