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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.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

FEELING SOME LOVE

Today I received another email from a total stranger praising my dictionary drawings.  This terrific person said they had discovered my work via Tumblr and had visited my Etsy shop, too.  Wow.  I am often overwhelmed by how universal online posts can be.

I haven't check Tumblr for awhile and unlike many of my other online resources, I don't get ongoing notifications about how many people are viewing or reposting my work.  What a shock!!!!  When I went to her link to my artwork "Tea" I was blown away.  There were 61552 reposts or likes for my drawing!

At first I thought I had read 6,000+ notes and then (after checking it over and over and over) I discovered that it was 61 thousand five hundred and fifty two notes.  I nearly passed out.  Just think - if everyone who liked this drawing had just sent me one dollar........

I am motivated now more than ever to keep up drawing!!!

Thanks everyone.  I am going to write 61, 552 thank you notes.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

THE STORAGE BATTLE OF AN ART TEACHER



I have been a high school art teacher for 13 years and without a doubt, the most difficult task I face isn't discipline, funding or even reaching non-English speaking students.  No, the biggest battle I have as an art teacher is organizing and storing my equipment and supplies.

I am fortunate to have a recently built classroom with a storage closet but it never fails that I am struggling with how to organize and manage.  I actually took my old classroom desks, stacked them and use them as shelves in the closet.  I have invested in a few storage tubs and portfolios to store examples but it never seems to be enough.


Like most creative types, I have a tendency toward hoarding because I never know when I meet need this stack of twenty, used mouse pads for a new project.


Storing student work and supplies is another challenge.  I am fortunate to have purchased four wire, portfolio racks that help my advanced, 2-D students keep their drawings and paintings.



Craft supplies are another challenge with limited space and students who like to "borrow" supplies when they find a chance.  This problem is multiplied with large numbers that come and go through my classroom everyday.  (AND - we all know how neat and tidy teenagers naturally are)

This week I was ending old units and starting brand new ones so supplies and equipment were overlapping.  I had blenders and drying racks set up for papermaking while I was dragging out printmaking inks, rollers and blades.  I found myself finishing up 24" x 36" (huge) ink drawing assignments while getting charcoal and pastels ready for the next projects.  I was also giving my most advanced students the freedom to select personal mediums so I had a class of 18 teens all going in different directions with watercolors, pastels, acrylics, pencil and (most chaotic of all) mixed-media-anything-goes.  

It seems I am always stirring my room like a big pot of stew but the truth is I love what I do and I am blessed to have these terrific supplies and a supportive school district.

Friday, January 11, 2013

COMMISSIONED FAMILY PORTRAITS


My evening is going to be interesting.  I am meeting with a local family to take resource photos for a large-scale, family portrait.  I've done portraits since I was a little girl but it is always an adventure to create any kind of commissioned piece - I often find the whole experience stressful.

I am about to begin a lengthy pastel unit with my second year students so I will work on my portrait piece in the the classroom as part of a unit demonstration.  Due to the popularity of my dictionary drawings, I haven't created anything with pastels in a long, long time.  It really is one of my favorite mediums to work with.  I have always enjoyed jumping around from one medium to another which means lots of different materials are going to be strung out in my classroom and studio for the next few weeks.

I have two of these large commissions which were purchased as Christmas gifts.  Come back and visit me and see how they are progressing.  Also - I should hear if I'm accepted into the big Oklahoma City art show sometime early next week.  My studio may get really busy, really fast!



Thursday, January 10, 2013

MY ETSY SHOP IS GOING STRONG






I love Etsy!  I am thrilled to be sending prints and taking commission from all over the country and now I've gone international.

When I first discovered Etsy I thought it was too vast and cumbersome for anyone to ever find little, ol' me.  Since I've launched prints of my dictionary drawings I have enjoyed great sales.  Now I'm not a powerhouse shop like many on Etsy and I'm no where close to quitting my teaching job (which I love) to be a full time, studio artist - BUT - the attention my drawings have gotten thru Etsy and Pinterest has really encouraged me.  It's exciting to know that my work is growing in popularity and that some kind folks are interesting in owning my art.

Just today I added Australia to the places my studio now ships to.  I added the United Kingdom a few weeks ago after new customers from those countries requested my work.  Wow!  It's been tremendously fun to correspond with these new contacts from across the globe.

I have spent a lot of time developing creative packaging to protect and ship my prints.  I am happy to hear back from customers that they have noticed and appreciate the little touches I add to their purchases.  The girls at my local post office have even become big fans and have noticed that I'm at their counter more and more and sending work to all sorts of new addresses.

I am currently waiting to hear from a big, Spring, art festival I applied to.  If I get the green light then I plan to buckle down and create a lot of new inventory.

Friday, January 04, 2013

CHRISTMAS COMMISSIONS - ANNIVERSARY & CATS


"Anniversary"
6" x 9" Mixed Media Drawing on Distressed, Dictionary Page"
Sold Commission

Now that the holidays have come and gone I can post a few of the commission pieces I've done.  Anniversary was an interesting request.  I love this couple and when the wife approached me to create a dictionary drawing for their anniversary, I was baffled about what image to use on the definition.  I decided the best option was to forget about generic images but instead to try to use one of their wedding photos.

Here is the result.  I may advertise taking more commissions like this for baby announcements, weddings and other special events.

"Cat"
6" x 9" Mixed Media Drawing on Distressed, Dictionary Page
Sold Commission

This commission was from a friend who wanted me to create the images of their three, beloved cats.  I was sent a multitude of photos via Facebook of their animals only to discover that I couldn't tell one cat from the other.  I saw three, grey cats with no particular differences.  After more discussion I was able to learn something about each cat's personality and size.  When the patron got their drawing they were pleased so "whew!"

It is always a struggle to create a commissioned piece.  I generally don't enjoy commissions but I sure like making the sale.  Now I have two, large scale family portraits on commission to be completed in pastels.  I hope they will be a little easier to capture.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR WITH A NEW ARRIVAL

2012 ended and 2013 started with the arrival of Berkley Elizabeth Rios. She is the miracle child of my oldest daughter and her husband Aaron. This was Kiley's seventh and only successful pregnancy. Berkley arrived six weeks early but both mom and baby are doing great.