Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Since this is the last post in 2011 I wanted to say "thank you" for being a part of my creative life all year long. I hope it has challenged you to see things differently, experience all of life's little treasures and to appreciate each and every day with great enthusiasm. I'm sad to see 2011 end but am so excited to have a new year to start fresh with bold possibilities. As you toast to the New Year, I hope you will take a few moments to reflect on the past and embrace all the miracles you have witnessed throughout its days. Goodbye 2011, it has been an adventure of great milestones!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Some Thesaurus words for "festive" - blithe, bouncy, carnival, cheery, festal, gala, gay, gleeful, happy, hearty, holiday, jovial, joyous, jubilant, lighthearted, merry, mirthful, snappy, upbeat, zippy.

After watching "the Grinch" last night starring Jim Carrey, my favorite word from above has to be jubilant. I hope you are finished shopping, and the wrapping is done, as we wait for family and friends to share this merry season with. Thankful and grateful for the time with each other, another year passes with memories to share. Be kind and safe and as I wish you well, Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Word - Festive

The word of the week is festive.

Its adjective meaning: of relating to or suitable for a feast or festival; joyful, gay.

We have cedars growing in the front of our property and happened upon them quite by accident. I was taking photos of an ornament tucked into the pines and looked over and here were all these beautiful powder blue berries amidst the snow. What a luscious sight to see and so unexpected. I took great joy in that treasured find and look to them yearly to see what else I can uncover that will give me inspiration.

So, as you are nearing the festivities with family and friends, I wanted to wish you a Happy Holiday and say Thank You for reading my daily blog.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ice Cubes?

While walking with the puppies today I happened to look down and see this incredible sight. After a day of rain, the water droplets actually froze to the lambs ear making little ice crystals. I loved this and couldn't wait to share. As the day got warmer, the droplets started melting and eventually falling off the fuzzy leaves. I'm so glad I went in and got the camera when I did, aren't you?

Friday, December 16, 2011

What's Your Word?

My friend Cindy Rippe sent this site to me (link below) and what an inspiration it was. It asks you to think about a word to represent you for the upcoming year and then keep track of it and see how it fits. That got me thinking about this year and all the changes I went through. Really feeling like I couldn't paint anymore or design without a photograph, searching for my artistic career path, pondering about what I'm meant to do with my art, the constant chase of the muse, the feeling of being lost. So, with heavy thinking, taking several courses to inspire me and just asking questions out loud, the answers have come slowly but they have come, and I am so thankful for each and every one of them. Now this art piece is part of a journal I did in August and although I used it as a background element, I didn't realize the connection until now. So I am giving it the weight it needs by saying that "boomerang" is me, my 2011 definition. What's yours?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Word - Flair

The word for this week is flair.

Its noun meaning: ability to appreciate or make good use of something; bent; talent; a unique style.

The type is also from the Crate & Barrel catalog but it made me go in a totally different way with my art than that of the red inspiration below. I knew I wanted it to have an upscale elegance to it without being snobby or pretentious. The rubber stamp of the dress was perfect and I added the used dryer sheet to give it a rustic element yet stay cohesive with the design. The pearls were made with a pencil eraser one at a time giving it just the right shape without a lot of work. The time stencils are from the crafters workshop and I absolutely love them with this piece. I didn't want them to take away from the dress or the words so I blended them into the background as an ambiance to the piece. I love the entire canvas and know it will look perfect on the baby grand welcoming in the new year! What do you have planned for 2012?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Seeing Red

I received a holiday flyer from Crate & Barrel this week and was so inspired by the layout, colors and text, I used it for a couple of small canvases. I was fascinated by the red and all the different hues available in that color palette and wanted to explore it a little further. I added the stripes to the right and included a butterfly that has every red color name imaginable in it written inside. I added snowflakes for the upcoming holiday and included the small dots to mimic the ornament shapes. All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. It will look great in the dining room cabinet surrounded by all the christmas items. What would you do with it?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Freedom to Fly

The last couple of weeks I have been chasing deadlines and let me tell you, they just don't give up and leave you alone. No matter where you are, what you are doing, their voices are in your ears. While taking photos for a colored pencil project the top of this bottle just made me stop and ponder about the freedom of my job as an artist. Beauty, intrigue and stillness are all part of what makes art great for me and this photos conveys that message. Although deadlines drive me crazy, it does usually translates to income and well, we all need that to survive. For the remainder of 2011, I'm free to just play, paint and create, can't really complain about that :D

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

Here's my version of the 12 days of Christmas all wrapped up into a colored pencil packet that is sure to please anyone of any age. It has my spin on each little gift and even now, looking at it, it makes a smile appear on my face. I hope you enjoy it!

