Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Sister & I Painted These Together

My Monkey Princess

While I was on vacation, my sister Melanee Herrera I painted together. I owe her my eternal gratitude, because she was the one who suggested I start painting again after many years of ignoring my Muse. I stayed at her charming, country, farm house in the woods of South Williamsport, PA during my recent vacation. We painted together almost everyday.

Melanee Herrera in her studio, creating Mythical Creatures with me.
Boy Swan by Melanee Herrera

She loved my mythical creatures, so I showed her what I learned in a class taught by Karen O'Brien. Melanee's style is Folk Art Primitives, so this isn't exactly her cup of tea. But one great thing about learning techniques is being able to adapt them to fit your personal style and taste. Before I left, she started four more of these in more vintage looking colors. As of this post, she had not finished the images to adhere on each canvas board. I'm excited to see what she comes up with and will post them here if you'd like to see them as well.

Boy Lion by Melanee Herrera

We each completed two 9"x12" canvas boards, but one of mine didn't turn out, so I'm reworking it. Please check out Melanee's Mixed Media Folk Art Blog here. The vintage male face in Boy Lion is actually a distant relative of one of my radio listener's.

This is an 8"x 8"x 1/2" wooden picture frame with Golden paint and vintage text collage. The center is empty, but you can place any 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" photo in it. A wood peg comes with it, so it can be propped up on a desk or you can hang it up on the wall. The sides are painted, so it doesn't need a frame. My sister made two of these in different shades of blue. I'm planning to make a lot more of them in different colors. This one IS for sale. Just email me at if you're interested.
Since my sister, Melanee, loves things that look old, I knew she would love this style of painting. I learned it from Julie Prichard's online class, Layered Love. Find out all about her class on her blog. It's really a fun way to paint.

Me working in Melanee's studio creating the second layer of our Texture Paintings. See below what I made.

Melanee's Smile

This is a mixed media painting done with Golden paints and mediums on a 9"x12" canvas. (It's not for sale.) I named it Melanee's smile, because we were both smiling the whole time we painted together. It really means a lot to me and inspires me to keep learning and growing and most of all to keep painting. (I have one more to show you, but haven't scanned it yet.)

Textured Painting by Melanee Herrera

I learned this style of painting from the wonderful artist, Chris Cozen. Melanee doesn't usually paint with such bright colors, but loved the process of making it.

Textured Painting #2 by Melanee Herrera

Melanee does not want to sell these, because she said on her blog, that she cherishes them for the time we spent together creating them. Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. ~Nina/Ruthie~


  1. You are so lucky to have a sister that you could spend some wonderful time with. And, how fortunate that she enjoyed painting with you. Those are memories to be cherished. :)Bea

  2. I want everyone to know how great the picture frame looks in person. It is so awesome. Nina, I'm so glad you had a great time back with your family. Looking forward to seeing you when I get back to opening my dining room table for you guys to play! See you soon.

  3. What great paintings! Beautiful colors! You are both so talented. Looks like your sister really got into the Karen O'Brien style - I love the Boy Swan!

  4. Thanks, Bea. Yes, I'm very lucky to have such a great sister and a wonderful artist. We were SO happy painting together during my visit. Now we're back to talking on Skype. Thank goodness for technology!

    Sally - I haven't scanned the wood mirror that you saw me paint. This one is smaller and it's a picture frame. The mirror is a more vibrant blue. Can't wait to paint with you again!

    Thanks, Diane! Yes, Mel loved the KOB critters. So much fun to make! She likes yours as well. See you and Sally soon! Happy painting and Happy Birthday Diane!

  5. What a joyous time you had with your sister! It's wonderful to learn and share together, especially with art. The memories you will have of this day are irreplaceable!

  6. Not only are the mythical creatures very good but it looks like so much fun to do together. I think you're lucky to have that creative bond.

  7. Love the monkey girl! You look so happy in the art studio.

  8. Lucy - Yes, our time together was joyous indeed! But it wasn't just one day - it was a whole week of painting together. I'll remember it always and look forward to doing it again.

    Elizabeth - Yes, I'm very lucky indeed to share a creative bond with my sister. We had a blast painting together.

    Nancy - Yes, we really were happy playing in my sister's studio. We were in our own private world there and stayed up very late painting together. We'd get so giddy, we could barely understand each's words, but still managed to convey our message.

    Thank you to everyone who left a comment!

  9. Hey Nina- I love what you're doing with all that texture! Really interesting stuff!!


  10. Ruthie, I love these. All of 'em !!! What a treasure trove you and your sister created while spending that time together. SUPER memories for you both, I'm sure. LOVE the colors you both used, especially on those last pieces a la Chris Cozen :-) !!! -- Davi