Monday, December 24, 2007

'Tis the Season...

I just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful winter solstice. Yay, longer days are coming! I'm home for the holidays, and I was hoping to do some dashing through the snow, (even though we don't have the open sleigh), but now we seem to be missing an adequate amount of snow cover. I guess there's still time for it to arrive. Maybe I should do a little snow dance while singing 'White Christmas'.

I also just passed my 2nd year blog anniversary, and I appreciate everyone who's stopped by, and left words of encouragement. It really keeps me going, and always brightens my day. :)

A very Merry Christmas to all, and Have a Spectacular New Year!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Illustration Friday: Little Things

Sometimes it's the little things that make life wonderful like enjoying a pint at Ibsen's favorite pub.

Usually commercials are annoying, but I love the Citibank commercial with the father and son in Norway. The dad is so adorable, and has the most gentle, sweet eyes. I tried to capture some of his likeness, but I couldn't quite get his full cuteness. For those unfamiliar with this commercial the son asks his dad what he wants to do for his 60th birthday, and the dad says he'd like to go to Norway, the land of their ancestors. They sample the local fare. They see the fjords, and get new sweaters. Then they go to the hall of records, and discover that they are actually Swedish, and buy two tickets, and set off for all new adventures. You can see the video of the spot on YouTube here.

Special Thanks
to Norm Golden
for stopping by,
and sending me
this great photo!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My Top 25 Favorite Movies

I was tagged by the uber-talented illustrator, David Sones a.k.a. Pickeldog, to put together my list of top 25 favorite movies. Whenever asked this question I draw a blank. While there are many, many movies I've enjoyed I just can't go handing out the title of 'favorite' all willy nilly. It's been over a year since I've been to the theater, so if it's not on dvd I haven't seen it. There are only 7 movies that I personally own. To make it into my library a film must be full of artistic eye candy, and/or have a story that somehow pulls me in every time I see it. So, this list took some deep thought, and I feel like I'm forgetting some goodies, but here's the ones that came to mind.
  1. Run Lola Run
  2. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  3. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
  4. The Chronicles of Narnia
  5. James and the Giant Peach
  6. Empire of the Sun
  7. Children of Dune
  8. Memoirs of a Geisha
  9. Alice and Wonderland (Hallmark version)
  10. Lara Croft Tomb Raider
  11. Fight Club
  12. Pan's Labyrinth
  13. Mirrormask
  14. Ratatoulli
  15. The Princess Bride
  16. Star Wars (the original trilogy)
  17. Titanic
  18. Scrooged
  19. A League of Their Own
  20. Stranger Than Fiction
  21. Jumanji
  22. Back to the Future- trilogy
  23. Batman Begins
  24. The Neverending Story
  25. The Journey of Natty Gann
I now tag the following 5 incredible artists:
Eric Orchard
Andi Butler
James Bradshaw
Claudine Hellmuth
Michelle Lana

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Illustration Friday: Excess

When Ned walked into the laundry room and witnessed the overflow of excess suds he knew Billy had been up to trouble once again.

I'm lacking an excess of time this week, and the ideas weren't flowing so good, so I only have time for this quick colored sketch.

This topic made me think of the Tricky song, 'Excess', which is on his 'Blowback' album. I thought it would be fun to listen to while I brainstormed ideas, but my album seems to have gone missing. :(

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

5 becomes 8 Random Things Meme

I was tagged by 3 wonderful artists. Both Kimberly of Soggy Dog Studios and Sheree Boyd tagged me for 5 random things, and Linda of Sketched Out tagged me for 8, so I added a few to the list.

1) I absolutely love cats, but I don't own any myself. Instead, I count the days between visiting my parents and their 3 furry friends who I adore.

2) I'm an herbal/homeopathic remedies junkie. The Vitamin Shoppe is one of my favorite hangouts to support my habit. I can sometimes be obsessive about it. I realize that this can be viewed as unhealthy.

