Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Sorry, all, but I've been unable to make pretty pictures due to the fact that I'm making most of my Christmas presents because I have yet to learn my lesson. So instead, here are pictures of the minor Christmasification that took place here in Nashville. Since we're going to be gone for most of the Holidays, I didn't want to get tooooo into it, but I couldn't help but do a little bit.
(PS: That is a scarf that is holding up the ornaments)

Thursday, December 4, 2008


So far untitled, digital
I really did have a plan for last week's illustration, and I really did intend to get it in on time, but the illo got complicated and so did the cleaning. I might still get a chance to get it finished up.
This one also got a little complicated, I spent a long time on the background and on the balloon, but I do think it turned out pretty much as I pictured it. I like the way the colors look. I did, however, have to put Santa in green, so I went for more of a Victorian style for him. I'm still a little bit unhappy with the way the presents are, but I couldn't think of anything else to do with them, and it was time to let it go.
Hopefully today, I will also get the blog decorated for Christmas...

Thursday, November 20, 2008


"Leiafly" Digital Collage

For this week's topic, after thinking of the "Pretender" series, I thought of my niece, Leia, who often likes to pretend things, and we often don't know what she's pretending. For Halloween she was a butterfly-fairy-angel, and I've sort of just a little bit modified her costume here (affe has the original pic on her site). I've also paintified her, since her hair was going to be way to hard to work with...which I understand is an everyday issue. She's really pretty adorable. It's possible that she might need a wand. Something I'll have to think about. I've also made a forest version and I can't decide which one I like more:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


"Wisdom" Digital
The theme for this week's Illustration Friday is 'wise', and while I'm sure that there's a whole parliament posted at the moment, I happen to love owls and couldn't pass up the opportunity to make a pretty picture of one. So here she is, my mascot of wisdom, the down-to-earth, head-swivelling, friend to Athena.
"Wisdom" Digital Painting

This week's theme was 'wise' and while I'm sure that there's a whole parliament posted on Illustration Friday right now, I happen to love owls and had to take this as a good excuse to make an owl illustration. So here is my mascot of Wisdom, the down-to-earth, head swiveling owl. Also, it was fun to play with the Old English font.
Also, I find I enjoy seeing peoples conception sketches for their illustrations, so I thought that I'd post mine.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


"Vacancy" Watercolor and Acrylic
So I feel like I haven't been keeping up with my illustration a week promise, but I'll try to be better. The fall colors have finally hit Nashville even if the temperature has jumped up into the 70s again. As I was driving yesterday I saw this small bird feeder hanging in this big tree full of goldeny orange light. Thus the inspiration. I'm thinking of going out tomorrow and painting the tree accross the street from me. I saw one of my neighbors out painting the leaves and it's been such fabulous weather, I don't know why I haven't gone out sooner...

Thursday, October 23, 2008


"White Rabbit" Graphite
I've been a little bit behind on my illos, so I thought I'd make sure I did a quick sketch before I ran out of time. I thought that since I'm leaving tonight for Disney World, this would be appropriate!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Redmond Ridge Trick-or-Treat

"Redmond Ridge Trick-or-Treat 2008" Digital
Here's the final version of a poster I made for the Redmond Ridge Merchants Association trick-or-treat. I love Halloween (as stated previously) so this was a fun project for me. It started out complicated and had to get simplified (see original illo below). That's right, 'Boolangerie.' That's for you Honey Hair! Boy, I could use some apple cider!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


"Sugar High" Watercolor, Digital
Oh yeah, it's on. A couple days of rain, a temporary temperature drop, and I'm all Halloweeny. I think I'll be using this witch girl in another project I'm working on. Still no decorations out, it's still too messy, but I think I will slowly bring out some of the more discrete ones. Costume production is now in full swing, I've bought myself some good will curtains that will make for a very nice red jacket and I've moved into the molding process on G's cane. When I find my camera cable ther will be pictures.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy October!

