About Me

My photo
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.

Thursday, December 31, 2015


Thank you to everyone who has joined my artistic journey. My best wishes for a prosperous, rewarding 2016. I am looking forward to a year filled with family (a new grandbaby), lots of travel, adventures and personal and artistic growth.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Here is my yearly, ink drawing created for use in personalized bookplates.  I have been creating these drawings each year for the past 10 years.  I work on it while my advanced students are also working on their ink drawings.

For the past few years I have restricted my drawing to only stippled marks but this year I returned to using hatching, cross hatching and modeling marks.  

This past year, I discovered some clear, glass spheres and marbles for sale at art shows.  I purchased one and then had a lot of fun taking photos through the glass.  I knew I wanted to include the glass spheres in this year's drawing.

I wanted this year to be something about the cosmos.  When I researched the subject I stumbled on an ancient drawing by William Cunningham called "The Cosmographical Glasse."  It should an astrological chart with Atlas holding up the world  I added to that drawing an Armillary Sphere, a Compass, a small and a large glass globe and engravings of both Copernicus and Galileo.

I also decided to do the drawing from an angle rather than a straight on view.

There were lots of challenges in creating this drawing.  I always seek a new challenge each year when I plan my ink drawings.  This subject had lots and lots of concentric circles which had to be drawn as ellipses.  It also required capturing the reflected, inverted images seen through the glass orbs.

The Cosmographical Sphere
8.5" x 11.5" Ink Drawing on White Sulphite Paper

I reproduce these drawings on personalized, adhesive labels and give them as bookplates to friends and family.  I like to add hidden little images in my drawings.  This one has a pretty prominent six in the large glass sphere on the left - this celebrates our sixth grandchild expected in the new year.

Monday, December 14, 2015


6" x 9" Mixed Media Drawing on Antique Dictionary

A good friend asked me to draw a "Jockey" dictionary page a few weeks ago as a gift.  This friend has a special love and interest in horses.  She sent me a bunch of different photos of the same man on different animals wearing different shirts and caps.

When I finished the artwork I asked to know more about this particular man and was amazed at his story.  He is quite the famous quarter horse jockey and just recently announced his retirement.

I have created a lot of different occupations on dictionary pages and am especially honored to have made something for this man.

Read about him
Story about G.R. Carter

Thursday, December 03, 2015


This time of year I often get commissions for all sorts of different artwork.  Not all of these orders are dictionary drawings.  This year a friend asked that I draw her two, beautiful grandchildren and include the Lord's Prayer around the portrait.  The drawings were both graphite pencil drawings on 12" x 18" White Sulphite Paper. 

 I always hold my breath that the customer will like the finished product.  Fortunately these drawings were a hit.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


I will be closing my online Etsy shop on December 15th so I can guarantee all orders are shipped in time for Christmas and other holiday gifting.  I will reopen in January 2016.

Get your orders made early!

Monday, November 23, 2015


A small pile of my hundreds of wonderful image files

Back when I was a kid I started collecting images I wanted to draw. I remember my grandmother had stacks of scrapbooks stuffed full of photos, postcards and illustrations she loved.  I still have some of her handmade picture books.  In college my professors required that we organize and keep photos as resources for a variety of different subjects.  I had enormous calligraphy, window display and style files.  I made files of magazine photos of different animals, birds and kinds of trees.  I spent hours looking for different kind of insect and fairy wings and had huge files of all sorts of flowers.  All of these images have been valuable to developing artwork.  Even with the need to create original artwork, it's necessary to study all sorts of images before hand.

When I started teaching 16 years ago, I dragged my boxes of swipe files to my classroom and have used them when my students needed a photo resource.  These files have helped me and others through the years until we arrived in the digital, Google Image Search age.

My tiger image files

Like most artists and art teachers, I occasionally have to clean out my studio/classroom - I could easily be overwhelmed with keepsakes like a true hoarder.  I've known it was time to part with my swipe files for a few years.  Anytime I or my students need a photo resource these days, we go to the Internet and my swipe files have been collecting dust and taking up valuable space.  

