Sunday, February 28, 2010

Black and White

Fall is my favorite time of year. Not only because of the spectacular colors but because of the changing of the seasons. It also brings along pumpkins, gourds, candy apples, hay rides and the colorful indian corn. I did a colored pencil rendering of indian corn and found this black and white photo I had taken of the husks. I loved it because of the linear aspect of the subject but also in the details of the corn husks. The values are great giving you the true dimension of space helping you observe the curling of each layer putting one on top of the other. The dirty spots only add to the intrigue of the piece. Add a few values of wonderful dried corn and the rest is a beautiful composition. I would love to one day do this as an art quilt because the lines will definitely lend itself to stitching and I could also pull together wonderful colors to represent the season. Maybe I'll even do it in black and white to really make you look at the subject matter with new, exciting eyes. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Reaching New Heights

I just love this photo of the only white clematis we have. I like the bud reaching over the bloom to get more light so it can also flower. Part of the definition of reach is to stretch out; to touch or attempt to touch. It is so fitting because I look at the bud attempting to reach to the sun no matter what obstacles are in the way. I also like the dramatic pose it took over the blossom - like an Olympic figure skater - posed with a touch of flair. I appreciate all of nature and especially when it gives me something wonderful to look at. I had to climb into a bush for the photo but the end result was well worth it. Take a risk, expose your flair and don't be afraid to reach for your dreams!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


When designing I try to take simple objects and turn them into something not so ordinary. Take this serving plate, it was designed to coordinate with pillows for a romantic evening for two. I started with a very plain five petal flower and circular center. I then added a nice deep shadow and multiple five petal outlines overlapping one another on top. It now has a lot of energy around it and all the petal layers help create movement and excitement. It didn't take much work but it did take quite a bit of thought. Art is a creative process so take the time to think it all through before beginning. So grab pencil and paper and start sketching, who knows where it will lead.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Walking Stick

When I first spotted this insect it was walking across the side of the house, too high to photograph. It took a couple of years before I found one again and this time I took a lot of pictures. I find this insect so intriguing because of the way it mimicks a stick yet is able to function as well. Did you know the female can get up to 10 inches long? Strange as it may be, I like its weird appearance and creepy manner.

I have always wanted to do a piece of artwork that resembled a woodland floor with fallen leaves and sticks. I would include the walking stick and the leaf butterfly so you wouldn't notice them until you really looked at the details up close and personal. I like to do that whenever possible with my pieces - they look one way from a distance and you notice all the subtle details when you view it up close. Imagine their surprise and delight in finding all the hidden jewels - the smile would be great!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vision in Light

There are many great Thesaurus words for "intrigue" - appeal, attract, bait, captivate, charm, delight, enchant, excite, fascinate, grab, hook, interest, pique, rivet, titillate.

The peony is one of my favorite flowers because the range of colors, size and fullness they achieve. This one was given to us by the Bates' and we made a whole row of them. When they bloom they are so appealing to my senses because they are always in part shade making them have such dramatic shadows - wouldn't you agree. I find this one captivating because of all the various values and color palette the white flower has. Do you see the range of colors? Red violet, blue, violet, yellow, green, white and a touch of orange - the whole spectrum is visible in just one white flower, amazing! Imagine it as a painting, quilt or colored pencil piece, it would be a huge challenge but the end results would be riveting.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Word - Intrigue

The word for this week is intrigue.

Its verb meaning: to accomplish by intrigue; to carry on an intrigue, plot or scheme; to arouse the interest, desire or curiosity of.

Its noun meaning: a secret scheme; a clandestine love affair.

Since moving to this house, we are continually adding plants, trees and shrubs to our property. It is a must for us that each one add color, flowers or fruits. We bought many dogwood varieties and imagine my surprise when after four years they produced this little rosy curiosity. I couldn't resist taking photos because of the strange texture, beautiful color and fantastic heart shape. Combine that with a great looking ruffled leaf and just a hint of sunshine - magic!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Flowers Theme

To finish off this weeks word gutsy I looked up the meaning of determination and found the exact definition I wanted: firm or fixed purpose. This ties in perfectly with the painted piece shown. I was given the wood piece and theme of "flowers" for this design challenge from SDP. Since I knew others would design with flowers, I was determined to do the piece without putting a flower on it. So the percolation process began with exploring water, earth, seeds and the garden. With those elements in mind, the piece is framed by brown earth, the main section painted the color of water with drops intermittently sprinkled around, seeds and pods represent flowers future and past, the butterfly is natures pollinator, the article references the gardens possibilities, the color swatch and shears the potting shed. By the way, it was the only piece to not include a flower out of more than 20 designers. So you see, thinking outside the box will make you stand out among all the roses.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Funny Bunny

I just finished hand sewing this little funny bunny table runner. I just couldn't resist it once I saw the pattern. With its crooked mouth, different sized eyes and tilted nose, I knew it had to be done. I made it a little longer to fit on a specific table and changed to the colors to match my decor but isn't that the wonderful thing about doing any project? I hope you don't just stick to the directions and do just what the designer tells you. Find your own creativity and include it. Whether the bunny is white, black or purple, if you love it then it is correct. I always want a student to find their individuality and run with it. Life is just too short to always follow the directions. Go outside the lines and use color with abandonment - tell them Kelly said it was okay!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Quilting Retreat

I just returned from a 2 day quilting retreat. With sewing machines whirring, projects flying and continuous laughter, everyone had a great time. I finished a little "Jo Morton" quilt I made for my living room - take a peek. Isn't it cute? With the red walls, black baseboards and wooden floors, it is going to look fabulous!

