Friday, October 17, 2014

I'm now blogging on my website

Hi to everyone who may read my blog,

I just discovered that though my website linked all of my posts from Blogger, I need to actually post from my website now so I just double posted my illustration friday post and came back over to let you know that you can now follow me on

Illustration Friday "Trouble"

It's been a while since I posted anything. I've been doing quite a bit of marketing over the last 6 weeks or so. I joined Hire An Illustrator and rebuilt my website with Virb.  I was delighted that Virb could link both my Etsy store and my blog. I was especially tickled that it linked my blog here at Blogger because I didn't want to lose everything. It also looks more put together than my old one - featuring my art in a cleaner more attractive format.

This week's theme for IF is "trouble". I'm redoing some illustrations for a children's story that my sister and I wrote and this page fits the theme well. My original illustration had just a white background but I decided to experiment and added a gradient and some texture with Photoshop.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Latest Watercolor Portrait and Studio Update

My summer has flown by and it's back to school which makes me sad. I've had almost two weeks to start adjusting to the back to school carpool schedule which is sometimes a welcome break in the afternoon.

I just completed a portrait for my aunt and uncle, two of the most photogenic people in Rhode Island. Everyone is delighted with it including myself - especially since it ranks among my most difficult portraits. The reason is because the image I had to work from is a 72dpi 100kb black and white file from 1966. My mission was to transform it into an 11 x 14 colored watercolor. The color part was actually the least of my worries. I spent hours trying to get my drawing correct working with this very blurry black and white photo. I wouldn't do this for someone I didn't know because it really helped that I know what they look like and had other photos to use for reference. I had my moments of doubt, but I pressed on.

And I am so glad I did. 

Other fun things I have been working on this summer include a Country & Western and a soon to be released Dance/Gymnastics scrapbook paper collections for Big Busy B's as well as some clip art collections I've added to my Etsy store (Back to School, Halloween, Black Cats and Sunflowers, Pumpkins & Mums). 

And I also took the plunge and participated in Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search. I'm hoping to make it to round 2 and as soon as the gallery is open for the first round, I'll be able to share my wall art design.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Clown Fish Watercolor

I thought I'd continue with the aquarium theme that I started with sea horses. This painting was actually more fun and I think maybe it's because I liked the close crop and definitely the happy orange color. It's 8 x 8 on Aquabord. Original available in my Etsy store here. (Prints and digital download also available in my Etsy store.)

Monday, June 09, 2014

Seahorses & Clownfish Watercolor on Aquabord

I said I'd be part of a project on Facebook that is 101 days of painting and on about Day 4 I realized it was messing with my head and the perfectionist in me started to rebel. Then I was bummed out and at a standstill. I was working on a client project so that made me rethink my focus which is really more about getting actual illustration jobs and licensing rather than pleasing my few fans on Facebook. Around the same time, I came across two articles which gave me reassurance that not checking into FB every day, hour, minute is OK. I'm so glad because being the introvert that I am, I'd rather not worry about all that social stuff on a daily basis. I loved not being on it actually. So I took a look at my calendar and planned my week. Then I picked this painting back up and really focused. It's been a good day.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

New Illustration - Kids Climbing Trees

I have been thinking about doing this illustration ever since I snapped some pictures of my niece and nephew while on vacation. It brought back memories of climbing trees and I was just really interested in playing with the composition and colors. Like most things I had a vague idea in my head but wasn't sure what the final painting would look like. I was pleasantly surprised to end up with something pretty close to what I was thinking. Below are two progress shots and the final. It measures 12 x 18 inches.

More ideas started popping into my head as I finished this painting. I don't want it to be a stand alone so I'm thinking of doing a series. Last night I started sketching and my next version which will definitely include a treehouse!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Illustration Friday and New Daily Project

This week's theme for Illustration Friday is "Temptation". It was much easier to come up with something vs. last week's broader topic - Universe. In my pursuit of drawing realistic looking children in an illustrative way, I feel like I'm starting to make progress. I have decided that using reference to get started with the face helps the kids look more human and less cartoony rather than trying to invent something out of my head. I can still do that, but I like the way they look better when I have some kind of reference to start with.

