Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I won the UGLY XMAS SWEATER contest!!

Next to a circus there ain't nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit.

Frank McKinney Hubbard

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Believe in what your heart is saying,

Hear the melody that's playing
There's no time to waste,
There so much to celebrate.
Believe in what you feel inside,
And give your dreams the wings to fly.
You have everything you need, if you just Believe.

If you just believe.

If you just believe.

If you just believe...just believe...just believe.
Believe - Polar Express

Friday, December 24, 2010

Away in a Manger


Away in a manger, no crib for His bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head,
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the poor Babe awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying He makes,
I love, Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle 'til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever and ever I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care
And lead us to heaven to live with Thee there.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Grown Up Christmas List

Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies
Well, I'm all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream
So here's my lifelong wish
My grown up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need
No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end.

This is my grown up Christmas list

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas gift suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

Monday, December 20, 2010



When I was but a youngster,
Christmas meant one thing,
That I’d be getting lots of toys that day.
I learned a whole lot different,
When my mother sat me down,
And taught me to spell Christmas this way:

"C" is for the Christ child, born upon this day,
"H" for herald angels in the night,
"R" means our Redeemer,
"I" means Israel,
"S" is for the star that shone so bright,
"T" is for three Wise Men, they who traveled far,
"M" is for the manger where He lay,
"A"’s for all He stands for,
"S" means shepherds came.

And that’s why there’s a Christmas day.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Here comes Santa Claus!

Right down Santa Claus Lane!
Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer
are pulling on the reins.
Bells are ringing, children singing;
All is merry and bright.
Hang your stockings and say your prayers,
'Cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

By: Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman
Here comes Santa Claus!

Friday, December 17, 2010

O' Christmas Tree
For every year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure doth thou bring me!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Frosty the Snowman was a jolly, happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal.
Frosty the Snowman was a fairy tale they say,
He was made of snow, but the children know
How he came to life one day.
There must have been some magic
In that old silk hat they found,
For when they put it on his head
He began to dance around.
Oh, Frosty the Snowman was alive as he could be;
And the children say he could laugh and play
Just the same as you and me.

Thumpety thump, thump, thumpety thump, thump,
Look at Frosty go;
Thumpety thump, thump, thumpety thump, thump
Over the hills of snow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

1/2 cup of Hugs
4 teaspoons Kisses
3/4 cup of Smiles
4 cups of Love
1 cup of Special Holiday Cheer
1/2 cup of Peace on Earth
3 teaspoons of Christmas Spirits
2 cups of Goodwill Towards Men
1 Sprig of Mistletoe
1 medium size bag of Christmas Snowflakes
Mix Hugs, Kisses, Smiles, and Love until consistent. Blend in Holiday Cheer, Peace on Earth, Christmas Spirit and Goodwill Toward Men. Use the mixture to fill a large, warm heart where it can be stored for a lifetime, for it never goes bad!
Serve as desired under Mistletoe, sprinkle liberally with Christmas Snowflakes
It is especially good when accompanied by Christmas carols and family get-togethers.
Serve to one and all!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bah Humbug

Out upon merry Christmas! What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer...?

If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' upon his lips should be boiled with his won pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!"

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Friday, December 10, 2010

Little Christmas

Haul out the holly,
Put up the tree before
My spirit falls again
Fill up the stocking,
I may be rushing things,
But deck the halls again now.

For we need a little Christmas,
Right this very minute,
Candles in the window,
Carols at the spinet,
Yes, we need a little Christmas,
Right this very minute,
It hasn't snowed a single flurry,
But Santa, dear, we're in a hurry.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Sleigh bells ring
are you listening
in the lane
snow is glistening
A beautiful sight
we're happy tonight
walking in a winter wonderland

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
With the kids jingle belling,
and everyone telling you,
"Be of good cheer,"
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
There'll be much mistletoeing
and hearts will be glowing,
when loved ones are near.
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

By: Eddie Pola, George Wyle - 1963

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas All the Time

If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time
I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here in silence
Fills each and every heart with love

Where are you Christmas
Fills your heart with love

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Gingerbread Man

Oh, do you know the Gingerbread Man?

The Gingerbread man, the Gingerbread Man?
Oh, do you know the Gingerbread Man?
Who ran and ran and ran?

He said, "Catch me, if you can,
If you can, if you can."
He said, "Catch me, if you can,"
The ran and ran and ran.

I can run like the Gingerbread Man,
The Gingerbread Man, the Gingerbread Man
I can run like the Gingerbread Man,
Now catch me if you can.

Saturday, November 27, 2010



So - did you save thoses pumpkin seeds after you carved you Halloween pumpkin? Try this recipe - anything with guacamole has to be great!

