Thursday, July 28, 2011

Elements of My Drawing

When I begin a new piece of artwork, I never really consider what I am going to put into it.
I don't think about where I will start or where I will finish...
I typically start from the "Hey, that would be a great idea!" point of view.
I tend to jump right in, worrying about running out of things (like room on the page) when it actually happens.
Like this piece of artwork.
It's called "The Dancing Elephant"

I love this silly, happy little elephant.
But when I drew her, she kicked her back foot up so high that it went right off that page!
Of course, since I (usually) never sketch things in pencil first I couldn't go back and re-configure the entire drawing.
Or convince her to drop that back foot a little.
But you really can't do anything with a happy elephant anyway- they're going to kick up their heels no matter what you try to make them do...
Instead of trashing the entire drawing, I decided to just draw her tail going off the page as well.
I figured that, in the grand scheme of things, no one would really notice that she was falling off the page.
Or dancing in to it.

That is - until I told all of you...

My point is this - one of the elements of my art is going with the flow.
Learning to work with what you're got in front of you...what you've already done.
I could have thrown this young girl away and look at all the smiles I would have trashed as well!
Instead, I stuck with it, added a few washes of acrylic paint and a ton of interesting tiny details and
introduced my Dancing Elephant to the world.

Maybe I should have called her "Tiny Dancer"...
These little details are things that we will be talking at my "Whimsical Mark Making" class I am teaching at Textile Evolution in Colorado Springs on August 20.
We'll also cover drawing on fabric as well as what tools to use when adding color to your drawings.
I'd love for you to join me!

Friday, July 22, 2011


I was reading a few blogs this week (I usually only read them once or twice a week) and got to Alisa Burke's.
Man - have you looked at her blog lately? She has got IT going on!
Launching a brand new shop with her mom, all those fantastic online classes, phenomenal artwork, a new book coming out soon AND a baby on the way!
She is one busy and talented lady.
One of the things that caught my eye on her blog was the photos of seahorses.
I love, love, love going to aquariums and watching the seahorses. They are so odd looking, so beautiful and quite whimsical also.
Alisa had drawn a few and painted them - look at her paintings here.
I loved the one that she didn't paint (or maybe she painted it but just didn't post it).
I just had to draw it!
I googled "images" and seahorse and found a similar photo for some more inspiration.
Here's my drawing -

I decided to go back and add a little water so the little guy wasn't just hanging in thin air...

I really needed to tie him to the background and I think that the water did just that.
Thanks Alisa for letting me post my rendition of your photo!

One of the classes that I'll be teaching at Textile Evolution (in about a month)is called "Whimsical Mark Making".
I'll cover some tips and tricks that I use to make my marks a little different than others, kinda like the seahorse above.

I'd love for you to join me in Colorado Springs for this class or my two day class called "Bound by Heart, Made by Hand".
This is a book making class that also incorporates my love of using items from loved ones in my artwork.
I love making books.
I took a class from DJ Pettit a couple of years ago that changed the way I make books.
I was so inspired by the techniques that she used!
I have since then made the techniques my own (by many, many hours in my studio working) but she was my initial inspiration.
If you ever have the opportunity to take a class from DJ, I'd suggest that you jump at the chance.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Making Classes

I have taken a couple of Mary Ann Moss's online classes,Remains of the Day and Full Tilt Boogie.

If you into book making, journaling and love scraps of paper and such - you should take them too...

I'll show you the latest book that I made from the binding technique that she teaches in the class.

I love the stitching technique!
If you don't read Mary Ann's blog -you should.
It's a good read.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Journal Work

I've been writing and drawing inside of one of my handmade books here lately.
I have written other posts about it (here, here and here). My "plan" is to use this as my everyday journal...just to draw in, write in, a place to hold all those things that elbow around in my head everyday.
And just like anything else, this requires a commitment or it does for me anyway.
Other things are habit for me - drawing, writing- but not in THIS book. I have been using a different book to write in and another one to draw in.
I have read in a few blogs how other people approach this issue. Some use totally separate books for each different practice. Others use the same book for all of it.
It really doesn't bother me if I mix it up. The only thing that I need to consider is the drawing part...if I draw something that I decide to make a thermofax screen from or use it in a different manner, I need to be able to scan or copy it. And that could prove to be difficult if it's in a book with other "things" on the pages around it...I'll just have to be aware of that and try to work around it.

Anyway - thought I'd share a couple of pages that I've been working on.

This is the first page in the journal (paper page that is...I have a couple of fabric based "pages" before that).

Now, who knows - I may choose to spread out some gesso on that page and re-do the entire thing.
That's one of the things that I love about journaling, about working in a book.
You can scrap it and start over...just like that.

This is a page that I had already done some stitching on. I had brushed some watered down acrylic paint on the background. Then later drew a couple of sketchy flowers...then added a thermofax flower screen over that. I still have more plans for this page.

