Back at the Drawing Board…Sort Of

I’m embarrassed to admit that I let two weeks go by without working on a single illustration.  Not good.  While I sort of have an excuse for the first week (playing 6 shows and 3 rehearsals in 5 days doesn’t leave much time for anything else), my only excuse for last week was that I was too busy eating gourmet meals, swimming and loon-watching at my mom’s lakeside cabin in NH.

Not surprisingly, today when I sat down at my drafting table, rusty is an understatement for how I felt.  As a result, I don’t have much I’m proud to post, but here at least is a sampling of what I attempted…
detail from cafe sketch


(Trust me when I say that you don’t need to see the rest of this composition!)



Filed under art, illustration, marker and ink illustration, materials, New work

Loons (and a Few Loonies, too!)

This morning the annual Loon Census on Goose Pond took place.   My mom and I set our alarms for the crack of dawn (7:45 a.m. is the crack of dawn in my book) and headed down the hill to our kayaks.

The dense fog pretty much obscured the lake at our launching point…

green kayak

into the fog

And made the neighbor’s dock appear to float in midair.

Alans dock

My mom waited patiently…

is that a loon

While I indulged in a selfie to commemorate the occasion.

Joana selfie

Although we were supposed to start our search in the direction of the dam…

house at the dam in the fog

We went towards the mountains instead.

off we go

Goose Pond in the fog

Just 10 minutes into our journey, my mom spotted a loon…

mom spots a loonAnd I got close enough to get these shots…

Loon swimming in the fog

loon in the fog

Loon preening

Before it spread its wings and took off!

taking off

The fog began to lift, but the water stayed calm.


And though we didn’t see any more REAL loons, this specimen might still qualify to be included in the census.

fun with the binoculars




Filed under photography

Friday’s Thought – How to Eat A Frog

green frog

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

(Mark Twain)

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Filed under Friday's Thought, Influences, photography, wisdom

My Favorite Things – After the Rain

As you can probably tell from these pictures, I’m not in the city but back in New Hampshire at my mom’s cottage by the lake.  The weather has been pretty magnificent for most of our vacation; and in a spot so beautiful, it’s hard not to enjoy even the occasional downpours!

After a soaking rain last night, here’s what our world looked like this morning…

yellow daylily with water drops

Lady's Mantle after the rain

pine tree after the rain

forest mushroom

daylily in the forest

daylilies and water drops

blueberries and rain drops

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Filed under Influences, My Favorite Things, photography

Friday’s Thought – Concrete Thinking


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July 11, 2014 · 5:24 pm

My Favorite Things – When the Stars Align

Outdoor concerts are NOT my thing.  I don’t really like attending them and I don’t particularly like performing them either.  But every once in a while the stars align – or, maybe more correctly, the weather cooperates – and I can’t think of a better way to spend the day.  Cap it off with an evening off for “date night” with my husband and I’m in heaven.

At 2 p.m. today in the pit at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center this was the task at hand.

In the NYCB pit

(And speaking of “hands”, my Bridge bid at intermission threw my partner for a curve!)

Bridge Hand

With the show concluded, my husband and I headed to Chianti for a romantic dinner à deux…

Dinner at Chianti

And then on to the local frozen yogurt hot spot for his and hers sundaes.

frozen yogurt at night

What could be more perfect?  Maybe only this…

lanterns and the moon



Filed under Influences, My Favorite Things, New York

Perfecting the Pencil Pant: The Odyssey Continues…

Call me a woman on a mission, obsessed…or maybe, just plain crazy.  After sewing 5 pairs of pants from the same pencil pants pattern, I guess you can say I’m determined to master the art of the perfect pencil pant.

I’m after a slim silhouette with a side zip and tapered legs – all in an elegant material with a wee bit of stretch.  This is me (in my dreams):

satin pencil pantsThe first pair I made came out well (take a look here), but the higher waist band wasn’t all that comfortable so I decided to alter the pattern.  Pairs #2 and #3 were less successful since I opted for fabrics without stretch and ended up with pants that I couldn’t sit down in.  Those pants have since gone to the Goodwill Gods (or to aliens who stand around all day.)

With Pair #4, I dropped down the waist and had much better success with the fit, but some not-so-attractive waist-band gaping (take a look here.)

So in addition to taking off and redoing the waistband on Pair #4, I decided to modify the pattern further for yet another pair.  In Pair #5 (made in a stretch satin fabric) I dropped down the the waist and removed the waist-band entirely.  I tried on Pair #5 every step of the way and was delighted with the fit as I worked.  However, after I finished sewing the final seam on the no-waistband “waistband”, the result was not only waist gaping but waist RUFFLING!  I would have taken a picture, but was so horrified that I reached for the seam ripper instead of the camera.

Trust me when I say that my pants looked like this…

ruffled paper bag pants


After some hefty taking in on the front and back seams, the problem appears to be fixed.  I’m happy to present Pair #5 in two views:

new satin pants

new satin pants side view

Of course, the test will come this week after I’ve sat in these pants for a performance.  The beauty of stretch fabric is that it gives.  The downfall is that it gives.  If I stand up and my pants fall off…well, that won’t be good.

Stay tuned!


Filed under illustration, Influences, Jo's Journey, marker and ink illustration, materials, motivation, Tool Box