Valentines 2016

The thing about having kids, is the chances are good they’ll multiply.  With one married and the other two engaged, making Valentines is becoming quite the production. There are 7 to make now!  I used to leave them out at night for the kids to open Valentine’s morning, but now they go through the mail. I was in such a hurry to send them, I only got a couple pictures.  This year I watercolored animals and thought of punny mush to go with each one.


Happy Valentine’s Day!


New Tricks: Hand-painted to Digital

I’m an old school paper, brushes, and paint gal. I’m pretty tech savvy and can hold my own with software, but digital art is a learning curve I’m still working to master. Imagine my delight when a client wanted a hand-painted header for her website!

I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it work, so I stuck with the skills I already have in my personal “tool box”, and everything was the same almost to the end when the header needed to be placed in its digital home.

It started with some ideas and options on paper. Once we settled on an arrangement I made a scaled way up version in pencil on vellum so adjustments could be made easily. We added ferns.

ME_Template                       FernPlacement

Mixing colors is my favorite! Once I had an approved pallet I transferred the design to paper and got to painting.   I like to work in small increments, because making a mistake means starting over.

Paint hand-painted illustration


When I’m not sure about an idea or stroke I’ll test it on the sidelines until I’m confident. I’ll play with a new idea and doodle with the paint until I find something I like. My clean color sheet looks like a circus when I’m finished with it.

illustration freelance hand-painted watercolor


It’s exciting to see it come to life bit by bit!





Things went really well until the end, when I smudged the paint with my hand. This is where technology saves the day – up top I re-recreated that section and used Photoshop magic to replace the smudged area with the clean version. I can’t believe how easy it was!

Once the original was finished, I erased all the pencil lines then scan it into the computer. My photographic scanner is super high resolution, which helps a lot. Then it’s time to remove the background paper in Photoshop. The aqua background is in place to illuminate any spots I might miss.

2014-02-06 19.17.37


It’s a wrap!

Scared is the New Brave

When I began this blog, my goal was simple – to create fearlessly. I figured if I was struggling with it someone else out there probably was, too. That goal remains in the back of my mind as I continue to fight the perfection monster and reclaim the child-like joy of creating. Fear has no place in creativity. We are made in the image of the Master Creator and He only asks us to show up. How’s that for no pressure? Show up and be who you are.  Too often I allow fear to keep me from awesome things. I listen to what-ifs and turn back to “safe.” Safe is boring. Safe doesn’t reach our goals. Safe doesn’t spark life, it hastens death.

This arrived in my in box. Not only do I love its message, it’s my colors, and I thought it would look fabulous here.  It’s big enough to print out and hang on your wall as a healthy reminder. Credit Lisa Jo Baker.


Valentines 2013

When making last year’s Valentines I kept the theme “Love Letters” and had a nice surprise at the end. This year I had five Valentines to make instead of four, so it was time to come up with something new. I didn’t need to look far. As my friends and I gathered to make this year’s snippets of love, one of the gals showed up with cupcakes made by our friend, Alice, whose cakes are famous and not only works of art, they taste like Heaven in your mouth.

With that inspiration, I baked up my own creations for the loves of my life in their favorite flavors: Cookies N’ Cream, Red Velvet, Lemon, Chocolate and Funfetti.

Designing and making my own Valentines is a tradition I started when the kids were little and just can’t seem to give up. As our family grows, I might need to start thinking about Valentines Day in July!

Animation Camp is a Wrap!

For the past two weeks, I’ve been teaching the Animation track at Regent University’s summer Film Camp. What a blast!!  There were five campers, and we covered a lot of material in that short time. It was super exciting watching the lights come on in these young minds as I helped them draw their creativity to the surface.

A favorite part of camp was joint time we spent each morning with all the campers. Our theme for the week was Creation (God’s first act recorded in the bible) and our role as artists. We began the day with a film clip of some sort, and the instructors took turns presenting short devotionals that fit our theme. This time was a watering hole of sorts for me.  It reminded me of how very much I love film and art and creating.  Even working with high-schoolers creating silly short films is magical. It also reignited my passion to change the perception of what people consider “Christian” art.

