Book Galleys – me so happy!

I was a bit nervous reviewing the galleys because the printer was having trouble matching the color. We worked it through and I was amazed by the quality. Books go out to customers June 16th – 3 days before my birthday. Kismet loves me this year!

If you don’t have a book ordered and want one, I have 5 available for order, here.

Food & Wine Spread

Food & Wine Spread

Title page spread







Circles or Triangles

The Art of Daily Cultivation, A Celebration of 365 Story Paintings has gone to print. The book cover design kept me awake at night. So like most would, I went out to my friends and book supporters to vote. I figured this would make everything clear. Guess what? A tie. 50/50. I think it stumped them for the same reasons it stumped me.

Final Dust Jacket Cover

Tough decision, the cover of a book, especially a hardback book with a fancy dust jacket can bring radically change the temperament of blood pressure. I thought a post about the design would be worthy thought note.

Early Design Version-Circles

Early Design Version-Circles

The project content of paintings and stories was created over a 12 month period with 12 themes in 30 day sets. I wanted the cover to express this somehow. While the circles reveal the image more clearly and in a way is more aesthetically pleasing, the composition was a challenge. You see the space to fill here in a 9 x 11 book is large. I worked on making the title larger and more typographically interesting. I filled the cover with the images at one point. I made the circles into a flower to represent blossoming with the months in the center at another point in the design process. In all examples it ended up looking like a splatter plot. The months not in order. I lined up the months with the images in line and it looked like a totem pole or a multi-directional wine country sign.

Triangles Cover

In the end, I agreed with viewers that the triangles – though jagged and not as aesthetically pleasing as the circles did convey integration and the sense of building. The mountainous feeling with the months woven through is more accurate than the scatter plot representation.

So, I’m marinating on the final cover. Hopefully, in time, I will grow more affectionate towards it. It’s never easy to love a product in the initial stages of shipping. I know this as a product designer over the years. You are simply raw initially — wrung out and hopeful that everything will go smoothly.

I am thrilled to be here at this stage of development. I can’t wait to see the proofs. I will post ordering information in the weeks to come. For now, it’s teatime and hot baths.


Random rabbit notes

Just Messing Around

Just Messing Around

We bring you a silliness break in between paintings and newsletters. I was brainstorming a bunny animation — didn’t get far. I might go with the hitch-hiker when the time comes. ; )

ps: It’s a bit quiet in Niya-Christine-Land because that last push to get the book to print is happening this week. May should be more jazzy with new projects and ideas!


Spring Comes Fast

Copyright, Niya Christine

“Spring Comes Fast” Acrylic on Canvas Board. 18×24′

I have 4 paintings coming to a close at the same time. It’s this new abstraction challenge that I’m having fun slopping around in—I meant that literally. It’s also that the weather is warming up, which means the oil paintings are drying faster and the acrylics are used in between as they do. Painting hopping is fun, I recommend it.

~ Welcome new subscribers! The newsletter comes out next week. Lots of action to share. In the meantime, enjoy spring!

Abstract Painting – Pencil Notes

Copyright, Niya Christine


For the past couple weeks I’ve been utterly obsessed with abstract painting. A new frontier. I didn’t know how exciting and absorbing it could be. I’ve always considered myself a figurative expressionist; animals and people mostly. An insect here and there. Landscapes with stories in them. The beginning generally has a shape. In abstract, it’s the opposite. You are painting the invisible until it becomes what it’s meant to be. The color shapes the energy and form. Line can go everywhere and nowhere. And yet it all comes back to something the ear settles into. Compared nicely with musical composition.

Copyright, Niya Christine

Windy Conversations

What I’m sharing here is simple drawings on card stock. The paintings got to be so maddening, I came back to smaller works. I also was very excited to try out my new Derwent water pencils. Aren’t they something? It’s the little things.

Niya Christine


Karine Swenson is a fabulous teacher. She got in there with each one of us and helped us tackle the obscure issues that come up when approaching a blank canvas with a few colors mixed and no idea what you are going to do. It’s not easy teaching a class of such depth online.

Niya Christine

Under Venice

I created a space in the garage to paint in oil and to paint large. It was pretty sweet. Blasting the blues and throwing some paint. I have 4 paintings in process. I don’t like any of them yet. I have found this is what happens first. It’s a big ol’ soupy mess of pent up energy. And then the center finds itself over time. Karine introduced us to many great painters. We’ve studied: Gerhard Richter, Jasper Johns, Amy Sillman, Richard Diebenkorn (my fav), Franz Kline and more.

Niya Christine

Almost Born

Some quotes I loved:

“I paint the white as well as the black, and the white is just as important.” – Franz Kline

“Now, the idea is to get everything right – it’s not just color or form or space or line – it’s everything all at once.” – Richard Diebenkorn

“Painting is a physical thinking process to continue an interior dialogue, a way to engage in a kind of internal discourse or sub – linguistic mumbling.” – Amy Sillman

Niya Christine

Cactus Explosion

So that’s all. Have a wonderful week. I’ll be back with those large paintings soon-ish… as long as I don’t freak myself out with the primordial soup of abstraction.

Niya Christine

Morning Blobs

I am pretty excited about it, I must say. Ta ta!


What I see in my kitchen


Oh those old french fairy tales


Blondine, de Bonne-Biche et de Beau-Minon

This is a beautiful story. An old French Fairy Tale, 1920’s. It inspired me to learn more about this era for women illustrators. Gutenberg printing was an exciting time for women illustrators. I hope it returns with a vengeance.

This illustration was created on Yupo paper/watercolor and pastel. I’m still learning about this medium. You’ll likely see a few more. Next week is back to my roots – large finger paintings, abstract oil on canvas. Can’t wait. Another class with Carla. YAY.