Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Years Eve

Acrylic on archival bristol board

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

~Lord Alfred Tennyson

Friday, December 30, 2011

Hearts...More of Them

Glad to see them everywhere in my world. All in one day actually! It's a thrill to see them appear. (Photos were not manipulated.)

Can't believe there's
a heart in my butter

Rice Crispies sending
out the love

Sunshine on my carpet

And of course, the most beautiful one of all:
(And more HEARTS from the past).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sonnet and Graphite

Graphite on Xerox paper
Quick Sketch

My beautiful cousin Bianca posted this lovely poem on my Facebook wall this morning. I've been lost in the words ever since. Wanted to share:

Sonnet XVII

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this:

where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
― Pablo Neruda

Graphite on Xerox paper
Quick Sketch

Beautiful. Perhaps someone loves me without me knowing. The thought inspires me to create....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Impromptu drawing of Tony
Done with both hands at once.

Sometimes you just have to stop and thank your lucky stars you have the people in your life that you do. This past Christmas I was fortune enough to be able to spend time with my adopted brother Tony. I've known him since I was in my early teens and I can honestly say that he is one of the most loving, generous and caring people I have ever met. The transition to PA would never have gone as well as it did without him there.

Yeah, cause Tony doesn't just show up to help you unload a whole Budget rental truck cause he's got muscle to spare. Oh no, Tony is there with tissues to dry your eyes and a nice hot cup of fresh coffee and a ton of laughs waiting to sooth your soul. The only words that come to mind as I remember this time: I AM BLESSED.

How fortunate I was able to get this photo (compliments of my friend Tracey). It will be printed and hung in my house somewhere. We are all on a journey together. Some come and go from our lives quickly. Some come in and go out and come back again. How fortunate we are to have all these souls interacting with ours. As this year winds down and Im thinking of all that has transpired in the last twelve months I give thanks for all those wonderful souls in mine.

You are all loved.
Thank you for being in mine and enriching me and helping me in my journey.

My adopted brother Tony

Monday, December 26, 2011

Love Trumps...Of Course, a Puppy Helps Too

No need to be concerned...
tree is not on fire....just well lit!

A large part of me has grown to hate Christmas. So many people have lost sight of the true meaning which revolves around love and light and for Christians like myself, a birth, which brings hope. Every year remembering Christ's birth brings new hope for a new year. Each year I seem to spend more and more time watching people on the sidelines as they display less than human qualities during this special time. In most cases, I don't even want to draw them. Their energy drains me and they make me feel very uninspired.

This holiday brought a *trunk* full of toys/gifts for my son (from family/friends on both sides) which was carted from one car to another at a drop off point where my x-husband and I meet to exchange our son. It was, to say the least, uninspiring for me. I must admit the x looked uninspired as well. Leggos, Halos, DNS with games and a ton of other boxes including a DVD player all packed into my little car and then all was carted out of the car into the house and placed under the tree to stay until the Epiphany.

The Epiphany....yeah, that's when the Wise Men come to visit the Christ child. Of course I'm not sure what the Wise men would say to such an overload if our house was the one they had to visit. Would they frown? Could they pick the winner in the Family Feud of whom trumped whom this year? Maybe the one wiseman would say, "Hay this cardboard house you put together and color is awesome!" while the other would disagree as he was toggling through the "Rango" scene selections on the latest kid sized portable dvd player. Or maybe they would be pleased to see that in the end the real meaning hasn't been completely lost. There are some things that are just timeless and no matter how new, how shiny or how "latest/greatest" something is kids just instinctively know the real deal and when presented with it they go for it without question. In the end, love in every form prevails and all a child really needs and remembers is the love and the attention you give them. The rest is just extra and frankly, unnecessary.

Love trumps all

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Live Sketching...Before Christmas Eve

The day was spent doing nothing. I forced myself to just sit and do nothing. I have to be honest, it was a most difficult task for me. By 5PM I was going stir crazy and thoughts of sketching people filled my brain. By 6PM I was preparing my little sketching knapsack for adventure. By 7PM I was out the door and headed out to sketch. I put a call out hoping my cousins or friends might be hanging at some bars. I would have dropped by because I need a new place to sketch, but it is a very busy time of year and no one really responded so just the knapsack and I headed for the casino and to the old standby Tommyboy's Bar and Grill.

I had a bit of a breakthrough drawing wise last night. I was able to draw men easier. I don't know why it was so, but it was and I ran with it. I normally shy away from drawing men because women just come easier. Perhaps its because I can relate to the body structure of a woman better and it just comes natural. I don't know all I know is I loved that so many men were sporting facial hair. It was really fun to capture on paper with the Prismacolor pencil.

Here are the best drawings from last night.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Toe Curler...

Little bird and blue envelopes
what's there not to love about that?

I have a love affair. A love affair with paper. Dangle paper in front of me and I just can't resist following. During my last jaunt to the stores to fulfill my Christmas shopping list I noticed (at checkout) the lovely notecards just waiting for a sucker like me. Blues, pinks, yellows, fancy printing, scalloped edges, boxes with ribbon pulls and something that looked like toile all caught my attention and I just couldn't resist treating myself.

