Tuesday, December 31, 2013

last man

Titled "Last Man Standing", the last of the gingerbread people, and the last of the Christmas sweets.

Monday, December 30, 2013

not just any cookie

This is the last of the salted caramel coconut shortbread cookies that my daughter made. Not just any old cookie but the most mouth watering delicious bite to be found in our household.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The last cinnamon roll

 I saved this last one from Christmas Day because I really wanted to paint a sketch of it. Four days later? Should I have just gone ahead and enjoyed it with my cup of tea?
I am not much of a cook but I go all out on Christmas morning for my family. I made 4 big pans of these and we ate them right after I pulled them out of the oven. I have been in a sentimental painting phase. I  enjoyed some of the days following Christmas by filling the last pages of my little watercolor sketchbook. A cup of tea and a cookie, or clementine, or the last sweet roll seemed to call for a study and a memory.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

this is the season

My first sketch of my new granddaughter. She is six months old now and I was so certain that I would be drawing sketches and portraits of her every day from the moment of her birth which I witnessed. Now I remember why I didn't sketch my own children as much as I would have liked. I was always holding them or caring for them in some way that left me with little time to sit and stare.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
there'd have been no room for the child.

"After Annunciation"
Madeleine L'Engle
I drew this on Christmas Day of my mother-in-law. One of my favorite subjects and not only because she does not move around as much as everyone else. The dear lady spent her day contentedly sitting in a comfy chair watching her six-month-old great grandchild play with her toes and laugh. And that is enough reason for the celebration of this Day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

bit of sunshine today

It is 4 degrees F outside and I sit in my studio gazing out the window at the snowy landscape. Before I get busy baking apple pies and cinnamon rolls for our Christmas feast tomorrow I will make a small painting of a yellow pepper in my small sketchbook. It is a lovely golden splendid bit of vegetable sunshine all by itself.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Saturday night Game

Saw a Chicago Bulls game on Saturday night, so exciting. I had my tiny sketchbook and an HB pencil in hand. It was really hard to catch any poses, the action was furious all night. My favorite Bulls player is Joakim Noah. He has a small head with sweet childlike features. The rest of him is lanky but muscular with a funny sort of grace. We had very nice courtside seats so I could see the individual players quite well. I kept waiting for Joakim Noah to return to this spot and particular pose under the net so that I could get more details and angles for this sketch.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

another saturday morning ironing

Conversation taking place in home of The Artist:
Family Member of The Artist "What (crazy demented activity now) are you doing?"
The Artist (author of this blog) "I am ironing my drawing."
"Why?"(questioner knows that Artist hates ironing )(see below*)
The Artist replies, "I need to iron this drawing so that I can get it to lie flat enough on my scanner."
"Why do you have to iron your artwork?" Family Member still doesn't understand.
Artist replies, patiently, "This drawing is wrinkled because I painted over the pencil work on the paper and the wrinkles show up when I scan it and I want to post this art on my blog, without the wrinkles."
Family Member, "Oh, can you iron this shirt for me too?"

(*) This Artist also hates cooking and most housekeeping chores.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving leftover

The General Thanksgiving 

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, 
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks, 
for all your goodness and lovingkindness 
to us and to all whom you have made. 
We bless you for our creation, preservation, 
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love 
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; 
for the means of grace and for the hope of glory. 
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ, Our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, 
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

thankful for apple pie

There is yet half a pie leftover from Thursday. And so there is something to look forward to when I serve the turkey soup tonight that I always make from the carcass.
We hosted a record gathering of 21 people for Thanksgiving this year. Our house is not really all that large so there was a lot of logistical planning involved.
I baked three apple pies myself in addition to the many dishes brought by all of our guests. It was an entertaining and thankful crowd, and a good time of feasting was had by all.
I sat down with my little sketchbook and paints to make a painting of the remains of the last pie on Friday morning. I was thinking as I observed it closely that drawing a pie wasn't that different from a landscape, all the convoluted facets and edges reminded me of boulders or mountain terrain.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Prayer of Thanksgiving

From the Book of Common Prayer.

Celebrant:  Let us Pray.

