Saturday, December 28, 2013

Illustration Friday~Reflect

It's time to shake off the old and start fresh. Cleaning the studio and coming up with a new game plan to market my illustrations. I think I'll chew on it a bit :)
Illustration created for Stories For Children Magazine

Sunday, December 8, 2013

In memory of John...

This was originally posted March of 2012 as Illustration Friday's word of the week "Intention" It felt appropriate to repost it today.

In the beginning I struggled with this piece. The fear of the "white paper" had me in its grips. I wanted to create something really good; this was going to be my submission to the 2nd annual May Show at the community college. I knew I wanted it to be something that was true to who I am. A few roughs, and it still wasn't coming. I let myself go--I stopped thinking of it as a competitive piece. I just wanted something that I could be proud of. I let myself get into that frame of mind where it's all about the "feel," where your hands move effortlessly and your brain goes into a meditative state. And then a song starts playing in my mind, Imagine, by John Lennon. He is one of my favorites. One of the few that I shed tears over at his death. It was so senseless. I wonder how many other beautiful songs he would have sung if only...

This piece is called: "Thoughts of John" It's pen and ink, with a watercolor wash in the background; reminiscent of the psychedelic era of the 60's. What I found interesting, was at some point as I was creating this piece, I turned on the radio and guess what song was playing--yep, "Imagine"

How's this for a lovely Intention....

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

~John Lennon

PS-It was not accepted in the May Show.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Illustration Friday~Underwater

I'm afraid I am cheating today and re-posting an IF from 2010. There's so much going on in my day today, but I haven't posted in a few weeks and I didn't want to miss out this week. Plus it was a good post, for a good cause and a good reminder to respect our environment.  So for IF Friday Underwater...I give you Ripples from June 16, 2010, after the big oil spill occurred.  Also I'm happy to say both of these small cards did sell, so that was $20.00 for the clean-up. 

And Kelly Light you are truly amazing for this effort that you accomplished and for the thousands that you raised with the help of all the artists that participated in this fundraiser!

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, September 15, 2013

Illustration Friday~Totem


  1. 1.
    a natural object or animal believed by a particular society to have spiritual significance and adopted by it as an emblem.
    color pencil and pen & ink

Friday, August 30, 2013

Illustration Friday~Lush

One can never be too careful when entering their garden. There is usually one lush and overgrown flower that seeks attention and tends to be a bit too aggressive.
This colored pencil illustration is from a 32 page children's book
that I created for a contest given by Simon and Schuster. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Illustration Friday~Fresh

Where has summer gone! I know it's August but I've been on auto-pilot since coming back from vacation at the end of June. I have been pulling many extra hours at my job, and I'm grateful I've gotten as many hours as I have. But that also means I haven't been making any new art for months, or paying attention to my blog. I've been starting to feel that old familiar tug, when I've been away just a bit too long. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, we will be hiring some new people at work and my hours will start to go back to a semi-normal schedule. At least enough for me to dig back in.

As it stands I still have a poem and artwork in review at Carus Publishing, and I'm afraid it's getting on time to pull that one back and move it along to another house. Yet there's a little voice inside that keeps saying "just a little longer." Getting published in Spider has always been my dream! When I think about being "a successful artist" this is one of the marks I hold to. On occasion I reevaluated this word "success" and what that means to me; and to be published in a magazine like Spider would definitely "feel" successful to me. It's the gold star! To receive checks in the mail or money in a paypal account on a semi-regular basis, Yep, that would say success.

Then of course there's that more "soulful" kind of success. Like looking at a bulk of work I've created, as it hangs in a coffee house, display case or at an outdoor festival; that gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. And that would also be considered a success. Or that warm feeling you get inside when you give a piece of your work away to a friend or family member, and they really like it! That's success? Right? Soulful is good, but I guess I just want it all. I want to make wonderful, magical, absolutely lovely artwork that is displayed, bought, appreciated and published! And I want to make lots of money doing it!

But I guess in the end, what it all comes back to is a simple, basic need (addiction) to make art, because, that's what I do, frustration and all. And that old cliche' "the tortured artist," yeah I can sometimes relate.  

Finally, in closing I give you the word of the week for Illustration Friday "Fresh" which I must admit is not so fresh since it's an older piece. Although It is one of my favorites, and one that felt very successful on it's completion. Plus the veggies look good and fresh!

Done in colored pencil and then burnished. I labored many hours on this one, and came away with sore fingers!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Illustration Friday~Jungle

This colored pencil drawing was given to a friend recently. It was a gift to her granddaughter who loves giraffes and monkeys, and the colors purple and pink. It was a really fun piece to do! I thought it would be a good choice for IF's word of the week :)

PS--I decided to go back to "In the Land of Whimsy" I guess I missed it :)
Plus I had so many robots attacking me I thought if I changed it up they'd leave me alone for a while.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Illustration Friday~Future

Thoughts of Annie and her future as an artist...

