Blank Canvases Painted

I posted some time back about a bunch of new canvases I had drawn designs on, and now they have been finished. I had another festival event last night, but no sales. However, I am learner to improve my table set up and preparing to get a tent and lights for other events.

In the meantime, here are all the new pieces.

Manatee Pair #2 11
Manatee Pair #2
11″ x 14″
Leopard Dolphins 11
Leopard Dolphins
11″ x 14″
(Interesting pattern lends itself to the name.)
Hammerhead Shark #4 11
Hammerhead Shark #4
11″ x 14″
Octopus #4 12
Octopus #4
12″ x 16″
Octopus #5 12
Octopus #5
12″ x 16″
Seahorse Duet 12
Seahorse Duet
12″ x 16″
(My Mom’s favorite piece so far)
Manta Ray & Remora Fish 12
Manta Ray & Remora Fish
12″ x 16″

I have yet to paint the dragons I have on two other canvases, and I have some more realistic paintings I’m working on for a rabbit rescue organization in my area. I had several people ask me about painting their dogs, so that may be another avenue I will be working with as I get more canvases.

I will post again soon. Thanks for reading!

New work & Instagram

Sorry for the long wait between posts. I had to deal with the death of my Grandmother a few weeks back, and a lot has been going on after that. I will dedicate a post to her soon. I’m just not ready yet. Have to get everything written down for it.

In the meantime, I did get myself an Instagram account to spread my work out in the world. You can find me at the screen name “angela_deriso“. If you want updated art on the go, that’s where I’ll be posting it.

I’ve been working on some new pieces on canvases ranging from 11″ x 14″ to 12″ x 16”, and larger. Here are a few unpainted but drawn designs I have going at the moment.

Octopus frontal pose
Octopus frontal pose
A seahorse pair
A seahorse pair
Octopus side pose
Octopus side pose
Manta Ray. Remora fish were added later.
Manta Ray. Remora fish were added later.
Moray Eels- Flotsom & Jettsom
Moray Eels- Flotsom & Jettsom


And since I had extra canvases… Dragons. 😀 I’m excited to see how they’ll turn out.



I also ended up making a gift of one of my paintings to my brother. He has loved my previous octopi paintings, so I sent him one in secret! He loved it, and called me just to say so. Definitely going to be trying this color scheme with a few other octopi.



I have been working on all of these in the last week, and my wrist has been twinging. Went and got a wrist wrap-thing to help. Only problem is that I can’t wear it to do the work. It restricts mobility somewhat.

More finished paintings will be posted soon.


I forgot this one was done.

Seaturtle with Jellies 16" x 20"
Seaturtle with Jellies
16″ x 20″







Keel Billed Toucan Painting

Tried something new in my painting. Instead of doing my usual tribal style, I decided to attempt something that would help sharpen my realism skill level. Here are the process photos.

Early stage. I had laid down flat base colors and was working on the foliage in the background.
Early stage. I had laid down flat base colors and was working on the foliage in the background.
Starting to add more definition to foliage. Some highlights to the toucan as well.
Starting to add more definition to foliage. Some highlights to the toucan as well.
More work on the foliage highlights, and work on the toucan's beak. Adjusting some shades of the bird's yellow chest.
More work on the foliage highlights, and work on the toucan’s beak. Adjusting some shades of the bird’s yellow chest.
Nearly done. More work on foliage highlights and shadows. More overall highlighting on the toucan's body.
Nearly done. More work on foliage highlights and shadows. More overall highlighting on the toucan’s body.
Finally done, after adding some dark blue for shadows in the foliage, and finishing final toucan colors.
Finally done, after adding some dark blue for shadows in the foliage, and finishing final toucan colors.

I’m pretty happy with how this 12″ x 16″ turned out. Nice and colorful while still reflecting accurate colors/shades of the toucan. The background was done from scratch with no reference.

Artworks & Photo References

Most of the time, I prefer to use photo references to do my work. It helps me get accurate shadows, light, and overall color scheme of the animals or landscape. There are things I’ve drawn from mental memory or fantasy, but they do require a bit of knowledge in terms of anatomy, and lighting.





Pelican Trio 14" x 17" on bristol boardpclose1pclose3



"Baranoff Oak"baranoffoak4


pair seaturtlesgreen_sea_turtle_1pc325686

Now, when I have used photos/images from online sources such as Google search, I may use the pose of the animal, but change the background and/or colors of the animal to avoid full on copying. Remember, if you want a reference for an entire image, I suggest getting either royalty free stock images, or taking photos yourself.

You don’t need a high end camera in order to get decent shots to work from. I personally use a Sony Cyber-shot(DSC-W20) which does a fine job of getting me the images I need. I can’t zoom in from far away and get fine details, but if I can get close enough, I can get what I need.

That’s it for this week.

~ Angela



Commissions I’ve Done

I’d like to share a few commissions I’ve done in the past and recent, as well as some background on them.

When I first started doing professional art commissions in 2008, most of the jobs came through online contacts. Then, as word of mouth traveled, I began getting a few local jobs here and there.


This was one of the first. I received this request from an online parrot forum. The owner of “Pickles” wanted a portrait of her quaker parrot, and she supplied an image of the bird perched among some branches. I took artistic license with the rest of the colors.


These two pieces feature a family’s horses and a very old barn on their property. One horse got his own portrait. I actually went out to the family’s home and visited the property and horses to get good photos to work from. The horses were very beautiful and charming in person. These pieces were given as Christmas gifts that year. (2008 I believe.)


Another pet bird portrait requested from an online forum member. This client wanted day lilies and hibiscus flowers in the background, as well as the bird’s hatch date. 9″ x 12″ on bristol board, 2009.


