Archive for the ‘Events and Appearances’ Category

For the entire month of June I will be exhibiting some of my brightest watercolor paintings in a  Solo show at the iYo Cafe in Davis Square, Somerville, Ma! Though the subject of the work varies, the collection was assembled primarily for its warm-weather feel. I would describe the bunch as a simple, whimsical celebration of the summer months and the beautiful world around us.

Painting by Shauna Leva

The work is on display towards the back of the cafe on a brick and mortar wall across from a seating area known as “the drawing room” for the large chalk board on one of its walls. On June 12th from 6-8pm there will be a reception for the show, where patrons of the cafe or any fans of my work can come hang out with me. The cafe serves coffee and typical cafe snacks, but the highlight of the menu in my opinion is the frozen yogurt. All of the work on display is for sale, and while you can purchase in person at the reception, anyone is welcome to see the work at anytime during the month of June, and may send purchase inquiries to my email. Address and hours posted below….I hope to see you at the reception!

Painting by Shauna Leva

iYO Cafe

234 Elm Street
Somerville, MA 02144
(Davis Square T Stop)
(617) 764-5295

Monday — Friday:
8:00AM – 11:00PM

8:00AM – 11:30PM

8:00 AM – 10:00PM


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This past weekend Kelley and I attended Granite State Comicon as vending artists in their Artist’s Alley and Dealer’s room. I had a wonderful time and met some really cool people! With Halloween coming up, many of you asked if I had a store online or made custom masks. Yes, and yes! I sell my masks and other costume wear through etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/shaunart. I was waiting to list a lot of masks until after the convention was over, but now that I’m done with Granite State, I will be listing the bulk of what didn’t sell on my Etsy within the next few days. Be sure to check back!

If you need something very specific for Halloween, feel free to send me an email or message me through Etsy to start a commission. Get you commissions in soon, though! There’s only a month left before Halloween and I already have a few commissions in the works. The sooner you can place your mask orders, the better your chances of me accepting it for a Halloween delivery.

Thanks again to everyone who came out to Granite State Comicon, and to all the artist’s in our vending row who made the convention so much fun! Hope to see you all again next year.

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This weekend (Saturday and Sunday), Kelley and I will be exhibiting and selling our wares at Granite State Comicon! You can find us in the Artist’s Alley, booth number 907. I’ve included a map below with our table circled.  Granite Con will be held at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire, 700 Elm Street, Manchester on September 28th & 29th.

Granitecon 2013 Floorplan copy

The spaces for Granite Con are not as big as the one we had for Connecticon, so we won’t be able to bring our vertical displays, but we still plan to pack our table with leather masks, armor and bracelets, handmade jewelry, costume accessories, hair pieces and more! Kelley will be doing face paint and balloon animals, and I’ll have my caricature supplies on hand! We’re happy to do your makeup for the convention with Kelley’s hypoallergenic face paints, or get your costume started for Halloween with the perfect mask. Want something specific made for Halloween? We take commissions! If you order a mask at the convention, we will have it to you in time to celebrate every costumer’s favorite holiday on Oct 31st.

granitecon icon

For more information on placing a commission, you can visit my website at: http://shaunart.net, or send me an email direct.

For more information on the convention, check out their website: http://granitecon.com

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Renaissance Fair Season is upon us! I love spending a day out in the woods with the  fairies and jesters, celebrating the late summertime magic. The first Fair on my list is King Richard’s in Carver Mass, and to make sure I make the most of my Fair day, I am adding a few new pieces to my costume wardrobe. The most ornate of which is this handy little bag. This small glitzy purse was inspired by the Habib Bags offered by long-time fair vendor “Moresca.” Their work is beautiful, but hardly within budget when I can make some of the pieces, or something similar myself.


All of the fabric for this purse, the red tassels, black and gold trim, and the broach were all things that I already owned in my craft bins. The only things I had to buy new were the multi-colored loop trim and the very ornate gold curtain trim with tassels that you see running through the middle. However because I only needed a small cut of each, and could pattern the whole thing myself, this bag cost me under $10 to make! Not counting my time of course. It even has a lining.