For more information visit, SHOP for patterns.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Touch of Spring

The sun has been shining off and on today reminding me of a wonderful spring day. Although the autumn leaves are gone, the grass is still green and the bonfires have been going strong nightly. I hope it inspires us all through the grey days of winter bringing the promise of spring and all the fresh new color popping up around us. I thought it would be a nice touch to give us happy thoughts as we shop our Christmas lists for friends and family facing the crowds in every store. Winter has its magic too, don't forget the snowflakes, hot chocolate with marshmallows and evenings inside reading, playing games or crafting. I can't wait to see what's in store for us this season!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fragments of Glory

This photo captured my artistic heart for many reasons. First of all, the cloudless, dreary day really exemplifies the electrifying color of these bittersweet berries. Secondly, the fragment stages of its seasonal ruin are there in all realms from the brittle curling leaves, the orange seed pods and even to the exploding pod skins left over. Let's not even talk about the various textures this photo represents or the mood it creates. When was the last time you took a photo that stirred your creative muse like this one did for mine? I hope it was today!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mini Oranges?

Some Thesaurus words for "twist" - arc, bend, characteristic, curve, entanglement, flourish, helix, jerk, meander, quirk, roll, spiral, tangle, torsion, quirk, undulation, warp, wind.

This is the top of a tangled branch where the berries are free to reach for the sun without interruption. The bright splash of color against the dreary days of fall are a pleasant surprise when you see them. This vine wrapped itself around a telephone pole letting its glorious orange color span into the air at least 16 feet grabbing your attention as you drive by. It is a beautiful sight, one I really need to go past more just to lift my creative spirits and daydream about that wonderful color and all of its endless possibilities.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Word - Twist

The word for this week is twist.

It's noun meaning: something formed by twisting or winding; an act of twisting; the state of being twisted; a spiral turn or curve; a turning aside; eccentricity; a distortion of meaning; an unexpected turn or development; device, trick; a variant approach or method.

This is a bittersweet vine and I just loved the tangled mess it makes. All the intertwining, the way it is loose is some areas and tighter in others. The vibrant orange berries dangling amidst the gnarled branches are so unexpected I just had to stop the car for a photograph. I love that I can find beauty in even the most unlikeliest of places, don't you?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Caged Light

With this photo I wanted to share the wonderful shadow of the birdcage. Not only is it intriguing but I found it so interesting on how the light danced from cage to wall giving me something so striking I could look at it for hours. The values of the red in this piece make you recognize that to shade and highlight is not by just adding black and white to a hue. It is multiple layers of brilliant colors that create a harmonious piece making it appear as one. It is also an example of various textures within a single grouping. The verdigris metal birdcage, fake bird and ribbon flower on top, clay bird inside along with some raffia, the bumpy texture of the suitcase, are all showcased by the ruby red wall and illuminated by the yellow sunlight coming through the door. When was the last time you were stopped in your path to really look and see what is in front of you? I hope it was today!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

An Enlightened Perspective

As I was walking through my living room, this was the scene I witnessed. I couldn't pass it up without a couple of photographs because of the wonderful lighting. Between the sunshine and the stained glass door, it cast such beautiful lines that I wanted you to view them from every angle possible. I think it gives great dimensional quality to each feature and really highlights the different textures of each stacking layer. The shadows and light captured my artistic side, my muse made me want to share and help you discover its radiant beauty. I hope it was worth the wait and that the journey inspired you to look for your own possibilities every single day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pinnacle Position

It's coming together quite nicely with yet another clue exchanged for your summation. Have you assembled the pieces in the correct order? I know you have. Curious to see the final photo in all its glorious detail? You will have to wait until tomorrow to see the final reveal. It will be lovely I can guarantee that. It will also make you wonder why I wanted you to examine each layer looking for clues. Ahh, isn't that part of the fun, the chase to the answer...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Building Upwards

Some Thesaurus words for "discovery" - analysis, authentication, calculation, detection, determination, diagnosis, disclosure, encounter, exploration, exposure, feeling, identification, introduction, learning, locating, perception, revelation, sensing, unearthing.

