The Selfie-Portrait Series

“8/28/16” Acrylic on canvas, 11×14. 2017

Welcome 2017! With the new year comes a new project that has been in the works since late 2016. I have started a new series of paintings that are self portraits based on selfies that I’ve taken. Only selfies- none of the reference photos are shot by a photographer other than myself and with my iphone. I wanted to be as DIY as possible and keep the project simple. My inspiration for this series came from one of my favorite painters Frida Kahlo. She was an amazing woman that wasn’t afraid to be true and raw in her work. Her sincerity and openness in her self portraits spoke to me and inspired me to do my own. I thought: if Frida can paint self portraits, so can I.

The series started out like any good adventure, not quite knowing what I was getting into and learning along the way how I wanted to express myself. As I started completing paintings, and posting them on social media I would get various comments about my work. One of the comments was: “You look much prettier in real life than how you portray yourself in your work.” I thought that was interesting because I wasn’t really trying to go for a “pretty” look, more like a painting that would grab attention and make you think about it. My work has started many conversations among friends and family about beauty and art over the past few months.

Another surprising outcome was when someone on Facebook was discussing how ridiculous they thought selfies were. They said that selfies were a product of the narcissistic millennial generation. I chuckled to myself thinking about how Iv’e been heavily involved with this “selfie culture” and now its a part of my artwork. We had a lengthy discussion where I expressed my view on the selfie phenomenon.

Yes, I am a millennial. I’ll be 25 in July. I grew up taking selfies, starting with point and shoot cameras in the mirror and watching the cell phone industry take off to where it is now. As a teenager, selfies were a way to show the world yourself in the best light. It was a way to say hey, I am beautiful and interesting, just look at my profile picture. It was a way to challenge all the naysayers and bullies in my school who thought I was a fat weirdo art nerd. Quite simply, selfies helped me find the beauty in myself.

When I paint from a selfie, I consider everything. I look at every zit, hair, fat roll, scar, all the “imperfections”. I also look at the pretty things; my tattoos, piercings, long blonde hair, and that wild searching look in my eye. After over 50+ hours of painting and prep into this series I have come to see no flaws, that I simply AM.

I have 13 paintings in the series so far and I intend to make it to 20. I’ll be looking for a gallery to show my work and in the meantime more ideas of creative compositions and pallets to use in the next 7 paintings. As always, email me with any questions! Stay tuned fellow art nerds….



A New Love For Acrylics

The past few months have been wonderful, churning out lots of work almost every day! I recently got a part time job at a paint and sip bar in Concord, New Hampshire. For those of you who may not know what that is: A paint and sip bar is where you go to drink wine and an instructor teaches you how to paint a relatively simple piece within a two to three hour class. Its very fun to get people excited about art and finding their inner artists. We only use acrylic paint which is something that I had to get used to because I was not very familiar with the medium when I started. We use acrylic because it dries very fast, its inexpensive, and you can paint right over spots you may have messed up a bit on. I have been working there now for about three months and I am loving it. Not only do I love entertaining people but I have found a new love for the acrylic medium. Oils will always hold a special place in my heart but the one thing that bothered me about it was how long it takes for each layer to dry. When I walk away from a piece for that long, I start to loose the momentum behind it and it never quite comes out how I planned. With acrylics, I am able to finish a piece within a matter of hours, not weeks. This way I can create much more work in a short period of time, allowing me to stock up on a solid body of work.

A veggie set of the mini paintings that I created for a commission!

With this new love of acrylics I’ve been making what I like to call, “Mini Paintings”. These are 4″X 4″ paintings with a 1.5″ profile. They are lovely little pieces for a desktop or even tucked in a bookcase. I gravitated towards these mini paintings because they are easy to finish quickly but also economically priced. People have really taken to this new medium and they love the mini paintings.

I am very happy to say that I have been receiving commissions for my work non-stop for about a month now. With the holiday season coming up people are stoked to buy locally, handmade gifts. When you buy handmade items from an artist you are not only getting a one of a kind product but you are also supporting that artist’s dream. It really is a special gift you are giving to that artist; a gift of allowing them to make a living doing what they love.

I am extremely grateful for all the people who have show interest in my work and I am so excited to see what is coming next! Please email me or give me a call if you are interested in my work and would like to buy one of my pieces or order a custom commission piece. You can check out examples of my work on the Portfolio page on this website.

Well, that is all for this update folks. Thanks for reading and toodle-loo.

~Dani S.

New Directions

Hello all!

