Sunday, December 30, 2007

Illustration Friday: Soar

My Mom's favorite bird is the Turkey Vulture. While quite spooky looking on the ground they are beautiful to watch in flight. As scavengers they clean up by eating trash and dead things. (Would that our culture could be more beautiful in the way we handle trash.)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Illustration Friday: Horizon

The Event Horizon is an imaginary line surrounding a black hole. Once something crosses the Event Horizon is is no longer possible to escape from the gravity of the black hole

In this case the "Event" is Christmas and the Horizon is looming... (or maybe I've already passed it.)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Illustration Friday: Backwards

I have a friend who has a sarcastic streak. One day my three year old told me she didn't want to talk to my friend. When I asked why I was told, "She talks backwards."

I'm not entirely happy with this one, but not everything can be a portfolio piece. Sometimes just doing is enough. I've met at least one of my IF goals which was to keep the creative machine going. (Just keep drawing, just keep drawing, just keep drawing, drawing, drawing...)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Illustration Friday: Little Things

I thought too much on this one. I had images of camels fleeing from straws in my head. But then I had too much going on this weekend, (this week, this month...) to really take the time with that one.
But the other day my daughter asked me, "Mom did you want to be when you grow up what I want to be?"
"And what do you want to be?"
"Yes I did."
So while my daughter was working on her art skills on the dry erase board I took a few little minutes to do a quick sketch with sharpie on paper. And realise how blessed I am with these little skills I've had since I was her age.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Illustration Friday: Excess

'Tis the season to be overwhelmed by excess. Between my son's early December birthday and Christmas I always get a little panicked this time of year. I also find myself getting caught up in consumerism. Every store I go to has rows and rows filled with shiny things that I don't really need--but they are so pretty. I added the cat as the element of chaos that also seems to come along and give us perfectionists just one more set of things to worry about. (and to remember to just let go and laugh when the tree falls down...)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Illustration Friday: Zoo

I alway love the little train rides they have at some zoos. And are we watching the animals or are they watching us?

Sea Turtles and Such

I missed last week's Illustration Friday because we were on vacation. (Sometimes by happy accident I will have done something that fits the theme anyway--but not so this time.) We visited my husband's parents in Port Aransas, TX. There were numerous sea turtles bobbing in the water along the jetty one day when we took a walk. (It was a pretty hair raising walk with my almost 7 year old son leaping from big granite rock to big granite rock as we made our way out along the jetty. Both grandma and I had our hearts in our throats at various moments)

Earlier in the trip we took a glass bottomed boat tour at Aquarena Springs in San Marcos, TX. We saw some tiny turtles swimming under the boat but didn't see the ancient snapping turtle rumored to live there. My 3 year old daughter did her own artistic interpretation of a snapping turtle.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Illustration Friday: Scale

I decided to play with both the physical object and the reference to size. I created a shape in Photoshop of the dragon in the scale and then used that to make the smaller scales on the big dragon. (In a completely conceptual world the scale would diminish into infinity--but I just did it once here) I also created a dragon brush to do the background which consists of dragons of various scale--of course.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Illustration Friday: Hats

My daughter provided the perfect pose for the topic of Hats. She came out wearing a dragon costume with a hood. Over that she'd put a striped knit hat--with a pom pom. The final hat was a pirate hat. Later she tried to add a robot helmet but that wouldn't play nice with the pirate hat...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Illustration Friday: Trick or Treat

"Bring out the candy!"
This was an illustration I did for the MOMS Club Round Rock South October newsletter, and it fits the theme perfectly. The story it accompanied, a Halloween memory from one of the members, told of a little girl practicing for her first night of Trick or Treating. When asked what she should say she said, "Bring out the candy!"

