Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!!

This will probably be my last post for the year. I have much to do within the next 10 days. Starting with Christmas shopping! This year I am one of those last minute shoppers. I didn’t want be, time and money seem to have put me in this position. No big deal, I seem to be getting better and better at not stressing too much over the whole holiday thing anymore. Plus when you’re in a position where you can only do so much due to circumstances, (no job) in an odd way it brings perspective and a bit of comfort. There are only so many bills you can pay, and only so many presents you can buy. Being a one income family of four people these days is getting harder and harder, and yet I do feel optimistic. I am hoping with the New Year some new and exciting changes will come about. As for my studio space, it is coming along nicely. I have managed to get all the art and office stuff from downstairs to upstairs. My husband put a florescent light above the drawing table, it’s excellent! And I will soon be doing some painting and new flooring to give the space a long, overdue makeover. I will post some before and after pictures when I am done.

The Santa and Reindeer image was done for a sweat shirt/tee shirt design that I did one season for members of my large Italian family, mainly the kids. We have this get together every Christmas Eve, over 25 relatives usually show. We've been doing this since 1983. I was working for a transfer design company at the time, so I put this image together and got a good price on a bunch of transfers. And a flattering, not so funny thing happened. One of the other employees, who worked in the screen printing room, actually tried to steal my design. Apparently he had a little side business of his own. Luckily one of the other guys caught him and grabbed up all the extra transfers and gave them to me. Let’s hear it for the good guys! Long story short, he didn't last too much longer there!

Happy Holidays Everybody!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I don't know, this could be some kind of prehistoric chicken thing?? There are times I haven't a clue what's going to come about when the pen hits the paper?

This was done with prismacolor markers and pen and ink. Looks like I have a copyright date on this one from 1997, so it fits the prehistoric theme this week. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all that will be celebrating!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Ruby the psychotic Beagle
My art room is in transition, for that matter so is my life, but we won't get into that.
At one time all the pieces and parts were together on the enclosed front porch. (computer, files, art supplies, drawing table etc etc...) And for the most part it made sense, I was doing more graphic art a few years back, in particular a newsletter, which was being put out every three months, so I had folks coming and going. The porch worked out well, people didn't have to venture too far into my home, especially having two crazy dogs; Zoe my lovable Border Collie mix, she loves to jump and lick you right on the month! Yuck! She is happy as happy can be. Then there's the other one, Ruby, well she's just plain psychotic, a rollie pollie Beagle mutt. The only reason I kept her was I figured nobody else would have her! What can I say, she loves me. Anyway, back to the porch. The only time the porch didn't work was in the hot, very hot summer or the cold, very cold winter. I made due with fans and electric heaters, but it was far from comfortable. But now I'm no longer doing that type of  art anymore, and my needs have changed. For that past year my art table has been in my bedroom and the computer and scanner downstairs. The main computer is in need of some real help, and the laptop's got some issues too. So everything's been a bit scattered, I feel scattered too. This week I will be trying to get all my pieces and parts back to a central location. And maybe in the process I can get myself back on track. I've been so focused on finding a job the past four months, that art has been taking a backseat.
Annie with Lovable Zoe
The ebb and flow of my life.
The ebb and flow of my art.

Even my blog's out of whack, I can't seem to get my feeds to work right. Oh well...Oh bla di, Oh bla da life goes on...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Illustration Friday--Spooky

Well, there really not very spooky... but it's the best I have this week, and it's already Thursday!
I added a bit of photoshop magic for a little drama.
I created these three, back when I was doing art festivals. They are basic line drawings scanned into photoshop with color dropped in. They are about a foot tall. I printed my threesome out, then pasted them on cardboard backing. I put a hole in their little heads, and tied a string for hanging. On the bottom, another hole was made to attach one of those little plastic pumpkins that are sold at various party stores. I then filled the pumpkins with small candy treats. They were quite the hit that Halloween season.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Sky Train is one of my favorite pieces. It originally was part of a larger image that went along with a poem that I wrote. This image was done in color pencil and the background was created in Photoshop.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Illustration Friday--proverb

"L'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle"
"The love that moves the sun and the other stars." Elizabeth Gilbert—Eat Pray Love
I am not sure what makes a proverb and proverb and a quote a quote? I didn’t look it up to find out if there is a difference, they seem so similar. One thought I had was; maybe it’s like a good wine that needs to age. Could be a quote must stick around for a good 50 years or so, to even be considered a proverb. Just a thought. I like the quote above, so that’s my challenge word for this weeks Illustration Friday.

