New Painting – Diana

Diana - Commissioned Portrait 9"x12" oil paint on canvas board

Diana – Commissioned Portrait
9″x12″ oil paint on canvas board

Today I finished the style test portrait for Diana, in preparation for making very large oil painting portraits of her children.

The finished painting is 9″x12″ on canvas board.  It was made in eight sessions.

This is the color and style sample portrait for a series of much larger commissioned paintings. They are intended to match the color palette and style of family portraits she already has which were made the better part of a century ago. Unlike most modern portraits, the ones in her family have a very cool feel to them, with an olive toned background. However, I need to balance that coolness with warmth in the skin. To that end, the underpainting color is a dark, cool red. After finishing this painting, I believe I will need to underpaint with cool green instead when I create the larger portraits.


Project: Diana Portrait

Art Commission History

Current In-Progress Commissions

Series of family oil painting portraits, started June 2011.  Project Tag: Diana Portraits


Completed Commissions
Minimalist Wolf Looking Back 3 “Minimalist Wolf Looking Back 3″, a 5″x7” minimalist brush marker painting, created as a tattoo design for Carissa B.; November 2012. Blog Entry.
Title: On the Northern Coast, Artist: Sidney Eileen, Medium: oils on gesso board “On the Northern Coast”, a 12″x16″ oil painting for the cover of the novel Mermaid Drowning, created for Tiffany and Terry Jacobs; Started October 2012, Finished November 1, 2012. Blog Project Tag: Mermaid Drowning
Mr. and Mrs. Prrrston in Filigree Locket, by Sidney Eileen, Medium: ink on watercolor paper “Mr. and Mrs. Purrrston in Oval Locket”, a set of two miniature ink paintings in a filigree oval locket, created for Laura H.; Started June 2012, Finished September 4, 2012.
In Fond Memory of the 10th Doctor, by Sidney Eileen, Medium: ink on watercolor paper “In Fond Memory of the 10th Doctor”, two miniature ink paintings featuring David Tennant (the 10th Dr. Who) and a dalek, set in an oval locket with floral and pearl front, created for Ziaoyu Hu; Started June 2012, Finished September 4, 2012.
Title: Pawsitive Memories - Logo, Artist: Sidney Eileen, Medium: watercolors on watercolor paper Minimalist large watercolor painting and logo for Pawsitive Memories, started January 2012, Finished June 2012.
Michael Straton Logo Commission 1, by Sidney Eileen Michael Straton Logo Commission 2 Two minimalist business logos for Michael Stratton, April 2012
BELA-00115-36714, technical illustrationBELA-00112-35970, technical illustrationBELA-00115-36715, technical illustrationBELA-00112-36481, technical illustration BELA-00112-37359, technical illustrationBELA-00112-37360, technical illustrationsBELA-00112-37364, technical illustrationCast Bronze Buckle, technical illustration Archaeological technical illustrations of artifacts from Cape Espenberg for Dr. Christianne Darwent, November 2011 to February 2012
Donation Commission - Terrier, 9"x12" colored pencil on black paper, by Sidney Eileen Donation commission for the March of Dimes in a silent auction in Eugene, Oregon, March 2009
Title: Min. Cat on Book 2, Artist: Sidney Eileen, Medium: brush marker on paper Min. Cat on Book 3, brush marker on paper, by Sidney Eileen Two minimalist cat drawings, Devon K., September 2009
Title: Birch Wolf, Artist: Sidney Eileen, Medium: colored pencil on paper Arctic wolf in knotwork tattoo drawing, May 2009
Portrait of Rusty ACEO, ACEO, 2.5"x3.5" white paper, by Sidney Eileen Shepherd Guard ACEO, ACEO, 2.5"x3.5" black paper, by Sidney Eileen Two ACEO portrait drawings of Rusty, a Schutzhund Dog, February 2009
Maggie, 5"x7" colored pencil on black paper, by Sidney Eileen Portrait drawing of Maggie, an australian shepherd dog, November 2008
Tramp ACEO, Colored pencil on black paper, ACEO size, 2.5"x3.5", by Sidney Eileen Fairy Princess ACEO, Colored pencil on white paper, ACEO size, 2.5"x3.5", by Sidney Eileen ACEO portrait drawings of two dogs, July 2008
Title: Pinwheel ACEO, Artist: Sidney Eileen, Medium: pen on paper ACEO Celtic spiral design, May 2008
Title: Tempest, Eclipse, and Orion, Artist: Sidney Eileen, Medium: colored pencil on black paper Large drawing commission of three black cats, Tempest, Eclipse, and Orion, April 2008


Purchased Art Policy

1. Copyright ownership

As the creator of the artwork, I retain copyright for 70 years beyond my life. Unless specifically arranged in writing, the purchaser or owner may not exhibit for pay, publish, license, reproduce or create derivative versions the work of art.


