Sunday, July 1, 2018

2017 Don Freeman Award has been announced

The Don Freeman Award has been announced for 2017.

Congratulations to Angela Hawkins in the published category
and Jamie Whitbread in the prepublished category.

Please visit this link to view the talented winners!

Although it would have been super fantastic to be one of the chosen, the pool going into this was huge, and my expectation was realistic. Plus my intention when entering was more about putting out a finished product that I could be proud of and sending out to publishers. The story has been with me for many years and making it come to life was both exciting and frustrating. I have been researching all along as to who takes digital submissions and who would best match my style.

The two finished illustrations that I submitted will be reworked in a watercolor wash with pen and ink, opposed to the heavier color pencil that were submitted to the contest. I look forward to the next stage of this book and I am excited to move it on. When I began this project I looked at it as a 2 year process and I hope I meet that time frame.

below is a sneak preview of one of the roughs...

In the meantime a friend and I started a summer art group called the Creative Cafe' once a month. It's a free form group with snacks, music and a bohemian type atmosphere, a gathering of like minded creatives that inspire each other. We gathered a couple weeks ago and it was good fun!

I will be starting back on my project soon I'll keep you posted!

Hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July!

"He sits by the roadside with his odd yellow cat."

Sunday, February 18, 2018

SCBWI Don Freeman Work In Progress Grant here I come!

Once again a long absence since my last post. I’ve been busy. Sometimes I think I should just hang up this blog. But I like my blog, it’s like an old friend. There’s been a lot happening since my last posting. I won’t bore you with all the details. Although I will say one of my wishes has come true. I was promoted to Head of Circulation at my library this past October. Along with that my hours and thankfully my income have increased! 

Throughout much of the summer I worked on my book of poems in preparation for the Don Freeman Work in Progress grant (SBCWI). By the end of August I got side-tracked. In September a friend and I teamed up to meet once a month to work on our individual projects, brainstorm and do creative outings. In October I did Inktober.

The holidays came and went, I didn’t work on my book. As January rolled around I promised myself I would get busy...I did, but not on my book. Instead I prepped my studio and now have space for artist friends to stop by and get creative.
Milo has taken ownership of my comfy chair
Extra work space

Co-op picture, a work in progress.

My friend Laura came over for our monthly 
get-together and she created this really cool window piece for me. It's been an inspiration and will keep me motivated!
It's a path to my goal!
It's now February and my deadline for the work in progress grant is at the end of March. I will need 2 finished illustrations and a bunch of rough drawings to make up a book dummy complete with text in place. Fortunately it will be a digital format so I don't have to make an actual book dummy! I've been working on my book for about two weeks. I decided not to go with the book of poems. It's too big of a project and I don't want to rush it. I've also learn it's very difficult to get a children's book of poems published when you are an unknown. So instead I will be illustrating only one of the poems that is more story-like. I was mixed from the beginning on this particular poem. I wasn't sure I wanted it to be in the book of poems since it was wordy enough to hold up on its own, with more than enough images that I could work with.

My deadline is in sight, yet I have always worked well under pressure. I sure hope I haven't lost my touch! 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Illustration Friday-Mind

As I stare out the window and watch the little white puffs on the air, a quick verse comes to mind.

The June Things are in the air
floating, floating everywhere...

A random beginning to a poem? Maybe?

Watercolor pencils, pen and ink and a photoshop filter applied

The first time I heard this term "The June Things" was when I first met my husband Larry. He says it every year, explaining that it was his way of knowing as a child that it was the beginning of summer, and the school year coming to a close. "When I see the June Things, I know it's summer!"

My thoughts are like those little white puffs lately, scattered and maybe a bit aimless. I seem to move from one thought to another without much direction, trying to force some focus.

This past week my thoughts have been mostly on my daughter, and her first adventure far from home. She's having the time of her life in Iceland! And I feel deeply happy for her.  I love watching her adventures through her posts, photos and messages to me.

