Honorable Mention

Mitzie with her son Alec in front of her painting "Spaghetti Planet"

Mitzie with her son Alec in front of her painting "Spaghetti Planet"

Fun in Space, the pre-show, show

We couldn't make the opening last night, so my almost six-year-old son and I swung by after school to take a look before the opening.

There was so much amazing work to ogle and it was super fun to explore the more than 150 pieces in the exhibit. It was a challenge for one of us not to touch every single one!

As the curator, Steve Nyland, was putting up the finishing touches, he informed me that my painting received an honorable mention—what a nice surprise! 

If you are near Syracuse, NY, you should go by and see the work before it comes down March 24th.







Fun In Space!

Illustrated recipe, "Space Sauce," by Mitzie Testani

Illustrated recipe, "Space Sauce," by Mitzie Testani

Proud to be part of this group show with other Syracuse, NY area artists

Opening Reception
Thursday, January 26
5:00 PM - 7:30 PM EST

Venue information:
The Tech Garden 235 Harrison St. Syracuse, NY 13202

* * * Official Show Description * * *

Join us! On Thursday January 26 from 5pm to 7:30pm for FUN IN SPACE: AN HOMAGE TO PULP SCIENCE FICTION at The Gallery at The Tech Garden, 235 Harrison St. in Syracuse NY. Inspired by the scifi flavored music of Queen drummer Roger Taylor & celebrating Art Deco rocket ships, guys in foil suits, hot space babes with ray guns, and stuff getting blowed up real good. Featuring fun and spacey artwork for all ages pushing the force fields of good taste by creative impulse drives working in a wide range of styles from across Central New York + beyond the limits of time or space.

There will also be a supplementary mini-exhibit of recent scifi oriented works by Syracuse area artist/illustrator James P. McCampbell, who will give an artist’s talk at 5:30pm, and The Tech Garden’s curator Steve Nyland, who will be celebrating his 50th birthday during the opening reception. Come help launch Steve out the pod bay door on his big trip to Saturn!

The event is open to the public, admission is free, light refreshments will be served, the artists from the show will be in attendance to meet the public, and as always COSTUMING! or character play by academy cadets of all franchises is *highly* encouraged; Make a cardboard box tin foil space helmet and ray gun! Break out that Star Trek uniform, or just Dress to Impress in your finest jet powered rocket pack. Other surprises stranger than fiction await — More info as details are beamed down and we hope to see you there!

A Savior is Drawn

The photo that inspired my painting

My friend, Nadia Moro, holding my son at five months

My friend, Nadia Moro, holding my son at five months

A few years ago, I snapped this photo of a good friend I had the pleasure of working with while living in Philadelphia. She is one of the kindest and smartest people I have ever met. (She was reading books by age three.)

Her photo reminded me of many of the iconographic paintings from my art history classes at Tyler School of Art. The ones painted by artists much greater than I will ever be of the virgin Mary holding her baby Jesus. It was the way she looked at my son and the way her hands were posed. It was also the way he was so peaceful in her lap (he was not a peaceful baby and rarely sat still for anyone.)

Ever since I saw the image, I've been wanting to paint it. So, when I decided to paint The First Noel, I asked her if I could use this photo as my model.

Above is the photograph and the beginning drawing, and below is the final piece. You can click the image below for more detailed views. Thank you, Nadia, for your friendship and your permission. Merry Christmas to us, every one!

The First Noel, by Mitzie Testani. Click for detailed views.

The First Noel, by Mitzie Testani. Click for detailed views.

The Coloring Studio

Cover, 2016 Winter Issue

Cover, 2016 Winter Issue

I have an illustration and article in the winter 2016 issue of the Coloring Studio!

What I love about this publication is that artists share their processes (and I'm all about sharing what I learn).

You can pick one up at Barnes & Noble, and at some Costcos, JoAnn's & Michaels stores, and online at www.stampington.com.

You can purchase subscriptions or single copies.

My spreads inside (of course I had to make it about coffee!)

My spreads inside (of course I had to make it about coffee!)