Monday, October 22, 2007

Illustration Friday: Grow

This weekend was my son's Cub Scout Campout (Pack 345) I did this sketch from our tent. What can be more about growth than Cub Scouts?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Illustration Friday: Extremes

I suppose there were a lot of ways I could've gone on this one, but a favorite motif of mine, three enmeshed faces, came immediately to mind. Then it took some time to gel.
Last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, I came up with the idea of different rendering styles. I'm still not quite satisfied with it (but as they say in the Costume Shop, "Done is pretty." Though I don't have a real deadline here like you do when something must be on stage.) Maybe this will be a rough sketch for something else...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Desktop Meme

I've noticed various types of tag games going on in other blogs, and suddenly I've been tagged! Mary has asked that I show what my desk/workspace looks like. Uh oh. (This is sort of like having people over to my house without getting a chance to clean up...) But I do find it fascinating to see what kind of atmosphere other artists create in. So here is my corner of the world where a great deal of creating goes on. (I'm currently working on brochures so no work in progress is visible.) In reality I tend to create all over the house. My neighbors once discovered me painting in the garage with my table top easel set up on the dryer!

This is where the easel lives (when it isn't in some "exotic" location,) along with portfolios, and I'm not sure what all else tucked in there. I also have a stand of clear drawers in the garage filled with sundry supplies: paints, ink, pencils, an apron, oil pastels, quilter's plastic to make stencils...
So that's it. My little corner of chaos.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Illustration Friday: Open

Who was she? And what drew her through the open door?

Well it's been a crazy weekend around here. So this is the first time I've posted something that wasn't done specifically for the topic, but just happened to fit. This is an Illustration Friday special topic where people will vote and the winners will have the option of displaying in a certain gallery. The whole concept was very stressful for me and I found myself resistant to creating something specifically to be judged. Worry about whether or not it would be good enough just sapped the fun right out of it. But I found I couldn't just ignore the fact that there is extra pressure on this topic and just do something fun anyway. It just brings up all the tension of the juried art show process (and the repeated submission and rejection of the publishing process) that I've gone through. I've never been very good at compartmentalising that aspect as the business portion of creating and therefore lack a protective detachment.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Illustration Friday: The Blues

had an almost instant image in my head for this one. Of course the end result isn't much like that preliminary image, but it is close enough. I didn't want to go down the emotional path of what "The Blues" means. I know that a fiddle is not a traditional Blues instrument--but for some reason that was part of my image, that and Australian Aboriginal inspired design elements. (That and I'm much more in tune with Bluegrass than The Blues...) Probably I was mostly inspired by this other painting I did a while back about musical instruments. It went with this poem:

Babalinka and Bitsy Boo
Go on a trip to visit Baboo.
Baboo plays the didgeridoo.
The dobro, the oboe,
And ukulele too.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Illustration Friday: Juggle

Wow. This one really took the wind out of my sails. I struggled (juggled?) with ideas all weekend. And then had to juggle energy reserves to carry any of them out. My husband is a video game designer and he's been crunching (serious overtime for you video game novices) on a project for months now, which leaves the kids and me on our own pretty much. When I tell people what he does they are always amazed and think, "oooh glamour job." Yeah. Glamour job with really serious slave hours...

Juggling all that in my head--I had to do a more conceptual piece.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Illustration Friday: Wedding

This illustration was an experiment to see if I could get the ink resist effect digitally. Thanks to Scott E Franson for his tutorial:

What kind of illustration for children incorporates a wedding? Oh I know, "Froggie Went a Courting" I was raised on at least two very different versions of this song. One is much more Disneyfied ( ) The frog and mouse go to France. The other was the Pete Seeger version where the whole wedding is upset by a snake and a cat. Miss mouse got swallowed on the spot. (I can't find a link for those lyrics. But it is on the Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Fishes album I'm not sure if my frog and mouse will escape to France or get swallowed--what do you think?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Illustration Friday: Momentum

Momentum is a tricky thing. Especially when you don't have any. I couldn't seem to get going on this topic so I just have a quick sketch. It has something to do with mass and velocity and squares (or was that ellipses?) I know! I would've learned that if I'd taken Physics--thanks Dad! (Or so he said. I did take Physics (for artists) in college; and another "low calorie math" Physics on Semester at Sea--but I guess if you don't take it senior year in high school, it just doesn't get started and there is no chance to build up any momentum...)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Illustration Friday: Alphabets

This week's topic seemed like a good one for the Egyptians. (If you missed the Egyptians before see February and March from my Blog Archives.)
I don't think she got them in quite the right order and she's probably missing a few. Older brother is horrified by the number of repetitions and renditions that have already transpired... (with no end in sight.)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Illustration Friday: Visitors

