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About Me

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Guymon, Oklahoma, United States
I am blessed to live where my grandfather homesteaded, to have three beautiful daughters who are my best friends, to have six delightful grandchildren who live nearby, to be married to my sweetheart of 35 years and to thrill to the special magic of creating my own works of art. I'll never cease to thrill to witnessing new ideas and images come to life from the point of a pencil or splash of a brush. I am blessed.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

ANNOUNCING OUR BOOTH AT LUBBOCK ARTS FESTIVAL

Invitations are just now arriving for spring and summer art shows.  It is always exciting to plan our adventures.  This is my first time to participate in this awesome, indoor show.

This is the first invitation I've gotten for 2017 but spring and summer shows are just now contacting their invited artists.  Fingers crossed for another fabulous summer of traveling the country and meeting new people.  I'm living the dream!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

CREATING BOOKPLATES FROM MY INK DRAWING



I am busy printing, cutting and packaging my personalized bookplates for friends, coworkers and family.  I scan my drawing, format the drawing in Photoshop and then add "this book belongs to" with the names of my recipients.

These bookplates are printed on 8.5" x 11" adhesive labels I purchase on Amazon.  I like to use adhesive sheets that don't have any writing on the back.

After the sheets are printed, I then cut them in uniform sizes and package them in little vellum paper pockets I cut and build myself.  I like to include a small card in each pocket which explains the story behind the drawing and a little history of bookplates.

I typically create my bookplates as Christmas gifts but this year I was so busy with commission artwork it just had to wait until now.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Theatrical Flots & Jets
10" x 10"
2016 Stipple Ink Bookplate

For the last 12 years I have created an intricate ink drawing while teaching my students an ink unit.  I have usually used stippled ink which means the entire image is created with zillions of tiny dots.  This is my latest ink drawing which I will now reproduce on adhesive labels and personalize as bookplates for my family, friends and coworkers.

Bookplates are personalized labels used to identify book ownership are glued into the first page of a treasured book.  As a teacher I love creating something personal for fellow book lovers.

Each year I try to create a drawing that somehow commemorates the past year.  For my 2016 drawing  I wanted to celebrate an amazing year of theater.  My husband and I love theater and during the summer we got to travel and see nine Broadway shows and attend the amazing Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I also got back in the director's chair and directed a huge production of "Man of La Mancha."  We were thrilled to watch our oldest grandson discover theater and perform a lead in a local production, my husband directed a winning high school one-act play and perhaps the best (tho admittedly not theatrical) production of the year was our newest grandson.

With so much to capture I decided to build my drawing as a nine sectioned memory box and to draw little mementos of each of the productions from the year.  Each little section features images that represent one or more production.



After drawing out the shape of the memory box I started collected items to draw that represented each of the productions.  Some of the shows were easy to depict while others took some thinking.  I wanted the overall look of the finished drawing to be like a keepsake collection with some items pinned to the frame and others piled up in the individual boxes.

The first section of the memory box represents "Man of La Mancha" which proved to be an enormous undertaking.  I soon discovered that I needed to build up very dark values to create the illusion of the different sections of the box.  Creating such dark values required far more individual dots piled on top of each than I had previously used.  So this piece is by far the most time consuming stipple piece I've ever created.


One of favorite sections of the drawing in the little dinosaur and wooden blocks in the final section of the box.  My newest grandson's nursery is filled with dinosaurs so this symbolizes him.  I included a number 6 since his is our 6th grandchild and the C is the first initial of his first name, Calvin.



I always try to challenge myself each year when I create this annual, ink piece.  It seemed I outdid my challenges this year with so many different objects.  I was concerned about the 10 dollar bill with Alexander Hamilton's picture on top but it was really fun to do.  

One of the fun things about creating these personal drawings is I can hide all sorts of little things around the work.  For instance, the serial numbers on the money are special dates, the clock face has a family birthday, etc.

I titled the piece "Theatrical Flots and Jets."  While I was working on the drawing I came across the term Flotsam and Jetsam which are nautical terms for trash and odds and ends that are thrown overboard or jettisoned out of ships.  The term has been picked up by collectors and photographers around the country to describe insignificant keepsakes and collected treasures.  In fact, there is a hashtag called #fjnine which is used all over the internet to tag photos comprised of nine photos of these kind of odd collections.

Here is a description of what I have drawn and why.  It's lengthy but if you are interested, please read on -

Section 1
"Man of La Mancha" includes a book, a windmill, a torn paper reading "Dream" and that unreachable star

Section 2
"Hamilton (wow, what a thrill to actually see this musical on Broadway with the original cast)  I included a letter with a magnifying glass highlighting the lyrics I love most - "Who lives, who dies, who tells your story and a $10 bill which has Hamilton's likeness

Section 3
"Long Day's Journey Into Night" was a four hour long show staring Jessica Lange.  For this play I used an hourglass, a compass and a seashell to represent the home by the sea.