"Pumpkin Princess" Watercolor
Fall is my favorite season, and I adore Halloween, but I haven't really been getting into the fall feeling. Apparently it's weather triggered. Right now in Nashville, it feels like the glorious early summer days of the northwest. So, instead of the jacket and boots below pictured, I'm still wearing sequiny skirts and bright colors.
While my watercolors were out, however, and I was in a fashiony sort of mood, I thought I'd render an idea I had last Halloween time when there seemed to be bubble skirts all around. Some day I will be making this dress for Halloween and finding some way to convince my hair to be orangeish and curly. Someday I will also be the gotharina that I did last year, I've already been the black widow several times (I had a good hat for it). This year, it's off to Disney World with a villain theme, so Captain Hook it is! I will have some posts on the costume making process, especially of G's costume which includes what is going to be a rather fabulous and time-consuming cane.


"The Traveller" Watercolor
Just a quick one this week. I meant to do a painting like this (but from a diferent angle) a long time ago but never did. I love this hat. The long lost hat that I found in Italy and lost in Corsica. And yes, those would be my favorite jacket and boots. Okay, I have the skirt too and it's all flowy and fun to wear. So it became a self portrait of me in my favorite clothes :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


"Clique of Zebras" Ink and Digital

Ok, so really groups of zebra are often called herds, though certain species often travel in "harems" with one male and a group of females.

I came up with this idea immediately after an image of girls who spent way more time on their hair than I was ever interested in. For safety, zebras clump together and because of their stripes, the predator can't tell how many there are or how big they are and get confused. Also, they're very cute. Which I imagine the predator would be indifferent to.

I tried to do this in charcoal pencil first, but quickly remembered how much charcoal drives me crazy. Sharpie is my friend. I made a simplified version of Giselle in the background there to be a counterpoint to the clique, the odd-beast out, poor girl.

I considered putting her in a striped t-shirt to show her trying to be zebra, but I think I like the simpler version better. Thoughts?
PS: G wanted me to illustrate some graph algorithms. Apparently there are groups of nodes called cliques....but what can I say, I was stuck on the zebra idea.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


"Island" Watercolor, etc.

Well, it was an interesting experiment. And another case where I should have gone with my first idea...but you know..experience and all is always good.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


"Cluttered" Digital
I gotta say, I really didn't want to illustrate this one. Mostly because I'm still living in a state of not-quite-all-the-way-moved-in-yet clutter that is rather frustrating. We're making slow progress though. And like Alfons (a re-use of the unused memory elephant from last week, I thought he deserved a more prominant piece), I can't find things because of said clutter. Most of it is the uber smooth vector art that I've been trying to stay away from because it was going to be a leeetle bit too much for me to try to give everything its own texture. Alfons gets a texture, though, and one not unlike Beatrice's.
PS: Alfons doesn't actually use his butterfly net. Not that he doesn't love butterflies, it's just that he can't bear to net them.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Published Author - Huzzah!

I'm sure my friends and family are tired of hearing about it, but as I worked my butt off on this, I'm really excited and feel the need to share with everyone. A German publisher called VDM published my senior thesis from Reed College (after G and I edited it to death). I have to admit, it was kind of fun to go back to it, but it was hard not to buy all the secondary sources that have been published since I wrote it originally and rethink the whole thing. As it is, we did a lot of restructuring.
To give a general overview, it's an analysis of three works of literature (Flaubert's Herodias, Huysmans' A Rebours, and Wilde's Salome) as well as some corrisponding works of art that feature the figure of Salome (who, in the Bible, danced for King Herod and asked for the head of John the Baptist).
I haven't seen the actual book yet, I'm still waiting for my copies, but it is available on Yay for me! (pats self on back)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


"Elephants Never Forget!" colored pencil, digital
So when I read the subject for this week's IF, I imagined it was the singular 'memory' rather than the plural as seen below. And what I thought of was that elephants are thought to have good memories (mostly, it seems, because they tend to follow the same paths) so I made an elephant. It was meant to mean something more like 'memory as good as an elephant's' but symetery made me shorten it. And now it looks a little bit like an elephant memorial. It was just a sketch that I messed with in Gimp, but I thought I may as well post it.

