Role Reversal for the Frog


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Full page

The first fairytale we are exploring in 2014 Year of the Fairy Tale is The Tsarevna Frog, a Russian folk tale of a princess turned into a frog. You can read this lovely twist to the traditional frog plot here.

We were asked to sketch faces and frogs and do several readings of the story. Our assignment was to do three spot illustrations. If we had time we could do a full illustration.

My full illustration above shows Vassilissa the frog princess getting Ivan’s arrow shot into her swamp.

They are forced to marry much to Ivan’s dismay. This is the spot illustration which would be inserted into the text.

The Wedding

Next, Vassilisa sheds her frog skin at night and calls down her maidens to help her bake bread at her father-in-law’s request.

Baking BreadThe last spot illustration shows Ivan and Vassilissa after many trials and tribulations getting their “Happy Ever After”.

Happily Ever After

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?


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Along with taking live classes, cooking and being in the middle of a major house remodel, I signed up for a five week online painting class with Carla Sonheim called Flower Crazy. I think the crazy would apply to me more than the flowers.

Here are a few results from the first two weeks.

field of flowers with gesso

My field of flowers was done with water colors, topped with gesso for textures and detailed with some pencil lines.

Carla also had us looking at and sketching antique buttons, gears and underwater marine life. It provides a great resource for incorporating shapes into the work.

Shell flowers on gessoGear flower on gesso

These two painting were done with textures gesso on watercolor paper. The gesso was overpainted with a couple of layers of watercolor. The flower was painted and detailed with pencil and gesso.

Exploring Self Portraits with Dina Wakely


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I have been looking at other artist’s painting on photographs for years and pondering trying it for myself. The interest was there but it took Dina Wakely’s class In Your Image  at Ink About It to finally get my engines started.

Silhouette in three

First we took a photo and cut out a silhouette stencil. I prepped a 12 x 18 sheet of watercolor paper with acrylic paints and stencils over the background.

Call me maybe

Here is the same stencil in a journal page.

Girl with pearl earring trace

This is my girl with a pearl earring. I traced over my photo with carbon paper onto a gelli plate print in my journal. I painted over the face but left the heavy tracing lines of the photo.

Double page

In this double journal page I painted over the photo, cut it out and collaged it on the left side of the journal. The right side was a photo transfer using Apollo Ink Jet Transfer Film.

another life adjusted

Butterflies and Moths

Loved this class. There is so much more to explore here. All the photos I used were of me in my 20’s. I haven’t gotten to the part yet where I want to explore my wrinkles.

Thank you, Dina, for this intro to “selfles” and for always making me think and grow.

Dog Days on an Apron


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This weekend found me at Ink About It taking a class with Penny Bennington, hand painting and lettering an apron.


This is Penny(on the right) with Dina Wakely showing off her apron and the apron she made for Dina.

She taught us how to color our aprons with acrylic paint and then some really neat lettering tricks using our own handwriting. The lettering was done with a nib pen dipped in India Ink.

Unfinished apron

Here is my apron after four hours of class. There was still much work ahead at home.

Full apron light

Here is my completed apron after another day of labor.

Top apron

I knew going into class that this was the quote I wanted to use. I had no preconceived idea of how I would execute it. All the splotches on the background started looking like flowers so I added some detail with Derwent Inktense pencils.

Bottom apron

Happiness truly hit me taking Penny’s class. Thank you Penny and thank you Florence and the Machine for your song.

Look at the Stars


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On Day Five, our last day of Blobimal Artists Books, the assignment was to paint a watercolor “blob” on each page, glue collage shapes on the page and finally add text to tell a story.

I have two pages done of Look At The Stars.

Stars book front

Inside Page Two

Inside page two

I have visions of me taking my three little books everywhere so that when I have an opportunity to draw detail into unfinished pages, I can seize the moment.

Wayward Dogs



Day Four of Summer Camp-We took out our second book and collaged scraps of paper onto the pages with matte medium.

Cover collage cropped


Front Cover of the four page book

back cover


Back Book Cover

Next we covered all the pages with a thin coat of gesso to make everything more cohesive. All the collage material became pastel.

gesso layer


And finally the whole thing got detailed layers of black and white pen work. A coat of black paint at the bottom of all the pages created a common ground.

What immerged was my Wayward Dog. It just called to me to add a title to my book.

Wayward dogs

Highly Addictive, Proceed with Caution!


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My water color splatter page was all cut up and now made into three books on Day Two of Camp. On Day Three we started to look for shapes in our splotches of color and then started filling in with more watercolor, color pencils and pencil.

Book cover


Here is my cover page. I just couldn’t stop at one or two creatures. Time stopped still as I continued to shade and detail.

I started seeing small little shapes and made a landscape.

spotted dog close up


Birds to the right of me.

birds and car


Dogs and Fishes to the left.

fish and dogs


You’ll notice I even put in a road, a car crossing a bridge and a flower.

I just couldn’t stop and there are so many more pages to do. I am loving it.

Waiting for Paint to Dry


Summer Camp started today. I’m taking Carla Sonheim’s Blobimal Artists Books.

Painting Blobs

We prepped our sheets for the journal we’ll make. We added two layers of blob droppings.

Waiting to dry

While waiting for the paint to dry, Carla had us work on jigsaw puzzle creatures.

We made a jig pattern on paper.

jig saw puzzleThen we looked for shapes, drew them in and finished with mixed media of our choice.

painted jiggs

birdFun at Camp!