Another clue exposed leaving you guessing about what this can possibly be and why I wanted to show it to you this way. It's about all the intriguing elements that usually make up something commonplace. By taking the time to break it down, you are forced to see it and examine it closely instead of viewing it as a whole component. What discovery did you make today?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Word - Discovery

The word for this week is discovery.

Its noun meaning: the act or process of discovering; something discovered; the disclosure usually before a civil trial of pertinent facts or documents.

I thought it would be fun to give you a building block of little discoveries this week adding up to a much larger picture to ponder. I love mysteries and like to solve them before the end if at all possible. Here's your chance to let your imagination go wild because you just never know where I might take you on this little adventure. Enjoy the exploration of the elements!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Awaiting Adventures

I have loved books since I was a child and can't remember the last time I wasn't reading one or two of them at a time. This colorful display of old, vintage novels along with the toy boat and bike horn just put a smile on my face. I have been thinking about this set up for the last couple of days and couldn't wait to share it with you. Wouldn't this look great in a kid or baby room tempting them of wild adventures yet to come. Imagination, creativity and endless possibilities are what books mean to me, what's your definition?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A New Perspective

I love this set up right inside the door to Old Green Shutters. No only is it intriguing to the viewer, do you see all the layers? But it has a lot of vintage charm as well. My eye was immediately drawn to all the different perspectives of things being just slightly askew, love that look because it adds so much depth to a vignette when done correctly. The little chest and the rustic bench would look great in my studio to be filled with little odds and ends to use in my mixed media pieces. Not to mention my aged raggedy annies sitting around, under and on top of that well loved bench - it would look quite playful.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Got a Mystery?

As I said in my first post about Old Green Shutters, I was just popping in to look for some vintage game pieces so I thought this would be a great photo to share. Now, I don't remember this game at all but I just loved the pieces and the name puns. Can anyone help me with the name of this fun mystery seeking game? The graphics are so wonderful, the colors so bright and clean, I cannot believe this is an antique. Loved the idea that they are placed on a James Bond 007 board game with a detective score sheet behind them. Should have bought these, they would have looked great in my playful little studio!

PS Thank you all for helping me discover the name of this game, it's Alfred Hitchcock's WHY - love that!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Threaded Beads

Another shot within the walls of Old Green Shutters reveals a charming vignette of thread, beads and button jars. I was intrigued by the vintage red box and thought it did so much for the display as a visual focus point, loved it all. The draping of the white beads over the box, the black front buttons over the shelf edge and the miscellaneous round rusty buttons next to them just made me want to see what else I was looking at. Did you see the crochet hooks coming out of the glass jar filled with buttons? Clever is all I can say! I have gotten some great decorating tips in just this photo on how to combine and layer all similar items without actually putting them in a straight configuration - thank you to the design team for making it so visually pleasing for my artistic eye!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Croquet Anyone?

Some Thesaurus words for "antique" - aged, ancient, antiquity, archaic, bygone, classic, elderly, heirloom, objet d'art, obsolete, olden, out-dated, rarity, relic, vestige, vintage.

To have lived in a time where croquet was played in the yard regularly would have been so fun. Don't get me wrong, I played plenty of games as a kid - kick the can, jump rope, hide and seek, not to mention the various board games - but the prestige this game represents is just magical. Right after taking this photo at Old Green Shutters I happen by a mom and her son playing croquet on their lawn. It almost made me wreck the car from the irony of it all but the smile that came across my face knew memories were being made to last a lifetime. Maybe I should go buy that vintage set before another lucky family gets to savor the amusement over hours of entertainment with family and friends.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Word - Antique

The word for this week is antique.

Its adjective meaning - belonging to antiquity; old-fashioned; of a bygone style or period.