3) I'm a tv-oholic. My must-sees include 'Chuck', 'Heroes', 'Prison Break', 'Pushing Daisies', 'Reaper', 'Project Runway', 'Grey's Anatomy', 'Supernatural', and more. I also enjoy the Discovery Channel, History Channel, and the Food Network. But, most always I multi-task while I watch, or just listen. I'm often drawing, painting, reading the newspaper, or cooking dinner.

4) In grade school I once won a hula hoop contest because the other girl looked over at me, and couldn't stop laughing. My technique was apparently quite comical.

5) Chocolate is an essential part of my life. I could possible live without it, but really have no intention to. I don't need a lot. A few Toll House chocolate chips are enough to satisfy me, and get me through the day.

6) I was rear-ended just last week on Black Friday by a Direct Tv van.

7) My first job was at a vinyl window factory where after 2 years I learned just about every job in the plant, and could build a window from cut pieces on down to final assembly. Funny, how that skill doesn't come up much in day to day life.

8) I love to read horoscopes. I don't think they work for everyone, but I'm a very typical Pisces, and very often my life's ups and downs follow the star patterns. My favorite scope to read is my monthly horoscope over at Astrology Zone. Susan Miller is very thorough, and this month looks wonderful for me! :)

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I tag:
Trevor of The Art Pitt
Eric of Glimbit Art Blog
Amy of Amy Zaleski Illustration & Lettering
...and anyone else who wants to meme along! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pies and Pumpkin Cookies

I know thanksgiving has passed, but it is still November, and I'm not quite ready for the official beginning of the holiday season. I was home at my parents place for thanksgiving, and these were the pies my mom and I made. My mom always makes the pie dough, and the pumpkin filling, and my job is to make the cherry filling on the stove top, and decorate the crusts, which is my favorite part. I'm never quite sure what each year's design will be, so as they say on Project Runway it all comes together 'organically'. This year we added some wheat flour to the pumpkin crust hence the darker color. I used a maple leaf cookie cutter for the border. For the yummy cherry I went with a cherry tree of life sort of design with my traditional pinched crust border.
The pies were disappearing, so on Saturday I made a recipe that was printed in the Chicago Tribune, Mimi's Pumpkin Cookies. They were easy to make, and soooo delicious with their spicy pumpkiny goodness, and their brown sugar icing. I did make one change to the recipe. I substituted 1 cup of coconut oil for the 1 cup shortening. Everybody said 'Mmmm'..... I'll definitely make them again some day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Illustration Friday: Superstition

The Golden Compass hits theaters December 7, 2007, and already there are groups urging a ban of the movie. I haven't read the book, but I read about some of the controversy over the themes of past myths and superstitions on a forum that was linked to my Borders newsletter. I've never understood the banning of works of fiction. If one has a strong faith, than why is there so much fear of words?

I'm looking forward to the movie. The trailer looks amazing! I've always liked the idea of polar bears, or ice bears, as modes of transportation. Over at the Golden Compass website you can discover your daemon which is your animal spirit that accompanies you throughout your life, and represents a person's soul. After taking the quiz I met my daemon Remis the lion. I tend to identify with the cat family, so I think we are well matched. We're going to go watch some tv now. Heroes is starting to get good again :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Illustration Friday: Scale

During this last week we've had some large scale blustery autumn winds that have blown most of the beautifully colored leaves off the trees. The view out my window was so magnificent last weekend with the grandest maple tree in a full rainbow of color. But alas, now only a few leaves are still hanging on. It makes me want to go out, and hot glue them all back up there! :)

I started this gouache painting last week for the IF hats topic, but some other work became a priority, so I racked my brain to find a way to stretch the topic to fit this week.

The colors have gone, but are not forgotten.

Speaking of trees, so many were lost in the recent California fires. American Forests Organization wants to raise money to replace the trees. To donate, call 800-545-8733, or go to, and click on "Global ReLeaf", or the Plant Trees menu button. Each $1 donation plants one tree. I like knowing what exact benefit my donation can provide.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Illustration Friday: Grow

Frankie is hoping that his gift will help their friendship grow.

