Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Just wanted to pop in during all the normal Holiday baking, cleaning, wrapping, etc to say Happy Holidays to everyone! From us to all of you have a safe and Joy-full Holiday!

Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody


Milton Glaser on Drawing Skills


Milton Glaser is one of the most famous graphic designers. I've never felt that teaching designers that drawing and rendering were skill sets no longer needed. I have heard professors who say that designers don't need to draw, you have illustrators for that! I've also had conversations with art directors and they bemoan the lack of drawing (thinking, creative thinking, planning) skills among the recent design graduates. Oh - they know their way around computer software, but they are crippled creatively without it .

I know that a lot of you still do thumbnails, and maybe even roughs, and that not all teachers have jettisoned all the traditional tools for the technological ones, but I think there is too much emphasis on the 'cool tools' of technology rather than teaching students to really think, see, and more importantly, listen!, before jumping into a client's needs.

Keep drawing! Keep creatively thinking!


The Design Cubicle

Hop over to Brian Hoff's The Design Cubicle and check out my drawing listed among some fabulous company. Brian is a dedicated and well respected designer with a great blog and site covering all aspects of design. I follow Brian on Twitter and facebook to glean as many of his good ideas, to pass along to my high school design students, as possible.

Now I'll have to get all my logo designs and other client work out of the mothballs and show them here. I usually show more illustration than true design. I figure there are way better sites (like Brian's) to show you great design. I love design. I love typography. But I really love mixing it up with illustration and photography my first true loves. And while you don't have to be an artist to be good designer, it helps if you have a good handle on formal art principles as well as the principles and elements of design.

Have fun, be creative!


Magic & Anniversaries

Image composite I made last year from several of my photos and drawings

I hope everyone is having
(or has had) a wonderfully fun and magical Halloween. I should be writing a paper and grading student work, but I have taken the day to be with my hubby (it is our anniversary after all) and to just generally goof off. We didn't plan a huge costume party like we have in years past. I've been too busy to do all the planning, cleaning, and prepping it takes. So we're keeping it low key this year.

I just wanted to pop-in with my best Wishes for a Safe and Happy Halloween!

So from a Pyrate & his Bride...
May your Celebrations Be Magical!

Be Creative, Be Happy!

Illustration Friday: Fast

This is my contribution for Illustration Friday's "Fast" theme for this week.

Another Masquerade Ball!

How I love a good Masquerade Ball! Mirth and merriment filling the air! Mystery hanging as thick as an Autumn fog. The chill of a touch from the unknown creature who has asked you for a dance just before the unmasking moment. Oh, the thrill of the evening!

Over at My Artful Adventures they are having a Masquerade Ball. I was so busy with my own Halloween inventions that I very nearly missed it. Actually, I did miss getting on the link list. Maybe next year. You can always visit my Spider's Ball from last week until then.

So don't be afraid. Join in the fun of the season. Remember dress-up when you were young? What fun to still be able to leave the real world behind for a few hours and play.

Be Safe, Be Fun, and Always Be Creative!

New Halloween Design!

Just listed a new Halloween design. When I was a little girl I remember all the simple cut orange and black illustrated cards, bags, etc that filled the stores. I adore the very detailed more antique versions. I know I'm an antique myself, but not THAT antique. I remember watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" at this time of the year and loving it every time (still do).

That happy memory helped fuel my passion for Halloween and this illustration. This is offered on shirts, totes, and mugs in my Cafepress Shop.

While there, please browse my other items. Like this guy. He is a most interesting character. Hope you enjoy him.
The Halloween, Here Lies Sassy Jones image was created in Adobe Illustrator. Jack was first hand-drawn and then painted in Adobe Photoshop. Both are my creations.

Thanks for all of you who stopped by my Spider Ball "Halloween Celebration" today. I hope the fun isn't over. I met lots of new friends and kindred-spirits. I believe the 'party' has just begun.
Loved all your posts. I plan to return and soak up more of your beautiful works.

For those of you who did not participate in the Blog Hopping Party, please go to mine and check out the links in the comments section. After you've partied with the Count and Countess, of course!

