art, Education

Learning and Growing with Grace

grace wins

This past year has been an amazing year for me as an artist. I have spent many hours – many, many hours – exploring, practicing and learning all the elements of surface pattern design. I have to admit, learning illustrator was a massive undertaking, but I am so glad that I jumped in with both feet and got it done. An entirely new world of creating is now at my fingertips. So exciting! I am slowly starting to piece the business elements with the artistic components. I have met numerous great designers along the way and am blown away by the grace and assistance they have extended to me – what a beautiful world.

The quote by Seneca, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings’ end”, sums up my pilgrimage in art. It is incredible to look back and see how every step along my way has helped lead me to where I am now.

This year I have also learned to be gracious with myself. If I don’t feel like I am good enough or things are not happening fast enough, I can’t flourish and grow. I know I am not alone when it comes to feelings of inadequacy. So many established pattern designers have relayed the same story to me. It is easier to extend grace to others than to yourself; however, I know I am worth it, and I can accomplish the goals I have set for myself.

I have included a design in this post, my screen saver, that incorporates elements from a couple of the patterns I am working on for a collection. I will also be making available clip art of some of the motifs. There are many designs to come, but also much work to be done as I continue to learn and grow in this business. I am up for the challenge and thrilled to see where this journey will lead.

This particular design incorporates the saying, grace wins. This saying holds special meaning for me on many levels, but that is a topic for another post. Till then my goal is to extend a little grace to my world around me. People have bad days and need a little grace.

Designs and Patterns will be posted in my Design Gallery.

Education, Graphite

Quick Study – Water Soluble Graphite Dancer

Quick Study



I continued to experiment with water soluble-graphite this week.  In this quick drawing I loosely sketched the dancer, then with a wet brush freely and quickly went over it.  After allowing the paper to dry a little, I went back and added more detail with my graphite pencil and a wet brush.  I also played with a dry brush.

Leaving the lines of the skirt open helped create movement in the dancer. Painterly motions of a wet brush also help add to this effect.  I have to admit though, I am terrible at just walking away from a drawing and saying it is done.  For me there is always something to tweak.  Therefore some of the free-flowing effects that I had, have become more detailed.  Next time I will walk away, maybe.


Paper:  Canson Mixed Media

Pencils:  ArtGraf 2B, 6B


[su_heading size=”15″ margin=”0″]Create On![/su_heading]



Education, Graphite

More Water Soluble Graphite


Water-soluble graphite has quickly become a new favorite medium for me.  I like the richness that the graphite creates along with the freedom to add more layers and not end up with a shiny end result.  The diversity of this medium allows for quick, tight sketches like the kitten seen here, or can be utilized for loose, free-flowing sketches with a more painterly effect.  (I will post a loose sketch next week.)

Drawing detail does take some practice and experimentation.  If too much water is added to an area the graphite will bleed; I almost lost the cat’s eye on this sketch because my brush was too wet.  Drawing can be done dry, using water, or both; it all depends on what effect you want to create.

I also added an element of color to this sketch utilizing a great new drawing tool by ArtGraf.  ArtGraf produces water-soluble graphite along with pigmented water-soluble drawing mediums, most art stores and Amazon now sell this new art product from Portugal.  Here I worked with a very light wash of the pigment, however the same pigment can be used to create deep intense colors. 



Paper used:  Canson Mixed Media


Rembrandt Lighting – Art Study

Summer Study

Have you ever looked at a painting and been absolutely mesmerized by how the artist was able to command the mood with the use of lighting?  After visiting numerous art galleries in Europe last year I knew I needed to take some time to study lighting more.  Now is the time.  With the busyness of the year behind me, I can once again focus on art study.  My plan for the summer is to study the works of Rembrandt who was a master at manipulating light.

RembrandtSelf Portrait – Rembrandt (public domain)

As the summer progresses, I hope to post pieces with some of the different lighting techniques that Rembrandt used. I have a goal and I have a plan; let’s see where it takes me.


art, Charcoal, Education

Remembrance Day – Flanders Fields

For Those Who Serve

John McCrae, Flanders Fields, Soldier, Remembrance DayI am thankful for the freedoms I have, and I am often saddened when I think that not all people have the same opportunity.  It would be amazing to have a world in which war did not exist; sadly, that is not the case.  To all who have served and are serving our beautiful country, I want to say thank you.

The wearing of poppies was inspired by the World War I poem, “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.  I thought it was fitting to incorporate McCrae’s poem into the Remembrance Day doodle I did this week.


