Wednesday, December 9, 2015


     This morning I was dealing with some stressful issues, as many of us do during the holidays. I wanted to spend some time on a small drawing for myself which I could post to my blog and title - "Peace". As often happens when I sit down with a creative idea, the idea took on a life of its own.
     As I was looking for a nice quote about peace to share with you, I stumbled across the word namasté. I took a yoga class a few years ago and that is where I first learned its definition. Yoga is not something I do often. It is something I intend to do often. I intend to do it at least three times a week, in fact. (I intend to do it tonight. We'll see how that goes). But, if we could learn to use that word as a universal hello and goodbye every day, and every time we use it connect to its meaning, we may create a world of . . . PEACE.

My soul honors your soul
I honor the place in you where
the entire universe resides.
I honor the light, love, truth,
beauty, and peace within you,
because it is also within me.
In sharing these things
we are united, we are the same,
we are one.

What a powerful pack of goodness in one word! 
Namasté, my friends.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Illustration Friday - CITY

WOOHOO! Unbelievable timing. We just got back from visiting my step-daughter and her husband in Las Vegas and the IF word of the week is . . . CITY!  Everything is fresh on my mind and the photos I worked from, freshly imported into the computer. 
I started with a quick acrylic painting:

I took a photo of this, dropped it into Corel Painter and violá.
Next step is to finish up the painting and now I can use the digital version as reference.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Oil on gessoed illustration board (this finished piece shown has a little digital enhancing - just a little)

Sometime in early 2014 the Illustration Friday word of the week was SPACE and I came up with this idea. I didn't finish it in time to post it on IF but in April of that year I put the image on my blog post and called it Personal Space. A pretty WHIMSICAL idea of personal space. I recently decided to redo it, making it more colorful and fun (more whimsical) and I wanted, in the end, to have an actual piece of artwork in my hands instead of just an image that only exists in cyberspace or print. On top is the redo, on the bottom is the digital version from April 2014.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Baby Dragons #4

I'm so happy to be posting a piece here again. I've been busy elsewhere and it's been over a month since I've finished an illustration. Here's number 4, and the last, in my baby dragon series.  All four are different views of the same moment and were done to practice my illustration skills. They are all 8 x 10 oil paintings on clayboard with the exception of the bird's eye view. That one is a 5 x 7 on gessoboard. I have a manuscript in the works that was inspired by the first little guy seen below. I'm sharing the other 3 pieces so that they're all on one page together.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mask Shop

     I don't know if this one is quite done.  I have a feeling I'll be going into it and tweaking things here and there but it's not going to have anymore extreme changes. I'll be submitting it to a SCBWI notecard contest within the next couple of weeks.
     This is the result of a few things coming together.  I had taken a photo of a mask shop when we were over in Italy for my step-daughter's wedding a couple of years ago.  The photo didn't turn out great but I liked the idea. Then, I was driving through Covington, Ohio last year and saw an empty building on a street corner.  I took a photo thinking I would paint that building and then fill the windows in with the items from the mask shop.

     This is what the painting was looking like when I ran out of steam.  There just wasn't enough going on in there.  When the opportunity of the notecard contest came up (they want an illustration depicting my favorite season and THIS is it) I decided to take a photo of the unsuccessful painting and liven it up a bit. I dropped it into Corel Paint and added all the fun stuff.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Talent Show poster

I haven't posted for a couple of weeks.  I've been busy with a few projects including this poster for a local talent show.  The picture below is the first one I did a few months ago for the sign-up.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Another redo, and another chance to use that autumn background from my last post. The first time I posted this idea was two years ago. Here it is:

I've come a long way in my skills.  This older one was just intended to be a sketch, and it's done in acrylics with no digital enhancements.  I put the idea aside and figured I would come back to it eventually. This newer one was done half with pencil and paints, half on the computer.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I Love Autumn

Here's one that I just did for myself.  I had painted a really pretty abstract background with acrylic paints quite a while ago. Today I sat down to sketch out some ideas trying to figure out what to do with it.

Once I had an idea, I dropped it into the computer and got to work experimenting with the different layers.  I have had several miscellaneous things going on this week, things unrelated to art, and was feeling pretty unproductive.  Now I feel better.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


This is a redo of a post from May titled Nighttime. The SCBWI has a word prompt this month - ENCHANTED, and my mind immediately went to enchanted forest.  Then I remembered this piece I had done and thought "hey, I'm more than halfway there. I'll just make my forest more enchanting!"
Here's the May post:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


     I am attending a conference for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in just a few weeks.  For the last couple of months I have been concentrating on my portfolio, pulling out old pieces that I liked but thought I could make stronger, as well as working on new pieces. I'm choosing my 15 strongest pieces for a face-to-face portfolio review scheduled during the conference with someone in the industry who can give me some input and constructive criticism. I am sooooooooooo excited.  (Sorry for the gush there.)

     This is what the original piece looked like that I did for Illustration Friday - EXOTIC.  I did it about a year and a half ago. It was not too bad but the poor little tiger doesn't have a chest and the background was just so-so.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Drawing practice
Taking photos and turning them into illustrations. My step-daughter sent me a link to artist Julio Cesar who does just that.  His are wonderful!!!  Mine are not as cartoonish, and I'd actually like to push more in a cartoonish direction.  I may even redo this one and see if I can push it further. Had fun doing it!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Illustration Friday - HEART

I did some brainstorming and word association for Heart and came up with this.  Can you hear the music from the piano? 
Heart and soul, I fell in love with you; heart and soul, the way a fool would do; madly . . . 