Here's wishing you all the very best life has to offer! Enjoy, Be Blissful and Creative!

Welcome to The Spider's Ball!

Join us for a Celebration of Halloween. After your visit with Arabella and the others, please follow the link at the end of this Party for more Hauntingly Good Fun!

Come One! Come All! Welcome, welcome to the Annual Spider's Ball.
Everyone is here, even you! Come join us as we play the day into the night.

Arabella's been working all night to bring you all the delights of the season.
Her friends came early to help prepare Special Treats to Share

The passages are dark! The woods alive with fear!
Arabella's friends will lead you safely through here.

Out in the clearing you see your destination. You turn to thank your guide

but he is not there! You don't want to tarry the moon is full, so you knock at the door. But who's this?

"Come in, Come in. We've been expecting you." Your Guide through the night woods steps aside to allow you to enter the Annual Spider's Ball. What kinds of magic await? What manner of beings will you encounter? A Chill runs through you. Is is fear or delicious anticipation?

The Count appears. He welcomes you warmly. "Follow me my dear," he says in a satiny tone. You follow him slowly through the dimly lit hallways toward rooms filled with music, laughter and mirth.
This place IS magical.

As you pass the drawing room the lady of the manor is arranging fresh lilies and lighting candles. She smiles as you pass and softly says, "Welcome to our Ball. We've been expecting you."

As you turn to continue you notice the Count is gone. You hear a piano being played somewhere in the distance so you decide to seek it out.

Again you encounter your Guide! Or is it? Could it be a trick of the imagination? The music is lilting and hypnotic. You find yourself swaying back and forth. How many minutes pass you don't know. You can barely make out other shadowy figures enjoying the Guide's deft playing. You shake off the spell of his music and decide to explore some more.

You discover the Library just a few steps away. In a very Curious box you find a small jeweled volume. Strange symbols cover the interior of the box's lid. You can't make them out, but You are sure they are Alchemy!

You gently take the book out of its silk lined box. Trembling you open it very carefully. Should you be looking? Will you turn into a newt? What type of spells are written here?

You start to read it. It seems to speak of Relics and Alchemical Symbols. You hear something move behind you. Quickly you put the book back into its Curious Box. Safe! No one is there. Or are they? Maybe you should seek out others.

You discover the dining room. Lots of others are milling about the Banquet Table. Large cauldrons waft aromas of delicious concoctions. You spy some Faerie cakes and tea, but as you make you way toward them a Masqued Harlequin moves between you and the Delicious Desserts. Maybe you'll try again later. Onward to more fun!

The Artist's Studio is next. You begin looking at the paintings there - until a Ghostly Painter peeks around the canvas you are admiring. This is almost too much excitement for you. But you do make note that the art you liked is
available in the Village.

Other rooms offer more fun. There is bobbing for apples and a make you own candied apples stand. A Skeleton is making S'mores over a flame in the yard. You watch from the conservatory for a while before hearing someone calling you...

You follow the lyrical voice out the door to the back garden. A Gypsy has set-up her Tarot and Crystal ball. "Please come dahling, she motions. Let's see your Future."

After the Gypsy tells you of Great Things to Come, you again hear the strains of Hauntingly Beautiful music. You thank the Gypsy and give her your last Coin. She takes it and smiles. "Good follows good, my dear." You hear her say as you run to find the violinist who is making your heart break. What?! Can it be? Yes...

Your Guide is playing the violin just as beautifully as the piano. Guests are dancing in the candlelight. Soft laughter can be heard throughout the party. Soon the sun will be coming up and the Ball will be at an end.

Across the room The Countess laughs at one of the Faerie Jesters, but the Count is not amused. Some people just don't know how to have a good time. But you do. You have danced and wait YOU didn't get to eat! That Harlequin! She is always hogging the sweets. Well here you go Dearie...

And so ends our Annual Spider's Ball here. But you can partake of other Parties and Balls by going to
A Fanciful Twist" They are anxiously awaiting your arrival.

Arabella is so glad you Came to the Ball. It wouldn't have been the same without you. Please come again. We enjoy Magic and Mirth... here all the time.

