Saturday, October 8, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

it's autumn!

I think that if you are an artist, autumn is a magical time of year, especially if you live in the midwest.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

a trio of pears

While illustrating children's books, I like to balance out my creative life with some "adult" work in watercolor or graphite or charcoal.  So the other night, I stayed up late and did a quicky watercolor sketch of a bowl of pears.  Looking at it now, however, the trio of pears feels rather playful to me, perhaps like a nest of little birds singing for their next meal.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

loosening up

Watercolor is something I have always wanted to master, but eluded me.  Lately I have ben trying to loosen up and allow the paint and paper to work in harmony, patiently waiting to see what comes together, instead of trying to control the outcome.  Hey, I think that is a good rule for life in general!

I used the same palette as described in the previous post, which is essentially my palette of choice.

watercolor salt demo

Last weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a demo for a group of women from Windy Brushes, the IL chapter of the Society of Decorative Painters.  Because autumn in IL is such a beautiful and colorful time of year, but also short-lived, I wanted to take advantage of the changing colors in the autumn leaves for the project I was demonstrating.  Each student left that day with a set of 4 watercolor cards with matching envelopes.  I selected Canson Monvant 140 lb. 5" x 7"cards, which come with matching envelopes.  Below is a tutorial I put together for students who paid for the class, but could not stay.  I thought I would share it with you here.

As short as autumn is, I suggest you go out and gather up some beautiful autumn leaves and try this technique now.  These cards can also make beautiful place cards for guests at your Thanksgiving table.

Salt Textures for Watercolor Painting

This simple technique is easy
to do, but can produce stunning effects.

Here is your palette:
Students collected autumn
colored leaves prior to class.
Leaves are sketched lightly with
a pencil on watercolor card, or you may trace an outline of the leaf if you do
not have good drawing skills.  You
may choose either a vertical or a horizontal format.

Next, use a brush to wet the
paper inside the drawing of the leaf.
I mainly used size 3 and size 5 round sable brushes for painting.  Next, loosely apply watercolor directly
into the wet areas of the leaf, and allow the colors to blend into each other
on the paper.  The beauty of watercolor
is that it can be unpredictable, so do not try to control or overwork the
colors in your leaf.  You may put
down a light base of color, and apply more colors as you work.  Applying transparent layers of color
over other transparent layers is called “glazing”.  This is the best way to keep your colors looking fresh.

While the paint is still
damp, sprinkle a little salt (kosher or regular) into random areas of the
leaf.  Allow the paint to dry
completely, then brush off the salt.
You may keep adding glazes of color and work with more salt until you
achieve the values and hues you desire.
Once your leaf is dry, you may decide to add a drop shadow, or
completely paint in a background around the leaf.  I have included several examples.

(card with matching envelope)

(card with painted background)

(card with drop shadow instead of painted background)

 As you can see from the
examples, we also applied the technique to the edge of the envelope to make a
matching card and envelope set.

You may also want to check
out this video I found on YouTube, where an artist demonstrates the technique:

I thought these leaves turned out so nicely, I decided to stick them in my Etsy shop.  Click here to browse.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

it's autumn again!

Here's a sample I painted tonite for a workshop I have been invited to teach next Saturday. This may end up in my Etsy shop. It's a card with matching envelope. Happy Autumn, my friends!

Monday, July 18, 2011

new items in my etsy shop

I am adding new charcoal drawings to my Etsy shop this week, and will be adding autumn leaf reproductions soon. 

Also, you can see my drawing featured over at An Apple a Day.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

still life with feather

a vase that was my mother's
a feather from my walk
a pewter box from an old love
a rosary from my grandmother

Thursday, July 14, 2011

still life with rose bud

 The paper I draw on makes a huge difference in the look and the feel of the finished drawing.  I enjoy Moleskine paper because there really is nothing else like it.  It is so smooth and holds the graphite really well.  However, Using this handmade paper, seen here, forces me to loosen up.  It surface is bumpy, flawed, and somewhat unpredictable, and I prefer to switch to charcoal for this paper.

Here I have included a scan of the entire page, so you can see the uneven edges, which also add interest and beauty to the drawing.  The size is approximately 8.5" X 12.5".

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


One thing I have always felt passionate about is art. Drawing is the first thing children learn to do to communicate with others and make sense of their world. There is something very primitive, yet sophisticated, about a beautiful graphite drawing rendered well. In creating still lifes, I hope to draw attention to the simple things in life that are often overlooked, celebrating the mundane as something rather spectacular. I hope my love of the traditional media of graphite on Moleskine and my passion for art comes through in all of my drawings.  Regardless of how busy my life gets at times, I return again and again to my studio, set up a still life comprised mostly of the foods I use for cooking, open up my Moleskine, and get lost in the intimate bliss of drawing.

Original graphite drawing on Moleskine paper now available in my Etsy shop.

Monday, June 13, 2011

memories of last autumn

watercolor on paper (cropped)

the "original"...
Note how cropping can make a piece of art take on a whole new focus.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


graphite on handmade paper - my entry for Illustrations Friday's theme "Cultivate".

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Spring!

No art to post today. I just wanted to post a photo from yesterday's walk. I am so excited, because spring is finally coming back! Sunshine and I have missed our walks! I hope that warmer weather in the upcoming months will bring new inspiration to paint and draw. Happy Spring, everyone!