Friday, September 30, 2011

An early Christmas present for you!

To celebrate another year of Christmas cards, I wanted to give you some printable Christmas gift tags! I hope this helps when you get to wrapping your gifts this year. Just click on the image above to open in a new window. Then right click to save it to your computer hard drive. Open it and print it to fit an 8.5x11. :)

And here are my final two additions to the Christmas card collection now available in my Etsy shop.

Merry Christmas! Enjoy celebrating the Savior!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book Cover Illustrating

Recently I had the privilege of designing a book cover for the up-and-coming author, Christina Daley, for her new book Seranfyll. The style is quite a bit different than my normal watercolors, but it was a fun challenge.

Here's a brief synopsis of the book:

For the first time in her life, Rain has a choice to make. The thirteen-year-old slave girl lives in the country of Yoan, where slaves aren't allowed proper names, let alone anything else. After being sold by a gambler and bought by a thief, she's freed by an eccentric young noble, about whom many rumors abound. Some say his manor is haunted, his horse can fly, and that he's actually a devil. Now that she's free, Rain must decide what she will do with that new freedom. Her choices will lead her to new friends and unexpected adventures about choices, consequences, and what it really means to be free. (Ages 10+) Available in ebook and print formats on Visit for more information.

I love the challenge of the different. I'm excited too as I just learned I'll be illustrating her next book cover which will come out soon! I'll make sure to keep you posted. Or you can just follow her blog (posted above) and you'll find out as soon as it's ready.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Resurrecting the Old

Several years ago I saw in a DIY magazine how someone wallpapered a room with pages from an old dictionary. What a great idea for an office I thought. I went right over to Half Price Books and found two perfect old dictionaries.

Working at the time in a facility that had a press, I brought my books into the bindery area and one of the guys used a huge cutter and cut off the spines for me. I was ready to wallpaper. Then I bought my first house on my own as a single lady. Then I met my now husband. Then we got married. Then I moved. :) I held onto those dictionary pages, because I knew it was still a great idea. Then a couple years later I had a baby. I wasn't planning on going with a dictionary page wall for his room (although it would surely make him the smartest baby around ;). So the dictionary pages went back on a shelf.

Then I came across some old illustrations of mine. A project back in high school that I started was illustrating perfume bottles. The light bulb came on! Why not marry the two? So I put those pages in my printer, and I'm now selling dictionary page prints of my perfume bottles and a couple other watercolors. I'm having so much fun! I love the idea of "upcycling." I didn't have to go buy new paper. And I've got enough to equal about 2 reams. You can see those listings on my etsy shop.

And I still have these perfume bottle illustrations. So now I have a new set of greeting cards too!

What a great gift for that girly friend who is so good at sending handwritten notes.

Don't you love the creative process? I'm grateful to the Creator God who gives us these little tastes of fun. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Warm Mittens for a Cold Day

Okay, I know it's July, and unless you're in the southern hemisphere this time of year, you're not trying to keep warm. Well, really I'm just starting to plan ahead for Christmas! My "Mittens" painting is just the first of a few more I hope to complete this month. I'm getting more and more excited about the paintings I have coming! Below are several of my paintings I had available in cards last year on I'll probably reprint them along with the new ones I'm working on. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Own Mini Polaroids

Here they are! They're not perfect, but I love them! Such a cute fun way to put family photos up. My sister is visiting this weekend and we're still working on these tonight now that the kiddos are in bed. I've got to get back and do some more! :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Lesson in Watercolors

Our family went to the beach back in May and we had so much fun! Of course, it was all new for my little guy. He loved sitting on the wet sand and running his fingers through it. That is, until the wave came and got him wet up to his waist. Then he was done! Thankfully, my sister got a number of photos of him first. I decided this would be my first painting of him. I'm sure there will be many more in the years to come. But this was a fun first.

When starting out with most of my watercolor paintings, especially portraits, I pencil in the most important details. Here I make sure that proportion and shape are right. In this process I have both my pencil and my trusty eraser working overtime until the outlines are just the way I want them. A lot of watercolor artists don't like their pencil showing through their paint. To me it adds an interesting dimension. So I keep it.

After your initial sketch, you want to identify the parts of your painting that will remain white. Those are the areas I avoid before adding my first layers of paint (see next step). Masking fluid can also be applied at this point to help you avoid those areas a little better.

