06 January 2017

At it again—Shelf-talkers

We're having another shelf-talker craft at the library, but this time it's for Valentine's Day, and it's open to children, teens, and adults. We're calling it "The Book I Love," and the object is for everyone to pick a book and do a shelf-talker to put up in the library so that on February 14th, the shelves are papered with love notes to books!

In order to do this, of course, we need a flyer, so I made a few shelf-talkers to use on the flyer as examples of what we have in mind. Of course, they can be a lot less elaborate than this—just text and a few tiny hearts would do—but I tend to like to include something that evokes the book visually. So here are my shelf-talkers—one from an adult, one from a teen, one for a picture book.

02 January 2017

Hiatus, new start

It's hard for me to believe that I didn't draw or paint anything for more than a month...but I didn't. I thought about it, I doodled a little, but I never made time. So on New Year's Day, I decided I'd better do something to set the precedent for the rest of the year. Since it's the Year of the Rooster, I found a reference photo and did one of those; but I wasn't terribly satisfied with it, so the next day I did another. There is such infinite variety in roosters, this could go on for a while if I decided to do that--we'll see! So here are Rooster 1 and Rooster 2, and Happy New Year.

25 November 2016


I'm not a huge fan of cranberries--the twice-a-year experience on the Thanksgiving and Christmas buffet is fine with me, and cranberry-flavored things always seem too tart, even when modified by raspberry or lemonade. But I do love how they look--the small nuances in color from pink to coral to, well, cranberry! to dark purple. So on impulse, I bought a small bag of them at the market while shopping for green beans and mushrooms and pearl onions for Thanksgiving, and this morning I threw a handful on the table on my patio so that I would have not just the cranberries but some dramatic shadows to paint. I had some happy accidents with the bleeding into some of the shadows, while others of them got away from me, but for a 30-minute endeavor, start to finish, I was fairly satisfied with my result.

Pencil, watercolor.

22 November 2016

A recipe for stuffing

I saw today's prompt from World Watercolor Group ("Stuffing") and thought, Oh, how boring, a 13x9 pan full of breadcrumbs, who wants to draw that? So I decided not to paint today. Then, when I turned off Netflix at 11:00, I suddenly thought, Oooh, but the ingredients!

So, I went on Google images (since I had none of these in the house) and found a picture of an onion and an apple and a sage leaf, and then decided to add in the piece of celery, which made for a lopsided composition but a better recipe for stuffing, and I drew and I painted and I scanned, and here is today's prompt, pre-chop and without the breadcrumbs.

It's not my best painting--but at least I didn't go another day without putting pen and paint to paper.

19 November 2016

Soda Pop

They say you can tell what region of the country you come from by what you call your carbonated beverage or soft drink. Is it a soda, a pop, or a Coke? (Or do you go old-school and call it a tonic?) There was actually a survey conducted on this at one point, and then two guys from East Central University in Oklahoma made a map, which I found interesting to look at in comparison to the political maps of the country we've been staring at for the past couple of months:

So why am I telling you all this? Well, for two reasons: The first is that it's National Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day (yes, really), and the second is that the World Watercolor Group prompt for today was "soda pop," which made me think about my relatives in Virginia, whose variation was "You wanna sody?"

I was an enthusiastic consumer of soft drinks in my youth (I started every early morning in college by popping the top on a TAB and taking a swig), but the caffeine and sugar or, worse yet, the artificial sweeteners made me ban them from my life decades ago. Now, I enjoy an occasional root beer, or even more rarely go out of my way to buy a new-fangled soda with natural ingredients and flavors  more pleasing to the palette than Coke. Since root beer isn't as fun to paint, I chose an IZZE Sparking Blackberry as my subject matter. And no, there is no alcoholic content, even though the bottle is the tiniest bit tipsy! Just for comparison, here's a continuous line blind contour that I did of a similar bottle back a few years ago in Brenda Swenson's workshop.

LePen .03, and watercolor, in my Aquabee sketchbook.

Art = Sanity

I realized this morning that I haven't drawn or painted anything for weeks. I spent the week leading up to the election plagued by nerves, the week after it in shock and denial, and this past week alternately depressed and outraged. At first, every time I thought about drawing or painting, all I could dredge up was either "What's the point?" or "I have more important things to which I need to give my attention." But...that old adage about taking care of yourself first has merit, and one of the things that keeps me sane and on an even keel is making art. So, I pulled up World Watercolor Group's list of prompts for November and painted me some beets. I'm not a big fan of eating them, but the colors and shapes are appealing. I'm going to get myself back to a regular drawing and painting habit. Because if art doesn't matter, what does?

Le Pen and watercolors, in my Aquabee sketchbook.

06 November 2016

Secret Art Show!

I recently got involved at work with an organization called Burbank Arts for All (BAFA, inevitably), which is a group that helps fund the arts in the Burbank Unified School District. I thought it might be a good networking and partnership opportunity, and also, I am personally interested in the arts and do a lot of arts programming for teens at the library, so it seemed like a good idea.

Last night the organization had its big fund-raiser, called the Secret Art Show. It's a one-night pop-up art gallery, at which they exhibit 4x6-inch pieces of art made by all different kinds of people from the Burbank community--students, amateur artists, professionals who work at the studios, illustrators (such as the lovely and charitable David Shannon, of No, David! picture book fame), celebrities, whoever wants to contribute. There's also a buffet, a silent auction, and some arty stuff happening on the spot. It's fun, and quite festive. The "secret" part is that you have to pony up $40 for a piece of the 4x6-inch artwork before you learn who painted it. It's a little scary for we artists, who wonder, "Will anyone want my little scribble badly enough to spend that kind of money?" But it's all about funding the non-profit to make sure kids get to make art too, so everybody seems to play along.

I ended up making them a bunch of pieces--they kept extending the deadline on receiving art, so I kept making more of it--so my final contribution was these 11. I know for sure that at least one was purchased, because my #2 boss at the library was there, and told me she had bought one she thought might be mine. (I hope she bought it because she really liked it rather than because she knew I made it and didn't want me to suffer from embarrassment!)

Here they all are--if you bought one, and subsequently end up coming to this blog out of curiosity (I put the address in my bio that goes with the pieces), then please tell me in the comments section below! I'd love to know you are, which one you bought, and why!

"Two Hens," purchased by Melissa Potter

"Burbank City Hall"

"Wisteria in Parthenay, France, 2013"

"Twin" (a study for a larger picture)

"Morning Coffee"

"Jukebox at the Great Grill"


"Red Truck"

"Storybook Cottages on Hollywood Way"

"Safari Inn on Olive"

"Farmers' Market Gourds"
I will definitely participate in this again--it was fun! Also, seeing what other people made as their contributions gave me some ideas of what I could do better next time.