A House in Ireland

My husband and I made a memorable visit to Ireland last August – we traveled around that beautiful country from Dublin to Kilkenny, Killarney and Galway, ending in County Roscommon, where my mother was born and lived until she came to the US as a child.

There, by the generosity and hospitality of some newly-met Irish friends, we were able to visit the place where my mother lived with her parents and four siblings. In the 1920s it was probably more a cottage than a house, but it has been lovingly cared for and renovated by a new family, and they were quite kind to us when we visited completely on the fly. I painted this watercolor of the home and sent it to our friends for a Christmas gift, and I just heard from them that it finally made it around the world (my tracking slip said it went first to NYC then to Japan, and from there to Europe). So now that the surprise is over, I’ll post it!

Brownstone Illustration for a Children’s Book

Another Brooklyn scene in Chrysa Smith’s book The Upside-Down Gardener shows our main character Dory and her Mom, with some neighbors looking on as the little girl tosses her baseball on their way home. First the pencil sketch –

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and then the finished art, painted in acrylic paint washes –

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I’ll post more as we progress.

Brooklyn scene

I’m working on Chrysa Smith’s new children’s book The Upside-Down Gardener, and just finished painting the first spread, taking place in Brooklyn, NY – kind of an unlikely opening for a book about a garden, but that’s part of the point. I started with a pencil sketch, after much photo research into city scenery  –

 

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Our lead character is the little girl, Dory, emerging from the subway with her mom.  Here is the finished scene, minus the text, which will be dropped in later.

 

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I’ll be posting more scenes as the work progresses!

Pastel Drawings of Dancers

I recently went through my Big File of Past Illustrations and came across some fun ones from before I had a blog, so herewith:

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When our girls were young they both studied ballet, which made it imperative for me to try drawing them in pastels in the style of Degas.

My Illustration for an Antique Store

I recently went through my Big File of Past Illustrations and came across some fun ones from before I had a blog, so herewith:

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I don’t remember the name of the antique furniture store now, but I painted these details from some of their treasures in india ink wash.

Wedding Prayer Watercolor

After seeing my illumination of the Lord’s Prayer a few months ago, an acquaintance commissioned me to illuminate a quote from scripture as a wedding gift for an engaged couple in their family. They asked for the traditional First Corinthians quote about love, weddingscroll_parshalland a floral border. The couple met at, and will be married in, the lovely St. James Episcopal Church in Collegeville, PA, so I thought I’d do a little painting of the church too.

I started with a pencil sketch. I told my clients right off the bat that I am not a calligrapher, but that I could set the type through my printer and print it on the art, which they were fine with. They found out that the bride likes the colors blue and red, so I planned on a red rose border with some forget-me-nots and one blue hydrangea at the top. They could not get any information on the specific flowers in the bride’s bouquet, or else I would have put in those particular flowers. As it turned out, the bride-to-be told me later that the hydrangea reminded her of Chestertown, MD, where she had lived, and so was a lovely memory.

I went onto a color sketch, done just with colored pencils.  I showed the sketch to my clients and they approved.

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I thought I better practice the flowers in watercolor, since that’s how I planned to do the finish.  I practiced half of the design on some bristol paper, which was all I had around at the time.

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Then I bought some 90 lb. Arches cold press watercolor paper – great paper for painting, but thin and flexible enough to easily go through my home printer. I cut the paper to size and printed the scripture quote onto the center; then carefully covered the type, so no water would get near it, transferred the drawing and painted the border and church. I bought a nice mat and frame, and the piece all came together for a meaningful keepsake for the couple.

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My Illustration for Cultivating a Culture

My latest illustration for Lodging magazine deals with ways to keep hotel work environments positive and free of harassment for employees. The editor did not send me the full article but read me the gist of it and its keywords, and she suggested ‘building’ a culture with employees stacking blocks; I sketched that quickly and also tried a sketch of employees growing a garden, which they liked better.

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Lucky I’ve done a lot of work for Burpee Seed company! I’ve drawn plenty of garden scenes for their catalogs over the years, that’s why I thought the ‘teepee’ structure, made with poles and runner bean plants, would work in this scene. I tightened up the drawing and sent them a rough color sketch –

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And then transferred it to illustration board, drew it with prisma pencil and painted in with acrylic paint washes.

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