Feather
I drew a single feather hanging on the frame to represent the amazing play "Blackbird"  This production was fantastic but very dark and disturbing.

Section 4
"Streetcar Named Desire" and "Crucible" which we saw on the same day rushing from Brooklyn to New York in one of the wildest Uber rides I've ever had. (I drew a taxi in a snowglobe)  I didn't want to use a typical streetcar and  the Crucible is also dark I decided to use a school bell since this flawless production was set in a modern day schoolhouse.

Section 5
This section is all about Shakespeare and we saw plenty of Shakespeare last summer.  In NYC we saw an all female version of "Taming of the Shrew" (my shrew is inside a cage) and then the hilarious "Something Rotten" musical.  Later in the summer we were fortunate to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) and saw "12th Night" so I included my favorite line from that play.

Section 6
This section is pretty easy to recognize.  I finally got to see "Phantom of the Opera" on Broadway.  All I wanted to see was that giant, chandelier drop.

Section 7
One of the highlights of our NYC theater experiences was actually being invited backstage to meet the cast after "Shuffle Along."  A friend of a friend was in the production and admitted us through the stage door where we met Tommy Tune, Brian Stokes Mitchel, Billy Porter and Audra McDonald.  I drew a little stage door, a ticket of admission and a little music box dancer which looks like the precious young man who hosted us that magical night.

Section 8
For this section I drew the traditional comedy tragedy masks but also placed a little clock with our oldest grandson's birthday, 2:25 as the time.  It was so exciting to see his love for theater pay off when he played the lead in a local production.  It was like passing the torch.  I also have a weird little cracker behind the clock which is actually a Cheese It.  Cheese It's were a primary prop in my husband's annual one-act play he directs each fall.

Section 9
Not all wonderful productions from 2016 were plays so the final section of my memory box is to celebrate the birth of our newest grandchild.  His nursery is filled with dinosaurs and his our 6th grandchild.  The C is for his name, Calvin. 


Monday, November 21, 2016

GIANT, MIXED MEDIA TIGER - UNIFIED IN OUR DIVERSITY


Tigers - United in Our Diversity

Years ago I was at a speech competition in Dallas, Texas.  The students had made a giant, mixed media collage of all sorts of found and ordinary objects.  I loved the idea and decided that I had to try creating our school mascot, a tiger, using unusual objects with students.

We started this daunting project years ago.  Each panel is a section supported with an 8" x 10" canvas board and each panel was created by one or more students over the years.  This piece actually has been stored, unfinished in a closet in my art classroom but we recently dragged it out and got it finished.

Since we first began this piece, our school has drastically changed.  We have gone from a very White student body to one of the most diverse in our whole region.  My current students decided they wanted this piece to celebrate our multi cultured population so they titled it "Tigers - Unified in Our Diversity.

Close of the tiger ear created as a relief with nails

We used all sorts of media and objects in our project - some traditional art media and others are found objects.  The goal was to create the correct, dark and light values of a simplified, tiger face.  The piece is made of (1.) Mosaic, Glass Tiles, (2.) Yarn, (3) Nails, (4) Acrylic Painted, Aboriginal Dots, (5) Glass Beads, (6) Curled, Telephone Wire, (7.) Black Ink Text, (8) Wax Relief Scratch Art, (9) Fabric Batik, (10)Collage, (11.) Bathtub Caulking with Acrylic Wash, (12) Embossing Tin, Dr Peppar Cans and Bent Silverware, (13) Glass Marbles with Tiger Images Glued to the Back, (14.) Sharpened and Cut Colored and Charcoal Pencils and (15.) Sequins.

Beads, Telephone Wire, Scratch Art and Fabric Batik


Some of the glass marbles have images of tiger faces behind them


I love the section made with sharpened charcoal and colored pencils

This section features text about high school

Acrylic Painted Aboriginal Dots

Mosaic, glass tiles

Glued Yarn

Sequins

Dr Pepper Cans, Embossing Tin and Forks

Saturday, November 19, 2016

THE SAFETY PIN MOVEMENT - MY WATERCOLOR PAINTING

I've thought long and hard about how to express my feeling over the past week.   I teach in a very rural high school with over 75% of my students being immigrants and refugees.  They are terrified and anxious.  My former students are also worried.

I grew up and graduated from the school where I teach.  I've seen my community go from one of the whitest places in America to one of the most diverse.  It's been a huge transition thanks to the establishment of an international pork processing plant.

