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I'm normally not one for New Year's Resolutions, as I'd rather tend to what needs worked on in the moment than tack on an arbitrary date. That said, after cleaning my studio last winter, I was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of STUFF that I had somehow accumulated and often had no recollection of owning. The same was true for the rest of the house. The bathroom had become a breeding ground for travel toothpaste tubes, floss, and soap samples; the pantry and freezer are a perpetual organization battle thanks to my day job offering free food; and both of our closets (old Victorian with tiny closets, so Nicholas' is in his office) needed a good sort to separate worn out items from usable ones. Thus, I decided that it was time to live by the saying "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without"--"Make Do & Mend," in short.

"Make Do" proved a timely mantra. It was enacted before we discovered the snafu in our insurance policy that meant WAY more than expected would be out of pocket this year, but it certainly helped make up the difference! (I also cut $40/month off our phone bill by gutting our data. Our use had gone down considerably on its own, to where we always had ample rollover. Wish I'd found that sooner, but hey, at least I found it in February during the great "Must find money" bill revue! We also killed Netflix, as we honestly hadn't watched it in months. Public Service Announcement: Audit your bills now and again, kids!).

Household-wise, we've conquered all the travel toothpastes and floss, nearly all the soap, and there is hope yet for the pantry. We turned old clothes into rags to augment our kitchen wash clothes and save on paper towels (barring something gross and/or cat-related that should only touched once), and I've made a point of mending small holes and loose seams as I find them vs. letting the pile build up. We made rags, wash clothes, and mended before, but now it’s far more streamlined. 

Studio-wise, you've all witnessed a great many paintings that were owed to my coming across this or that random supply or or surface. A sheet of papyrus that I've had for not quite two decades (I discovered Amazon, then discovered that you could order papyrus, and I begged to) is down to a 1/4 of its original generous size; two orphaned gesso boards have become a fox and an octopus, respectively; a forgotten wooden plaque became home to a fox; and partially-finished canvases from who knows when either saw completion or rebirth as something new. I purchased my first new canvases of the year in November, and only a handful of brushes and convention print supplies in between. Indeed, many of my "Make Do" paintings made use of the warm colors I seldom turn to, so now I finally have pieces to go with the equally warm mat colors that have been accumulating all this time!

Some of this year's "Make Do & Mend" super stars:

A Fox Named Fable by ArdenEllenNixon

"A Fox Named Fable," acrylic on wood

Autumn King by ArdenEllenNixon

"The Autumn King," acrylic on gesso board

WaterCOLOR Nouveau by ArdenEllenNixon

"WaterCOLOR Nouveau," acrylic on gesso board

When the Moon Comes Down by ArdenEllenNixon

"When the Moon Comes Down," acrylic on (repurposed) canvas

The Seer by ArdenEllenNixon

"The Seer," acrylic on 5 x 7" canvas board, because I had A LOT of them! This is but one of many, including "Reliquary," which itself was painted to go with a gorgeous mirrored second-hand frame.

Reliquary by ArdenEllenNixon

You get the idea!

My new studio resolution will be a very specific rendition of "Make Do & Mend." I've been treating my acrylics like watercolor for things like the "Pride" series, when I have a handsome collection of good ($$$) watercolors that I've not used an an embarrassingly long time. Watercolor by its nature doesn't go bad, so they're not only usable, but a little goes a long way. There are years of potential paintings in those tubes!

I love watercolor, but I'm also an impatient painter, which doesn't bode well for the long drying time. One also has to be more mindful, as there's no undoing a mistake. Indeed, watercolor requires one to be a better artist, on the whole! Thus, my studio resolution for 2019 will be to complete at least one watercolor painting a month, of any size. If my muse is moved to do more, great, but I feel one a month a reasonable goal, especially with my acrylics being my go-to. I'll have to get new watercolor paper, as I've gone through my stash for various other projects (see above!), but this is a challenge I very much look forward to.

See more posts like this one and watch paintings take shape over at my Patreon!…

Patreon, ahoy! by ArdenEllenNixon

Thank you, THANK YOU, for supporting my art, whether it's via Patreon, favorites here on DA, word-of-mouth, or purchases.  I appreciate it and all of you more than words can say.

