Category Archives: self-portrait

Playing in My Art Journal: A Self-Portrait

I completed a few new entries in my art journal last week, and one of them was a self-portrait.  I started it during my lunch hour – just working with my journal and a black pen.  I finished the page that night, when I had access to my watercolor pencils, a paintbrush, and a bit more time.

This organic form is representational of me, and yes – that’s a pumpkin head!  The words near the leaves’ tendrils are things I associate with myself – they’re either some of my qualities and traits, or things that are important to me.

I find it very relaxing to doodle/draw, fill in the spaces with color, and then blend the colors with brush and water.  I don’t have any illusions of being skilled at drawing, but I do have fun playing – and that’s the whole point.  :]


Black and white…


Colored in but not blended…


Color blended with water and brush…


Up close…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at one of my latest art journal pages, dear readers.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Warm regards,

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New (Heart) Art!


Today’s “special guest star” is a piece of art I recently made – a self-portrait of sorts.  Two of the elements I used to create it were featured in a post from earlier this year, which included photos of some of the art materials or supplies I hope to use in my art in 2011.  (Please click here to read the original post)  I hope you enjoy seeing how I incorporated Caran d’Ache water-soluble crayons and joss paper into my creation.

Materials used:

Cold press watercolor paper
Paint brushes (four different sizes)
Caran d’Ache water-soluble crayons
Uni-ball Vision Elite pen – black
Metallic joss paper
Glue stick
X-ACTO knife
Metallic gold gel pen


Before starting this piece I checked to see if the black Uni-ball pen would smear when brushed with water.  It did, and I briefly considered using something else for my drawing. However, I like the way this pen lays ink down, and decided to go with it anyway.  After all, my life is a bit smeary, imprecise, and messy right now.  I felt the smearing would add authenticity to my self-portrait.

I slowly built up the drawing, and then added color.  Rather than drawing or coloring directly onto the paper with the crayons, I used a wet paintbrush to pull the color off of the tip of the crayons.  I was loose in my application of the color and didn’t fret over a bit of color mingling in the sediment layers.


The grayish wash around the heart was made by marking with the black pen on my paper palette, diluting it with a paintbrush and water, and then painting the ink wash onto the paper.  I also traced along the drawing’s black pen lines to dilute and soften the black, which created the gray ghosting.

I cut the joss paper into strips by hand, varying width and length.  After cutting slits into the heart with an X-ACTO knife, I threaded the joss paper pieces through to the back, and used the glue stick to glue the paper down on both the front and back of the watercolor paper.


The metallic gold gel pen was used at the end, to incorporate more gold into the lower part of the piece – in the sediment layers and on the plant/heart’s stem.  I also added gold metallic markings to the areas on either side of the paper beams of light.

Please keep an eye out for more of 2011’s Artful Ingredients, which will be used and shared in the coming months.  The next ingredient shown will likely be the sturdy, white shipping envelopes.  Like a mad scientist, I’ve been experimenting lately.  Wait ‘till you see what I’ve come up with!

Warm regards,

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Self-Portrait Friday: 10/8/10


Hocus Pocus Horoscope-us?

I’m a Taurus, and was also born in the Chinese Zodiac’s Year of the Ox.  Does that make me doubly stubborn?  I’m sure my husband, Jose, would answer in the affirmative!  I’ve never been one to follow horoscopes closely or put weight in them, but I do find them rather entertaining.  The daily horoscope messages put out in the newspaper or online are pretty hit-and-miss, and I rarely read them.  What I do find interesting is the personality traits attributed to the different signs.  They seem, at least in my case, pretty accurate.

Here are some personality traits for a Taurus: patient, reliable, warmhearted and loving, persistent, determined, and placid. Taurus represents art, beauty in all its forms, and strength (not only physical). Taureans are realistic, and security loving (both on the material and psychological level).  Sounds right-on to me!

From the Chinese Zodiac: The Ox, or the Buffalo sign symbolizes prosperity through fortitude and hard work. Those born under the influence of the Ox or Buffalo are fortunate to be stable and persevering.  The typical Ox is a tolerant person with strong character.  Not many people could equal the resolution and fearlessness that the Ox exhibits when deciding to accomplish a task.  Ox people work hard without complaints at work or at home.  This also sounds about right.