I always dreamt of going to exotic places and working with diverse people across the globe.  I never dreamt they would come to me.  I am amazed everyday by the strength, ambition and courage of my students -  many are our top kids, go on to college and do exceptional things despite language and cultural barriers.

Since the election I've seen first hand harassment and bullying of my minority students.  I've been troubled to learn that some of these amazing people have had their families threatened in our small town.  I hurt for them.  I love them.  They are my kids and they impress me daily.

I have embraced the safety pin movement which first started in England after Brexit when minorities started getting the same treatment.  I knew I wanted to express myself through the beautiful simplicity of the safety pin.  So I set about selecting symbols of the people I want to protect and support.  This is my result.

My watercolor features a group of charms and beads.  All these objects hold significance for me.  I chose a heart shaped bead strung with the colors of the LGBT community.  I added a tiny clock at the bottom of the string with the time deliberately set to my husband's birthday, 10/10.  I want to say that it's time to accept that love is love.

The next string starts with a globe bead and a charm of the female symbol.  I am blessed to live and work where I do but I still see mistreatment and inequity for women at home and  around the world.  Women's rights continue to be sought and protected and as the mother of three incredible daughters and grandmother of four amazing granddaughters, I believe women's rights are precarious.

Next I selected a turquoise ribbon holding two feathers.  I live in an area of the country rich with Native American traditions and people.  I believe indigenous people are still under attack and discriminated against.

The next strand has four earth colored beads holding a Monarch butterfly charm and a tiny bell.  As I said earlier, my students come from all over the earth.  The Monarch butterfly survives by migration and has come to symbolize migrants and refugees.  I added the tiny bell because I think we need to make more noise and stand up for these people who are simply trying to build a better life for themselves and their children.

I struggled with how to represent religion and faith.  I thought about creating a whole trail of religious symbols but decided to simply use the universal word "Faith."  I am a believer and have a strong faith but I also have dear friends and students who are devoted to different faiths.  I added the tiny peace symbol at the end of this strand because so much hate and destruction has come from differing faiths and I pray for peace daily.

Finally I created a tiny key for kindness.  It's such a simple expression but when everything is boiled down I think kindness pretty much covers it all.

I posted this painting on my other social media and immediately was asked to make prints and cards available.  I was humbled that others were moved by my artwork.  So prints and blank greeting cards of this painting are available for purchase at My online, watercolor Etsy Shop

Friday, November 18, 2016

ONE-ACT PLAY COMPETITION



My Husband giving notes to his cast after rehearsal

Each fall my world is totally consumed with our high school one-act play competition.  I am married to the drama coach so I am his set designer, make-up and hair designer and anything else he asks me to do.  We typically start casting and rehearsing in August and finally close the show the first of November.  
One-act play competition for high schools involves creating a production that can be performed in in 45 minutes - which includes setting and unsetting the stage as well as performing the show.  We live in a very remote area of Oklahoma so we have to travel our show to regional and hopefully, state competitions.  So the big challenge is creating an interesting set that can be loaded in a trailer, hauled across the state and set up and taken down in just a few minutes.

"Middle Ages White Guys"
My husband chooses his shows based on the talent he has from year to year.  This year he decided to direct a little known show called "Middle Aged White Guys."  It is a parody about conservative brothers who meet yearly to remember their dead girlfriend at the city dump.  So my job was to create a giant junk yard.  Since the show is pretty goofy, I decided to paint the scenery in a cartoon style.

By the time I was finished, I had painted over 400 square feet of scenery.



Backstage ready to begin our production at state

Our production won second at our regional competition and then took fifth at state.  Our last performance was back at home for families and friends.  After all this work, the scenery is now torn down, partially stored or discarded.  

As a teacher, the biggest reward of doing this crazy, draining, ridiculously challenging activity is working with some terrific people.  I loved this group of kids.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

UPCOMING ART SHOW



I am excited to announce my one and only, fall art show. I will have many new original, dictionary drawings and prints plus my brand new, whimsical and sweet, watercolor greeting cards. 

If you are close, please stop by. 

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

FALL PUMPKINS WATERCOLOR



Found time today to finish my first watercolor painting using my new Derwent Inktense Watercolor Blocks.  My review is that these paints are fabulous.  I really like the ink quality and the vivid colors. It's always so much fun to have new toys to play with.

Friday, September 30, 2016

NEW ART TOYS - DERWENT INKTENSE WATERCOLOR BLOCKS


I think every artist out there goes nuts for art supplies.  New art supplies send us over the moon. 

This week I purchased a giant set of Derwent Inktense Blocks and I am in heaven.  I've noticed Inktense being used by lots of folks who craft, make art journals and fellow dictionary artists.  I have a few of the actual pencils but discovered that this fabulous, British company makes their gorgeous, watercolor pencils in a block.  I also found other watercolor enthusiasts were using them like pan watercolors.  I had to have some.