I’ve been reading the book Eat Pray Love. When I saw the movie was coming out with Julia Roberts in the lead role, and this great storyline, I knew that this was a movie I wanted to see. Once every now and again, a so called “Chick Flick” comes out, and I know it’s my solo movie. That was my intent when I purchased the book. I am trying to finish it before the movie’s run, is over. I just can’t seem to read this book fast, and I don’t want to. Also, since I’ve been enjoying it so much, I’m thinking about making this a girlfriend movie instead of a solo movie, seems like it should be shared.

At this point I’m about 15 pages away from India—at this rate, I may be watching it on DVD! As I read her adventures in Italy, I’ve been feeling such pride in my heritage. The detail the author gives on the beauty of the language, may be why I’m savoring it so.

I grew up with the Italian language. I was pretty much engulfed in it. Yet, I never learned to speak it. I picked up a few words here and there, some good, some not so good. Somewhere around the age of 13, I attempted to learn it, on the count of my Uncle Cosmo was coming from Italy to visit his sister, (my grandma Luisa) who he hadn’t seen in 50 years—can you imagine? There was even a big write up in the local newspaper. In any case, my limited attempts fell by the wayside. I only realized later in my life how much I took it all for granted. The dialect had been a part of my life until I was 29 years old. That’s when my grandfather died, and that’s when the language all but ceased. My Uncle Tony would stop by and visit with my Aunt Yolanda, (we called her Auntie Yo) and they would spurt out a few words here and there, but it wasn’t the long procession of words that once was. And little by little I began to notice it's absence, and began to miss it.

Just a little story to end with that sort of carries this point home on just how much I missed the language and dialect after it was gone.

One day I decided it was time to buy some decent pots and pans, so off I went to Sears. I was in the kitchen section, hidden well within the tight rows of kitchen goodies, when I heard the sweetest sounds coming from a few rows over to the side of me. A mother and her daughter speaking to each other in Italian! The old women had to be in her late seventies, and was going on and on in such a flurry of words, and with so much enthusiasm! It was as if my grandmother was speaking again! I hadn’t heard this kind of on-going dialogue in so many years, so I stayed hidden away, sneaking from row to row just to hear the fluency of the language. I don’t think they knew I was eavesdropping, they seemed way too preoccupied with their own task at hand. It brought back good memories. I felt sad and grateful at the same time.

PS-- I told my girlfriend Linda I wasn’t going to write a lot this week. She said, "Yes you will"--sometimes I hate when she’s right!
I'm wondering now if she’d like to travel to a movie with me—I mean how often is it that you can see 3 countries in 2 hours, in addition to a bunch of wonderful quotes!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me!
One year of Blogging Aug. 26th
It's been so great this year making connectionswith some wonderful artists and writers!

Winnie the Pooh Picture
by my daughter Annie

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Illustration Friday--Atmosphere

Atmosphere - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster
3 : a surrounding influence or environment
(an atmosphere of hostility)

In the dictionary they had a few definitions for“Atmosphere” and it was interesting to me how the one above emphasizes "an atmosphere of hostility" It would have been just as fitting to say "an atmosphere of peace" How often as people we choose to emphasize a negative thought over a positive one. At times it seems we are so conditioned, that we're not even aware of it.
And sometimes, it's just plain hard to be aware enough of our thought process, to just stop, and rethink the thought. What if, say for only 3 minutes straight, the whole world thought only one positive thought, at the same time. Would something change in our Atmosphere?? As John Lennon stated so well in his song “Imagine”-- "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one, I hope someday you'll join us and the world will live as one."

