Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I don't usually do resolutions for the new year but I am going to try to sketch more this year in my sketch books. My sweet daughter got me not one but two sketchbooks for Christmas to try and motivate me.

Happy New Year to all my blogging friends!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Piggy doodle

A piggy doodle for you...he's greeting someone, just don't know who as of yet.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tomatoes in October and bookshelves

It's been a gorgeous October in Missouri this year! The trees are really just beginning to change. We just had our first deep frost this a.m., Oct 29th so we recently picked all the remaining tomatoes. They have continued to ripen and it looks like we'll still have tomatoes through November! Here are a few in my studio window.

I have a little break before starting another project so I have been cleaning and organizing my studio. I finally recycled two old Macs, two old printers, an old scanner, etc. Best Buy has a great program. You can take three items per customer, per day. I also got my new bookshelves and I actually have room to spare!!!! I'm in heaven!!

My studio mate, Cassie has finally found her bed in the studio. Up until it got cooler she has always been at my feet but I think she likes the warm sun that shines in on her bed.

Something about Fall makes me want to organize, clean and start fresh. The interior of the house has all been repainted and updated, the studio is organized and somewhat clean so now it's time to start working on a couple personal projects that have been sitting in the flat files forever. Let's see how much longer I procrastinate...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Babies, babies and more babies

I've been working on adding some babies, toddlers and young children to my portfolio. They are so much fun to draw!  Here are a few character sketches.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum

Along with so many people, I grew up loving the Little House books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Recently, we finally went to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri where the Little House Books were all written. We've driven by the exit so many times before but never took the time to stop in.

What a treasure to behold!! There were actually two of Laura's homes there. One was the farm house and another was a gorgeous stone cottage that Laura's daughter, Rose had built for them in the early 1930's where the first five Little House books were written. The last 4 books were written after Almonzo and Laura moved back to the farm house. All of the manuscripts were written with pencil on 10 cent tablets. They have all the original manuscripts at this museum along with Pa's actual fiddle! Truly amazing!!

These photos are screen shots on my Mac which are not of great quality but at least you get the idea. I forgot my camera that trip and all I had was our flip movie camera. There were no photos allowed inside the two homes so if you want to see the amazing items like Pa's fiddle, etc. you have to go visit this wonderful museum.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Look what arrived inthe mail?!

I received my copies of My Two Holidays yesterday from Scholastic/Cartwheel so it's now available online for purchase and as soon as the bookstores start carrying the holiday stuff you should see it bookstores as well.

Friday, September 3, 2010

It feels like Fall!

It feels like Fall today! In the seventies with low humidity and it was actually chilly this morning! It feels like heaven!!! Here's another practice piece to celebrate Fall.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back from the woods...

I just returned from visiting my brother and his wonderful family at their fabulous cabin in the woods. While there my hubby was fishing and I was happily relaxing, reading and painting. Here's what I came up with for my Fall mailer. I have been wanting to do more books with animals so I figure I'd better start sending more mailers out with critters on them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

what's on my new desk

I finally got my new art desk stained that my sweet hubby got me for Christmas! Even though I don't have the top drawing board at an angle for this particular painting, it is very cool that I have the option to paint at a slant if needed. Saves the back and neck, for sure!

Here is a photo of my studio mate, Cassie who is settling in VERY well here. We adore her!!

Also, a shot of what I'm working on...on my desk...very fun project! Love those!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Little fella

I don't know why but this little fella spoke to me as I drew him for a project I've been working on...what did he say? You tell me. ;o)

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's so hot!

It's been too long since my last post. I've been very busy with work again. I am in the middle of several projects that I cannot share but I thought I'd re-post an old painting from awhile back.

The ice cream man brings back fond memories of childhood past and hot summer days. I called the weather line last night at 11:30 p.m. and it was 87 degrees and 87 percent humidity! Brutally hot and miserable but fairly typical for August in Missouri.

Looking so forward to cooler days in September.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

You can pre-order now!

A book I illustrated is due out in September 2010 but it's available for pre-order now. Check it out! :o)

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I realized last night that I forgot Mr. Fox's tail! Ooops! Yes, it could've been hiding under the water but then I thought...hmmm...Mr. Fox wouldn't want the fish mistaking his tail for a lure! So thanks to Photoshop Mr. Fox now has a tail! ;o) To see the before just look at the post below.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer promo art

OK, it is. My art for my Summer promo. Now, gotta get busy getting 'em printed up and sent out before Summer is over!

HAPPY SUMMER folks and happy 4th, too!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Opinions needed from my illustrator friends

Although I am really busy with work right now(yay!), I still need to come up with a piece for my summer mailer. Gotta keep up the promotion to keep that work coming in! I desperately want to start doing more animals in my work. Don't get me wrong...I love doing children, too but I have a great love for all animals and I LOVE those wonderful books I see at the bookstore with animals as their main need to have more animals in my portfolio.

If you haven't noticed by now, I have an obsession with doggies so that's one of my favorite things to draw. Here is a piece I did with a book idea simmering in my head. Is this piece something that would entice editors and art directors?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cassie and an update on Annie

Still trying to find a "new normal" these days. Life has been such a whirlwind of stress in the past 6 months that I feel as though I have been on spin cycle. I am busy working and trying to get caught up. It is good to be busy making art. I am so blessed and God is good so I know there will be much joy again. I just need to breath.

