It All Started with a Fed Up Capybara
Whimsically Frazzled is an accidental pandemic project that would not exist without the extraordinary support of several women who share nothing but love and encouragement. Interrupting my unemployment doom-scrolling on Twitter last summer, I reluctantly agreed to do some artwork for one of my dearest friends in August, or I would never have picked up a paintbrush after more than twenty years. But I had the best time creating several pieces for her, using still shrink-wrapped watercolors that had been given to me as a gift a couple of years ago. And it awakened something that had been dormant for too long.
When I was very young, my parents enrolled me in a painting class, and my early art memories are of oil paint and turpentine, things to which a seven year old should probably never have access, but I think I managed not to destroy too much clothing when I forgot to wear a smock. Art was always my favorite subject in school, and it became something of an undeclared minor when I went off to university. But once I had graduated, in the immortal words on the late, great John Lennon, "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans", and painting became something harder and harder to fit into my life.
Now many decades later, I decided to use the watercolors gifted to me without ever having been taught to use them properly! I'd always worked in oils or acrylics and watercolors are a whole different animal. They behave...strangely, and while I was a little intimidated at first, I have come to really like playing with them. I'm fairly certain I'm breaking major rules, but those who know me best would not be even a little bit surprised by that.
I'd missed painting so much that once I'd finished my friend's project, I created the above painting and shared it with a group of women who I have befriended on Twitter, collectively the Most Devoted Capybara Fans on the Planet. The pandemic fatigue was real, and that fed up looking capybara, with his ridiculous hat, looks exactly like I imagine we all felt. It made us laugh, we were very silly about it, and it encouraged me to keep going.
There's very little rhyme or reason to what I paint, but many things have been inspired by my Tweeps. They sometimes request things, and I start off well-intended, but sometimes Whimsical wins the day.
As for being Frazzled, well I think a lot of us feel that way most of the time. But Frazzle is also the name of a creature who was the Grouchiest Thing on Feet, a cat for whom I was a devoted servant for 18 years. I still miss him terribly, but his successors, Zubie and Nessie, are hilarious and bossy and snuggly, and we love them madly. They occasionally meowdel for me, and Zubie has asserted his position as resident art critic. Nessie is a pile of marshmallow fluff.
None of this would be possible without my amazing husband, Todd, who has been incredibly supportive and encouraging. He is the genius behind the Problem Solvers (Flying Penguins) piece. Thank you, Sweetie for all of your help, love, and support.
Thank you for joining me, and I hope you'll come back again soon. I'll keep painting a variety of things, and putting them on products that you need. I think art should be accessible to everyone, and I will do my best to create things that will bring a smile to your face.
I bought a blanket as a gift. It’s fun, practical and super cozy! Very nice material and well made. Now I have to get one for myself! I also paired ornaments and tea towels to give as gifts this holiday season. They are so nice and very reasonably priced. Can’t beat the awesome sales too!
I am ecstatic! I have your beyond gorgeous star gazer napkins! The photo on the site doesn’t do their beauty justice. Your colors, Christie, are vibrant and remain so after washing. Love, love them!!
Elaine Slonina on
I continue to be amazed by your talent. In awe of such beauty and skill. Well done.
Deidra Witschorke on
Christie did an incredible commission of our dog for me, as a birthday gift for my daughter. She worked quickly from photos, checking in frequently so I could see & confer in progress. The beautiful result not only captured a precious face, but a glimpse of his personality. Highly recommend.
Susan Wright on
Dear Christie, I LOVE your artwork!
As one of those Twitter friends who worship at the webbed feet of capybaras, I am so excited and delighted to have watched you go ahead with this wonderful store!
Everything you paint brings a smile to my face! I cherish my painting of Mrs. Henrietta McGuinnea.😍
I wish I could post her picture here for everyone to see how delightful she is.
Sylvia Donoghue on