Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I no longer maker goals that stretch far into the future,
but try to achieve
to learn,
to wonder,
and to keep gratitude in my heart for each tender mercy - Jenni Farnes

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Courage Lion Book

Practicing again for the
"Grief & Loss"
book. This time I tried an older character. Rather than actually show what caused his grief, I used the doll to symbolize whatever it was.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Courage Lion Book

Time to start thinking about the new book for the Courage Lion Project.
Here is the website for the Foundation - - with all the info about the first project - a book, CD, and stuffed lion - so far over 30,000 have been given to children in critical care facilities.

Book II will be started soon. The 1st book was about having courage, this 2nd book is about grief and loss. I have learned that only 5% of "grief and loss" is from a loss as a result of a death. The majority of grief is a result of disease and illness, physical handicaps, emotional trauma, anything from losing a home, changing foster parents, the list goes on and on. As soon as I get the first draft of the text, I can start the storyboard.

In the meantime I am practicing. Since my audience will be older kids this time in addition to the younger ones, and their families, they've asked me to dress the animals in the attire and accessories relevant to kids today.

This goofy giraffe is my first attempt. I think he is goofylishish - maybe too goofy for this type of book. Anytime you try to dress an animal, it's going to get silly. Maybe the story won't have a giraffe!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back to the TO-DO-LIST

Squiggles - remember these when you were a kid? A ream of blank paper, a box of 64 crayons, and a rainy Saturday afternoon - Life Was Good!

So - here I am , 50 years later - I'm still squiggle-ing. Only now I  am using it as a form of meditation. A way to empty my mind of everything except what is important at this moment - my ART-TO-DO-LIST.

Early next year I need to complete a slew of new paintings for the Gallery, 2 shows, illustrations for a second Courage Lion book, prepare for a 5-day workshop, and a 5-day vacation - all to be completed by May/June.

And here I sit - squiggle-ing - and wondering how many squiggles my Gallery will take!

Message from Ellie:
Blogger ellie said...

Used to be that one of my most treasured possessions was the Crayola box of 64. Loved the shades and the names of each. Hated that moment when the first one broke.
These days in order to clear my mind or to tussle with a design modification I do sudoku or play solitare. Hands at work while the mind can worry a problem and visualize a solution.
We're not too far from our childhood, are we?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Words of Encouragement . . .

A very special Thank You
to my dear non-cyber friend LINDA SOMMER,

who would be very quick to deny the fact that she is the most


art friend I have. She said she "loves my passion" and that my "flame burns brightly" - so sweet!! My passion pales next to hers.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Words of Encouragement . . .

Thank you ELLIE . . .

Thank you for showing up on my blog whenever I need a lift or a dose of reality - TRY AGAIN and KEEP GOING. The best advice ever - so simple, yet so true!!

Ellie and I were cut from the same piece of cloth. When we were kids, if we wanted to play, we made our own toys, mainly paper dolls. Ellie is the same way today, inspired by her grandchildren, she started her own business, making clothes for little girls. What lucky grandchildren to have Ellie as dressing them in fantabulous beautiful colorful clothes!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Words of Encouragement . . .

Thank you CLYTIE . . .

Clytie is an artist who claims to "see things differently"
I think the only way she sees things differently is that she actually sees things that the rest of us don't.  She is an  APPRECIATOR and an OBSERVER,  in a world that has forgot the importance and the benefits of both.

And while she is OBSERVING, she APPRECIATES when those of us in her cyberWORLD need a cyberHUG, and she freely showers us with her Random Hearts. She is a treasure.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Words of encouragement . . .

Thank you PAUL KASMIR . . .

Paul reminded me of a few popular books that were rejected numerous times:

M*A*S*H, Richard Hooker - rejected 21 times
Carrie, Stephen King - rejected 30 times
Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell - rejected 38 times
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle - rejected 26 times
Heaven Knows Mr. Allison, Charles Shaw - rejected 20 times
Dune, Frank Herbert - rejected 23 times

Paul is a fabulous fantastical illustrator of whimsical gargoyles and toy animals.
Check out his YouTube video - Taurus Remembers

Friday, November 18, 2011

Words of Encouragement . . .

Thank You - Jamie Burch . . .

Jamie sent me these words

"Remember - dreams are just your future waiting to come true"

I sent these words to her a year or so ago, and now they found their way back to me.

Jamie is an aspiring YA novelist. I expect to see her books on the best seller list in a year or two.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Don't give up your DAY JOB!

Ahh the critique. The baring of the soul. Letting a perfect stranger see your hopes and dreams. Being able to say THANK YOU as they gently tell you  - you are ordinary - you are the same as every other artist trying to make their mark -you are bold and brave yet humble and touched. My two hundred page book is just a small idea not big enough to support a real book,  I need to write a big story with my little idea in the middle. So - I have no book, no reserved spot on a library shelf, no movie deal - and no AUTOGRAPH from Wendy Loggia! Plus, I am a year behind on my art projects with nothing new to post on my blog.

But what I do have is an admiration for the writers with big ideas for their big books. An admiration for the writer who can remember 65,000 words ago whether they gave their main character her birthday yet this year, or if her brother's name is Zach or Justin, or was that the Dad's name? or if her bedroom is on the first or second floor of her house. Things we readers think our authors most certainly know!

Plus, I am still a great reader. And those writers with their big ideas wouldn't be so great if it wasn't for us great readers. I still have that!

