Small Biz, Piano & Eagle Scout Cards

etsy_4itemsJust a reminder that I created original illustrations for all the items on my Etsy shop – which you can visit by clicking here .

I created the Eagle Scout congratulations cards when my son earned his Eagle, and if I may mention, I’ve received wonderful reviews from people who buy and give them to the fine young men who achieve Scouting’s highest award.

I drew the small biz Thank You cards while I was a member of the excellent Women’s Business Forum of Bucks County, and can customize a message and your logo inside the cards if you contact me to request it. Those notecards come with the front message of either “Thank You for Sending Business My Way” for sole proprietors, or “Thank You for Sending Business Our Way” for small businesses.

I drew the Panda Piano notecards because I do illustrations for classical music groups in my area like the Lenape Chamber Ensemble and the Bucks County Symphony, and the cards are enjoyed by piano teachers, music lovers and panda lovers alike!

Etsy makes it easy to order, but if you are closeby me in the Central Bucks County area and would like to avoid the shipping fees that Etsy requires, just email me through my contact page, and we can arrange for you to pick up the cards from me.

My Illustration about Fraud Protection

The latest article sent to me by Lodging magazine explains how hotels can work to prevent fraud by their employees. The editor cautioned me to try not to imply that all employees steal, but to emphasize that a hotel manager’s constant awareness is the best defense against fraud.

The editor suggested an illustration where a hotel manager walks, leaving footprints,  from station to station around a hotel, checking up on transactions where fraud might occur. I did a quick pencil sketch of this –

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and I also thought of a scene where a manager is in sort of a control room with a lot of tv screens, watching transactions up close, which I also sent her –

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The editor chose this second idea. I transferred the sketch to illustration board and tightened up the little scenes on the screens. I knew the tvs would be mostly monochromatic and the control panel and wires below pretty dark, so I skipped my color sketch stage and went right to painting the finish –

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Doylestown Symphonic Winds Poster

It is time for the annual – and magnificent – Doylestown Symphonic Winds concert at Delaware Valley University, and I was happy to once again create the poster for this year’s theme – Song and Dance. This delightful orchestra of brass and wind instruments, under the baton of music director Gina Lenox, assistant conductor Jack Schmidt and guest conductor Dr. Virginia Allen, will perform Lincolnshire Posy by Percy Grainger, as well as other wonderful symphonic pieces inspired by songs and dances. It is always a terrific concert, I’m really looking forward to it this Friday!

For this poster I made a rough pencil layout, then sketched folk dancers from research photos. While I sketched by hand, I ‘drew’ the final art graphically on the computer.

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Faith and Art

I had a recent illustration request that gave me an occasion for reflecting on my faith.

Two families, and countless friends in our community, will be forever scarred by the tragedy of a young and loving couple who died as victims of a violent attack. Both the husband and wife had attended my daughters’ high school , and though I don’t know their families personally, several of my friends do. Many prayers have been offered amid our community; but we know we can only imagine the heart-rending sorrow the families must endure.

A friend wanted to convey her own words of comfort to the families, and she asked me to create a special illustration for a card. I was rather at a loss; what image could express hope in the face of such loss? My friend very much wanted the young couple to be portrayed in the image somehow, and she knew the family has a strong Catholic faith;  but how could I draw something so very personal to this family?

My friend felt the image could be uplifting if it expressed how this couple would be welcomed by Christ. After some discussion, we settled on my drawing the couple in a landscape of sunlight and flowers, being beckoned by the Good Shepherd.  I drew a rough colored pencil sketch first –

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My friend approved, and I tightened up small sketches of the figures. I wanted the figures to be at a distance, the couple backlit so their features would be not be detailed, and the Shepherd turned so we only glimpse the side of His face. In the presence of such personal tragedy, and to give the grieving family ‘space,’ I felt we should not see the figures too distinctly.

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I followed my rough sketch in transferring the drawing to illustration board, and painted it with acrylic paint washes, with some details added in with prisma pencil.

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It was not an easy scene to paint, to mix both sadness and hope for these families. I thought about my parents and dear friends who have died. Believing in the afterlife lets you accept that there is a painful separation for the time being between you and someone who has died, but the pain becomes bearable when you know that you will be reunited. It is a conscious choice to believe this and it’s something that sustains me in my own loss of loved ones. It’s something I’ve never painted before, and it gave me much to think about as I worked, and a finer gratitude for what my faith beckons me to believe.

Cryptocurrency Illustration for a Hotel Magazine

My monthly illustration for an article for Lodging magazine focused on how new electronic currencies, like Bitcoin, may impact the hotel industry.

Because cryptocurrencies, as they are called, exist only virtually, this article presented a challenge to illustrate. The article explained that since cryptocurrencies are fairly new,  they probably would not be used so much by hotel patrons to pay bills as to help in the transactions of hotel financing.

To represent the infusion of electronic funds into a hotel project, I sketched a large Bitcoin resembling a gold coin, with a USB cable leading from it to a hotel; I drew some people about to connect the cable into a port on the side of the hotel building. I also tried a sketch where two people stood on either side of the world, one depositing money into a slot on the globe and the other retrieving the money on the other side, with a series of connecting points inside the globe.

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The editor liked the first sketch idea so I drew it up tighter –

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and then transferred the sketch to cold press illustration board, redrew the lines with Prisma pencil and painted it in with acrylic paint washes.. The finished art –

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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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