This is my contribution to Peace.
Created with marker and pen and ink.
I share with you my Peace Wizard.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Illustration Friday--Star Gazing

I like star gazing. I mean who doesn’t? How could anyone not notice the beauty of the night sky? Especially if you live somewhere, where there are no city lights to get in the way. As a child, like so many of us, I was taught the “starlight, starbright” poem. And I am not embarrassed to say, to this day, I will still recite it upon seeing the first star of the night. And do you know that once my wish really did come true. When I was seventeen I really, really, wanted to go to the Bruce Springsteen concert. So I made my wish upon a star that night, and low and behold my sister-in-law called me within days of that wish, to tell me that for my 18th birthday she would be taking me to see Bruce!! My guy!! I have loved him from the moment I heard “Born to Run” and I have never stopped loving him! I can’t say I have been totally faithful through the years though—a few others have caught my eye since. But Bruce will always be my star. Now some of you may say that my star experience is a coincidence, maybe…but for me, I believe in magic. I still listen for the sleigh bells every Christmas Eve, even though my son keeps at me about it; Questioning my loyalty!
I will forever believe in Santa. Enough said.

This illustration seemed perfect for star glazing. I love drawing angels, almost as much as I love drawing trees and tree spirits. I created this piece with colored pencil and marker. I also cut out the top layer of paper on each of the clouds. At the time it was probably a blunder, if I remember correctly. Yet the cut-out worked, and turned into one of those “happy accidents.” My one art teacher always talked about “happy accidents.”

On a closing note: I will be off on vacation for a few days, Yay!! I will be taking with me a book called “Gift from the Sea” by Ann Morrow Lindbergh and my sketchbook. Oh, and my family too. On this short, all too short vacation, I will remember to look up to the night sky and make my wish.

To all my Friends, Artist, and Dreamers—May all your wishes come true~

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


On the spur of the moment I realized that I had a pic that I could use for this weeks IF. "Dinoland" was from a series of illustrations that I called"Whimsy art" When I created this piece I was doing artshows and festivals around town. I had a children's booth with pictures, puzzles, placemats, cards and bookmarks. I also started doing a lot of writing at that time.

I like the word "Whimsy" and "In the land of Whimsy". To me, being in the land of Whimsy is a state of mind, it's where I can just let go and create for the pure joy of the process. It's not always an easy place to get to, it's kind of like meditation. It's hard for me to just allow myself to relax enough to get there, but when I do, it really can set the tone for my day.
So that's how the blog title became. Have a good day and may a bit of "whimsy" be with you!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stay the course

Sometimes it's hard to just stay the course. To push yourself when your muse has temporarily deserted you. You know she'll be back--it's summer, maybe she's taking a little vacation. In her absence, I've tried to keep to the path. Even if it’s only little steps to keeps the motivation going.

I've been in limbo. As of right now, I have five submissions hanging out there. One is a contest to Writers Digest. With that one, at least there will be a sense of closure by October. As for the others; with two of them it's time to pull them back, and move them on. My question: How do you know when it's time to move something on? In the case of the poem and illustrations I sent to Spider magazine, it's been over three months now with no response. I'm not sure of the proper protocol. Do I send a quick email stating my intentions to move the piece on? Or, do I just resent it out? I am playing by all the rules. No simultaneously submissions! As for Highlights, I've had a story in limbo for close to a year now. I've been so busy with other work, that I have just let it sit there. I think with that one, it's probably fine to move that on. A year seems long enough.

