Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Trip to Texas

I'm home now from a trip I took to Austin, Texas. It is always so inspiring to visit other places and see new scenery. I feel really recharged and ready to get back to work. While I was there, I was invited to join in with my mother's quilting bee. I was so pleased that they were enthusiastic about my new fabric line, Wilderness Park. Here I am with Kathy Goff, who has already finished piecing the quilt top! Designing fabric is still a pretty new thing for me, and I am finding it a lot of fun. I still have so much to learn, and learning new things is always a good thing.

I was able to take my next fabric line down to show off. It is called "Seaside Rendevous". It will not ship to the stores for a few months, so they were getting a bit of a preview. I'm posting a few examples here.

I have been thinking a lot about social media and how it applies to my job. I find it hard to have enough time to get all the painting done that I need, but I think I should also allocate more time to the computer. I'd like to hear what people would like from my blog, and if anyone would like it if I created a Facebook page. I like showing new work, because I am excited about that. I also like talking about how I feel about the Licensing industry, but I am hesitant to publish "how-to's", because it is different for everyone. And now, I have to decide between doing housework and painting. No points for guessing which I will choose!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Is there anything better than a new set of paints?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm Back

Wow, what a long time it has been since I posted anything! This summer has been a whirlwind. I am taking the plunge and trying a new art style. It is so hard to stay fresh and new in this business, and you don't want the clients to get bored! But now I have to play the waiting game while I wait and see what the clients think. I'm not very good at being patient! I wish I could show you the new work, but I don't dare until it is all tweaked and finished.

In the meantime, check out this ad from Easy Quilts magazine for my Wilderness Park fabric line. I usually paint very feminine paintings of birds and flowers, so doing the Lodge look is always a fun change, and people seem to like it.

Speaking of feminine looks, here is a new puzzle! My mailbox has been overflowing with samples lately, so soon I will post some cards and coasters. Right now we are so busy with family things. My son moved out into his very first college apartment, and next week my daughter starts eighth grade, so you can imagine all the excitement around here!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Dear Friends Are Back

One of my favorite things about Spring is that all my feathered friends come back from their winter homes. And the last couple of weeks have been full of new visitors as well! In addition to the bright yellow goldfinches, cosy purple finches, and dignified robins, over the past few days I have seen a Western Tanager, an Audubon finch, a Black-headed Grosbeak, and the Lazuli Bunting pictured above. At this rate my bird journal will be full by the end of summer!

I love to paint birds, My paintings for licensing tend to restrict themselves to the birds that everyone know and loves, like chickadees and cardinals. I would love to paint some of these new friends, but I am not sure how they would be received by the people who buy my work. What do you think? Should I add some new critters to my repertoire?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Berry Patch

I thought you might like to see my new fabric line from Wilmington Prints. It is called Berry Patch and will be available at the end of the summer. I just love how they are able to combine portions of my paintings to create whole new fabric designs. I am having difficulty uploading photos to blogger, so I'm afraid I can only show these three images. My mother can't wait to get her hands on these for quilting!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What Next?

Today I finished the last piece of art for my 2013 calendar (it's amazing how far ahead we have to work), and now my thoughts are turning to what I should paint next. My assignments are all finished for a while, so I can paint what I want. The trouble is, my head is so full of ideas that I can't sort them out into which one I should start first! Does that ever happen to you?

I have been trying all sorts of new things, but I can't seem to settle on what fits me best, so then I think I should go back to my usual work. Then I worry that the clients are bored with that, so I am all in a muddle these days! I am looking forward to getting feedback from my agent when Surtex is over, so I can see which of my new pieces our clients responded to. Meanwhile, I will continue to paint what is in my heart, even though that changes from day to day!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Surtex booth #564!

It's that time of year again when most of the artists I know are in panic mode. That's right, Surtex is just around the corner! Surtex is one of the biggest shows for licensing artists. It stands for "Surface and Textile" design and all the manufacturors will be there looking for art to put on their products. My agent Debby will have all my work up in the Blue Sky Art & Design booth, number 564, so be sure to stop by! The National Stationery show is at the same time and in the same building: the Javitz Center in NY, so that is a chance to meet with all the clients who make cards and stationery products too.

