Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Greetings!  Sorry I've been so quiet here lately, there is just so much to do and so much going on out there in the world that has kept me occupied in one way or another.  Here at home, I have a painting I'm working on that has to be finished by the end of the month for a February show.  I've also been researching for my book and have started the big rewrite.  And I just got a few of my paintings back from a gallery that I will be setting up in my Etsy shop just as soon as I have a moment (I will let you know when, sometime after Christmas it seems).  Oh, all that and it is almost Christmas.  My, how that snuck up on me this year!

Best wishes to you for the holidays!  Thank you everyone who has ever bought a painting or print, or follows my blog, or my Twitter, or my shop.  I appreciate you all!

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Paintings

Greetings!  It is the last day of NaNoWriMo and I have one scene left to write!  I passed the 50,000 mark around a week ago but have been hopeful I would complete the entire first draft before the end of the month and, barring major catastrophe, it looks like that will happen.  Of course, next there will be a ton of research to do followed by a major re-write.  But the bones are all there and I am feeling pretty good about it.

Now, onto paintings.  Last week I brought to the Mary Lou Zeek Gallery three new little portraits for their holiday showcase.  Each are 4 x 4 inches on wood panels painted in acrylic and are priced at $130 each.




And finally, I just put this last one in my Etsy shop.  It is also painted in acrylic but this one is a little larger on a 6 x 6 inch panel:


Now I better get back to my writing!  Hope to be back soon because, shame on me, where are all my Hobbit posts?  Hmmm....

Friday, November 9, 2012

This Week

Greetings!  I should be doing a Hobbit post, but perhaps later...  I thought I'd stop in to update you on my progress with NaNoWriMo and just a few other miscellaneous things.

First, a little late but so cute I had to share:

My six year old daughter designed these pumpkins and then I carved them.  I particularly like the one on the left, despite all the teeth I had to carve.  The angry cat on the right was considerably easier.

Next, an update on my book.  I am having a blast getting back to writing, I must admit!  I crossed the 20,000 word threshold yesterday, so I am feeling very good with my progress.  The story is coming along beautifully and I am having very little trouble so far despite the scant research I was able to do before starting.  It will certainly need a rewrite later with said research complete, but for now it is really not slowing me down. Are you curious about the story at all?  I will tell you that it is a historical mystery with just a hint of romance thrown in.  While this is not the first book I have written, it is the first full fledged mystery and I am having a lot of fun crafting it.  I have many notes, charts, outlines stuffed around my desk so I do not forget where I've been nor where I am going because it can get a little confusing and overwhelming at times given that I'm trying to get the first draft done in one month.  The goal for NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words and I will be quite happy if I reach that, but I'm rather hoping to finish the story (which I think will be quite a bit longer than 50,000).  I feel very confident about 50,000 words, less so about more, for the month.  But as I'm the sort that thrives under a goal and pressure so, barring illness or any other complications, I'll bet I will make it.

In other news, I'm working on some little portraits that will be traveling to the Mary Lou Zeek Gallery for her holiday showcase in December.  Just a few little ones, having some fun with the colors.  And I have an idea for something new for those little pieces, but it might have to wait until after the holidays as I have a larger painting that will need to get finished up next for a show in February.

And lastly, had to share this with you.  I popped over to Salem Art Association yesterday because their holiday showcase is up, but in particular I wanted to see my friend Bonnie Hull's special duct tape collages.  She is an amazing painter and quilter who also has a weakness for duct tape.  I managed to get one for myself:

Isn't that fun?  And only $10, I could not pass it up and am rather tempted to go back for more.  Please excuse the quality of the photo, it is rather difficult to photograph duct tape I discovered.  Here it is again on the shelf in my studio along with a couple of the portraits I'm still working on:

And my Andy Warhol Tomato Soup can I picked up from Target not too long ago.  Had to have one of those for my studio.  And finally, a look at what are probably my last roses of the season from my garden:

I only wish you could smell them, so lovely.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Unless you have heard of it before, I'm sure you are scratching your head at my post title.  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and November is the month.  Each person who signs up attempts to write a 50,000 word (or more) novel by the end of the month.  And yes, I'm going to do it.  Are you?

Inspired and encouraged by my dear friend Vivienne who is also participating, we are hoping for strength in numbers I think.  So art will take a bit of a back seat for me this coming month BUT I do have a few paintings I need to get finished so not to fear, there will still be art showing up around here.  Also, as I mentioned in my last post, I am behind in Hobbit posts.  So, while I don't plan to do much on my Hobbit project this month (which if you have been following you will know I had hoped to finish it in November, but I'm thinking it will like more be sometime closer to the end of January.  Shocking!  But, I started it at the end of last January and it feels ok to me to drag it out to a full year.), I will still have plenty of posting of illustrations to come.  I am close to 50 behind, in fact.  Oops! :)

By the way, I have a new Twitter address.  I have had two Twitter accounts, one for art, one for reading and whatever.  I have decided to combine the two and sorry if you don't like tweets about what I'm reading but I don't Twitter much anyway so I doubt you will mind?  So if you just follow my art Twitter you will want to move your following over to the new one.  Hope that all made sense.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

There and Back again, Page 145 to 149

Woefully behind here, sorry, life just keeps getting in the way.  So let us get right to a few Hobbit illustrations.

