Friday, December 4, 2009

This year's Christmas Card

I did this piece last December and some of your may remember it.  It was part of the original Virtual Sketch Date.  So this year, I'm using it for my Christmas card.

I'm having them printed by  I've had cards printed by them before and they have done a good job.  Plus their prices are reasonable and they are fast.

So with the holidays approaching, I want to wish each of you, dear readers, a joyous holiday season and a happy and prosperous new year. 

The next few post may not be art related as I'm doing some sewing for gifts and I've made my 3 year twin neighbors aprons and chef's hats so that we can make cookies.

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Shots and Changes

Take two on the heron in flight. I've modified the ripples in the water some. I thought that the other was just too much white for the background.

And a new shot of the wading heron. Just a bit better color, nothing in the artwork itself has changed.

I've sprayed both of these with archival spray - it's an acrylic spray that claims to preserve paper works for an extended time.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Here is my wading heron. This piece is in colored pencil on dark blue Tiziano paper. Many thanks to Alan and Elaine Wilson of for allowing me to use their photography as inspiration.

This is my heron in flight. Both pieces are 11 x 14 inches. I'm using the paper itself as the background with rings and reflections as just a suggestion of water.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Horse Feathers

Not really....

Just a quick peek at my current project. I'm about 25% finished.

I'll be at "A Day Downtown" in Fuquay Varina October 31st. I'll have some original art and photographs.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mandeville Vine Studies

...and you thought I'd fallen off the edge of the earth!

Summer is a busy time in the garden - planting, weeding, fertilizing, weeding, transplanting, weeding and more weeding. Now fall is nearly here and I'll be prunning and cutting back dead flower stalks. Next comes raking up millions of oak leaves to use for mulch.

But in the meantime...

I have been doing some studies of my mandeville vine in preparation for a much larger piece. These are also experiments. You might notice that each leaf is different in color. Some are colored pencil on top of watercolor, come are just colored pencil and a few are lighter green colored pencil on top of watercolor shadows. The bloom is on top of a pale pink watercolor. I have found that the pinks in the Prismacolor lines are kinda' lacking. The background is colored pencil on top of pale blue watercolor. I used an artstix blender and instead of blending the background, it pushed the colored pencil around in such a way that I ended up with a speckled looking background. Not quite what I had in mind.

This one just didn't turn out anything like I wanted. It has the look of a tropical shirt print. The background was darker until I went over it with a white artstix. It made it too light and it's not an even tint any more. The biggest problem is that the background and the flower are nearly the same value in color. So the flower doesn't stand out from the background as much as the piece show above.

These are small pieces, about 6 inches by 6 inches, on Magnani Aquerello hot press paper.

Back to the studio for more experiments.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I have sold my work titled "Topsail Treasures". You can see it in the blog post here.
It was bought by another artist, which just floors me. I guess I'm my own worst critic. But it makes me feel validated, that as an artist, I am doing some good works.

Monday, August 10, 2009

This is one of a few studies that I'm doing in preparation for a larger piece. This is a Mandevilla vine that I have had growing for several years.

I have been able to keep it going through the winters by prunning it back rather severly and cutting back on watering. I move it inside to protect it from freezing temperatures. It makes it through the winter and once outside in the sunshine and warm spring air, grows like a weed.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Another Brush Footed Butterfly

This is a another brush footed butterfly that showed up earlier this month. It was all browns and grays and when it lit on a branch, it was very well camouflaged.

It has black and white antenna like the earlier brush footed butterfly I found in my backyard. I haven't been able to identify what kind of butterfly this particular insect is. However, I'm pretty sure it is a butterfly, rather than a moth.

It's been quite an experience going on safari in my own backyard. I've taken hundreds of photos of butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, beetles, leaves and spiders.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Man on the Moon!

Where were you when man walked on the moon?

A lot of you were not even born yet. But I was a youngster, allowed to stay up way past my bedtime and watch that historic moment. I still remember how absolutely awestruck I was. My school class has watched every Apollo launch.

Now that I'm an engineer, I have so much respect for the astronauts, the ground crews, the control crew and the thousands or engineers who came up with new materials, new methods, new ways of manufacturing, and new computational methods. Now, 40 years later, we still are reaping the benefits of the Apollo program.

