Saturday, July 31, 2010

Design Fabrics

I found these for my "design" stash at the Shop Hop. I am always on the lookout for patterned, texture and unusual fabrics and these were perfect. Of the olive green one I saw a pomegranate, the letters as leaves and the bottom right as just interesting. I've been drawing some applique designs but nothing is perfect just yet. I'll have to keep you posted on the progress.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Quilting Shop Hop

We went to Kokomo Indiana today for an indoor shop hop and had a great time. I fell in love with this fabric - circles, coral and olive green - what's not to love? I don't know what I'll do with it but I'm planning on making something just for me with it. I've been wanting to do a briefcase and this would definitely be a different look for one don't you think? Now, where is that pattern....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Honey Bee Pears

A walk through the tall, damp grass (mower me not doing a good job this year) lead me to our many fruit trees surrounding the pond. The pears are developing small fruit and of course I'm wanting to take another thousand and one photos but decided to share a painting I did on canvas board with you instead. It combined my love of the honey bee and the wonderful fruit pears. The colors just warm you and connect you to the earth, don't you think? I did a little series of these including insects and fruit and loved the idea of making it look like a label. Explore your creativity and combine two of your favorite things and see what you can come up with. Roses and lace, teddy bears and toys, horses and barns - the list is endless but the possibilities can keep you drawing for years to come.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CHA Show

I attended the CHA Show in Chicago today and although it was small, it was mighty with creative ideas. I came home very inspired and wanted to share a painted piece I did a couple years ago using scrapbook paper as the background. With all the choices we have today, you can change the look so easily just by the paper choice. Imagine a green leafed paper or a pale lavender - it would change the overall feel but not the intention and I love that! Simple steps make painting the same thing again, new and fresh. Get creative, visit your nearest scrapbook aisle and see what grabs your attention!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Venus Really?

I had to leave in the curve of her back but it's my favorite part. Isn't this photo just a lot of scrumptiousness? I love, love the expanse vision of the queen anne's lace. As I told you in the earlier posts, it has gone wild in this part of the garden. It compliments the hard concrete statue so well with it soft and delicate shape, don't you think? Hope you have enjoyed the Venus experience. I'll share her again in the winter when I put on her scarf after all it gets quite cold out there!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Modest Venus

Modestly covered by queen anne's lace Venus looks quite content in her surroundings. Isn't it amazing how different the mood is when you focus on the face instead of the whole image? I love the weathered streaks and appreciate what time has done to the cement. I remember when we first put the statues in the garden, they stuck out like a bright sore thumb. They are still there but only command your attention if you look closely and that is what I was going for. It is a lot like my art, look at a distance and you see one thing, look up close and you get a lot of details. I just love that part and try to entice the viewer to a closer look with each and every piece, any medium even. Although I'm fairly new to quilting, I find myself looking for the unusual to get a reaction (remember my ruled leaves), unconventional but it really reflects what I like my art to be - interesting. I hope you are bringing that, the individuality of you, to your pieces no matter what medium you are expressing in!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Venus in Reverse

I had to share this one too because it is the view of Venus from the house and my favorite. The gentle curves and the wonderful view of her back are something to marvel at for sure. No wonder Alexandros of Antioch found her so compelling and wanted to share her with the world.
So, how does your artwork compare? Is it something that is time worthy and will be around and appreciated for the next 100 years or so? I hope you answered yes. It may not be found in the Louvre but if family and friends are enjoying it, you have made it! We all want something different from our art and I hope you discover what that is. I need to be creative first and foremost - whether I'm rendering, writing, photographing, reading, thinking - it's all important to me and my artwork. It helps me grow and flourish, always looking for the next step to be taken. I hope you find inspiration all around you!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Venus in the Garden

This is one of my favorite statues in the garden and it just happens to be sharing a whole host of summer snowflakes, queen anne's lace. I loved the combination and will be sharing several views with you over the next couple of days. An old fashioned english garden with a little structure was our vision and as you can see, some weeds have gotten the best of us this year. I do love it though and John says because I like it so much it has flourished - thank you anne for self seeding to this much prosperity!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Maximus the Great