Speaking of joy, here are a few pictures of our new family member, Cassie. She has brought us so much love and joy in these past weeks when we so desperately needed it!

I was looking at Cassie about a week ago and I noticed that on both of her shoulders she has some lighter hair starting to grow in.(her withers) They are shaped exactly like wings and it occurred to me that Cassie is an angel given to us just when we needed her.  Look and see if you can see what I'm talking about in a couple of these photos. It was so hard to get her to sit still when I was above her trying to take a shot of both shoulders but here she is to the side.

And now an update on Annie(her new name is Abby).

..."Annie is now Abby or as we call her AB normal from the movie Young Frankenstein.  She is totally living up to her new name.......she is trying to become normal as fast as she can. She no longer wants anything to do with her crate. We came home from picking up Bill at the airport and we could hear her barking from the garage.  When we opened the door she threw herself up in the air and barked. Then she flipped herself around and went into a play bow. When we let the dogs outside the 3 Goldens run up to the corner of the lot looking for the neighbor dog Tommy. She is by no means anyway near a normal Golden but she is well on her way. She recovers quickly when she is frightened which is amazing for a dog with a background like hers. It is with great joy that I can tell you we are starting to see a dog."

Here are a couple photos of Annie on her pink bed with her new buddies. The gray jacket she has on is a thundershirt. It helps dogs that are noise reactive. (i.e. during thunderstorms, etc.)

Let me just take this opportunity to thank the wonderful folks with They have truly been a God-send!! If you are anywhere near the midwest and want a golden retriever, please check out this wonderful group!!

NOTE! I've had some people wondering if all those dogs were, they are at the rescue expert's home where Annie went to get the help she needs. The rescue expert, Jacki, has a couple extra foster dogs right now. She is such an angel for helping/saving so many dogs! Thank you, Jacki!! And thank you to all the foster families who help rescues around the country!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Goodbye for now...

My precious mother-in-law, Barbara went home to Jesus last night. She was truly the strongest woman of faith I have ever known. Her 81 years on this earth truly made it a much more wonderful place.  I never heard her utter one negative word or complaint throughout her entire illness.

Barbara was such a humble servant of the Lord. Her favorite phrase was:   "It’s not the bush, but God in the bush, and any old bush will do!"  She must have told us at least a thousand times (at least 200 times over the past 5 months) that her faith, hope and love comes from Christ in her.  That anything we do for Him and for others is Christ in us.  This is an extension of her favorite verse - Phil 2:13 and also Galatians 2:20. 

Here is a photo of her on New Year's Day with her grandson, Nathan, just a few days before her diagnosis of liver cancer. Cancer is such an evil thief in this world. Please pray for her husband of 60 years in June as well as the entire family.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Update on Annie and introducing my new studio mate

As hard as it is for me to post this update on Annie, I felt it was necessary to share with all of you who have been following the Annie saga. Here is the original photo I first saw of Annie at the pound.

After 2 and a half months of living and loving and working with the beautiful Annie; her fear and anxiety didn't only got worse. She was having constant episodes of anxiety related diarrhea because of me working with her. The only time she was ok, was when she was sleeping in her crate all day and night. Obviously, that is not a thriving and healthy dog's life and it was killing me that I couldn't help her.  This was so hard for me to accept and I felt like such a failure. Annie needed to be with other dogs to help her come out of this very deep rooted anxiety and mistrust she had for humans and to learn to be a dog. Unfortunately, because of my recent family's health issues and some other stresses, we just could not take on a second dog at this time in our lives.

Just to make me feel better, I thought I'd share some of the positives we were able to give Annie:

* she put on about 20 lbs while she was here(she was skin and bones when we brought her home)
* we were able to get her healthy. She had worms and had to be on several meds.
* She was easily crate trained
* Potty training was a challenge but she did well eventually

I was working with the golden retriever rescue experts throughout this entire journey and bless them, two days ago they were able to take Annie in on a live-in basis to work with her one on one. Just after one day, there was already some improvement especially being around several other dogs. They were only able to take Annie if I would be able to help them and foster another stray golden that had been in their care for the past 2 and a half weeks. So now enters...Cassie.

The only issues Cassie has is that she is very overweight, with a mild hip displasia which has only shown up because her extreme weight. In these pics, she doesn't look fat but trust me...she is a very round waddler and her little legs are having a hard time holding her up so we have her on a diet and excercise routine.

Cassie is the polar opposite of Annie regarding affection, in that she is like velcro...and wants to be as close to us as possible at all times. She is a lover and after only being in the wonderful rescue trainer's care for 2 and a half weeks, is crate trained, housebroken and is doing very well with her obedience training. She is 2 years old and extremely active and full of energy.

Needless to say...we are loving every minute of her being here! Even though we are only fostering at this point...we are already smitten and it would take a team of horses to take her away from Brad. :o).