I have been looking for vintage pieces to go into my art lately and stumbled into Old Green Shutters on Main Street in Crown Point, Indiana. Now those of you who know me are probably looking at the screen with your mouths hanging open (gently shut them please :D) but really, I just had to go in. The front window display, the very cool name and my hunt for game pieces made me do it. Once inside I was taken back by the stunningly coordinated displays, the little charming vignettes, the fantastic groupings of antiquities. Door hardware, art and sewing supplies, game pieces, photographs, luggage of all sizes, they have it all here. I have been into antique stores before and I can honestly say, I will visit this one again because it appealed to my creative muse, my artistic sense, my orderly mind - oh yeah, if the shoppes were all like this, I might even become an antique shopper.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Main Street Station

I took this while being given a tour and history lesson in Richmond Virginia by 3 lovely ladies (Faye, Alois and Judy). It was a great day and I learned a lot, saw some fantastic architecture and gained a lot of perspective into the lives of people in this historically rich town. This was one of my favorite shots because of the fabulous color scheme (baby blue and red), the old time lettering and the fact that it is fastened to a train car that has seen it fair share of rust making it that much more special to me. What did you see first? My eye went straight to the drawing of the clock tower because I love how it looks transparent giving you the impression that it's barely there - great imagery in my book! I need to work with this palette, there is something very powerful yet calming about it. I wonder why that is, hummmm...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lunch Time

I was driving around today with the intention of taking photos. I wanted to be inspired by the gorgeous colors of the fall season so off I went. After stopping to take pictures of tangled bittersweet, a field of sheep, back to driving - I just passed this scene. It made me smile so I backed the car up and took several shots. I love the way the tricycle is parked so randomly near the tree so I imagined mom calling for lunch. The color combination of the electric blue trike amongst the golden yellow leaves, just makes my artistic heart sing! Would you have noticed this or just driven by?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thank You!

Who knew I would have readers and followers of this blog? I sure didn't when I first started back in January 2010. It was just a goal to get a blog up and running so I could share my thoughts with a simple photograph of the things that interested me. Yesterday I surpassed 10,000 views from my readers and all I can say is "thank you" to all who visit me from time to time if not daily. You made me brag on Facebook, smile all day long and almost burst into tears with gratitude for my invisible audience. I am so thankful that you take time out of your day to spend with my thoughts, my sense of creativity, my inspirations but most of all, this representation of me. Thank you!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Picture Perfect

I couldn't believe my luck at this line up of the hyacinth leaves. Notice how the front is so different from the back of the leaves. I can't decide which I like better. The front has the wonderfully vibrant chartreuse coloration and a hint of crimson in the veins. The back is such a pale celery green but oh, those veins, are just a great display of Mother Natures hand at work. Those deep spidery veins to keep the plant getting all the oxygen it needs and to show it off so magnificently with the deep red color, perfection. Who knew they would be so different? It was a pleasant surprise for my creative side, making me love this plant even more. Are you convinced yet that you need it for your garden? I am and I can't wait to plant the seeds next year.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Crimson Pod

These exotic crimson colored pods are from the hyacinth bean plant, aren't they gloriously rich? This is what first drew my eye to this vine, the multi colored flowers and the interesting leaves only captivated my attention long enough to know that I needed to bring my camera back and take a lot of photos. The pods dry up and shrivel to a nondescript tan color but I love them just the same because I know their past. I will share the leaves tomorrow because I know you will appreciate them as much as I do and believe me, they will pique your interest, that I promise!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Flower Tower

This is a hyacinth bean flower. It grows up and is a vine-like plant and I so enjoyed capturing this flower tower reaching up to the sunshine. It blooms like this in the fall, not sure what it looks like in the spring because well, it just doesn't grab my attention. The blooms remind me a little of a sweet pea but their symmetrical arrangement is unlike any other plant I've seen. Not only are the colors wonderful to look at but this plant produces a really dark crimson seed pod that forms at the same time as it blooms. I love, love, love this plant and can't wait to grow one of my own. I will share the pod photos tomorrow so make sure you come by to visit :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sun Glow

Here's another photo from my e-course, this one focused on a face. I couldn't help using the same statue but only one of their little cherub faces. I put the leaf there to give me a nice contrast of not only color but texture as well and you can actually see a piece of the second face through the holes (what a surprise that was). I had no idea how ethereal it would make this sweet child look. I love everything about it and am actually thinking about making a collage of the images for my living room wall. It's amazing to me that a little push of inspiration can make you see things in a whole new light. The muse knows what she's doing, I'll give her that :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Flying Lessons Blog Hop