Its been awhile since I’ve posted on here. Many exciting things have been happening lately! I’ve fully committed to working on my art and writing full time now out of my home/studio in Contoocook, NH. Taking the leap, as they say, sure the hell is terrifying especially from a financial perspective but it is exhilarating and I wouldn’t want it any other way. My husband, Brian couldn’t be more supportive in my career change. He is truly a wonderful partner in crime to assist me in this transition but also a great person to get feedback from. He is an artist too, one of the musical variety so we frequently draw inspiration from each other.

I have three different creative projects I’m currently working on.

  1. Painting. I’m finishing up my current body of oil landscapes and nature still lives and moving on to another body of work. My new work is taking a slight detour but will still feature many themes my other paintings have had such as a sharp focus on vivid color and nature. I’m excited to share what I’ve been cooking up!
  2. Illustration. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of body art and tattooing. I am currently building an illustration portfolio to someday enter into a tattooing apprenticeship. I have had to teach myself how to draw differently. I’ve been studying illustrators and practicing almost everyday. I can delightfully say that my work has improved dramatically and I am experimenting with new techniques and ideas everyday.
  3. Writing. I am currently a freelance writer for Writer Access. I also have private clients that I do work for as well. I like to focus on blogging and lifestyle articles but I have been writing almost anything I can get my hands on to pay the bills. I think its a good thing to write about topics outside of my comfort zone because it gives me perspective and practice in different voices and styles. I truly love to write. Writing about things I love and am interested in just adds to my artwork. My good friend Dayna and I have started a blog about art and we are slowly building readership and kick ass content. Our blog, What The Water Gave Us is about all things art from the perspective of emerging artists. I am hoping to keep up with this as my main blog, linking to this website as an update with me personally as an artist. I am also looking into writing for other local clients, such as art galleries and tattoo shops. Please contact me if you are interested in any of my services!

I am a busy woman to say the least but I like it that way and I work best that way. Many doors are opening the more I talk with people. You can find me at art events, punk shows and tattoo studios. I’m pretty much up for anything as I am hungry to learn more and do more! Well, I better get back to work. Until next time my kittens.


The Habit of Creation

Welcome to my personal art blog. The first and foremost purpose of this blog is promote my artwork and act as a home base for my portfolio and contact information. I will update my portfolio often and create content based on what I am working on at the moment. I welcome any suggestions for posts or topics you might want me to cover.

I have a sister blog co-written by my good friend and fellow artist Dayna Spinner called What The Water Gave Us. It covers any topic relating to art that interests us. One of the first ideas we had for a post or a series of posts, was to talk about finding time to do our work. It can be a struggle to fit in painting time when I’m not going to be interrupted; or even just time during the day to do a small drawing or sketch. Sometimes I think we forget the fun behind the work and it then becomes easy to procrastinate.

We decided to do a 40 day challenge where for 40 days, we must work on something for a minimum of 15 minutes. The full post is here: What The Water Gave Us- 40 Day Challenge Day 1

We are almost done with this challenge and I have definitely experienced major artistic growth during the 30 something days so far. My focus for this challenge sort of turned into illustration and drawing. My goal is to become a tattoo artist one day and I am working on building my portfolio. I need to ask for an apprenticeship and for someone to take me seriously, my portfolio needs to be solid. I’ve been trying to draw a variety of things such as; vegetables, flowers, hearts, spiders, anchors, and much more. At first I was just drawing to get back into the feel of drawing everyday and now I’ve begun to pay attention to my design and composition more. I’ve been experimenting with ‘flash sheets’. A flash sheet is a single sheet of paper that has multiple drawings that fall under a cohesive theme. If you walk into a tattoo shop you will probably see many of these flash sheets made my the artists who work there or made by an artist that they admire. The idea behind flash sheets was that back in the early days of tattooing you could walk into a shop, look at the artwork on the walls and pick out a tattoo. The tattooer would then tattoo that design on you and that’s it. Now a days, it is much more common to have custom artwork composed for each individual customer.

Although many tattooers do not run their business by having customers pick out images from a page, it is still very popular to make flash sheets. I’ve even been to tattoo fundraisers where the artist would compose a flash sheet of small tattoos related to the cause. Here is an example of a Sailor Jerry flash sheet: Flash Sheet Example.

Everyday I push myself to draw more and everyday I find that the more I draw the easier it gets. I have quite a few drawings at the moment for my portfolio. I am hoping to get to about 80-100 drawings that I can present to the artist that I would like to apprentice me. Now I am at about 10-12. I need to push myself more and crank out some more stuff. Wish me luck and send good vibes. Until next time,