Filing Away Ideas

Aug6Two years ago my dad wrote a sketch for a story and asked me if it was a project I’d like to work on.  I had many other projects at the time as well, so it sat on my computer, waiting it’s turn for attention.  I had a bit of time last summer and created my own first sketch, a drawing for the book. It was cute, but it didn’t really do what we wanted. So, it returned to the waiting stage.

Soon after I joined Pinterest, I saw a pin that struck my fancy, and then another.  The spark was kindled and I began a board for the project.  The board now has 362 pins (and 56 followers, though it’s simply for my own project.) Today I used one of those pins and moved it to a second board for the project. The Completed for Papa’s Book board. As I incorporate a concept that the pin inspires into the book, the pin is moved out to clear that idea from my mind.  The pin I drew inspiration from today is a little polka dotted dress.

Where do you put your ideas once you’ve finished with them?

Common Mother

It was only a five hour drive to another country last week.  We may even have gone up for the Olympics if I’d had realized how close it really was.  Nothing of those games remained besides the grumblings of the commuters about the shove of people on the mass transit while the games were there.

We got the benefit of coming after the games though in the hotel rates.  (They had a “spring special” on the website.)  We stayed at the Sutton Place Hotel and had two bedrooms as well as the pull out couch in the living room. The lobby was nice and the staff quite friendly, not at all stuffy about us being there with all the munchkins.

Our suite was much larger than I’d thought we were getting, and though a “bit” worn, perfect for us.  The munchkins took no time at all in turning the livingroom into a comfy space.

I’m really not much of a tourist, ever, at all.  However, I thought that we would like to experience a suspension bridge over a river and treetop bridges like ones in Myst, one of their favorite games.

We took the subway and the ferryboat to get there, which the munchkins just loved.

We only needed to stay for one night in B.C., to take care of some business there, so I hadn’t made plans for us to do too much.  It was very nice to just get a feel for the place in order to find out whether we wanted to come back.

I also found a little shop just down from the hotel, La Vie in Rose. Things were reasonably priced even though it was right on the main avenue.

I have to say that the whole city gave us a flashback of being in Europe, because of the British influence.  It’s so lovely that it was just a few moments over the border.  We really enjoyed our time there, and are already thinking about when we can go again.  It was cold while we were there though!

The sketch of the children is from Marguerite de Angeli’s Mother Goose Book.  The city of Vancouver had quite a few of the older houses on the main streets outside the city proper, similar to the ones back in the Netherlands as well as many Victorian homes of early settlers from England.  We stopped in Seattle on the way home, and I’ll show you  some places there next week.

These cities are a far cry from where my mother’s family grew up in Appalachia.  The watercolor on the left is from a book named Appalachia, illustrated by Barry Moser.

I ordered a wooden Indian stamp from England after watching a video on how fabric is hand printed in India.  The stamp arrived this we
ek and we are going to try it out in our fabric books tomorrow.  I’ll show you my book when we finish the class in four weeks.  It’s the same class I was teaching last semester, and I have just continued working in the same fabric book.  See the earlier photos here.

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Calendar Art

Art becomes meaningful when it touches an emotional chord, like music, a kiss, or a scent does.  In my studio hangs an Edward Hopper calendar from 1999.  It’s always open to January because the featured painting is “Room in New York” from 1932.  This particular piece leads me to a direct memory of a night in my life soon after we were married…and, as evidenced by the subject chosen by the artist, more than one couple has had this same night.

In college I always carried a weekly planner with art on the left side and the blank days on the other.  I recall choosing a Joan Walsh Anglund calendar as a way to remember home and one of my dearest childhood book authors. There was one with Renaissance angels as well, from the Met, probably a gift…

I havn’t used a physical calendar since the Expedition tangled with a semi on ice.  We’ve been operating on one vehicle, and therefore one online calendar to keep car usage tightly monitored. I’ve looked longingly at beautiful agendas, journal style calendar notebooks,

and the occasional wall hung with art prints in large format.  (I did purchase a Frank LLoyd Wright agenda simply for all the photos of his work.)

I just fell in love with a new calendar.  It is by Masha D’yans and it features a series of watercolored trees.  I love trees and the lyrical way she portrays them caught my eye as I walked past, not even thinking about getting a calendar at all this year.  Her line work is structural, an excellent compliment to the blending of the browns and greens in her trunks and leaves.  And one little touch she features is a sweet little bird, one of my other loves!


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Summer Projects

I think I need a cupcake from Sprinkles right now. It needs to be the Dark Chocolate, the Lemon, Key Lime, or Raspberry.  Are you coming over to bake with me?

This summer I’ve actually been working on the list of projects left in limbo on this blog.  You may recall the fluffy white Frankendeer.  She now has a head, all the pattern pieces have been created for her body and I finished up the colors for a leg today.  I guess you’ll be seeing her in stages.  She’s currently nameless.