This commission was one of my more unusual requests. An old friend from high school wanted a piece with a character from a Japanese anime series called “Tenchi Muyo”, that we both used to watch. He asked for the character to be in a certain pose and appear more realistic. I added the suggested maple tree. 5″ x 6″ on bristol board, 2014.


These two pieces were done for a client wanting Christmas gifts for his children, who are fond of these two bird species. Both were done on 9″ x 12″ colored pastel paper, 2014.


This piece was done for a neighbor who had a frame and requested something to fit just right. He wanted a gray fox in the woods, so that’s what I gave him.  15″ x 16″ on bristol board, 2012.

Next post will have my photos of the CRAFT ART Festival in St. Pete, Florida! Stay tuned!

A Rescued Toad

About three months ago, I accidentally chopped the legs off a toad while mowing the lawn. Naturally, I felt like shit once I realized what I’d done. I figured he was done for, but out of guilt and wanting to be humane, I brought him in and set him up with moist paper towels in a critter keeper. I put a dish of water just in case he wanted any. I didn’t believe he’d make it through the night. His wounds were so bad I thought he would’ve died from shock.

severed leg severed foot

Once I realized he was still alive, I began searching for info on treating wounded frogs/toads. I did inquire with vets if they would see a toad, but couldn’t find anyone who would. became very valuable in terms of finding out about general care and emergencies concerning amphibians. I suggest it for people with both pet or injured frogs and toads.

Over the course of one month, maybe a little more, I treated this little toad’s wounds with Neosporin (Original Formula, with no painkiller, since that kind can actually kill an amphibian.) I kept him in a spare ten gallon tank I had with only paper towels as bedding, since dirt would enter and infect his wounds. I supplied a water dish, and fake plants to offer some cover. I would soak him in warm water every other day to keep him hydrated and help him poop. It wasn’t til weeks later I caught him soaking on his own. He had barely come out before then.

tankt  first time soaking himselfCovering the front of his tank with a towel for the first few weeks helped to give the toad a sense of security, and over time, I slowly removed it. I believe the process helped him to get used to me, and to his situation in captivity. Because of his injuries, he unfortunately cannot return to the wild.

toad face

I was actually quite concerned about getting him to eat for me while I treated him, since most injured wild animals are too stressed to do so. I was soon to learn about toads being famed for their gluttony. Maybe it was even a bit of spunk that this fellow had that helped keep him going.

He ate waxworms, phoenix worms, mealworms, crickets, and darkling beetles. I believe he has developed a fondness for mealworms especially. He never seems to turn them down.

He’s almost comical to watch hunting his food. When something catches his attention, he’ll cock his head to the side, then creep closer, and that tongue flicks out quicker than a blink. Here’s a video I took of him feeding a while back.

Note: I had previously incorrectly identified him as an Oak toad, but later discovered he was a Southern toad when he started growing larger.

Eventually, the wounds closed over, and finally I was able to give the toad some substrate to dig and burrow in. I use Eco-Earth coconut husk, and he has been burying himself comfortably ever since I put it in.

st3-healing tank setup

At some point when I realized this toad was now an unplanned pet, a name had to be given. And really, I think he had decided it for me. After numerous occasions of shooting jet streams of pee at me when he was undergoing treatment, the name “Squirt” stuck.

As I mentioned before, toads love to eat as much as they can in one sitting. Well, since his original ordeal, he has grown significantly larger. This is also what helped me properly identify his species as a Southern toad. They can reach average lengths of 3-4″ at adulthood. Considering his size then, and his size now, he may have been a juvenile at the time he was injured. He measured about 1.5″ maybe less then, and now he measures 2″, and is continuing to gain size.

size-growth comparison

He is also able to puff himself up, as toads do when they’re scared or annoyed by something. This can create the illusion that he’s bigger than he really is. This is how they discourage some predators from eating them, and if the animal still tries to eat them, the Southern toads can secrete a nasty fluid from its parotoid glands to make the experience very unpleasant.

There is also a defensive posture a toad can take if it expecting attack. It looks like the toad is preparing to headbutt, but it’s more likely that he’s positioning his glands for some predator willing to push its luck. Like when I break out my camera to snap a photo…

defensive posture

In the meantime, he has adapted fairly well to his new home. He is mostly nocturnal, but may come out during the afternoon for a soak, or just to check things out. He certainly hasn’t complained about the food.

soakafternoon1 toadinhand

Part of his care involves offering fresh water daily, since he dirties it each time he soaks. I also have to use de-chlorinator to neutralize the chemicals in my tap water that would make him sick or kill him.  He also won’t eat anything not living, so creepy crawlies are a must with most toads and frogs. It’s not for the squeamish.

He is nocturnal, so he is fed in the evening, and I have a red light for added heat, and for viewing while he hunts. Toads don’t typically need added heat like reptiles do, but a few hours a day, or during winter months is okay.

I don’t know if Squirt is male or female, but he’ll be on the large side if female. Which means more bugs I have to buy. Yum.

For any further info on frog and toad care I strongly recommend, as it helped me alot during the treatment phase of Squirt’s wounds.

Quick update & my new Facebook Page

I’ve been busy working on a commission that’s taken me at least a month to finish, among other things that have been going on in my life.

As much as I dislike Facebook, I broke down and made a page for my professional work as an artist in order to gain more exposure and connect with other artists and potential clients.

The page is here

If you are interested in my work and goings on, friend me and drop a line to say hi.

The commission project was a series of 6″ x 8″ illustrations intended for an educational pamphlet for rural African villages about pollution and keeping things clean. Here are a few of the pieces from my recent commission for your viewing pleasure. 🙂

Baby Sea TurtlesEarth with African Animals