Happy Halloween! Here's Wishing you Fun, Frolic and Creative Bliss Always!


Getting Ready to Party!

I've invited all my deliciously spooky friends over to Celebrate Halloween! Please join us tomorrow for the festivities. We will be starting our journey at Vanessa Valencia's fabulous blog "A Fanciful Twist" Just click on the above poster image to be taken to her world.

For today I offer these spooky videos.

Tom Fun Orchestra-Bottom of the River from trunk animation on Vimeo.

Have a great day all you wonderful creatures!
Be Fun! Be Creative!


October and Halloween!

Arranging the lilies

My favorite time of year is here! Lovely, lovely October. Who is not fascinated by the flaming colors of the season? Who does not occasionally enjoy playing dress-up? Throughout the years there have been many costumes, many parties, many magical events. Good times.

I've just been reading one of my favorite blogs. Through my Google Reader I have been enjoying A Fanciful Twist. I find that every time I read it I identify more and more with the author. Her magical style is captivating. We have a lot of the same sensibilities about magic, art, love of romance, etc.

She loves Gypsy Wagons...So do I! I drew this as a concept for my artist hideaway a few years ago. She really likes the movie "Practical Magic"...Me too! I have saved the old Victoria magazine issue to occasionally lust over that gorgeous house, its kitchen, the grounds, and the magic that resides there. And we benefit from a bit of daily magic in our lives.

In previous posts I've included some of my Halloween pieces. I really should do more October art. This is always a busy time of year around my house. I chose Halloween as my wedding day! For a number of years, we have celebrated our anniversary with a Halloween Costume Ball. Over the years I have sewn, painted, built, rendered and created Halloween magic. I have loved every minute.

In the coming weeks I will share more Magick and October with you. I won't have time to do much drawing or painting. Since I began teaching full time, I don't have the luxury of creative time I once had. Funny how you piddle time away and THINK you don't have any, only to find you had more than you realized.

Mother & Sons

So I've decided to let the inspiration of all my Halloween blog friends drive me to do more. I will be participating in the Halloween Celebration on A Fanciful Twist. Hopefully, we'll be sharing great fun and magical moments on October 17th.

In the meantime...
Be Creative, Be Magical!


Cool or What ?

I've been at it again. Using my poor sons as guinea pigs. I've been playing around with some tutorials to share with my design students. The picture above is supposed to be dark and movie like, but I didn't get to finish it. While working on this one my computer screamed, "No more, please! I'm full." I must do a full archive this weekend and clear out a lot of files.

I'm just grateful it is still working. You know what they say..."carpenter's houses, designer's computers"...well maybe they don't say that exactly, but you know what I mean. My computer has served me well. My oldest son and my husband built it for me a few years ago. I have filled it to the max and on top of that I'm getting failure warnings when I reboot. So I guess a new hard-drive is to be ordered.

What I would really like is a new SUPER computer built just for graphic design. I would also like one just for video purposes. have that kind of money coming in to have dedicated computers. Cause ya know - if you give a mouse a cookie... I'm gonna want a large studio built to house everything.

I just wanted to share a bit with you. I know, I know. Everyone is wanting to see more of my work, especially my paintings, and I would truly like to give you more, but... Teaching is keeping me really busy these days. I've just started college again. I'm going for my masters in curriculum. I think I may be nuts. We'll see.
(Hey! No wisecracks from those who know me well)

My publishing partner, Steve Roberts, and I are working on a couple of new projects. We have been occupied with our other careers
(read regular paychecks) and lives; neither of us knowing where to carve out time for another project, but a very good and longtime friend called me the other day with great news. She has written a novel and brought me the manuscript for consideration. I've had time to read a small portion of it and it looks very promising.

I will be redesigning "Christmas on Deery Street" and "While Shepherd's Watched" Since I designed the full cover for Deery I won't have to do that again. I will need to redesign the interiors of both books. The cover photo-illustration for "
Shepherds" is mine, but the rest was another publishing company's design. That book never sold as well. Hmmm....?

So busy I be. Life is good.
Be Happy! Be Creative!

Oh-BTW here's the original photo of the altered version above. Enjoy.