Wowzer, my silly little “Water, COLOR!” octopus is proving to be the belle of the ball. Thank you so much for all the favorites and comments, and welcome, new watchers!

Water, COLOR! by ArdenEllenNixon

The original painting is still available, and someone needs to claim him before I break down and do so. I’ve been out of wall space for a looong time!

If you’re also out of walls but still want to support my art, you can do so via Patreon.…  Pledges start at $1, and offerings include cellphone wallpapers, peeks at paintings in progress, and longer “how to” essays about specific pieces. I post twice a week—more, if my muse is really cracking—and love feedback re: ideas, technical questions, you name it.

Thank you, all of you, for your support of my art. Be it through favorites, support at conventions or in my shop, or just word of mouth, I appreciate it beyond words. A happy weekend to you!

Arden Ellen Nixon
A (tea-addled) recounting of ConStellation Nebraska is now on my Patreon page!   

This particular post is set to public; work-in-progress photos, future project posts, cellphone wallpapers, and more await patrons. If you enjoy my art but haven’t wallspace, this is one way to contribute; sharing my work and your wonderful selves with me is another. <3 My deepest thanks to anyone and everyone for helping me do what I love. I paint for you as much as for me.

My demented Wonderland rabbits have inspired a bevy of new subscribers, so allow me to welcome you all at once! 

There are quite a few simultaneous projects crowding my studio right now, so you've a great deal to look forward to in the coming weeks and months.  The model for "Pride" and several other friends persuaded me to turn it into a portrait series, the second of which is well underway.  The first "Pride," for reference:

Pride by ArdenEllenNixon

As the multi-colored background is also a multi-step process that takes forever to dry (it requires soaking the canvas each time), my new Wonderland series will give me plenty to work on while waiting.  You can see pieces from both series in progress on my Patreon, where I post frequent painting updates in addition to larger step-by-step essays for my more elaborate undertakings, a studio tour, a break-down of my largely second-hand set up (thrifting for the win!), and much, much more.…

My first in-person convention for 2018 will be ConStellation in Lincoln, NE, April 20th-22nd.   In addition to having matted prints in the art show, I'll have a booth with further prints, postcards, and my decked-out self in the Dealer's Room.  Both the art show and the Dealer's Room are free and open to the public, so feel free to pop by and say hello!  Many of my truly fantastic con friends will share the DR with me, and will have some of his wonderful work in the art show.

As always, my sincerest thanks to any and all who support my art, be it on Patreon, FB, here, at conventions, or by word of mouth.  I am grateful for all of you, truly.

Arden Ellen Nixon
One of my many "in general" resolutions (they stick better, I find) is making my Patreon a more exciting place to be!  Last week began the "Make-Shift Angel" chronicles, with photo essays detailing the birth of some of last year's many angels.  Today's post is already up, with the next scheduled for Thursday--come follow along!…

My current commission is a gift and thus under wraps, but thanks to last year's bevy of paintings (nearly fifty--yeowzer!), I've ample step-by-step photos of many favorites. There is always more to a painting than the quick blurb on DA or my website allows for, and I'm enjoying the chance to share their stories.  Owing to the nature of the beast, most posts are for Patrons only (starting at $1!), but you'll also find public posts, like my top six paintings of 2017 or any new completed work.  In short, if I'd share it here or on FB, I share it publicly there, too. 

As always, my sincerest thanks to any and all who support my art, be it on Patron, FB, here, at conventions, or by word of mouth.  I am grateful for all of you, truly.

Arden Ellen Nixon
Thank you all for your many birthday wishes yesterday, and a belated HAPPY NEW YEAR to you, too!  December was largely claimed by work and the Cold That Wouldn't Die, so I've not been here (or painting) as much as I should.  Here's to that changing at long last!

Thank you so very much.  Happy 2018!

UPDATE:  In honor of Small Business Saturday, I’ve upped the stakes on my Etsy sale! From now until midnight Saturday, use code ORIGINAL20 to receive ~20% OFF~ original paintings!…

Coupon code ORIGINAL10 will still be good for 10% off originals from now until next Friday, but for ONE day, you can sweeten the deal! The offer to refund shipping for local buyers or those who can pick up their paintings at the Britishfest Yule Ball still stands.


