Thursday, January 31, 2013


A few years ago, I tried my hand at scrimshaw for hubby's Valentine.  I used a fake ivory square that came in a kit with the tools...while I discovered that I am lousy at scrimshaw, I was happy that I had taken a risk and tried something new.  Hubby liked it, or so he said!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I am thinking about the upcoming Valentine's Day.  Hubby is such a sweet loving man that I try on that day to do something special for him.  I have several ideas swimming about in my head, but I thought I would get the juices flowing by drawing a locket that he gave me years ago...

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I spent a quiet evening cracking pecan shells...I am using a Texas Inertia Nutcracker, which works especially well on the thin pecan shells.  However, I am now having to think about vacuuming the entire house, as the nut shells flew about willy-nilly!  Before I do that, however, I thought that I would draw a handful, eat a few, and post my efforts!  Then, maybe make pecan-maple fudge???

Friday, January 25, 2013


This flower didn't come out as I had planned.  It is actually a very delicate flower, but I seem to be a bit heavy-handed today.  The petals are rather thick looking, and stiff.  I wonder how I could have made it look thinner...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


This is a bottlebrush bush flower.  I first saw these when I moved to Southern California.  The hummingbirds love them.  They are fine and feathery, and reminded me of many of Jim Henson's creature creations.  I kept this sketch simple, all line and no shadow.  I love the simplicity of it, and the need to almost touch it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I have been craving some color lately, so dug out my inks to play with.  This is a huernia zebrina, a flower that blooms from a type of succulent house plant.  The flower when it blooms, gives off a horrible stench of rotting icky stuff in order to lure in its pollinators.  It is large, and has the most wonderful striped patterns to play with!  Isn't the world a weird and wonderful place?

Monday, January 14, 2013


I discovered this creation of art on my back patio this morning.  Nature does a much better job of it than I can...interesting technique, don't you think?  I can only hazard a guess, but I think that the leaf, combined with rain caused an imprint that sure left an impression on me!  I am inspired by the simplicity, and the message...


I don't often get a bluebird at my feeders. We are situated rather deep in the woods of Tennessee, and bluebirds are fond of fields and bugs.  I think that this one was just curious as to what all the other birds were doing...I had an especially busy day yesterday, with dozens of birds feeding on a new batch of sunflower seeds!  Anyway, my goal this year is to sketch and eventually paint my birds in a more natural position than just profile.  I love the way the bluebirds' feathers layer and fold! I also love the way the slight breeze fluffed some of the down out, giving it a windswept and unkempt look.  I used a super fine tip pilot pen to render this.  He was an almost cerelean blue with a rusty red throat.  Can't wait to get my paint out!

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I am amazed at how much easier it is to read an animal's emotions and thoughts than it is a human's! Or maybe it is just that I never actually look directly into another person's eyes...anyway, this little guy was just begging to be played with, and his owner didn't have the energy to do it. I used a basic pilot pen to render this sketch, and am not real pleased with my perspective. However, it is my first sketch in over a month, so I am thrilled to be back!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Forgive my slowness in posting this week...Blogger is having issues with Windows browser, so I cannot post a photo of my latest work.  Hopefully, they will fix this issue quickly...Meanwhile, I will verbally discuss my frustrations with post holidays creativity funks!  Or maybe it is just the fact that I haven't seen the sun in weeks.  Here in Tennessee we are getting rain, clouds, and grumpy hubbies galore.  The new year stretches long before me, the economy is not promising a boost in art sales, and I am searching for my inspiration.  I have begun my spring cleaning in the house this week, and decided to get rid of a lot of old craft is there that I found my spark of creativity, my possible enthusiasm, and an inkling of an idea!  In a VERY old book on masonry and cement techniques, I found a small article on plaster...which led me to think about frescos, which led me to think about landscapes on frescos!  Yes!  I think the softness, the diffusion that happens when working on plaster would make for some very zen paintings.  I am always looking for new ways to add calm and serenity to my space (mandalas should have worked, but didn't for me).  So I am now researching how to do a basic fresco painting on a small scale.  You can find inspiration anywhere, I guess...can't wait to start!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Detail of "Tulips and Oranges"
in oil
"Joy in the universe, and keen curiosity about it all -- that has been my religion."

    ---John Burroughs author, naturalist


I don't think you can truly appreciate something unless you know it, and curiosity is the key to starting the process.  Through appreciation comes joy in the knowledge and true intimacy with the world.  I had a study in oils to do once, in which I chose individual tulips to paint.  Each tulip, I chose carefully for its color and shape, then preceded to draw it, study it, notice every inch of it over a course of 3 days, tenderly wrapping it each evening in wet cloths and refrigerating it to keep it as long as possible.  I grew to know each bloom millimeter by millimeter, finding 20 shades of color in a yellow bloom.  What was a simple, easy to draw flower became a complex world.  I gained respect for the flowers' creation, and love for its petals. Through knowledge came joy in the study.  Joy in nature and it's creations.  An artist has the special privilege of getting to know her/his subject intimately. They learn to look in a different way at the world because of the experience. I look a bit closer at the flowers in my garden these days.  I take special joy in drawing or painting something unfamiliar, because I know that even if it is 'just a bug' I will appreciate the complexity of it, the glory of it, all the more when I am done!  How happy I am to be an artist!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Photo by Rose, filters added with Pixlrogram app.


My young daughter once asked me why I couldn't use ALL of my emotions to paint.  Anger and paint equals Van Gogh masterpieces, right?  For me, my creativity shuts down when I am going through a negative emotion.  My hands shake and I can't let go, or stop THINKING and just paint.  An example that it runs in the family is my mother.  A watercolorist, she was taking a class after a particularly nasty divorce.  The instructor picked up on her anger from her paintings.  They all were red and black slashes of color in phallic shapes.  He said they made him uncomfortable to look at them without protection - her anger came through loud and clear.  Was it something intentional? No. I am thankful that I haven't been that emotionally distracted very often this year. However, If you have seen a bit of a slow down through the past few months, it is because my emotions and my painting haven't worked well together, and I have trashed everything I have done! Calm has descended upon my little world with the new year, and I look forward to growth in my art and in my heart.  I wonder if you have created something incredible while under great emotional duress...if you would like to share it, I will make a special guest blog spot just for you! After all, art is about sharing your heart and spirit with the world...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Wooly Mammoth painting 3'x4', unfinished for 3 years!
 (see the finished painting in the blog archives)


More excerpts from my art journal on the creative process in my mind...


"It is amazing what you can accomplish when you are avoiding an especially daunting painting.  I had decided to do a particularly large piece, and it was in my mind exactly what I wanted.  I spent hours sketching, planning, doing thumbnails and color variations.  Then I discovered I HAD to rearrange the furniture.  I HAD to clean the oven.  I dug out half of the backyard to get a rock garden started.  I needed to make detailed pictures of the wild flowers growing on our property.  I HAD to finish a craft project that I had started five years earlier.  I HAD to make tiny bead dragonflies to sell at the upcoming festival, because the economy was too bad to sell 'real' art.  Eventually, however, you run out of excuses.  You feel so bad about avoiding the canvas that you creep up to the studio and stare at the canvas.  You even get the nerve up to gesso and tint the canvas...SO NOW WHAT???"