One thing I never realized before working in watercolor is that there can be many layers of paint in each painting. Layers? I thought that was only in oil or acrylic. In watercolor, the appropriate term (I think) is "glaze." There are many glazes you add to each painting. As a graphic designer for so many years using photoshop, I think in layers. So that's the term I use.

I start with the medium to light color washed over each area. Let the area dry, and then keep adding more and more layers. I work from the lightest color washes to the darker details.

Here I'm getting into the nitty gritty of the shadow's in my little guy's face. I probably could have used a smaller brush at this point. But I find myself so engrossed in what I'm doing at times that I don't stop to switch brushes!

I keep adding more washes of varying shades of blue until the sand he's sitting on looks truly wet. An important part in this particular painting that I had to watch out for was all those blues and golds. We all know that yellow and blue make green. So it's important for me not to get ahead of myself and add the opposing color while the previous one is still wet. If I hurry it, the next thing you know the wet sand will be a color that I wouldn't want my kid sitting on. :)

Every painting of mine gets to that point where I think I could maybe possibly add just one more detail. But when I know I'm close to finishing, I'll walk away for an hour, sometimes a day. If I come back to it and like it, then I sign it. Once I sign it, I'm done.... no touching up any more once that signature is on the painting. This painting was fully dry when I came back to it, so I pulled out my mat cutter and framed it. Why waste time? I hung it on the wall in time for when my husband got home from work.

Now on to Christmas card paintings. Yes, Christmas. I know it's July. One has to plan ahead around here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mini Polaroid Magnets

This is one of those "things that moves me at the moment" and nothing to do with watercolor painting. I came across this super fun way to make the cutest family snapshot magnets. Here's the link to Jennifer Kirk's blog: Tiny Polaroid Magnets Let me know if any of you do these too! I'll post photos of mine once I get them done.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I really know I need to move on to the painting I started of my little boy, but....

Another ACEO! :) Driving through the mountains in North Carolina about four years ago, we came across this old general store. The photo I took originally showed it covered in overgrown brush and boarded up. In painting it, I tried to imagine how it might have looked years ago.

Okay, maybe tomorrow I'll get back to the painting of my little guy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ACEO obsessed?

I just keep painting! Here's my latest ACEO miniature painting. I love the challenge of giving the impression of detail on something so small. What should I paint next? Oh, maybe I should sleep some tonight. :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I'm so excited to have tried something new today! I started painting miniature watercolors. I painted them in the ACEO format. Art Cards, Editions, and Originals — 2.5" x 3.5". The purpose of painting these is for collectors. Some people collect baseball cards, and now folks are collecting miniature prints or original artwork! What a fun way to have an art collection without spending a fortune.

The only consistent thing I found about ACEOs is the size. Otherwise they can be unlimited prints, limited edition prints, or original paintings. I think I'll start selling these original paintings at my shop and I'll also do some limited edition prints. Why not? My favorite part of doing these today was that I could finish several paintings in an hour. I feel like I accomplished something today! Hmmm... what to paint next? :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A House Portrait

What a thoughtful gift! A friend wanted to give a house portrait to his wife as this was the first house they bought together. So fun! Here is the result.

What I loved about painting this house was how I painted the brick. Before starting, I felt the need to paint every individual brick. But that's not necessary at all and may even look pretty funny if done that way. So, instead I did an overall color on the background and came back in with several bricks in darker variations. You can tell it's a brick house without being hit over the head with that fact.

Another part that was fun for me here was painting the crepe myrtle trees. Watercolor is so fun and you never know where it's going at first. I did a wet into wet technique here by dropping in the wet color of the flowers into the wet paint of the leaves. I think it gives a dreamy effect.

What do you think?

A Family Portrait

This one was long in the making. My sister and her family took a photo like this about five years ago and wanted me to make a painting out of it. Unfortunately back then the photograph was of such a poor quality that it just wouldn't work. And then they went on a family vacation to Galveston, TX... Finally I had something to work with! See the progression of this painting:

Starting to add some of the background color:

Oops. I got so engrossed in this that I forgot to stop and take another photo before I had so much done!

And here's the final! This was the first time I worked with wet reflections in sand. So fun! I think I need to do another like this.