Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Portrait

La Familia

I was commissioned by a good friend to do a family portrait for a Christmas gift to his wife. I originally had some problems getting the children to look like children and not little adults. With the help of my Creative Cup critique friends, I got some pointers to youngen the youngsters:
1.) Big heads, narrow shoulders
2.) Eyes dropped down, make wider apart, and a bit smaller
3.) Big cheeks, big forehead, narrow chin!
4.) shorten the nose

I know it seems like a recipe for drawing an alien...but when you're done, it looks like a kid! I matted it, framed it, and now it's ready to go under their Christmas tree!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Illustration Friday: Help

Snowman and Bird

It's been quite awhile since I made an entry! I've been busy with a book cover project for The Berkley Publishing Group (Penguin Books), a commissioned family portrait collage, and the predictably hectic Christmas shopping and decorating.

I was in the mood to work on a Christmas image and had this snowman cut out and ready to go. The snowman is being quite helpful by holding up the bird's house. Stick arms never get tired. Snowman and Bird is a cut paper and digital collage.

Bird Detail

Snowman and Bird Version 2

I created this second version showing a more helpful snowman...using his scarf to hang the birdhouse. Industrious!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Illustration Friday: Clear

Gobbler with Cobbler
Turkey started to clear the table but found a piece of distraction.

I'm getting ready for the next holiday! Gobbler with Cobbler is a digital collage and will be my Thanksgiving image for cards this year. I don't usually do cards for this holiday...but since this image is done, why not?

I decided to make it fit Illustration Friday's theme, clear, this week. Clear has so many different meanings that clearing the table didn't seem like a far stretch for the Gobbler...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Graphic Artists Guild Postcard

Graphic Artists Guild postcard

My postcard was finally printed, mailed and delivered today. The image I chose is titled Waiting For Inspiration and is a paper and digital collage illustration. I created it as a self promotional piece.

As a featured artist on the Northern California GAG website, I was given the opportunity to use my artwork in a GAG sponsored mailing. The postcard was mailed to publishers, GAG members, and other industry professionals and was an awesome marketing effort. It markets my work as an illustrator and invites members and the industry community to monthly luncheons held at Lulu's restaurant in San Francisco.

I was an active volunteer on the GAG luncheon committee for a brief while. Just recently I have found a new position as the featured artist postcard coordinator. I worked with PsPrint, an online print service, and received excellent customer service and final product. I'm already looking forward to the next featured artist's postcard.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Illustration Friday: Smoke

In the Pink Dragon's Lair

I was going to make an intense looking Chinese dragon...but came across this cool pink paper and...voila! A floating pink dragon roasting marshmallows. I can never stay too serious! In the Pink Dragon's Lair is an all paper collage with digital effects. Charred marshmallow anyone?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Illustration Friday: Ghost

Ghost Soup

This is the third Halloween card that I've done this month! Dingbat was my first as an entry for Penelope's Black & Orange contest. Then Mumpkin was the second to create a "series". Now, Illustration Friday's word this week, ghost, gave me an excuse to do one more! I think I may be done.

"Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."
-Shakespeare's Macbeth, 1605

Friday, October 20, 2006

Horror in the Pumpkin Patch


I've created another Halloween image to go with Dingbat. Since Illustration Friday's theme this week is ghost, I may do one more! Brace yourself!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Art at Main Street Coffee Roasting Company

Currently, my artwork is being shown at the Main Street Coffee Roasting Company on Elm Street in Redwood City. This is my third "show" with 26 images installed. It will be showing for the month of October 2006. Here is what the space looks like:

Inside the coffee shop

Entrance to back

My art on top and hanging below shelf

By back door

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Illustration Friday: Smitten

Mr. Super-Great

This is a digital collage added to my Circus Freaks series. Check out the first one, Tape Ball Man, which was an entry for Illustration Friday's word, sticky. The text for Mr. Super-Great reads:

S is for Strongman.
He can bend spoons.
He looks in the mirror...
smiles and swoons.

He eats his protein...
watches his weight.
He’s known as Mister

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Halloween is L-u-r-k-i-n-g


This is my entry for Penelope's Black & Orange Creative Halloween Contest and Collaborative Gallery 2006. How exciting! I might also use this image in personal greeting cards... On the inside it might read "Hi, Dingbat." or "Bleh!" I dunno...suggestions?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Illustration Friday: Trouble

Hell in a Hand Basket
click image for a larger view

I think a hand basket is the fastest way to transport oneself to Hades after a deed done bad. I chose a bunny for the basket ride because a fuzzy white bunny seems so innocent, just like a newborn kitten. Going to hell seems like a strong punishment for unwittingly stealing carrots! Must be a seasonal influence...Halloween is lurking.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Illustration Friday: Quiet

Blue Heron Fishing: Digital

Shhhh....keep quiet in the shallows.