From now until Dec. 1st, use the coupon code ORIGINAL10 to receive 10% off original paintings in my Etsy shop!…

I'm happy to reimburse shipping for local buyers or anyone who can pick up their painting at the BritishFest Yule Ball in Omaha, NE on Dec. 2nd. Hence the cut off date so I've a chance to pack your prize!
Now that I'm not chasing Make-Shift Angels--seriously, how'd I manage twelve by August?!--I find myself at a bit of a loss in the studio.  Happily, I've my husband's birthday present to contemplate/work on, but that leaves plenty of room for commissions on either side!  If my art is part of your holiday plans, please contact me ASAP so that I’ve time to paint and so that your painting has time to miss the Christmas shipping crush. You’ll find the basic rundown here:

If DA's message system is not your style, you're also welcome to contact me on Facebook or through my website (email links at the bottom of each page).

Thank you all, as always! You rock.

Arden Ellen Nixon…

Guess who just got herself a Patreon?…

I started offering postcards and magnets thanks to several friends who suggested them as something small that worked with every budget and little wall space. It proved a brilliant suggestion, as both postcards and magnets have become my most popular items at in-person shows. 

Thus, when several con friends--and several strangers!--suggested Patreon as another means to support my art, I spent some time researching and debating, as I always do. In the end, your suggestions won the day, and I hope to be as thankful for them as I've been in the past. You spoil me, and this one way I can spoil you in turn. 

I've kept the pledge tiers low--you know my rule, no Ramen on my account--and will make it worth your while with in-progress photos, wallpapers, and the occasional swag. I'll be posting once a week for certain and more as muse madness allows. Appearance posts regarding cons and shows will remain public--if I post it here, it's unfair to lock it there--so that you can keep up to date with me, regardless.

Thank you all, as always! You rock.

Arden Ellen Nixon

Hello all!  The last time I managed a journal update, I was about to be the AGoH at ICON in Cedar Rapids, IA (which was a **WONDERFUL** time), so it's only appropriate to follow it up with another AGoH announcement!  You can catch me this weekend at ConStellation 8, live in all my awkward glory!  This is the con that started it all, to say nothing of my beloved con family, and it means a great deal to me be one of their official guests this year. 

ConStellation 8:  An Octopus' Garden
April 28th - 30th, 2017
Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln, NE

An Octopus' Garden by ArdenEllenNixon

CS8 t-shirts featuring this handsome fellow will be for sale, and the original shirt artwork will be available at Saturday's art auction.  In addition to having prints and small originals in the art show, I'll have still more prints and postcards available at my booth in the dealers' room.  The art show, dealers' room, and art auction are all FREE and open to the public, so feel free to wander in just to enjoy all the lovelies!  Truly, there are some amazing artists that mail in to the show, and the folks in the dealers' room are an honor to know both within and without the convention circuit. 

My few of newest paintings, prints of which will be available at the con:

Constellation by ArdenEllenNixon 

Mature Content

Make-Shift Angel XV by ArdenEllenNixon
  The Sentry by ArdenEllenNixon  

Mature Content

Make-Shift Angel XVI by ArdenEllenNixon
  Prophecy by ArdenEllenNixon

I really ought to update this more often, but when free time comes around, I confess to hiding in my studio by default.  My gallery has been hopping, at least!  I've a personal goal of finishing all twelve paintings for "Make-Shift Angel--Series 2" in time for a 2018 calendar, and as the fifth angel is currently waiting to be completed (I had to pause for con prep), I ought to just manage it.

Life-wise, all is wonderful and delightfully boring, which has been a relief after my husband's health scares the last few years.  Indeed, boring is GREAT!!! :P

Love and happiness to you all.  If any of you can make it to the convention this weekend, please feel free to flag me down and say hello!

Arden Ellen Nixon
Hello all!

