Friday, December 17, 2010


I've been working on these for what seems like forever!!!  They were done on upcycled coasters (the thick ones from bars or restaurants) to be used as ornaments.  These are just the images -- I may photograph the actual ornaments but no time right now.  I had so many more to do but the rest will have to wait or become something else.  I just love penguins and these were a more whimsical, cartoonish, children's bookish style that seems to come out a lot with me.  Enjoy!!

Here are the original sketches...feel free to right click and copy (but just for personal use, k?)  They are my images but you can print them out for kids to color or to use in your own hand painted art.  Oh, there is a mouse, too. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Henry Darger WOW

Henry Darger was a janitor.  What people didn't know about him until he died in 1973 was that he was also a brilliant, self-taught artist and writer.  Thousands of pages of writing and hundreds of paintings were found which revealed a very different man than people knew.  Learn more about him by clicking on his name and enjoy this video I found on youtube:

Be inspired every day...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

work in progress

work in progress for The Sketchbook Project

I suppose this is some sort of person dragging a wagon that holds her pet bird/dinosaur something or other.  I love when these weird things come out of the background.  I collaged some tissue paper that had some modern funky flowers on it.  Slathered paint in areas, leaving some of the flowers exposed.  I kind of just saw these two figures and pulled them out.  Like how this is going and it feels AWESOME to be painting something again!!

Have a fun week!

Friday, December 03, 2010

dance with your dog

This post is really long but it's worth the read I think ;)

I was recently on a trip that included a visit to North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.  Before that, I was at sleep-away camp with my daughter as one of the chaperones.  Before that, I was in Cancun with my wonderful hubby for five days.  For some people, all of this coming and going might sound exciting.  For me, I feel glad to be home.  Please don't get me wrong -- I loved each trip for the things that made that trip special.  The week in Cancun was almost a second honeymoon for us and we had a fabulous time.  Camping with my daughter was so great since I could see and hear and enjoy all of the same things she was getting to do instead of just hearing about it later.  Our visit to NC and TN was about family and a 75th birthday, a farewell to the town where my husband grew up, and a reunion of sorts.  ALL of the cousins on my husband's side of the family got to hang out, we had two "Thanksgivings".  We had a lot of fun!  Now that we are home, I realize that an entire month has gone by and I haven't even picked up a paint brush (except for the little kit of watercolor pencils and sketchbook I took to Cancun).  I'm having to reacquaint myself with, well myself.  I see paintings I did last year and I remember the enthusiasm and raw energy I had for the process.  I would get lost in it, and then look at the clock and realize 3 hours had gone by in a blink.  Now, a month has gone by in a blink and I've had NO TIME TO PAINT.  Isn't that so weird? 

Now, I tend to be a pessimistic type of person.  I really have to force myself to see the positive in things.  The older I get, the easier it gets to do that.  So, I'm asking myself to look at all the experiences I've had recently and really focus on the fun, the smiles, the hugs, the visiting, the laughter, the sights, the smells, the food, the music, the uniqueness of each situation.  I get hung up sometimes on the preparation like packing for 4 (hubby packs himself), the kenneling of the dog, the care of the other pets, the stress of the airport, how the beds will be different or uncomfortable, how are the kids going to behave, do I have cold medicine with me, what if I get sick from the change of food and water, what if I lose my glasses, what if the plane blows you see how my mind works here?  It makes it VERY difficult to simply enjoy the moment that I'm in. 

