Category Archives: Skull

La Ofrenda


La Ofrenda by Meg Lyman

11×14″ gouache on paper


This one was a labor of love. It taught me artistic patience, and that I will forever need extra tubes of M. Graham’s “Gamboge” gouache because I am maybe a little obsessed with it. In honesty, I am very pleased with parts of this and very displeased with others. I suppose that’s always how it is when you’re trying new things… but I bet you can’t tell which parts are which. If not… success!

Here’s a bit of a WIP: I drew it out on 11×14″ paper, transferred it to this glorious cold press paper, Strathmore Aquarius II. So velvety. I underpainted a sort of grisaille of magenta to help me remember light sources. It helped but I didn’t stick to it religiously.


I chose a limited palette simply by picking only a few tubes of paint to use. Then, paint! Some of it is opaque and some transparent. The sugar skull was painted in opaque, and looked awful, so I scrubbed it with a paper towel and got this lovely transparent, textured finish. Also it didn’t buckle but a little bit, which was fixed by wetting the backside (once it was all done) and pressing it overnight. Paper love!


Happy October!


Cat Ghoul by Meg Lyman

1.25″x2.5″ oil on board


October has to be my favorite month. Cloudy, blustery, beautiful colors everywhere… and Halloween. Skulls! Graveyards! Haunting! I’ve been doing some skull still life paintings for practice, so I’ll share them with you this month. This one is trying out three new oil colors I ordered and it’s on a teeny tiny piece of Stampbord. I really like the sturdy surface in those small sizes – they come as small as 1″ squared! It’s not necessarily made for oils, but it works quite well. The only thing I noticed is that it was pretty absorbent… but that could also be the new oils I was using.

On the recommendation of a WetCanvas forum, I decided to sample Williamsburg Nickel Yellow, Blockx Green Earth, and Maimeri Bitumen. All three brands were recommended as high quality oil paints. I honestly don’t feel experienced enough to say that I can tell a huge difference in the quality, but I do like that none of them were all stiff like some of the cheap ones are. The Bitumen also has a very weird quality to it… when you squeeze it out, it’s got sort of a thick, sticky core surrounded by thinner, more oily paint. It is reminiscent of tar and delightful to play with.

Quilter’s Irish Death

Quilter’s Irish Death from Iron Horse Brewery attracted me with its bottle design. Who wouldn’t want to drink a local dark beer with a skull on it? It’s touted as a dark, smooth ale. The flavor is good, but when I opened the bottle, it was flat. I purchased it less than a week earlier at a Safeway. (have I mentioned Washington now has beer and liquor in its grocery stores? YAY) There were a few tiny bubbles but only after I poured it as roughly as I could into a glass – no head at all. It was just flat. My question: is it supposed to be that way? I would imagine not. Any experience with it?

Skull Study (a.k.a Shorty’s Head)

Skull Study by Meg Lyman

Happy Halloween!

My life drawings are always better than my drawings from photos. It’s amazing the details the brain sees in a real object that are lost in a photo. This skull was drawn from “life” – hahah I kill me! – it’s Shorty the Plastic Skeleton’s head. I love having a life-sized skeleton to work from. It’s great for perspective practice too. If only he’d stay posed for me…