So, given the bullish and oxen-related vibe that surrounds me, for better or worse, I decided this week’s self-portrait should include a ceramic rendering of my bovine-esque self.  I bought this little ox at the Chinchero Market, in Peru – it’s one of a pair.  “I’m” posing with a rose to make my visage slightly more feminine and more colorful!

I saw countless pairs of ceramic oxen (larger than this palm-sized version) on the roofs of homes in Peru – particularly in the Sacred Valley.  They’re put on the roof to attract happiness and prosperity, and though I can’t put the pair I bought on our roof, the two oxen have a place of honor on our mantel.

A stretch for a self-portrait, you say?  I don’t think so, given the double ox designation of my birth.  It’s also a great way for me to mention an upcoming travel feature I’ll be posting!  Be sure to read my blog on Sunday, October 17th – I’ll be posting a brief photo diary of my 2009 trip to Peru, including coastal Lima, Andean Cusco, the mountainous Machu Picchu, and the floating Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Warm regards,

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Self-Portrait Friday: 9/24/10


The “Eyes” Have It

The “Eyes” Have It

My eyes, which have been described as having a twinkle by my dear husband, are changeable things. A cursory glance might tell you my eye color is blue, but those who know me and really see me would tell you that sometimes they look blue, sometimes blue-gray, and sometimes blue-green.

I’m usually so busy looking out of them that I don’t look at them very often, but in my artsy-fartsy and self-aggrandizing moments I like to think my eyes are like the sea: ever-changing, with the exact color depending on the day or moment.

All that said, my overriding thought and feeling where my eyes are concerned is gratitude.  I’m so thankful for the gift of sight, and I hope and pray my eyes remain healthy and functioning all the days of my life.

I’m attending the Southern California Writers Conference this weekend, and am so excited!  I’m looking forward to this rite of passage – my first writer’s conference!  I hope to learn a lot and hope to meet some wonderful people.  If you’re on Twitter, please follow me – I hope to tweet from the conference.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope you enjoy it…

Warm regards,

p.s. If you haven’t commented on my giveaway post yet, please do so now so you’re entered to win the set of photographic note cards.  The entry deadline is September 30th, and the winner will be announced on October 1st!

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Self-Portrait Friday: 9/10/10


Welcome to this week’s installment of Self-Portrait Friday!  I suppose you’ve noticed that my self-portraits don’t always feature my face.  This is deliberate, and I’m doing it for a few reasons.  Not only do I think you’d soon grow tired of seeing me (Her again?!), I also like playing with the concept of a self-portrait – stretching the boundaries a bit.  So this week an inanimate object is taking my place in my self-portrait.

Has anyone ever told you that you resemble Mickey Mouse?

This week’s self-portrait relates to the half marathon I walked last Sunday.  This medal, which I earned for walking 13.1 miles in and around Disneyland, identifies me as a half marathoner and an endurance athlete.

It identifies me as a crazy person that will train for months (two, for this race), walk many miles in training (thank goodness for the “company” of my iPod!), and also identifies me as someone who will get up really early (at 4:15 a.m.) to gather with thousands of other crazy people before the sun rises on race day.  Yep – nutso!

Why do I do this?  As you may remember from a past blog post, one reason I do these races is to stay physically active and to keep me motivated regarding exercise.  However, I also do it “Because I can.”  I’m well aware that I’m blessed to be healthy and mobile, so I’m getting out there for the sheer joy of being able to set a goal, train, and complete these long walks. I should, I can, and I do.

What activities or hobbies in your life illustrate an aspect of you?  Please share in a comment, if you’re so inclined.

Weekend Activities & Another Way to Lend a Hand

I’m off to Santa Barbara this afternoon, and will be volunteering as a crew member for the Avon 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer that’s taking place on Saturday and Sunday.  I’m not walking the miles this time, but am happy to supportthose who are.  These fantastic walkers, including my friends CQ and MV, are logging major miles this weekend to help fight breast cancer.  I hope you’ll join me, the walkers, and the other crew members in thinking pink!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend…

Warm regards,

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Self-Portrait Friday: 8/27/10

Happy Friday!