So, I'm writing this post to share with you an "A Ha" moment I had during an outing in Tennessee.  I had been anxious and nervous and tired from travelling so much.  One of the nights my husband and his family had planned for us to go to a place called "The Carter Fold".  (visit the's interesting)  It's a famous little shack in the middle of nowhere Virginia (very close to the Tennessee border) that locals flock to on Saturday nights to listen to live blue grass music.  Johnny Cash played there many times -- remember his wife's name?  June Carter?  It's famous in it's own hillbilly way.  Anyway, it's not your average teenager's place of choice to hang out and not really a safe place for toddlers to be, considering the stadium seating (which replaced the old telephone poles covered with carpet squares that I sat on during my first visit years ago).  Since we had children with us ranging in age from 17 to 3, it was quite a gaggle to keep up with and it was clear they didn't really want to be there.  The toddlers actually did have a blast trying to dance and getting popcorn from the concession stand.  However, they were anxious after the first hour or so.  In the meantime, I danced with my husband (not well) and we "clogged" as is the tradition there.  So much so is this tradition that people who frequent the Carter Fold often wear special clogging shoes.  They are like tap shoes with metal on the bottom.  You could hear some folks climbing the stairs to get back to their seats with their "click clacking".  Stay with me here....I'm leading up to my a ha moment.  What amazed me and inspired me so much was just how enthusiastically some of these folks clogged.  One lady moved her legs and feet so fast, you'd think they somehow weren't attached -- especially since she was at least 70 years old!!  I was sitting there watching over the heads of our disappointed pre-teen and teen girls in sheer amazement of these elderly cloggers.  Some of them were VERY elderly but they were out there...cutting a rug with their wife or husband.  One lady was dancing with her dog -- I mean, in her arms like a person.  She didn't have a care in the world other than the music and her canine friend.  Again, I was amazed.  So many things were running through my head.  Like, these folks LOVE what they are doing and it's not weird or corny or out of the ordinary for them.  It's just part of them.  It's like a subculture -- Carter Fold groupies.  They were accepting of any person who wanted to try to dance or get closer to the stage and clap along to the band's music.  While I don't necessarily listen to this type of music, I really enjoyed myself tremendously.  I wasn't thinking about anything else...  Just enjoying the scenery, you know? 

So what is this A-Ha you might be asking?  Well, here's the best way for me to explain it....and relate it to my art and my life in general.  I saw people who were in their element, doing their thing without a care in the world.  The lady with the dog was hilariously unaffected by any looks she might have gotten (which mostly came from us I think).  I so admired her for being herself and doing her thing.  I had been feeling like I was withering as an artist (being away from my studio so much) and then I saw her dancing with that dog.  It's so weird but it made me realize that as artists, we must not always think that we have to be producing work to feel creative or energized.  We can gather bits of inspiration in our off times when other areas of our life need attention more than our artistic selves.  In fact, we must be gatherers of inspiration and experience so when we do have time to produce work, the work will have substance.  It's not to say everything in your life has to somehow relate to or find it's way back to your art.  Maybe you'll be inspired by something that will allow you more patience with your children or make you spend extra time with your pet or hug your mate a little longer or cook an amazing meal including dessert for a change.  Maybe you'll find a little something when you thought you wouldn't.  And if you are really struggling with inspiration or living in the moment, dance with your dog (or your cat, or your guinea pig or your python!).  It should get you moving in the right direction!  (Of course, Bluegrass music is optional!)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Halloween fun

This is the second year in a row we've hosted a Halloween party for our girls and some of their friends.  This year, we did a craft that was a take on Alisa Burke's post on her recycled toilet paper roll monsters (see  I thought this would be something 2nd and 5th graders could do but was worried about drying time for the paint.  So I improvised.  I let them use duct tape!  It was immediate color satisfaction since it was simply peel and stick.  They had trouble at first ripping the tape but once they got the hang of it, they went nuts with their ideas.  Here are the results of our fun:

Other photos for you to enjoy:

Homemade costume...we bought the hat, wig and tights (already had the shoes) but all else was made.  She designed and directed me in the bossy that girl!

a giant oreo!

mini Michael Jackson!

My woodland fairy princess...shoving chocolate in her face.

I did the do...pretty good, eh?  I'm not much of a hair stylist but I was quite proud of this one!

I know this post comes late as far as Halloween goes...but my hubby and I went on a trip the day after so I hadn't gotten a chance to post yet.  I have more to post from the trip and some venting about moving to do but I'll save that for next time :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm in a Gallery! Yay!!

Just wanted to repost from Lori Sander's blog...she has a gallery and is featuring several different artists' works and some of them are mine.  Yeehaw!!  So fun to know my art is in a gallery and people who don't know me might be picking up an original piece, holding it, looking at it, etc.  It's a very different feeling than just putting images on facebook or flickr or my blog...exciting but a little scary!  :)

Hope to share more of my art with the "real" world as my confidence grows.  How did those of you who have featured your art in shows or art fairs get through it the first time?  I'm petrified and don't even know where to start.  I need a check list!!  Help!  How do you get "ready" and then how do you know you are "ready" for a show?  ARG.  If anyone wants to comment, I'd love some feedback on the subject.  Any little tidbits of advice will be greatly appreciated!