As I try to stay focused on my art and my book, I find it difficult not to let the "regular life stuff" get in the way. From the household demands to my job, it is so easy to let my mind veer off to the endless to-do list!

And that's where my scattered thoughts turn into those little white puffs that just bounce around my mind.

Today as I sit here in my art room, I'm making a vow to myself to be here daily, even if it's only to just sit. I want to form a habit that with time, will become a norm, a part of me. And when I'm in my space, I will allow myself to dream, to write, to draw, and most of all to grab a hold of my thoughts if only for a short while.

I spent my vacation a couple of weeks ago, getting my upstairs in order and decluttering the long neglected art room. Then I redecorated with a bohemian flare! Well, at least I'm attempting that, not quite sure I've achieved it yet?

Here are the before and after pictures of my art room! I am feeling quite zen in my space now.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Holding to the Dream :)

It's hard to believe I have had this blog for 8 years. I started it as a way to keep myself accountable. To keep striving for my goal to be published, and to create illustrations for the children's market. Too often I've let life get in the way of that goal. I have watched as others have paved their own path, writer and illustrator I've come to know through social media. I've seen their books at my library, and I hate to admit that it can be a hard pill to swallow, as you see others move ahead. And although I am genuinely pleased for their successes, it always causes me to pause and take stock of my own path? The question is always the same, "Have I tried hard enough?" Lately I've been really looking at all the starts and stops I've made along this path. I have a lot of work that I've done, and many poems that I've written. So once again I am going to do a "start." I am going to pull together all my illustrated poems (I suppose you might say my life's work over the past 20 years) and see if there's an agent/publisher out there who will take a look. It's going to be a big project and I am giving myself 2 years from start to finish. And I will let my blog and my friends keep me accountable. The biggest challenge I need to do, is to put myself first! And the second biggest challenge I need to do, is to just be nice to myself when self-doubt creeps in. And it will. So I ask for all of you who have supported me through the years, my ups and downs and starts and stops to please send out good wishes, and to keep me accountable on occasion.
I will keep you updated on my progress! Thank you!

Monday, April 3, 2017


I found this really great app for my I pad it's simply called Sketches. Little did I know when I purchased it for a whopping $4.99 that it was 15.3 GB it's huge for my tablet! So I ended up uninstalling it, and I suppose I will have to reinstall it every time I want to use it.  Unless I buy more storage which I don't want to do. Anyway it has all these great features and works great with the apple pencil which by the way I love and it feels like a real pencil.  Here is my first pic done with this app. 

Then I put it in photoshop and played around with filters just for the fun of it!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hello Spring!

I'm feeling inspired to resurrect this long dormant blog.  I have ignored it for far too long and I am ready to recommit! And on that is a newer piece I did, and thought it would be a good place to start. After all spring is about new beginnings and rejuvenation!

Not long ago an artist friend of mine and I decided to do an art challenge. It was his idea, and it helped me to get back on track. (Thanks Doug!) The challenge was to only use 3 colors and you could do any subject and any medium you wanted. So once again, another tree! Welcome Spring!

This artwork was done using Prismacolor watercolor pencils. This is my first experience using these pencils and I can't get over how nicely the color lays down, I have to say it was pure joy! I know that's probably a geeky artist thing to say, but it really was. I have used another brand for years and although I like them, I truly did not know what I was missing until I tried Prismacolor. Although I should have known since I use Prismcolor in other mediums. If you have never tried these pencils give them a go!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Illustration Friday-Tribal