So I took a deep breath and dumped all but a few of my picture files.  I have to admit, it was hard to do.  I also have to admit that I didn't just purge the boxes but I opened each file and revisited some of the images I had harvested for nearly 50 years.  It felt like tossing out part of my family but with time, I think I will enjoy having a substantial amount of storage space available.

So now I am embracing the digital age.  Let's hope the powers that be keep us wired in and hooked up. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Each fall I create an original, stippled ink drawing while my students are also working in ink.  AFter it is finished, I then scan and print the drawing on adhesive labels as personalized bookplates for friends, coworkers and family.  

This year I knew I wanted something that included the glass marbles I picked up during my summer art shows.  I also fell in love with the old compass we used as a prop in our high school, one-act play "Terra Nova."

So I am putting all these things together to work on something themed around "Cosmology."  I've got some reproductions of ancient maps and am going to include some engravings of notable astronomers and cosmologists.

So here we go with one dot after another for this year's drawing.  I love working on this project.  Each year I like to give myself a new challenge with this drawing.  I think capturing the distorted images through the crystal, glass ball will be exciting.

Monday, November 16, 2015


32" x 12" Dimensional Watercolor

I haven't created an original watercolor painting as a baby gift in a long time.  My niece recently had a new baby - another miracle baby - and this is her gift.

Her nursery colors are gray and yellow with little elephants.  I've loved doing cartoon characters since I was a little girl so it's always great fun to do something a little different and silly.  

I painted the background and then made the stars, birds, banner and elephants individually.  I cut all that out and attach it to the background using foam adhesive dots popular with scrapbook artists.  This process really started years ago when I made a mistake on a watercolor painting.  In desperation I built some pieces and glued them over a mistake.  I liked the outcome so much that I've done it ever since even without a mistake to hide.  

I can honestly say - I don't want to ever attempt to paint chevron pattern ever again.  I love patterns but this was not fun to do.  It was also a challenge to create a nice gray in watercolors.  Black is so concentrated that it's difficult to maintain an even gray.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


One of my first purchases as an art teacher were these wooden, geometric forms.  I use them every year.  I like to teach my students precise methods of using their pencils to create smooth marks without smearing then we pull out these forms.  I demonstrate and we cover shadows and shading for each of the basic forms.  Then the students have to combine them and create a composition.

I have extension cords running from all over the room so each group of students has a tray with their own light source.  I've done this type of activity since I first started teaching.  I imagine every art teacher out there has something similar in their drawing classes.

My classes are currently large - 27 or so in each of my beginning classes.  I am fortunate to have a big classroom which can accommodate all these people and have room to store their work and all my supplies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Every artist I know loves new art supplies.  I get the treat of gifting my students new art supplies from time to time.  I feel just like Santa Clause.

We start an ink unit each fall.  This year I decided to introduce my students to dip pens and different kinds of waterproof and water soluble inks.  I haven't really played with ink washes and dip pens since college a million years ago.  I actually burned out with ink washes back in the dark ages.  We did all our commercial art and design work in black ink washes before color printing became economical and universally possible.  After I graduated I was happy to never do ink washes ever again - until now.

All my students got new pens, tips and their own black ink bottles.  I purchased some colored inks for them to share.  Some of my students went right to work and are enjoying the old school methods of creating ink drawings - others discovered the convenience of using modern, disposable pens.

Monday, November 09, 2015


I don't often display my artwork in my hometown.  This past weekend, my three daughters and I set up an art booth during a local craft bazaar.  The bazaar raises money for medical expenses for area families which this year included a popular high school student who is battling an aggressive form of cancer.

We had a wonderful day of visiting with friends and family and made a lot of sales.  My daughters brought jewelry and some darling, miniature pies baked in tiny jars.  I thought our booth display looked awesome.  

At most art shows, I am restricted to only have artwork for sale.  Some shows permit print sales while others only permit originals to be displays and sold.  For this show I was able to reproduce some of my artwork on other gift items.  It was great fun to create a little shop.

One of the new things I built for this show were the wooden wings I hung on the front of the booth.  I saw wings like this at other craft shows and knew I wanted some of my own.  I purchased the metal face during a trip to see my sister in California.  I hope to create a copy of my flying shoes logo to use at art shows next spring.

