Happy Thanksgiving! (and an illustration of FOOD)

This week’s post comes to you early because on Friday, I’ll be kicking back in the glorious company of my FAMILY, and because today is practically Friday, anyway.
Thanksgiving Illustration

Here’s a photo of the actual page from my sketchbook, in case you are interested. For the final image above, I got rid of the little black olives that were hanging out with the pickles in the bottom right corner.Thanksgiving Sketchbook

Does anyone else’s family have an obligatory PICKLE PLATTER at Thanksgiving? I highly recommend it, if you don’t.

Happy Thanksgiving! There is, indeed, much to be thankful for!

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A Page From My Sketchbook: The Spice Shop

Spice Shop

This is my sketchbook interpretation of “Salem Spice,” a culinary shop in my area where one can buy (and smell) all the flavors of the world.

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The Last of the Wildflowers: Crown Vetch

This is crown vetch, wild flower extraordinaire:Crown Vetch Sketch

I was delighted when I first saw it begin to bloom early this summer. Yay flowers! Yay earth! Colors! Woot!

And when I saw that it was still blooming last week – in NOVEMBER – I was thoroughly impressed. Despite the fact that the tree’s leaves are nearly gone, the vetch was still standing all a’straggly by the side of the road. Way to go, Vetch! You outlasted them all (except for the dandelions that I’m STILL seeing around. Good job to you guys, too).

Yes. I talk to flowers. They spark my curiosity and excitement. I like learning about them and watching them, keeping track as they come and go. When you spend that much time interacting with something, you start to regard it as a sentient being. Who knows? Maybe the vetch is talking to me, too.

Now it seems the vetch has finally gone to sleep for the winter. Goodnight, my legume friends. And so ends another season.

That’s all for now. Until next week, I bid ye well. And leave you with the loving reminder to stay curious, stay open, and stay away from windowless buildings. Don’t let SAD get you down!

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Illustrating Plaid, Illustrating Life

Colors. Patterns. Repeating shapes.Plaid, Plaid, Plaid

What, you want me to say something more?


I love color. I love patterns. I love repeating shapes.

(What, I should keep going? OK.)

I love collecting colorful, patterned, repetitive things in my sketchbook. I love looking at something and interpreting it by splashing color around in blips and blobs that bleed into each other and congeal into unpredictable new forms. First, I put on my HYPER-COLOR-VISION goggles and play around in a world where shapes and structure are lost and all I see are layers and layers of vibrant, deliciously varied hues. Then I put on my pattern-seekers (another pair of goggles. Sorry, they’re not available in stores) and superimpose some sort of organizing structure on top of the color blobs below. I love tying up my amorphous pools of color-impressions with sturdy (but still expressive) defining lines. It’s just like life, where we sort of wing-it through experiences happening in real time and then, retrospectively, give them a conceptual framework by defining what occurred and what it meant to us.

So, yeah. There’s a certain thrill to filling a page in my sketchbook with a bunch of colorful, repeating things. I love the process (and yeah, fine, I’ll admit it: it’s fun to see an end result, too). It’s all really just an excuse to play around with shapes and color and try to figure out why these things mean so much to me. It’s engaging and it makes me feel good.

You know what else makes me feel good? Plaid. It’s nostalgic and trustworthy. Wearing it makes me feel like me.

Hence, this drawing. Sometimes, that’s all I’m doing: finding things that catch my eye — things that hook my imagination — and trying to understand them (and myself) through the process of interpretation/creation that’s called, apparently, “making art”. And all the while, I’m clinging to the hope that the end results will be things worth sharing with others so that I might have the opportunity to make them feel good, too. Because that’s the best.

Plaid and making art. They make me feel like me. What makes you feel like you?

The End. (or, if you’d like: “Die Geschichte ist aus und hier lauft eine Maus.”)



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The Halloween Post

For the last few weeks, I’ve been busy working on several new commissions (Christmas is coming before you know it – this time of year starts to get BUSY!) but I’ve still got a few Halloween-y doodles to share with you. Scribbling out pictures like these helps me stay balanced and awake while I’m working on projects for other people. The change of pace keeps me from turning into a robot and keeps my mind flexible. And it gives me a few minutes to take a break from the “serious” stuff to play! (Don’t get me wrong – I’m having a blast working on the commissioned projects! But it’s still nice to take a few minutes, each day, and make something spontaneous).

You may have seen these earlier this week on Tumblr, Twitter, or Instagram.
Cat, Quilt, Spider

Sketchbook Therapy: Fall DoodleFall Tree DoodleFall Town DoodleFall Playing Cards

In addition, I feel the need to re-post these 3 gems from previous Halloweens. I mean, watching kids having fun is really what makes Halloween special, right? Who doesn’t love a good dose of nostalgia? Thank goodness we still live in a world where, once a year, it’s perfectly acceptable to fill an entire pillowcase with candy from strangers :)

James the DragonCreatureNaomi Butterfly


Hope you have a Happy Halloween!


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Pumpkin Patch Illustration

I haven’t had a chance to go pumpkin picking this year. But that’s okay, because I have this, which I made a while back…Pumpkin Patch Illustration

Looking at it makes me FEEL like I’m at the pumpkin patch. Until I get out there to do it for real, escaping into this picture does the trick.