2. Permitted usage

Artwork may be exhibited in any public or private space where it is protected from damage, such as a private residence, office, or other private or business space sheltered from weather.

Low resolution digital images of the artwork, such as the ones displayed on my web site,, may be re-posted online to blogs, e-zines, and non-profit educational web sites as long as they are not modified in any way and provide a link back to along with written credit to me, Sidney Eileen, as creator of the artwork. If requested, images must be removed from any online location. Images from my web site may also be printed for review or non-profit educational purposes, as long as the images are not modified and are accompanied by artist credit to Sidney Eileen and my web address

Photographs taken of the artwork when it is on exhibition or in a private collection may only be posted online if the artwork image is no larger than 600pixels by 600pixels, and the posting includes artist credit to Sidney Eileen along with a link to

Advance written permission is required to display low resolution images of the artwork online at locations other than blogs, e-zines, and non-profit educational web sites, or to publish high resolution photos of the artwork in print.

Advance written permission is required if the artwork is used as a logo or to promote any individual, business, or non-profit entity.


3. Prohibited usage

Artwork and any images of the artwork may never be exhibited in any place or manner which is associated with or in any way promotes hate or intolerance.


4. Warranties

All artwork is created by Sidney Eileen, from archival materials. With proper care all artwork should last for generations.

Should damage appear on artwork which has been properly cared for, I will personally make any necessary repairs, or supervise the repairs to be done by a third party of which I approve.


Painting Updates – 16 February 2012

I spent about three hours painting this afternoon, finished two small paintings, and added a lot of detail to the commissioned portrait.  The two finished paintings will be covered in their own entries, including a look back at all the WIPs posted along the way.

Title: Diana Portrait - WIP5, Artist: Sidney Eileen

Diana Portrait – WIP5
9″x12″ oil paint on canvas board
6 sessions
For this layer I added lots of details. There was still some pink showing through the eyes, so they received another layer of white, along with some shading. I added another very thin layer of white to the skin so it will have a more translucent appearance. The lips received shading and coloring from Alizerin Crimson and white. A touch of black further defined the nostrils. The velvet shirt is Pthalo Blue and white. Her hair is dark brown and white.
This is the color and style sample portrait for a series of much larger commissioned paintings. They are intended to match the color palette and style of family portraits she already has which were made the better part of a century ago. Unlike most modern portraits, the ones in her family have a very cool feel to them, with an olive toned background. However, I need to balance that coolness with warmth in the skin. To that end, the underpainting color is a dark, cool red. As the painting nears finishing, I believe I will need to underpaint with cool green instead when I create the larger portraits.


Project: Diana Portrait

Career Direction

One of the Yule gifts I received this year was a book I recommend to anyone who is interested in being a professional artist.  It’s called “How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist” by Caroll Michels.  Get it.  Read it.  Share it.

My health problems forced me to stop taking sewing commissions, so I’m running with it.  I have re-written my artist statements, created an artist resume, and begun preparing solicitation and promotional materials for possible future exhibitions.  I have been practicing and experimenting, and researching ideal materials for framing with minimal cost and highest quality (specifically aquabords, clayboards, linen panels, and varnishes).  I’ve also been researching possible funding sources, like  I’ve re-evaluated my prices and found them VERY lacking, so they have been adjusted to an amount I could live on were I to sell consistently, even with galleries typically taking 40%-50% commissions.  I’ve also researched exactly where I want to make limited edition prints, and have deleted almost all my print-on-demand, which never sold anyway.

In the meantime, I’m sorting out different marketable and showable bodies of work I can conceivably create, and prioritizing how to achieve them.  Oil paintings must dry for a full year before varnishing, so I’m going to keep creating oil paintings that take my fancy with the expectation that I won’t have a showable body of work for about two to three years.  Minimalist works are very quick to make, so if I can fund the materials I should be able to have a body of work within about three months of funding.  I love the Celtic work and want to resume making it from time to time, but the hours of work involved make the sale price of individual pieces prohibitive of a full exhibit at this time.  Same story with the colored pencil drawings, but they’ve sold well individually so I’ll still keep creating solo pieces.  I’m practicing with calligraphy, but I’m not sure if or when I will have a body of work in that area which is marketable for exhibition.  That takes me to my pen and ink work, and steampunk drawings, which is doable with funding, like the minimalist work.  I’m hoping to make one or both of those start coming together this summer or next fall.

