Friday, April 30, 2010


I created this piece for an article and it is one I have hanging in my studio because I just love it. The colors, subject matter, words and touch of fabric all bring it together for my style. It started with the fabric swatches and began building from there. The eggs, feather and words were already formed in the plan but something was missing. On my way home while sitting at a stop sign I noticed the gentle breeze blowing these tall grasses and it caught my attention. First for the motion and second for the wonderful color and elongated shape, I knew it would be the perfect addition I needed and it helped create a nice flow through the piece. Once I added the brads to secure the swatches, the painted buttons were added. I liked the repeated round shapes. The color sample gave me a good vertical which the piece needed taking a little attention away from the dark band containing the focal point eggs. The rest are little details added to keep the viewers attention going throughout the piece never resting on one thing, just constant motion. So, what would you have done with the three fabric swatches? How would your style have come out? I hope you give yourself the challenge - it was a lot of fun and I wouldn't want you to miss any!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Flower Power

Here's another part of the applique that I have been sharing. This flower is one of two that actually form a "u" shape above the curved vine where the bird is located. As you can see I've used several different fabrics for the berries and now you have a larger photo of the ruler leaves. Notice that I kept the lines of the leaves running the same direction for a little continuity. There are also bees on this piece that I'm wanting to put tulle wings on, I just haven't been able to figure out their shape just yet.

So, what would your wall hanging have looked like? Do you think you would have been as adventurous with your fabric choices? I hope you said "yes." If "no," I hope that you will reconsider and let your imagination take over when choosing fabric, paint, clothing - whatever you are looking for at the moment. Common can be pretty boring unless you are trying to blend in with the crowd. Step out of your box and discover your creative world!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Word Bird

This is another part of the applique I shared with you yesterday. This is the main section so I wanted it to be very special. The fabric I choose actually had bird photos and looked like dictionary page with words on it - perfect for my application and stays within the style I want it to have. The heart fabric is the same as the inner border so I sectioned off the word love and cut out the shape. I'm far from finished, still have to quilt it, add the string to the heart and add the birds eye. I'll keep you posted and try to get it up here next week so stay in touch! Just another example of style that is out of the ordinary but goes beautifully with what I have done so far. Never be afraid to show your true colors, it is a part of you and worth showing the world what you are made of.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ruler Leaf?

Some Thesaurus words for "style" - characteristic, design, expression, flair, idiosyncrasy, peculiarity, polish, refinement, smartness, technique, treatment.

Style for many is hard to define so look at these words and see if something about your tastes resonates within you. For as many years as I have been creating this is the one thing I just couldn't give myself a certain style. I have always thought of my artwork as detailed, nature oriented expressed with a twist. Now if that isn't a broad category, I don't know what is. I hope you are having better luck with your characteristics than I am.

I have been working on an appliqued quilt top and wanted to share my flair with you. Yes, I even stand out in the quilting world but I've come to expect that of my pieces so it comes with the territory. This portion shows a couple leaves, berry and stem. While all the colors flow beautifully together, who would have thought to use the nontraditional ruler fabric for a leaf. Not to mention the letters for a berry. Did you notice I fussy cut the berry to have our initials in it? Yes, it was done on purpose and I really wanted this piece to reflect my personality. So, take a chance and let your style show with a lot of creativity and imagination!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Word - Style

The word for this week is style.

Its verb meaning: name, designate; to make or design in accord with a prevailing mode.

Its noun meaning: mode of address, title: a way of speaking or writing, one characteristic of an individual, manner or method of acting, making or performing, a distinctive or characteristic manner; overall excellence, skill, or grace in performance, manner or appearance; the custom followed in spelling, capitalization, punctuation and typography.

I am teaching a class at the Society of Decorative Painters Convention this May on "Discovering your Style and Creativity" and thought it would be fun to explore it here as well. I knew a long time ago that to set myself apart I would have to be just a little different from everyone else. Since my attention to detail stemmed from my architectural rendering background, that didn't seem to hard to do. While everyone else was doing primitives, I decided to make my colors a little fresher and add a bunch of little touches to my pieces. It definately moved me into the eye of my publisher and also magazine editors. Not because I was perfect in my drawing or painting abilities but because I offered a varied style of decorative painting. Notice my attention to the details in the photo. I painted the squares in the background and put a button with thread in the intersection. Next I wrapped the tag string around the button making it believable. I then added another smaller tag and made sure it wrapped itself around the first. Not only does the design work in color but the subject is true to life. I hope you are exploring your creativity and finding your individual style - without it the world would be a pretty boring place don't you think?