My last journal entry is from January!?  Where did the year go?  It's a good thing I've already done my 2017 Calendars, or I'd have no chance of keeping track of myself at all!  You'll find them in my Etsy shop, and I'm happy to personalize them upon request.  The printing came out beautifully (especially the angels), and the images are the perfect size for framing once the year is done.

Make-Shift Angel 2017 Calendars…

Under the Stars 2017 Calendars…

After being closed all summer for a much needed overhaul, my Etsy shop is once again open! If you missed my 2017 calendars at ICON, want to stock up on postcards for the holidays, or just want to have a gander, here's the place to do it. Smaller original paintings like "Eadie Was A Lady" and "The Poe Toaster" are also in the shop window. If you'd rather note me here or on Facebook about something you want, feel free!…

Art-wise, it was my great honor and pleasure to be the Artist Guest of Honor at ICON in Cedar Rapids, IA this past weekend.  Nicholas came with me--a rarity for cons!--so that we could enjoy our anniversary weekend together (three years married as of Halloween, eight years together total).  We were well and truly spoiled by the staff, and it never fails to amaze me how giving con folks are. From the random fairy who said "Pssst, here! This is for you!" before handing me a vial filled with glitter and running away; to the young man who brought me a book on self-publishing after we talked about the stories that went with some of my paintings; to the con volunteer who offered to send me vintage dresses she had collected because she thought they would fit me and they deserved to be worn; to the many, many people who came up and overwhelmed me with the list of prints of mine (!) that they owned, just so happy to finally meet me. Oh, yes, and the fact that Nicholas and I met over a mummified penis joke in an ancient Egypt forum was used in my on stage introduction, so there's that.

2016 was a busy year, albeit a little quiet on the art front.  Owing to the pile of money we set on fire for my husband's health scares in 2014 and 1015, I started cashiering part-time at a grocery co-op in September of 2015 to help build our savings back up... and that's mainly where I spent this past summer!  It's a very low-key job in addition to it being reasonable walking distance from the house, offering TONS of free food, no uniforms, flexible hours, and the fact my fellow co-workers are mostly old hippies whom I adore.  I've enough to keep track of--doctors, meds, household expenses, my art and all that goes with it--without a drama llama job, so this one is perfect for the time being.

Here's hoping I manage at least one more journal entry before 2017.  Happiness to all of you in the meanwhile!

Arden Ellen Nixon
It is flat-out embarrassing how long it has been since I updated anything here!  I've been checking my messages and watch lists regularly, but darned if I could be moved to post.  This past year saw the hardest post-con crash I've ever had thanks to a year that was quite unusual and very busy overall.  It genuinely felt GREAT to just say "To heck with it" and do a great of genuine nothing--save reading, cleaning, and relaxing--for a few weeks and to just let the holidays be the holidays.

That said, a few paintings did fight their way past my laziness, and I'll be catching my gallery up today.  I also want to extend a BIG thank you to Pam for gifting me a shiny new DA subscription!  Mine ran out some time ago, and I confess, my missing it (but not being willing to pony up the monies to renew it after such an expensive year) was another reason for my absence.  Now, to stage a semi-triumphant return!

Some of Pam's lovely jewelry:

Pink Zebra Jasper necklace and earring set by cybelemoon Bethanys set by cybelemoon My Reworked Petrified Wood Set by cybelemoon Mother of pearl 3pc set by cybelemoon Close up of steam punk book by cybelemoon

Update:  The newbie paintings (some of them, anyway!) are up!

Orus by ArdenEllenNixon Dark Star by ArdenEllenNixon The Emperor's Pet by ArdenEllenNixon White Hart Way by ArdenEllenNixon

May you all be well and wonderful, and Happy New Year!

Arden Ellen Nixon
For those of you in the Omaha, NE area, I will be the Artist Guest of Honor at NukeCon this very weekend!  The art show and dealer's room are free, so if you haven't time or the budget for the entire con, you can still drop by and say hello!

If you're in the St. Louis area, I will have work in the art show at ARCHON!  As this is a mail-in show for me, I wish all who attend a wonderful time.

If you're near neither, no worries, have a terrific weekend!