This started off as an all-paper collage glued into place and then scanned (see image below). Once digital, I made some color and contrast adjustments and added shadows and highlights.

Blue Heron Fishing: Paper Collage

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Illustration Friday: Change

Bird's eye View (version 2)

I was unsatisfied with my original Bird's Eye View post (see below) for Illustration Friday and made a few modifications to improve the composition and story. I moved the top blue bird down out of the cloud, darkened the storm clouds a bit, and changed the direction sign so the words "warmer" and "cooler" could be read more easily.

Bird's Eye View

The latest National Geographic came in the mail the other day with a fold out map of the United States. The map was my inspiration for Illustration Friday's word this week, change. I decided to combine a change of direction with the weather change. Days are cooling a bit and lots of leaves have fallen just this past weekend. I'm sure the birds will be migrating south soon since this Saturday is the first day of autumn.

Bird's Eye View is all paper collage (map included!) on a painted background with digital shadows and highlights added in Photoshop.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Illustration Friday: Farm

Click on the image for a bigger view!

Whew! Just got this one done under the wire for Illustration Friday's word this week, Farm. My idea came from the word woolgathering. I stumbled across this expression in a book I was reading and thought it rather funny! I had never heard that word used before! shows the meaning of woolgathering as "1.)indulgence in idle fancies and in daydreaming; absentmindedness, and 2.) gathering of the tufts of wool shed by sheep and caught on bushes." Now you know.

Woolgathering is paper collaged onto a painted background. I added a few paint details, then digitally photographed and added shadow and light details in Photoshop.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Illustration Friday: Play

Cat's Cradle

I created a diorama of sorts using a shadow box picture frame. I hand painted the kitties, made a star stamp to create the night sky, and cut and glued paper. To give a dimensional look, I used cardboard spacers in between the elements for a natural drop shadow. I also glued parts of the tree and shrub on different planes to give a feeling of depth. When it was all done, I digitally added shadows and high lights!

Want to know more about cat's cradle string games? I did a little research and found these websites:, World Wide Webs, and From the Pool to the Cradle. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My Creative Cup Etsy Store

Store banner

I recently discovered the website, "your place to buy & sell all things handmade." Etsy provides every seller their own shop free of charge and creates a community for sellers and buyers who share a common interest, unique and artistic crafts.

This past weekend I jumped on board and opened my first Esty store, called My Creative Cup. Now that I have my sewing and art studio combined in one happy place, I created some products and "stocked" the shelves.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

New Studio!

Old studio space

New studio: view from middle

New studio: view of Hannah and other side

In a previous post, I created a blueprint of sorts to help me analyze if combining my sewing room in the basement with my studio space upstairs would be feasible. The basement is a much bigger space but has two tiny windows and bad lighting. The walls are unfinished and overall, it's very uninspiring to be in the musty dungeon. By combining my two work areas upstairs, I would have all my creative tools in one nicely lit space. My upstairs studio space is on our very narrow front covered porch. The entry way door divides the porch in the middle and I've chosen one side for my work area. There are two walls of windows, great lighting...but it's a tiny space (64 x 150"). After weeks of mulling it over, I brought up my big tables, added another bin, ditched my drawing table, and in the end, after much stuffing, I have a new studio! I'm very excited to get in there and work on my next image for Illustration Friday's word of the week, capture.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Illustration Friday: Clean

Laundry Line

Laundry Line is an all paper collage image on a painted sky background. Shadows and high lights were added digitally in Photoshop. The clothes are crisp and clean drying in the fresh air. Seems like a good idea until the little black bird craps on your linens!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Illustration Friday: Opposites


Illustration Friday's theme this week is opposites. This image has a dry brushed background with paper collage elements. It was scanned and digital effects were added in Photoshop.

I had already started this image for my very good friend, who I'll refer to as SPF 500. She has very light skin and sunburns easily. Years of abuse with a combination of genetics perhaps, has caused her several doctor visits to have cancerous skin removed. It's frightening to hear the word cancer and I get scared for her even though I don't show it. So I created a fun image to let her know I care and to remind her to stay cool in the shade...or put on her SPF 500 sunblock!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Studio Friday: Art Studio Sidekicks

The challenge: "My post included my puppy and I received all kinds of cool comments of artists describing their four legged companions. I'd LOVE to see pictures of all of their companions! So how about Art Studio Sidekicks?