Annie will be graduating this coming June. I can't believe how crazy fast it's all gone by. From the time she was little she has watched and questioned me on my art. She is my biggest fan. Through the years I've watched her grow not only into a beauitful young woman, but also a wonderful artist and photographer. I love seeing the world through Annie's lense. College is just around the bend for her, and graphic art is where she chooses to begin her adventure. Wether she pursues that field or veers off in another direction, I have no doubts to her success. Below is what I posted on FB today for a Mother's Day status.

Bragging rights on Mother's Day~Last week taking my daughter to school we noticed our neighbor’s cat sitting in the window. That started a conversation about cats that sit in windows all over the world. Which then led into a discussion about what a cute book idea that would make, and it would be fun to do that together. For Mother’s day I received this… Cats in Windows… 

I’ve known for many years that my daughter will far exceed me in the field of art, and it’s hard to explain how wonderful that makes me feel. I just know I’ve passed something on that’s very good!

To see Annie's photos:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

LCC Library Display

 This is the end result of the Spring Time Tree Spirit art I created for the Lakeland Community College Library. Thank you Mark for a beautiful display of my work!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Illustration Friday~Farewell

This piece felt right for the word Farewell. She seems to be sending off her little puffs of tree...whatever the heck that means?
Wishful Thinking 
Although it has been fun and challenging to do this series of work, bidding it farewell is also a welcome relief. I've been picking away at it since February and it is pretty much done.  I just need to wire up the frames for hanging. The 5 pieces will be shown at the Lakeland Community College library for a spring/summer display in May. Thank you to my friend/co-worker Mark who works at both Willoughby Hills library and LCC library for asking me if I would like to show my work. He always seems to have a knack for motivating me :)
The Land in Between

Spring Time
The Celebration
The Tango

Friday, April 19, 2013

Illustration Friday~Train

In the land of Whimsy where life is so strange...people and animals like to ride trains...bad, really bad!

This comes from a line in my first "Whimsy poem" In a series of poems that began with "In the land of  Whimsy..." On the other hand, along with that line came one of my all time favorite illustrations.
The completed pic with the help of Photoshop

I searched around to see if I could find a hard copy of that poem, but no such luck. I know it lives on my old mac, but I didn't really feel the need to boot that up since it takes forever and a day to get it up and running.

The original with the fish
There's another line in the poem that goes something like..."Children wear rainbows and fish like to run" That line I kinda like.
A couple of roughs

Writing poems has always been something I've enjoyed.  In high school creative writing was one of my favorite classes, and one of the few that I did really well in.

I remember when I did this illustration, Annie (my daughter) kept asking me "When is it gonna be done!" And it did take a while. I really worked at it!
The original line work on the train

I think about the process in writing my poems, compared to doing an illustration. When I get an idea, or an opening line stirs about. I can't let it go! I can't relax and just let it come to me. It keeps gnawing at me, and I stay obsessed until the last line.

There's a different kind of obsession with illustrating, it's quieter, more of a slow burn. I find myself purposely letting it ride out longer, in order to see it better. I've learned that if I rush an illustration, more than likely I will over-work it, or miss something.

Having kids has slowed me down, whether I want to be or not. Yet all the stops and goes can help the process too. Looking at a piece with "fresh eyes" usually works to my advantage. I might look at the art one day and think this looks great! Only to come back to it again, and see it might need more contrast, a color might be off,  or maybe there's two elements sharing the same space? Whatever it is, seeing it with fresh eyes never hurts.

As for the poem...for now it will remain on my old mac, maybe someday I'll rework it?  As for the illustration, well you can see the original never was completed. The train itself did get new life in Photoshop and turned out to be a nice addition to my portfolio and website.

Just a little side note on trains: I've been reading "The Road to Grace" by Richard Paul Evans. In it he talks about the difference between Hobos and Tramps. Hobos panhandle and ride trains, Tramps do not panhandle and they hitchhike. Apparently Hobos give Tramps a bad name.

I thought that was kinda funny~

So long for now...Make art, have fun :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Illustration Friday~Wild

 They danced a wild dance of celebration as these two spirits finally hooked up!

This is the fourth piece in a series of Tree Spirits I am creating for a display next month to be shown at  the Lakeland Community College library. A friend I work with at the Willoughby Hills library also works for the college library, and he asked if I would be interested in showing my work for his spring/summer display. Mark has a knack for motivating me. He's also the one who poked at me when I didn't think I had enough time to pull off the Tomie dePaola Award  this past November.  Although I didn't win,  I now have a nice piece for my online portfolio  That art may also end up in his display.

It's good to have people who motivate you. Being a freelance creative is sometimes a lonely business, and when you find those people in your life that give you that extra push it's always a good thing. 