The bird clenched it for me

Forget bags and shoes and clothes or even housewares, paper just makes my toes curl.

Nothing like good paper
for a fresh nib

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Two on the desk

The reality of it is I have not one, but two computers cluttering my already tiny desk. The old one is giving major fits, especially on the keyboard and pad and it still will not run the internet, but it has all my design programs on it (CS2) and I have to wait to get CS5 for the new computer. There is so much stored in my old computer that I need to transfer to the new computer that I'm not sure where to begin. All I know is if I keep both open and work on one then on the other things are sorta getting accomplished.

I will say I hate all the "extras" on the new Mac. Most of it is unnecessary in my opinion and the stuff I came to love on the old Mac (like having a large time clock with date sitting on my desktop screen) is gone. There are a ton of windows that pop open when Im trying to click on links or refresh a page. I had a hell of a time trying to find the side scroll bar till I figured out how to adjust it. Whine. LOL I miss my old computer and fear I will need to take some time during Christmas break to just fiddle with all the "extras" and get familiar with the "Lion" here. One definite perk is that the new machine has a brand new battery which means I can get familiar in front of the fire place or in the kitchen or anywhere I choose since it can travel away from a wall plug. In time Im sure I'll come to love it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Technically Speaking

Pen & ink and acrylics on Bristol
FS please email:

I have a love hate relationship with technology. I love that my computer is always on and instantly connects me with the world and that I can share what I make with everyone in the world. I hate when I can't get online. There is disbelief, then panic, then madness that ensues. How? Why? What? GRRR!! Help!

I've slowly been telling myself that next year I'd probably have to get a new Mac. This old 10.4 was ancient and things weren't running as smoothly as they once were. "Next year," I kept saying, but the old Mac was done. He wanted out and no amount of coaxing or pleading would bring him back, so, out went the old and in came the new. So far Im not totally liking my new Mac "Lion". I miss the familiarity of my old Mac and its lovely 13" screen. Take away 2" and suddenly I feel closed in and can't see. How will I design with less visual space? :/ I can't seem to focus on the type. Its too small which makes me feel old. Where's my glasses? What?

So along with trying to catch up on orders and dealing with Christmas I will have to make some time soon to fiddle with the "Lion".

Teeny tiny drawings
2" x 2 3/8"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Nine Little Landscapes

Palettes and canvases ready

First Christmas in the new home required a party. Just a little something to not only say thank you to my family and to my friends who continually helped me out in various way throughout the year, but to officially unveil the house dressed up in it's finest. The tree was lit as was the fireplace and food and drinks were in abundance. There was much talk both light and deep.

I wish all my friends who were invited came. Not all did. I understand. It would have been nice to see everyone again all together under my roof. The retelling (or in some instances telling for the first time) the story of how I came about getting the house (nail biting experience) would have been even better and all the trials and tribulations of new home ownership even funnier. For those that were there though the night went late and it was a night of joy, celebration and nine little paintings for my dear friends and family.

I have to thank my dear, dear friend Char who traveled two hours to celebrate with me. Who has been there continually throughout my new house transition. The night ran as smooth and as well as it did because of you. I cherish our deep and profound conversations. Try and remember, and I will too, that sometimes not getting what you want IS a wonderful stroke of luck.

Okay....who am I kidding? Only another Baja Rosa will help.

Pencil outline on canvas

Blocking in the sky

Blocking in the ground.

Adding trees and details.


Finishes with added hanging ribbon

One left as is and propped
on an easel.

There was one person invited that I suspected didn't have a tree so I decided to pop that piece up against a mini easel (which rendered a very cool effect.) Next time I paint a series of mini canvases I will have to definitely offer them with mini easels.

~"Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck." ~ Dalai Lama

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dog Portrait: Step-by-Step

This dog portrait on canvas took a while to produce. For whatever reason my mind was like a record skipping when it came to the eyes. Although I only documented the eye change once here I actually had to change the eyes three times. Thankfully in the end I did get to finish. I documented the painting process.

Pencil drawing and blocking in color

Blocking in more color

Hated how the eyes were coming along...

....soooo, I nixed them with gesso

Look, deep into my eyes! LOL

Finish. The dog in real life
does look like he's totally smiling
when his mouth is open.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bar Sketching -Tommyboy's Bar & Grill

As Im sketching brother says,
"Hay, I think I know him!" He did!

Wings. Beer. My baby brother....and a ton of people to sketch once again at the local bar. The beer was good. The wings, excellent as was the company and the sketching was fun. One theme throughout the night was "hats". Most people were wearing hats which proved to be a challenge to draw since most were floppy fabric hats. I only included the hat sketches I felt were "somewhat" of a success. Most were flops. I just couldn't draw them on the heads. These were some of my favorites from the night.

That's a beret. It was difficult.
I don't feel I succeeded in capturing it, but
I love the way this drawing came out.