I firmly believe, that we as a nation, need to head down this path again. The new industries and scientific discoveries from the space program are just what we need to push us out of this recession and put us in a position to have jobs again and be in the scientific forefront. Wouldn't part of the money spent on the war in Iraq have been put to so much better use in NASA research?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More Backyard Sketches

We had a good rain yesterday. Today I have huge Fireball hibiscus blooms. They are about 8 - 10 inches across and spectacularly red. These are cold-hardy plants and will die back to the ground after the first frost. They sprout up in late May, normally after everything else has come up. There are many varieties of these cold-hardy hibiscus now. These particular plants were ordered from Wayside Gardens and are growing in very large deck planters. But I need to divide them up and relocate a few this fall.

Did you know that hibiscus are in the same family as okra. If you look at an okra bloom, you will see the resemblance.

This sketch was done in the early afternoon in graphite and colored pencil. I was sitting outside working on this and I noticed that my colored pencil were really creamy - much more than normal. I was under an umbrella working, but the heat of the day softened my pencils.

While I was sitting there, a hummingbird came to visit twice and let me know that he'd like the deck feeder refilled as well. Too bad I didn't have my camera with me. Hummer photos are so hard to take.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Practice, practice, practice

I'm not traveling for any art workshops this summer. So I'm doing the next best thing. I'm working through Arlene Steinberg's Masterful Color: Vibrant Colored Pencil Paintings Layer by Layer.

These are the first three exercises/demos in the book. The iris is my current lesson and it's in the first stage of underpainting. I'm using Prismacolors and a Canson Biggie sketch paper - so nothing fancy here!

Working this way has advantages. No airfare, car rental, hotels, etc. I can stop and start at will. (But I'm trying to put in several hours a day on this.) I can do the same lesson a hundred times if that's what I need to understand the process. I'm in my own little studio with Mickey the cat offering criticism when needed. Being an artist is a solo type of profession. You have to be your own boss and set a schedule you can stick to. It would be nice to have a teacher occasionally, but times being what they are, this is good too.

I really like Arlene's work. She and Gemma Gylling own and run the forum for colored pencil artists. It's a great resource.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More backyard...

This is an Asiatic Dayflower, according to my Wildflowers of North America field guide. It is one of the very few really blue flowers - not a shade of violet, but blue. These dayflowers are rather small, about an inch in width and each flower only last for a day.

I have several small patches of these around my yard. They may be weeds, but how can you call them weeds when they have this truly blue flower.

This drawing is in my sketchbook and was done with prismacolor colored pencils.

Friday, June 19, 2009

look in your own backyard

I spotted this brush footed butterfly in a backyard flowerbeds this morning. I was fortunate to get a quick photo before it fluttered off. I was able to identify it using the Butterflies and Moths of North America website. I think it's a Pearl Crescent, but I could be wrong. Lots of butterflies look similar.

Some things I noticed: this insect has black and white striped antenna with orange-red tips; the body was actually furry looking and this is not a large insect, about 3/4 to 1 inch long in the body with maybe a 1 1/2 or 2 inch wingspan.

This was a quick piece in colored pencil.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Artists just see things differently?

Do you think that artist just see things differently? I've often thought so. I know I can remember the color of something much better than my husband, or even most of my friends, even to the point of being able to match the color while shopping.

A study done by two Norwegian professors suggest that in fact, artists do see the world differently. We look at all of the details.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Remembering Molly

Molly passed on early this morning. She was the happiest dog I've ever known. She had been with us about 6 years.

She had been abandon at a gas station close to my house. She barely weighed 50 lbs and she was not a small dog. I brought her home and with some food and love, she regained her health. She loved to run. She would rather run than eat. She chased squirrels and was a better mole catcher than the cats. If you were going for a walk or run, Molly went with you. She knew a few commands - she could sit and give you five. She loved the water too. I'm not sure what breed she was, but probably had some Chow or Newfoundland in her.

I don't know exactly how old she was, but probably around 10 or 12. I'm glad we were able to give her a good home for some of her life.

Be happy and run free Molly.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mixed Media

This is a mixed media piece that I have finished (I think!). It is the windows at 28 Rue St-Jacques, Paris. I love the wrought iron at the windows.

