Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I painted this portrait of my family's yellow Labrador, Marley, as a Christmas gift for my parents. A few years back I had done an oil painting of our former black Lab, Tobey, as a Christmas gift for them and I felt it was time they had a painting of our current dog.

Marley just turned six years old this month. People always ask us if she's named after the book Marley & Me, but she is not. We got her about six months before that book was published, but she was so crazy as a puppy that everyone assumed we named her after the book. Pure coincidence. At one point I think we had about a half dozen copies of the book because people kept giving it to us, exclaiming, "It's totally your dog!" Marley has since (thankfully) mellowed out a lot and she's now a very cool dog.

This painting was done with watercolor and acrylics on watercolor paper, measuring 10" x 12". Completed in December of 2009.

Prints of this painting are available here!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Painted Wooden Kitchen Stool

A few months back I picked up a wooden stool that was being discarded. It was pretty dirty and had paint smears and drips all over it. After cleaning it up and sanding off the paint globs, I sprayed it with primer. Then I re-sanded a few rough patches, spray painted on the base green color, and then hand painted the dark green trim and the leaf on the seat. The final step was to spray a clear coat finish over everything to seal it all.

Voila! A new stool for the kitchen.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Print Shop Sale!

Right now there are a variety of sales going on in my print shop, just in time for the holidays!

From now until December 10th, all ceramic mugs are 15% off!

Photo paper prints, the kind most commonly purchased from my shop, are 20% off from now until December 13th at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

If you've been waiting to purchase something, this sale would be a great thing to take advantage of! DeviantArt print services said some more things might go on sale between now and Christmas, so I'll post here if anything good is marked on sale.

Much thanks to anyone who has purchased a print from me before or plans to do so in the future! I really appreciate the support, and I always love knowing that my art is going to be in someone else's home.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Recycled Plastic Bag Christmas Wreath

Earlier this week I made a Christmas wreath for the apartment's front door. It actually looks great as just a general winter wreath, so I plan on keeping it up beyond the holiday season.

There was a pile of plastic grocery store bags in my kitchen that I kept forgetting to recycle at the store. I was gathering them all together when I got the idea to make something out of them. I've seen Christmas wreaths made out of rags before, so I thought why not try that with the plastic bags?

I started with a green wire wreath frame from Michael's, purchased rather inexpensively by using a coupon and my teacher discount. However, I thought that with that frame alone, the finished wreath would look too skinny.  You could also make your own frame out of wire, if you have enough, but I was looking to cut out that step by purchasing the ready to go wire frame.  If you do make your own frame, I suggesting twisting the wire double for more durability, like I did with the extra ring I added below.

I solved that issue by adding an inner ring to the frame with some aluminum wire that I had already on hand, twisting it double for strength. I used thinner wire to hold it to the frame.

After that I just started tying plastic strips cut from the bags onto the wire frame, using a double knot so that they wouldn't come undone. No glue is needed.  I didn't cut the strips in any uniform manner because I wanted the plastic to look somewhat leafy when I was done. I also cut off any letters or logos because I didn't want those to show. The bags I used were all either white plastic bags (from Target) or transparent grocery bags (from Wegmans).  It is also easy enough to go back and trim any overly large pieces of plastic bag at the end if there are any bits that are sticking out too much.

When I bought the wreath frame, I also bought some plastic silver leaves and small branches to include in the wreath, found in the holiday fake flower section at Michael's. I used the thinner wire to secure the branches onto the wire frame, and then I tied the plastic strips over the stem to hide it. The supplies for this project were cheap, with the branches costing anywhere from $0.29 to $0.49. I bought the stems on a separate day from the wire frame so that I could use more than one coupon.  All told, I spent maybe $10 at the most on supplies.

I didn't keep an exact count of how many bags I used, but it had to be at least 30 plastic bags or more. Tying all of the plastic strips on took a while, but it was an easy project to work on while watching some DVDs. The finished wreath is about 20" wide and very lightweight, so it's easy to hang with a 3M plastic hook and sticky tape. I definitely plan on saving this wreath to use next year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Inspirations: Vintage Books no.4

I found this charming book a few months ago in a used book store and couldn't resist picking it up. It's called The Story of Zachary Zween by Mabel Watts, with illustrations done by artist Marylin Hafner, from 1967. I really enjoyed seeing London landmarks depicted with simplified shapes and colors. This book reminded me of work by Mary Blair, and is a welcome addition to my collection of illustrated books.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Greeting Card Sale - 30% Off!

30% off ALL greeting cards, just in time for the holidays! This is a great chance to get some unique cards and support independent artists! I recently updated my print shop, so there is now artwork available for greeting cards that was not previously available.

These 5 x 7 inch folded greeting cards come with envelopes and a reusable matte black box to keep them safely stored when not in use. The cards are printed on high quality 110 lb. matte stock with a beautiful UV sheen finish.

Don't miss out, this sale ends November 20th at 11:59 PM Pacific.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Florence and the Machine - Finished Illustration

This digital illustration was originally started as part of a demonstration for a digital painting class at Syracuse University that I was a guest instructor for. The students were required to create a musician themed illustration in the manner of something that you would see accompanying an article in Rolling Stone magazine.

For this piece, I picked Florence and the Machine as my musician subject matter. I became totally hooked on Florence's album Lungs back in September, so it was an easy choice when it came time to pick my subject matter for the college demo. I'd been thinking about doing an illustration about Florence anyway, so this was the perfect opportunity.