This was my last art show until next spring.  My Etsy shop is getting a lot of holiday orders which has me busy.  My biggest creative project for now is directing "Man of LaMancha" at our community theater.  So watch for stories about that adventure.

Thursday, November 05, 2015


Preserved Hydrangeas & Roses in Tin Buckets

This weekend my daughters and I are participating in a local, craft bazaar.  I am going to have artwork and prints and decided to create these little, tin pails for the event.

When my youngest daughter married last year we used all kinds of preserved (dried) flowers in these distressed, tin pails.  I have stacks of them in storage.  I tidied them up and then created miniature versions of dictionary prints to decorate each bucket

Miniature  Versions of my Dictionary Prints

After the wedding I still can't throw away a bouquet of flowers so I've been drying and storing bouquets all year long.  I especially love these tiny roses.  

I love these dried hydrangeas.  Unfortunately they are extremely fragile and easily shatter.  I'm not able to sell these online in my Etsy shop since they wouldn't survive shipping.

I mounted each of the miniature prints on a sheet of copper and wrapped the pails with burlap, lace and different ribbons.  I also decided to distress the tiny prints so match the colors of the pails and dried flowers.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Chinese Crested Dog

Commissions are a tricky venture and not my favorite thing to do.  I am always anxious about pleasing the customer.  I just completed this dictionary drawing of a very unusual breed of dog - A Chinese Crested Dog which is either covered with a heavy coat of unruly fur or partially hairless.  This commission was requested as a gift for someone who raises and shows these dogs.  The customer sent me photos of the actual dogs her friend loves and shows.  She requested the dictionary word be "Crested."  She also mailed me her own dictionary page from a book she treasured.

Bulldog Dictionary Drawing

I've done a variety of different pet commissions.  When I show my work at galleries or festivals I am often asked for dog pages and its difficult to have a generic dog page.  Everyone has a favorite breed of dog and often a very prized pet that is like a member of the family.  This bulldog drawing was created from a customer's photo, too.  I loved his happy face.

Sheepdog and Hunt Dictionary Pages

Both of these drawings were created from customer photographs.  We once had a black and white sheepdog very similar to the sheepdog drawing.  She was a part of our family and we still grieve her death.  The hunt drawing was created as a gift for a customer's father to celebrate a once treasured and adored hunting dog.  She looked like such a sweet, affectionate companion.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T.S. Eliot

When I reflect on my current art pursuits, this sentiment seems to express 
what I am doing with my work.  The more I explore, the more I rediscover my roots, 
my heritage and my beginnings on a farm on the Oklahoma plains.

I have often been approached by Native American artists who compare my work on dictionary pages to their tradition of creating artwork on ledger pages.  The only paper many Native American tribes had was the pages from ledgers used during trading.  Like so many people, they created their artwork out of what they had.

After my parents passed away I discovered stacks of old farm ledgers.  My mother was a meticulous bookkeeper and she recorded everything in these books.  I discovered detailed entries about every vaccination, wedding, and feed purchase.  I've considered doing something with these books for a long time and this last week I decided to try my hand at creating something with them.

I have to admit that I wasn't keen on drawing directly over all this family history.  Nobody else in my family really wanted these old books but I hated to damage them.  So I scanned a few pages and printed them on a high quality, laser printer.  Then I replicated the color and hole punched spine. I did most of the drawing with a sepia colored pencil. When I finished the drawing I mounted the page of stiff card stock and distressed it with ink.

The page I decided to play with first was one which documented house repairs over the years. The heading on the page was 1931.  Many of the entries are to businesses in our little, farm town - some still in business, others long gone.  

Since this page was about house repairs it made sense to draw a picture of our farm house.  My grandfather first built this house close to 100 years ago and my parents added on as they could.  It is still standing and occupied.

I am anxious to know what people think of this "cousin" of my dictionary drawings.  I'm going to continue to play with these pages.  I love revisiting my family history.

Monday, September 21, 2015


We love our new printer!

