Sunday, December 27, 2015


For quite a while I've wanted to make a new line of greeting cards but I didn't exactly know what they would look like. So when I started the 100 Trees project, I hoped some of the images would inspire or evolve into a card. I didn't want to pressure myself and expect every drawing I did to be that interesting, but I hoped some would. And it's working! In fact, as I keep going with making art in my sketchbook every day I've been able to zero in on a style that I like. It feels like it is MY style, I just had to get some unnecessary stuff out of the way, practice, think, learn the steps, and uncover this way of making art that has been inside me for a long time just waiting to get out.

Here is how the first card has gone. I started with this drawing above in my sketchbook (in which I misspelled leapt). I like this image because it's special for my daughter. Whenever we read Dream Animals by Emily Winfield Martin, she says she wants to ride the deer to sleep, even though there isn't a real deer painting in the book, it's just a constellation outline of stars.

Next I carved this stamp of Tessa riding a deer, some trees, and a moon.

Then I tried some painted layers. It wasn't working quite right.

So I went back to the white outlines with a richer purple background like the original drawing. I printed with white ink on top of several layers of purples and blues. Wow, that was the right way to go. Goodnight and sweet dreams! Now on to the next card...

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


I finished up the second collaboration sketchbook that I did with my daughter, Tessa. I called it Transformation because she started each page with a drawing (she's 2 so it was a scribble) and I turned it into something. This was so much fun!! You can see both books on my website here.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a nice December. This month I always feel frazzled and stressed trying to buy presents get them packed and shipped at the post office with all of the other frazzled people. I'm approaching the end of that phase and to get myself in the mood for the more peaceful part of Christmas, I wanted to post some art and photos.

This is a drawing of my daughter, Tessa decorating an imaginary Christmas tree. She is constantly rearranging the bottom three feet of ornaments on our tree. This and the next four images are from my 100 Trees project. I'm having a great time drawing a tree picture in my sketchbook every day!

Here are some winter pines from rubber stamps I carved. I've been trying to figure out different ways to make pine trees instead of my usual boring default way to draw them.

This one might turn into a holiday card for next year!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, how distracting are your patterns.

Some winter days you don't really know what is sky and what is ground and the colors are all subtle shades of white, blue, and brown. We always have a white Christmas where I live!

This is a view across Steamboat Springs, Colorado toward the ski area. The low cloud on the mountain is where the snow guns are making snow. This hill is right behind my neighborhood where we walk and sled all the time.

Here's our Christmas tree with my two cuties.

This photo was taken for us by my friend and fantastic photographer, Karen G. Schulman.

I hope you all have a great holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

New Header!

I finally had time to finish the new header that I started several months ago. I think it looks pretty nice up there on the top of the blog!

Friday, December 4, 2015

More Trees and an Updated Website

I've added a few new pages to my website including a page where you can see all of the tree drawings together. I'm really loving my 100 Trees project! I've been spending a lot more time on some of them than I intended to, but it's because I'm having so much fun.

Also on my website is a page with the drawings from the collaboration sketchbook that I did with Tessa for The Sketchbook Project. She started with a scribble and then I turned each page into a drawing. We are in the middle of doing a second book now!

And there is a page showing some of the commissions that I've done in the last few years. Feel free to ask me questions about creating artwork for you any time. You can email me at

Monday, November 30, 2015

Gift Show in Steamboat

I'm bringing all of these goodies to The Depot today. It's an old train depot that houses our Steamboat Springs Arts Council. This December they are putting on a Gift show with small works, ornaments, cards, and gifts for sale that you can take home the day you buy them. What a great idea for the holidays! The opening is this Friday, Dec 4th if you are in town.

Friday, November 20, 2015

100 Trees

I'm working on a large linocut right now that I can't share yet. But it's exciting and just as soon as I can show it to you, I will!

So, since I feel like I'm on the 5th month in a row of working on projects that I really can't show much online, I wanted to have a fun little project to share. For a while I've been hearing about how artists have gotten so much from doing a daily project. I think the biggest two benefits are improving their craft and gaining a lot of followers. As Andy J. Miller says, when you do something every day for a long time, people start to notice. An artist who does amazing daily sketchbook paintings is Jennifer Orkin Lewis of August Wren. Wow! She works so quickly and every one of her paintings is beautiful.

I didn't want to commit to anything too crazy for my first go-round, so what I decided on is drawing 100 tree pictures in my sketchbook and posting them on Instagram. I'm going to try and do one a day in any medium or style, as long as there's at least one tree in the image. I love drawing trees and there are so many different types and so many different ways to draw them! I'm excited to explore and see where this path through the trees leads me. Here are my first 6-

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Dummy! Again!

Last weekend I finally got through redrawing my dummy, Our Home. I had lots of time while working on it that I really wondered if I was off track, I felt uncomfortable, thought the book was lacking continuity, thought it was too repetitive, and wanted to just hide it away in a drawer. But I kept going and in the end, the book flowed much better than I thought it would.

