Getting Inked…

No, I’m not contemplating getting a tattoo; but judging from the ink stains on my fingers these days, it does appear that I’m getting inked!

The reason?  

I’ve been practicing my pen and ink drawing.  Though, to be honest, at this point I feel like I’m taking two steps forward and three back.  This YouTube video has provided the inspiration:

Amazing how easy Yelen makes it seem, right?  But in each of MY attempts, something has gone wrong…

Punk Girl drafts (Oh, except for the “practice” drawing I did on scratch paper – see figure at bottom left – which of course came out great.)  Grrr!  Such is life.  But if I haven’t learned anything else in my years of working as a musician and artist, it’s that you don’t get anywhere without a hell of a lot of practice!  So, if you don’t hear from me in a while, don’t worry.  I’m practicing.


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Friday’s Thought – A Poetic One


“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.”

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

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My Favorite Things – Swamp Adventures

I spent a lot of this winter feeling swamped – with work, that is – so on my recent trip to New Orleans, it was fitting that we took time out for a trip to the swamp!

Paddling in two person kayaks and canoes, we made our way through ever narrowing channels…

in the swamp

Beneath moss-laden trees…

swamp trees

Into the heart of the swamp.  We were hoping to see alligators and didn’t have to wait long before we spotted our first one!


In fact, we came across at least five more throughout our journey!


(I think he was sorry I didn’t fall in…)


The activity wasn’t just in the water, though, but in the trees above us, too.  During our lunch break, we had a perfect view of a nest of bald eagles!

Bald Eagle baby

bald eagle spreading its wings

And when we turned around for the paddle home, a Barred Owl gave us a good looking over.


Far from the noise and merry-making of Bourbon Street, our swamp trip was a reflective oasis in a fun-packed week.



Filed under My Favorite Things, photography, travel

From My Sketchbook – Week 8

I did a lot of sketches this past week in New Orleans.  However, since my mom and I were out gallivanting in the French Quarter almost every day, my sketches were mainly confined to the quiet periods sitting in the airport, or the few times when I went down to the hotel lobby to see if I could capture some of the comings and goings.  (One such fun sighting was Project Runway’s Tim Gunn.  If I hadn’t been so shy, I would have told him that I’m a fan!)

My favorite sketch from the lobby (and no, it’s not Tim Gunn) is this one:

Lady in Omni lobby

Last night when I got home, I did two more sketches.  These were invented faces and were done with my beloved Carter’s flexible nib fountain pen:

Curly hair girl sketch

Punk pixie sketch

Although I was working from my imagination, the inspiration for the two face sketches was this “how-to” YouTube video for rendering fashion faces:

P.S. YouTube is one of my favorite resources for “how-to” videos…and not just for drawing.  My husband and I once learned a dance routine off of YouTube for a showcase dance at a symphony gala.  How good were we?  Well, that’s material for another post!


Filed under art, drawing, education, fashion illustration, illustration, Influences, Pen Sketch, Quick Sketch, techniques, Weekly Sketch Project

My Favorite Things – New Orleans Illuminated

I guess you could say that I have a fascination with light, lanterns and lampposts…and my recent week spent in New Orleans provided lots of photo ops to feed this obsession.

From plain…

Lantern against pastels

Lantern on pink wall

Green Lantern in Nola

To ornate.

Lanterns with scrolls on yellow wall

lanterns and Maison Dupuy

Lit day…

Lit lantern in New Orleans during the day

Into night.

floating lantern reflection

The lanterns cast shadows long…

Lantern and shadow against an old grey wall

Lanterns and shutters

red and blue contrasts with lantern and shadow

And short, yet ever present.

Lantern and reflection in late afternoon sun

This post is dedicated to the memory of my father.


Filed under architecture, history, My Favorite Things, photography, travel, travel photography

Saturday’s Thought – Food for Thought (New Orleans Style)

Some of you followers and fans may have wondered why I didn’t post on my “regular” schedule this past week.  Here’s why…


“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.”

(Paul Prudhomme)

In other words, New Orleans happened! (Or, more correctly, I went there for a week of vacation with my mom.)  More photos will be forthcoming.

Stay tuned…

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From My Sketchbook – Week 7

Lately, I’ve been working on mindful breathing and centering techniques.  The impetus for this has been my battle with performance anxiety in my “other profession” as a musician.  Although the physical manifestations of my nerves seem usually more palpable on stage (racing heart and shaky hands accompanied by negative thoughts), I have come to recognize that I’m often plagued with negative self-talk when I sit down to my drafting table as well.

As I mentioned in last week’s From My Sketchbook post, one of the situations that makes me anxious and doubtful as a visual artist is my ability is to sketch live subjects in public.  So, on Thursday I headed out to our local cafe with my sketchbook to face this fear over a latte. These sketches were an exercise in both mindful breathing and centering as I tried to capture the subject in just a few strokes. (Unfortunately, my Shaeffer fountain pen seemed to be running low on ink…not exactly conducive to a state of flow, but I persevered!)

couple talking in a cafe

Girl reading cell phone

Hope you’ll stay tuned for more….


Filed under art, drawing, education, illustration, Influences, ink sketches, Weekly Sketch Project