The school year is in full swing now. Time is moving at a very fast clip. I always think I'm going to be ahead. Silly of

Here is a link to the main website at my school. We are rockin' it this year. Please take time to view the video. This is a wonderful piece done by HPVideo along with our own multi-media instructors- including myself (that's me teaching graphic design). We are very proud of our accomplishments and our school.

We are so lucky to have wonderful students who are coming to school eager to learn. Engaging, excited teachers who love teaching and who are collaborating wildly through technology, in hallway moments and during development meetings. And we wouldn't be where we are without our
amazing administrative staff. I don't know if they know it, but we faculty love them.

At some point I will create another blog to separate all the facets of my world. I wish for this blog's focus to remain as a place to post my new works, but since my new works are currently students, my art must take a back-seat occasionally. That time thing - just not enough hours in each day. I love my life! How can anyone be bored?

Enjoy. Have a great weekend and remember to hug a teacher soon. The hours are long, but the rewards are forever.


Revisiting Theatre Scenic Art

A few years ago I enjoyed a multi-production stint at a local theatre. I have (during my varied art career) had the pleasure of being scenic artist for multiple productions at various theatres here. Since I started teaching graphic design my colleagues and students only get to see one side of me. They don't know that I paint with real paint and brushes as well as computer software. I love both worlds but I gotta tell you - I miss the theatre from time to time.

This morning I was browsing through some of my digital photos and came across a few to share. In the above photos every painted surface is my work. I did not design the sets. Several good friends who are set-designers conceived the actual floor plans and what would become the flats and fly-ins. They hired me to paint everything and turn it into 'brick and mortar New Orleans', 'Singer-Sargent-esque portraits', and 'creepy Brooklyn florist-shop interiors'.

Those not practicing art sometimes think special tools and exotic (and expensive) paints are necessary to create. Not true. Just today I discovered an artist using found objects to create cool face sculptures using toilet paper rolls. All the paintings above, including the portraits, were painted with common hardware store brushes and donated interior house paints. Most theatres aren't flush with money and large budgets and depend upon donations for most of their productions. Which means we artists have to be very flexible and creative to give the directors and set-designers what they want without compromising the integrity of the finished product.

I'm not saying that a portrait I would paint for a commission or myself would utilize flat-wall interior paints, but for the purpose of viewing something from 25 feet (or better) away and is not intended* for archiving, it works just fine.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse into an one area of my past art adventures. When I dig out the film shot photos of previous works I'll post them. In the meantime - Enjoy life and be creative!

*while most theatre sets are repurposed later some things do get saved. I understand the 'portraits' for Mame are now in the private collection of the lead character. They should last a very long time because house paint is acrylic too.

Photo Illustration Work

Original Scan of Jonathan's Photo
Photo manipulated for inclusion in poster

Photo composite and manipulation for poster (note 'tear' and distress).

While painting and drawing are very important to me as an artist, I also enjoy working digitally. A lot of the work I do for clients. Some I do for me. The above photos show how vacation photos can take on a whole new life and meaning with a little imagination and technology.

A few years ago my twin sons took a trip to Amsterdam and Germany with their very good friend. Their adventure included a visit to the uncle of the friend and that European experience which the youth of America have sought for centuries.

One of my sons took a 35mm film camera along. They all had their digital cameras as well, but like their mother, they enjoy photography. Jonathan wanted to capture his version on film. He managed to take about 25 rolls of it. They returned home happy, tired, and, of course broke. The film sat in the camera bag until early Autumn. It was along about the time I begin my annual "Christmas/Chanukah (yes we celebrate both)Whaddya need/want/desire shpiel" that he thought about it. Since our children are now adults, the gifts are less in number and we focus on our being together more than gifts, but we still want to exchange some tokens of love and appreciation during the holidays. Jonathan asked if we would have his film developed. Indeed.

I bought a really nice leather album to place the photos. But I could not just leave it there. As I looked at the photos he had taken I saw Old World. I saw atmosphere, setting, adventure, dark alleys, intrigue, mystery. I have not been to Europe so my imagination as to what was around the corner ran wild. My son also likes Bram Stoker's "Dracula". So do I - and this is what fed my imagination.