Princess B.B. on Her Throne

And Then Everything Went White... sweet animaniacs. Their personalities are so cute, intriguing and fun. I love to watch them, play with them, snuggle. BB (ahem, Princess BB) is a big girl and likes to eat. She goes nuts for chocolate and will get into anything wrapped or unwrapped. One time I found her digging in my commuter bag, fanging the halloween candy I had planned taking to work that day. Another time she got so fat (eating the neighbor cat's food) that she weighed 17 pounds and couldn't lick her privates! The vet gave me butt wipes until she could loose the weight. I think the neighbor cat moved, because BB lost 5 pounds and looks good! BUT, now I find her eating out of the dog food bowl! She begs and screams when it's hours before her dinner time! These are only her shortcomings. There are good things too...but since she just scratched me, I won't mention them. Hmmphf!

Hannah on Squirrel Patrol

Gathering Intelligence!

Sweet Hannah Banana was a pound puppy. I saved her and she saved me. My first dog and oh-so-sensitive and loving. She has so much love to give that she wishes she were velcro. She can't get close enough, be pet enough, or hear cooing enough. She gets really attached to people and cries when she sees them again. She's so emotional! She's also very smart and is trying to communicate with us through dog food braille. She spells out things on the living room carpet and waits for us to read her messages...but we're too dumb to figure it out. I just pick it up and put it back in her bowl. Maybe it's a secret message regarding the squirrels...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Studio Friday: View From Above
Inspire Me Thursday: Numeral Art

Current Studio Floor Plan

Studio Friday challenge: "Amazing what things you see everyday look like from above. It just got me thinking "what would my desk look like from above?" I have a feeling I would find some inspiration somewhere in there!" -Michelle.

Inspire Me Thursday challenge: Lately, numbers have held a lot of meaning for me…as my children grow, I grow, and years add on…numbers always seem to have a way of finding themselves ever-present. So for this weeks challenge, create a piece of art using numbers that are present in your life.
I am thinking about moving my sewing area from the basement up to my small art space and combining my supplies. Both work areas have equal pros and cons, one is big and dark, the other is tiny and light! This week's challenge, View From Above, turned out to be the perfect opportunity for measuring the tiny studio space and my sewing components to see if I can squeeze it all in comfortably. I measured everything, scaled it to letter size paper, created a pattern and cut out paper replicas.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Illustration Friday: Sacrifice

The Chosen One

How gleeful this little flower is to be the chosen one, oblivious to the beheaded stems clutched in the girl's opposite hand.

When I walked into my studio today, I decided to work simply and not overthink my image. At the start, I didn't really have a strong idea. However, during the process of cutting and gluing the story developed and told itself! A terror in the garden!

To create the background I painted on acrylics with a dry brush. Then I cut paper, inked in some details, scanned, and digitally added lights and shadows in Photoshop.

“Trouble with mice is you always kill 'em.” ― John SteinbeckOf Mice and Men

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Inspire Me Thursday: Image Transfers

Simple Style

The tape transfer went very smoothly and was much different than I expected. The great thing about jumping right in to explore, is it gave me some great ideas! I didn't think too much about the outcome and just went for it. Fun! Things I would change if I did this again: I'd put actual pattern pieces or instructions underneath the tape transfer to show off it's transparency and I'd use my sewing machine to embellish. I'll have to keep this in mind for future projects! Thanks Inspire Me Thursday, for the great tutorial!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Studio Friday: 7 Layer Salad
Illustration Friday: Skyline

The challenge: "...using 7 layers to produce a piece of art."
In other words, feel free to use all sorts of materials like paints, paper, fabrics and such to build 7 layers, thus creating a unique texture or piece of art. Idea sponsored by Jo.

Home and the City

I decided to combine challenges from both Illustration Friday and Studio Friday since one offered the theme and the other the process. I used multiple layers in creating this all paper collage image. There are so many here that I can't keep track: glue, paper, paint, glue, paper, paint, more glue...well, you get the idea!

Home and the City version 2

After several hours away from this, I came back and decided to add a white picket fence. I felt it needed a bit more to better show the separation from the country and the city. Oh yeah, and I added a door knob!

Illustration Friday: Sticky

Tape Ball Man

When I saw the theme for Illustration Friday this week, I knew I had to bring Tape Ball Man to life. I've had a trading card series on my mind for several months. It first started out as roommate trading cards and is now morphing into circus freak trading cards. This one is dedicated to my house-mate, Scotty Potty. The text reads:

Who's sticky, big, and
there when you need...
picking up friends with
gath'ring speed?

