Thursday, December 13, 2018

Brown Paper Packages

Holiday Traditions: Brown Paper Packages

Traci Van Wagoner illustration
Every year for many, many years now, my husband and I wrap our Christmas gifts in plain brown paper. We started with using green string as the only decoration with a simple gift tag. It has evolved into a fun Christmas tradition of drawing on the packages, at first with simple pen, then some color marker and then full blown art with color pencils. At some point in this process, I started to pick a theme for each holiday. One year was all about snowmen, another Santa and his elves, another reindeer.... And a new tradition was born.

I love creating these packages. Besides helping get into the festive mood, it's non-stress artwork, where I can draw whatever I want without any expectations of having to be perfect. This was something I did for fun and for the enjoyment of the receivers. I didn't take pictures most of the years, because I didn't really care, and as an artist of many years, I'm not that attached to every piece of art I do, so I let it go out into the world to suffer the fate of being ripped open, or whatever. Not until later when it became more of a thing that people always mentioned and loved about getting gifts from us, that my husband decided to start photographing the packages. I've shared a few of those with you. Enjoy!

Traci Van Wagoner illustration

Traci Van Wagoner
Traci Van Wagoner
Traci Van Wagoner art

Traci Van Wagoner art
 Traci Van Wagoner art
Traci Van Wagoner art

This year will be a little different however, since we are not really doing gifts. To get my holiday artistic fix, we will be decorating sugar cookies with artistic style. Or so we hope. I've decorated cookies in a basic way, but we're going to try do do this the fancy way and make one-of-a-kind cookies for people on our gift list. I'll share the results, so stay tuned.

What are your favorite holiday traditions? Feel free to share in the comments what family traditions you enjoy.

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IF: Vote

Yes, I should have posted this yesterday, but I was busy actually leaving my studio -- in the rain -- to go vote. I was at first concerned that there was no line. I even took a book with me in case. I was concerned the rain had scared people away, but when I asked, the woman assured me that they had been busy all morning and they were just having an afternoon lull. So it was perfect timing for me.

Thanks to Illustration Friday for the kick in the seat of the pants to actually create this piece of art. I painted this using Procreate with my iPad Pro and mostly my finger to paint with details added using the Apple Pencil.

Did you vote? Do you think it's important to raise our children to be involved in politics and the decisions being made in our country?
Traci Van Wagoner paint play Vote
©2018 Traci Van Wagoner

Thursday, November 1, 2018

IF: Witch

Illustration Friday: Witch

I know, I know, I should have posted this yesterday for Halloween, but as you may or may not know by now, I firmly believe in procrastination. This is NYC Witch I created a while ago. I had another witch painting I was working on, but I haven't had a chance to finish it since other work stuff got in the way. Pesky work stuff. This was created in Photoshop using my signature texture colors which were originally created in Painter.

Wouldn't you just love to be able to fly over New York City on a broomstick? I know I would. I hope you all had a spooktacular Halloween. Since I don't have kids, I don't do the trick or treat thing, and so, I have no candy. Boo. I'd love to hear about your Halloween escapades in the comments below.

Illustration Friday Witch created by Traci Van Wagoner
©2014 Traci Van Wagoner,  NYC Witch

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

IF: Ghost


'Tis that time of year again with ghosts roaming about. So I'm sharing (again) my Balloon Lift Off Spooky for this week's Illustration Friday prompt Ghost. The house on the hill is haunted.

This painting is part of my Red Balloon series. If you're interested getting this as a print, let me know.

Happy Halloween!

Illustration Friday Ghost by Traci Van Wagoner
©2017 Traci Van Wagoner

Monday, October 15, 2018


Have a MAGICAL Monday!

It's been a while since I've shared here. I thought I'd dive back in with the Illustration Friday challenge word, Magical. Oh yeah, that's my kind of word. Doesn't everyone want a fairy godmother to turn them into a princess or prince? Or a mouse into a carriage horse? A pumpkin into the carriage? Bippity-boppity-boo! The transformation has begun.

I created this using Procreate on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil. Part of my #paintplay exploration and fun painting adventure. Please let me know if you would like to purchase this as a print.

If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?
Magical IF Traci Van Wagoner
Fairy Godmother, @2018 Traci Van Wagoner

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Illustration Friday: Green

Sunny Green 

I haven't had a chance to participate in Illustration Friday for a while. I couldn't pass up on the prompt word, Green. So, as I took a few moments to relax between deadlines and paint play in my iPad Pro with Procreate and my finger and this pretty scene of rolling green hills is what came out. And a castle is always fun, and a warm, bright sun, yeah. So, there you have it, Sunny Green.