First of all, since DA seems to be hit-or-miss regarding posting new pieces to watch feeds lately, a quick gathering of my latest:

Mature Content

Make-Shift Angel XII:  You Are Here by ArdenEllenNixon

  Dream Catcher by ArdenEllenNixon  I am that I am, too by ArdenEllenNixon  The Bookseller by ArdenEllenNixon 

Prints of all but "Make-Shift Angel XII" are available in my Etsy shop:…

I've been so busy--in all seriousness, I spent ALL of yesterday cleaning the house because I actually had time to realize how much it needed it--that I neglected to mention the most fun part of our summer!  At the tale end of July, my husband and I ran away to Chicago to enjoy close to a week of vacation and a bit of a second honeymoon.  His favorite UK football team, Tottenham Hotspur, played the Chicago Fire on the 26th, so we arrived the day before and stayed for several days after to catch everything we missed during our wedding visit last year. 

(FYI, if you have a bad habit and need a reason to quit, our trip was paid for by automatically depositing what had been Nicholas' cigarette money.  We'd had the tickets for the match since January, and when his March stroke surprised us and banned him from his pack-a-day habit, saving that money--which was already budgeted out--let us keep up with the medical expenses while also letting us keep the trip.  Having that to look forward to meant so much to both of us!)

We spent Friday through Tuesday in Chicago, where we walked through Millennium Park multiple times; spent an entire morning walking downtown before attending the soccer match that night; spent two days going over everything in the Art Institute from opening to close (I *finally* saw a Dante Gabriel Rossetti painting in person!); revisited the Oriental Institute where we were married; and yet the only picture I took is of Nicholas' face while watching his soccer team play in person for the first time. All of the above was truly memorable, but that look made the trip for me. I love this man.

But enough of me being moon-eyed for my husband... ;)

Chicago proved a great time once again, and we're sure to find an excuse to go back.  The Art Institute has several new wings in the works in addition to their already impressive collection--seriously, the Pre-Raphaelite room was to die for (they rank among my first artistic loves).  As old movie fans, it was also a kick to stand before "A Picture of Dorian Gray" in the modern art gallery, which was commissioned for a 1945 movie of the same name (based on the Oscar Wilde story, of course).  "Nighthawks" hung right behind it, and was truly impressive in both size and vibrancy.  The Asian galleries were glorious... really, everything was.  We could have easily spent still another day, but we had hit sensory overload and then some!

Oh!  Should you visit the Art Institute multiple days in a row, keep your ticket stubs!  When we went back the second day, I said jokingly "Do we get a discount for coming here two days in a row?", to which the clerk replied, "Yes, it'll save you $12 if you still have your tickets from yesterday to prove it."  Happily, I had absentmindedly stuffed them in my purse, where they still were. Thus, the $24 a head price went down to $18 thanks to what I thought would be a throwaway remark.  Who knew?

Dear me, it's been an embarrassingly long time since I updated my journal!  For the record, I do log in to check messages, admire artwork, and look over general DA goings on every day, so if you do write me with something time sensitive, I will get back to you.  However, I've found it useful to save other messages--general thank you's and the like--for a few days a week. 

In case you missed it, I uploaded two new paintings.  Both of them have already sold, but prints are available in my Etsy shop.…

I am that I am, too by ArdenEllenNixon  The Bookseller by ArdenEllenNixon

The local used bookstore has kept me busy with early holiday design projects, and I've also been preparing for the endurance test that is my annual Five Con Crunch.  ARCHON  and NukeCON  are both the first weekend in October; I'll be mailing into the former and be the Artist Guest of Honor at the latter!  That also means I have four art show panels to fill as well as three panels/discussions to prepare, so the remainder of this month will be quite mad.  Three more mail-in cons have to have boxes on their way by the second week of October, so while it's a brutal run, at least it's swiftly over!  I also have one more commission and a calendar to tend to before the end of this month, so I'd best be off! 

Arden Ellen Nixon
Hello all,

My first in-person booth show of this con season is this weekend, which of course means that I've been preparing for that and little else. Painting time will come afterwards, but in the meanwhile, you can catch me or my art at the following events:

British-Fest in Omaha, NE, June 27th - 29th, 2014
LibertyCon in Chattanooga, TN, June 27th - 29th, 2014
ConVergence in Bloomington, MN, July 3th - 6th, 2014

This is also a "last call" for my two latest mini-paintings, which are getting packed Britishfest if they're still unclaimed by tomorrow night.