Sunday, April 25, 2010


These little gems have been growing in our grassy yard all spring now and they are now starting to take over. I almost hate to mow because I know they won't reappear again until next year. I did start really looking them over and found they come in many colors but all the same structure. These miniature soft red violet ones are my favorite variety though. While studying the ground while walking, not advised in a bumpy yard by the way, I did notice there were other flowers coming up as well. There is the little pansy violet, a red flowered trillium variety, tiny thumbelinas and the very colorful dandelion. All of them are different heights and each are individual in their structure. Amazing is all I can think of! When you think of the energy they store to appear in the spring season and all of this occurs within the size of your palm. Watch where you step and beware of the bumps.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Checkered Flower

I love these fritillaria meleagris flowers and although we planted many bulbs, only one appears each year. It is right outside my studio window and I just can't help myself by studying the structure of the bloom. It is so intriguing to me how the checkered pattern can appear and really stand out on such a miniature flower. The whole plant is only as tall as my hand yet it has such captivating powers over the artist in me. Wouldn't you have loved to be the one to create this tiny wonder? I know I would have liked it very much. Add the gentle curve of the stem and you have a perfect hanging specimen so to speak. I will be adding more of these bulbs and hopefully can improve their population, I will keep you posted about the effort. I hope you have been taking time to appreciate all things great and small in the world around you because you never know what it might inspire in your creative side!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Powerful Reach

Our magnolia tree was so overloaded with blooms this year that it was just magnificent. I took this picture on a bright sunny day and it looks like it has been altered with the sky such a rich royal blue but trust me, this is the way the photo came out - no retouching here. The graceful way the front blossoms are reaching for the sky is very powerful to me. It not only extends towards the sky with the beauty of a dancer but offers up such freedom as if in a dream. I know, why does my brain think of such things? Only I could get such ideas from a branch reaching to the light of the sun but that is the emotion the photo makes me feel and I am sharing. The way the light is hitting it with such extremes of light and dark, I know this would be a great piece of art. The color combination alone would be very interesting to play with. It's way out of my comfort zone but that might be a nice challenge after all. Isn't that what art is, challenging yourself to create something different, emotional and expressive? To me it is definately the start of a project. I'll get working on it. Be creative and think outside your comfort zone, who knows what will happen!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Le Luna

The antennae upon magnification of the luna moth are just spectacular, wouldn't you agree? I was fortunate to come across this wonderful specimen right outside my doorway and couldn't help taking a couple photos. The bright minty lime green of the wings combined with the celestial gold of the furry body and feathered antennae are just a way of nature coming together in the most mysterious ways. This moth usually flies only at night and I can only imagine the beautiful exotic sight it must be lit up by the moonlight.

For me the moon is a special sight, one I appreciate every night. I am usually in my studio working on something so I feel powered by its presence. I work better at night without the daily distractions of the phone, chores or anything else that comes along. Procrastination is one of my downfalls and one that I avoid when working in the evening. The calm darkness surrounds the windows of the studio only shining on the little garden of bulbs found right outside. The colors take on a different variation letting me speculate on their shapes and forms which in turn gets my creativity jumping. What does it take for you to get excited and imagining? I hope it is the simple things, one that you can just look around at and be totally inspired by. So, take a look, be inspired, create something wonderful and call it a day - enjoy day dreaming by moonlight!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Commanding Attention

Some Thesaurus words for "power" - authority, command, domination, dynamism, energy, forcefulness, horsepower, influence, intensity, might, omnipotence, prestige, regency, right, rule, strength, superiority, vigor.

Another photo of the commanding wind turbines - do they get your attention or what? I can say that they attracted mine but how can you miss them. They fill a field and along a boring interstate they give you something to think and wonder about and I appreciate that. Nothing like a strange sight to get your imagination and creativity heated up.

So, how does that apply to artwork? Well, I am always trying to have the power to entice the viewing audience to take a closer look. Since I deal with details that wouldn't be seen without a personal glance, I have to attract attention. How do I go about this? By making something larger than life such as my "shades of green" dragonfly which measures 16x20. You can hear the ohhs and ahhs as they look at the piece. When doing a technique the viewer hasn't seen much such as "touch of sunshine" which makes the intensity of the rose stand out amongst the pale outer petals bringing together such delicateness that you can't help but notice. Connecting things that wouldn't normally be together like "the button" that features a candy jordan almond egg (thanks Cassie!) instead of a real one. All these have one thing in common - a useful imagination that will attract attention, I can guarantee it. So, venture outside your comfort zone and reach for the power!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Word - Power

The word for this week is power.

Its verb meaning: to supply with power and exp. motive power.

Its noun meaning: the ability to act or produce an effect; a position of ascendancy over other, authority; one that has control or authority; physical might; the number of times as indicated by an exponent a number is to be multiplied by itself; force or energy used to do work, the time rate at which work is done or energy transferred; magnification.