Today’s self-portrait shows a ring on my right hand, as well as detail shots of the ring.  Made of sterling silver, this ring was custom-made by an artist I found on Etsy.  (I actually ordered three or four things from this vendor – Kathryn Riechert) “Exuberant imperfection” is a phrase I borrowed from Chris Baty, the founder of National Novel Writing Month.  On page 32 of his book No Plot? No Problem! Mr. Baty first introduces the idea of exuberant imperfection.  To paraphrase, in order to eventually write a great novel, you have to write an enthusiastic but crappy novel first – a very rough draft.  Mr. Baty wisely points out that we can seldom do something well the first time we do it, and rather than focusing on the result, we should first focus on the doing – the trying.  The skill, refinement and attempts at perfection can come later.

What does all this have to do with me, and exactly why do I like this phrase enough to put it on a ring?  I guess it’s kind of like a motto or a two-word self-portrait.  In my mind, this phrase means that I’m enthusiastic and actively participating.  That I’m passionate about life, and would rather leap, try something new, get in over my head, and/or potentially stumble than play it safe.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m far from perfect, and I know I’ll continue to make mistakes along the way, but I am proud that I’m excited about life, am seldom jaded, and that I continue to learn and grow.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Be sure to tune in Sunday when I introduce a new feature.  It will be the first installment in my Remarkable Women Series!

Warm regards,

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Welcome to Self-Portrait Friday!


What on earth is Self-Portrait Friday?!  Here’s the scoop.  I first heard about Self-Portrait Fridays on Nina Bagley’s blog, Ornamental.  (Nina Bagley is a very talented jewelry artist.  I purchased one of her necklaces years ago, and it’s one of my favorites to this day!)  The idea is pretty simple: bloggers post a self-portrait each week.  From what I understand, it’s partly for fun and partly an artistic exercise.

Perhaps you’d like to participate in Self-Portrait Fridays, too!  The benefits of Self-Portrait Fridays may include: exercising your creativity (finding ways to embody and stretch the idea of a self-portrait), developing your photography skills (playing with composition, lighting and other effects), and engaging in a little healthy self-reflection (what aspects of self do I want to share with the world?).

Photography is probably the most common way to capture a self-portrait these days, but you may certainly draw or use another medium instead.  I plan on publishing photography articles and tips in the future. Until then, I encourage you to take a lot of photos to increase your chances of getting something great, and I encourage you to PLAY.  That’s what will make Self-Portrait Friday fun, should you choose to participate yourself.

I will be posting a self-portrait every other Friday and hope you enjoy the different versions of “self” that I capture.  Today’s self-portrait is a retro shot – something I snapped last September while I waited out the rain under a rock ledge at Machu Picchu.  What a fond memory and what a wonderful trip! (I’ll post about that trip – including photos – in the future.)

Happy Friday, everyone!  I hope you have a great weekend.  I’ll be doing a 13-mile training walk, visiting with family, going on location to take pictures for an upcoming blog feature, and attending a crew training event for Avon 2-day Walk for Breast Cancer volunteers.  Please wish me lots of energy and no problems with traffic!

Warm regards,

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Welcome to my blog and website!


For those of you who don’t know me personally, my name is Melody M. Nuñez.  I’m a writer and an artist, and am very excited about my new blog.  My blog will be focused on writing, art, and life in general, as my tagline says.  My future posts will likely include the following – and more!

  • Updates on my attempt to find a literary agent for my collection of illustrated short stories, and posts on the twisty-turny road that leads to getting a book published
  • New photographic images
  • Preparation for and participation in National Novel Writing month this November (Yep, I will write a 50,000 word novel in one month!)
  • Photos of new collages or mixed-media projects I complete, some with before and after photos
  • New articles and creative writing (including haiku!)
  • Self-portraits (I will be participating in self-portrait Friday, posting new images every other Friday)
  • Posts on the odds and ends in my life – books, travel, walking half marathons, movies, baking (I will include photos & recipes), particularly good meals, volunteerism/charitable opportunities, my pet rabbits (Cypress & Pinto), and anything else that strikes my fancy…

I hope you’ll subscribe to my blog.  You may subscribe now by using the feature on the upper right side of this main blog page, or on the separate subscribe page accessed from the menu at the top.  Also, please invite your friends and family to subscribe, too, if you think they might be interested.  The more the merrier!

Before I sign off, I’d like to publicly thank my wonderful husband, José B. Nuñez, for all his help with the renovation of my website, and with the launch of this blog.  He put in an incredible amount of time and effort, and I’m beyond appreciative.  I’m blessed to have such a helpful, talented, and supportive husband. Thank you, José!

Thank you for stopping by, everyone, and please come back soon!  My next post will appear on Tuesday…

Warm regards,

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