It's been a crazy start to our school year.  I haven't had a moment to blog or get much of my own work done but my students are already back in the groove.

Last Spring I created a Donor's Choose request to help get a new, color, laser printer for my classroom.  Thanks to the generosity of lots of kind folks, our printer arrived over the summer and we've kept it busy every since.

If you aren't familiar with Donors Choose it is a fabulous online program to help teachers from all over the country to get things they need for their classrooms.  Teachers complete a request and supply list which if approved is then posted for people to contribute.  It's like having a giant, interweb bake sale.  We were thrilled that our request was funded in less than a month.  Lots of local people gave money but funds came in from strangers across the country.

Taking Resource Pictures

One of the first projects my advanced students did was to create three drawings inspired by bicycles.  I set up three old bikes in my room then students used their smart phones or my classroom digital cameras to photograph their subject.

Taking Resource Pictures

The students were then able to format their pictures and print them out on our new printer.  This printer is awesome.  We were able to include the cost of the colored ink cartridges with our Donors Choose project,  If we are conservative, we should have enough ink to get us through two school years.

My students with some of their finished work

My students were required to create a photo realistic pencil drawing of a cropped image of the bicycles,  Their second piece could be a painting or drawing but had to feature the negative space around the bicycle.  Their final piece was to be innovative and could be any style or medium. These were all what I call "Warm-Up" assignments to get my kids back into the routine of creating artwork.  We have since moved on to larger, more challenging pieces.  The new printer is getting lots of good use. 

If you'd like to learn more about Donors Choose and help out a worthy teacher and their students visit

Saturday, August 22, 2015


It is always esteeming to having other art teachers want to use lessons I've done in my classroom.  It's especially affirming when a publisher asks to feature your lessons.

I recently had another one of my lessons featured in the online publication, The Student Art Guide.  This is such a rich warehouse of teaching ideas and lessons.
This was a lesson I did a few years ago as a back-to-school warm-up.  I had my students find shirts and jackets with some character and we pinned them to our display panels.  They worked from direct observation and from black and white resource photos to draw their shirts.  They started with photorealistic drawings first.  Their second drawing had to use the same shirt but add interesting, unusual textures and their third drawing had to be an innovative, stylistic drawing of the same shirt.

Thank you, Amiria Robinson, for giving us this terrific attention.

Student Art Guide Link

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Over the years I have discovered quite a few basic, graphite pencil techniques I like to share with my students.  I decided to post some of what I teach my kids.

There are a lot of drawing techniques I require of my students.  I believe there is more than one way to draw but I also believe there are some basic tricks that can help improve any dry medium drawing.  

I hate for my students to smear with their fingers and only use tortillions sparingly. I like drawings to include lots of microscopic details and I want my student artists to understand how to get the biggest bang for the buck out of their different pencils.

One of the tricks I love is making deliberate indentions/scratches into a drawing to create tiny, white details. My second year students warm up with observation drawings of lace-up shoes and this technique works great to create tiny, white stitches in dark shoes.

Most folks have had this accident happen especially in a sketchbook.  You draw or write across a page not aware that your marks may be leaving indentions and marks on the next page.  When you start the next page you discover you have scratches from the previous drawing that appear like a secret code in your new drawing.....disaster!!!

I save old pieces of cardboard from sketchpads and packing and encourage students to use them as a buffer, sandwiched between the sketchbook pages they are working on the blank pages behind them.

To create deliberate indentions/scratches like the tiny, white stitches, I lay a piece of typing paper or tracing paper over a drawing after I've created the contours and before I start to shade (be sure you can still see the drawing underneath).  Then with a pointed tool, a stylus,or a mechanical pencil point with the lead pushed back inside - scratch into the page.  Be careful not cut through the paper.

Another fabulous trick is to use rubbing plates or rough surfaces to make impressive textures in your drawings,  This is a fabulous shortcut to create textures and patterns.  I've had students quickly create the look of burlap or denim just by starting with a rubbing of those actual fabrics.  I've also invested in a variety of commercial rubbing plates.  This trick works best with a soft lead.

Always practice a rubbing on a scrap paper before you apply it to a nice drawing.  I often have my students work more marks over their rubbing to establish realistic cast shadows and highlights.