What do you think of when you hear the word Green?
Sunny Green fantasy painting by Traci Van Wagoner
©2018 Traci Van Wagoner

Friday, May 25, 2018

Balloon Lift Off Painting Series

The Full 5 Red Balloon Adventure by Traci Van Wagoner

I have been remiss in updating you on my Balloon Lift Off Series. I thought it would be fun to show them all here in a full set of 10 paintings in the series so far. Most of them are available as prints, cards, and more on my Redbubble Store. If there is a paint here you don't see there, and you'd like to get a print or other item, please contact me.

I'm letting the wind take me where it will on these. If you have any place specific you'd like to see her fly over or through, let me know. If you feel so inclined, post a photo of a place you'd like to see her visit. I hope you're enjoying the journey.

Live, Laugh, Learn -- and Fly!

Balloon Lift Off Series of paintings by Traci Van Wagoner
Balloon Lift Off ©2017 Traci Van Wagoner
Balloon Lift Off Series of paintings by Traci Van Wagoner
Up, Up and Away ©2017 Traci Van Wagoner

Balloon Lift Off Series of paintings by Traci Van Wagoner
Washed Out to Sea ©2017 Traci Van Wagoner
Balloon Lift Off Series of paintings by Traci Van Wagoner
The Lighthouse ©2017 Traci Van Wagoner

Balloon Lift Off Series of paintings by Traci Van Wagoner
Wild ©2017 Traci Van Wagoner
Balloon Lift Off Series of paintings by Traci Van Wagoner
Balloon Crossing ©2017 Traci Van Wagoner

Balloon Lift Off Series of paintings by Traci Van Wagoner
Spooky ©2017 Traci Van Wagoner
Balloon Lift Off Series of paintings by Traci Van Wagoner
Thanksgiving Day Parade ©2017 Traci Van Wagoner

Balloon Lift Off Series of paintings by Traci Van Wagoner
Full Moon Balloons ©2018 Traci Van Wagoner
Balloon Lift Off Series of paintings by Traci Van Wagoner
Reflections ©2018 Traci Van Wagoner

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Piano Recital Then and Now

When I saw the prompt for Illustration Friday this week of piano, I had to have a go at this painting again, Piano Recital. The girl is all grown up now with a bigger audience and perhaps more refined color and a not so heavy handed feel overall. I've always loved this painting, and over the last year I've been playing with loosening up my paint style and have explored with a ton of new tools, so I thought it would be fun to recreate this.

Improvement in style or not?

New - painted in Procreate with iPadPro

Piano Concert Now by Traci Van Wagoner
©2018 Traci Van Wagoner

 Old - painted many many years ago using Corel Painter (probably version 1 or close to it) and a Wacom tablet on a Mac.

Piano Concert Then by Traci Van Wagoner
©2012 Traci Van Wagoner

Thursday, February 22, 2018

IF: House

House in the Hills

Illustration Friday provided the lovely prompt of House this week, and this house (and little house friends) popped up in my paint play in Procreate while chilling. I had started the fall colored trees and rolling hills a while ago (in Autumn to be specific), but nothing came of it until the big house showed up. Thanks for the prompt, IF! Things fell into place and I quite like the result. I'd love to hear what you think of this style.

House in the Hills art by Traci Van Wagoner, for prompt House by IF
©2018 Traci Van Wagoner

Thursday, February 15, 2018

IF: Olympics

Hippo and Zebra Couples Figure Skating

I've enjoyed watching figure skating in the Olympics this week and with the prompt from Kidlitart #BAPC18 of animals for February, I decided to have some #paintplay fun with a hippo and zebra couple skating their way across the ice in the spotlights of the Olympics.

This month, I'm also in the process of playing with a variety of styles (my own personal challenge) and had fun playing with this painterly, loose style with Procreate on my iPad Pro. I have an Apple Pencil, but I didn't use it with this painting since I wanted to keep things loose.

Hippo and Zebra figure skaters by Traci Van Wagoner
©2018 Traci Van Wagoner

 If you'd like to see a process video, check out my FB page or on twitter @TraciVanWagoner

Also, if you'd like to see more art in this style with or without animals, let me know. I'm always trying to create art that brings smiles.