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.

Friday, September 30, 2016


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


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


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.  

Friday, September 16, 2016


I have to admit - I've neglected this wonderful, online hangout over the past few months.  Summer was filled with fabulous adventures, travels and art shows.  School began and I have been digging out from under an avalanche of prep with supplies, huge classes and a record budget crisis for education.
I'm so sorry I haven't paid much attention to posting but I promise to do better.

And then there's Telluride - 

One of the highlights of my year is attending the Telluride Film Festival in gorgeous Telluride, Colorado.  Just a trip to this beautiful place would be enough but we spend labor day weekend attending a dozen or more movie premieres.  I can't believe we've been able to do this event year after year - 11 years actually.

This year we got to see and meet the stars of "Sully" (a terrific film everyone should see), "Lala Land" staring the adorable Emma Stone (which was one of my favorites), "Arrival" staring the doll, Amy Adams (also a great film), "Wakefield" with the remarkable Bryan Cranston and I got to breath the same air as Richard Gere who was there with his film "Norman" (which was good but it was RICHARD GERE!  There were lots of other films which should start some serious Oscar buzz in the coming months. 

I don't know if we'll ever get to attend again because it costs a lot of money to stay and purchase passes but who knows - I never dreamed I'd do something like this in the first place.  I'm so grateful to friends and former students who have hosted us the past few years.  Thanks Larry and Mitzi!

So that's a little update about what's been going on with me.  More soon.....I promise.  Thank you to everyone who keeps stopping by.