My first thought on this topic was aliens... But then I thought about the amazing Jeweled spider that moved into our back yard about a week ago. I've noticed that suburban Texas sports many more critter type visitors than life in suburban Colorado. (I grew up in rural New Mexico and we had critters dropping in all the time. Top of the list was the bull snake in the greenhouse sink!)
This is an ink resist. I paint white tempera where I want to have white and let it dry. Then I cover the whole paper with India ink. When it is dry I wash the tempera off and then apply watercolor. Many people ask me how I have time with my children underfoot to get this stuff done. The answer is I have abandoned art school training where bigger is better and now work relatively small. (This one is smaller than usual at 6" by 7")

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Illustration Friday: Captain

Mommy is the Captain

Is he acting odd or is it ODD? (oppositional defiant disorder.)

Actually my son had great fun posing for this illustration and was quite compliant when I asked him to help me. But there have been times when I have had to utter the phrase, "Mommy is the captain--not you."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Illustration Friday: Emergency

When I read this week's topic I groaned. Ambulances and trauma, I didn't want to think about it. And then a more absurd alternative came into mind from the TV show Red Dwarf: "There's an emergency going on...It's still going on." Which lead me to thinking about the daily dramas that go on. Our neighbor's dog is constantly making a break for it, and ours would too if the gate wasn't bungee corded shut. (And I'm sure my dog was thinking, "Where's the fire?" as I tried to encourage him to model for me in the Texas heat...)
And the extent of an emergency is always relative to perspective as I pass on the family phrase: "No blood--no bandaid."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Illustration Friday: Missing

I must admit I found this topic a little perplexing at first. How do you draw something that is not there? But then I remembered a photo of my son and his best friend displaying missing teeth... I must've been influenced by the caricature artists at Six Flags (we went this week) in terms of style.
Also on the topic of missing, I'm proud of myself for keeping up with the Illustrations. I don't think I've missed a week since I started. I have been late on few (and I've heard about it!)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Illustration Friday: Moon

Mother Moon is smiling on us tonight.
(This is acrylic on textured gesso.)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Illustration Friday: Poem (ADHD)

my Attitude has altitude
my Distraction has dimension
my Happiness has hubris
my Downfall is detention.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Illustration Friday: Discovery

There have been many discoveries this week. The first one is that the Greyhound bus is not a viable means of travel for me and my children (ages 3 and 6) We are visiting my parents, and after multiple delays and having one of my bags stolen in Dallas, I bought plane tickets for the trip home. (Yes the bag was stolen, someone found it empty in a trash can in the Dallas bus station and called my husband's cell phone which happened to be still on the bag--the bus tags had been cut off.) Thankfully the other discoveries on this trip have been more pleasant. The idea started with seeing my daughter in the mountain grasses that swayed over her head. And then I was reading Eckhart Tolle's A NEW EARTH. He talks about observing the world in terms of seeing through the outer form and into the inner essence. As I read this I glanced at the bookmark I'd grabbed from my Mom's bookshelf and it was covered with random design patterns. And lo, I'd made the discovery of my idea for Illustration Friday. (albeit many days late...)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Illustration Friday: Geeky

And the geeks shall inherit the Earth. (At least this is what my Dad implied.) It's true in my life, since video games put bread and butter on the table (and numerous consoles, stations, controllers, cartridges, disks, etc...) I'm not supposed to complain, but some days I wish for a break from hearing beeps, boops and explosions.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Illustration Friday: Twisted

I’ve been reading Charles de Lint’s WIDDERSHINS. His stories are always filled with these wonderful fairy creatures made from all sorts of things. So I decided to just try and create a character that was made from leaves and twisted branches and I drew the little capering man. When I saw this week’s theme I recalled the little man, but I also recalled a dried bit of twisted vine I’d come across when the family was walking at Walnut Creek. So I created the other character from the idea of the twisted vine. They need a background. But that may or may not happen.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Illustration Friday: Camouflage

This week's topic made me think of the way nature uses camouflage, but it also brought to mind: hiding in the open. So I've returned to one of my favorite styles where two images

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Illustration Friday: Rejection

This topic struck a nerve. I'll never understand why artists (of all shapes, sizes and assorted colors), whose job it is to be more observant and sensitive to the world in general, are expected at the same time to develop a thicker skin than most other professions. How many times will a doctor be told, "Yes you do lovely work, but your style just isn't right for us."