Back to the Easel – Albrecht Dürer

After an enjoyable and very relaxing vacation in Europe,  I am ready to sit down at the easel and start drawing.  The architecture, the culture, the history, the colors, the sounds, the smells… how do you capture that?  I guess the only way to find out is to try.

Before I start my next drawing, I thought I would share a couple of my favorite photographs and memories; but after Scrolling though the 4000 plus photos that we took on our family vacation, I am finding it hard to decide which of the photographs are my favorite.  Every memory, every experience was enjoyable.  What can I say? It was a really good vacation.

I will start with one image, one memory;  maybe as the weeks and months go by, the other images will come to life in my drawings.  Feel free to send me an email and let me know.

One highlight of the trip was visiting the house of one of Germany’s great master artists. Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) was born in Nuremberg, Germany.  As a painter and printmaker Dürer became a great influence across Europe.

Albrecht Dürer’s Art is very recognizable. Scroll through the Art link and see how many pieces look familiar.

Albrecht D


Visiting the Dürer House was more than just cool.  Seeing where this artist lived, worked, and entertained has stirred my curiosity to learn more about the artists and his works. Here is the link to the Albrecht Dürer House.

Chalk Pastel, Charcoal, Education

New Gallery – Rae’s Gallery

My Daughter’s Art

It is fun and exciting to watch my teenage daughter’s artistic skills grow.  Thanks to her love for art, she draws or paints on a daily basis.  With this daily practice, there is no wonder that her skill level is taking great leaps forward.  I thought it would be fun to add a gallery of her work to my home page.

Can you tell Rae is a Lord of the Rings fan?


Gandalf the White

Gandalf the White

Chalk Pastels on Black Paper.

 This is the first piece added to her gallery.


Reflection and Art Exhibit – Strathmore Library


Summer Markets have drawn to a close for this year.  Reflecting on my experience of the summer has helped me gain a clearer vision of what direction I would like to move with my artwork.

Maybe I analyze things too much, but I think the art and the artist have to grow and mature as they move through phases.  The first phase is primarily a learning phase.  Learning techniques, developing a style, making mistakes, trying different things (mediums, marketing, art exposure),and talking with other artists.  All these elements help to define the artist and what direction the art will take.  This is where art moves into the next phase.

The second phase is a phase of reflection.   What is the art all about? Why do art?  Is it created to make a statement?  Is it used to help a cause?  Is it purely a financial venture, or just a hobby? Is is a combination of more than one of these questions?

As I answer these questions and others, I can conclude that the reasons I engage in  art are multifaceted.  Currently I am exploring partnering with a couple of organizations.  Art has meaning and there needs to be a purpose for it, even if that purpose is to just have fun.  Keep posted for updates.


Art Exhibition

For the month of September some of my art pieces will be on display at the Strathmore Municipal Library.

library exhibit

For more information check out this link:   Strathmore Library Art Exhibit.



Canadian Rockies and Art

Yesterday I had the privilege of observing and talking with a local Canadian Artist in her home town of Banff, Alberta.   Canadian born, Christine Ford has spent most of her life in the breath-taking Canadian Rockies.  Passion for her home, the beautiful Rockies; and painting, is very clear when talking with Christine.  Her passion also comes through in her paintings.  This very personable young artist was more than happy to talk about her beginnings, art techniques, struggles in art, and much more.

There is a recurring theme when I talk with artists or read art related articles (beside practice 😉 ) and that is to find ways to surround yourself with art (and artists).  This will keep you drawing, painting, and creating.  Unless art is your livelihood, where you must paint to pay the bills, it needs nurturing daily to grow.  It gives you a reason and purpose to do art.  What does this look like?  I think for me it means taking a course, setting some goals, entering competitions, being active in an art society, and  even doing some commission work.

If you haven’t visited the Canadian Rockies, plan a trip – it will be well worth it.  I have been to the majestic Canadian mountains many times, and each time I go,  it is like I am seeing them again for the very first time.

Photographs taken by Martin Eisbrenner.  Check out his website…some really cool photos!!!

If you want to learn more about Christine Ford check out her website at


Students Connecting – Art and History

I have always considered the arts a valuable tool in creating life long learning for both my children and myself.  Yesterday I read an article (“Object Lesson”) by Marice Rose that explains a way of engaging students in art, history, culture, and society.  It shows how to help students define art.  Understanding the meaning and value of art helps students (we are all students after all – life long learners :)) develop a human connection to it.

And much more…it’s a good read.