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the not-so-accidental blog tourist hop

August 18, 2014

Welcome to this wandering tour of blogs by artists, writers, musicians, painters, photographers, and more.

BobbieDacusThanks to Bobbie Dacus for inviting me to the hop! If you don’t already know her, check out her blog, Artsyteapot, to see some fun and colorful illustration work! Bobbie Dacus is the illustrator of Saving Emma, which is a charming historical fictional tale set in Alexandria, VA in the 1700’s.  Designing and illustrating fashion comic books for teenage girls was Bobbie’s favorite pastime at age 12. Her love of drawing led her to study graphic design at University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi University for Women and she received her BFA at Arizona State University. Bobbie has worked in the field of Visual Merchandising utilizing her creativity in window display and winning numerous awards. She also worked in advertising corporate graphic design, freelance design, medical graphics and art instruction. It was after Bobbie’s children, were born that she was drawn to children’s book illustration. With bright colors dominating her palette, she creates her illustrations in acrylics, oil pastels, oil alkyds and frequently combines digital painting with traditional.

This blog hop poses the same questions to all participants…so here goes!

Pete finalWhat am I currently working on? Watercolors! Watercolor is my latest obsession and I seem to be working all the time to develop greater facility with this mercurial medium. I’ve always used watercolor for backgrounds or as a base for pastels or colored pencils, but had never attempted making work that was watercolor from start to finish. I’m finally beginning to make some pieces that I’m happy with, and am excited to see what develops from here.

In my illustration work, I’ve discovered a way that digital can work for me – it’s a digi drawing/watercolor/collage mashup. This piece with Pete the sheep is a good example.

How does my work differ from others in its genre? With the illustration work, I think it’s the lack of the slick finish that is very popular. My work  features an obvious hand-drawn quality and often textures play a big part in establishing the mood. The watercolor backgrounds are instrumental in creating that texture – no wonder I’m excited about working with them more.

Why do I create what I do? Because of chance, to be honest. I have often said that “MAKE SOMETHING” is my prime directive, and that SOMETHING could really have been anything. A garden, a ceramic bowl, a stained glass window, a piece of furniture…any of those would result in an actual physical outcome and would be satisfying to make. It’s really only because of the options available to me when growing up that I ended up as an artist. Had shop class been offered to girls when I was in school, I might have decided that woodworking or welding was the thing for me.

paradise gardenHow does my creative process work? There are two different flows here, and this is what really separates my illustration work from what is called fine art. When producing illustrations, my role is to further and enhance the story. That starts with getting into the right mood, one that matches the story, and developing characters that are at home in that mood. Then comes making rough layouts of compositions that express the feelings of the character in the different parts of the story. Finally, the characters are called onstage into the compositions, and actual rendering of the artwork can begin.

In my paintings, there’s no story. Sometimes a human presence or action is suggested, or there may be an identifiable light source or atmosphere, but the artwork is meant to be contemplative, both for me as the maker and for the viewer, too. Stillness is a feeling that is a part of my artwork, no matter the form or medium.

And now to introduce the next generation for the blog hop. I’ve invited a writer and a photographer.

First, my friend Candace. I love mysteries, and am looking forward to seeing what she does with the genre!

Candace Williams lives with her husband and beloved rescued Iggys (Italian Greyhounds) in Texas. Her first novel, The Earthquake Doll, was inspired by her early experiences in post-war Japan while her father was serving in the Korean Conflict. She is hard at work on her next book, a contemporary mystery.

You can learn more about her fascinating debut novel on her website.


230506_1809723880802_5992796_nThe second new participant is my husband, David.

David Brown has been a wedding and commercial photographer, and a professional darkroom practitioner.  Now retired from his “day job”, he is devoting more time to photography as an art form.  He is currently busy with an upcoming exhibition of black and white photographs made in the darkroom, and a color documentary project using digital technology.  The color project notwithstanding, Brown uses mostly black and white film and the darkroom for his own work, taking advantage of the inherent characteristics of the medium and materials.
In the 1930s, Ansel Adams, Edward and Brett Weston, and others created an informal society of American photographers, called Group f.64, dedicated to the functional aesthetic of the camera.  Rather than trying to imitate paintings, the members of the group made images that emphasized the “look” obtained with a camera.
Brown works to exploit the medium of black and white film and the darkroom print in the same way that the photographers of Group f.64 set out to show both the strengths and the limitations of the tools and materials of their day.
David blogs about his photographic activities at The Silver Darkroom.

another cairn

June 10, 2014

I tore that beautiful watercolor sheet into quarters so I have the wherewithal to make 4 of these cairn studies. Here’s number two. I continue to visualize these in watercolor or graphite because of the dry look, but want to try one in oils just to see what happens.


good stuff

May 28, 2014

A painter buddy recently gifted me with a sheet of beautiful 300 lb. paper. I’ve been reluctant to try the really good stuff like this because I’m so new to watercolor and have been afraid of wasting it.

I’ve also been wanting to start a series of cairn pictures, and the new paper got me going on that, too. Thanks again, Ron!!

cairn01 finish


Adult-ish art

March 20, 2014

Three of my figure studies have been accepted into a group show! I’m happy to be showing again; it has been a very long time. Now to flex those framing muscles that have also gotten a little flabby.


What we have here are two conte drawings and one oil sketch.


the palette of peril

February 12, 2014

Today’s thrilling adventure.

palette of peril

when a sheep wants a rooster gig

February 3, 2014

This is the piece I’ll take to Austin instead of the rooster. Yes, it’s a sheep doing a rooster’s job, getting it wrong. The task was to do a spread from an assigned manuscript, leaving room for text.

PeteI may tweak it a bit more, but this is pretty close.Pete final

Just to keep the digital record complete, here is the final version. Very close to the one previously posted.


January 23, 2014

I’ll be going to the SCBWI conference in Austin in a few weeks. There’s an assignment for the illustrator session that involves a story with a rooster character. I did Chanticleer, here, on spec a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I can’t make him fit the assignment, so there will be another rooster in my future. Or maybe a sheep. There’s a sheep character in the story, too.


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