So what have I been doing to stay the course? I've been doing the social networking thing. Let’s see--Jacketflap, Twitter, Facebook and Linked in. I've update my resume, worked on my profile and tried to keep up with contacts. I have been at the drawing table a total of two times. I’ve sold one small picture to the Kelly Light’s fundraiser. I've listened to a couple of pod cast on Illustration Island and I have searched out contacts to send future submissions to. Not bad

Away from the artistic side. I've manage to get myself and the kids to the beach almost every Friday this summer. Also, I’ve gotten a late start on my garden--but it's in! Not thriving, but I have hope. And...I have applied for a part time job, and have had an interview. Again, I have hope! Soon I will be having a garage sale. All too soon! And soon I will be off to Kelley Island with the family for a short getaway. And some how before those two events I need to get back-to-school supplies and clothes. All in all, I guess the summer is moving by quicker than I can keep up with. So in the absence of my muse, I will stay busy until her return. I am getting antsy for the drawing table, that's a good thing. Autumn is just around the corner and that's always been my most productive time. The cool breezes will be much appreciated this coming season!

To all my friends out there: Stay the course, be creative and enjoy the rest of your summer!!

The photo above was taken last summer on our getaway to Kelleys Island in Ohio.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ripples--Illustration Friday

Thanks Kathi from Texas for the sale !!!

I created these two cards in an effort to help the cause that Kelly Light started. Please check this site to donate to the Gulf oil spill. The Ripple blog is

I really had no idea what I wanted to do with this theme until my son took a glance at what I was drawing and said “that looks like the Sunfish we did last year.” We did a report together for his 3rd grade class project, and we chose the “Sunfish”, also known as the “Mola mola”. In any case that’s what it reminded him of.
Before he came into the room, I was playing with the idea of a gradation of sorts, from dark to light. Once he said “Sunfish” I kept repeating in my head, almost like a mantra “Out of darkness into light.” Then as it would happen, Kelly Light’s name came to mind and it all seemed rather fitting.

On another note I have no idea why I keep drawing the sun lately, yet this is my third post with a sun in it. I suppose I am just in the summer spirit!

Thanks Kelly for inspiring us all to join the cause—May God bless all our animals!!

Both of these cards are available for a $10 donation (each) to either The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies or The International Bird Rescue Research Center . When the cards sell, artists sign the back of the art with thanks and mail them to the buyer's address.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Illustration Friday-Early

      Feeling just a bit too early for the Sun;
      A lovely Tree Spirit helps the Sun up

Thursday, May 6, 2010

One little Bird...and a few random thoughts

The last month or so I've been watching this bird. I can't help but watch this bird, since she decided to plant her nest on my garage, right outside my kitchen window. At first I thought, "You are one dumb bird for putting your nest there" I have a very active yard, there are my kids, neighbor kids, dogs, cats, all kinds of commotion. But time passed and I kept watching her. I then started to think, "Boy you are one smart bird for putting your nest there." For one thing, she's sheltered under the roof line, and she's not being bothered by other birds and squirrels. I also watched her go through two pretty good storms. The babies are now born, and it looks like three little mouths are popping up at feeding time. I've been thinking about how simple it all appears. The mom and dad taking shifts to feed their babies. Her sitting on the nest, maybe him too? I like watching the simplicity. Life just feels complicated these days. From all this social networking (as I too sit here and participate) to I phones, I pads, 3d TV's, to the stuff that fills your brain on a daily basis. Thank God for vacations! I suppose anyone who grew up in a time, when you didn't have to pay for TV, and a phone was just a phone, knows what I'm talking about. So watching this bird seems to have calmed me down a bit. Today I thought I would do a quick sketch of this Robin, sitting in her nest.

I had thought a few day back that I would take a photo, and then do a pretty color drawing. Yet to do that would be the way I usually work, or if I’m not using photo's for reference, then I am drawing from what's in my head--that stuff comes easy and natural. The IF linked (below) came real easy. Yeah, the hard stuff for me is the sketching from real life! There is nothing more frustrating! All you have to do is look at this post of my Robin, to know how much I struggled with sketching--quite frankly I suck! lol. I really could use more practice, which is why I decided to draw from life today.