You might remember the wonderful Maximus as this winters Phantom of the Opera. Here he is keeping guard of the front door surrounded by 6 foot high white lilies and a jungle of sedum. I have been trying for years to get a good photo of these but they are always in sun and just come out in a blur. Imagine them beautiful in the cleanest shade of white you have ever seen - that would be these lilies. Wouldn't you love to have this coupling greet you everyday? I wouldn't trade them for the world! So, how are your guests welcomed into your home? I hope in a special manner that reflects your family. Not sure what this says about us but I do guarantee it starts up conversation.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garden of Giants

I took this photo today in the garden. Aren't the cone-flowers magnifi-cent? This year the flowers are just blooming like crazy and this little section of color is over 5 feet tall. We have them in almost all of our garden beds so the yard is just a wonderful spectacle of light magenta. Not only do the neighbors drive very slowly past our house, we have actually had people stop, roll down their windows and take photos - pretty cool actually. Did you happen to see the swallowtail in the middle of the photo, he blends in well doesn't he?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Butterfly Cutout?

I couldn't help but share this one with you because it looks so unnatural, almost cutout. Believe me, it hasn't been altered, it was just the way it looked - neat, huh? I especially love the lower comma point on the lower wing, it really looks pasted on. Don't you wish you could have been with me to take photos of this great butterfly? Well, head to the nearest flower garden and you might just be surprised on what is awaiting you. Just make sure your photo card is empty and that you are using a running speed so you won't miss any of the action.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Swallowtail Flipside

Since I have been sharing this very cooperative specimen with you, I thought you might like to see the interesting pattern it has on its back. Although the underside has a more buttery yellow appearance, its back is mostly black except for a couple red orange spots on the lower inner wings. I just love that you wouldn't think they were the same yellow swallowtail because the two sides are just so different - amazing craftsmanship, don't you think?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Dance of Sunshine

The same swallowtail just a vision of light in this photo. The butterfly really was cooperative and I took about 50 shots in just a couple minutes. I picked this photo to share with you because of the brilliance of the yellow in the wings - it's as if the sunshine is dancing in the spots - truly remarkable!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Danville Swallowtail

During a break from the workshop a couple of ladies noticed this beautiful specimen and took photos in the garden next to the retreat center. While showing me her find, I couldn't help but look for it myself and was luckily to see it still hovering over the butterfly bush. I snapped this one and loved that it was so high and the sky was included in the photo. What could you do with this composition? I just think it is fantastic. The butterfly is in shadow due to my overhead angle but it just adds to the wonderment of it all. I might even include it in the next workshop as a reminder and a nice challenge of doing a sky. Yes, that's it! I haven't done a sky rendering and this would be a great opportunity plus just look at the photo - simply breathtaking!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

CP Workshop

I've just returned from my first Colored Pencil Workshop held in Danville Illinois at Threads of Time and have to say it went great! The ladies were a lot of fun and their combined talent was just awesome - thank you ladies for making it so special. Their completed projects are in the background of the photo and as you can see, they did a great job penciling.

I am currently working on the October Workshop pieces so stay in touch with my website for completed projects. The photo you see on there now is going to be the all day Wednesday piece. I'm working on the roses tomorrow and hopefully the glass over the weekend. I do hope you will come and play!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bud Vase 4. 23. 17.

I have been taking some still life pictures lately for future colored pencil pieces. This one is a work in progress and wanted to know what you thought. I fell in love with the numbered vase for many reasons - the numbers intrigued me, I love dots, the hand thrown aspect made it that much more special because it isn't perfect. So, that is where I started from, with this little bud vase. It reminded me of my childhood so I added the large jack. The pear complemented the color of the dots quite nicely but it still isn't right. I've got an aged wooden bird in a wonderful shade of green, maybe I'll try that out tomorrow - hummmm....

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Touch of Drama

I took a walk with the puppies today into the front garden and I couldn't believe my eyes, there were balloon flowers everywhere. Isn't the color just unbelievable? I couldn't help but show you the various stages with the dramatic sunshine on them - the balloon pocket right before it pops open to expose the large, open bloom - what a treat! The sharp chartreuse greenery next to the deep blue violet flower, what a color combination. I have a lot of photos of these intriguing blossoms but haven't figured out what to do with the composition yet, any suggestions?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Quilting All Nighter

Just came back from an all night quilting event. It was a lot of fun and there were no sleepers in the group although we did lose Linda for a couple minutes :)

I wanted to share this great piece of fabric with you. Even though the Statue of Liberty is the prominent feature, I was drawn to it for the little squares throughout. I don't know what I'm envisioning in my head but I can guarantee these tiny beauties will turn up in some kind of applique. I'm intrigued by the color, value and the bit of artwork in each cube and I think they will add a lot of interest no matter where they are placed. I'll keep you posted.