Cassie looks so much like my old Brandy girl when she was young. More on the Cassie saga soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dreaming of Summer

I've been gone for too long again but it's only because I'm so busy and life is so crazy right now but it's very good to be busy with work so I'm not complaining.

I thought I'd post a little painting experiment I did in honor of my sweet daughter Emily when she was little. She loved all things creepy and crawly--i.e., frogs, lizards and bugs. It's kind of my fault. When she was really tiny, she was very frightened of creepy crawlers(especially bugs) so I tried to make them less scary and maybe I went a bit overboard. I remember when she was two, I found her just about to pick up a big hairy spider so she could pet it! That's when I realized I needed to do a bit more explaining which ones to touch and which ones not to. Yikes!

Here's to you my sweet daughter who's now 23 and still loves nature. :o)

Friday, April 30, 2010

on my desk...

Life has been SO crazy since the new year began that I have not been able to post about the WONDERFUL gift that my sweet hubby gave me for Christmas 2009! I have coveted my brother-in-law's antique desk for many years and searched high and low to try and find one like it to no avail...until...I saw this desk that is very similar at Hann Manufacturing. It is actually a drafting teacher's desk but it works perfectly for my traditional watercolor painting. It even has a door on the side to store drawing boards! How cool is that?!!

I have the sweetest and most supportive husband in the world! Thank you Brad!!! I love you!!!

We ordered it unfinished so we can stain it the color we choose...that is when I can finally find time to do it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Since I am swamped with work(YAY! It's picking up!) that I can't show until it's published, I thought I'd share a new rubber stamp design with you all. Ribbet!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Been gone too long

So sorry about the delay in blog posts but life has been kind of tough lately. We have had some serious illness in our family(prayers for my sweet mother-in-law) on top of having this very sweet but very emotionally damaged golden girl, Annie, to try and rehabilitate. Here's a recent picture of Annie. We are getting some amazing help from our golden rescue expert and oh my, has she been a God-send! More details on the Annie saga later.

Also, a few days ago we had some unexpected studio visitors. Here's something you don't see every day...Canadian geese on a rooftop? My guess is they were flying too low and made a emergency landing. I thought they may have been injured but thankfully they only stayed about 15 minutes, then regrouped and flew off into the big blue yonder.

On the illustration front--I'm getting ready to start the final paintings for a book due out this fall. Here's a little hint. ;o)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Highlight's Magazine illustration

I was honored to be able to illustrate a story in the April edition of Highlight's Magazine for Children. My art was even featured on the cover. Fun, fun!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Poor Annie

Well, it was a tough weekend. Poor Annie got sick late Friday night and we were up most of the night so I took her to my vet early Saturday morning. He had some new information for us. Instead of Annie being a 1 year old pup, he is thinking she is between 3-5 years old and leaning more towards the later side. With the way she is acting and by the looks of her tummy, we are thinking it is very likely that this poor girl was used at a puppy mill for breeding. Who knows how many litters she had before either being thrown away or getting loose. The vet also thought she had most likely never seen the light of day by the way she acts outside.

I have called in a pro who is coming on Saturday to help. She has worked with many puppy mill dogs and 99 percent of them have had happy endings with tails wagging and wonderful outcomes. As I already knew, it is just going to take LOTS of time and patience. Annie has never been able to just be a dog. It's time to rewrite her story.

After some medication and special food Annie is doing well. The blood work came back all good too so at least we know she is healthy physically. Now, we just need to work on the mental health.

To leave this note with a positive...since we got our fence installed, Annie has been able to go out without the leash and is learning to deal with outside. She still won't go out without being led by her collar with much resistance but she is getting a little better each day.

At least we can say she is no longer known as little orphan Annie!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Annie Update

It will be two weeks on Thursday since we adopted Annie and although we have seen some progress, I also realize this is going to take a long while. Poor Annie who has no self esteem or confidence is very very slowly starting to trust us.

Here is a photo of one of her major breakthroughs on this past sleepy Sunday morning. My daughter in the furry socks and p.j.s was taking the photo and Brad is the lucky one who got to coax her to come and eat from his hands.

One more MAJOR breakthrough yesterday....she licked me!!!! She likes me!!! She likes me!!! (remember the line from the Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer clay-mation movie?)

Annie is teaching me all about the word, patience.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy first day of Spring?

The calendar says today is the first day of Spring but it has been snowing since last night and they are calling for up to 8 inches of snow!

How am I supposed to potty train a dog in 8 inches of snow?! Yikes!! Heaven help me!!! At least there is hope. It is supposed to be back to 40's and sunny on Monday and back to 60's by next weekend.

Here's a little sketch just to commemorate the first day of Spring, the way it's supposed to be. These images are also a part of Spring mailer that just got sent out two days ago.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One day at a time

We brought Annie home 7 days ago and although she is still a very shy, timid girl she is taking baby steps. As of yesterday for the first time she was finally able to be coaxed to come to us with the help of treats. She doesn't linger at all to be pet, it's more like eat and dash but it's still a huge step. Brad and I are thrilled!

Since this blog is supposed to be illustration related I will post a piece I did a couple years ago. I also auctioned off an original of this for the Kansas City Humane Society's Art Unleashed last year. It's called "Best Friends".