Here is a copy of my handout of "Pencil Points,"  Please feel free to copy and use it in your classroom or studio.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


The magic of the internet (and it still holds incredible magic for this old gal) has provided me with endless inspiration and fascinating artistic voices from across the planet.  One such artist I discovered and love following is David Galchutt.

I adore David's paintings - many of which have a fantasy, fairy tale feel and are filled with elegant, intricate patterns and colors.  David (he calls himself the Artmeister on etsy) has been a sought after illustrator and earned awards for his children's book illustrations.  His gorgeous, original work is available for purchase at his etsy shop and I'm amazed at his reasonable prices.  My hope is to some day have one of his originals.

Visit David at David's website
Also stop by David's etsy shop at The artmeister

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Artists come in all shapes and sizes and their work is born from their personal experiences and the world around them.

As part of American Artist Appreciation Month I would like to share the fabulous work of artist, Holly Ulm Bundy.  I first met Holly at an art show in Glenwood Springs, Colorado where we were both exhibiting.  Her booth was swarmed both with customers and with her beautiful jewelry made from actual butterfly and dragonfly wings.

I've since discovered there are other artist who work with preserved wings but I think you will agree that Holly's work is amazing.  She and her partner are dedicated to the conservation of the insects she uses and all her work is created from insects who have not been killed just to become art.

I also fell in love with her creative packaging.  She is so creative by packaging her wing jewelry in a little jar much like a child would use to capture a bug in the garden.

Please visit her Etsy shop and studio called Isms to admire and purchase her work.

Friday, August 14, 2015


I just discovered that August is officially American Artist Appreciation Month. So I am going to feature some of the creative, talented artists I've discovered who energize and feed me with their work. 

First up, Patience Brewster who contacted me about the month of celebrating American artists. Visit her website and enjoy and purchase some of her whimsical, inventive creations.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Running Antelope
24" x 36" Acrylic Painting over a Collage of Currency on Masonite

I am calling "Running Antelope" finished.  This is actually my second painting of this amazing, Sioux Chief and I think he is much better than his predecessor.  Like so much of my work, he began as a demonstration piece in my classroom.  Many such pieces never get finished but are stored away until I teach that unit again.  But in this case, I knew I wanted to finish and frame this guy.

I love the story of this Native American.  He was the first to be honored with his image on U.S. currency. The story behind this painting is a tragic mix of cultural misunderstanding.  Running Antelope was said to be a great speaker and close advisor of Sitting Bull.  He is considered one of the eight great chiefs.  Unlike many such powerful chiefs of his time, he advocated for peace with the white man.  

To honor Running Antelope, the government placed his image on a five dollar bill.  Running Antelope posed for the engraving in his full regalia.  Somewhere along the line, either the photographer or the engraver - who knows - someone decided to change his traditional Sioux headdress for the traditional headdress of a Pawnee tribe.  The Pawnee and the Sioux were not friends and to change such a culturally important part of his attire for a warring tribe was beyond a simple insult.

Close-up of Running Antelope $5 Bill Background

I found online images of Running Antelope's $5 bill and reproduced them.  I then collaged them to a gesso primed 24" x 36" sheet of masonite.  I demonstrated all this process with my students while they were assigned a layered, collage painting.  I washed out some of the money with gesso washes and then applied layers of thin acrylic.  I deliberately limited my palette to neutral earth tones.

I created some of the painting at school so my students could observe how to apply some opaque and some transparent images over their backgrounds.  It's always a challenge for painters to decide where to have the overlayed image solid and where to let glimpses of the background show through.  

Then this summer I brought Running Antelope home to finish.  The first painting like this was created years ago and my son-in-law was really upset when I sold it.  He has reminded me how much he loved the story and painting and wished he had it.  Now he does.  This version of the painting is not for sale but intended for my family. 

My Acrylic Painting Palette

I have another acrylic painting waiting in my studio.  I have lots of inspiration for more dictionary art but for now, it's fun to do something different.  Every new piece brings new discoveries and growth.  School starts in two weeks and I have more summer projects than time.