Saturday, January 7, 2017

Mara Mattia Art 2018 Calendar

Welcome 2018!  Let's see...what can I give away?

There are many twists and turns in life and for me it's a challenge learning to make the best of the small or large tasks of living well and giving small ways or large ways. So I make appointments in my calendar, along with my business goals. 

Here I'm tracing my latest project on a light table, developing a gift box for a new product collection. And I will be giving away 5 (five) of them when I am finished. More details to follow in the next few weeks. 

I hope you have a wonderful new year and make the best of your challenges! 


Monday, September 26, 2016

Art Projects, Another Fine Mess!

Four months ago I was desperate about my life and my art projects. Though I've been blessed beyond measure, there seemed a lack of purpose to the simple things that "should'' give pleasure…the things that make the responsibilities, disappointments, and messes of life bearable!

Here I am, a woman in her 60’s, contemplating the probability that she’s too old to start something brand new, but wanting to put a little of that wonder back into life. Wondering if she’s got the stamina and skills to see it through.

Well, I’ve thought my plan through and we’ve started the work…and I like it! It occupies my mind…and long hours of my time. I thought I was too old for this but we’ll see where it goes. I’m “feeling” my way along, giving you little tidbits at a time to pique your interest. It’s a creation that reminds me of good memories and simple joyful pleasures!

I hope some of you will want to be included, when the time comes, by testing some of our products out for me and giving us a little feedback, yes? For free of coarse!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Mara Mattia Art Festive Celebration Ideas

I'm working hard on some artsy business ideas that will spread a little cheer and joy to those who are looking for a way to make their life celebrations festive and memorable.

After almost a year and a half, I'm posting again! Sometimes we have "hic-ups" in our lives that require us to take a break and attend to higher priorities. Such is the case in my life.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Tea, a Painting in Watercolor

May this holiday season be peaceful and joyful. Our family is spending a quiet Christmas this year, remembering those who are weary, heartbroken, afraid. We pray for hope & Joy in the midst of their circumstances. And we pray for refreshing and blessings. Merry Christmas because of the savior, Jesus Christ, sent by God to a world that could not save itself from evil and death.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Watercolor depicts an hourglass and building blocks signifying "LOVE EQUALS TIME"

LOVE EQUALS TIME - 1  -  11" x 14"  -  transparent watercolor

Love equals the amount of time you desire to spend with someone. 

It’s been so long since I’ve posted. And I assure you, it’s not because I don’t want to spend time with you! Storms of life, metaphorically speaking, have tried to topple our boat recently and we’ve been scrambling to keep it upright. But that's a story for another time!

Years ago, when our children were little, my husband and I attended a marriage event with two other couples. There were games, music, a gourmet meal, and a keynote speaker. Each couple was given a tiny hourglass to help us remember the key point of the event: Love means spending time together. You can tell how much someone cares by the amount of time they want to spend together.

…doesn’t matter if you are lovers, friends, parents & children, or in-laws. Someone once said that the greatest insult is to be ignored. I think that’s true.

My husband and I have long since misplaced our tiny hourglass, so I painted these paintings as a reminder.

LOVE EQUALS TIME - 2  -  11" x 14"  -  transparent watercolor

7.5” x 9.5” Prints are available for $22. (unframed). They fit nicely in a matted 11" x 14" frame. Original 11" x 14" paintings are available for $425,00 - email us at:

Here I’ve framed a couple as birth announcements, using a gel pen on the dark background and colored calligraphy pen on the light background. 

You can customize with any information you want and as a wedding announcement as well. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Watercolor on Rice Paper-it's about love

Watercolor painting on rice paper, something a little different in honor of LOVE, a holiday celebrated and called Valentine's Day here in the U.S.

There are many legends about the origins of this holiday and it's sentiments, but one of the most notorious expositions about love is found in the Bible, in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love extends not only to lovers, but also parents, children, grandparents, friends, neighbors, strangers, needy and not so needy. 

Because it is easy to love lovely people, the Bible also instructs followers of Christ to "love your enemies"  That's hard! The Bible also teaches to love by action...and not tolerate evil. Things to ponder for Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Same Watercolor Subject - Painted Fifteen Years Apart

I painted this watercolor of my daughter when she was very young. Though I did a lot of drawing during those years, watercolor painting was new to me. On this day I made her pose on her bed with a story book and all her favorite stuffed animals gathered around.

There are many things to learn from this early painting, which I never finished completely. You can see that, although she is the subject of my painting, she is hard to find in the picture! From a design standpoint, there are too many centers of interest. The light source is hard to determine even though there is an open window in the upper right portion of the image. Also, you can tell I didn't quite have a good understanding of color theory.  In those beginning days I just painted what I observed, without understanding why!  