As for the piece above; I like it in black and white, yet I think I will be adding some touches of color, to be more consistent with the other three. 
This is why a sketch book comes in handy-- things you've done in the past as a doodle can often come back to you later on and shake up your muse.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Illustration Friday~Swim

This piece was started, and left for dead back in 2008. When I saw IF's word of the week, I thought of my mythological creature buried in my art files. It seemed like a good piece to resurrect, and offer up. What began in Feb of 2008, is finished in March of 2013. Only took 5 years!
So to all my artist friends out there... what's in your files that needs completing?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Lone wolf~Night sky

I did this piece two, maybe three years ago. Originally intended for my sister-in-law who is a collector of pretty much anything that has to do with wolves. This was one of those projects that sat in the back of my mind for a good amount of years before I actually put pen to paper. Then when I did, this is what came out. I didn't give this picture to her because I didn't really like it at first. I ended up making her another piece, and framing it up. Anyway this one has kind of grown on me through the years. It's now on the move along with a few of my other pieces waiting to be displayed in the next coffee house show in Lakewood Ohio. Much thanks to my cousin/art rep Marie, who believes in me and my art.

Friday, March 8, 2013


For Illustration Friday I felt like playing around with type this week. The background was created for another piece I did for IF which still seems to be one of my most popular posts according to my stats. Here's the link if you'd like to check it out. (IF~Proverb)

Art: watercolor pencils
type and layout in photoshop

Thanks for stopping by :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Daisy Maisy Daffodil~

 Daisy Maisy Daffodil
by Mary Lou Rosato-Caine

Daisy Maisy Daffodil,
She’s a homebound kitty seeking out a thrill.
Oh this life of leisure ain’t where it’s at,
For Daisy Maisy the Calico cat!
Just a snackin and a snoozin on the windowsill,
That’s Daisy Maisy Daffodil.
She’s fat and sassy with an attitude,
Looking for escape, a little latitude.
 Now she lives with Sherry, whose kind and good,
But she won’t let her roam the neighborhood!
Then one day Daisy sees a chance,
the door’s wide open it’s time to dance!
Daisy Maisy the Calico cat,
She chases a bird, but she too darn fat!
The bird gets away, and flies in a tree,
Daisy doesn’t care it’s just good to be free!
All of a sudden it starts to rain,
Poor old Daisy, feeling the pain.
She runs back inside to her windowsill,
That’s Daisy Maisy Daffodil!

This poem and pic was a gift given to my friend/co-worker Sherry for her love of Daisy~ 


Saturday, March 2, 2013


Tango talent on a lovely spring day~
A friend of mine asked me recently if I would be interested in doing a display of my art at the college library where he works. He didn't give any direction other than a loose idea of either Arbor Day or a spring theme. He also didn't give a deadline. I work so much better with a deadline. With a new challenge to motivate me (Mark is always good for my motivation) I told him I would do up some tree spirits dancing.
So one down, four to go!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Illustration Friday~Whisper

Sometimes whispers can be as simple as a bunch of Hippie Fairies throwing down a few happy thoughts...

This piece is from a children's book dummy I created for Simon and Schuster as an entry to a contest they held back in 2000.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thoughts of mom...

I've always been a loner. I value my solitude. People who know me may not view me this way. I'm friendly, easy going, a high energy kind of person. Introvert is not a word that would be used to describe me, yet that is a part of me. Maybe it's the part that makes me the creative that I am. I was a shy, quiet child. Losing my mother very young, I spent countless hours alone; painting, drawing, writing, playing make believe with my dolls and stuffed animals. I sometimes wonder, would I still be the artist I am today, had I not lost her? Maybe I would have been more so? Maybe she would have pushed me more? Maybe I would I have done better in school? Then again, losing her may have made me the creative I am. Throughout my life there have been these unanswered questions. I never talked about my mother when I was a kid, especially in school. I didn't want any pity from my friends. As I get older it seems more important to keep her close. And in my solitude I sometimes find her.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Illustration Friday~Wool

The IF word of the week wool, brought to mind all these cute animal hats that seem to be the latest craze. They are so adorable! This passed week at work, I do believe an owl and a beaver came calling at my circulation desk, or maybe it was a shark? You never know what you'll find at your local library.
Amelia sporting her new bear topper.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Domain and Blog Title

New year, new changes...After being "In the land of Whimsy" since 2009, I've decided to change my domain and title. When I started this blog I just kind of threw myself into it. I liked the name, and it was fitting to some of my poems that I based it off of. Yet every now and then I would do a search on the title, and noticed that there were a few out there using the same name, or a close variation of it. As of late though, it seems there's just too darn much whimsy out there for my liking! So I've given up the ghost, from here on out I'm just me... "Mary Lou Rosato-Caine, Thoughts from the drawing table." As for any of my followers, if you look on your list of people you follow it should have automatically whiched over to the new domain. Although any links for "In the land of whimsy" will now go over to "Page not found."
Although the name has changed the whimsy lives on...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Illustration Friday~Myth(The Zombie Apocalypse Fact or Fiction )

The first thing I thought of for IF Friday’s word of the week “Myth” was Big Foot. My daughter’s personal favorite. Although she would tell you there’s no myth on this subject! Then a friend of mine on facebook shared this link Yes! Inspiration! Mythbusters doing an episode on Zombies! What better for the word Myth than zombies! (thanks Paul for posting that link!)