This is a little painting (watercolor) that I did in preparation for my "Whimsical Drawing Class" at Textile Evolution next month.
I'll be showing everyone some tricks and short cuts that I use as well as sharing how I draw. It may not be the Correct Way but it's my way.
Run over to the retreat web site and sign up for that class! I would love to see you there.
Last year we had a blast...just a blast!
Judy Gula (from Artistic Artifacts) will be teaching there as well as vending (oh boy!). She and I are flying out a little early to spend a few days with Liz (we're supposed to be helping but I'm thinking we're going to be playing and laughing). Either way, it is sure to be fun.

And one last page with a whimsical tree on it. I actually left a space to journal on this one! I used Derwent Inkense Watercolor Pencils on it along with my trusty Pitt Pen.
Don't forget to check out the Sketchbook Challenge blog site for this month's theme. Lyric Kinard is the featured artist this month and she had chosen the theme if
There are already a lot of great posts illustrating that.

And I am going to be teaching a book class in Greenville SC next month!
I am SO excited about this!
Artists Guild Gallery of Greenville has asked me to teach there. I'll be sending out a newsletter to all of the local people about this class.
I'll put details on the side bar but you can email me at if you have any questions.
The quick rundown is this -

"Bound by Heart, Made by Hand"
Aug. 8 & 11, 2011 from 10:00am-3:00pm
$135 for both days, an optional $20 kit from instructor
At Artists Guild Gallery of Greenville (AGGG)
200 N Main Street
Suite 104 Ivey Square
Greenville, SC. 29601 (inside the lobby at Atlanta Bread Company) 

You can see samples inside the gallery (beginning tomorrow) and may sign up there.
You may also email me to sign up.
If you are considering taking the class, better call or email quick as the size is very limited!
The space is smaller but I wanted to keep the class small so I can give everyone lots of attention.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


There are times that I want to sit and draw but can't really think of what to draw.
Or I'm just not in the mood to draw what I see around me.
Sometimes I just can't draw very well at all.
Other times, I'm looking for a particular shape that I'm not familiar with and I need to look at a 2D rendering of it to help me draw it.

That's when I turn to sourcebooks or pattern books.
You can find several of them online.
Some of them say they are copyright free.
Some are not.
Be sure to read the reviews as this is usually where you find out this type of information (on Amazon that is).
If you just want to use the book for ideas to draw in your personal sketchbook then you won't have to worry about the copyright issue.

When I first began drawing again, after years (really decades) of not drawing, I turned to sourcebooks from the library.
They quickly became my "go to" for ideas.
It's a great way to churn out a few warm up sketches without having to concentrate too much.
And it's a great help to the person who says/thinks that they can't draw.

Here is an example of a quick sketch that I did last night (while watching a Harry Potter marathon) (again).
I love the shapes in the design and couldn't help but grab my Pitt Pen to sketch it out.

(you can see the head of the wonky kitty at the bottom of my sketch) (her tail also)

Here's the  design from the book that I was thumbing through.

The book is called "Patterns" (editor Macarena San Martin) and it's a compilation of motifs from different designers.
The designer of the particular pattern above is Labolaululintu. There was only an email address given ( I suppose that it's okay to post it since it was posted in the book. I tried to locate a website but couldn't find one with Google search.

It's a smaller book with 479 pages in it! Wow! Lots of beautiful motifs and colors to be seen.

So, if you're looking for some inspiration with patterns or of making patterns from a single motif, check this book out.
You're in for a visual treat to be sure.
But if you're looking for copyright free images, this is not the book for you.
It would be fine for you to copy them into the pages of your personal journal though.
So, all of you visual journalers that are looking for some design help on your pages - this could be the help that you seek.

I love to use my book to inspire different designs and shapes to paint inside of my visual journal and sketchbook.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Etsy Update

I am wondering why time seems to pass so quickly these days?
Or perhaps it's just me, being in a fog...allowing the days to slip by me...

Either way, I've looked up and it's July 7 already!

I am posting original works of art in my Etsy shop.
If you see anything that you're interested in, let me know!
I am also beginning to work on another series of these wonky little houses based on buildings in Greenville SC (I live near there).
I'd love to do some of Charleston SC as well!

Here's a photo of the first one that I have listed in the "It Takes A Village" series.

I paint them first and then add a ton of tiny little details with India Ink.
Most of them are painted on scraps of different pieces of wood or laminate but the last two have been painted on MDF board as it's resistant to warping or it's a recycled product as well.
I love painting these pieces! They are so fun and everyone seems to really like them.
They would be really cute in a kids room...but I've sold several to women that want to put them where they can see them - they say the work makes them smile.

And I do like to make people smile.

Hope you're having a lovely day.
I think I'll go out and ride my new (used) bike today!