I got to have quite a few drawing sessions at out beautiful Bud Werner Memorial Library. This table is big enough to spread out an entire book! And the view is so wonderful- the Yampa River is right there, a walking path, a pretty bridge over Soda Creek, A park and playground, golden autumn trees, and a train sometimes goes by just on the other side of the river. I think drawing at the Library is my heaven.

Here it is in book form. The newer version is on the lower right. I decided to simplify the cover image, although it will still be finished as a linocut with color. I don't have much confidence that I know how to make a stand-out cover. I know a lot goes into the layout of a cover! Semadar Megged, art director at Philomel Books gave us a great workshop about book covers at the last RMC SCBWI Conference.

I have sent my dummy, text, and query letter to Harold Underdown (with payment.) I hope to hear some good feedback from him! Afterward I will make changes he suggests, finish some spreads as linocuts and finally submit to publishers.

I actually have some nice news, I applied for a grant from my local Arts Council to cover Harold's editing fee and they awarded me the money! Yay! Thank you Steamboat Springs Arts Council!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Penguin Journal

A few years ago, I made this image as a mock-up journal cover for Lilla Rogers' Global Talent Search.

And then last week when I was poking through my flat files I saw it and posted a picture of it on Instagram. My friend really liked it and that prompted me to think, Hey, I should put that image on an actual journal just for fun!

I searched through a lot of sites and this journal on Shutterfly seemed like the closest to what I had in mind. The sweet little things turned out great! The pages are lined, there is a ribbon bookmark, and This Journal Belongs To: on the inside cover. They are a little smaller than I wanted at 6x8 inches, but still a nice size. And just a hint, if you create an item on Shutterfly and save it but don't order it, after a few days they will email you a fantastic coupon code to encourage you to go ahead and order.

Friday, October 30, 2015

My Creative Life: Motherhood

My daughter came along when I was in my 40's so my routines as an artist were already well ingrained. It was easy for me to see how I could take little bits of time here and there to be creative. I actually did a blog post answering the question, "how do you find the time?" because it was coming up in conversation so often. I really hope that you mothers and fathers of young people can find the time to do things that fulfill you. It's important for us parents to be happy and pursue our own goals in addition to helping our little people grow into great children and adults. So I wanted to share a bit about my version of being an artist and a mama in case it helps someone else. I know everyone's story is different and I'd love to hear your version of creativity and parenthood in the comments.

In other posts I wrote about my life as a musician, as an artist, and as a bookmaker. I always imagined that as a mother I would have no time to make art and that's why I put it off so long. I listened to an interview of Maurice Sendak in which he says that he never wanted to have children because he was too involved in his art. That's kind of how I felt. But now that I'm the mother of a 2 year old I have a totally different view. Being a mother is being in the middle of an explosion of creativity!

In the past I've been surrounded by art friends. Hopefully you know how that feels. You inspire each other, share your work, get feedback, brainstorm, and all those good things. Being a mom I spend way more time around little kids and other mothers than I do around artists. But that's actually a fine tradeoff. Kids love paint! Markers! Glue! Cats! Hugging trees! Running in grass! Laughing! Building castles! Pretend! Dirt! Rocks! Water! Stickers! Purple! Books! Dogs! Horses! Everything is new and worth exploring. And since I want to make children's books I just try and hold on to that little kid enthusiasm and reflect it in my artwork.

In my earlier life I've had lots of different jobs, some better than others. But what I really want to do is make artwork. I haven't been fortunate enough yet to be able to do that as my only job. Going to work for 7 to 10 hours a day used to make me so drained that I really didn't have any creative energy left. But being around my daughter seems to energize me. I wait until she's in bed and I go for it. Yes I'm tired, but it's a different kind of tired than retail-job-tired. So if there are any of you out there who are wondering if you will ever be able to make art again after having a kid, my answer is YES!

When your child wants to draw or paint or glue or build something, you can do it too! It's more fun for everyone when you get involved. Enjoy the process and have a nice conversation with your little one. When you play and are creative, ideas and inspiration will come along that you may have to put on hold. But soak up that good energy and jot down the ideas for later. Then after bedtime or when you have time to yourself you can be an adult artist again. It's a treat you owe yourself!

Rock towers

Drawing with Mama

Painting before breakfast

Sand castles

Necklaces for everyone


Art class

Animal houses

Drawing on the iPad

Crafts at the library

Plein Air Painting

This is the book I made from some of Tessa's paintings. I did a blog post with lots of photos of this book here.

Tessa's first art show! I was more excited than she was. :)

Whatever it is that you get excited about, share it with your children. I get excited about art, obviously. Drawing and painting are so great for fine motor skills, imagination, problem solving, and confidence- that means for you too, Mom!