Monday, September 1, 2008


"Please come in out of the rain, madame, the sugar is getting wet" Watercolor
Excerpt from "Le Pont Mirabeau" by Apollinaire
Passent les jours et passent les semaines
Ni temps passé
Ni les amours reviennent
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
Les jours s'en vont je demeure
Maren's unofficial translation:
Pass the days and pass the weeks
Neither past time
Nor loves come again
Beneath the Pont Mirabeau flows the Seine
Come the night ring the hour
The days go on I remain.
So I made this painting last week before I knew the theme, but it reminded me of this poem, which I would say is about memories (here's a link if you want to read the whole thing, but it's in French). It was one we read in college that I really liked. While the painting wasn't so much made to illustrate the poem, I think it fits.
Also, and not to attempt to make another tenuous connection with this week's IF theme, but while I was painting it, I was reminded of something, also in French. I was in Bastille, Corsica waiting for my ferry back to Nice to meet a friend, and I was enjoying my espresso and watching the sea when it started to sprinkle. Not a heavy sprinkle, but a light sprinkle, which, being from Seattle, I ignored. And the waiter came out to ask me to please move inside because the sugar was getting wet. And that's why the title is so long. Thrilling story, I know, but it just reminds me of my days as a sophisticated Parisian woman...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


"Daily Grind" Watercolor and Ink
Ah, coffee, my favorite morning routine. I do love my espresso machine. This is one of the little hand-painted espresso cups that Belle gave me as a present a couple years ago that I adore, they are hanging under the cabinets over the aforementioned espresso machine.
Art-wise this is yet another attempt at watercolors (see "Seed") and once again I had some issues. Mostly, when I left the room, the 'D' and the 'G' decided to wander up toward the espresso...not that I can blame them. I'm also not sure how much I like the cross hatching. But I did have fun with the colors! Just trying to add to my repertoire!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


"Detachable" Digital from sketch

The monkey was horrified when the lizard's tail he was playing with detached in his hand! 'Oh, not again' thinks the lizard.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beatrice in the Garden

"Beatrice in the Garden" Digital
This is the picture I made for my neice's second birthday. I'm sure she'll appreciate it later, I did make sure to give her a card with princesses and a castle that was much more fun to play with than a picture. G pointed out that the garden is more of a forest and that Beatrice might prefer something more rocky. I then pointed out that Beatrice immigrated to England when she was young and more preferred tea and gardens. At which point he noted that there are no forests left in England. To which I declared that all's fair in children's illustrations (because the mechanics of tea drinking was no doubt about to be brought into the discussion).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


"Sailing" Pattern
I love the ocean and things on and in it, and given my weekend at Seaside, OR, I couldn't help but lean towards a classic, nautical sailing image. Although I started with a pirate ship. Simple, yes, but I had fun with it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Well, I'm using an illustration I already had. I've been travelling and just couldn't quite make myself work on the plane. Besides, the only new ideas I was coming up with all involved genies or wands, which didn't seem very innovative, not that they wouldn't have been fun...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


"Never had it Felt so Good to Get Canned..." Digital
What can I say, it's not my favorite. But then, I do like the fanciful stuff, and "canned" didn't quite inspire me to fanciful. Besides, I've had something on my mind recently, involving the liberating feeling of leaving a bad job. I think the people in the background are too much, but it seemed like not enough without them....sigh.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