My question to whoever feels like commenting is, do you think the floor looks realistic? The illustration needed something else in the background and I thought this would look nice, not too distracting and add some perspective. My husband thinks it looks like a giant floor and maybe the tiles are a little too big but I did want to emphasize the small child. The cobalt blue table top got lost in my scan so I painted one in with Photoshop.


I have done two monthly projects where I painted daily for one month. In October 2010 I did a daily pumpkin painting/illustration and last August 2013 I did a month of portraits. I've made a bigger commitment this time having joined a group on Facebook who are doing 101 Days of Painting. I know some of them are just doing weekly paintings but the point is doing a project along with a group for support. I'm not going to post every daily painting here on my blog because I will probably forget and honestly I hate bothering people with daily email. If you would like to see them all, I will be posting them on my Facebook page.

I did share this one on Facebook today - Day 1. 

One more thing...I'm going to be sending out my June newsletter this week. If you would like to receive it, please sign up at 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Illustration Friday - Universe

I started with a circle and the idea of looking through a telescope then I decided to just play and see what happened. I worked wet in wet, dropped in alcohol, salt and spattered paint. Then I fooled around with the background a little bit in Photoshop and stopped when I thought it looked interesting. It sort of looks contained so I'm not sure if it reads "universe" but I like the spacey design and texture.  ;)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Just start. Ideas WILL happen.

Something I have learned during the past year designing scrapbook papers is that I just need to get started. I never know how my collections are going to look. What I have discovered is that as I get started, I get more ideas. It's like going for a walk and deciding which street to go down next.

Delicate Splendor Collection
These scrapbook papers are image dominant so there's got to be some art on each page vs. just a pattern and all six papers need to read as a cohesive group. My client is terrific to work for. My specs are to use 3-4 main colors (backgrounds) based on the given theme. The rest is up to me. A little daunting the first time, but I decided to just dive in.

My process is more relaxed now than when I did the first set. I don't do as many thumbnail sketches or try to plan out everything before I start because my designs end up evolving as I go - so I brainstorm different objects, colors, and textures that go with my theme and then I look for reference material (my own photos or online). I start drawing in my sketchbook. Then I paint all the pieces of "clip art" on watercolor paper.

Autumn Splendor Collection
Usually I want to start designing before I have all of my objects painted so I scan what I have and get started. As I start on a page, I get ideas for other pages. I use the images I've created to inspire background color choices and I make several layers and try out different colors and textures and fiddle with the blend modes until I get something that I like.

So the lesson I have learned is to just start and trust that I will discover other solutions as I continue. I also have learned to give myself permission to redo. If I approach my art knowing that if I don't like the way it looks, I can start it over, then I am more relaxed. You can have a many tries as you want. I learned how to paint portraits this way. And it doesn't have to be a huge labor intensive encounter. I usually get my answers sooner than I think I will.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Beautiful Girl - Watercolor Portrait finished

I am lucky to have access to some lovely models nearby (sometimes unsuspecting that they might end up in one of my paintings after I ask them if I can take a picture.) The reference I used was actually from a couple years ago when we were up at our neighborhood playground and at the time I thought it would make a great painting. I surprised my subject yesterday and I think she approved.

Watercolor 11 x 14 inches on 140 lb Arches cold press


Friday, May 02, 2014

Illustration Friday "Revenge"

A couple of years ago during a trip back home, I took a bunch of photos of my niece and nephews climbing a tree and lately, I've been thinking about what this illustration is going to look like. Today I think I got a little bit closer with IF's prompt for revenge.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dealing With Overwhelm as a Creative Person

I'm a highly sensitive person, HSP for short. It's estimated that 15-20% of the world population are HSPs. I would guess most are creative and introverted. It's a curse and a blessing. I remember being told by well meaning people to not be so sensitive. Ugh! The plus side is we're intuitive and compassionate. The down side is that sometimes life can be very overwhelming. But you don't have to be highly sensitive to experience overwhelm especially if you're an artist. I have a friend who refers to this as Artist's ADD. Yup.