I'll also be submitting this to Penelope's Monster Mash contest.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Illustration Friday: Extremes

Ever since the new Tweet Shoppe opened the locals have been flocking to try out all the new gelato flavors. Flavors such as Sunflower Crunch, Very Berry Birdseed, Mealworm Mocha, and Slithering Earthworm Swirl would be considered extreme by our standards, but these feathered friends just call them yummy! :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
Today is Blog Action Day when 'bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment.' I find the idea that so many voices are focusing on one topic, especially one this important to be really amazing.

Sometimes I think it's funny how we say that environmentalists are fighting for the planet when in reality this planet doesn't care if it's too hot or if it's a solid ball of ice. It's been around for billions of trillions of years, and it will still be here in one form or another when we're gone.

When there's smog in our cities the Earth doesn't cough....we do. Trees supply oxygen to our planet, but when acres of forest are cut down, and countless plant species are lost, and yet another animal goes extinct, the Earth doesn't shed a tear, but I do.

Quite frankly, I'm saddened every time we lose a bit of nature because I selfishly like breathing fresh unfiltered air, and every plant lost may mean the loss of a potential cure to one of our human diseases.

Sometimes I think we should stop kidding ourselves that we're worried about this big rock we call a the planet. Being an environmentalist is all about our own survival, and wanting to live on a planet that's sky blue and grass green with splashes of the most amazing colors we've ever seen. Somewhere that's not filled with indecomposable trash. It's about wanting to live in a place where we're happy and surrounded by beauty. And for me, that's something worth fighting for. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Illustration Friday: Open

Poor Bridget! She was so busy talking on her cell phone
that she stepped back without noticing the open manhole.

This is an exciting week over at Illustration Friday with the first ever gallery contest.
You can vote for your 5 favorite illustrations here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Illustration Friday: The Blues

Last weekend the weather was beautiful so I went out and found a very nice forest preserve, and walked the tree-lined paths for a few miles. It was a perfect day except I noticed that others must have thought the woodland floor was for disposing their plastic bottles and other assorted trash. It got me thinking that living with all that litter must give the woodland creatures the blues.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Illustration Friday: Wedding

Her wedding day is a bride's happiest moment....or sometimes not.

I'll let you come up with the story for this one.

This week I was determined to attempt traditional painting again. My dependence on the computer has turned the paint brush into a foreign tool to me. I had fun working with my limited supply of acrylics (which is supplemented with clearance folk art craft paints), but I'm going to need so much more practice to better know what I'm doing.
The scan made some of the colors funny.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Illustration Friday: Momentum

A few weeks ago we had major flooding after thunderstorms tore through the area. I like to walk along the river, so I'm used to seeing the changes in the water level, but had never seen it spill over that much land. The river usually has a gentle flow over the dam, but after the storm it turned into raging rapids over the rocks. As it gained momentum it carried off anything in its path. Now that the waters have receded a bit I was exploring some of what had washed up on the banks. I found an area where black rocks and snail shells had been deposited. I collected some of the shells which had previously been hidden under the water, and imagined their wild river journey. I was planning on doing an ambitious painting to represent this story, but ended up with this more graphic approach. I had a lot of fun with this drawing.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Illustration Friday: Alphabet

Oliver is an obstetrician hence the baby octos.

Oh, I almost didn't have anything for this week. It was a busy labor day weekend of rest, relaxation, and good times followed by a week of catching up with work stress.
Thank goodness the new weekend is almost here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Illustration Friday: Visitors + Captain

Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit and gang were frequent visitors to ol' Mr. McGregor's garden, but they might have found even greater adventures if they'd taken to the high seas. They could have found gardens on every shore to plunder, and been up to their knees in cabbage while drinking pints of carrot juice ale.
As you can see this was started for last week's topic, but it didn't come together in time, so I tried to stretch the idea around to fit this week.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Illustration Friday: Emergency

After an emergency delivery a healthy baby boy fawn was successfully delivered. Mother deer is doing well, and getting her much needed rest.
I wanted to draw deer after seeing 3 the other day on my afternoon walk. They always look so gentle, delicate, and I imagine caring too, as I often see the babies staying close to their protective mothers. I believe they'd make excellent candy stripers.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Illustration Friday: Missing

Too Many Geese

Is Canada missing some geese? We have a bit of a Canadian Geese population overload around here. When I go on my walks they are just everywhere. When I drive to work I wait while they cross in front of my car, and when you don't see them you can easily tell where they've been by all the evidence they leave behind. In the spring the parks district has been working on some population control methods, but teaching geese to practice safe sex is a near impossible mission. I guess we could always play a round of 'duck duck goose', but we seem to be missing the ducks.