This is mostly a pen and ink type of piece, but I added some colored pencil highlights.

I want to branch out from doing just colored pencil works. I used to do oils and acrylics, so there will be more mixed media pieces.

I'm thinking of doing more window pieces from other cities in the world.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Independence Showcase

I am happy to report that "Past Prime" has been accepted into an online show, the Independence Showcase.

The showcase is being put together by Tony Moffitt. He is inviting over 100 gallery owners from around the world to view the showcase. If gallery owner sees something that interest them, the owner will contact the artist directly.

A round of applause goes to Mr. Moffitt for helping artists in this downturn in the economy.

"Past Prime" can be seen in my previous blog post.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


We are "cat-a-tonic" these days. My husband's cousin died in April and left several cats without a home. We have taken Mickey, shown here and Bronson.

Mickey may not have been Mike's cat, but he was at the house, hungry and had been in a couple of fights. He is such an elegant boy - long legged and very Siamese like. He may be an Oriental or something along those lines.

We took Mickey to the vet after he and Bronson had an argument and Bronson got the best of Mickey by biting his tail! Somebody had taken care of Mick at some time - he was neutered and showed signs of having had minor surgery in the past. The vet thinks he might be between 4 and 6 years old.

He has such a handsome face.

This is Bronson. An instigator and proud of it! When he was at Mikes, he was the low cat in the pecking order. But at our house, he's trying to be in the middle at least. He's already realized that he's not going to be the top cat. Bronson is very playful.

What a clown he is!

We weren't sure that we would keep both of them. We didn't know if they could learn to get along with each other. Plus we lost our 15 year old cat, Ziggy in February. We just were not sure we wanted another cat so soon.

But Mickey and Bronson have moved in now. Cat-a-tonic, that's for sure!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Thoughts

Today is Memorial Day.

Today is also my maternal grandmother's birthday. She would have been well over 100 by now, but still I remember her birthday.

I don't have too many veterans in my family. I think our age is such that my parents, aunts and uncles were too young for WWII and too old for Vietnam.

But my husband's family has several veterans in it. His father fought in the Pacific in WWII. He was in the Navy and arrived at Pearl Harbor a month or so after the attack. He was on a supply ship at Iwo Jima and he was on the Missouri when the peace treaty was signed. We didn't get a lot of details about his service from him. He said that he say too much blood and too many things that no man should ever see.

My husband's uncle was a gunner on a B-52 bomber. It's a wonder he survived the fighting. He was stationed in England and flew bombing runs over Germany and France. He used to tell us about being trained in Montana because flying over the land looked like the area in Germany where they would be flying.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Published in Ann Kullberg's new book

I'm in Ann's new book!

It is a critique book and she take me to task. But she's right about what she says! My artwork is shown on page 88 through page 90.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon or from Ann Kullberg's website.

On a more serious note, today is 3 months since I lost my beloved cat of 15 years, Ziggy. Sometimes it seems that I can still see him out of the corner of my eye as he zips through the house. We still miss him. My hubby's cousin died in April and we will be fostering his cats for a while. Poor kitties - they miss their person.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Group Effort

My local chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America, DC114 is doing a group project for the society's conference in Atlanta later on this year.

We chose to reproduce an impressionist painting that is part of the collection of the North Carolina Museum of Art. The work is by American painter, Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939). It is called "The Garden Parasol" and was painted in 1910.

The artwork was divided up into a section for each of us who are participating in the project. To the left is my section.

It was difficult to capture the paint strokes in colored pencil. I had to think about what colors were available in 1910. Certainly some of the newer pigments were not even invented then. I think Frieseke would have had Cerulean Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna, and White. I've seen the painting in person and I don't think he had a pre-mixed green, but made his own from cad yellow and cerulean blue. At least for me, colored pencil is not my first choice for an impressionist work. I think I ended up using my pencils more like pastels. My work is close but it's not quite the same colors as the painting. It will be interesting to see how the entire projects looks when everthing is put together.

You can see the Frieseke's entire work here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

when it rains...

What happens when it rains on a bale of straw? You get your own mini wheat crop.

The kernels on the grain head were actually more difficult than I had thought. But I like the turned leaves.