I like to visit Lynne Chapman's blog-an Illustrator's life for me.  Now she is a sketcher! I even put wording on the my picture, like she does, hope she doesn't mind that I copied her idea, but I think it's cool. If you haven't seen Lynne's blog, you should really check it out. She's amazing! I have her link under blogs I like.

So if anyone has any thoughts on sketching, or what inspires you. I would love to hear what you have to say.

As for me, this little Robin has been my muse this past month. I hope the babies don't fall out onto the cement below, or to the side of the fence which houses the dogs.
I will keep the faith that it will all be okay.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


It has been a little while since I've done an Illustration Friday. I wanted to participate, yet between the submission piece I just finished right before Easter, and then becoming sick with a cold, topped off with a sinus infection, I've been down for a good 10 days. Although when you’re a mom, being down really just means not functioning at full capacity.

For my "linked piece" I decided to just let my pen have free range and leave my brain out of it. Usually when I do this a tree appears, ask anyone who knows me well and they can tell you, I have been making trees for many years. “Tree people” in particular. It was fun and relaxing to do my tree, especially after four months of working out sketches and layouts and color for the submission piece. Just to do a simple black and white with pen was enjoyable--and isn't that what it is all really about anyway?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

All Done!!

It's been a long week, especially the last few days! I have come to the end of my project--Thank God! I've been working on this since January. I will be sending this little guy out into the world, along with 3 other pics. First stop, Spider Magazine. The illos to be accompanied by the poem that goes along with them. I had posted some roughs a few weeks back and noticed that in the one rough the little guy was looking up. I hadn't realized that the finished piece was different until seeing it on the monitor. Isn’t that funny how that happens? This illustration was my second in the series, and it kept nagging at me. For one thing, as I was working on pic 3 and 4, I noticed I was getting a lot looser, so the style was changing a bit, plus I thought the background was far too busy. I originally wanted this kind of psychedelic look in the background, as a sort of an overall theme throughout. It just wasn't happening. Anyway, I thought I'd post an updated sneak preview. Overall this has been a wonderful experience; I've learned some new tricks in Photoshop. I also decided to let the housework take a backseat during the week, make easier dinners, and let the kids fend for themselves a bit more. If I am ever going to establish myself I have to learn to let go of certain things that eat up my time, and housework is a no win situation, it's always there waiting! Then there's grocery shopping! Once a week no more no less. I hate grocery shopping! On a final note, I learned that I still have it in me, that sitting at a drawing table and a computer, for an extended amount of time is very doable. Although I do have a bit of a back ache, but so what. And last but not least, in the midst of this project I also finished a Halloween poem that I had started last August. My muse is back! But that’s another project for another day. Good night all  :-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ink wash techniques

Today I was going through some of my old artwork, when I came across this piece I did in one of my illustration classes. It brought back memories of how much I enjoyed working with ink wash. Maybe when I am done working on my current project I'll do a quick ink wash just for the fun of it.  As for my current project, I am on my last illustration and I should be sending that off within the week. Wish me luck :-) It's taken longer than I had expected, but I am trying not to be too hard on myself. Ok--back to the drawing board!

Monday, March 1, 2010


The Dragon's Perspective of his World:

This illustration was originally a promotional postcard. It seemed the right choice for this week’s topic on perspective. It also gave me a chance to play around with filters in Photoshop, which I always find a fun thing to do. I used the smart blur filter to smooth things a bit.
I am posting the before and after. I also tried fading out the edges for a more dream like quality, yet that didn't come off so well.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow Day

Just a quick note on the new header. Lily is from a children's book that I did some time back. It was an entry for a contest given by Simon and Schuster. Unfortunately there was no winner that year.

Today in northeast Ohio the snow just keeps coming. The kids are snuggled in their beds with yet another snow day. As of me, I need spring! Yes, I have been whining a bit lately. Lily is my small attempt at making myself feel better. So for all of you out there going through the same thing--especially in New York, the crocus and daffodils are on there way. Keep the faith!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The ups and downs of creativity!

