Saturday, December 29, 2012


It feels good to be painting again after some time off. These are blooming very prettily right now.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Illustration Friday - snow

This is actually part of a larger piece that I did for They Draw and Cook last year.
Here's the original recipe. I enjoyed trying out several variations before settling on this one.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Character Studies

Having just completed the PiBoIdMo challenge of coming up with 30 picture book ideas in 30 days, I'm now trying to actually write some stories and better visualize the characters. These come from a story about a cat called Oscar.

And if anyone is interested in seeing the other entries for the Tomie de Paola contest go to this site.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tomie de Paola contest

This is my entry for the annual Tomie de Paola contest run by SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). You could illustrate a scene from either Tom Sawyer, Little Women or The Yearling but it must be in black and white. This is the scene where Tom, Joe and Huck walk in on their own funeral.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Illustration Friday - whiskers

This is an oldie but he does have whiskers and therefore fits for the Illustration Friday prompt.

Hanukkah card

I realized when I took my holiday cards to the local stores that sell them that I had exclusively Christmas designs so I'm redressing the balance a bit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Coffee Shop clientele

I'm not quite sure where the idea for this came from - though bits of the layout are reminiscent of my local coffee shop - but it was a lot of fun to paint. I painted the outline in black acrylic first, then added color with watercolor and finally used colored pencil to deepen the colors, make the figures a bit more three-dimensional and give the whole more atmosphere.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Illustration Friday - shy

I did this earlier this year, but it fits the Illustration Friday word for this week. Her name is Millie and she has many different moods.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Illustration Friday - haunt

I originally did this for an online children's magazine. The little girl is haunted by two ghosts but instead of being scary they're just a nuisance. They're rehearsing for their band and won't let her get to sleep.

The Daily Hoot

I've been drawing birds quite a lot recently - not realistic but decorative ones - and somehow that became this portrait gallery, complete with owl enjoying a little drink and the daily paper. I started out by painting the lines with black acrylic, then coloring with watercolor. The lines looked very clunky and overly prominent as I was painting them, but with the color they seem just fine. I do think a painted line gives more energy than a line drawn with pen and even a line drawn with brush and ink.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


That strange title refers to Picture Book Idea Month. In the past I've come upon Tara Lazar's site at other times of the  year when the month is long past, so when I happened upon it yesterday just as the month was gearing up, I decided it was a sign and have in fact signed up. I'm committing myself to coming up with 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. They don't have to be shared, they don't have to be developed, they don't have to be any good, but the hope is that even that tiny commitment will get the creative juices flowing and SOMETHING will be worth working on after the month is over.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Making Holiday Ornaments

The Bennington Arts Guild will be having a Holiday Show starting the end of November so I made a few more paper mache birds. I have so much fun with them! All of the slightly different sizes and proportions give them different personalities.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Illustration Friday - Tall

I haven't posted for a while - my daughter got married last weekend - and this isn't a new piece, but it does fit the Illustration Friday prompt. In the animal world is there anything taller than a giraffe?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Illustration Friday - Bounce

This isn't a new piece - it's actually one of my greeting card designs - but it fit today's Illustration Friday prompt perfectly.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Watercolor lends itself so well to painting clouds (and water).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Watercolor and tape

I have a book that suggests all kinds of ideas and techniques to start the creative process. This painting began with a wet-in-wet background and then strips of tape randomly placed while the objects were painted. There were more layers and the tape got moved around and I painted overlapping flowers in the background. This is the end result - fresher and more interesting I think than if I'd just set out to paint a still life.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Illustration Friday - refresh

There's nothing like jumping in water to refresh you on a hot day.

Painting surface

The surface you paint on makes a big difference to how the paint behaves, at least with watercolor. I applied two layers of gesso to my paper, the second including some blots and splatters and brush marks. The watercolor tended to pool and puddle much more than on regular paper. Some of the texture visible in the barns is from the gesso but in retrospect I wish I had done more of that to see what happened.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Building fun

This was inspired by a show at the Williams College Museum of Art of 3-D architectural models that students had created. I loved the variety of the models as they were lined up next to each other but they needed some little people to explore them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I did a quick little painting to see whether only using the more expensive Winsor and Newton gouache paints would result in stronger colors than mixing them with my cheaper ones. I think it did. The top image is how it looked just after washing off the ink. The second is after removing more ink in Photoshop. I thought maybe the top one had more character and the second one had lost some vibrancy so I increased the Brightness and Contrast to get to the third one.Which do you like best?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Illustration Friday - space

Nothing makes you as aware of the vastness of space as a moonlit night full of stars.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Illustration Friday - secret

It's almost Friday and I'm just getting around to posting. This is a re-do of an illustration I first tried in acrylic (here). I like this one better but I'm still not very comfortable with coloring digitally. Watercolor remains my favorite!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New collage piece

I recently joined an artists' cooperative gallery so will be doing some more paintings and collages that can be framed and (hopefully) sold there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Illustration Friday - sight

What have they seen out the window? Answer: this little guy. It's a good thing the window screen will stop the cat from jumping out.

Monday, May 21, 2012


I"m not quite sure where this is, but I see it as a companion to this and this.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A slightly different combination

This one was painted in watercolor first then I added black line and then some colored pencil. It's to illustrate a story in an online children's magazine.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Study in Blue and Yellow

I enjoy playing with images where the background is just as interesting as the foreground. I just finished this watercolor where the lemons are resting on a bright fabric.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The miraculous draught of fishes

I wanted to try a Biblical scene and this one came to mind. I always rather like images that burst out of their boundaries and this seemed an appropriate subject for that. Here's my first attempt. I was happy with the way the fish turned out, but the background seemed too dominant (it's hard to predict how much the colors will stain with this technique). I've already done a certain amount of adjusting to get this image.
It felt like it still wasn't enough. So I then faded the background quite a bit more. What do you think? Did I go too far? I like that the figures stand out more but the background may be a bit too washed out. As usual you can click on the images to see them bigger.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Birth announcement for a friend

I painted this for a friend who just had a little girl. The announcement was written as though it came from the big brother.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another style comparison

The watercolor version above and the gouache and ink (plus Photoshop) below.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thinking about styles

This past weekend I went to the New England SCBWI conference in Springfield, Massachusetts. I got a lot of positive feedback on the portfolio pieces done in the ink and gouache technique and I've been trying to define just what it is that people are responding to, so I'm playing with the same image in a few different ways.
Here is my original pencil drawing.
And here is the watercolor that I did from it.
Here's the same picture done in gouache and ink. It's obviously bolder and therefore has more immediate impact.
And here it is with some of the extra smudgy black ink removed.
Finally here is a version with the ink lines drawn directly (unlike the way of working negatively that the gouache technique involves) and colored in Photoshop. I'd love to get feedback. Is it the heaviness of the black line that gives the punch or its uneven quality? Is the uneven coloring an essential element? Is it the very fact that the gouache technique is hard to control and results in almost accidental effects that gives it its energy?