Thursday, October 31, 2013

Calliope Photo Gallery

Cristina McAllister, Dore and Calliope

Calliope the Wonder Wagon is a home-made, gypsy-style camper trailer that my husband, Dore, and I built.
You can read the behind-the-scenes scoop on how we did it here:

Calliope at the IgNight Fire Arts Conference 2013

Design drawing for the front exterior wall

"The Garden" art on one exterior wall

Design drawing for rear exterior wall

Calliope and Apollo (our Jeep)

Design drawing for door, featuring the name "Calliope"

Rainbow over Burning man

L.A. Decom Festival, 2013

Cristina McAllister


Interior, kitchen area

Peacock feather design on interior door panel

Hand-painted rose window

Calliope and the Gypsy Mystery Arts booth

One of Cat's favorite perches

Be sure to check out the story behind Calliope:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Special Offers for Newsletter Subscribers!

Sign up for the Gypsy Mystery Arts email newsletter and get an exclusive 15% OFF coupon code to use at my Fine Art America Print Shop!
Follow this link to the signup page and fill out the simple form:

Or - simply enter your email address in the "subscribe to our mailing list" box at the right.

I’ll send out the coupon codes to the newsletter mailing list next week. 

Why should you sign up, even if you’re already a fan of my Facebook page?  Because a lot of posts don’t get out to everyone.  Unless there’s activity (such as Likes or comments) on a post, it’s likely that only a few folks will see it on their feeds.  So, if you want to be sure to get announcements of new artwork and products,  notification of blog posts and sales, and special offers such as discount codes, I encourage you to sign up for the email newsletter.  I promise I won’t give your email address to anyone else, and I won’t inundate your inbox with constant pestering.  Scout’s Honor!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Detail from "Mystery" by Cristina McAllister
I’m really excited to present this piece.  I feel like it’s taken my work to a new level. 
Interestingly, it took a trip through the dark to get there.

I don’t talk about it much, but I struggle with occasional depression.  It runs in the family, and fortunately, it’s never been severe.  There are just certain days when I can’t seem to get my thoughts turned the right way ‘round.    
All my doubts and fears are magnified, my motivation and enthusiasm seems to evaporate.  For whatever reason, even though I KNOW I’m not being rational, I can’t seem to find my way to the positive outlook I usually have.  I can’t seem to manifest ME.  It’s frustrating and…well, depressing.
By now, I’ve learned to recognize that it’s temporary, so it doesn’t worry me too much.  I just have to ride it out, and eventually the dark cloud will lift.
I have learned that on those days, it’s best to set aside creative endeavors (my Muse usually visits on brighter days) and keep busy with something basic, or find a distraction to maybe cheer me up. 

The other day was One of Those Days.
After spending the morning cranky, unfocussed and frustrated, unable to find a distraction to grab my attention, I decided to grab my sketchbook.

I didn’t want to feel the way I was feeling, so I thought about feelings I DO like to feel.
One of those feelings is a sense of Mystery.  That enchanting sense that wondrous things are possible, that the answers to all those deep questions are out there (or within, or both), and they are extraordinary and magnificent.  It’s a feeling of sacredness, of reverence; it’s the secret song that serenades the Soul.
This feeling is one of the reasons I’m drawn to studying sacred art and spirituality in its many forms, to explore the explorations of other minds that have delved deep into the Mystery and shared their insights.   It’s one of the reasons I’m fascinated with symbols – how they can convey secret messages to those who learn their language.

“Mystery” is the result of this escape into the refuge of my imagination and inspiration.

"Mystery" by Cristina McAllister
There are many symbols entwined in this elaborate mandala, many images that invite you to ponder their significance.  There is even a secret code – an idea I’ve been contemplating integrating into my work for awhile.

"Mystery" StarCode message.

The blue bands with the stars contain a message, encoded in a simple alphabet-substitution cryptogram.  The message in the art doesn’t contain enough information to crack it (though you’re welcome to try!), so I’ve provided a sample, below, for you to work with, if you are inclined to take a whack at solving the mystery.  Please let me know if you do!