I also recently made a new belt and mini-bodice which I wore to Connecticon. Made from green brocades and satins, with black and gold trim. Hand beaded and laced with black suede through brass grommets, this matching set is extremely versatile–especially the belt–because it is fully adjustable. I can wear it over leggings or a petticoat and two bustled skirts and it sits just fine.


To spice these two pieces up for the fair I added some black and gold chains to the belt and the bodice. I’m banking on warm weather for fair day so that I can wear these chains on an open midriff. I’ll wear a shawl if I have to but the chains do not look as nice over a chemise. Anyone have any other ideas on how to winterize this bodice? I have arm socks or I could always go full cloak, but I don’t really want to cover the whole costume up. Side note–I got these chains on ebay for wicked cheap and they’re REALLY nice. I think they’re aluminum. Very pliable and easy to work with, however they are a nice thick gauge and feel quite strong when tugged on! I’m more concerned about my stitches failing than I am the chains, which is more than I expected for such cheap ebay notions.


My favorite method of preparation for the fair involves spending more time outside. This is such a lovely time of year, and feeling a nice breeze on my skin every once and while keeps me motivated. The only other pieces of my costume that I want to update now, is to add a simple black fringe apron to sit under my fancy bag. I think it will frame it nicely and add an even more heavily layered look to my already voluminous skirts.  I’ll be sure to post more pictures when the whole outfit is done! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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What an interesting week I’ve had! Before I get into it, I’ll apologize for not updating this blog more often. I’ve gotten so busy between work and trying to squeeze the last drops of summer out of this miserable rainy weather that I haven’t had much time to work on or publicize personal projects or new areas of study.

Anyway, my week–and especially this day–was very interesting because by some strange chain of events I was invited to come on WAAF’s Hill-Man Morning Show to talk about being a “Nerd Girl” and to play a little game with them. How did this happen? Who am I to appear as a guest on a very popular regional morning radio show? Well sit back and I’ll tell you a little story. I listen to WAAF (107.3/97.7FM) on my way to work and at my desk just about everyday. The station plays the sort of music that I like, gives away prizes and concert tickets that I am interested in, and I find their talk-show casts to be quite an entertaining bunch of people. This week on Hill-Man was “Nerd Week” in honor of the recently past Boston Comic Con. To commemorate the event, and have a little fun, the show came up with a game called “Are You Smarter Than A Nerd,” wherein they did pre-recorded interviews with con-goers, asking them trivia questions about a particular area of nerd-culture, and challenged callers to beat the nerds’ answers. As a result of this game, many heated discussions broke out about whether these nerds were sane, whether the DJs were making fun of these nerds, and whether other hobbies like fantasy sports leagues were any “better or worse” than your typical nerd hobbies.

I tuned into some of this debate on my way to work on Wednesday morning, and when I heard about 20 men in a row call in to comment on the subject, I thought it may be fun and useful to give a woman’s perspective. Honestly, it didn’t really matter to the DJs what I had to say on the issue, they simply seemed stunned that I was a girl…. They asked me questions like, “how much do you weigh?” and “do you wear glasses?” trying to determine if I fit the picture of a nerd girl that they held in their minds. I tried to explain that I was, I think, a decent, normal looking girl with a fair amount of confidence and friends, and yes, that I really am a nerd. Hurrying onto the next caller, the DJs said they may call me back to talk more….. Ok?

So Thursday as I was sitting at my desk listening to the same radio show, I heard my name again as they were rapping things up. They were debating whether or not they were going to call me back the next morning to have ME on the show to play a round of “Are You Smarter Than A Nerd.” Long story short because this story is getting really long–A friend and I–because I wasn’t going in there without backup–were invited to come to the WAAF studio to play “Are You Smarter Than A Nerd Chick” live on the air, and at the same time break down some negative stereotypes about nerds and nerd girls. Hopefully we did that but who am I to say?

We didn’t get into any really heavy discussion of nerd stereotyping or gender inequality, however the existence of stereotypes was implied over and over again in the questions we were given to answer. We had to keep things as light as we could, because let’s face it, they weren’t going to let us talk for an hour about whatever we wanted. Small-talk, a game, and a few jokes was all that was on the menu, but I hope that we were an overall positive and realistic representation of nerd girls in general, even if our very existence was highly sensationalized and rarified on the air.

