Watercolor Action-Harris Hawk, Cougar and Collared Lizard

First painting for an idea brewing.  I’m also, working with my SCBWI mentor to develop visual story telling.  I love when my idea cauldron is bubbling.  The fire was cold for a few weeks, but I’ve learned that the coolness is part of the creative process and as much as I don’t like it, I accept it.

Onward and Upward!!


A Favorite Story Illustrated in Watercolor

In 1967 I read a novel,Rascal, by Sterling North.  I wrote my usual book report and I got a bright, although not new, idea.  What if I drew a picture of the raccoon on the cover?  It wasn’t long before I had my classmates asking me to draw images on their report covers.  My fifth grade illustration business was born and I was paid in ice cream currency.  I’ve rekindled my love of of the story and am taking on the images that come to me now.

What’s on my Desk

I recently applied for the SCBWI Mentor Program.  Part of my application was to submit a one page Artist Statement.  As I thought back to my first illustrations, I remembered that I illustrated my book report cover for “Rascal” by Sterling North.  It was a pencil drawing on red construction paper of a raccoon in a tire swing.  It wasn’t long before my classmates were hiring me to create their covers too.  The price, one ice cream bar.

I decided to go back to that time and illustrate the cover again.  My plan is to create the cover, three interior spot illustrations and chapter illuminated letters.  I’ve listened to the audio book twice and will go borrow the book from the library to get the chapter breaks correct. 

By the way, it is a charming story of 1918 America during WWI, the war to end all wars.  Even during dark times, kids always seem to find a way to make their lives whole.  Sometimes animals and their connections to us are just the thing that keeps us grounded on our planet.

Thumbnail pencil sketches getting to know the animal characters in "Rascal".

The Heart of a Monkey

Project completed for the Green Valley Library, One World Many Stories.

Pen and ink with watercolor.  The borders are carved eraser stamps to replicate traditional Swahili Kangha cloth.

Monkey’s Invitation – “Beware of generous offers.”

Monkey’s Realization – “Life’s journey requires wit.”

Monkey’s Explanation – “Keep your heart safe.”

A crocodile craves a monkey’s heart.  He devises a plan to offer a trip to the monkey.  “I will take you to the mango tree so you can feast on something wonderful besides your everyday figs.”  The monkey decides this would be a great idea.  Half way on their journey, the crocodile reveals that he will not take him to the mango tree, but have monkey’s heart.  The monkey replies, “That would be fine except I left my heart in the fig tree for safe keeping.  If you return me to my tree, I will go get it for you.”  Of course once in the tree, the monkey does not return and crocodile was fooled.  

I’m looking forward to more black and white work in my next projects.

Textile, Meet Sculpture


Usually in the winter my Multiple Muse Disorder flares up.  The cold, short days find me curled up in my living room chair, surrounded by little dogs, thinking up things to make.  I should be in the studio working on my latest illustration, but sometimes the Muses fight and I sit back and roll with it.  Combine this with finalizing the task of organizing the lovely yarn I inherited from my beautiful sister-in-law, and strange things happen.

Leaving for Connecticut

Leaving in a square cardboard space craft and traveling 3000 land miles, the welcome must have been overwhelming and that makes me smile!

Algaelina and Roberto

Environments for Characters

Todd White’s class at the Nevada Museum of Art concluded this week.  So much learned and so much still to learn.  The second part of the class was creating environments for our previously designed characters to exist.  It had been quite awhile since I paid much attention to perspective drawing other than some quick visual perspective that probably wasn’t too accurate.  But the added challenge to incorporate two point perspective in my work proves to be a valuable new asset.  Now left on my own to use my new design tools, I look forward to working in a whole new way.

The vista concept of Mesa Trailer Lodge Inn & Cafe’

The mid range concept of the gypsy’s home.

The interior.

A final look at the world I created for the class.  Too  much fun!!!

Characters to Personalities


After a few weeks of drawing, tweaking and redrawing, I have my three charachters.  Drawing on the plane, in the hotel and in my studio, I went through several versions of each.   The one that was the toughest to nail down was the woman.  Was she a witch, victorian lady, teacher or head-mistress?  When I got on the path of this bohemian, natural world modern goddess, I finally found her.  This was so much fun carving these personalities out of ink blot silhouettes.  The possibilites are certainly endless.  Now on to their environments.  Where do they live?  I have some ideas. 

Click image to enlarge.