I'm lucky in that I don't have to prepare my own booth, but I am trying to get as much new work done as possible. It's a busy time here as well, because Ian is graduating high school and there is all the excitement that entails! There are so many things to do; scholarships to find, housing to check into, proms, activities, it never stops!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all my friends who celebrate it, and happy Spring to everyone else! We are ready for Spring here. There was actually some snow yesterday, but it all melted and Mr Right had to do the season's first lawn-mowing today. Such is Colorado in April!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Imagine my pleasure the other day when I walked into Michael's and saw my "Draw Baby Animals" book next to my dear friend Barbara Lanza's "Enchanting Elves" book! I wish we could have been standing side by side ourselves, but our books will have to act as stand-ins. It is very hard to get books placed in Michaels and Hobby Lobby (my book is there too). This is the first of my four books to make it there!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Underwater Astronaut

Today was a very exciting day in Margaret's WAVE training. They were taken to the Scuba center to do the underwater training like real astronauts. Margaret had never tried Scuba diving, so she was very excited!

Here is Margaret's team: Kyle, Margaret, Mary, and John. They had to design some constructions that could be made with PVC pipe and then assemble them underwater. This taught them some very good teamwork skills, because you can't talk to each other down there! WAVE teaches the kids lots of skills that will be useful their whole lives: problem solving, teamwork, and leadership, as well as things like using the scientific method, etc.

The Scuba instructor, Gerry, gave them instructions beforehand. Margaret loved being able to breathe underwater, although all the kids had trouble with the pressure in their ears.

This picture is a little hard to see. They had a viewer that the parents could put in the water and look through to see what the kids were doing. I stuck the camera in there to take this photo. That's Margaret with the green scuba tank, and I think the other swimmer is Kyle. They managed to get their constructions together, although it took longer than the allotted time because the pipes kept separating. However, they were the last team in the water, so the teacher gave them extra time to finish because nobody else was waiting for a turn. Many thanks to Mr Peterson and Webber Middle School for setting up such a great program!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Great Day

Yesterday I felt like such a lucky girl. I got to go to Boulder and spend the whole afternoon with two wonderful, creative ladies: Sharyn Sowell and Leslie Ann Clark. I was so excited when Sharyn told me she was coming for a visit!

We went to the Boulder-Dushanbe Teahouse for lunch. Here is Sharyn, coming out with a full tummy! The teahouse is built in the traditional Tajikistan fashion. The parts were shipped over, and Tajik artisans came and put it all together. The tiles and painted ceiling are beautiful.

The food is beautiful too! This is what I had: Tajik Plov. It was delicious. I am trying to figure out how I can make it at home. Sharyn had a lamb kebab, and Les had stuffed grape leaves. Sharyn said it was some of the best restaurant food she had ever eaten, so I was so glad I had picked a good place!

Don't we look happy?

We spent the rest of the day on Pearl Street, wandering in and out of the cute boutiques and talking, talking, talking! What a great day.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Samples Galore

I think our postman must have had very sore arms by the end of this week; every day he brought me big boxes of samples! Oh dear, what will I do with them all? I donated a lot of the kitten themed things to the local cat rescue, for their fundraising auction, but the day after I did that, another box of kitten flags arrived!

I'll start with a couple of floor mats from Carson Gift. I visited with them at the Atlanta show, and they are so very nice! There are garden flags that match these rugs as well. I put this one in the kitchen. Thank goodness Mr Right doesn't object to having cute things scattered around!

Here is a very Spring-like kitten image garden flag, also from Carson. They have quite a kitten collection of my work!

I also got lots more coasters! These are from Legacy. These are the twelve images that are on my calendar I did for them, and they decided to make these nice coasters as well.

This floor mat is from Evergreen Enterprises. This is one of my favorite paintings. There is a matching garden flag from Evergreen, and it is also available as a puzzle from Karmin.

Here are just a few of the flags I did for Evergreen. I still need to take photos of the others. It is fun to see evidence of my hard work! It makes me feel like I have proof that even though I feel like I am playing in the studio some days, I actually am achieving something! Back to the drawing board for me now; I am working of fabric designs this week, as well as a new puzzle. Variety is the spice of my life!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Gosh, I'm having a dickens of a time posting the links to everyone in the blog hop! I'm not sure why blogspot is being so stubborn. So I'm going to direct you to Brenda Pinnick's blog: She has the entire list of participants. This was all wonderful Brenda's idea, and I'm so glad she came up with it! Lots of cool people have posted their inspirations, so make sure you check them out!

Sweet Inspirations

Today's post is about artistic inspiration, so I thought it would be appropriate to feature an image from my Sweet Inspirations line, which is available as wall art from Old World Prints, and as coasters from Highland Graphics. This is part of an inspiration blog-hop, so tomorrow I will try to post links to all the other blogs participating. I have never done a blog hop before, so I hope I do the links right!