"You are an artist" is hard to say. Admitting "you are a powerful artist" is a challenge to give yourself everyday. Making a living from something you love to do is not for everyone. It is a long and stressful world sometimes but you learn to give yourself a break, make goals, dream big, discover new possibilities and most of all, embrace your curious nature no matter where it takes you. Although I have been "making art" for a living for the past 15 years, I sometimes lose my way and find my artistic muse wandering off for a spark of inspiration herself leaving me behind. I decided to give the e-course "Flying Lessons" by Kelly Rae Roberts this year as a present to my creative self and I couldn't be happier with the results. A new found freedom to believe in unlimited possibilities, be open for new opportunities and to remember why you love what you are doing so much. The class helped me focus on community by forming a tribe that experienced the lessons with enthusiasm, support and some trepidation. In the end, we are standing together and making changes, choices and saying out loud, "I am an artist!"

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Mary Cottingham

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Story Unfolds

I'm taking a 2 week photo e-course and this was the result of day one. I thought the title was just perfect for the shot shown here. The intimacy between the two children is accentuated by the dramatic evening light casting about a wonderful glow. The overgrown carrion vine which still has some of the fruit left on it creates an intriguingly shaped shadow on the little girls dress making you wonder what is causing it. I really noticed the fruit after the fact because of that shadow, thank you miss muse for making me see that detail :) The dirt, grim and all of the rubbish within the book pages makes it all the more interesting for my creative side. How does it inspire you? BTW, did I tell you I shot this with my eyes closed, not bad, huh!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cherry Trio

The light, the comple-mentary colors and the overall composition made me want to share this with all of you. The strong straight branch holding the interestingly curvaceous leaves and a trio of luscious red cherries is what made me post. I love when everything lines up and just works together cohesively making my blogging a lot easier. I also hope it put a little smile on your face thinking about what to do with all the cherries in the future -cobbler, pies, ice cream, jam - ahh, the flavor is just so good. The only problem for us, the birds always beat us to them. We have been known to grab a couple as we pass by on the mower, warmed by the heat of a summer day, just like fresh baked pie - yummmm.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Red Heart

While browsing through my photos for inspiration this charming red heart popped out at me from nowhere. It's on our cherry tree and even though I took this last year and have looked at it many times, it is the first time I noticed the little red heart hanging all by itself. Who knew it was there? I just wonder what I was thinking about this time to make me notice it. No matter what it was, I'm sure glad my muse pointed it out to me!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

For the love of Texture

Is this photo the greatest? No. Is the composition the best? No. Is the texture captivating? You bet. I just had to share because it was raining and I couldn't get the best shot at all. What I did get was my whole point for stopping and shooting this picture, all the fabulous textural elements all rolled into one frame. I loved the weathered phone pole, the thick branch, the hanging fruit, the rotting seed leaves, the vibrancy of the great orange berries and the blurriness of the white background. This in my book could keep my creative, artistic side going for a long time. I am so inspired by the different visuals that it will make me stop over and over just to see what I have missed looking at it the first time. So, I hope you are keeping a fresh eye out wherever you go, you never know what's lurking at the side of the road just waiting to be discovered!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rose Hips

I wanted to share these rose hips with you, especially the left one because I like the way the light reflects off of its surface giving you a chalky effect of color. It took so long for my little roses to produce rose hips and when they did, I must have taken 1,000 photos of them not sure if they would return or not. The color is just so red orange on these and the interesting calyx at the end, sets my creativity into high gear. What could I do with that shape? I could use it as a background, as a monotone maybe, as a repeated pattern in a nice stripe - the possibilities are just endless. As an artist, you have to think about using things that are everyday in a new and exciting way, after all, there is nothing that hasn't been done before. I'm up for the challenge and can't wait to get out my pencil and paper. What kind of idea did you think of?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ruffles Galore

Some Thesaurus words for "characteristic" - appropriate, differentiating, distinctive, emblematic, essential, fixed, idiosyncratic, inborn, indicative, individualistic, ingrained, innate, marked, native, original, particular, peculiar, proper, regular, representative, singular, special, specific, symbolic, unique.