When I first get any new medium, I try to organize my supplies.  I printed out a color chart from Derwent and labeled each of the open stock blocks before the embossed numbers washed away.  Each individual stick has a stock number.  Open stock supplies are available individually and not just in predetermined color sets.  So I wanted to make sure I knew and recorded each color so I could replace that one color if I ran out.  Most quality art supplies are available in open stock so you can buy one color at a time.

I was able to simply dampen the stick in the packaged, foam tray.  I noticed some artists carve or grate their sticks onto a separate palette.  I may change my mind but it seems to work great just to wet them with a damp brush.

I started playing right away and love these watercolors.  The colors are rich and vivid.  Since these have an ink characteristic, the paint sets after it is dry.  Traditional watercolors will come back to life and turn into liquid when they get wet on the paper.  These fabulous paints will be permanent when they dry and don't activate on your paper.  These paints are more like ink washes than watercolor.  That also means they will stain your brushes and be permanently on your brushes if you don't wash them immediately.  They really are a strong stain which is why so many people use them to paint on cotton and silk fabrics.

After a little play time, I got started on a fall pumpkin painting using my new toys.  I am in love. This little gourd may find it's way into my new, greeting card line.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

POSITIVE/NEGATIVE BUTTERFLY ASSIGNMENT


I get lots of requests for some of my high school art lessons.  This is one of my favorites.  I've included a PDF of this lesson handout for you to copy and use if you'd like.  It's taken me some time to figure out how to include PDF in my blog posts.  I hope to add more soon.

I teach a unit on positive/negative space each fall as a tool to help my students better focus and draw.  I have a number of handouts I use for them to practise turning a positive image into a negative image and I set up a couple of displays for them to draw.  I typically use some children's chairs I've painted white and display them on a black background so the students can clearly see the positive and better study the negative shapes.

The unit test for positive/negative space is drawing a butterfly - one half positive and the other reverse as a negative.  I encourage my students to "invent" their own butterfly using personal images, symbols, text, etc.  My students get to design their butterfly in pencil on plain typing paper or in their sketchbooks.  We use a giant light table in my classroom to trace the designs onto nice, drawing paper to finish their drawings in marker.  They can only use two colors.

Here are some samples of my student's positive/negative butterflies.





















Wednesday, September 21, 2016

LAUNCHING MY WATERCOLOR GREETING CARDS ON ETSY


Turning watercolor paintings into greeting cards

This past summer I participated in World Watercolor Month.  I painted a different, little watercolor painting every day of the month.  As the month went along, I had friends and family inquire about purchasing some of the paintings.  I wasn't sure what to do with these offers until I noticed how many fellow artists had greeting cards available for sale at fairs and festivals.  So I decided to reproduce my watercolor paintings as greeting cards.


Taking digital images of greeting cards for my online shop

It's taken lots of hours to scan, format and reproduce the most popular paintings as greeting cards.  I have had a successful Etsy shop for prints of my dictionary drawings for years now and knew I didn't want to complicate that shop with something so different so I set about opening a second shop dedicated just to my watercolor greeting cards.

This challenge meant I needed to figure out packaging, shipping and create quality, digital images of the paintings and cards.  I've learned that online sales require great photos and details about what you are selling.

 Painting these pieces was the fun and easy part but building a new sales line on my own and building a new shop is quite the undertaking.  I did lots of research on pricing and studied established card shops and then spent long hours figuring out what I wanted to do.

Each card is individually packaged with an envelope in a protective sleeve
I pushed the button to open my new shop this past weekend.  I only have 8 paintings available as greeting cards but plan to add more as quickly as I can - I have 31 plus paintings to reproduce and more ideas I want to paint.  I package each card individually with a matching envelope inside a sealed, protective sleeve.  I also personally sign and title each card like I would any nice print.  

It's taken a lot of trial and error but I think I have a professional product that will impress both the customer and their recipient.

Here's a link to my new, online shop



I designed my cards so they can be framed and displayed

I also think these pretty cards would be great framed and displayed which makes them special and long lasting.  The archival inks I use guarantee that the image will not fade or change color for over 200 years.  I invested in an expensive printer long ago and it has sure paid off.

I discovered a number of other greeting card artists outsource their card production but I'm determined to do it all myself giving what I hope is a more personal touch.

My first orders for greeting cards are on their way

I'm excited to say that I am shipping out my first two greeting card orders today - only a few days after launching the new shop.  I'm anxious to see how this develops and plan to include the cards in my future art shows.  My first customers got a little extra in their order and a request for feedback about their purchase.