Have an awesome week!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Finally finished this little witch (11x14 on watercolor paper).  She's much more stylized and cutesie than I normally would paint but I was in a children's-book-sorta mood.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

simple jack o'lantern

Not feeling well...been in bed for 2 days but I think I'm on the mend.  As I sit and listen to my husband sawing away on his coffin creation (we'll use it in our haunted house) and my children laughing,  I find myself wishing I had my energy back.  Couple more days and I'll feel myself again-- I HATE being sick (it's hard to slow down when you're used to being a busy mom!).  Halloween is just around the corner and I always draw a jack o'lantern or two (or 20!).  Here's one for you.  I hope you are having fun getting ready for Fall.  We are -- or at least 4 of us are ;)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Artist on facebook

Just wanted to share a link to this artist's facebook page...haven't seen a blog or website for her but you can look at her very cool spiritual art on her fb page.  Check it out!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

still here...adjusting to my Tuesdays and Thursdays

My son started preschool last week and he had a really rough start.  I think he's got the hang of it now and it's such a relief!  You'd think with my new found freedom, albeit brief and only twice a week, that I'd be painting like a mad woman here in the studio.  NO.  I'm working on the house,  purging and organizing, hoping that with those things off my brain, I can focus on my art.  So, I have no new art to share but for those of you new to my blog, here a few pieces from last fall.  These paintings were a distinct shift in my art and set me on my current path.  Oh, and some of them are still available as originals or prints.  Some of the originals will be in a gallery in Livingston, Tx (as soon as I can get off my booty and package them up to ship!)   I've sold a few here and there but I'm not getting back into my ETSY shop until I have more time.  Until then, I'll sell when someone shows interest and paint when I can get time.  It's so fun to look these pieces now...makes me smile.  Hope you'll like looking at them, too.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia)

It's not very often that you might see such a creature so close to your master bedroom...this lady decided to make her web just outside one of my master windows.  It's given us a perfect opportunity to observe her closely without fear of being bitten.  My kids have loved looking at her.  Isn't she gorgeous?  Thought I'd share since so many times we, as artists (as humans really!!) can be inspired by nature.  Look at her incredible coloring!!  Maybe I'll paint something thinking of her....hope she can inspire you, too!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer is drawing to a close but some things will never change.  Boys toys crack me up.  After having two girls, the boy thing is a nice change.  We now have Barbies AND superheroes in our home.  Spidey can be found all over the house these days.  This time...he's resting on my art table. 

Also, my sweet hubby helped me keep little people out of my studio long enough to do a painting.  Here's a not-so-great photo of it.  I'm becoming increasingly interested in the way stitching looks mixed with painting.  I've been experimenting and while I love the way real stitching looks, I think I'll keep it simple with drawn stitches.  These faces of mine are changing a bit.  It makes me think of how focused our society is on the way people look....the efforts we put forth to look "good" and the money spent on augmentation, lifts, and tucks.  I don't know what to call this painting...any ideas?

More painting to come!  I'll post as I get them done.  Smiles!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

summer busy-ness

I don't know if I've painted a single thing this summer other than "Make a Wish" from my previous post.   I've worked a little here and there in some of my art journals and also done some sketching but otherwise, we've been busy, busy, busy.  Here are some wonderful photos of the things that have kept me away from blogging and my studio -- can't think of anything better to pull me away than my family!!
Happy end of summer days...stay cool!

On top of all of this, we also had Vacation Bible School, a trip to my folks (their patio is pictured above), a trip to my sister's, and the girls had a trip with Tom to Cary, North Carolina.  We still have a visit to Schlitterbahn next week -- that should be a blast and a one night visit from friends passing through town.  After that, we'll be getting ready for school!!!  WHEW.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Make A Wish"

 Summer months are busy for us.  My husband and I have birthdays 5 days apart in June.  We have my mother-in-law, 3 nieces, 2 nephews, my brother, and my brother-in-law's birthdays in the summer.  If you add in our anniversary, my parents' anniversary and Father's Day, we've got a lot of special occasions all within 3 months.  It's NUTS!!  With all of these special things going on, I guess I had candles and cake on my brain.