3 avocados
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 – 1 serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
Juice from 1/2 small lime
3/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt

1. Place the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan over low heat. When the pumpkin seeds start to pop, mix them with a spoon until they are golden and toasted. Place the pumpkin seeds in a food processor until finely ground. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then run the processor until the seeds are the consistency of a chunky paste.
2. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the avocado into a bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork or potato masher.
3. Add the onion, serrano, cilantro, and pumpkin seed mixture to the avocado. Mix well to combine, and then mix in the lime juice.
4. Season to taste with salt, and garnish with additonal cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

Friday, November 26, 2010


What you need:

9 Candy Corn
2 Double Stuffed Oreo Cookies
1 Whopper
1 Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
1 Tube of black piping gel
1 tube of white icing
1 Yellow and red food coloring
1 Yellow and red food coloring
1 plastic Ziplock bag
1 sharp knife
1 pair of scissors
1 bowl

Put your Peanut Butter Cups in the fridge to cool. If you have cold hard chocolate to work with it makes it a lot easier.
Squeeze some of the white icing into a bowl. This will be your orange. Mix red and yellow food coloring with the icing to create your desired orange. Then put that into a plastic bag and set it aside for later.
First you will be creating the tail using 1 Oreo cookie and 6 Candy Corns. Gently, with one candy corn pull apart just one side of the Oreo. Don't don't break about the entire thing. Put a good amount of icing in between the two sides. This will help the Candy Corn stay. Place 6 Candy Corn (white side down) in between the cookie. See picture.

Take your white icing and squeeze a generous amount onto the top back of an Oreo cookie. Take the other Oreo and put the bottom into the icing to have it stand up. If it doesn't stand, add more icing! Once you have it stand put it up against something so it doesn't fall until the icing is dry. I use a thick book.

Remove your Peanut Butter Cup from the fridge. Take your knife and cut off the very bottem so you have a flat surface. Put icing on the bottom of it the bigger flat. Bump it up against the bottom and back of your Oreo cookies. See picture.
Next take your Whopper and squeeze more icing on it on one side. Place the whopper on top of the Peanut Butter Cup to make your head.

Find a piece of Candy Corn that has a nice big white end. Using your sharp knife cut the color off leaving you with the white end. Place some icing on it and stick it on your whopper as the beak to your Oreo Turkey. Hold for a moment.

Put some frosting on the back of a Candy Corn and place it on the side of the Peanut Butter Cup with the small end pointing up. Do this on each side for the wings. Make sure to hold for a moment to get them to stick!

Take your icing and place two white dots as eyes. Get your tube of black piping gel and place a black dot on each eye to make them come alive.

Grab your bag of already created orange. Cut a very small hold in the corner of the bag. Now, pipe feet.
Now you are done! It is that simple!!

Please send me one! I've been carrying this recipe around for three years!!
No OREO TURKEYS in my house yet.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Remember Thanksgiving


"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Monday, November 22, 2010

Portfolio Critque

So – in the end I came away with this . . .

My art is Strange/Creepy/too Edgy - they were looking for CHARMING

Kids love fine details with drama and color and movement and something they can relate to

Charming was the operative word of the day – so I’m off to do charming!

Nov. 22nd 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Portfolio Critque

Of these two illustrations, the art directors said the jester was more successful than the balloon boy. But the weakness is that the characters are too generic – they need a sense of a distinct personality, facial expression and a relationship to a story. As a side note they said – Learn to draw hands – get some figure drawing skills. I was thinking to myself – I did that cartoony style on purpose – and then they said – and don’t tell me you did this on purpose. There was no winning!

Nov 16th 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

To those who served and those who are currently serving,
Thank You and God Bless!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Portfolio Critque

I just loved these drawings, I did the big eyes on purpose, I just liked it. The critique – this particulare style – big eyes on the side of the head – is very European, not appreciated in the USA. Again, these are decorative. They said – NO big eyes and NO exaggerated features. Your children’s book audience cannot connect with exaggerated features.

Nov 8th 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Portfolio Critque

Basically what I learned from the art directors critiquing my portfolio - When they look at an illustration  - they want to know what the story is – what’s going on?

~ They want a strong central focus
~  Bold palette
~ Good composition
~ A relationship between the characters
~ Sense of distinct personality
~ Facial expression
~ Unusual point of view

So many artists do the same technique and style –
Yours must be the best
– be unique
– Stand Out!

Nov 4th 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Celebrate All Things Halloweeny

A house is never still in darkness to those who listen intently; there is a whispering in distant chambers, an unearthly hand presses the snib of the window, the latch rises.  Ghosts were created when the first man awoke in the night. 