From: There and Back again, An Illustration Project of The Hobbit

Page 145
Page 145: "Bombur slept on with a smile on his face, as if he no longer cared for all the troubles that vexed him."

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 146
Page 146: "There was a greenish light about them, and in places they could see some distance to either side of the path.  Yet the light only showed them endless lines of straight grey trunks like the pillars of some huge twilight hall."

Acrylic gouache on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 147
Page 147: "Bilbo's eyes were nearly blinded by the light."

Acrylic gouache on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 148
Page 148: "His heart, that had been lightened by the sight of the sun and the feel of the wind, sank back into his toes..."

Ink and acrylic gouache on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 149
Page 149: "'I dreamed I was walking in a forest rather like this one, only lit with torches on the trees and lamps swinging from the branches and fires burning on the ground."

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Upcoming Show: Face the Public

Hello all, I'm in a new show this month.  For the third year, I''m honored to have been invited to participate in Face the Public at Mary Lou Zeek Gallery.  It is a group show and a group painting in which each artist paints a square from a well-known painting selected by the gallery.  This year the painting is Van Gogh's "Bedroom in Arles":

My section will be the top right and will include some of those paintings on the wall.  Unlike the painting above, which is from 1888, we are actually painting the 1889 version he made and I've been trying to research which Van Gogh paintings he depicted in that section.  Unfortunately, I have only been able to find out about the version he painted of this in 1888 and the people are decidedly different.  If you know, I'd love to find out!

The reception for the show is tomorrow night: Wednesday, October 2nd, from 5 to 7pm.  I will be painting my section on Tuesday, October 9th, from about noon until I finish.  You can find out more about the show and see when the other artists will be painting here.

Each of the artists in the show will also display a piece of their own and here is the painting I submitted:

Still Life with Rudy's Feathers, acrylic on 12 x 16 inch wood panel.


Rudy is the name of my bird, though those are not all his feathers (I think there is a hawk and a crow feather in there).  Just the pink ones though in real life they are red.  I was going to title the piece Still Life with Alex's Feathers because they are my daughter's collection but then I didn't want anyone to think the photograph in the painting is her.  Now they will just think the girl's name is Rudy I suppose.  I have painted that little girl three times now, though I'm sure she looks different every time.  I have found 2 different photographs of her (at my local antique shop I think).  The one above and then the one I based this painting on:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

There and Back again, Page 139 to 144

Happy weekend all.  I'll be back in a day or so with news about an upcoming show.  For now though... 

From: There and Back again, An Illustration Project of The Hobbit

Page 139
Page 139: "Soon the light at the gate was like a little bright hole far behind, and the quiet was so deep that their feet seemed to thump along while all the trees leaned over them and listened."

Acrylic gouache, ink, and colored pencil on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 140
Page 140: "...dark dense cobwebs with threads extraordinarily thick, often stretched from tree to tree, or tangled in the lower branches on either side of them."

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 141
 Page 141: " brought thousands of dark-grey and black moths, some nearly as big as your hand, flapping and whirring..."

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 142
 Page 142: Inspired by the boat in the poisonous black water.

Acrylic gouache and ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 143
Page 143: "They tugged and tugged, and suddenly they all fell over on their backs."

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 144
Page 144: "Out of the gloom came suddenly the shape of a flying deer... High it sprang and cleared the water with a mighty jump."

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Paintings

I seemed to have been stockpiling my paintings over the last few months.  So let me get right to sharing all this work, finally, with you.  The link on each painting will take you to the Etsy shop listing.

Starting with some new little portraits:

Oliver Balkaner, acrylic on 5 x 7 inch wood panel.  

The last name was chosen because my daughter thought it should begin with a "b" because he likes books.  Totally made up of course.

Little Miss, acrylic on 3 x 5 inch wood panel.  

Maribeth, acrylic on 5 x 7 inch wood panel.

Olive Little, acrylic on 4 x 4 inch wood panel.

And this new abstract:

An abstract of how I start my day, acrylic on 10 x 10 inch wood panel.

And finally some somewhat abstract paintings inspired by the flowers of spring and summer:

Rhododendron abstract, acrylic on 16 x 16 inch wood panel.

I want to show you something: Alex's Leaves, acrylic on 10 x 10 inch panel.