    I'm always thinking of new things or new ways to re-invent these characters.  I try to stay with my core elements -- the things I love like brilliant color, lots of textural layers, blending and shading, and a childlike quality in the overall feel.  I try not to overthink the outlining and I do it quickly the way a child would.  I'm still having such a great time creating these "people".  I may do more dogs (I have several sketches that I haven't used yet and some new ones I just finished) but I still love doing faces.  Kids appeal to me because they have such a wonderful way of looking at the world.  My own kids inspire me daily (hourly!!) and they never cease to amaze me with their simple yet profound thoughts on so many subjects. 

So, enjoy this little piece...especially if it's your birthday!!  And even if it's not your birthday, you can make a wish just the same.  Maybe it will come true!!!

Smiles as always!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Artists pay it forward...for charity

Just an update on the artist project I contributed to recently. The book is completed and is now up for bidding on here to see it.  The current bid is up to $510.  It's very exciting and it was a great feeling knowing I donated something for a great cause. "A Place to Bark" will benefit from the proceeds, and someone will have an amazing collection of art from many artists on the topic of "heart".  I'm posting the painting I donated just for those new to my blog. Here ya' go:

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Word is Art: Slide Show A Place to Bark Fundraiser Book

This is worth a look.  I feel lucky to have been asked to participate and to be part of a group of amazing artists.  I wish I'd had more time to donate a few more paintings.  Check it out!!

The Word is Art: Slide Show A Place to Bark Fundraiser Book

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bad blogger, bad blogger!

I realize that I had promised to share the texture secret from the post before last and forgot to share!!  So, here it is. 

As many of you know, I adore texture and I'll take it any way I can get it.  The best way for me to build up texture is simply by slathering paint on, little by little.  (The way a pallette might look if you don't peel off the dried puddles of acrylic paint).  A little like this:

Scraping, stamping, smooshing, drybrushing, splattering, dripping, dropping and a whole host of other ways of applying paint can be used.  If you apply each layer and allow it to dry before applying the next layer, you will have a lovely, multicolored background with lots of little surprises peeking through (impressions made by stamps with various colors, found object impressions, scraping, dripping -- whatever you did to make the layer).  I love how the background can almost have an aged, shabby look, like years of various colors trying to show themselves.  HOWEVER, this process can take some time, especially if you don't like using a heat gun (because you might wake up the sleeping toddler in the next room).  If you rush, you will make mud.  I mean MUD ...brownish, grayish, yuckishness.  Yucky.  Yuck. 
Don't do that.  It's just altogether yucky.

So to cheat Father Time, I like to collage bits of various thicknesses of paper.  Paper weight paper is great because it requires less gel medium or a lighter weight gel medium.  (Like scrapbook paper, one sided).  Sometimes I tear up old paintings I didn't like that were done on heavy watercolor paper.  That way, I already have painted pieces with lots of variety.  I've also been known
 to paint whole sheets of watercolor paper to tear up for my characters facial features.  Paper is a great way to add texture and variety to your backgrounds.

Knowing this, I became very excited when I came across some old dry wall tape.  DRY WALLTAPE??  Yes, you heard me (read me).  Dry wall, joint tape.  It is glueless, comes on a roll, and is available at any hardware store.  It can be painted, gel mediumed if you will, cut up, laid down in strips, whatever.  It is very absorbent and it is MEANT to be painted or had joint compound spread over it, so it will hold up to whatever you want to do with it.

So, there you have it.  Some of you are sitting there going, "Duh, I so already knew that."  But it was new for me and I always want to share my excitement over new things.  Here's one of my a journal.  I left the edges uncut -- kind like it that way.  So, new for you or not, give it a try.  Let me know what you think! 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

inside my new project

Fun with recycled board books....these are the first 2 pages.  I'll fill each page with a funky portrait.  Should be fun!  The book is only like 3 and half inches square, so it'll go fast.  Painting small helps me feel like I'm getting things done.  It's also a mindless, worryless project because it's something I think I'll just keep for ourselves.  We'll see, eh?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Newest paintings

I've been working lately on these three paintings (in addition to the portait of my daughter from my last post).  I promised to share the texture secret (it may not be so secret but it's new to me).  I'll do that in my next post.  Here are the paintings...almost done but still have some details to add to all of them:

Feels great to be painting again!!! 


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