"Up and Away" Digital
And then it occurred to her that she might not have enough ballast...
My brainstorm for this week's Illustration Friday theme of "Enough." It's not clear to me why "not enough ballast" is what I came up with, but what the heck. It is also a quiet ode to the hat I had been looking for for years, found in a men's store in Italy, and then tragically lost within months of its purchase. I have only glimpsed one other such hat, on a man in line at a Starbucks, whom I frightened by asking fervent questions about its origins. Apparently it was a gift from someone who had been to Italy...
I couldn't decide whether I like the picture better as day or night. Certainly during the day some of the details show up better, like the fact that I forgot to finish the edge of the balloon, but there's something kind of cool about the night one. I was initially thinking dusk-ish because I was going to decorate it with some christmas lights, but then I had already gotten carrried away with furnishing the baskets and decided that I needed to get working on other things today.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


"In her Secret Garden" Digital Collage
I had so much fun last week playing with tree pictures that I thought I would do it again this week. I was going for early-spring-morning-sun-filtering-through-trees-and-fog type lighting, because I love being in the trees when it's like that. This time for the girl I sketched her out and then painted her in GIMP.
In other news, I finally decided to buy the commercial version of Illustrator, so I can now legally sell my artwork. I will be trying to make some prints available in the future and will make note of it on the blog when they are. Etsy here I come!

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Birds Part III: Empty Nest

When I got up this morning and looked out the window, I could have sworn I saw two little birdies in a fruit bowl. But then a few hours later, I looked out and saw a little bird head poking out. I was thinking it was Eleanor getting adventurous again and about to come out for some flying practice. So I went around for a better look and found there was only one! Poor Marianne was distraught at being left all alone with the scary lady watching her. She was restless. When I came back from lunch a few hours later, there was no bird in the nest. Worried, I went outside to look, and there was Marianne, perched on the top! She was proud of herself and flapped around a little, but when she realized that flapping brought her closer to me, she panicked and started flapping around wildly. I put a piece of wood over by the railing so that she wouldn't accidentally fall, and then went in so that she might calm down. Instead, I watched as she hopped off of the edge. I panicked. I ran down below to make sure that she was okay, which she was, and chased her into a bush so that she would be more protected. Of course when I came back upstairs, Jack was here with a bug in his mouth looking for his baby girl. I'm pretty sure he gave me the evil eye.
But we rescued healthy babies, if impetuous ones, so I'm sure they'll be okay out there in the big world. We can only hope they've learned their lesson about dryer vents.
One lone little birdie

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Birds Part II: Nests and Feathers

After getting the birds settled in their fruit basket, I went outside to see if I could find some nesting materials that they could sit on. There wasn't a whole heck of a lot in the courtyard, so I thought I would wander around to the back to see if I could discover how they got in to our dryer vent in the first place. This is what I found. Yep, that would be bird's nest dangling from our dryer vent. It made it easy to figure out which one was ours. It also made it easier to get the babies some nesting material as there was about a handful of it on the ground.
I set it lightly in front of them (I've named them Eleanor and Marianne after the Sense and Sensibility sisters) and let them work it out for themselves. They slept on it over night, but later the next day, this is what I saw:


They seem to be doing ok without it though, today I added a little pinch back in to cover the poop.
Meanwhile I checked online to be sure of what kind of bird they are, and they are sparrows. So I've named dad, who's been coming to feed them instead of mom (undoubtably feeding the babies that remain in the dryer vent). I'm calling him Jack. I just can't help myself. He doesn't quite have the swagger, though, he's pretty jittery.
But I marvel at Eleanor and Marianne. Marianne didn't even have her feathers yet, and the two of them ventured about a hundred feet down the vent. My brave little adventuring bird friends. Here's how they look today:

Marianne (the younger one on top) is growing her feathers in pretty well!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sour the Second

"Citrus Splash" Vector art
As foretold, here is the citrus pattern I came up with. In general I think it looks reasonably pretty, but I struggled with it for far too long for it to have been worth it. I had an entirely different pattern made primarily of the little citrus bursts, but it got too complicated. And even now you can't really see the cute little fruit slices I made. Oh well, it's all good practice.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


