screen print by Louisa, age 10



I was ready for this one!


IF: explore

My dog Coco wishes her walks were more like this:


the new guy

I'm doing a lot of other things at the moment, but I just can't resist making more silly soft toys. Here he is, the zebra of the day:


"moon and stars"

... was the title of The Arts Center's entry in the local Christmas Parade this year. Every year it comes together beautifully in the end, what a lot of fun!
(Thanks for the great pictures Mike and Kasia.)

it rolled part of the way, and "floated" the rest. Hey, that's me...

"geodesic sphere" made entirely of recycled newspaper and masking tape

all ready to go!

decorated with tinsel and glow sticks, filled with balloons.
 Some of them popped en route and sounded like firecrackers.


Samichlaus 1

"Sami Niggi-Näggi, Hinder em Ofe steck i. 
Gib mir Nüss und Bire, Denn chummi i wider füre."

On December 6th, Swiss children are confronted with a stern St. Nicholas and his golden book, where all their good and bad deeds have been noted all year. They memorize small poems and songs to welcome him.
He carries a switch for small infractions, and a strong side kick (Schmutzli) to put you in his sack and haul you away if you've been very "bad" (this was always a great success in teen and preteen School Samichlaus celebrations in my youth)

A quick sketch in honor of St. Nicholas, I will work on it and put it back up later. Have a nice day, make sure to eat some nuts and oranges to celebrate.


happy monday

Lately we have been treated to warm weather and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Somehow these views from the car lane and the back porch have led to a series of imaginary landscapes.

In other business, I'm spending a lot of time building the entry for this year's christmas parade (pictures tomorrow, if you can stand the suspense....) Illustration friday this week is "stretch", I think I'll go do some of that before I head off to bed. 
Good Night.


IF: whiskers

up for another round... I like this one


IF: whiskers

This subject reminded me that I need to practice my grownups, men in particular. That'll be the theme here for a while : gentlemen, with and without whiskers.


mix it up

I am teaching an after school art class called "abstract acrylic painting". I stepped in when the original instructor had a conflict, and If you know me at all, you can tell I did not come up with that. What came as a surprise to me is how much I am enjoying that class, and the students, and how much I am getting out of it. Hurray for stepping out of your comfort zone!

student work

We started off with a color mixing project; every student divided his/her board into even squares, and  set out to fill the spaces by mixing as many different colors as possible from the egg carton palette of (an approximation of) cyan, magenta, yellow, black and white. This kept a small group of kids between the ages of 6 and twelve seriously engaged for more than an hour. They were amazed by how different each of their projects looked, and proud of the range of colors. They ended by making up names for some favorite colors: Frog Burp anyone?


morning surprise

On walking into the studio this morning I found this bookmark in progress on my work table. Thanks for the inspiration Louisa, you are the horse master....

Louisa, 10



Collage turned into articulated animal, I love making these....

With a nod to Ann Wood and her herd of horses, given the horse loving situation at my house, I did have to make my own (with my own drawing, of course) ...



Jillian Tamaki, one of my all around favorite illustrators, just published a post called "On Drawing, Illustration and the Difference Between the Two" This sticky question comes up all the time and she nailed it. 


birthday cake

A quick papercut card for some animal loving friends with a big birthday.

happy birthday!


six and three quarters

This is a postcard from the land of first grade. Strange, funny, sometimes puzzling, but never dull. 
I think I'm planning a series of drawings.
The cat ears? That's for next time.

thank you Nora...


IF: tree

or, as it turned out today: trees
I pass this field every saturday on my way out to the horse farm, actually sometimes twice a day. Today there were some buckskin ponies grazing nearby, and i thought they'd match nicely.

Here's a quick study done out in the nice fall weather. This is acrylic on cardboard, kind of a nice change from watercolors.


color bunny

After an inky november, I'm ready to get back to some color. Here is yesterdays shy rabbit making a chatty friend. On second look, I think this would benefit from a clean sky; white or very light grey. What do you think?

Aah, that's better. I've been working with watercolor for so long, it took me a while to remember the acrylic advantage: you can always paint over it :)


IF: shy

"shy" made me think of a nocturnal animal.....


the bears secret

The well kept secret to the success to the american black bear's hibernating success: lots of halloween candy.......
Illustration friday up next, have a nice weekend!



Here's something else we've been spending time on around here.....
'hope you had a happy Halloween too!

IF: haunt

I just had too many ideas for "haunt"...... and then the family halloween crowded everything else out. 
And then I remembered  ...

 A spread from The 12 Days of Christmas in South Carolina, written by Melinda Long, Sterling Publishing.



Last week we farmed out the kids and the dog, and headed down to Athens GA to see one of my all time favorite people: Patty Griffin.
She was on stage all alone with her guitar (all right, her collection of guitars) and she rocked!
The next day we ran into her downtown when we were getting breakfast and I was starstruck - I couldn't stop grinning, but I didn't bother her.
My hero :)

these are pictures I took

this is from her actual performance in Athens


more cards

These cards are also being wrapped up for the holiday sale. There are some original papercut cards and tags, as well as silk screen notes and cards. I'm looking forward to making some more, to send out to my people. I think I'm even going to sneak in a halloween one, we've been reading "the Witch Family" - one of my all time favorite books!

crazy days

These days have been full of holiday preparations. Working with two ten year olds to make horse heads for halloween costumes (more on that later). 
 Making things for the  holiday sale at The Arts Center

silk screened holiday card

soft toys from upcycled materials

 some examples.....