Get Spicy!

I am so very excited to have an illustrated recipe in They Draw and Cook's Get Spicy! cookbook. This book is filled with such beautiful work and I am honored to have my Fire Roasted Green Chili Stew recipe included. Your spicy friends would love to receive one for Christmas!

Get Spicy! cookbook from They Draw and Cook.

Get Spicy! cookbook from They Draw and Cook.

Weekend Art

Making on the go

On the weekends, our family usually hits the trail. We live in Syracuse, NY, so there are plenty of them to choose from. We even go when there's snow on the ground.

The two male hikers in the family like to take time turning over rocks in search of salamanders or go off the trail in search of toads, frogs, snakes or animal dens. Although now my son also sometimes searches out things for me to draw.

When they veer off, I attack my sketch pad. These sketches are nothing fancy and I seldom get to sit for long periods. In fact, I usually just pause on the trail and draw something near by while standing.

I may start a drawing with one kind of flower, walk further (or run to catch up when necessary) then finish part of what I was doing with another leaf species.

The best part about making while you are on the move is that it removes the pressure of trying to make something that is considered art. At the very least, it encourages me to experiment more.

Although I use these drawings many times for reference when I paint later, I can just play with absolutely no care of where they will end up.

Since most of my drawings are under paintings these days, it's really nice to have a no-rules forum for drawing. It's also about the only time I use a pen these days. Although sometimes I also bring a travel water color set.

A few artist friends of mine recently chatted about how we always bring art supplies with us. Even on vacation. Once you have realized that you love to draw, it sort of becomes a way of life. 

Roughing It

Art imitating life

One thing I love about camping is that you have to "rough it." You may not shower for a couple of days and nobody around you even seems to mind. You throw any leftover food into a big skillet and something super yummy is served for dinner. You find hiking around on a trail and turning over rocks very interesting because you never know what you will find.

It's all a big, dirty experiment. That's the fun part.

To me, that's also what's fun about art. You paint and draw and you sometimes don't care (or even know) what the outcome is going to be. As I thought about why Instagram is so much fun for me, I realized that I really like to see how others work. I must be some sort of stalker because I really want to see others' processes. Does anyone besides me make mistakes? How do rough drawings translate into finished works?

So I scrapped my previous blog. Because anyone who subscribes to my newsletter will get first peeks into finished projects every couple of weeks anyway. It's a little boring for me to duplicate my news everywhere.

Unfinished will be where I put my works in progress. Sometimes I will follow up with how they turn out. Sometimes I won't. I'm not making this a place for more deadlines. It will be where I post my muddy experiments and give a glimpse at my imperfections. Because I am full of them.

This also takes a lot of my WIP off of my Instagram, because a very wise woman once told me that (for better or worse) art directors will judge my portfolio from the nine little squares they see at a glance. Most will never scroll. So that's a little tip now from me to you. (Also, if you are an artist trying to promote yourself on IG, limit your personal stuff up there, too).

This week, It just so happens that I am working on a camping project. Because it was something I loved so much as a child.

Getting started with bears, tents, and forest greens.

Getting started with bears, tents, and forest greens.

I start a project with paint (either watercolor or gouache.) This page of icons began with a brown bear, but I wasn't loving it. So I switched to painting with black gouache. That will give me flexibility for switching up colors. So I will keep drawing and then scan everything in and convert it to vector. (And that brown bear will have to go gray scale so that I can re-color him if I decide to keep him.) It's all basically one big experiment.

When you are illustrating for surface, you can start by just drawing wonderful little things that make you happy. It's called a "mini" and it is something I learned from taking illustration classes from the wonderful Lilla Rogers. I do love editorial illustration, too, but on an early Sunday, sometimes I like to just draw for fun.

I am still using Adobe CS3, which makes converting to vector very easy. I have heard that the newer versions of Creative Suite have bungled this feature, so I am really dreading the subscription version that I know I will need to move to when my laptop dies.

So that's my Sunday this Memorial weekend. Hope you are enjoying your day!