Today I had to remind myself of the many accomplishments I've made on my artistic journey though the years. I have a bad habit of beating myself up when I am not following this imaginary internal clock, that seems to forever tick, and point a finger of guilt for "not keeping up." I then start to question my creditability. The voice continues…"You're not really an artist if you're not creating?" Or, "What gives you the right to call yourself an illustrator, when was the last time you illustrated?" It goes on an on hammering at me! I try to defend myself! I say "I've been working a lot of extra hours these past 2 months!" "I have way too many distractions at home!" "Didn't I just finish building that Jukebox in April, that was creative!" But it doesn't seem to appease the voice inside my head, my worst critic! And then there's the one that hits me at my core-- "You're not making money at it so where's your value?" This is how my internal struggle usually goes.  I've been going through this tug-of-war for the last 2 months, a self defeating pattern. So as I said I began to really look at my artistic journey though the years. I have all kinds of evidence of my worth. I go upstairs and I see the bulk of what I've created, I look at my computer files and see pieces that may no longer be here phyically but now resides in someone elses home. I see pieces I'm proud of and some that give me pure joy, work that have brought struggle and frustration, but in the end growth. I see value. I think of all the projects I've done, some paid and some not. All the art shows and exhibits, all the graphic projects I did. Invitations, business cards, promo pieces and so on. Then there was the six years of volunteer work for the Willoughby Historical Society, faithfully putting out a newsletter every 3 months. I think about all the artists and illustrators l've learned about and have come to admire, all the classes I've taken, and this blog that I began 7 years ago to help me stay in touch with my art. And I think of all the people I've connected with through being an artist.

I needed to write this post today, I needed to honor myself as an artist. To honor my value. It's so easy to beat ourselves up, to forget the accomplishments along the way. When we falter our mind really can be our worst enemy.

This piece above was created for a poster many moons ago for a local shop in my hometown. I thought it fitting for the word of the week, tribal.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The making of a Jukebox

As I sat in at one of our committee meetings, we were actively discussing the Years of Service Awards for library staff that have achieved 5, 10 15, and more years of service at their job. It's a fun and creative committee and I do enjoy being a part of it. Last year we did an Italian theme. This year the talk was all about doing a 1950's theme using the books of Christine Wenger. All murder mysteries with food themes.

We called it "A Night of Culinary Intrique
We came up with a catchy invite
As we threw around ideas, I thought we can't have a 1950's diner theme without a Jukebox. Had I had known it would be around 30 or so hours of my life, I may have bit my tongue. Although at the time I envisioned a foam board standup with  colorful paper attached. Instead this is what developed over a period of time.                                                               

A simple platter from Dollar General
Tubing with battery operated lights
later tubing is colored in pink marker
Cardboard packaging material and
plastic mesh fencing painted gold
and a decorative from Dollar General

Phase one was put together with lots of  duct tape
contact paper and two large cardboard boxes.
The inside was covered in shiny paper.
These two pieces were held together by
a thin piece of cardboard that was inserted into
two slits that became the platform that held the
record player. 
All tubing was attached with zip ties. Wrapping
paper tubes were later covered in sparkly paper. 
Thanks to Jim (our page at Willoughby Hills Lib) for the 45's and
Mark (my co-worker) for the really cool battery operated plastic record player.
And Lisa (Willoughby Library and fellow committee member)
who found a jukebox label creator and created a playlist!
It all came together well with a little help from my friends!

And in the end this…
 And lots of pictures below of the Event. A special shout out to Sue on 35 years and Bernie for receiving The Board Award. Great job to all involved

Colleen's yummy meatloaf
Colleen, Sherry and Mollie setting up
Lisa pondering her lovely centerpieces that she made
as Ginny looks on.
Our victime Sharon being a good sport!

Contract Negation Team being honored

Sue cutting the cake
Sue being applauded for 35 years of service

Lisa and Colleen's beatiful table display
Kim, Sarah and Marybeth honorees

Colleen our organizing queen!
Bernie being honored for The Board Award!
Ann and Jim 15 years of Service!

Trish and Lori hanging with a Board member 
Vicky and Sharon hanging with the Yuko's
Karen gets an award! 

Sue and Barb having a chat

Rick and Eric our fearless leaders

Ruth, Jim and Bob
Holly and Amy chatting
Jim "The Coffee Addict"

Yay Kim!

Time to eat!

My buddy Ann