So, when was the last time you looked beyond the obvious to see that something special waiting to be discovered? I hope it was today or yesterday - any longer and you need to start looking harder at your surroundings. Treasures are everywhere!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Project in the DP

If you are a member of The Society of Decorative Painters, I have a new colored pencil piece in Issue 2 of the DP called Peacock Tales.
The photography is stunning and I hope you like this colorful peacock in all his glory - WOW!

I've added 14 colored pencil patterns to my website YEAH! I've been wanting to do it for a while now but finally had time to get it done. I hope you will stop by and visit -

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Violet Tag

I've been working late tonight to get this small colored pencil tag designed then rendered. I used an actual manila tag as the surface to do something a little different. I will eventually tie a pretty ribbon to it then mount it onto some great color paper. Once mounted I need to find just the perfect 5x7 frame to house this masterpiece. What a great gift don't you think?

Did you notice the cast shadows? I wanted to make the flower and button look real so I added them as the last element. It's like a miniature trompe l'oeil (fool the eye) piece and I couldn't be more pleased with it. Just what I had in mind YEAH!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Complementary Colors

This photo represents summer to me because it shares warmth and glorious color. I just loved the bright, intense colors offered here. The orange and green are complementary colors (across from the color wheel) making this picture even better. You don't always get the opportunity to see the brilliance all in one shot. The sunshine coming through just makes it that much brighter and more vibrant. Doesn't it just put a smile on your face? It sure does mine and that is why I take them. The serve as a memory of a great day, a place filled with fluttering butterflies and a wide variety of spectacular colors - what's not to enjoy? I hope you take time to smile at the sunshine, embrace the warmth of the air but most of all, appreciate what you have all around you!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Days

This is the latest Colored Pencil of the Month Club project. I decided to do a piece with various textures and am pleased with the results. I think it is a great learning project and one I hope all the members will try. Of course my favorite part is the twisted wire stem and then the cast iron ladybug. How could I resist that texture? I have several different bugs around the studio and this one just fit the still life perfectly. Don't you agree?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Here's Looking at You

I think this is a great shot of the Common Buckeye, don't you. The vibrancy of the green leaves topped with the golden yellow flower sure show off the buckeyes wonderful traits. The eye spots surrounded by the off white color just draw you in. Add the flash of bright orange and how can you resist this dramatic specimen. I will definitely be doing a colored pencil piece of this beauty. What can I do to improve the composition? Well, I was thinking of cropping it so that the moth takes up most of the rendering and I want to do this piece really large - maybe even 16x20.
It would make you look twice and with the intriguing eye spots that huge, I dare you not to notice.

Friday, July 2, 2010


This is the formal fountain at Brookfield Zoo and I just fell in love with the elephant topiaries. They have four of them on each corner of the fountain and if you look closely, you can see the back one between the fountains to the right - see it? I had to share because how often do you see such creative things made out of greenery? I now am trying to figure out how to turn my boxwoods into a little creature, hummm.

I hope you are looking for creative inspirations all around you because you never know what will trigger your artistic juices. Just the other day I was riding around and saw an aluminum boat, wrapped around a tree, planted with flowers. It was the neatest thing I had ever seen in a yard and it made me wonder a couple things while driving home. Does a fisherman live there? Was the boat rusted through or not used anymore? Whose idea was it the fishermans or the gardeners? Who knew it would prompt my mind in this fashion (you all since you have been following my blog LOL) but also, I was caught without my camera. What? Crazy I know, since it is almost always in my car. So, if you are reading this and it is in your front yard, I would love to have a photo to share!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


This acrobatic trio of monarch butterflies captured my attention by performing on this brilliant red flower. Aren't the warm colors amazing! They are usually so hard to photograph in my garden at home that I appreciated each and every pose they were willing to share with me.
And believe me, I have about 30 shots of just the monarchs playing around YEAH!

I was busily working today in my studio and ran into some difficulties on what to do next. I've been promising to paint but haven't mustered up the courage yet - I promise I will Cassie, soon!! It's been a while and I'm a bit out of practice but with this kind of inspiration, I will be designing once again for acrylics. Hummm, the butterfly with the open wings sure offers a nice variety of color options and the linework of the veining would be great practice....I'm off to start sketching