Honestly - the critique was exactly as I expected, I am a first time writer. And all my first time writer weaknesses were evident. I knew they were there. But writing a novel was on my bucket list and now it's not. And the next time I illustrate a manuscript, I will do it with reverence and awe!

ps - Wendy Loggia was sweet, with true grace she let me down gently without saying those dreaded words - you suck!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wendy Loggia - Ever After

This weekend I am attending a SCBWI conference in Gettysburg PA. It's a huge conference for the Eastern PA and Western PA chapter, and Maryland Chapter.

I always love these conferences, so much to learn and great fun! As you all know I am primarily an artist, and even though I write picture books, I am not published. But recently, on a lark, I thought I would try my hand at writing a YA novel. I had an idea that gnawed at my brain and wouldn't leave me alone. It was a big idea, one that would never do in a picture book. After a few months, I gave in to the YA novel idea. I wrote the novel. I wrote it three times and I see at least twenty more rewrites in my future. Picture books, with their 800 words are a piece of cake compared to 70,000 words. Lord knows I was challenged! Long story short - I threw aside self-doubt and signed up for a book critique at this conference. Self doubt came back with a vengeance and I have regretted it ever since.

I received my critique appointment, this Saturday, 9:15am, with no other than
Wendy Loggia.
Author of
Ever After,
and Editor of
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Are you serious?

It's too late to crawl in a hole, travel to the other side of the world, or have my wisdom teeth extracted - anything to avoid this appointment. I will be there. I figure all is not lost, for my $40 critique fee,
I'm getting one hell of an autograph!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Self Portrait in Charcoal.
This painting was also juried into the York Art Association's Juried Exhibit.
Doesn't look exactly like me, looks more like my cousin Juanita.
It's the first time I used this process for charcoal - covered the paper with charcoal dust,
then removed the highlighted areas with a kneaded eraser,
and added charcoal for the darker areas.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Award of MERIT
for my "White Rabbit"

October 9th, 2011. Over 300 paintings were entered,
136 were juried into the show.
There were 7 prizes awarded before me, so I was actually 8th.
Still - not bad for The White Rabbit!
Go the the website to see the winners.

I had a second painting juried in, a charcoal self portrait -
I'll post it as soon as I get a photo.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Newest Patron

This is my newest and youngest PATRON of the ARTS,
not KC the dog, but, Caleb, the baby.
please note: this is not my baby, my baby is over 30, this is her girl friend's new born.
I wish I were that young again!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Painting the Farm

Oh, the critique - guess what all of them did not like -
the Cobalt blue "Parrish" sky.
They said, since my instructions were to "paint the land", the blue sky was the first thing their eyes were drawn to, that it was a distraction from the "LAND".
So - good-bye to my cobalt blue sky.
This is the finished painting I will be submitting for the show.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Painting the Farm

Finally, nearly finished.
I added a hint of the farm house and barn.
My "Parrish" sky is just as imagined it would be.
I've sent the photo off to some friends for a critique.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Painting the Farm

Maxfield Parrish used a glazing technique in his paintings, only he used oils and I am using acrylics. He was famous for his COBALT BLUE SKIES, so much so that a cobalt blue skies in a landscape paintings came to be known as a PARRISH SKY.

You're probably wondering why this version doesn't look much different than the last one - the changes are subtle - I agree. But I have added more that 6 to 8 new layers of color. It is a very slow process.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Painting the Farm

I am using the glazing technique for this painting.
Just like the colored pencils I love so much, I am painting many layers of
 transparent paint to reach the color I desire.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Painting the Farm

My instruction for painting this farm are to "paint the land",
the buildings should not be the main focus. Which is why I chose this panoramic view. There will be a slight view of the house and barn, tucked behind the trees.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Painting the Farm


The painting has officially begun. I've chosen to do the underpainting in lights and darks using purple and yellow.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Painting the Farm

Time for supplies, I was going to order from my favorite art supplier - Dick Blick - but I know I would order way more than I need, so it was off to AC Moore with my 40% coupon.

With my newly aquired 36 x 24" canvas and my charcoal pencils, I've sketched the farm. A little spray fixative and a light coat of watered down gesso to seal the charcoal.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer is over - Back to Work!

I have a new project! I'm doing a painting of a local farm that has been put in the Preserved Land Trust. The painting will be part of an exhibit at the York Art Association next April 2012 - but it needs to be completed this October 1st. I visited the farm a few weekends ago and took over hundred photos - thank goodness for digital cameras.

Now I have to plan the painting and decide what view I want to use. I want a more interesting sky, so I've chosen the farm landscape and added a menacing sky from my own photo collection. So, out of the 100+ photos I took, I used (4).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Freedom, PA vs Irene 8.28.2011

Irene has come and gone. She brought with her a lot of rain and has left a lot of wind. All in all, for us it was just a tropical storm or Nature's Spring Cleaning. Below is a BEFORE picture of our lake. They are fixing our dams and had lowered the level of water by almost half.
This morning, after the showers had passed, I ventured out to take a few AFTER pictures, as Irene has seen fit to fill our lake up to its original level and then some. During the summer, a mammouth sunflower planted by the birds had taken root in the mud beside our pier, as you can see, she is quite underwater.

This picture above is the view I have of my neighbors backyard. The water is a few feet up his yard. But what I hadn't noticed was the tree now covering his pier, top left corner of the photo. Can't see his flagpole anymore!
I walked around to the other side of his house - turns out it was the next neighbor who had lost two big big trees. One fell to the right onto the neighbors pier, just missing the corner of his house. The second tree fell toward the lake and took out half of a beautiful ancient willow tree.

So all in all - blessings all around - no one was hurt - no property damage except for the pier. And to think my main concern this morning was my sunflower!


   Merry Christmas