I have posted before about how much I like the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady books by Edith Holden. I like both the delicacy and flow of her watercolors, and also the concept of this gentle lady keeping such beautiful sketchbooks of her surroundings. Look at the way the flower tendrils twine around the page. Isn't that pretty?
So I very much wanted to do a sketchbook themed collection. I think my art is not quite as graceful as Edith's, but I like the delicacy and vintage look that I achieved. That is the point of being inspired by another artist; what qualities can I include to make my own work better? What can I learn from a piece I admire? How can I apply those techniques or color palettes to my own vision? As an artist, every day for me is a learning process. I love the visual stimulation of going to shows. There are always artists and work that I admire, and that gives me the impetus to keep growing and developing in my own work. Every day there is something new and exciting to try and discover!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Importance of Being Social

This morning I am driving down to Denver to do one of my favorite things: joining up with my art peeps for a licensing club meeting. The artist's life is by and large an isolated one. My studio is my favorite place to be in the a whole world. It is a haven, a sanctuary. But I need the interaction with other artists too. One of the managers at Hallmark, where I used to work, had the opinion that when artists left the company to go freelance, their work became stagnant because of the lack of interaction with fellow artists. I made it my goal that it would never happen to me!

My job is kind of weird, I know that, and other artists understand the peculiar struggles that this career entails. I go to the meetings to cheer on my friends' successes, and seek answers for my (many) questions. I get inspiration from seeing their beautiful work, the colors, the compositions. It's all so exciting! I also belong to a couple of online groups for licensing artists. I usually spend a part of each day "chatting" about the issues facing us. Most of these discussions are business oriented: dealing with clients, legalities, making presentations, that sort of thing, although there is also a lot of cheerleading too!

Speaking of getting inspiration from other artists, there has been a lot of discussion in the art community lately about plagiarism and copyright violation. I think for certain parts of the community, it is very easy to get swept up in your admiration of someone else's work. You might think, "I want to do that!" when you see that someone's success. But the thing is, the key to having really appealing artwork is to have it come from your own mind and heart. My agent and I talk about this sometimes. We'll see art that maybe isn't as technically proficient as the piece next to it, but it is so much more beautiful because of the heart that shines through. It's been said before, but the real answer is to just be yourself.

Now I'm off to hit the highway!

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's Time For....

How do you divide up your time? That is a question I have been struggling with. As a self-employed artist, I don't have a boss who sets a schedule for me. It is up to me to try and figure out the most productive use of my time. Time, there's never enough! How do you balance creating paintings that you are pretty sure will sell, and making time to try different, more experimental works? I know it is important to do both. If we all did the same thing year after year, we'd become pretty bored and stagnant. Yet the clients are always asking for the "same thing you did before that sold so well, except give it a fresh twist!" And are you like me, with a head that is just absolutely bursting with ideas that are crying out to be captured on paper? My agent says I should learn to paint with both hands at once!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

More Gift Show Chat

Here is a picture of me in Atlanta at the Legacy showroom with my Lodge calendar. This is my favorite show for so many reasons. All the manufacturors that I would like to work with are there, and it is so exciting to meet them, see their products, and find out how I might fit in. So many of my "art buddies" are there too, and so there is always a few minutes for socializing! The show is huge, though, and by the end of the day I am feeling pretty overwhelmed from all the sensory stimulation.

This year the License and Design section was in a new location, right in the middle of the action. Here is a picture of our booth, and my agent, Debby Leggat. For those who are interested, the booths are $25 per square foot, which is much cheaper than Surtex. I think this section will grow and develop. The space we were in was a little cramped (and hot), but the section has only existed for about three years, so there are still growing pains. The manufacturors sure seemed interested though. Of course, it will take several months to see what materializes. The clients can get so excited when they look through your portfolio, but then when they get home they drag their feet!

Here is my Lodge tabletop line in the Highland showroom. This uses the same images as my calendar, and shows the most important aspect of licensing: if you hold on to your copyrights, you can use the same images on multiple products. That means multiple royalty statements! (at least, we hope so!)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Atlanta Gift Show

Just a quick post with a picture of me 'n' my peeps at the Atlanta Show. It is always so great to see my art licensing buddies! It was a really good show, with lots of positive meetings with clients, and I came back so inspired! (and with hints of fun new things to come, too!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I'm back!

Okay, I didn't actually go anywhere, but I certainly haven't been in the blogo-sphere for a while! I have been preparing for the Atlanta Gift Show, and combined with the holidays haven't had many spare minutes. But now I'm back with something exciting to share: my new fabric line! Ta-da!

These are only a few pieces, just to give you a taste. The line is called Wilderness Park and will be available from Wilmington Prints in the spring. Seeing my art on fabric is such fun!