Here is another painting of that same daughter, about fifteen years later. I have a better grasp of color theory, but still, the light source is not clear. This was painted about five years ago from a very poor photo. It's a good thing she is a very beautiful girl! There is a lot to learn from this painting also, most importantly, start with a reference photo that is sharp, large enough to see, and one that has good lighting!

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my personal past!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

DIY Paper Dispenser, Still Life Stage & Overhead Camera Mount For My Art Studio

I have been building tools for my art studio out of wood and PVC pipe, which means I haven’t gotten a lot of painting done lately!

You know, whenever you get something new, it necessitates you changing other things. Here’s an example of how a simple purchase of a big, roll of butcher paper made a lot of work for me! The bigger the roll, the better buy for my money, right? Well, that roll was heavy! I could have also purchased a nice paper dispenser for about $125 but because I like to design and build things, I made one out of scrap plywood for under $10 (plus a lot of time and elbow grease!). I’m really glad it works great!

Rarely do I paint still life paintings. But I would like to, so needed a still life stage to place items on and creatively arrange a scene with controlled lighting for reflections and shadows on the items. These still life stages are also called shadow boxes.

Carol Marine has a nice one she uses and Jeff Nobbe has manufactured it and offers it for sale on his Youtube site.

But I thought it looked simple enough to make myself, so I did…another fine way to mess up my studio and detour my painting projects! I added an extra side extension on mine, in addition to the one on theirs, so it will accommodate a light source from either the left or the right side. These extensions help prevent fires by keeping the fabric drape from touching hot lamps!

Another thing I really want to do this year is make tutorial painting videos. For that, I need something over my drawing table to mount my camera on.

There are some really nice examples other artists use, on Youtube. Camera mounting equipment can be expensive, some with smooth-gliding tracks, booms, and microphone attachments, etc. One of the most creative ideas (and helpful to me) was a young girl’s set-up for her smart phone camera. She had two stacks of books on her desk, placed either side of her drawing paper. Across the top, she placed a piece of glass for her smart phone – so simple  - so genius!!

Of course, I needed a little more elbow room for my painting and my drawing table is slanted at a 20 degree angle. So I couldn’t use a stack-of-books lest they all slide off my table! But I used her idea by making an attachment with a picture frame that holds the glass for the smart phone or tablet and a bar that holds a screw for a regular 35mm digital or point & shoot camera. The attachment snugly slides across two overhead 1 x 2 pieces of lumber and securely holds my cameras.

Thank you for visiting my blog, and may your new year be filled with hope!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Adding a New Background to a Watercolor Painting with Photoshop

My watercolor painting of a chocolate mousse dessert needed a little pizzazz for a package design. So this is what I came up with!

Here is the original watercolor with a plain, no distraction, background.

My idea was to come up with a design that resembled the chocolate spirals on the dessert plate. So I sketched random spirals and painted them in sepia watercolor. Then I scanned it into Photoshop.

I rotated the file several times, dragging each new layer on top of the next until I had about three layers of spirals. I made each layer transparent by clicking "multiply" instead of "normal" in the mode drop down menu.

But how do I get the black spirals to be white?  I inverted the black line-work to white line-work over another color (blue in this case, but it really doesn't matter because the blue color disappears): 

I held "command + I" (ctrl + I) to invert, and the black line-work turned white (with a black background)!  I renamed that layer "spirals".
At the layers panel I clicked to make a new adjustment layer, and for that layer I selected blue as my solid color background, painted that layer blue, and named it "blue".   Then I dragged the blue layer to the bottom, under my "spirals" layer (It again appears black with white spirals).
Then I went up and set the mode to "screen," and voila!  White spirals over blue!

Now This "spirals" layer is ready to click and drag over to any file (in this case, my chocolate mousse picture). And it will be white spirals with a transparent background so that my chocolate mousse will show through!  Of course, I used some tools for additional steps to adjust, erase, burn, & dodge the layer to get it the way I liked it.

I hope you enjoyed this. And now, here is a fun little math lesson about spirals. Go to  for the direct link.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Watercolor Patterns for Quilting

Painting patterns in watercolor has my interest lately. It reminds me of doodling on  my notebook paper in elementary school, kind of "mindless" and relaxing. 

My mother, aunts, and several friends are quilters and they patiently turn out beautiful works of art with fabric, a much more laborious and time-consuming process than watercolor painting! Watercolor painting is a solitary profession, for the most part. So what I love about quilting is how women come together and share the work of making a quilt, as well as the joy of each other’s company.  That's how the "quilting bee" was born in early America. Women and girls would come together at one house and quickly make a quilt that could take several weeks for only one person to make. Once the quilt was completed for one woman, they moved on to the next one. There are generations of family stories and history stitched into thousands of quilting fabrics, patterns and designs.