Well, there is definitely no way to mistake kale for any other vegetable. I just fell in love with all the distinctive ruffled edges and don't even get me started on the great color combinations of this variety. From the palest sage green to the vibrant magenta center, what's not to love about this peculiarity. Add all the wonderful veining that shows on each leaf tipped by the rolling delicate ruffle, oh yeah, I think we have a winner. If only it was a perennial, my yard would have a huge amount of them. I would love to do this in colored pencil but I know my instructions would just be painful, not the intention of a project at all. So, for me, I will just gaze into it one petal at a time wondering if I could actually pull off the drawing. Humm, was that a challenging thought or what?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Word - Characteristic

The word for this week is characteristic.

Its noun meaning: a distinguishing trait, quality or property.

Its adjective meaning: serving to mark individual character such as individual, peculiar, distinctive.

This luscious flower was discovered outside Olive Garden in an urn full of fall specimens. I thought the color was just scrumptious with all its golden yellows turning to the side of warm orange. But oh, the center, that is really what caught my eye. First of all the limeade coloration surrounded with spirals of various textures and specks of yellow flakes. The muse knew what she was doing making me look closely into this flower. Intrigued by the peculiar (loved this definition most) center helped make my decision for this weeks word. Who knew Olive Garden would provide such inspiration, can someone please pass me the bread sticks?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Great Spikes

This little clematis was out in the new garden area of Threads of Time and I just couldn't help snapping the photo. I loved the multi colored spikes against the black trellis. Although it looks quite prickly, the flower is actually nice and soft. This one was newly planted and I can't wait to see how it shapes up next year. Aren't the colors just wonderful. If you were to use that color combination on something, what would it be? I will definitely have to think on that one since I'm not a huge fan of the violet color. But if I could do the chartreuse of the center and the black of the iron, we are now in business. I hope you take the challenge and let everything inspire you, no matter how large, small, young or old - see the creativity and discover its possibilities!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Seeing the Light

Okay, it's Sunday night and I haven't been a very good blogger lately and I am truly sorry. Between running around and traveling here and there something had to give and well, I am just not disciplined enough to plan everything ahead of time. I guess that is why they say life sometimes gets in the way.

So, I went digging through some photos looking for some kind of inspiration since my muse has also been very busy with someone else I might add :) and came across this wonderful shot of light. Let me ask you this, which did you see first, the hole or the light on the leaf below? I see the light but then my curious nature makes me see what caused it. I hope you are finding yourself looking for such things, it is what inspires me beyond belief.

Friday, October 14, 2011

3rd Color Pencil Workshop

Here are the lovely ladies with their favorite projects from my 3rd Colored Pencil Workshop held at Threads of Time in Danville Illinois. Not only did they do the four projects from my workshop, they also did Jingle All the Way Wednesday night as an added project. Oh yeah, these are some crazy maniac colored pencil artists and I'm glad I got to spend some time with them :)

I'm already planning my May and September 2012 dates. If you would like to know more about this fun, project packed three days, please visit my website at The all day project for May is going to be Seashells No. 2 just to get you excited about joining us!

Monday, October 10, 2011


I've been needing an "art challenge" lately, something to stir my creativity yet give myself some boundaries or limitations. So, looked around my mess of a studio and found this scrapbook paper die cut. Well, now you're talking. I usually like my designs to match the paper and look as if they are printed on it as well. Challenge accepted. Knew from the paper that a muted color palette was a must but on these papers I also like to use 8 pencils or less. The paper was screaming for an insect and it has been a while since I did a bee, so what else can I put with that. Flowers of course, to the photo files I go. I was thinking balloon flowers and so glad I found a great one with a lot of extreme light and dark values, perfect. I armed myself with 6 pencils, oh yeah, just 6, and away I went. Hummm, can this be done - well of course it can, you are looking at the picture of the finished piece :) Don't be afraid to challenge yourself, you might just be surprised with the outcome!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Colored Pencil Workshop

My booklets, patterns and all inspiration are packed and ready to go. I'm working on our name buttons and let me tell you they are so cute, can't wait for the girls to see them :) I can't believe this is my third workshop at Threads of Time in Danville Illinois. Never thought that would happen and am so grateful for the students signing up. If you have never been, it is a great place to relax and learn a lot about technique. Plus, the studio is open 24 hours because you never know when inspiration will strike. We even had an impromptu beading class at the last workshop - thanks Theresa! Hope you can join me in 2012, sometime in May and September.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

R U Nutz?

