My Favorite Things – Dotting the i’s and Crossing the t’s (beautifully)

Years before we were married, my husband wrote me a thank you note with such stunning handwriting that after my initial, “Wow!” I next wondered if there was something wrong with him.  There isn’t, but for whatever reason, when he was young and learning penmanship in school, he decided that beautiful cursive handwriting was the hallmark of being an adult and so applied himself diligently to mastering the skill.  Not only have I saved every card and little note he’s written me over the years, but I also have drafted him into helping with some of my marketing images for my card business.

(His handwriting, my photography…)

Simply Put thank you written note2

Unfortunately, my husband is too busy to be my regular scribe, and since I own a gorgeous vintage Carter’s fountain pen, I decided yesterday to make a conscious effort to improve my own handwriting.  Online research brought me to this helpful cursive script practice page.  Did you know that this sentence contains every letter in the alphabet?  I must have been absent that day in school…

In any case, here’s my “normal” quick handwriting.

my bad handwriting sample

Although tracing the letters in the cursive script practice page did help, my first attempt at recreating the script didn’t send me over the moon.

1st attempt cursive redo

One of the keys to beautiful handwriting and to making the best use of a flexible nib fountain pen like the one I have, is to make most of the stroke as a pulling rather than pushing motion.  I felt like I needed even more basic information on how to form each letter.  The lower and upper case cursive examples on this site contain directional instructions for each letter.

Before I started, I downloaded and printed several sheets of free blank cursive practice paper, then took a deep breath and tried to make multiple copies of each letter on my practice sheet.

Laborious, perhaps, but as you can see from my attempts on the right page in the photo, I was beginning to feel more confident.

cursive lower letters practice

Even better, the capabilities in variety of line from my nib pen started to be much more apparent (I starred letters that are still giving me problems so that I can revisit them in further practice sessions.)

close up of cursive practice

And, since I’m always eager to learn and chart my progress, I went back to “The quick brown fox…” sentence writing practice on another sheet of cursive practice paper.

cursive sentence writing

What’s next?

Lots more daily practice…and then maybe a love letter or two to my husband!


Filed under motivation, My Favorite Things, pen and ink, Tool Box

From My Sketchbook – Week 27

Over the past few years I’ve struggled to find the right words to describe my artwork.   “Whimsically fashion-based” is the closest I’ve come to describing what I’m after since neither the terms “fashion illustration” nor “cartoon” exactly apply. Works in progress? Perhaps, but that is the nature of creativity.  My end goal, however, has always been to make the viewer smile, laugh or feel amused somehow.  Call it a reflection of my own outlook on life or maybe just my survival technique, but I do feel that life goes a lot smoother if manners and a good dose of humor are applied.

Hold your beliefs lightly….

hold your beliefs lightly

(Because this option isn’t as pretty!)

open to discussion


Filed under art, colored pencil and marker illustration, drawing, drawing faces, fashion illustration, From My Sketchbook, illustration

My Favorite Things – Postcards from Nantucket

My husband and I just got back from visiting Nantucket where my mother-in-law is now living.  It’s only my second time on the island, but I’m now getting a feel for the place.  After much walking (hello blisters!), and yes, getting lost (with street names like Surfside, South Shore, and Old South who wouldn’t get confused?!), we’ve concluded that the next time we visit it will be more prudent to go exploring on bikes.

In the meantime, here’s a series of virtual “postcards” from our (very picturesque) stay…

hydrangeas against a grey fence

yellow vespa


blue striped beach umbrella


Leave a comment

Filed under Influences, My Favorite Things, nature, photography, travel, travel photography

Friday’s Thought – By the Sea

beautiful day at the beach

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

(Jacques Yves Cousteau)



Leave a comment

Filed under Friday's Thought, inspiration, Jo's Journey, nature, photography, travel, travel photography, wisdom, wise quotes

From My Sketchbook – Week 26

In addition to having quite a few subway commutes last week which provided me with ample opportunities for sketching, I had a number of short breaks during the first act of my Wicked shows in which to sketch.  Some of the sketches were from my imagination, like this one…

Surprised girl sketchWhile others were of colleagues around me.  One of the interesting people I’ve met since starting to sub with the show is clarinetist John Moses.  His profile just happens to be right in my line of vision when I’m sitting in the viola chair in the pit, so I did this quick colored pencil sketch of him during one of the shows.

Sketch of John Moses


And in case you’re interested, here’s a neat video clip of John which shows the stage door entrance to the Gerswhin Theater where Wicked has been running for the past 12 years, as well as what it’s like to be in the pit at the show. At the 1 minute 13 second mark, you’ll see John in profile as I do when I’m at the show…

Leave a comment

Filed under art, drawing, From My Sketchbook, illustration, Influences, inspiration, New work, practicing drawing, Quick Sketch, sketchbook, subway sketches

A Special Anniversary

Every anniversary should be special, but today just happens to be an extra special one since it’s my husband’s and my…

11th anniversary!

Which in my eyes is even more significant because we both happen to be in palindrome age years as well.   I’m 22 and he’s 33.  (Well, not exactly since that would have meant that our marriage was a punishable offense, but I think you get the picture.)   Add to the significance of all of those special numbers the fact that it’s supposed to be a full moon tonight and I think you’ll agree that today must be charmed.

The day got off to a lovely start, when my husband presented me with this gorgeous bouquet…

anniversary flowers

And we surprised each other with Skagen watches – and that’s without even knowing that the 11th anniversary gift is supposed to be steel.  (I just happened to look it up for the purposes of writing this blog post.)

His and hers Skagen watches

Lunch was at Robert Restaurant at the Museum of Arts and Design

Robert restaurant menu

Where our vantage point overlooked Columbus Circle up the south side of Central Park.

the view from our table at Robert Restaurant

table flower at Robert restaurant

the view from Robert Restaurant

I could have spent the day just looking at the view, but with food this magnificent our attention was quickly diverted.  (My Niçoise Salad looks five times bigger than my husband’s Grilled Cheese Eggs Benedict but that’s just camera perspective, of course…)

Nicoise Salad at Robert Restaurant

Our entrees were followed by this divine Chocolate Mousse which we split. The two mini cakes were compliments of the pastry chef.

chocolate mousse dessert at Robert Restaurant

As we were polishing off the last bites, my husband noticed a sparkly looking person down on the circle.  To give you a perspective on his eagle eyes, I’ve added a yellow arrow to the photo to aid you in picking her out.

woman in tutu

(Thank God for my Panasonic Lumix’s zoom feature!)

woman in tutu waiting

Then, to our surprise, she began to dance…

woman dancing in white tutu

Woman dancing around the Columbus Circle fountain

woman twirling around the Columbus Circle fountain

Until she seemingly “bumped” into a passerby and he, too, joined in!

pair of dancers on Columbus Circle



And around the Circle they went…


ballet with backpack


Ta da

Here’s to celebrating love and happiness with a good dose of laughter!


Filed under New York

Friday’s Thought – A Reason to…

Celebrate girl for blog

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

(Oprah Winfrey)
(P.S. The greeting card version of the illustration above is now available here.)


Filed under art, colored pencil and marker illustration, fashion illustration, Friday's Thought, illustration, Influences, inspiration, New work, wisdom, wise quotes