I 'aged' the photos to add to the mysterious tone and to the suggestion of time passage. I used other articles, scans, objects, and drawings to put together a "Jonathan Harker's Journal". Now his European adventure looked like a REAL (or really scary) adventure.

I have several clients whom I have done digital works for in a similar fashion. While I adore working traditionally I equally enjoy creating with the computer. As I tell my students - "the computer is just another tool in your creative arsenal. It takes YOU and your imagination to make it all happen."

Be Well, Be Creative, Be Happy


Painting in Progress

A current painting I'm working on for my daughter-in-law and son. I still have quite a bit to do, but I wanted to share it in progress. This is a hastily snapped image. I will continue to post as I finish it. The painting is 18"x24" acrylic on canvas. The subject matter reflects both their Celtic heritage and elements of color and icon (trinity knot) from their wedding ephemera. The path leads to places unexplored just waiting for them to take it. I was relieved when they (especially my daughter-in-law) liked it. If they had not I was tempted to keep it here as a reminder of possibilities just around the bend.
More later.


Cluck, Cluck, Tweet!

If you are interested the latest stream of thought, check out the Twitter updates on the right. They will direct you to ideas, concepts, or technologies that I am discussing with colleagues and others.

The image left is one of my photo-illustrations. I took the photo of the hen at the Fair and the photo of my woods and put them together. She is so happy to 'twitter' about everything.

Be Fabulous!

Artists That I Admire: James Gurney

If you remember "Dinotopia" you know James Gurney's work. I've long admired his wonderfully rich paintings and illustrations. His great attention to detail and the formal elements of art are the magic that keeps us entranced.

He has been posting, on his blog Gurney's Journey , the process he uses as he works up a poster for the Utopiales Festival in Nantes, France. The links will take you to his blog site or check out my Reader shared items under the Cool Stuff banner on the right. If you haven't discovered him before, I hope you'll take the time to do so now.

BTW - If you have read National Geographic in the last few years, you have most likely seen Mr. Gurney's talented illustrations. Go ahead, read his blog. You're going to love it. Please come back here though. I may not be as talented or as prolific, but I'll keep trying.

Be Creative!


From Artists I Admire: Which Student are You?

Check out this post by Chuck Dillon. I love these. I teach high school graphic design and I recognize these students. When I was in art school I was a mixture of several of these. For those of you who know me, which ones do you think best describe me? Hope you enjoy these. Thanks Chuck for all the fun.
blog 30 x 30: Which Student are You?

Photos from D.C.


ISTE NECC and Washington DC

Overview of Vendor area during load in

Really cool house for sale across from the hotel
Back from ISTE NECC 2009. It was great. Lots of information to process. Attended talks and lectures, and the opening welcome was excellent. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is HUGE! I spent a lot of time trying to locate specific booths, lecture rooms, etc. But it was fun and worth it. I met a lot of great teachers. There were also lots of opportunities to win yummy prizes like Flip cameras, iTouchs, iPhones, Netbooks and more. Sadly, no matter how many t-shirts I donned, or how many vendors scanned my nametag, I did not come home with those fabulous prizes.

PBS gave away some amazing totes filled with resources. Everyone had a gimmick. You either had to wear their giveaway t-shirts to be eligible, participate in a 'adventure passport' or be present to win. With all the options I heard a lot of teachers wishing to clone themselves.
Some of the lectures/presentations were canceled forcing us to quickly find something else of interest to attend and then find the room. Did I mention that the Convention Center is HUGE?

All in all it was a wonderful experience. I am still defragging. It will take me a while to go through my tote-full of goodies, notes and business cards. Glad I had my iPhone. The above photos were taken with it. Since I had to ride the subway and walk (alot) I did not want to be burdened by too many devices. My goody tote had to weigh 20 lbs that first day, so I was glad to have my trusty iPhone to snap a few pics for you.

Oh...and the pic of the house...that was across the street from my hotel. It is for sale. If I win the lottery, you can visit me there.

Happy 4th. Be safe! Be creative!