04. July 2013 · Comments Off on Forest Frolic · Categories: art

I’ve just finished a large painting, a panel that will be set into the hearth opening of a decorative fireplace. This one was fun – it was a bartered commission. In exchange for the piece, the client rented us a marvelous huge dumpster so we could finally dismantle the falling-down shed that dominates an all-too-visible corner of the property.

the bright side: no corpses or bees inside.

The bright side: no human remains or hornet nests inside… amazingly enough.

Metal was scrapped, tires were recycled (80+! with rims!) and in time, the site will be home to raised beds and bee hives. There’s still a lot of scrap wood to be burned, but it’s progress.

argh shed 2

Use your imagination. Raised beds! Bee hives!

My gratitude and enthusiasm were enormous, I wanted this one to be special. I knew there would be a lot going on in the panel, so I needed to work on the composition carefully. (I ALWAYS need to work on the compo carefully, it’s not my strong suit.)

I wanted a cozy scene, a country dance sort of affair with the woodland elements my client so enjoys in my work. I drew from a few sources for inspiration..

William Sidney Mount's Dance of the Haymakers

William Sidney Mount’s Dance of the Haymakers

I studied photos of musicians to be as accurate as possible with both instrument and hand positioning. I’m not a musician, and I know how annoying it can be when someone gets the details of your passion wrong.

This fellow demanded to be turned into an owl (he’s halfway there on his own) and dropped into the band.
(note: the painting is in the public domain.)

The Cello Player by Thomas Eakins, 1896.

I made my sketch on several layers in Photoshop, and shifted characters around until I found the best arrangement I could do. Some of them made cameo appearances in other compositions I was working on simultaneously.

digital sketch

I converted the image to grayscale, enlarged it, and made a tracing copy, and transferred it to my masonite panel. I had prepped the panel beforehand, with several coats of primer to seal it against impurities leaching through the paint from the board.

I worked at first in soft glazes to make sure the palette was pleasing.

base glazes

base glazes

I ultimately worked it up with richer colors though – I’m a sucker for those cadmium pigments.

Forest Frolic

Forest Frolic

It’s varnished and getting delivered tonight. I’ve made it available as a 12×12″ signed print on Etsy:


18. June 2013 · Comments Off on New art. New ducks. · Categories: art, birds
French Bulldog Renaissance style cherub, available as an 8x10 or 11x14 print.

French Bulldog Renaissance style cherub, available as an 8×10 or 11×14 print.

Etsy shop

And a batch of new ducklings!

Ancona ducklings in chocolate, black, and one (under mama) with weird markings and color.

Ancona ducklings in chocolate and black.

newborn Narragansett poult

newborn Narragansett poult

Baby turkeys have grown…

Tompkins and Ginger

Tompkins and Ginger




01. May 2013 · 2 comments · Categories: art

You can see the videos I illustrated for Socratica on their kids’ videos page. The animals videos, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Princess and the Pea are all illustrated by me. Enjoy!

Socratica Kids


01. May 2013 · 2 comments · Categories: art

I can finally share a recent painting. I had to wait for the recipient’s birthday to occur. I had a lot of fun with this one.

Commissioned portrait 2013. Painted digitally, produced as a heavyweight archival print sized 14" x 11".

Commissioned portrait 2013. Painted digitally, produced as a heavyweight archival print sized 14″ x 11″.

Information on custom commissioned art can be found here.


22. April 2013 · Comments Off on Musicians · Categories: art

This past weekend was the first time I’ve had a booth in the crafts room at the New England Folk Fest. All-Ireland Bones Champion Steve Brown is a family friend and suggested my art might be a good fit. Andy’s the musician in the family, so I wouldn’t have had the idea to go, myself. But Steve knows his stuff and I listen to him. Boy was he right! What a fantastic atmosphere. The crafts room has excellent vendors – instrument makers, jewelry makers, clothing, and all sorts of lovely goodies. Here is the list of vendor links.

I was happy to debut two musician prints for the event! Meet the guitarist and the mandolin player.

goat guitarist - available as a print at https://www.etsy.com/shop/toadbriar

goat guitarist – available as a print at https://www.etsy.com/shop/toadbriar


mandolin donkey available as a print at https://www.etsy.com/shop/toadbriar

mandolin donkey available as a print at https://www.etsy.com/shop/toadbriar


26. February 2013 · Comments Off on Some new Houndton Tabby portraits · Categories: art
Cora, Lady Grantham: Dalmatian

Cora, Lady Grantham: Dalmatian


Daisy: Chihuahua

Daisy: Chihuahua


Mr. Carson: Clumber Spaniel

Mr. Carson: Clumber Spaniel

Find the Houndton Tabby prints in my Etsy shop:

Houndton Tabby from Toadbriar



05. January 2013 · 3 comments · Categories: art

In honor of the Season 3 premiere here in the US, I’ve begun a set of portrait prints inspired by Downton Abbey… I wonder if you can recognize them.

Prints are 8×10, archival on heavy acid-free velvety matte paper, and signed by me. See them here in my etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/toadbriar?section_id=12828219

01. October 2012 · Comments Off on Red Wool Bear · Categories: art

made from an old wool coat. stuffed with excelsior, wool trimmings, and a few ceramic pebbles for weight. Glass eyes and handmade dress with vintage ribbons and lace.

Mr Puppy in the background is a painting still in progress 🙂

24. September 2012 · Comments Off on New Toadbriar prints on etsy! · Categories: art

Banjo Bear print on etsy – https://www.etsy.com/listing/109717358/8×10-banjo-bear-signed-print

Bigby – print available on etsy https://www.etsy.com/listing/110238601/8×10-chinchilla-rabbit-signed-print

Fiddle Fox print on etsy – https://www.etsy.com/listing/109717838/8×10-fiddle-fox-signed-print

24. July 2012 · Comments Off on Animal videos for kids · Categories: art

Nocturnal Animals is the latest in a series of animal videos for kids from Socratica, featuring Kim’s artwork. There are several more – check out the link.