A sample of my StarCode - can YOU decipher the secret message?

Future works will contain more starcode ciphers.

This piece is more elaborate than my previous work, and took a lot more time and effort to create.  I was striving to balance complexity with legibility, to create an overall impression of ineffable mystery that dissolves into comprehension as one wanders through the details.  I wanted to create a sense of exploration and discovery, to try to capture that sense of wonder and reverence I value so much.

To that end, I’m not going to explain all the symbols in this one.  I’ll leave that for you to discover.  Many of them I’ve used before, and have written about in art descriptions and blog posts.  The internet is a fantastic resource for finding answers.  And do not discount your own, intuitive interpretations – they are just as valid, and perhaps even more meaningful, than the established connotations.
What does the Mystery whisper to you?

So...I feel like this piece has raised the bar for me, and it taught me something; my Muse is willing to visit me on my bad days, if I invite her in  :)
Fine art prints of this piece are available from my print shop (you can also zoom in to get clear images of the details here):

Saturday, October 19, 2013

NEW GMA Website Re-launch!

I’ve been a busy bee this past month or so working on a complete makeover of my website.   


I've been restructuring, redesigning, prepping art, adding watermarks, writing blurbs and FAQ answers, diving back into Dreamweaver and going: “Wait…how does this work, again?”.  I closed my Shopify account.  I switched web hosts.  I added social media thingies. I created an email newsletter sign-up.  I even inserted widgets!!!

My experiment with Shopify, which allowed me to make items directly available for sale from my website, was ultimately unsatisfying.  It was too limiting in look, layout and organization.  With Shopify, my only option was to make the site product-based.
But I want my site to focus on the art, not the products. 

So my new site is more of a gallery – click on an image thumbnail and you’ll get a closer look at that design, complete with detailed art description, and links to available products featuring that image.

The one thing I have not been able to make work are the Pinterst Pin-It buttons.  I’ve been through several tutorials and tried several different techniques to get the darn things to work right, and so far I’ve failed.  I read that it may be because I have an SSL certificate, which makes the site secure for online transactions.  In any case…this is boring technical stuff…

If you are a Pinterest user, and want to pin my stuff, please do so from your end.  I know you have your ways!

The Facebook and Twitter Share buttons appear to be working, though, so please make use of them!  Share away!  It really is a HUGE help to me when folks spread the word about my work.  :)

And FYI: you can Share a particular product directly from the product pages - look around for the little Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. icons, or "Share" buttons and BAM! Instant gratification!

I’ve also added an email newsletter sign-up, and will be launching an email newsletter soon.  Thusfar I’ve mainly used Facebook to connect with folks, but after speaking to a social media marketing consultant (THANK YOU, Sunnny D!), I now know that my Facebook posts don’t actually reach all of the fans on my fan page.   
I often feel like I’m spamming my fans with too much stuff, but it turns out that most of what I post is only seen by a small portion of people.  How mysterious and sometimes annoying you are, Facebook!

So, if you want to be in the loop and get the scoop on new work, new products, new adventures and special offers such as coupon codes, giveaway drawings and sale alerts, sign up for my newsletter.

You can do it RIGHT NOW!!!

I also re-organized my Zazzle shop, which has cases and covers for cellphones, iPads, iPods, laptops, Kindles, etc.  These are really nifty and eye-catching “costumes” for your devices that protect them and turn them into expressive accessories.
You can now pick a design you like and see what products are available featuring that image.
I realize some of these products are a bit pricey.  I can’t do much about that. The prices are largely set by Zazzle, and I add a small markup, which is my cut, and it’s not much.

BUT…Zazzle regularly has sales and coupon codes that give significant discounts – up to half off! -  and those discounts don’t affect my cut.  Score for both of us!
If you sign up for the email newsletter, I’ll let you know when relevant sales are happening so you can save some $$$.

That’s about it for now.  Thank you for all your support!