I went with kind of an art nouveau/steampunk motif to represent the "Machine" part of the band. Florence and the Machine is essentially Florence Welch and whoever else happens to be performing with her at the time as her band.

This illustration was started on watercolor paper with brown colored pencil and ink washes. All color was added digitally painted in Photoshop. The final illustration measures 10" x 17" and was completed in November of 2009.

I saved a whole bunch of progress images which I will eventually post here. In the meantime, the previous post with progress images can be seen here.

EDIT: Prints of this illustration are now available!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Free Worldwide Shipping On Prints!

From now until October 27th, you can get free worldwide economy shipping on any orders through my print shop! That's right, free shipping to anywhere in the world. If you've been thinking about buying anything from my print shop, now would be the perfect time to take advantage of this offer.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Inspirations: Vintage Books no.3

I found this book during one of my used book shop hunts. The inside of the book contains reproductions of ship sailing cards that were used for advertising specific ships and voyages. However, what really drew my attention was the cover. The solid shapes and color scheme are reminiscent of the designs that many screenprinters and digital vector artists try to replicate today.

Yankee Ship Sailing Cards: Volume III, copyright 1952 by the State Street Trust Company in Boston

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dog Portrait - Collaboration

Jeff and I collaborated on this dog portrait as a wedding gift for some friends of his. They're getting married this weekend, and instead of asking for wedding gifts they're asking for people to make a donation to the animal shelter that they adopted their Boston Terrier from. This portrait of Spencer will be sitting on a table at the wedding.

Jeff did the black and white drawing and ink wash painting. I added all of the coloring through digital painting in Photoshop.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Inspirations: Vintage Books no.2

I found this 1950 Random House book about The Pony Express in a used book store in Rochester. The design of it just really caught my eye, with the relatively simply graphic design cover and the inside illustrations. With the exception of the inside double page spread on the cover, the only other illustrations are spot illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. However, I find the simple color scheme of black, white, and the faded yellow as the midtone, to be very appealing. I would like to experiment more with this super simplified approach to color.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sketchbook Page - Erie Canal

It was finally sunny yesterday, after about a week of cold and rainy weather. To take advantage of the day of sunshine, Jeff and I went to the Erie Canal area in Pittsford and did a little bit of sketching. Below is a sketch from my Moleskine sketchbook, done with a ballpoint pen. Also, if you find yourself in Pittsford, I highly recommend stopping by The Coal Tower restaurant for their seasonal pumpkin soup - it's delicious!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

More Zoo Sketches

I went to the Seneca Park Zoo yesterday to do some sketches of the animals. It was pretty overcast, and eventually rained later, but it was still nice to get outside and take advantage of the fall weather. I need to do more art outdoors. I want to try and do some watercolor landscapes outside once the leaves start changing colors more.

I've been bringing my camera along in addition to my sketchbook when going to the zoo to draw. This little meerkat was so entertaining with his posing that I had to include some of the photos of him in this post.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Marjane Satrapi

On Monday I went went to watch a panel discussion that was part of Syracuse University's cultural diplomacy symposium. One of the discussion panel guests was Marjane Satrapi. The discussion was almost three hours long, so I did a little bit of sketching in my Moleskine book while I was watching. This is a sketch of Marjane Satrapi - all of the panel guests were sitting in chairs in a round table format at the front of the auditorium.

When the panel discussion was over, Jeff and I met her outside of the building. We had a copy of Persepolis with us, and she very graciously signed it. It was a great experience to get to meet her and to hear what she had to say.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Florence and The Machine - In Progress

I recently started working on this Florence and The Machine illustration to use as part of a demonstration for a college digital painting class that I'm a guest instructor for. The first image shows the initial drawing and ink wash on watercolor paper, measuring 10" x 17". The second image shows the beginning stages of the digital painting that I'm doing in Photoshop. Right now the flat colors are all painted in and I've started doing some minimal detailing on the face and hair.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Inspirations: Printing Blocks

I love old printing blocks. The shapes, the worn edges, the ink stains - they catch my attention every single time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Weekend Zoo Sketches

Sketches from September 5th at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. It was hot, so a lot of the animals were sleeping or hiding, but there were still plenty of good drawing opportunities.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rocks on the beach

Here is a contour drawing of the rocks and cliffs at the Menemsha Hills beach, done in my Moleskine sketchbook. There's something so relaxing about doing contour drawings.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back Porch watercolor

A watercolor sketch of the back porch of my neighbors house on the island. It was an experiment in painting shadows, done in my watercolor sketchbook (approximately 4 1/2" by 6").

Monday, August 31, 2009

Two Cormorants

Here is a pen sketch of some cormorants on a rock at Menemsha Hills. It was great to get a chance to draw and paint in my sketchbooks while I was on Martha's Vineyard last week.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Commission: Map

This is a commission that I recently finished for a client in France. After seeing some of the other map projects I have done, she asked me to make a Lord of the Rings style map of the world that she has created for a story that she's been writing. I used a combination of drawing on paper and painting in Photoshop. The completed map measures 11.6" x 8.2".

Monday, August 10, 2009

Interview and Recent Sketchbook Pages

I was recently asked to do an interview for a website called jitZul, and they just posted it at the end of last week. They asked me some good questions, and it was a fun experience. You can read the interview at their website.

I also scanned some pages out of my sketchbook. When I saw Coldplay in concert back in June, they had air cannons that shot hundreds of thousands of tissue paper butterflies into the air. I had grabbed a few and stuck them into my purse, thinking that they could be fun to collage into my sketchbook.