I've been learning to deal with overwhelm through journaling, spending time in my garden, breathing exercises to focus before I start working, working in half hour increments with a timer and planning time to work on projects on my calendar rather than just entering the due date. These things are starting to help. I'm not doing them perfectly but what I am doing is reaping benefits. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. (I'm writing this to remind myself.)

When I start thinking about my art when I'm relaxed and not creating, I start having a million ideas, but then I don't know which one to start on first. Hello procrastination. The positive outcome of the practices I'm trying to do to manage myself is that they're starting to silence the annoying voices inside my head that say "you're not working hard enough" which I'm all for.

Another very important part of my dealing with overwhelm as a creative person is to be nice to oneself. I'm learning to ignore those annoying voices in my head and speak to myself in an encouraging voice as I would to a teenager. I have lots of practice at this with two in my house... And there's a better chance I'll listen.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Garden Flag Samples

I was excited for the mail on Monday because I got my garden flag samples! These are the five designs I did for Premier Kites. I shared some of the work in progress on Facebook but the designs were embellished a bit more before printing. They look really nice on these flags. It's encouraging to see my work on real products. ;)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kodi, Watercolor Dog Portrait

This is Kodi and she lives next door. I was out gardening on Saturday and she was looking all fluffy and cute so I grabbed a couple of quick pictures. I'm so glad I did, too, because when I was outside today, she yipped at me from the deck and I really don't blame her because she got scalped since we last met!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Amidst the Mustard Flowers Child's Watercolor Portrait

This is a little painting I did today for fun with my friends on Wetcanvas. It measures 7 x 11 and took two hours to paint. Watercolor on Arches 140 lb cold press. This is the third portrait I've done in the last couple of months where I feel my watercolor portrait style is really becoming comfortably me.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Painting Watercolor Portraits Online Workshop

Hey All,

I'm giving an online watercolor portrait workshop today through Mark Mitchell's How To Be A Children's Book Illustrator Course. The presentation will be recorded and PDF will be included for both live participants and those who cannot make it at 2:00 pm CST today.

More details here.

Hope you can join in!!


Sunday, February 09, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chatting About Illustrating Aesop's Fables for IPad

Join me and Mark Mitchell from How to Be A Children's Book Illustrator tomorrow night, Jan 30 on Google Hangout. We're going to chat about my first year as a full time illustrator, the two books I illustrated last year and other projects I've been working on. It's free but you need to register to get the link to Hangout!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Illustration Friday "Disguise"

Here's a little quick watercolor I did for IF's theme disguise. It was really quick and fun and I need to remember this when I do all of my illustrations. I always like the results of quick and loose better than drawn out and tight...Thanks for looking

Monday, January 20, 2014

Illustration Friday "Beginning"

My illustration for beginning is about starting a new school. I attempted to make the little girl at the end of the line stand out more. I'm not sure if this was completely successful or not. I wonder if less bus and more kids would be more effective? Feedback welcome. thanks!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Illustration Friday "Search"

IF Search
It's been a long time since I participated in Illustration Friday. I put it on hold when I went back to school two years ago.

It felt good to get back into it. I gave myself 90 minutes to finish and didn't overthink the drawing. I get stuck when I think something has to be perfect because it's for someone else and then it seems to take forever. I think I'll try to approach my next "for real" illustration this way. Hopefully....

Drippy Daffodils

6 x 6 in. watercolor on Aquabord Daffodils are one of my favorite flowers and dozens of little clusters have been appearing in my yard s...