While driving I captured this great shot and what could exemplify the meaning of power better than these wind turbines? I am captivated by the sheer sight of them and find them quite fascinating. I took quite a lot of shots without looking through the viewfinder (because I was driving) and I hope to use them as a background in one of my art pieces one day. "Winds of Change" will be the title, I just have to come up with the main subject now....hummmm, any suggestions?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I've Returned

I just got back from the GCDA Retreat held in West Harrison Indiana and let me tell you it was great fun. The girls were a great bunch and they made us all walk the plank at some time or another since their theme was "Pirates of the Caribbean." The only thing missing unfortunately for all of us women was Johnny Depp as the Captain AARRRR!

I taught two colored pencil classes and a colored pencil make-it take-it. Many of the ladies had not experience the medium but I can honestly say I think I changed their mind about this relaxing way of doing art. Here's my Touch of Sunshine rose that I taught on Sunday. It's available on my website if you are interested in doing it yourself.

I'm signing off until tomorrow because I'm in desperate need of beauty rest and the moon is shining bright, perfect for a good nights sleep!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

GCDA Retreat

I'm heading out to the Greater Cincinnati Decorative Artists Retreat held annually and I wanted to share my two hour colored pencil make-it, take-it with you. My goal was to give a lesson on different textures while making it something you would frame. This one is going in my studio because it contains many of my favorite things. I made it a trompe l'oeil to give you a bit of a challenge so you would have to pay attention to the details. It's called "the button" and I hope you like it. I'll chat with you when I return, happy painting!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Word - Imagination

The word this week is imagination.

Its noun meaning: the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or not previously known or experienced; creative ability; resourcefulness; a mental image; a creation of the mind.

I have been driving by this sawed off tree for a couple of weeks now and each time I do it makes me laugh. My only thought each and every time is that I can only imagine Pinocchio running around the woods without his wooden shorts! You have to admit that now I have said that, it is exactly what you see - a pair of shorts. Since Geppetto made this little boy out of wood, he was the only one I could see wearing them :)
I hope you take the time to discover the unusual - look to the clouds, they make wonderful shapes.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Intense Skies

It was a beautiful day today with the sun shining and the sky finally not all dreary and grey. I took advantage and shot our wonderful blooming cherry tree in the front yard. It is full of blooms this year and we are ecstatic because it adds such a punch of white to that area. Positioned in front of two dark pine trees, the view is just breathtaking from the front porch. I cropped it tightly but wanted to show you the beautiful sky blue complimenting the white blossoms - isn't it just awesome? The intensity really came through on the photo, can't you just feel the warmth of the sun AAHHHH!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hanging by a Thread

While at the butterfly garden I noticed movement hanging from a piece of moss. Upon closer inspection I noticed this little beauty just hanging around as if it were an everyday occurrence. I loved the idea of the butterfly just floating around everything else as if it were observing the whole place from this centrally located thread. Doesn't it look like it posed for me almost as if it were dancing? Who knows, maybe it was. Like a little trapeze artist waiting for the whole room to take notice - it worked, I paid attention. It did let me get pretty close and was in this position for the whole time I was there. It was very funny hearing children discover it and made me smile when I heard their excitement about it. Can you imagine the experience from their perspective? I would just be so overwhelmed with the whole thing, I do know that. Happy dreams little ones!

Friday, April 9, 2010

White Rhinos

I wanted to share this wonderful photo with you of the white rhinos from the Indianapolis Zoo. I was just awestruck by their overall size and actually felt very small observing them. I think the rock structure, the hint of the grey blue sky and vibrant green foliage add to the drama of this photo and I just love it. I took a lot of photos of them and can't wait to do a rendering of it. Not sure what medium to use yet - colored pencil or acrylic - but I will keep you posted. If you haven't been to a zoo lately, make the trip, it was a lot of fun and I am going to go to several more in the coming months. Where else can we see all of God's creatures in one place? I'm just glad to have the opportunity to go and visit!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

White River Gardens

I spent today at the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens where the butterfly exhibition was taking place. I have wanted to go to the gardens for a while now and could finally fit it into my schedule and let me tell you it was well worth the trip. To see the various stages the butterfly goes through - chrysalis, emergence and flying free - was just breathtaking to me. I was also very impressed with the various textures included in the exhibit. There was a waterfall with a nice landing rock as observed in the photo, beautifully exotic orchids and bromeliads, a koi pond, some trees and a huge variety of tropical plants. It was just amazing to see them flying around and being able to actually observe them in a contained place. They had a very nice variety and I shot about 200 photos in just an hour and a half.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vivid Magenta

Here are some Thesaurus words to ponder for "dramatic" - affecting, breathtaking, climactic, electrifying, emotional, expressive, farcical, powerful, sensational, startling, striking, sudden, tense, theatrical, thrilling, vivid.