"Sour Lady" Digital Collage

Maybe not the best title ever, could be worked on. The lady herself was taken from a 3o's fashion paper doll set I have, though I mightily tweeked her dress coloring and made sure that her makeup matched. Her hat I made in Illustrator and I used some pictures of tree branches from across the street for the background. I was having a hard time being inspired by the topic, but I saw the look on her face and thought that she looked a bit sour, so I went with it. I was considering making a pattern, and may still work on that this week. I am better pleased with the blending of the background on this one.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Birds Part I: Roommates

This morning G pulled me over to the dryer and pointed at it. It was emitting little chirps from the dryer vent, that long foil-ish tube thing that comes out the side. They were rather loud birdish chirps, but I was convinced they were coming from the vent exit, where there was, perhaps, a little songbird welcoming the day. But as I walked by it again, I noticed that there was a very small birdish chirp coming from the bend in the tube right by the dryer and very much inside the condo. Now I am a very bird-friendly person, and the sound of a little bird in distress has much the same effect on me as, say, a baby crying.
Calmly we emailed the property manager asking him to please help us fix the bird-in-dryer problem and to please let us know how we can make him fix the dryer vents outside so as not to have this problem in the future. When, after five minutes or so I hadn't heard back, I took to pacing by the dryer. G knows my feelings for birds, and so offered to dissasemble the dryer in such a way that we might be able to detach the vent and usher the bird to his freedom. After about a half an hour of dissasembly and attempted bird wrangling, I managed to bend the tube enough to slide the bird into a bowl and cover it with a towel. We swiftly brought the bird to the balcony, left him in the bowl with a towel around it and went back inside to let him recover as he was breathing heavily and wouldn't move. We peered at him through the blinds and noted with worry that while he recovered, he couldn't seem to fly out of the bowl.
G went back to re-assemble the dryer, and soon called to me saying he had heard something else in the vent. Indeed, more scrambling of little bird claws. While I was attempting to pull the tube out further so that I could bring it down to the floor for a smoother exodus, I heard a different noise, like something was inside the dryer. As I stopped to listen, another bird flew from behind the dryer, at G's head, and into all of the windows pointing outward. We herded her out and then got the other one out of the tube, but this one was so little she didn't have all of her feathers yet. As I put her out beside the first she was shaking terribly. I spent about an hour distraught that my poor little dryer birds wouldn't survive, when mom came back and I got a call back from an animal rescue shelter. It now seems that we will have new roommates until they learn how to fly.

Exhausted little birdies after beeing well fed by mama

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Portrait of the Artist as a Monkey

The second part of my wrapping paper assignment, the art monkey. I couldn't quite make her as simply perfect as the science monkey, but at least she's cute.

Monday, June 30, 2008


"Boo" Digital collage

Beware the fierce pufferfishes of Hawaii. This is another collage-ish picture using Illustrator and GIMP, but this time I used one of G's expert fish pictures, messed with it a little bit, and added one of my own, the fierce pufferfish!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


"I Dare Ya" Digital
Finally back in the swing of things, here's this week's Illustration Friday submission for the theme of "hoard." Of course, now that I've started playing World of Warcraft with the rest of the nerd world, I had a different image pop into my head first, but it was WRONG, very wrong, so back to the animal practice.
This was a combined Illustrator-GIMP effort using some Redmond, WA watershed area pictures that may not have been integrated as smoothly as I would like. Probably it's the contrast to the overly smooth, Illustrator acorns....but oh well, it's good practice. I tried to make the squirrel a bit too realistic for good expressions. I was hoping to make him look a little bit more posessive. Otherwis, yay for making pictures again!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Katy Monkey

This is portrait number one for my wrapping paper assignment. Portrait number two, the art monkey, is not going as smoothly, but hopefully she'll be done soon and ready for posting.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sorry, No Art

