Friday, December 30, 2016

Year in Review - 2016

Twelve months have passed again, and the start of a new year is looming.  As I look forward I also like to look back.  It always amazes me how many things I do in a year, and it's not till I look at my photos that I realize it.  I especially like to see what sort of year it was artistically.  Where was I focused?  How have I improved?  Did I start any new projects, books, chapters in my story?  Here is a quick look at my artistic journey in 2016! 

I started the year with a mission to create illustrations for obscure holidays.  A fun exercise to keep me drawing and keep my visual problem solving skills primed.


I also was able to make it to portrait group multiple times this year, especially during the winter months.  It's something I always enjoy...the challenge of painting from life.  I improve every time, and I really enjoy the community of artists who gather each week.  I want to start making this part of my routine again next year, especially with the dreary winter months upon us now.  

And when the weather finally improved and spring arrived, I moved outside and tackled animal portraits.

During the summer I got to take several vacations, so of course I brought my sketchbook along.  I bought myself a tiny little watercolor set that I had to try out.  It was so much fun and I used it to create little thumbnails that captured the beauty I saw in Montana and at Cape Cod.  I also used my sepia pens to create little sketches in Montreal.

In September I celebrated the launch of Clover and the Shooting Star.  What a wonderful reception I had.  So many people were thanking me for making this book and the therapeutic message that it carried.  I loved signing the books by name to special little children who would receive it and the comfort it offered.  By my last count, over 250 children received Clover and the Shooting Star as a gift this year:)

As the year comes to a close I continue to work on my other two stories that I have been developing.  Five Hungry Mice, which I hope to have ready for you all by Easter 2017, and The Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night, which I am targeting to have for Christmas 2017.  I have been steadily creating work for both books and have some samples for you below. 

And in the last few days of 2016 I have been working on a new theme which I will explore in 2017....Monsters!!!  Stay tuned for surely will become a book:)

Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Anticipating snow....

They are calling for snow this weekend in my part of the country. We have avoided it up to now which is pretty amazing seeing as it's already November 17th!  We usually have at least a dusting by Halloween, but this year we have had beautiful sunny days and cold nights.  A perfect fall really.  So with snow on the radar, I thought I'd post my newly completed family of foxes.  I need help with a title for this painting. Maybe something with snow and snuggle?  Or family retreat?  I can't decide so please give me your ideas - I would love to hear them!  Just put them in the comments section below.   

Thanks and enjoy! 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A little inspiration

Every now and then I find these amazing digital painting videos that blow me away.  I wish I could paint the way these people do with digital tools!  I am trying to teach myself, but right now my skill level is at the "finger painting" stage.  But that doesn't mean I can't be inspired by others and share it with you.  Here is a demo of a digital painting that I found done by N.R. Morales.  I enjoy seeing how he builds areas up with paint and layers colors multiple times until he achieves the look he wants.  The most interesting thing to me is how the lone figure in this painting changes multiple times, going from a man to a woman in the process.  Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments below.    

Friday, October 21, 2016

Rainy Days and Pumpkin Soup!

Today is a cold, rainy, fall day.  The perfect kind of day for spending in the studio!  And the perfect kind of day for Pumpkin Soup!

I discovered this delightful book by Helen Cooper in the grocery store of all places, just last week!  It was actually published the year my oldest son was born - 1998 - so I don't know what took me so long to discover it.  But I am so glad that I have!  The illustrations are delightful and the story endearing.  And since it is such a dreary day here, I just had to post a few images to warm my thoughts, and hopefully yours as well.

And in case you were in the mood for the whole story, you can watch it unfold in this adorable video.  

Lastly, all this talk of pumpkin soup made me want to make some!  So here is a great recipe that I found!  


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Teal - A Great New Children's Book For You To Discover


I am so excited to be able to tell you about a new children's picture book author and illustrator that you need to add to your collection!  Her name is Renee Galvin and you are going to love her new picture book!

I first met Renee on social media and was completely smitten by her honest and playful approach to her artwork and life, and the fun way she engaged with people on social media.  But most of all, I just loved her artwork!  So when she asked me to review her new picture book, Teal, I was smitten all over again:)

Teal is a wonderful story about a little teal crayon who is trying to fit in.  Teal loves to create beautiful artwork and use his color to bring beauty to everything he touches.

But at the end of each day, Teal is confused because he doesn't know where he belongs.  Does he belong in the blue box with the blue crayons, or in the green box with the green crayons?  Where does he belong in this world of colors?

This timely story of diversity and belonging will warm your heart.  Renee keeps the reader engaged with her playful and endearing artwork as she weaves a beautiful message of acceptance throughout the story.  And little Teal surprises us all in the end with his simple, yet profound solution that results in a delightful surprise for the reader.

Teal is a wonderful example of facing obstacles and handling adversity, presented in a playful way.  The endearing message of this story will not be lost on children.  The creative use of the colors of crayons, and trying to fit in, is the perfect way to serve this topic to children in a way that relates to their world and experiences. 

I had the pleasure of receiving an early copy of Teal and I can tell you, I highly recommend you add this wonderful book to your collection.  Teal will be available on Amazon at the end of October, but Renee is taking pre-orders now, and I think you will want to be one of the first to get Teal.  

You can contact Renee to order a book from her on her Facebook fan page here .  

Also check out the special offer she has for early orders!  Teal Promotion  

Hint:  it has to do with jewelry and crayons, and I want one!  You will want to click through to this video because you can meet Renee yourself and she how delightful she is! 


Once you have your copy, please let me know how much you love it by leaving me a comment on this post!  I can't wait to see how successful this book will be:)


Saturday, October 15, 2016

SCBWI Book Blast!

I belong to this wonderful organization called the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators whose mission is to support the creation and availability of quality children's books around the world.  For the next four weeks they are having a book blast event that I thought you would like to know about.  Hundreds of SCBWI authors and illustrators have published books this year and SCBWI has put together a web page where you can go and browse and buy these new books directly from the authors and illustrators themselves.   

You can check it out by clicking on the link

Here is a screen shot of some of the beautiful books that you can find there!  Clover and the Shooting Star is there as well:)  They have books that are published traditionally (Clover is in that bunch) or books published independently.  

So pour yourself your favorite hot beverage, grab a blanket and browse through  to find some great new books to read and give this holiday season!  I know it's where I plan to do my shopping!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Browsing through an old sketchbook.....

Sometimes I like to pick up an old sketchbook of mine to look through it to see what I was doing at the time.  I did that the other day and ran across these old sketches from my trip to France in 2007.  It was a fantastic trip and what made it so great was the people I was with.  There were 8 of us on the trip and we were all artists or aspiring artists.  As artists many of us were "young" and experimenting and we had no fear.  Just to put paint on the canvas or ink on the page was reward enough for us.  We ate wonderful food, looked at beautiful country, and made art.  I wish it could be like that every day...

The drawings are rough, and perspectives are off, but the memories they invoke are priceless.  And it's fun to remember making each line and wondering if I would ever truly become an artist.  Looking at these drawings years later I realize it's not a process or technique that makes you an artist, but a journey of thousands of marks.