Valentines 2012

Last year my theme was Love Letters, and this year I decided to expand on that theme. So I give you Love Letters II:

I made a list of sentiments, trying to come up with four fun puns. After they were all finished, I lined the kids’ Valentines up in a row to take a picture and noticed a happy accident….

I hope your Valentines Day is full of fun surprises!

Valentines 2011

Every year I make home-made valentines for my family. When the kids were smaller, I made them have something to do with their lives that year as a memento of who they are.

This year I did something new – a joint theme that linked all four valentines. I was wracking my brain for ideas, when a simple thought struck: Love letters. Literally. So I made these….
I also make the envelopes to match. Craziness, I know.
I used a paper pack  I had which made it really easy to keep continuity. Add chalks, white acrylic, and pop dots. I use a small paint brush to apply the chalk… I feel like I have better control that way, and it blends real well with the fine bristles.

Resistance is the Enemy

I’ve been working on some storyboards. I couldn’t draw a stick man. There were wads of paper all over the floor. I wasn’t sure what I was battling, but I was sure I was losing miserably.
Now that the storyboards are complete I can laugh about it, but still wonder why it had to be so. hard.
There’s a powerful little book that gives the answer –  “The War of Art”, by Steven Pressfield.  With straight-up clarity Pressfield exposes Resistance and its tactics to thwart our dreams, goals and growth. The challenge is applying what you read, but the truth contained in this volume has the potential for being the kick in the pants you’ve been looking for, regardless the goal. It applies to everything from weight-loss to writer’s block.
Resistance is the enemy.
Creating is a birthing process. Pulling something new out of ourselves hurts!!! But WOW the excitement when we look at what we’ve accomplished, right?
 I love when I muscle my way through something that stretches every limit I thought I had, only to discover there is more to me than I knew. I need to be willing to voluntarily muscle my way through more in order to create more.

Making an Art Quilt

I finally finished the quilt commissioned by a friend.  She had seen several art quilts and fell in love, then completely trusted me to just come up with something. I said yes, having no earthly idea what I was going to do. I broke through a lot of different fears during the process, and the quilt evolved and changed – just like I was evolving and changing artistically. I am amazed at the final product and humbled at the way God works through my hands and pops ideas into my head from nowhere.

It’s titled “Foundations”. The words at the roots represent a firm family foundation: faith, honor, integrity, trust, hope, passion, purpose. The flowers (children) springing up are the result of those roots, their ancestors (in the leaves) serving as a protective covering in the branches above.

Words stamped into the “ground.
Children grow under a cover of love.
Ancestors watch from among the leaves.

Happy Valentines Day 2009

I love Valentines, which is pretty surprising considering how much anxiety they caused me as a kid.  Several years ago a magazine article inspired me to make my own valentines, and every year I invite my girlfriends over to “play”.  It’s a lot of fun, with snacks, a big mess, and the occasional dance party.

This is me working with what I have – my own hand as a model. I got a bit of razzing for this – from people who can’t even draw, mind you – which gave us a good laugh as we each merrily created our own brand of perfect.

As the kids grow, it becomes harder to come up with Valentine ideas. When they were little I’d make them according to their favorite tastes from that year. Now I walk through a land mine of “not cool” and “oh brother”.  I keep at it because one day they’ll have all those pieces of paper that say “I love you” straight from their mama’s hand.
This year’s effort felt lackluster, due to to lots of school work and little free time.

I only have one daughter, so she’s kind of special to my mama heart. We enjoy laughing at the wildlife and especially enjoy feeding the birds together.

Son #2 is very into Guitar Hero at the moment.  It’s fun to peek around the corner and spy as he lets out his inner rock star!

Son #1 lives out of town for college. This year I went with my heart.

Of course the Hunk gets a Valentine, too. (Hint: That hand should look familiar….)
I’d love to hear about your favorite Valentine tradition.