Being in the studio and speaking on-air was a ton of fun and we received an overwhelmingly positive response from texters, callers, and tweeters. As with anything on the internet, there were a few people who felt the need to make a negative comment or two about the way we looked or about how the game was too easy, but for the most part I think the audience enjoyed the segment. I know some listeners may have felt like we were being patronized or publicly mocked, but I personally did not feel nearly as threatened as I thought I may have felt. Everyone at the studio was very friendly and respectful, and if anything they said came across as offensive, they either didn’t mean it, or said it in jest. That is part of their job after all.

If you would like to listen to Kelley and I representing nerd girls on live radio, you can listen to these two podcasts! But be warned that some of the content could be considered PG-13.

Part one

Part Two

Thank you, Hill-Man Morning Show for having us! We had a wonderful time and would love to chat with you all again!

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This weekend I will once again be exhibiting with Faire Trimmings in the Artist’s Colony of Connecticon 2013. Held at the Connecticon Convention Center in Hartford, CT, Connecticon is already in its 10th year!

The artist’s colony is located on the first floor, in the same giant exhibition hall as the dealer’s room. There will be large crowds of people flocking to it, so really you can’t miss it. I will be in booth AC-37, which to my understanding is right next to the information booth near a major isle. That should make us pretty easy to find.

We will be selling one-of-a-kind costume accessories made from leather, fabric, feathers, and more. There will be jewelry, masks, and prints to sift through. If you’re a fan of steampunk, cosplay, crafting, or period clothing you should come check us out!

Artist’s colony will be open Friday 12-8pm, Saturday 11-7pm, and Sunday 10-4pm.

Kelley and I will spend the weekend at our booth in costume. So come by to take a picture or to say hello!

Hope to see you there. 😀

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Hey everyone,

Yesterday I uploaded some new photos to my photography gallery at Shaunart.net from my trip out west. Don’ worry, these photos aren’t tourist shots of me on the beach. Only beautiful  moments in nature here.

I will be the first person to admit that I do not know a whole lot about cameras. I use a nice DSLR, mostly on auto or a pre-programed setting with an adjustable lens to capture my images. I don’t often mess with aperture, shutter speed, or white balance on my camera. What I do know is how to compose an image. Composition is a basic skill that all artists should have a handle on. Composition is the building blocks of a picture, and it really doesn’t matter what you’re shooting if you can assemble the pieces properly. Of course texture and colors can serve to enhance your image and make it all the more dazzling, but if the foundation isn’t there, then it isn’t going to be a very good picture no matter how many bells and whistles you cram into the viewfinder. 

I also know Photoshop. In and out. And so if I do really mess up a portion of an otherwise good shot, I know that I can correct it on the computer afterwards. HOWEVER, I always make my best effort to make the picture I see in the viewfinder as close to the finished image that I envision as possible. The less work I have to do later in photoshop, the better. I am proud to say that non of these images were doctored in Photoshop or any other image editing software. That means no cropping, color correcting, straightening, nothing. The picture that I took on site is the picture that you see.

I try to build my “photography portfolio,” as casual as it is, using as many un-doctored photos as possible, and in all instances I keep the tweaking as minimal as possible. Sometimes, getting the perfect shot which requires no retouching means taking a lot of pictures and narrowing the choices down to only a select few. On a single shoot or trip, I can take hundreds of pictures, only to come out with 6-10 keepers.

The world of photography on the internet is so saturated these days because decent cameras are so widely available, so I try hard to be really picky about which images I call good and worthy of sharing. It helps to have beautiful subject matter of course. This was my first time on the west coast and to the Hawaiian Islands, and both locations are very photogenic. The pictures of the forests are from Meur Woods in Northern California, while the flowers, waterfall, coastline images are from the Big Island of Hawaii.

I came home with many more images that I think could be made into a nice painting. But images that are good for painting reference rarely make good photographs on their own. The reason being that painting reference doesn’t have to be perfect. I have total control over the paint, and therefore I can change colors, crop the image, and remove huge obstructions and blemishes by simply not painting them there.