I'm not very happy with the coloring on this one. I was having trouble with the black getting away from me with my old stand by technique, and I was losing the drawing, so I included the sketch. I think I could do a better job with a traditional painting, but time is short, and I must be getting some sleep. I was missing in action here on the blog for a few months this summer, and now I'm still trying to get back into the drawing groove. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by, and left kind such comments. As always it's very much appreciated, and I love hearing from everyone.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Illustration Friday: Moon

Under the light
of the moon
darkness hides
And all things become clear

Or is it more accurate to say that sometimes the moon makes lunatics of us all?

Since my last week's Poem entry contained a moon
I thought why not throw a poem in this week.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Illustration Friday: Poem

Nobody knows it but me

by Patrick O'Leary

There's a place that I travel
When I want to roam
And nobody knows it but me.

The roads don't go there
And the signs stay home
And nobody knows it but me.

It's far far away
And way way afar
It's over the moon and the sea

And wherever you're going
that's wherever you are
And nobody knows it but me.

I guess this is further evidence that I'm an incurable tv-o-holic. The above is one of my favorite poems, and was recited by James Garner for a 2002 Chevy Tahoe commercial. It had an instant classical tone reminiscent of one of my other favorites Robert Frost's 'Road Less Traveled'. Some online research revealed that 'Nobody knows it but me' was written by an advertising executive. I think I'm always looking for places such as the ones written about here, little slices of heaven that make the days brighter. It appears I wasn't the only one who had an emotional response to the poem. Read the story here.

Cable tv has some good series starting this week. Tonight I watched 'Saving Grace' with Holly Hunter on TNT, and it was everything the critics said it would be. I thought it was like 'Touched by an Angel' on crack. Good Stuff! I'm looking forward to 'Damages' on FX tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Illustration Friday: Discovery

It's been forever since I've posted, and participated in Illustration Friday, so I thought even though I haven't colored this sketch yet it would be best just to post a work in progress, and update in a few days. I love the blogosphere, but lately my priorities have evolved to try to enjoy as many of these summer days as possible with long walks on the bike path, and spending as much time as possible enjoying these beautiful days. I often take my camera along to capture all the discoveries such as the 17 year cicadas, the blue herons, and the white egrets here in the Midwest. I'll be posting a little from my ever growing photo library soonish.

I haven't wanted to post until I update the 'ol blog look, but further template changes will have to wait until another day since I'm a bit tired this evening. (Maybe to much fresh air.)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Illustration Friday: Polar

This week's 'polar' topic made me think of polar fleece, and where it comes from. Not many people know of the rugged arctic sheep who produce this fabric, nor do they know of the dedication of the penguin shepherds who tend the flocks while keeping snuggly warm in their polar fleece vests.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Illustration Friday: Fortune

Roger the simian librarian has spent a fortune collecting first run editions of all his favorite novels. To him, they are a treasure more precious than all the gold in the world.

I'd like to say a big thank you, and that I'm flattered and honored to have just been spotlighted on Michelle Lana's site. Michelle is so sweet, and her creativity and hilarious sense of humor are a wonderful inspiration. Check out her awesomely fun blog.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Illustration Friday: Green

This week's super late entry is about the temporary loss of our spring green. I was thinking that I really do need to update my banner, especially to lose the snowflakes with it being spring and all, but then I went home to Indiana last weekend where snow soon covered the land. I had been disappointed about not having a white Christmas, so this made up for it I suppose. If anything, it inspired this little song:
I'm dreaming of a white Easter
Unlike the ones I used to know

Where the little chicks shiver,

and the Easter bunny quivers,

and the eggs are all buried under snow...