Today the littlest munchkin wondered whether green eggshells tipped you off to trouble brewing inside the egg.  I assured him that Araucana eggs were just pretty on the outside, normal on the inside.  He made me think about the chick photos I took last year at this time.

We also chatted about making paper.  I’ve made it before with 100% rag cotton and conversely with recycled scraps.  A few of my girlfriends had talked about wanting to learn how to make paper and I ran across this post in Mushroommeadow’s blog. Her hand made paper die cut tags are just adorable!

My trip to Goodwill (second hand store) was especially fruitful this week.  Though you can see that I don’t really do any light summer reading.  (Nary a fiction romance among them, unless it happens to be Jane Austin.)  I managed to clean out a good portion of the used books.  (Not from my house, mind you, from the store.)  We need new bookshelves. Again.

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do you know…

what this is?  If so, tell me about it and what it brings to mind for you.

I’ve been wanting to work on the deer drawing, but my unresurrected laptop is still on the to-do list for my data base administrator.  I can not even begin to plumb the depths of how to get files off of a machine with no working video driver.

So, instead, I’ve been stitching up a little something from a vintage patten and making my own changes.  He’s only half finished and, as such, does not wish to show himself yet.  (He still needs stuffing.)

I also have a house that has been trying to get me to make it.  It’s been dancing around in my head all week.  I’ve finally given in and cut it out (this one is of paper) but it will take me a while to “decorate” it.  In it’s place, I’ll show you a building that inspires me.  La Fabrica is a series of buildings that have been transformed from a cement factory to a home and architectural firm’s headquarters.



Architecture is quite a part of my work as a fine artist.  It is often a reference point for me and I also draw on the years of architectural drafting studies that I did in college for the patterning on my animals and other surfaces.  This particular building speaks to me because it is an abandoned, environmentally abusive place that has been reclaimed.  I admit, I’m a hopeless romantic for reclaiming all kinds of things.  The downside of reclaimation is my hording habit, the upside are houses that I’ve helped reclaim from drug ridden neighborhoods.  I see every empty big box store as an opportunity for a new forrest!



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Rapunzel, Rapunzel…

No, I’m not locked in a tower, though sometimes I wish I could just lock the door when I’m drawing.  I usually burn the midnight oil to do my artwork around here. (Yes, the time on those posts is real, it’s late.)  However, this piece was not done too late…

I was intrigued by my cousin’s work on miniature dolls and asked her a few questions about sizing.  She helped me with it and I decided to create a fairy tale bedroom set.  To start, I picked Rapunzel and began researching the garden ideas.  Most stories refer to Rapunzel’s craving for lettuce, Rampion, or “Campanule raiponce” (Latin) to be exact.  So I created fabric by painting a page full of them and printing it on printer fabric.  Then I made a pair of miniature pillows with the fabric.

I was pretty happy with the way they turned out, so I decided to make pillowcases for them.  I printed out some fabric with a flower I thought was German-garden worthy, a purple bearded iris.  I then began on a quilt.  It took me a while to figure out how I was going to have Rapunzel’s hair coming out the window, but I used an applique stitch and it worked just fine.

For the drawing of the tower and garden, I used a technique called pointillism. You’ll probably recall Georges Seurat’s work using this technique.  (However, I did not use his color control, placing specific colors next to each other to create “natural light” in his paintings.) Even so, it took quite a while to complete the artwork for the front of the quilt.  When the hair arrived from a doll shop, I braided it to fall out of the candlelit window.  I’m not sure what to charge for this piece (pricing, the bane of artist’s existence.)  When I do, I’ll list it on Etsy for you as it is finished.  I also ordered a bed to display it on, but it was broken in the mail so we’ll both just have to wait while the wood glue dries before the whole picture can be put together.




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My First Piece…



My cousin Kristi (Miracle Haven) encouraged me to create art pieces in more sizes and on something other than children’s clothing.  She suggested new items that would be available to a wider audience than mothers/aunties/girlfriends with little ones to spoil. 

So I am responding by listing my very first original art piece on Etsy. I’m doing it in an ACEO (playing card) size so that it is very easily affordable and yet is still a one of a kind (OOAK) piece of art. 

It is a colored pencil/ink/watercolor.  It will go up next Thursday night around 11pm (on the West coast of the US.)  There is only one of these going up as it is an Original, so I wanted to give you all a heads up.

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Just Beginning


I’m soooo excited to have these little creatures printed!  Watching the animals come alive and start charming my own little ones with their bright colors just takes me right back to my beginning creative spark!  Color, joyfulness, energy, everything that cheers you up!  I have them and can ship them out if you want one (in several colors and styles, just ask) The onesies are ones I fell in love with in the Netherlands and I just had to have them to go with my artwork.

My animals have three layers to them.

Their Given Body, shown by their shape and head;

their Playful Pattern layer, which represents how we show our spirited selves to the outside world;

and their Dreamland, Soul land, shown in the cutouts, which represents where our inner peace wants to live for forever.


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