The title of my latest Colored Pencil of the Month Club project came from how I went about getting the reference shot. Picture me, camera around my neck, holding an armful of stuffed things (a bird, squirrel and a couple hearts) walking around the neighborhood. Oh yeah, the neighbors probably think I'm crazy because I was sticking these items in the branches, on tree limbs, our wooden swing, even a couple of rocks. But the kicker, to get the shot I really wanted, I actually had to lay on the ground for the interesting perspective you see in this photo. The squirrel was too heavy for the tiny sunlit branches so I was the thing that had to change position. To make it even funnier, I started laughing out loud, imagining the neighbors looking out and seeing this picture wondering what that crazy artist girl was up to now. So, you see why I titled this as I did, I was the nutty one, imagine that :)

If you are interested in more information about the Colored Pencil of the Month Club please visit

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Blazing Bonfire

Some Thesaurus words for "glow" - blaze, bloom, brighten, brilliance, color, effulgence, flush, glare, glimmer, gusto, heat, ignite, incandescence, intensity, kindle, light, luminosity, passion, phosphorescence, pinken, radiance, redden, smolder, splendor, thrill, tingle, vividness, warmth.

Are these not some of the greatest words on earth? They are just so powerful in their own right, love that! I have to say gusto and ignite have to be my favorites in this long list. Not only because I'm trying to keep my creativity ignited by chasing that muse of mine here and there but also approach my art with playful gusto so I enjoy it a little more. I hope this blazing bonfire keeps the fall nights full of s'mores, laughter and a couple ghost stories shared among family and friends!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Word - Glow

The word for this week is glow.

Its verb meaning: to shine with or as if with intense heat; to have a rich warm ruddy color; flush, blush; to feel hot; to show exuberance or elation.

Its noun meaning: brightness or warmth of color; redness; warmth of feeling or emotion; a sensation of warmth; light such as is emitted from a heated substance.

Don't you agree that I couldn't have found a better picture for this word? The sun was setting and casting such a great glow on these sassafras leaves that it just made my job easy. There was no bad photo, just a cropping that showed off all the gloriousness of the warm light. I also love the color range from the palest of pink to the deepest red orange. Who knew one set of leaves could give you so much personality and a myriad of hues to explore? I'm so glad we have a lot of these trees along the woodline, I can't wait to see what they have in store for me this season!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Light & Shadows

The dramatic light in this photo captured my muses attention which lead me to the tiny branch of japanese maple leaves. The cast shadows on the large green leaf just makes me want to get out my paints and record it as artfully as possible dancing with each brush stroke. I loved the extreme light at the right of the photo ensuring that it gets proper attention as well. But, oh, my heart sings with the mysterious shadows lurking on each and every leaf. The tangled web of light and dark just ignites my creative soul down to its core. I hope you find inspiration wherever you look, even if it is in the shadows (a vincent price evil laugh is now playing in my head, sorry for that).

Friday, September 30, 2011

Autumn's Palette

Aren't the display of colors just spectacular on this virginia creeper? I loved how it shows the range of autumn's palette all within one plant specimen. No, I did not alter it in any way, this is just how it caught my eye and yes, you can blame the muse. She made me look, turn around, stop and take the picture all while in the car heading home. I turned it horizontally so you could appreciate the blending of the colors without the distraction of looking at the vine. Notice the vibrant green at the top blending into yellow green then a touch of yellow. That yellow turns to yellow orange, orange then into a red orange. I'm still waiting for the other leaves to catch up to this little marvel. Believe me, I already have my camera loaded and ready to shoot. Enjoy being a witness to the color change, it only happens a couple times a year!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Contemplating a new journey? Admiring the view? Searching for family and friends? Just hanging around?

Hum, I wonder which one of these this little guy is doing. I would be happy with any of the choices, how about you? I couldn't resist the shot. Not only is the shield bug very interesting to me but the shadows he is casting, just marvelous. Did you notice them? This was taken late in the afternoon, my favorite time for photos, because of the lowering sun. It always does magical things to the shadows - fat, longer, stretched - it's all good in my book. I'm just looking for an intriguing element to pull me closer for a more detailed view and believe me, the muse is there leading me around the yard until something wonderful happens by. Embrace it and let me know what you discover!