It was a good drawing exercise.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dogwood Branch

This is a quick sketch of a dogwood blossom branch. All the dogwoods in our yard had nice blooms on them this year. Some years, an early frost gets them.

Postings will be a bit sparse for the next few weeks. We have had a death in the family.

These dogwoods remind us that spring means resurrection for the spirit and for Mother Nature.

Monday, April 6, 2009

spring is here

Spring has finally arrived at my house. Everything is in bloom. First to bloom was one of my orchids. This sketch is right out of my sketchbook. It is colored pencil on top of graphite. I didn't want to erase the pencil and am tyring to figure out how to use the pencil so that I can leave it in. Something along the lines of griselle. But colored pencil is a transparent medium so the graphite often changes the intended look. These days, graphite is not a true gray or black tone anyway.

The next one is a sprig of weeping cherry blossoms. I planted a weeping cherry about 10 years ago and now it is just covered in the spring with thousands of pink blossoms. It's one of my favorites in the spring. Butterflies love it. There are often two or three swallowtails on it.

Stay tuned. More sketches are comming. On the list are dogwoods, azaleas and jasmine.

However, first comes the taxes!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Is it done? Maybe?

This may be my entry to this year's CPSA show. This was my Grandfather's hand drill. He used it many years and I could almost feel the places where his fingers rested.

This drill was a pain to draw - everything had to be so precise. I don't think I could have done it, had I not taken drafting in college.

I didn't set this box on a table or add any background other than the paper color. This is fawn Stonehenge paper.

I'm never completely satisfied with any of my artwork. I always see something that needs improvement. If you're an artist, and you don't see something that needs work, then your ego may be bigger than your artwork. That's just my opinion!

However, I'm fairly satisfied with the wood grain in the box and the gear wheel. I'm still looking at it, thinking about the shadows, and highlights.

This may be the first of a series of old hand tools that have been passed down to me through the family.

In the spring and summer, I want to do flowers, so old tools may have to wait for a while.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Separated at Birth

I knew I couldn't be the only one who noticed that Robin Williams (is there anybody on the planet funnier) and Bono look like they were separated at birth. I think Robin is a bit older.

Could definitely be cousins. Got nearly the same nose.

Since your ears and nose never stop growing during your lifetime, Bono will look more and more like Robin Williams over time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Here is the shark eye shells that are part of a 3 image piece that I'm working on for the aquarium show. Shark Eyes are found in shallow sandy flats and drill through through prey's shell for food. The holes that they drill have beveled edges. I have picked up many of these over the years. The largest one I have is about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

These are venus clam, a pair. The real shells are much, much smaller than this work. They are only about an inch across. I really, really, underestimated how hard getting the "basketweave" pattern on these shells would be.

I will be adding these to my account so that will be available for prints.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fuquay Varina Centennial Art Show

"Past Prime" and "Solo" have been juired into the Fuquay Varina Centennial "Paint the Town" art show. They will be hanging at the Community Center on Main Street March 6,7 and 8.

I am happy to be juried into the show as there only about 25 artist exhibiting work. For more information go here

You can see "Past Prime" and "Solo" at

Friday, February 20, 2009

Remembering Ziggy

My cat of 15 years crossed over to be with his brothers this morning. He was a wonderful friend and I will miss him dearly. He has such spunk. He was truly my furry four-legged child.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A small work, only 7 x 5 inches. It's the first of three shell works that are going into a frame and mat set designed to hold multiple photos.

This is a welk shell, native to NC. I found the shell some years ago.

This is Prismacolor pencils on navy blue Fabriano pastel paper. I've had this paper for several years and I think that the color has probably been discontinued by now.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Pleasant Surprise!

This is "Past Prime". It is a mixed media piece of watercolor and colored pencil. It was juried into the "Explore This 5" 2009 CPSA show. The show will be online this year. Awards will be posted on Feb 1.

It's the first CPSA show I've been juried into. Although, they were only 250 entries this year, and 50 were selected for the show. So if we do the math, that means that 1/5 or 20% were accepted. (That was to keep me from going on the big ego trip!)

I'm in some pretty good company. Names I recognized were Pat Averill, Vera Curnow, Kay Dewar, Elizabeth Patterson, and Ranjini Venkatachari.