So my little rooster, Bandi Boodle Boo, who traveled the world to find his crow, is now travelling the mail encountering rejection and hopefully (someday soon!) will find acceptance seemed the apt subject to illustrate this topic. I took a more emotional approach to creating this.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Illustration Friday: Suit

Why swim suit of course! We took a weekend get-a-way to Port Aransas, Tx. We left Friday, so I didn't know what the theme was--I just did the pencil sketch for my own amusement after we'd spent the day playing in the surf on Sat. I scanned it and colored it in Photoshop. (A little artistic license with the color of the water--it was pretty murky and filled with loose seaweed that would wrap around our legs--ick! The kids still loved it.)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Your Paradise

While this is not my personal vision of paradise, I'm sure the kids might have a different perspective. Last night I took them to Ready, Set, Play which is a nicely appointed warehouse sized storefront filled with inflatable bouncers--the fancy ones with mazes and slides. My daughter and I had been before but this was my son's first trip. His jaw dropped and he clapped his hands to the side of his face as we walked through the door and he saw a Kid's Playland Paradise.

Friday, May 25, 2007


In loving memory of George Hansche.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Illustration Friday: Signs

This topic proved to be hard because I had too many ideas--it was difficult to sort out one and then put time into it. Originally this was a dragon reacting to a "Here there be dragons" sign. But when I scanned it in I realised I'd gotten impatient with the sign and it didn't match the rest of the drawing...

But it is Monday already and I need to get on with other things.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Illustration Friday: Citrus

This is another topic where at first I just thought, "Huh?" But I have found if I let a topic alone for a bit an image will come to mind. The other thing that I'm working on is faces. At my portfolio review she said she wanted to see more faces. And the more I thought about it I do tend to shy away from faces. So I'm trying to get more comfortable with faces. Also in this piece I was exploring working from memory. (Watercolor pencils)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Monday, May 07, 2007

Illustration Friday: Neighbor

Just a quick sketch for this week's topic. [green pencil on paper] I was at an illustration workshop on Saturday so my illustration energies were going elsewhere. My son and the boy next door are best friends, and while in reality the trampolines are too far apart for this, I'm sure it has crossed their minds. (Or maybe I shouldn't show him this one...)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Illustration Friday: Remember

I wanted to get a sense of nostalgia and the cameo pin style came to mind. It was later, as I was working on the piece, I realized there were more levels to remembering. (Like how hard it is to pleat those darn skirts so that they fall like that!)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Illustration Friday: Polar

I was a little stymied by this week's topic. I harrumphed, "I can't think of anything except the typical 'Polar bear in a snow storm eating an ice cream cone!'"
"Marshmallow," my husband corrected, "the polar bear eats a marshmallow."
Oh yes that's much easier.
But I decided to take on the challenge of how to visually describe something that is typically a white peice of paper accompanied by a cocky little voice.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Illustration Friday: Fortune

I'm fortunate to have these two beautiful blessings in my life.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Illustration Friday: Green

I knew I'd have more happening with the Egyptians... I've been thinking I needed some new characters. Luckily a mischievous little sister showed up.
"Gross!" (He must know what those beetles eat. Either that or she just told him...)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Illustration Friday: Snap

No matter how pretty the wrapping, creativity will always find a way outside the box...

I needed a break from the Egyptians. (Don't worry, they'll be back.) I've been contemplating style and just how hard it is for me to maintain just one. So I had to break out a bit and do something different. It's been another crazy week around here and this is just how I feel. (The question is: am I hiding, or escaping?)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Illustration Friday: I Spy

The hieroglyphs on this one say, "I spy with my little eye."

I made an interesting discovery the other day as I was placing my favorite bookmark in a book: It has the hieroglyphic alphabet on it! (Another keepsake from Egypt.)

I've been using a translation website to get my hieroglyphics, and there is some variation between alphabets and translations I've noticed.

For example the web site translates my name with the hieroglyphs on the left. On the right is the silver cartouche I used to make my signature cartouche. One uses the arm as an "eh" sound and the other uses a feather. (But then I cannot be too sure on the accuracy of my silver cartouche. It was one of those tourist things they sell while you are trapped on a bus. )