It's the Tape Ball Man
rolling towards you.
When he gets close, you'll...
stick like glue.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Studio Friday: Family

"Family history, things that have been passed down from one family member to the next, family values, all influence me as an artist, whether I'm consciously aware of it or not.

I wonder how others are influenced or inspired by their families - either past or present. What family treasures might be found in others' studios?" - Ellen
My first vacation with my husband's family was last year in Bulgaria. While there, we met distant relatives, bought the pottery you see below, played on the beach, and went site seeing. We traveled through Sofia, Nessebar, Sozopol, and Sinemorets. It was an awesome vacation, soaking up great weather, history, culture, and family time.

Bulgarian pottery

Local beach in Sinemorets

The wind-up toy bear belonged to my grandpa. He loved kids and played with us often when we were young and growing up. I feel lucky that we lived close during those years. I have lots of fond memories! When he died, my mother passed the bear down to me so I could have a part of him here always. Now looking at the bear, I feel inspired to create a character...maybe tell the bear's story!

Wind-up toy bear

Monday, June 19, 2006

Inspire Me Thursday: In Good Time

What a fun project this week! A great way for a procrastinator, like myself, to get warmed up for the day. Unfortunately, I get caught up in details and turn small ideas into time consuming projects. I don't know how I thought I'd get this project done in 30 minutes...I'm overly optomistic a lot of times!

Snapshot at 30 minutes

Snapshot at 1 hour

This little image is tucked inside a Sucrets coughdrop tin. The "In Good Time" portion is finished. It took me twice as long as I had anticipated to complete the image inside. However, I decided to keep going. I drilled holes in the top and bottom stringing ribbon for a kitchen window ornament. I covered the words on the tin with medium gel and paper and adhered a flower photo to the front. The directions on the back "For temporary relief of occasional minor irritations..." seemed perfect! I modified the text, stamped my letters, glued and was done!

Final front & back - finished at 3 hours

Final inside

Friday, June 09, 2006

Studio Friday: Favorite Supplies

Mag Basket

When I pick up a magazine, I flip through it to check for it's texture worthiness. In other words, does it have lots of pretty pictures for collaging? I almost never buy a magazine to read (unless I'm stuck at the airport). My favorite type of magazines are the women's fashion mags, like W, Cosmo, and Glamour...and store catalogs like Pottery Barn and Bloomingdales.

Bud Box Filing System

Every once in a while I need to purge the mag basket to make room. I tear out the pages I want to keep and organize them in my Budweiser Filing Box. Some collage categories include: skin & hair (and feathers and fur), nature (wood, grass, etc.), fabric, patterns, and textures. Having this system helps save on time when I'm creating a piece. Although, I often go the long route and flip through magazines for texture ideas and inspiration.

Studio Space

I have a very small corner on our sun porch where I store my supplies and sometimes work. I have another area where I keep my computer, and another area still, where I have my sewing. A lot of times I drag my magazines, glue stick, and scissors to the living room so I can collage while watching TV. I feel like I have lots of room to work AND not enough room to work, all at the same time!

Inspire Me Thursday: Show & Tell Art

"It Was Then That I Understood"

I created this piece to explore a different style of collage, embracing a folk art feel. I usually don't incorporate stamping or text into my art (even though I'm inspired by words). This time I gave it a try.

I used recycled materials, like vellum scraps, old brochure covers,  recycled letter from my mom, and magazines.

It's simple and I enjoyed the process, which sometimes I forget to do while I'm busy being a perfectionist. It was also nice to have a piece not finished on the computer.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Illustration Friday: Portrait 2

King of Hearts

This paper collage image was my original idea for Illustration Friday's word of the week, Portraits. I was getting short on time so I put up an older image, The Beekeeper, while I worked on other projects. I want to post only new images on IF each week so I'm happy to have gotten this done before the week was out. Below is the continuation of my Queen of Tarts nursery rhyme (see "Illustration Friday: Cake" for first part of this rhyme):

The King of Hearts
begged the Tart
his heart he'd like to save.
She vowed to eat
his royal treat
and told him, "do behave".

"What of the Knave?
He seemed so brave
Giving his heart to thee."
Said, Queen Tart
"I tasted his heart.
It was sweet as could be."

"We're meant to be
you and me.
A wedding with gold silk.
Now's the part
to hand me your heart,
and don't forget the milk!"

So I guess my last image should be the Knave of Hearts?