Retreats are very special to me because you can concentrate on one thing and not be distracted by everyday things like laundry, cooking or the puppies. It helps me get a lot finished and I'm always grateful for the time spent with wonderful people. So don't be afraid to sign up for one, you might just love it. Take the chance, what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Strike a Pose

The Thesaurus words for "gutsy" were quite interesting - courageous, gallant, indomitable, intrepid, mettlesome, plucky, spirited, spunky, infernal, valiant.

I picked this photo after seeing the words plucky and spirited. Doesn't this little dragon gecko fit the titles? I couldn't resist his charm or great pose - Madonna would be so proud (Vogue)!

So what do you do in your artistic life that is gutsy?
I try to think waayyyy outside the box and do things unexpected but it takes a lot of percolation of my creative juices. The idea can sit there for weeks sometimes just waiting to come forward. I don't give up because I know it will eventually get here. Of course, a deadline is a sure way to get the juices flowing and usually in a great big hurry. Do you also know that you should do at least 10 idea sketches because usually the first one is the weakest. Believe me, it is almost always true. Take chances, the risk will outweigh the outcome every time!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Word - Gutsy

The word for this week is gutsy.

Its adjective meaning: marked by courage and determination.

I picked this word for many reasons this week but mostly because of the Olympians. I cannot believe their utter determination to be the best at their sport, their resilience to injuries and sheer commitment and love of what they are doing. I am not a sport lover but I always become consumed by the Olympics, summer or winter. Good luck to all the Olympians, may they all have good, clean matches!

I picked this photo for the word gutsy because it was extremely windy on this day and we spotted this amazing photo opportunity outside our bedroom window. Courage, determination - you bet!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Love is all around us today. In fact you can't get away from the flowers, candy or cards reminding us to give a thoughtful gift to the ones we love. I love this day because it focuses on the positive side of love - no arguing, fighting or anything else - just sweet sentiments!

I did this square pillow for Painting Magazine years ago but it fits into the current trends quite nicely with the graphic stripes and large checkers in various shades. Even the color scheme is current with brown and pink. Tags are great and this painted one says it all "love". Who wouldn't want to receive this? So squeeze your loved ones and let them know just how special they are to you today and everyday. Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love is in the Air

I made this and wanted to share the little pincushion that sits on top of a canning jar lid. It's not much but I like the idea of repurposing old items like a simple jar lid. This one was rusted and I liked it even better because it added so much patina to the overall look. Of course, I just love the fabric (what's not to love, a bird egg, some leaves, buttons, and Scrabble letters) so I kept this one for myself. Love is in the air and coming on strong with Valentine's Day right around the corner, literally. Make a little something for that special someone, after all it's the thought that counts, right?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Phantom of the Opera?

First of all, let me explain myself, I am a movie junkie. I love them because they transport you to another place whether a destination, time period or adventure. Besides reading, they are stimulation for my imagination. So forgive me when I introduce my friend Maximus as our "Phantom of the Opera." He is near our front door and whenever there is snow, this is what happens to our dear cement friend and it always makes me hum the phantom song with a huge smile on my face. I know, I'm weird but it made you smile also, didn't it? It shouldn't be the extraordinary things in life we appreciate, it's about the life we are living everyday. So go out and enjoy yourself, who knows where it will lead you.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tunnel to the Sky

I decided to further explore my possible Thesaurus word "adventitious" to see what definition it had and here's what I found: accidental, incidental; arising or occurring sporadically or in other than the usual location. So what does that mean to me? This wonderful photo says it all. Can you see the little pea sized circle in the snow above the pods? I would call that a sporadic occurrence, wouldn't you? It's like a peephole to the sky for all of us to view, just spectacular. Again, I'm looking to nature to show me something unique that I'm willing to see and get excited about. It doesn't take much but by observation it nurtures my creative soul and I'm very happy to share my findings. Now, what to do with this little photo...let's just enjoy it shall we!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It Snowed

As predicted we received at least 12" of snow over the last two days. Nothing major but enough to make me stay inside and work in my studio. It also gave me a chance to go shooting (with a camera) in the front garden where all the seed pods are. Isn't this photo great? It looks like cotton on a sunny day but look closely and you will see it is just snow neatly piled into yucca seed pods. I love these things but you already know that, I just couldn't resist the possibility of bringing this comparison to you. What did you think it was? Our imagination works overtime on things like this and for that I'm very grateful. After all, it has given me the greatest job - creating what only I can dream of.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Small but Important

Here are some Thesaurus words for "possible" - achievable, adventitious, credible, doable, fortuitous, imaginable, indeterminate, potential, realizable, workable.