The other avenue I am working on is publication of my instructional writing.  This month I am working on a How to Make a Corset contribution to “Steampunk Projects from the Gaslamp Garage”, a steampunk DIY book to be published by McGraw Hill.  Next month I am going to re-vamp my “How to Floss a Corset” booklet, add a couple more stitches, and make it available for Print on Demand through Blurb.  Eventually I’d like to work up to publishing a complete guide to drafting and creating a corset, and I also want to write more materials about art creation.

I still have three outstanding corset commissions I am working on, all of which are intricate and interesting.  I’ll be photo-documenting those, and preparing instructional materials as appropriate.  Next month I’m also embarking on a collaborative pan-Atlantic art-corset effort with the artist/model/photographer in Belgium for whom I made the black satin ribbon corset.  We’ll be photo-documenting the processes, she’ll be taking professional photos of the finished products, and together we will be publishing on the project.  We’ll possibly also be making an art corset or two to fit me as part of the project, but that creates additional funding issues to pay a professional photographer and studio, so with all the other commitments I’ll just have to see when that works out.

Add to that my pending involvement in illustrating an RPG, and I’m one busy, busy girl.

BTW, I finally got an account over at Fine Art America, so if any of you have an account there look me up:


In other news, I have spent a lot of time this past week tweaking and improving my web site.  In addition to a new front page, I have re-structured my sewing portfolio and improved how my site handles 404 errors.  Today I also installed plugins which will auto-detect mobile devices and switch to a mobile-friendly theme.  Last month I received almost 500 visits from mobile devices, so with the expectation that number will grow I want to make my site more friendly to readers on the go.

If you happen to visit my site with a mobile device and run into any problems, please let me know.  My ability to test the new functionality is very limited, and I maintain my own web site.

Cream Silk Underbust with Lace Edging

This corset is a bespoke custom commissioned underbust, with a cream silk cover, a lacing panel, lace edging on the top and bottom, and a split metal busk.

Fabric: Two core layers of corset coutil, cotton lining, silk cover
Edging: Rayon venice lace
Boning: 1/4″ flat spring steel bones
Piecing: Eight panels per side
Busk: 10″ metal straight busk

Cream Silk Underbust with Lace Edging - All Views, by Sidney Eileen

Exciting Things This Way Come

There are a number of exciting large-scale writing, sewing, and art projects I’m contemplating in the next couple years.  Not all of them will happen, most of them will alter greatly before they happen, and as details become firm enough I’ll happily share them with you.

But first, the not-so-exciting news for those of you waiting for me to re-open for normal sewing commissions.  I still don’t have a diagnosis for my medical problems, but the further along we go and the more possible causes we eliminate, the less likely it is that I will ever be able to return to the level of physical endurance and ability that I once enjoyed and so took for granted.  That means I probably will never take general sewing commissions again, and if I do it will be too far in the future to count on.  This may be disappointing for those hoping to buy a corset from me, but as a result of my problems I have completely shifted my focus towards writing and art.  By “art” I don’t just mean things you hang on a wall, I mean garments that are works of art, completely unique and impressive in ways that I could never have justified under a money/time/commission model of doing business.  But more on that soon…  ;)

My focus in the next two months is squarely set on those three corset commissions and a writing project, and I’m not talking about one of my tutorials.  I am working on a complete start-to-finish underbust corset creation section for an upcoming book to be published by McGraw-Hill, “Steampunk Projects from the Gaslamp Garage”.  For the ease of newbies to corset sewing it will show how to create a vertical-panel corset using the welt-seam method.  This is a vastly different method from any I have published on my web site because of its limitations, but its strengths are straightforward methodology, tolerance for imprecise sewing, easy integral boning channels, and ease of explanation, which makes it perfect for a DIY book project.  To support the construction instructions I am also creating a set of scale underbust corset patterns for men and women of varying shapes and sizes, and writing pattern modification instructions.  All of these items will be posted to my blog in abbreviated form as I work, and many supplemental tutorials will be posted in their entirety.

My contribution to the book is just a small part of the chapter on creating a basic steampunk costume from the ground up, and another chapter will focus on modifying existing clothing to suit your costuming needs.  Other projects and chapters will focus on other assorted steampunkery, with an emphasis on projects that require a minimum number of tools and equipment so they are within the reach of those of us who lack expensive machining tools, lavish workshops, and out of this world budgets.  I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.