Here are my mom's daffodils and hyacinths with a fresh blanket of new fallen snow.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Illustration Friday: Hide

Hide!! Some bunny's looking for you.

Don't let the pink cuteness fool you.
Bunnies can be dangerous.

Just a quick mini sketch
slightly colored in photoshop.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Illustration Friday: Communication

The digital communication era is a thing of wonder, but it is also a bit of a curse. It's an easy way to stay in touch with friends and family, and it can introduce us to those we may never meet otherwise. But, it can also distance us from those we are closest to, and the world right outside our doors.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Illustration Friday: Gravity

For all the children of the world the big event ends on the 25th with the opening of all their presents, but for the elves and Santa's reindeer that is just the beginning of a week long celebration with cakes and cookies, and lots of egg nog. It never fails that every year Blitzen tends to overindulge during the festivities. This is bad news for a flying reindeer since gravity's pull feels much stronger on a full belly. So, he usually stays grounded the rest of the year until his personal trainer gets him back in shape for the next big night.

This may seem a bit past season, but Christmas has never ended for me. This is the time of year when we're creating next year's designs. I was trying to come up with some holiday patterns when this fellow ended up in my sketches. I was thinking of traditionally painting him, but decided to work out the colors digitally, and bring in a little scanned texture.

Has anyone ever had figgy pudding? I found some recipes online, and I was just wondering if it would be worth trying to make it for the holidays next year.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Illustration Friday: Crash

When I woke up this morning....well, I guess it would be yesterday now...anyway, all reports on the radio were suggesting if possible, it would be best to stay home due to snow and gusting winds. I'm not always one to do what I'm told, but that sounded like an absolutely marvelous idea! So, I used one of my vacation days, in order to have my very own snow day. It seemed like a good idea to avoid crashing into a snow drift. I decided in the spirit of the day to have fun with it, and enjoy myself. The first plan was to go back to bed, but I was too wide awake because I had already decided that this would be a painting day, and I was eager to get started. Since I had the time I fiddled away on the sketch longer than anticipated causing a late start, so I ended up finishing just a little while ago.

I had been wanting to experiment more with acrylics for quite some time, so it was good to finally follow through. My paint supply is a bit lacking at the moment, so I had to supplement with fabric paints to give me a broader color range. I did a thin value study wash, and then played with thicker layers of colors over the top. I'm fairly happy with the result. It felt good to have my fingers covered in paint again. All in all it was a good day. Maybe we'll have to have another blizzard next week. :)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Illustration Friday: Red

Red carries with it many meanings. Red is drama, risk, determination, and passion, but unfortunately, too much red can backfire.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Illustration Friday: Super Hero

When we last saw our super hero he was flying the friendly skies, but now he's found himself in a bit of a pickle. Will our hero escape? Well, of course, he'd never miss dinner.

When I was home for the holidays my furry friend Andy kept me entertained with his coffee table climbing antics. He loves to reach up, and pull himself along. After he moves down one side I'm most impressed at how he rounds the corner to continue all the way around. There's much meowing and carrying on as well as he makes sure we're all watching because he loves an audience. I believe he thinks he's in his own little adventure movie, crossing a great ravine. Every time I see him do this the Indiana Jones theme music plays in my head. If Harrison Ford decides not to do a 4th movie Andy said he could find time in his schedule for the right amount of catnip.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Illustration Friday: 80's

I remember watching Pac-man every saturday morning. I just read some sites that said it was the worst cartoon ever, but I was a kid, and it was just fine by me. Mr. and Mrs. Pacman were the portrait of the typical American family. I often heard it said during the 80's that much of the world thought our streets were paved with gold. Well, the Pac family didn't have gold, but power pellets grew on trees, and that was just as good, or better. If anyone got in their way they just ate 'um. I have to wonder if this mentality has contributed to the obesity problem in America today.

My apologies to Grant Wood.