Saturday, August 15, 2015


This will be my submission for the SCBWI newsletter. Word prompt is MUSE.
     I had some fun starting this one. I got out my sculpey clay and created a little human figure to help me with positioning.  It did help a little, but mostly it got me interested in doing more sculpture. I had a lot of fun!
Here's one of the photos I took.  

Monday, August 10, 2015


This piece has come a long way.  It started in 2012 in my Sketch-a-day sketchbook. I was just starting to try my hand at illustration. I was learning to draw from my imagination, sketch, and work out concepts.  I had found Illustration Friday and was doing the weekly word prompts but not posting. The IF word of the week was INTENTION. Here's what my sketchbook page looked like:

 The next year Illustration Friday posted the prompt PROTEST. I took this idea and ended up with this, which I posted in 2013:

I always liked this idea and with a couple more years of practice under my belt, I redid it again which is the image I posted today.  Notice, I kept the same cat. 
Who knows? - in a couple more years I may rework it yet again!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Illustration Friday - POINTY

 I had two paintings of my daughter in progress at the same time, and finished them this week within a day of each other.  This one fits nicely into the IF word of the week - POINTY (good timing). Louisa wearing a pointy witch's hat.

Preparing for Prom

     Just finished this 20 x 24 oil portrait of my daughter.  I worked from a photo that I took in 2014. I've been working a lot on my illustrations and haven't done much painting this year so I was feeling like I needed to stretch a few of those muscles. I took a few photos of my process to share.


Monday, August 3, 2015

APRIL in August

April Showers Bring . . . Fishes 

I'm entering this in a calendar contest for the SCBWI conference in September. Any member can illustrate a month and if they win it will appear in a printed calendar for the Northern Ohio Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Fingers are crossed.
     It is done almost entirely digitally except for the preliminary sketch which I dropped into Corel Painter.  I can't imagine giving up the good old pencil for sketching out ideas. Originally the background was a house but I didn't think it had the visual impact that this background has. That's what I love about working digitally. You can change your mind in a very big way without starting completely over.

Here's the little seed for the idea that started in my sketchbook.

Update: I won the contest with the most votes! Yay! My image was used for the month of September!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Illustration Friday - GROW

A quick (well, relatively quick) digital sketch for the word GROW, which is exactly what my kids did, and they did it well - especially my 6'5" son.  Now that my husband and I are nearly empty nesters, I've been thinking quite a bit about moving to a new home with features more suited to us and the next phase of our lives. One of the saddest things we'll be leaving behind is the growth chart in our kitchen. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Candied Marbles

Candied Marbles
Colored Pencil 6 1/2" x 16 1/2"

I finished this a couple of weeks ago.  I hadn't worked in colored pencil for quite a while.  They are nice and neat, no mess, no big clean up. They were my medium of choice when my kids were small because they are easy to get out and put away. I've been a little spoiled recently with digital art - being able to correct mistakes and add highlights. I have to do more planning ahead with colored pencil and I work very closely with my photograph.  It's more tedious but a great exercise in patience and perseverance.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Illustration Friday - TREASURE

One man's trash . . . 

     I did this one in several steps.  I started with a very rough pencil sketch in my sketchbook (brainstorming phase). Once I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do, I sketched it digitally so that I could get a good plan for my color and value. Here's that one:

My original plan was to use this as something to copy from and I wanted to have a very nice finished watercolor. Here's my watercolor:

I just didn't have enough patience for the painting and I was fighting against the paper - I wasn't using the best kind for my painting style. I'm also a bit spoiled with being able to fix any mistakes in the computer, so I dropped it back into the digital world for reworking.  There are some areas of the digital sketch that I like more, but all in all I'm happiest with my finished piece.

Monday, July 13, 2015


     I did this for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators monthly illustration prompt - DIVERSE
     I did the original in acrylics on canvas, then dropped it in to the computer to work on it some more.

Here's the original painting.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Illustration Friday - SHARP

"Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man"
and if you're a nerd (like me and proud of it) you might go crazy 'bout a sharpened pencil too.
Quick digital sketch.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Illustration Friday - DANGER

Danger, like everything else, is relative.

I finally did what I've wanted to do for a long time - re-purpose an old book.  I bought one on flower arranging for 50 cents from the library book sale. I tore out about a fourth of the pages, gessoed some of them up, and I'm now playing in it.  I'm working in acrylics and because the page already starts a bit messy looking, its easier to stay loose and have more fun.  I'm thinking it will be a good place to work on ideas for larger or more refined pieces, and also to experiment with techniques.  Here's what the book looks like: 

Note the message to self that I'm still in the process of coloring - "It's okay to play." Something I don't do enough of. Something I will try to do more often.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Little Lost Dog series


Here's a small series I completed recently. This is the type of thing I need to work on quite a bit more for my portfolio. The trouble with this was that I didn't work on them all at the same time.  That gives me a little more trouble with being consistent.  For the next series I do (and I do have one in mind) I'm going to sketch out and paint them together. Then if I want to change one, I can more easily adjust the other ones accordingly.