~J.M. Barrie

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Celebrate All Things Halloweeny

Trick or treat, smell my feet.

I know you'll give us lots of treats.

Not to big, not to small,

Maybe the size of Montreal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Celebrate All Things Halloweeny

Trick or treat, you're so neat.

Give me something good to eat.

Nuts and candy, fruit and gum.

I'll go away if you give me some.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Celebrate All Things Halloweeny

Men are like pumpkins.
It seems like all the good ones are either taken or they've had everything scraped out of their heads with a spoon.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Celebrate All Things Halloweeny

'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world.

~William Shakespeare

Monday, October 25, 2010

Celebrate All Things Halloweeny

When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Celebrate All Things Halloweeny

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls. 

~George Carlin

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Celebrate All Things Halloweeny

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion. 

~Henry David Thoreau

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Celebrate All Things Halloweeny

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
~Scottish Saying

I just had to share the comment from my last blog. This Skeleton illustration is similar to the Pumpkin picture from yesterday. I'm in love with the process - mixed media - and graphically is works - but it does not work as a "Children's Book Illustration".
Once again, I am decorative - nothing wrong with decorative if you are trying to get into the greeting card business. Paul was right on the money - where are the children? where is the story? what can they relate to?

Paul Kasmir said...

Works as a presentation but not as an illustration, does that make sense?
It has a quality to it that you would see on the end papers of a childrens book that would be decorative but for it to be more illustrative have a child carrying that pumpkin with maybe 2 or 3 bats flying over her as she is walking in the moonlight or with a glowing pumpkin.
Does that help some?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Portfolio Critque

I thought this was a fun Halloweeny picture - mixed media - I drew the pumpkin with colored pencils, and used the drawing as one of the collage elements. Just to see how it would be recieved in the "children's book" arena, I included it in my portfolio.

After lingering over it a while, they said it had a
nice graphic quality - then said nothing else. What did that mean? I guess it wouldn't work as a book illustration?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Portfolio Critque

This is an acrylic painting, with collage, of Amish Dolls. I am from Pennsylvania, very close to Lancaster where there is a large population of Amish. I am a little familiar with their culture, like the faceless dolls. It never occurred to me that the Art Directors from New York City did not know what they were. The critique of this illustration was – the bunny is great, very personable, but those dolls are disconcerting.

After I explained what they were, they thought there could be a story there – be still – the dolls were creeping them out!

Exodus 20:4 ESV
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Oct 15th 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Portfolio Critque

It is ok to include black and white illustrations – but you should also take the same illustration and translate it into color. Doing both shows your versatility.  Also, the market for Black and White is much smaller.

Oct 11th 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Portfolio Critque

I have already illustrated a book for a non-profit organization and included two of those illustrations in the portfolio. They recommended next time to include a few pages from the book showing the text – this proves that you can handle text – that you not only can break the story down into the 32 pages but your illustrations enhance the text on that page.

Oct 5th 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Portfolio Critque

The portfolio must show that you can develop a character
– with expression and personality –
a character that is engaging and elicits a response from the viewer.

Most of my illustrations were posed characters – decorative –
more appropriate for the greeting card industry.

Oct 1st 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Portfolio Critque

Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators

Fabulous Society – anyone interested in children’s books should be a member. I attended a seminar in August hosted by the SCBWI Maryland Chapter. For more years that I’d care to share, I have been obsessed with children’s books - not just the reading of these books, but also the writing and illustrating. I have also attended a number of these workshops, but this is the first one that I decided to have a portfolio critique. I have a mountain of illustrations to choose from – but which ones would be appropriate for this particular portfolio. So I built a portfolio from my favorite whimsical illustrations and took it to the workshop. I won’t keep you in suspense – there were many good things said:

~ Yes I am a good illustrator
~ Yes I did have a recognizable style
~ Yes I demonstrated competency in many mediums
~ My black and white art was good – but the market there is slim
But then came the real critique – the real opportunity to improve – these I will share with you . . .

Sept. 27th 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Work In Progress

I'm taking a small hiatus - not well deserved - unintentional - but necessary. Once again I'm cleaning the STUDIO, located in the garage. But it's more than just cleaning and throwing out trash - this time I'm changing my whole direction. With working full time, I can't devote myself to painting/mixed media/collage, etc. I lose focus if I can't stay with a painting for hours at a time. So I'm boxing, or rather plastic binning, the mixed media painting supplies. Until time allows, maybe when I retire again, I'm going to focus on illustration - particularly - children's picture book art. I've always had a passion for picture books and have dabbled in it for years - but never seriously or as a single focus. This is a good time to give it a go. I already have a library of reference books - no surprise there!


   Merry Christmas