I do want to paint these woods maybe sometime in the fall. They embodied everything I like to paint: cool colors, lots of texture, highly linear elements, verticality. Yup. Definitely looks like I should paint these woods.

The image above this text may be my favorite of the batch. This flower was illuminated so perfectly it almost doesn’t look real! Again, this photo has not been retouched. The trees below make a pretty decent heart in the sky, which I think is also pretty neat. Sure, a little photoshop could make that heart shape a little tighter, but knowing that this was a naturally occurring image is just as good in my mind.

Overall it was a good trip. I enjoy experiencing new places, especially those within our own country. I would like to see more of America, and learn more about how other Americans live. We should all do that–get to know our countrymen and our land. Even if I don’t photograph the people, believe me I remember them.

Not all of my vacation photos came out quite this nice, but I am glad that I got a few truly decent ones to remember the experience by. Thanks for reading!

P.S. Please don’t steal the photos! If you would like to use one for something, please ask me and I would be happy to make arrangements with you. I don’t like to watermark photos like these because I think it really distracts from the quiet image. If you illegally distribute them rampantly, I will find out. 🙂

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On Saturday, June 22nd, Faire Trimmings (a collarborative brand between Kelley and I) will be vending at the Pirate Rendezvous in Damariscotta, ME. Activities begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. The pirates invade at high noon, which is essentially a large parade and general storming of the fair grounds by costumed reenactors. All attendees are encouraged to come in costume, but there is no requirement to do so. The fair and parking is free, but you may choose to make a donation to the Lincoln County Family Holiday Wishes, a Christmas season food and gift drive.

This is a family friendly event and there will be tons of activities and merchandise geared towards children. However, because no one is ever too old to be a pirate, this event draws fair-goers and reenactors of all ages from across New England.

The Faire Trimmings booth, where I will be stationed, will be offering one-of-a-kind leather costume wear and accessories. You can find eye-patches, masks, armor, and jewelry to complete you pirate costume all in one place. We will also be offering prints of original artwork, and for the children we have facepainting and temporary tattoos. We even do caricatures!

For more information on the fair, you can check out their website at: http://piraterendezvous.com/

I am very busy preparing for the fair, but if I get a bit of extra time this week, I will try to post some process shots of my work and wares.

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This Saturday, April 6th, I will be opening my Studio to the Public for another Open House.

Come check out the Western Avenue Studios, a complex of buildings filled with over 100 working artists. Work ranges from textiles, to printmaking, to metallurgy, and prices can range from cheap trinkets and gifts to rather large investments. Studio is located at 122 Western Ave, Lowell, MA.

My studio is located on the fifth floor at number #527 (with the green door). I will be selling original watercolors, affordable prints, as well as leather costume wear and accessories. All the sort of stuff you see on this blog and on my website, I try to have for sale at my open houses. Open House starts at 12pm and ends at 5pm. I hope to see you there!

Please visit my studio page for directions and more information.

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I would like to thank everyone at Milestones, Inc for inviting me to host two How to Draw Manga workshops today.

Milestones is a therapeutic school for children with any disorder that interferes with their ability to learn in a traditional school setting including autism, anxiety disorders, non verbal learning disabilities and more. Milestones places children in an environment specifically designed to meet their individual needs, with lots of room to express themselves, and extra staff and support to help them focus and grow. I was invited to participate in their Arts Enrichment Day by teaching two drawing courses: one offered at the middle school level, and one at the high school level.

During my workshops, I had lots of staff support to help keep the kids focused. This was extremely helpful because I typically have to stop the whole class to deal with inattentiveness or outbursts (which can happen anywhere I teach) myself. Having a support team meant that I could keep the lecture going and not risk losing the attention of the other students. I am quick to praise the teacher support team watching over us in the back of the classroom, but they were not needed nearly a often as one would think. The children were very focused and engaged in their drawings, and our open conversations stayed mostly structured and on topic.

The Milestones building was a pretty cool environment to be in. The school is located in an office park, so from the outside you wouldn’t think that the place would be very welcoming to children. But the section of the building used for the school itself was painted bright colors and filled with spacious classrooms. Overall it was much nicer than most schools that I have been to.
Again, I would like to thank the students and the staff for having me, and I would love to return in the future!

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