I've wanted to learn to silk screen for a long time, it just seemed to go perfectly with the papercutting process. I don't know why I hesitated so long, I did some experimenting yesterday and now I'm a silkscreening fool - it's so much fun! I love the crisp results, although I can't believe how long the paint is taking to dry. My floors are covered in small test prints, I'll have to rig up some kind of  drying rack.
Happy friday, what are you working on?



Yesterday started with a happy surprise: I won a prize ! Then, my dog caught a chipmunk, my friend celebrated a birthday, and my daughter lost a (baby) tooth - whew, lots of excitement around here :)

Sometimes the simplest things are the most tricky. I'm having fun exploring the possibilities of this idea,  and I thought I'd show you one of the many sketches I'm wrestling with.

I'm also planning for this years christmas parade float/sculpture and all the pre holiday doings at The Arts Center, I've been adding a lot of pins on my virtual boards  - so many great ideas out there!



pitcher plant bouquet

Good morning!
 Here is another dangerous plant, if you're a bug (or in some places even a small frog!) We have some smaller Pitcher plants ones here in South Carolina, and they're very beautiful.



Dionaea muscipula

The Venus Fly Trap looks nice and dangerous, but unless you're a fly or other small insect, you're safe.
I've been having fun with this series of dangerous plants, it makes a good warm up and helps me think carefully about value and color. Last night I saw an enormous opossum slide into the bushes and it made me think of doing nocturnal animals next. 



Amanita muscaria
I've always wondered why so many people are obsessed with this pretty, but toxic, mushroom. It's associated with fairies, and often found in books with gnomes and fairytales. Looking into it, there is a lot of druidic background to the Fly Agaric, and there are a few opinions on how it got it's name. It's more than a little mysterious, and amply deserves a spot in my October gallery.


IF: Mirror

Keeping with the monochromatic pen and ink approach, a creepy approach to this week's Illustration Friday's subject : mirror. It made me think of Snow White, of course, and I discovered a new (to me) version of the fairytale in a poem by Anne Sexton - powerful.


pretty poisonous

In honor of Halloween I've decided to celebrate October with a series of portraits of poisonous plants.

Phytolacca americana
We have a lot of Pokeweed here in South Carolina, and although I knew it was poisonous and grows like, well, a weed, I hadn't given it much thought. It turns out the US constitution was written with ink made from fermented pokeberries. Once you start looking there is a lot of information about the American pokeweed. It 's a "food and medicinal plant",  native americans used to paint arrows, feathers and even horses with juice from the berries, and although every part of the pokeweed is poisonous, it's also a popular food. Surprisingly enough, the berries are the least poisonous part .


apple party

We picked these apples up in the hills a few weeks ago, and they've been hanging out happily around the fireplace. We do eat them though, I like them best fresh, but I've also run into a couple of new recipes worth hanging onto. I've made this cake twice already, and it's been a great success; simple and delicious. Today we ate it to celebrate a friends birthday - thus the party hat. My new favorite applesauce is baked in the oven, It makes it a lot easier, the taste is amazing and the whole house smells delicious.


Falling Garden

I seem to be becoming more and more fascinated by large scale art installations. I stumbled across these artists yesterday, and I can't believe I haven't heard about them sooner. 
They're even from Switzerland!

Find out more about this installation here


giant papercut process

I'm back! I know you've been waiting impatiently to find out all about this project of mine.....
Well, my wonderful new studio space sometimes doubles as a guest room, and sometimes as my place to do yoga, so I was looking for a little more privacy. The large glass insert in the door lets in a lot of light and definitely brightens up the space, so I didn't want to lose that. 

whole door in action

I considered frosting the glass, but I wanted something reversible, I considered a light curtain, blinds, ,window film, but I wanted something more unusual. (picky? who, me?) 
I got started on this papercut when I realized how to avoid the stretching and flopping that would happen if I tried to make a papercut this large and then glue it somewhere (not a pretty thought).

Reverse papercut! I cut out all the small shapes and scenes and started from the outside in with a nod to symmetry, but not completely even. I used liquid laundry starch to glue down most things, and took a glue stick to the tiny details. Now that I'm done, I found this other tip, it seems that milk is also good for attaching paper to glass and mirrors. I'll try that next time.
Ta da, I'm pretty happy with it, and when I'm tired of it I can use some water and a spatula and scrape it all off. Don't worry, I don't spend a lot of time washing my windows anyway....

time to sweep up the little pieces today



giant papercut

Lately I have been working on covering the glass part of my studio door with a giant reverse papercut. (I know, we all have our little hobbies)
Here is a view of the whole thing, I can already hear the school bus honking, so check back tomorrow for some detail shots and an explanation of the process.


IF: crooked

Green Anaconda

the "crooked" I settled on for Illustration Friday, watercolor, gouache and pastels