Had to name it that, not a day goes by without a "Mom, I want to show you something...".  She was collecting these leaves earlier in the summer from the dogwood tree.  They were green to yellow with red in the middle (hope that is not a bad sign for the tree), but I ended up going all red.

White rose abstract, acrylic on 6 x 6 inch panel.

White iris abstract, acrylic on 6 x 8 inch panel.

Spring Flowers, summer storm, acrylic on 12 x 12 inch panel.

That is all of them.  You can see I was playing around with some different ideas over the summer.  I hope to be back in a couple of days with, you guessed it, more Hobbit illustrations.  Have a good rest of your week!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Hobbit Day! There and Back again, Page 130 to 138

Happy Hobbit Day everyone!  And in case you missed it in my last post, here is the link to see the new preview for the upcoming film.

Now for some illustrations and there will be more to come next week along with some new (non-hobbit) paintings.

From: There and Back again, An Illustration Project of The Hobbit

Page 130
Page 130: "...and also because of the burning of the chief wolf's nose..."

Ink and acrylic gouache on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 131
 Page 131: "There is one stream there I know, black and strong which crosses the path."

Ink and colored pencil on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 132
Page 132: "But their spirits sank at his grave words, and they all felt that the adventure was far more dangerous than they had thought, while all the time, even if they passed all the perils of the road, the dragon was waiting at the end."

Acrylic gouache, ink, colored pencil on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 133
 Page 133: "The sun had only just turned west when they started, and till evening it lay golden on the land about them."

Acrylic gouache and ink on 6 x 8 paper.

Page 134
Page 134: "Their trunks were huge and gnarled, their branches twisted, their leaves were dark and long."

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 135
Page 135: "'Well, here is Mirkwood!' said Gandalf.   'The greatest of the forests of the Northern world.'"

Acrylic gouache on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 136
 Page 136: (inside Mirkwood forest) "...dark in there in the morning as at night, and very secret..."

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 137
 Page 137: "'Stick to the forest-track, keep your spirits up, hope for the best...'"

Acrylic gouache and colored pencil on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 138
Page 138: "...and turned from the light that lay on the lands outside and plunged into the forest."

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

There and Back again, Page 120 to 129

Greetings!  I've been under the weather for several days now but absolutely needed to get a couple of these posts up this week because, aside from being behind on it anyway, it is Tolkein Week.  That's right!  Tolkein Week is the week including September 22nd, this week, which is celebrated for being the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins (though born in different years, naturally).  Fans of Tolkein all over the world are planning special celebrations for Saturday, the 22nd, so I will try especially hard to get another post up on that day in honor of the occasion.

And!!  So excited to share this!  If you'd like to see a preview of the upcoming film (the first of three hobbit films that is), you can find the link here.  Just released today.  So cool.

But it is not all just Hobbit around here, I'm working hard to put the final touches on a batch of paintings that I hope to post early next week, if not sooner.  There are I believe 10 paintings including even a few little portraits which I haven't painted in a very long time.  These are all pieces I worked on over the summer and they are now all varnished and just getting tidied up, strung to hang, and photographed.  All of which seems to take quite a long time but I'm almost done.  Looking forward to sharing them with you.

But for now, onto my little hobbit friend.

From: There and Back again, An Illustration Project of The Hobbit

Page 120
Page 120: "'There was a terrible storm; the stone giants were out hurling rocks...'"

Acrylic gouache on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 121
 Page 121: "'A dozen!  That's the first time I've heard eight called a dozen.  Or have you still got some more jacks that haven't come out of their boxes?'"

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 122
Page 122: "'There we were with the wolves going mad underneath us and the forest beginning to blaze in places...'"

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 123
Page 123: "...the sun had fallen behind the peaks of the Misty Mountains and the shadows were long in Beorn's garden."

Ink, acrylic gouache, and colored pencil on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 124
Page 124: "Then baa-baa-baa! was heard, and in came some snow-white sheep led by a large coal-black ram.  One bore a white cloth embroidered at the edges with figures of animals..."

Acrylic gouache and ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 125
Page 125: "Whether it was magic or not, it seemed to Bilbo that he heard a sound like wind in the branches stirring in the rafters, and the hoot of owls."

Acrylic gouache and ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 126
Page 126:             "It left the world and took its flight
                               over the wide seas of the night.
                               The moon set sail upon the gale,
                               and stars were fanned to leaping light."

 Acrylic gouache and ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 127
Page 127: "...a splash of white on the floor came from the high moon, which was peering down through the smoke-hole in the roof."

Ink and acrylic gouache on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 128
 Page 128: "...he was so busy sending smoke-rings dodging round the pillars of the hall, changing them into all sorts of different shapes and colors..."

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.

Page 129
Page 129: "...till he dreamed a dream of hundreds of black bears dancing slow heavy dances round and round in the moonlight in the courtyard."

Ink on 6 x 8 inch paper.