 Art: Photoshop enhanced zombies with my
favorite Art model "Arthur"
When I was in my teens Night of the Living Dead was the big talked about movie, although I’m not sure if I actually saw that one. I do know that I went to the drive-in with a group of friends and watched the hordes, as they munched their way through a shopping mall in Dawn of the Dead.
I’ve always been fascinated by zombies, but more so, the human element of it. The survival methods one must master in order to overcome. Then again in a zombie apocalypse there is no overcoming—just surviving. Come to think of it, I’ve always watched anything “survival”, man against nature is usually the one I gravitate to the most. Plane crash movies seem to be another common theme for me.  This definitely does not help my fear of flying!

 A few personal relatable zombie facts:

1. I know a man who is actually preparing for the zombie takeover—he’s more into survivalist preparedness, plus he’s a gun instructor. I’m glad he’s my friend, I sure wouldn’t want him as my enemy.
2. My favorite movie is Zombieland. Loved Bill Murray’s role, and also the search for the elusive twinkies. And now with the demise of Hostess one has to wonder if the zombie apocalypse is just around the bend.

3. Guilty Pleasure: One very unordinary Easter Sunday instead of the usual holiday celebration. My family and I stayed in our jammies all day long. We snacked on ham, potato salad, deviled eggs and other goodies, as we watched our very first viewing of Shaun of the Dead! Very sacrilegious—I truly hope God has a sense of humor!

4. One of the scariest movies on cannibalism for me is “The Road.” It’s very bleak and depressing, along with the fact that people are eating each other.  Plus It's more closely related to a “real” zombie apocalypse with the loss of animals, and havoc to the environment.

5. My all-time favorite TV show…The Walking Dead! I sure wish the People’s Choice awards/Golden Globe Awards would give this series the recognition it deserves!

For a good write up on The Zombie Apocalypse Fact or Fiction here’s a link that can talk it up much better than I can.



Friday, January 11, 2013

Illustration Friday~Ocean

The last time I was in Cape Cod it was 1993. It was the year before our daughter was born. My husband and I flew out and spent 4 days. We also had a day in Boston! It was so much fun! This coming summer we're going back and I can't wait! Cape Cod is more than just a nice place I like to go back to. It’s a place where I “feel” like I’ve always belonged. At times I feel like I lived another life there…a “metaphysical soul thing.” I guess.

The first time I remember hearing about Cape Cod was from a friend in art class when I was in 10th grade, she would always share her vacation photos with me--For the most part I'm not an envious person. I'm usually pleased for the happiness and success of others; but when Mimi would show me those pictures, I had a bad case of the green-eyed-monster! That was the vacation I wanted! That was the life I wanted! When I was a kid vacations were rare, maybe a trip to Canada to see relatives, or a short get-away to Cedar Point. But an extended stay by the ocean was not a part of my life.

I remember when my brother Mickey and his new bride went to Cape Cod for there honeymoon, Mick brought me back a charm bracelet, I doubt he remembers that, but it’s still in my jewelry box. I knew then that Cape Cod would also be my honeymoon destination.

In 1988 Larry and I drove to Cape Cod for our honeymoon. Our first stop when we hit Massachusetts was Plymouth. After taking in the rock and the boat, we moved on to Hyannis Port. Although we hadn’t booked a place to settle in for the week, we both felt being centrally located in Hyannis would be a good location. Plus the ferry to Nantucket was pretty much right outside our door. Nantucket is such a quaint island, known for its cobblestone street in the center of town. We did all the little shops, road bikes, hung out on the shore of Brant Point. It was a great day. I bought a book, “The Ghosts of Nantucket” that night in bed we read ghost stories to each other.

Getting back to my “metaphysical soul thing”…

A funny thing happened on the way to Provincetown. As we veered off the main route on to a dusty little beach road, in search of one of the many lighthouses on the peninsula; I had the oddest feeling I’d been down this path many times before. I even dreamt about this road, only in my dream it ended with a house near the beach. It was one of those Déjà vu moments that you stop and think “I know this so well.” Who knows, it was probably one of Mimi’s old photos that came back to me…or, maybe I did lived there in another time period. I prefer that~

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Arthur defends his table!

Possesed Kitty lands on table
Squatters rights
Checking out the territory
"Good Kitty"
Arthur defends the table!