Museum Sketchbook: The Habsburgs

habsburg_journal I've been anticipating the Houston Museum of Fine Art's "Habsburg Splendors" exhibit since it was announce a year ago. One of my favorite paintings is on display: Jupiter and Io by Correggio, along with other treasures collected by the Habsburg monarchy. There are some fascinating pieces of armor, including this red coral-hilted ceremonial sword: utterly impractical, but gorgeous. I hope to visit again before the exhibit leaves in September.

Other news! I now have prints for sale of my recent work at my new Inprnt shop.


Inprnt has been recommended to me by several other artists, and I'm very happy with the quality of a print I ordered from them. They print in-house, check for color accuracy, and all prints are on 100% cotton rag acid-free paper.

At the moment my puppets and some older prints of children's illustrations are still available on Etsy.

Idunn - Drawing

idunn_drawing_pcarpenter Ivaldi's Youngest Daughter. Pencil & white pastel on toned paper, 14.5" x 11".

In the dales dwells, the prescient Dís, from Yggdrasil's ash sunk down, of elven race, Idun by name, the youngest of Ivaldi's elder children. -Hrafnagaldr Óðins, Benjamin Thorpe's translation

The apples of youth grow in Idunn's orchard. Her apples give the Aesir their immortality-- without the apples, even Odin begins to wither and die. No wonder everyone in the Nine Realms covets her fruit.

The drawing for my current SmArt School assignment. I'll be painting over this in acryla gouache.

Lovely Laufey

Laufey_paigecarpenter_blogPencil and white charcoal on toned paper. 8.5" x 11"

Continuing my Norse series, this is Laufey, mother of Loki. (With baby Loki!) Her name means "leafy." She is also called Nál, "needle". Little is known about her other than her name, so I imagined her as a sort of forest spirit, with leaves and beetles in her hair and fawn spots on her skin.

Loki's surname in mythology is a matronym (Loki Laufeyjarson) rather than a patronym (for example, Thor the son of Odin would be Thor Odinson). I'm not sure why. Perhaps his father, Fárbauti, refused to acknowledge him? At any rate, his mother was important to him.

If you've seen the first Thor film, you may be imagining Laufey like this. Somehow Marvel turned the sweet lady of the leaves into a huge blue MALE frost giant who abandoned his infant son.  I'm counting that as a Fail, Marvel.

Others in my Norse series:

Angrboda, Bringer of Sorrow

Freyr, Lord of Summer

Freya, Lady of Love

Helblindi, Loki's Brother

Caravaggio Studies

At the IMC, Donato told me that if I wanted to instill my art with some of the Old Masters' grace and beauty, I needed to go study a ton of paintings and statues in detail-- not passively looking at art, but locking it into my muscle memory by drawing and painting studies. So I came home and went to the library and got a stack of books about artists I admire. I started with Caravaggio. He's not my favourite (am I allowed to have favourites?) but his paintings are very dramatic, full of interesting anatomical bits and very vivid lights and darks. I also want to improve my anatomy and value skills, so I can't really go wrong with Caravaggio.


Study of Penitent Magdalene, c.1594.


Study of The Inspiration of St. Matthew (detail), 1602.


Study of Madonna dei Pellegrini (detail), c. 1603.


Study of The Seven Acts of Mercy (detail), 1607.