They all bring about the excitement of the word for me so I went on a hunt through my photos to see what would give me the drama I was looking for. Not only did I achieve that goal but I added a little exotic to the mix - what do you think? Does it fit the meaning? I just love the intensely vivid magenta color of this orchid. It is both striking and startling to think that a flower can be so rich in color and not be fake. Can you imagine a table set with a couple of these plants as the centerpiece - what a mood that would create? Anyone for dinner?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Word - Dramatic

The word for this week is dramatic.

Its noun meaning: a literary composition designed for theatrical presentation; dramatic art, literature, or affairs; a series of events involving conflicting forces. Dramatic is the adjective of drama.

When looking for just the right photo this week I was inspired by the star magnolia once again. Not only is the light casting wonderful shadows on the foreground petals creating a mysterious mood but we are also given a glimpse of the hidden pink hue of the center. The dark menacing bark color mixed with the brightness of the flower petals is creating a scene that is very dramatic in my thoughts. Add the touch of intensely rich green in the background and you have one perfect photo. Cropped tightly to show off the magnificent white values of the blossom, who could ask for anything better? Isn't it great how the front petals have just a hint of rosy pink to them? Nature does work in mysterious ways and I appreciate all that I see each and every day. I hope you are starting to take advantage of the adventure we have embarked on together and are really beginning to see all the glory that surrounds you!

Monday, April 5, 2010

March Colored Pencil of Month

Here is the latest Colored Pencil of the Month Club project. You might notice the photo, it is the cropped version of the March 22 entry "fighting for position". I knew I loved the photo concept, just wanted to add something that would make it a piece I would be associated with so I added the hanging pencil making it a trompe l'oeil (fool the eye) piece. I really enjoyed the challenge the photo and the realism gave me. I wish I would have used a smoother textured paper but other than that I'm very happy with it.

If you are interested in joining the Colored Pencil of the Month Club, please check out my website at

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Star Magnolia

Happy Easter dear family and friends!

The star magnolia is one of my favorite spring additions to our property. Its bloom is like no other with the multiple long petals and the color is white with a hint of blush pink. The stages are all really interesting and I wanted to just show you a couple. The bud not yet ready to bloom and the bloom not fully extended. These large flowers are about 4" wide and make a great splash of white this time of year. I like them so much that we now have six of them planted around here and there. They are all visible from the house and while everything else is starting to bud up, these are already blooming giving us the hope of a floral springtime. Take the time to appreciate what is around you and truly enjoy the beauty!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Reaching for the Sun

While out enjoying the nice sunny day I noticed our star magnolias were starting to bloom giving me a lot of stages to look at. I like to record the various bloom stages for compositions later. This tall specimen gave me a smile as I walked by. It flower was spayed out, reaching for the sun supported by this thin, long branch filled with future buds. It was a bit unruly just because the wind was so powerful and that was what attracted me to it. It wasn't all neat and tidy like a flower usually is. I think it would be great as a colored pencil piece or it could also stand alone as a botanical illustration. For what I have in mind it will be used as a simple background shape. So, as you can see, the possibilities are endless.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Twig Tangler

These two daffodils are being held hostage by the little budding branch. I loved the color differences of the dainty blooms all white and yellow to the budding branch full of dark greens and browns. Even the textures are quite interesting. The transparent petals, the ruffled trumpet, the extremely structured leaves, the fragile tiny buds against the sharpness of the branches are all thing I notice when looking for good photos or design. I want to be intrigued to look closer to a subject. I want to look for the details that don't seem important until you are face to face with them. The composition would be fun to work with because it is so vertical making the flower blooms look like they are just sitting on top of the world. Imagine a background of sky blue instead of the brown, what a difference that would make to this tangled duo. Don't limit yourself to the photo, let it be just the beginning of your creativity!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I absolutely fell in love with the lighting on this daffodil pair. The yellow hue is so intense with the sun shining on it but the cast shadows have such great shapes and color I just had to share. I love the texture of the brown, wrinkled leaf as well as the green climbing up the first flower - can't you feel the warmth of the day? The trumpets have a yellowed orange coloration that gets deeper into the shaded area letting them fade into the background a little more. I cropped the picture in this position because it added a little intrigue forcing the energy of the photo off the page into the darker side. I find myself studying the shadows more than the intensity, what part are you looking at? Why is that? The drama, the color, the location of the object - all of these are personal statements about your design opinions. I hope you are taking the time to let them guide you in to inspiration!