Monday, November 21, 2016


     After Labor Day the rest of the remaining year often becomes a huge blur. One minute we're having summer BBQ's and beach days, the next we're putting together Halloween costumes, carving pumpkins, and making room for Thanksgiving leftovers in the refrigerator. It's full speed ahead until January and it can feel a bit overwhelming.  I'm thankful that I had a bit of down time before all the seasonal deluge of pageants, dance performances, and holiday entertaining, to take a few days to relax and enjoy spending some quality time with my best friend. Is there anything more wonderful than seeing a cherished friend after a year (or more in some instances) and sitting down over coffee, tea, wine, and great food, to catch up, laugh, share, and just enjoy each other's company? The proverbial "icing on the cake" is that every time we reconnect, after a long absence, it seems as though no time has passed and I love that feeling.  I also took that down time to do something else- to seek inspiration at a few of my favorite places. There's something so rejuvenating about being surrounded by sights, sounds, and aromas that you love. From the scent of old books in a rare first edition book store, to fresh baked croissants and the sheer wonder and magic of  The Paris Market and Brocante in the heart of historic Savannah; these are just a couple of my favorite places that I shared with my best friend. They help to bring clarity and to ignite a creative spark, fueling the sometimes stagnant waters of inspiration. Here's a glimpse at a few of those places:

     With that lovely early November weekend just a cherished memory now, I'm spending this week jumping back into the studio. I have a private workshop that I'm teaching in a couple of weeks and lots of preparation, organizing, and work to do before then. In addition to the workshop, there are new and revitalized illustration pieces that I will be launching on Flora Symbolica's up and coming Etsy shop. There will be much more about that in the coming weeks but for now, here's a glimpse of an older botanical piece that will be getting a new life in 2017.

     Until next time, I hope my fellow Americans have a very Happy Thanksgiving, and that we might all find a little bit of beauty and bliss this Holiday season.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pears, Pumpkins, and Hurricane Matthew!

After completing a pear a few weeks ago, it was time to move on to something that really screamed Autumn. There are so many interesting subjects to be found in nature this time of year that I’ve been overwhelmed with just what to illustrate next. The subjects had to have interesting colors and textures. It seems that most of them do but I also wanted something fun. After a lot of deliberating and second guessing in my local Publix produce department, I chose a small pumpkin to bring home to my studio. It was also my intention to upload the process pictures of the piece along the way but that nasty Hurricane Matthew blew through, throwing a fast curve-ball and forcing my family and I to evacuate for nearly an entire week. Fortunately, we had very little damage around our house. Most of what we found when we returned home was little more than a front yard and garden full of branches and two small trees downed. Some others weren't so fortunate so I have certainly been counting my blessings. Then, after all that, I went on a pre-planned family vacation last week. As a result, I got behind in just about everything.

With all that said, I hope there will be no more storms in the immediate future and a lot of studio hours to catch up on. Time is ticking away for me to get more pieces photographed for printing and to sell for this fall and winter. 

Here are some shots of the pear and of the pumpkin. I have more work to do on the pumpkin stem but I’m pretty pleased with how the colors turned out on the body of the fruit and will photograph the completed pumpkin within the next few days. Until next time…Happy illustrating and Happy Halloween! 

 Pears are one of my favorite subjects to illustrate. This is the last one that I recently completed. All the illustrations in these images were done with Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencil on Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. hot pressed watercolor paper. 

Here's my subject resting beside an older illustration of Chinese Lanterns.

I had already added a few layers at this point but had and many more to go. Botanical illustration is certainly an exercise in patience!

The image here is dark but the color is starting to become stronger.

After many layers of color, this was when the body was nearly complete. On to finishing the stem and taking more photos! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Another move and a return to Blogging

       I can scarcely believe that I’ve been on such a long hiatus from Blogging. As I was working in the studio over the weekend, a song came on Pandora that used to be on my first blog’s playlist. It reminded me of the wonderful early days at The Tea Society. What a magical place that became for me. It was a remarkable refuge from the normal trials and tribulations of life. It was a place to dream.  As I worked along to the familiar strains of Billy Holiday’s You Go to My Head, I longed to go back to those days where a unique community existed - where thoughts and ideas were shared, creativity was sparked, and exciting friendships were made.  So, here I am- back in the Blogosphere and finally feeling settled for the first time in ages. 

     With all that said, on to the first Blog Post here in almost 4 years. Since the last post, I’ve illustrated a children's book called Jayden the Gentle, Tall and Gangly Giraffe by Lisa Sharon and moved from the Washington DC area to the charming Lowcountry town of Beaufort, SC. I’m in awe of being surrounded by the ethereal beauty of moss -draped oak-lined roads, historic homes, and scattered ruins of churches and forts. The only thing I really don’t care for is the pesky bugs that are out in full force on most days but it’s a small price to pay to live in such a stunning place.

     Grab a tall glass of sweet tea and take a look at some images of a recent visit to the Chapel of Ease on St. Helena Island. Perhaps this offers a small glimpse into why it’s such a blessing to be living here at this moment in time. 