The Messenger II by ArdenEllenNixon
"The Messenger II"…

Luna by ArdenEllenNixon

As always, if you're interested in a piece but don't want to go through Etsy, you're welcome to contact me here.

My apologies for being so dull, but life has been delightfully normal ("normal" being relative, of course) the past several months. I'm not complaining!

Arden Ellen Nixon
Hello all!

I've just been invited to participate in Omaha's next RAW artist expose, and I was wondering if any of you out there have been to or participated in previous RAW events in the area or elsewhere. If so, I'd love your thoughts and advice!…  This is new territory for me, and as I already have so much going on this summer, I want to be sure of anything I add to the list.  Any feedback is appreciated, and may you all have a lovely weekend!

My newest painting, in case you missed it!

The Seers by ArdenEllenNixon

Hello all,

There's been so much going on, I'm frankly too tired to be nervous about the fact that this weekend at WillyCon… marks my first appearance as Artist Guest of Honor!  We have both been looking forward to this dose of normalcy all week, and it will be wonderful to see our con family in person for the first time since last season (not that they've been short on e-support!).

My beloved Nicholas is doing splendidly, so much so that no one is going to believe us if ever we say he had a stroke.  His coordination is all but back, as is his speech.  Indeed, speech therapy was the only therapy recommended by the doctors, and we have our first appointment next week, which is also when Nicholas expects to go back to work (part time to start with).  Frankly, he looks more well-rested than I do! :P

Despite the myriad of tests and appointments--so much for staying at home and convalescing!--there still isn't an official answer aside from a one and a million combination of his smoking (which is officially banned) and hereditary high blood pressure (for which he was already on medication).  Indeed, the Mystery of Nicholas seems to be every local specialist's favorite lunchtime topic.  Everyone we've seen (several physicians, the neurologist) apparently started gabbing about him with each other while we were still in the hospital, before he was officially assigned to anyone.  Three cheers for productive/professional curiosity!

I still need to bring rolls to the nurses in the stroke ward, which I'll do when we attend speech therapy next week (same facility).  They were absolutely wonderful, and I cannot emphasize how important politeness is even when you're stressed out about a loved one in the hospital.  That, and I just don't see the point in being a harpy to those in charge of sticking my husband with needles!  The bathroom works just fine for screaming and crying--there's no need to subject the people who are trying to help to that.

To those of you who wrote me with thoughts of encouragement and affection:  Thank you so very, very much.  *HUGS* to all of you.

Now, on to WillyCon and "normal," such as it is and ever was!

Arden Ellen Nixon

My website and online portfolio:
Hello all,

My husband suffered a ministroke this past Thursday morning, and while he will thankfully be 100% again with a little time, this next week is one of rest for both of us--what a bizarre and WTF few days we've had!  After two and half days in the hospital, we're thankfully home, and while I'm sure I'll be online now and again, I will concentrate on business messages.  Thus, if you write a friendly note, know that I read and appreciate it, but kindly understand that my main focus is elsewhere :)

FYI, my husband is only thirty-six.  If that's not proof that this can happen to anyone, I don't know what is.  If ever you feel that someone you know isn't acting right or like themselves, don't second-guess yourself.  Take charge and take them to the hospital, which is what ended up happening with us.  It was a hell of a way to finally learn how to drive standard, let me tell you! :P

Thank you all,

PS--If you're local enough to want to be of assistance, please ask via note first.  Much as I appreciate the support from friends and neighbors that we've gotten so far, I don't want to end up with a kitchen full of cooked meals that we can't eat fast enough! :)
Hello, all!  This week has conspired to have me working on everything but actually painting, but I'm shortly to turn off everything and do exactly that at long last!  First though, I wanted to let you know that my work will be appearing a new-to-me convention this very weekend.  If you happen to be in the Dallas area, check it out!

Texas Furry Fiesta

Despite my bevy of painted beasts, this is my first furry con, so here's hoping it's a good addition to my list!