After all, one of the reasons I got into illustrating in the first place was for the fantasy fulfillment it provides. Illustrating is a way of making life the way I want it to be and to explore the things I’m curious about. I can draw the world however I want it! Go wherever I please! Try whatever activities I might not actually be able to do in real life (like ride a gondola in the Alps with a hedgehog wearing a sweater)! I may not have the time to sew an entire quilt, or buy a chameleon and carry him around on my shoulder, or make enough pickles to fill an entire root cellar (shall I continue?) — but I can draw these things, and that makes life feel unlimited, in a way. Illustration gives me the power to create whatever dream world I want to visit and to have the adventures I can’t have in real life. Oculus rift? Ha! I already have access to virtual reality: I can draw! (*not bashing the Rift or anything…it’ll probably be amazing, as long as it doesn’t give me motion sickness…)

This pumpkin patch, with the crows and the kid in the blue sweater, is one of my favorite illustrations that I’ve made. It just…makes me feel good. Sometimes, that’s what art should be for.

(Prints are available at both Etsy and Society 6).

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Black Cat Halloween Illustration

Cat on a Pumpkin Stack

I know I say it all the time: Being human is so strange. I put hours and hours into intricate paintings, but repeatedly find that at the end of the day, what I’m most proud of are the simple illustrations I did during my breaks.

Hard work is so satisfying.

And yet, simplicity is so refreshing.

I guess the two balance each other out. The relationship between complex and simple creates a marvelous mechanism that keeps life from getting dull. I’m so happy I live in a world where I can dabble in both!  And I love seeing the things that other people produce from both these states of mind.

Some examples:

Steve Light‘s complex illustrations in Have You Seen My Dragon?  (I am obsessed with this book!) are the best. I love them as much as I love Jon Klassen‘s simple ones in “I Want My Hat Back” (also obsessed).

And in what other world can you appreciate both Cersei Lannister’s hair and Larry David’s bald head in equal measure? (Larry David makes fun of himself, so I think I’m allowed to, too).

Yeah, it’s all just. so. great!

Happy Friday, y’all. Go out and live your gloriously complex and simple lives. And don’t forget to share your experiences, big and small, with the rest of us along the way.

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“Acorns and Twigs” Watercolor and Ink Painting

Acorns and Twigs

Back in September, I went out one morning with my camera to look for the first signs of Fall. The leaves hadn’t begun to change yet — it still pretty much looked like summer (except that the playgrounds were empty because everyone went back to school). There were no sights, yet, that gave me that “mind-blown-by-fall’s-intensity” feeling that I had hoped to find.

So I decided to swap out my eyeballs for a pair more attuned to spotting the subtle things. Then I looked down and lo, I found the beginning of fall’s bounty, scattered everywhere beneath my feet.

Here’s my watercolor and ink drawing/painting that came out of that experience. It’s my celebration of the unexpected beauty I found on a dirt path one morning in September.

(And hey, if you want to celebrate, too, you can buy this at Society 6).

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Watercolor Leaves: For Sale at Society 6!

Watercolor Fall LeavesHi Friends! Happy October!

You might remember this painting from March, when I posted it for the first time. Now it, along with some of my other work, is available as a print here:


I just started with Society 6, so not all my work is up yet. Be sure to keep checking back to see what’s new as I continue to add more stuff! (And spread the word to anyone you think might be interested).

Hope you enjoy this beautiful season. I love October, and I’m determined not to let a second of it pass me by :)

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Poles and wires: Illustrating what gets overlooked in day-to-day life

Telephone Poles
I’m not sure why, but telephone, cable, and electricity poles really fascinate me. I was snapping photos of them all summer because they kept grabbing my attention and screaming “DO SOMETHING WITH ME”. When I see them, my imagination runs wild.

Maybe I’m bemused by them because they seem more “organic” than other parts of our modern day infrastructure. Nature, it seems, won’t allow the power companies to overtake it. Instead, she incorporates the wires into the environment by tangling them in vines, covering them with trees, and spangling them with birds (yes I DID just say “spangling”, thank you!).

Yes, I take notice of these things – or rather, they FORCE me to notice them. Take a walk with me in town and I can show you the stretch of wire where all the pigeons like to gather. And I can take you to the one where, at approximately 5 PM each day, the mockingbird sits and talks to himself. Then there’s the spot where a tree trunk is literally ABSORBING a wire into its expanding girth. It’s great.

Well, after a nonstop summer, I finally found a moment to harness my obsession and make a careless illustration about it. While I was hoping my doodle would turn out more “whimsical” looking, it is, at least, a start.  I’ve learned that when I’m approaching new subject matter, I tend to start out with a more “realistic” drawing before I let loose. I guess that’s how I familiarize myself with things. It’s an exercise in observation through which I find my jumping off points — it helps me find the creative elements that I want to extract and play with later. So this might just be step 1 in yet another, lifelong side-project/distraction. (Add it to my restless desire to document all of life’s plants, birds, and cats, forever and ever, Amen). Woo, a mission! I shall, one day, bring the Telephone Pole to the forefront of artistic coolness!

But, lest you think I’ve wandered off the deep end, don’t worry! I haven’t really let the telephone poles take over my brain – I’ve got other projects going on, especially now that it’s FALL! But like my husband constantly reminds me, life is long. Goodness knows the telephone poles aren’t going anywhere. So for now I’ve calmed down (yeah right) and am, as always, carrying on with my creative endeavors. The telephone poles will be nearby when next I have time to rendezvous with them.

Whew! What a relief.

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