I can almost hear the haunted strains of ancient hymns as I gaze upon the mausoleum built for Edgar and Eliza Fripp.

This is all that remains of the Chapel of Ease of St. Helena's Church after a devastating forest fire in 1886.

 Tillandsia Usneoides, more commonly known as Spanish Moss, clinging from trees at every turn.

 Is there anything more Southern Gothic than sweeping moss-draped oaks?

Resurrection Fern ( Pleopeltis Polypodioides) grows in abundance at the Chapel of Ease ruins. Rather fitting plant species to be growing in a church graveyard, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Beginning Stages Of The Drawing Book

     Here in the Mid-Atlantic, it was a cool, rainy, and foggy Tuesday. That made for a perfect day to work on the drawing book.
      I put on my Art Historian's cap then began researching, editing and consuming copious amounts of Earl Grey. I managed to edit the first draft of the title page and complete the 700 word introduction.

     It feels wonderful to be productive! I hope to have the biography and materials pages completed by Friday. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Foundations of Drawing Course Book

Hello friends:

I am pleased to announce that I am currently working on my first Drawing book! I decided that it was long overdue for me to compile the tried and true course materials that I've written, tweaked, and used over my 18 years as an Art Instructor. It will be great to actually put everything in a book format. I hope to have the book completed and ready for purchase by early 2013. It will be perfectly suited for individuals to use at their own pace or to use in private studio classes, schools ( home and private) and in education co-ops. I also hope to post through the process, to give my blog readers a special little glimpse into the book... :)..In addition to that, I am excited to also announce that The Tea Society Blog is making a return! That is my refuge for tea-culture and creative writing. It really is my ultimate escape from reality. So, if you haven't visited the blog before, click here and join me! Earl Grey, anyone?

Please keep watching this blog for updates on the book in the coming fall and winter months.

Oh, I finally found the missing artwork that I wrote about last month. It was tucked away in an unlabeled box ...((sigh))...At least it's safe and sound and in one piece.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Missing Artwork And A New Home

Well, it's been a number of months since I last wrote on this blog. This is largely due to the fact that I moved from my home of 18 years in Kentucky to a town called Clarksburg, Md in Suburban Washington, DC. The move has not been an easy one by any means. My family and I have tried to view our new locale with adventure and excitement. Thus far, it's proving to be an adventure alright. The verdict is still out on exactly what kind of adventure. Perhaps things would have been a bit better if we had not had to also deal with a disasterous moving company. The movers not only lost items but also broke several things along the way. It is hard enough to move so far away from family and friends but when you have some of your most treasured possessions missing or damaged in the process just adds fuel to the flame. As I slowly made my way through boxes upon boxes of items, I quickly came to realize that some of my artwork was missing. I personally oversaw the packing of my own original artwork with the intent of moving it myself. However, my Cherry Trio illustration (I documented its development here on this blog) must have slipped past me and landed with the other artwork, on the moving truck. A month and a half later, I am still looking for the missing trio. Also missing was an original still life painted by a regional KY artist, my daughter's art kit, and my cherished framed print of Burne-Jones' Golden Stairs. Earlier today, after opening a box which held my long foyer mirror, I found the Burne Jones print packed inside the same box! Now, why didn't I think to look in a box labeled foyer mirror? ( extreme sarcasm here..)
I also found the still life today in a box labeled "living room". Funny because the painting was in the kitchen when packed and we told the movers to be label it the same. I digress. I am now down to three boxes where the Cherry Trio( along with my daughter's art kit) might possibly be tucked away...I'm keeping fingers crossed that I find them both by the end of this week... To be continued...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Finally back from a blogging break!

Wow, I can't believe it's been so long since I last updated this blog. Life has been so busy with teaching and preparing to move that I've been horrible about keeping on top of writing and updating over here. I've also been working on writing a syllabus for beginning drawing classes ( online format)which will begin this summer. I hope to have this ready after my family and I have moved to the Washington DC area and settled in a bit up there. I already have 3 inquiries for potential students. With all that said and to catch up a bit: I just wrapped up a 12 week Foundations of Drawing class for an Educational Co-op. I've been teaching beginning drawing classes for 16 years and always thoroughly enjoy them, but this class was so special. I had some wonderful students who worked extremely hard over the semester. Twelve weeks is certainly not long to have proper drawing classes so it was more of a speed-foundations class but they did well with all that was introduced to them. Sadly, for some, it may be the only exposure to art classes that they ever get. Others, I suspect, will continue to pursue this newfound love of drawing. My only regret is that I did not offer classes there earlier. Perhaps if I had, I could have broken the Foundations class up in Part 1 and Part 2. Here's a glimpse of the end of the semester class exhibit. Students began the study with basic shapes, value scales, and various shading techniques. They progressed to life studies, grid drawing and finally on to a very brief introduction to Charles Bargue plates, the first image you see here.
In closing, I'm not sure why blogger formatting will not let me create new paragraphs here so I apologize for the text all running together. Please, also, forgive the poor quality of the images. I only had my cell phone with me that day.