When I think of these words insects come to mind - so small yet they have such an important job to do through pollination. Imagine being so tiny in the scope of the world and having such a crucial role to play. I am always fascinated by these tiny wonders and try to make their tasks easier by having a flower garden plus flowering and fruiting trees available to them. Make it worth their while and they will find you. I like to think we are doing our job for the environment by making food available to creatures large and small. What are you doing to help? A small question, but a very critical one. I hope it gives you something to ponder! By the way, this beautifully intriguing specimen is a hummingbird moth enjoying some bee balm.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Word - Possible

The word for this week is possible.

Its adjective meaning: being within the limits of ability, capacity or realization; being something that may or may not occur; able or fitted to become.

As I write this post, we are expecting 8-14 inches of snow by morning and the possibility of the outcome is very high. I found this little snowy fairy photo and wanted to share the smile with you. No matter what the outcome, a positive and cheery disposition says a lot about character, doesn't it. Covered in snow, this winged fairy still cherishes the sunshine if even for a couple hours - ah, if it were only that easy to find the happiness in every situation. Stay positive and I'll keep you posted on the snow!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tiny Blue Treasures

While walking along the property line near the road I spotted these little glistening treasures. The bright white snow and the deep dark pine really made them stand out. Once again, I was looking for the ordinary turned extraordinary and think I found a great example. The berries are so small yet their color and presence so delicate I just couldn't help but share them with you. The textures are also so very different that this would be a great challenge in color pencil. The shadows and values create movement and focuses your eyes to these blue beauties. Don't take anything for granted and treasure every little bit of nature. Open your eyes and see the beauty!

Friday, February 5, 2010


How observant are you in your daily life? I am always on the lookout for a different view of something ordinary. It's what I seek as an artist, a new look at something most people wouldn't stop twice at. It's what people have come to know me and my artwork for, that little extra twist. That's good because you can usually spot my work just because of that something more, an exciting look at the usual.

Take a bird nest (another favorite object of mine) - it's small, hidden at most times but in the winter the nest comes into view. Add a bit of a snow storm and you get a snow cone complete with a nest for the waffle cone. I couldn't resist cropping the photo to include the miniature frozen crab apples. Add the layering of all the branches and their wonderful values and I'm a happy artist! If I could have gotten a bird on the branch it would have been a perfect picture, maybe next time. So keep an open mind and take a closer look while we are in the winter season, you never know what you might find awaiting you!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Expressing Yourself

When creating any piece of artwork, I think it should express a bit of yourself. What to include? Is there a special color, object or sentiment you would like to share? I have been adding decoupage articles to the last couple of painted pieces and have personalized them when teaching so each one is individualized. When you take the time to paint a piece, why not make it special by adding a personal touch. Here I've included a "garden walk article" that features my last and maiden name. The piece also features seed pods which I absolutely love. The color is nice and muted giving you a aged patina look that fits into my french country decor. There is also a paint chip swatch taped to the board in green, one of my favorite colors. Add the dimensional quality of the shadows and the trompe l'oeil effect and the piece is just perfect. So the next time you are designing, painting or decorating add a piece of yourself to your choices!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Isn't this just a calming photo? It was taken in my front yard a couple of weeks ago and it just says "take a break" to me so I wanted to share it. Now that the website is up and the blogging is getting a little easier, there is nothing left to do except relax - WHAT?

I know, the work has only just begun but it is such a gratifying thing to have those two important jobs up and running. What's next, well I would like to get a couple new color pencil patterns out, am thinking about submitting a book on colored pencils, would like to paint some new concepts and continue my weekly quilting class. If that doesn't make you tired, nothing will. I have always given myself a lot of goals and am usually surprised when I meet them all. After all, I am a deadline junkie so giving myself such a list also keeps me very focused. So keep in touch with me and I'll let you know what I'm working on next in the studio.

Glitter Bird

Here's a photo of the January Colored Pencil of the Month pattern - don't you wish you were a member now? I am exceptionally pleased with the textures on this piece and had a great time at Nell Hill in Kansas photographing all the great decorations. I wasn't sure I could make the ornament look like glitter but once I broke down the color variations, the rest came quite easily. If you are interested in becoming a Monthly Colored Pencil Club member please visit for more information.

Monday, February 1, 2010

February Already?

I cannot believe it is February already - where did January go? The one thing I do love about February though is Valentine's Day. I like the celebrate it with a special candlelight dinner for two so I'm already exploring the web looking for interesting menus. If you have a recipe you would like to share that is easy but looks like you have spent all day making, please leave me a comment! I wanted to share these painted pillows I did for an article in PaintWorks because of the red hearts and my love of Valentine's. Enjoy!