            Eternal God, Heavenly Father,
            You have graciously accepted us as living members
            of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ,
            And you have fed us with spiritual food
            in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.
            Send us now into the world in peace,
            and grant us strength and courage to love and
            serve you with gladness and singleness of heart;
            through Christ our Lord. Amen

Monday, November 25, 2013


My firstborn's birthday is today. His birth announcement here and a sketch I did when he was five days old. My memories of those days are still so sharp and sweet.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I want to live in Narnia

The original art for this tribute to C.S.Lewis and all things Narnian hangs in a hallway of my home. You can see it from the living room and we have kept it there for many years. I created this art in 1981. It was originally a gift to dear friends who had helped us  during a crisis. Knowing that the writings of C.S.Lewis have meant and still mean a great deal in shaping the lives of those friends (and ours), I spent a great amount of time on this. And, since I wasn't very long out of the Art Center years, I then thought of a way to make this into a portfolio piece. I had it printed as a poster with additional quotes from the Narnia stories printed on the bottom of the poster. The company who printed these for me did a wonderful job. I was ignorant at the time about violating copyright laws by using quotes from books without permission. I now know that the estate of C.S.Lewis is very serious about protecting these words. (I have only kept those posters for private use, and have never sold or used them for commercial purposes.)
Well, so I call it a tribute. The Narnia story books have been part of me for a very long time and I will always have a home in Narnia.
My first exposure was in the fourth grade when our teacher began reading aloud "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" to us. I did not wait for succeeding days of chapter reading in the classroom, I found a copy of the book and voraciously devoured the rest of the books. 

For this nine year old girl, the world of fantasy was a refuge. (I had always been a searcher in the shadows for fairies and more.) C.S.Lewis was not the only fantasy author who transported me, George McDonald and Tolkien and many others have been my inner life companions.
I was a dedicated reader early on and still am. My family and friends will attest to my ability to immerse in a book and not be able to hear them calling me. I frequently was in trouble as a child at boarding school because I would be curled in a corner, nose in a book, and the dorm mistress could not rouse me even when she stood above me shouting my name (to come to dinner). (Boarding School can bring out all sorts of strange survival traits) I continue to keep up this annoying ability to this day, my family thinks I do it on purpose. I don't, I really am deaf to the world when I read a good book.
Eventually I left home and went off to college, and Narnia continued to follow me. The day that I met my future husband (I was only 17!), he approached me and tried this cool pick-up line: He; "So, who is your favorite author?" Me, (very shyly) "C.S.Lewis". He; (head over heels in love with me already) "Wow, that's my favorite author too!" Four years later we were married.
Eventually we had four children ourselves. Two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve as they say in Narnia. Of course we read all the Narnia books to our children just as soon as we thought they could understand. I continued to work from home as an illustrator through all the years of raising our family. My children were frequently my models for children's publication assignments. They were accustomed to being asked to pose "stand here, hold this, now turn and look sad, or happy". Because I had the original art hanging in our hallway, my kids always thought they were the four children depicted in the art. At some point I explained to them the startling idea that I actually drew this art before they were born, before I had any idea what they would look like.
I still have a few copies of the poster left. I have given these away as personal gifts for years now. I have never sold them, although I have been asked. I have a file folder of letters that people have written to me. My poster was passed on to them from a friend of a friend and they don't know me but want to tell me their story and how my art has affected them. How unbelievably heart touching for me to hear that my art is meaningful to a stranger. One letter is from a mother whose little boy was killed in an accident. He had the poster hanging in his room,(I think my Mom might have known them and given them a copy). This woman wrote of gazing at my art while sitting in her boy's empty room.  I have also heard from people who were clients of a counselor who had the poster hanging in his office. These people wrote that they felt the healing gaze of Aslan (Jesus) while going through therapy.
These and many more stories are the reason that this art has been significant in my life. Another reason for posting this lengthy explanation would be that this November 22 is the 50th anniversary of the death of C.S.Lewis. On that same day, same year, 1963, Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) died and John F. Kennedy, the 35th American president was assassinated.

Friday, November 15, 2013

a lion, a witch, and an artist

I got a plug today from a friend and well-known many-times published author, Mark Galli. He writes  a column (and is Chief Editor) for Christianity Today, "The Galli Report" on issues that matter, often about Faith.  Here it is. Read his columns and then pick up a book or two of his, I recommend " Jesus Mean and Wild" and his book about St. Francis of Assisi.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lion country

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” 
 C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
He's wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”
― C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“Then Hwin, though shaking all over, gave a strange little neigh and trotted across to the Lion.
"Please," she said, "you're so beautiful. You may eat me if you like. I'd sooner be eaten by you than fed by anyone else.”
― C.S. LewisThe Horse and His Boy