I've been somewhat allergied to death and was unable to finish this week's Illustration Friday submission, and will be out of town for the next week and purposefully left my computer behind. I will be doing a lot of doodling though (though I don't expect to venture far out of the fish and flowers realm...eventually I want to manage a hula girl) and hope to make up for my brief hiatus with an excess of art when I return.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Nashville and the Country Music Hall of Fame

Last weekend we ventured out into downtown Nashville (not that it's a very far venture, but it's at least several blocks) to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame with one of G's CS friends. It was my first time walking around downtown, which may be a little bit sad considering how long I've been here and how close it is, but I'm generally disinclined to pay for parking.
Anyhow, they had a special Marty Robbins exibit, and while I wasn't familiar with his music, he definately seemed like a fun kind of guy and had a pretty fantastic collection of way over the top costumes and boots. This was my first introduction to the Nudie Suit, which was a recurring theme throughout the museum. Unfortunately I hadn't yet remembered that I had brought a camera with me so I didn't get any pictures, but that's the official website above. This guy was the official outfitter of the rhinestone cowboy.
I did, however, manage to document some of the other relics of eccentric Hall of Famers, such as this car:
This is Web Pierce's Silver Dollar Convertible. Unfortunately for Web Pierce, I don't know anything about his music, so this is all I know about him. It may be hard to make out, but, yes, that is a pistol hood ornament that is awkwardly propped up there, and a rearing stallion over to the left. It was hard to get a picture of the whole thing, but there's another view below. That would be a rifle propped up there on the back and another on it's flank. What you can't see is the horse's head as the handle for the gas cap and the pistols for the door handles. Apparently the seats are made of saddle leather and the gas and break pedals are horse shoes. All designed by non other than the aforementioned Nudie.
Among other fascinating extravagences is Elvis' golden piano. Unfortunately, Elvis' car, while pretty, couldn't hold a candle to the Silver Dollar Convertible. There's a rather enormous exhibit on the William's family. Included among the Nudie Suits was this small but charming band of squirrels belonging to Hank Williams Sr. (made of course from authentic squirrels and shot by Hank himself). I'm especially a fan of the leopard print on the stage.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


"Where the Ocean Meets the Sky..."
This weeks theme for Illustration Friday is "wide"... I feel as though I was somewhat lacking in vision with this one, (maybe a little 'wide' of the mark?..ahem, sorry) but at least it gave me a chance to play with textures and layers and effects and such. The waves were kind of fun to play with but the girl and the ship are somewhat lame. Oh well, we can't be fabulous all the time.
In other news, last weekend we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and it became my first time walking around in downtown Nashville. So perhaps in the near future, there could be a non-art post!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


"Ernie" Digital
Ernie's Eatery, open 24 hours a day, your meals zapped unconcious for your dining pleasure!
To be quite honest, eels kind of freak me out. It's mostly just the slither-swim motion and the fact that they're just plain ugly, but they also hang out in little caves with just their head peaking out and their jaws wide open showing the seemingly randomly spaced crooked teeth. Ok, I take it back, it's the way they hang out with their mouths open. I'm pretty sure they would eat me if they could fit me in. However, when I was doing a bit of research on electric eels for Illustration Friday's theme of "electricity" I saw a picture someone had taken at an aquarium where the eel looked a little bit like he was grinning goofily, in fact he was almost cute! So that was my inspiration for Ernie here, the almost-cute eel.
I'm working on learning Microsoft Expression as I am in the market for new software, but I found I had to wander back to Photoshop once again to get the texture to work right and to soften things up and give them more depth. Sigh.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


"Beatrice" Digital
I made this Rhino illustration for last week's Illustration Friday theme of "wrinkles," but didn't manage to get it up on time. I based her off of a picture I had taken from our trip to the San Diego Zoo a couple years ago. The Rhinoscerous in question was pacing by the door and barking for her lunch. When I looked at the picture again, I could just see her in a little hat and glasses.
I am particularly proud of her for being my first full integration of both Illustrator and Photoshop, and would like to thank my big bro and my new laptop for making it possible ;)