As you can see, my last post was at the beginning of January, the 1st to be exact, and here I am now at the end of February. I even wrote a reminder in my calendar book to post before the end of the month. I Guess I am cutting it as close as possible. I am pleased to say I've been working at my next submission, and thinking about sending a second hit to Highlights. This project is a poem and 4 pics. The poem came rather easily, thank goodness, because the illustrations have been a re-learning experience, interesting and frustrating all in one. As for the writing part; I love when a character comes out of nowhere, and then it becomes a part of you. I find creativity such a mystery sometimes, at least when I stop long enough to think about it.

It's been a long time since I have interpreted text to illustrate. That part went smoothly. I knew the pieces and parts I wanted to highlight, and being that I intend this for a magazine format I wanted to do 4 spot illustrations. So as I’m getting into it, I’m thinking that the drawing end of it was going to be the most time consuming. And maybe it was? I should have tracked my time for future reference. Mental note on that.

In any case the drawing and creating of the characters was in fact more second nature than getting into the nitty-gritty of color. I was so excited about doing the color end. I had a certain look in my mind on how the illustrations should be and a consistent flow I wanted to achieve. So here I am approaching the color end of this, and I find myself stalling, doing other things, and then coming back to it, picking at it, and so on. Then there was experimentation with different paper surfaces and mediums. I was originally planning on watercolor, only to discover how out of practice I was. Then the paper... first watercolor, then cold press, bristol board--bad! I experimented with different lines and marker so on so forth. Frustration mounting--then, I finally came home, just like riding a bike as they say. Hot press with watercolor pencil. Like a long lost love! Then the joy of applying the color! Fun! Finally! Yay! Can you tell I’m happy?

So today I decided to take a break, post a post and scan some of the pics. Below is one of the pieces from start to finish. I may still tweak the little guy. All in all it was good to be figuring this all out and shaking off some of the dust!

On another note: I would like to welcome my friend Linda Hensley to the blogging community. She and I have been friends since 7th grade. We have shared the love of art for many years. We have worked together as artists and have enjoyed personal creative endeavors together. Welcome Linda!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Lighten up!

Happy 2010 to All! Can't wait to get back on track with everyday life. As I get older I seem to appreciate simple routines that keep things flowing. The holidays throw everything off kilter, yet without these distractions in life, wouldn’t it be a bit dull, and maybe routine wouldn’t be so appreciated.

Yesterday I turned fifty. I seem to have been taking stock these last few months. My perspective is different than when I turned forty, my energy level is definitely different, my looks and my body are taking a hit. I feel the need to be more vigilant with exercise and food. Yet my priorities and my goals feel more solid than ever.

Then there are those things that haven’t changed throughout the years, my commitment to my family, my love of spirituality and nature, and my art.

On the topic of art; of course that is what this blog is mainly about. I was thinking this morning about how much more spontaneous I was 15 years ago. Back then I was doing art fairs. I was creating illustrations for kids along with cards, puzzles, bookmarks. I was just having fun with it, and seemed more in tune with myself and my art. Thinking about this, I seem to separate my art. For example when I did art for the children's booths at art festivals, I allowed myself to be me, to have fun with it. Yet, whenever I put the “I want to get published” spin on it. I clamp down, and get too serious with my art. This has always left me frustrated and unable to complete projects, or lose confidence in myself. I think if there’s a resolution to commit to, it would be to lose the seriousness of it and get back to enjoying my art, for the love of doing art. Deadlines and commitment, the “seriousness” can stay, but having fun with art, I miss that. I really am glad I started this blog last August; I had my doubts-I tend to be quite private and blogging is not my nature. Doing the blog has helped me stay grounded. Most of all I’m grateful to finding other artist out there blogging who share their style, techniques and creative process, that helps me to stay the course. Then there’s Illustration Friday! Wonderful bonus!

Happy New Year to all my creative friends! Keep Doing what you Do! THANKS for all your inspiration!