“There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes.”
― C.S. Lewis

“A dragon has just flown over the tree-tops and lighted on the beach. Yes, I am afraid it is between us and the ship. And arrows are no use against dragons. And they're not at all afraid of fire."
"With your Majesty's leave-" began Reepicheep.
"No, Reepicheep," said the King very firmly, "you are not to attempt a single combat with it.” 
 C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

live like a Narnian

“This is the land of Narnia,' said the Faun, 'where we are now; all that lies between the lamp-post and the great castle of Cair Paravel on the eastern sea.”
― C.S. LewisThe Chronicles of Narnia

“One word, Ma'am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a playworld which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia.” The Silver Chair – Chapter 12

Monday, November 11, 2013

a nine year old girl and a Lion

“A long time ago, I opened a book, and this is what I found inside: a whole new world. It isn't the world I live in, although sometimes it looks a lot like it. Sometimes, though, it feels closest to my world when it doesn't look like it at all. That world is enormous, yet it all fits inside an everyday object. I don't have to keep everything I find there, but what I choose to take with me is more precious than anything I own, and there is always more where that came from. The world I found was inside a book, and then that world turned out to be made of even more books, each of which led to yet another world. It goes on forever and ever. At nine I thought I must get to Narnia or die. It would be a long time before I understood that I was already there.” 
 Laura Miller, The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia

Thursday, October 31, 2013

the lights went out

A Grandpa is telling stories to his grandsons on a stormy night. Scary stories told in the dark.
The winds were gusting fiercely one night and the power was out.I believe I did this illustration for a McGraw-Hill project, but it was a few years ago. This has always been one of my favorites because of the warmth of the family scene.This is a digital illustration, freehand line art and photoshop painting.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

a quick little likeness

Another one of the sketches from my little traveling sketchbook and using my miniature watercolor box. My sister posed for me while resting from our hiking trip. I think I caught a fleeting bit of likeness here and am pleased for the memories of the day.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

another sketch and another ghostly deer

I don't mean to say that these deer are ghosts. I mean to imply by my title the way in which a deer silently appears out of the shadows and then is looking right at you. Also I left the bit of white in my painting to show the sparkle of sunlight.

Friday, October 11, 2013

more sketchbook pages from Colorado mountain days

A herd of deer wandered slowly down to the pond.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

weekend trip

A quick trip to see the Colorado mountain colors this past weekend. We hiked to eleven thousand feet to see the grand views. I sat in the sunshine on a rock and painted in my little sketchbook. I brought my pencils and tiny watercolor box, but forgot a paintbrush. You can see I filled in the trees, sky and brilliant golden aspen colors by improvising with my fingertips and some rainwater. Ah so natural!
Lots of  fresh air and sunshine in the mountains to revive and inspire.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Progress today on a very large sunflower painting. 48"x36" acrylic on canvas. I finished my line drawing from live models (lots of sunflowers posed for me). Now it is washed with some coats of a warm undertone and ready to begin painting.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

update: Merit Award

My painting now displayed at the DuPage Art League in downtown Wheaton, Illinois has received a Merit Award. Nice! A few more of these awards and they will let me have a solo show.
The theme this month is "Memories". I titled mine "Memories of a Tropical Vacation in Midwinter". Surely I would hold on to such a memory if I had one.

It is of course a Hibiscus flower painting, acrylic on canvas, 24"x30". And it is displayed prominently in the window as you enter the gallery. The window is facing the street, (Front Street, Wheaton) so that even at night it is lit up and quite noticeable as you drive by. I am pleased.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

progress and process

Here is what is on my easel today. My process; drawing sunflowers from life, using a brush and watered down black acrylic as ink. I washed the canvas with a raw sienna tone, and am constantly adjusting and  re-arranging my composition as I use my living reference.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

folk music concert

Now on display

 At the DuPage Art League Gallery, this painting is now displayed in the front window. This month's theme is "Memories". I have titled this "Memories of a Tropical Vacation in Winter".

Friday, August 30, 2013

almost six

"Now We Are Six"

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.
 Author: A.A. Milne

Monday, August 26, 2013

flowers bigger than my head

My next big project will be a commissioned painting of sunflowers on a 48 by 36" canvas. 

Yay hooray.
A good friend brought these giant sunflowers over to my house to have for reference. The flowers are bigger than my head, the stalks are thicker than my arms, each one weighed so much I had to drag them around. Finally I trimmed what I wanted and arranged them in the biggest jars I have and set them on my desk.

My work is right before me! I love those great big leaves and all the tendrils and curling shapes.