Dec 14, 2013

Holiday Inspired

A little known fact my husband and I share, we both have Scandinavian blood. His family (as close as his grandfather, who was a 100%) have a Norwegian background, and I have a Swedish background.

A while back when I discovered I had Scottish and Swedish roots, I began digging into it. I adore the folklore and ornate designs found in their art books, history books, and style today.

My mother in law asked me to help her with a project which lead me to Pinterest, which then lead me to browse Scandinavian design....Christmas style. I am so in love with it! I can't get enough!

I saw many little doll ornaments with long red pointy caps and adorable red dresses. Last night, I just had to draw my own. What I really like about Scandinavian design is the pattern, simplicity of color, and cozy calm it brings visually. I am very looking forward to painting this lovely lady!

Dec 1, 2013

Featured Art - Angel Fish

"Angel Fish"
11x14 inches  |  Watercolor  |  created 2010

When I think about mermaids I see graceful movements, vivid colors that reflect light, a longing for freedom, and mystery. 

When I look deeper I catch a glimpse of myself. Ever since Disney's "The Little Mermaid" I've been attracted to the concept of freedom beyond my own world, that somehow the world I live in is a trap. Years later when I found myself within scripture I discovered that in a way, I am. Thankfully that's not the whole story, and that my life is a journey without a cage if I so choose.

'Angel Fish' came from the desire to worship the light and to express surrender, something I find difficult to do in my life. I'm somewhat of a control freak and aim daily to let things go, especially those things I know are not in my control even though I continue to try. 


All things lead to the light for my good. This piece is a reminder of that good and to always move towards the light out of the darkness, regardless of my circumstances, other's actions, or things out of my control.

Oct 25, 2013

Featured Art - Pillar of Grace

'Pillar of Grace'
Painted in watercolors on hot press watercolor paper.
Size of painting, 8x10 inches.
Original Painting Price: $300.00

'Pillar of Grace' was the final illustration in a three painting mini series, placed alongside 'Pillar of Love' and 'Pillar of Hope'. The focus of the mini series were the three words love, grace, and hope, and how they have become the foundation of my life. I see these foundations also within friends and family. I can not imagine a life without love, without grace, and without hope. They are essential pillars upon which we lean on in life.

Purchase the original (scroll to purchase):

Aug 28, 2013

Here Comes the Bump!

We discover if we’re having 
a boy or girl next Wednesday!
Which do you think it is? 
What theme should our 
nursery be?

Answer the gender correctly and 
you’ll be entered into a raffle for a 
7”x20” print of “Into the Word”.

Winner and results will be 
announced September 9th!

Jul 19, 2013

Christmas in July Sale!

It's that time of year that we start thinking about Christmas gifts! Wha? No but seriously. 

Blog: Buy an original painting at Art for Sale and receive 2 free prints of your choice from my Etsy shop!

EtsyBuy 2 Prints get 1 Free! *Limited Edition prints not included with promotion

Jul 2, 2013

Studio Tour

It's been three months since we moved, three months since I've posted here or sent a newsletter. Time flies when you're having fun! We love our new house, and just this past weekend we had our housewarming party.

This meant I had to finish cleaning up and organizing the studio! I had most of everything in place, and it was functional, but not entirely done. Now, I can say with a huge breath of fresh air, it's done! Here is the promised update of my new art studio.

Drawing Table

Where I like to say the magic happens. Most of the work I do happens in this spot. I really love this new set up and the view I have outside the windows. It's great to have a space filled in full circle around me with all I need. You don't see it in the pictures, but behind where I sit there are two book shelves filled with reference materials and inspiration. My adorable niece Maebry fully enjoys the studio and crayons too.

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Processing & Crafts

One of the spaces lacking in my old studio was a place to process orders. I had a small table in the middle of a small room to do this. Very frustrating, especially when I also needed to use the table to frame and do crafts. Now, I have a fully accessible and spacious spot smack dab in the middle of my studio. Perfect! It's easy to gather together at this table to work. My niece Miya and I now have a place to work on projects, and Brian even joins in every now and then. 

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Office Nook

It's really fantastic when your office space is separate from the creative work station. The distance has kept in me in check from rolling back and forth, taking time away from the drawing table. Again I feel blessed in now having a space for all of the office work and papers, which helps this girl who lacks in the gift of organization to stay organized!

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New Inspiration Board

One of the best parts about this new space is the view. Our backyard is highly active, all...the...time! It's marvelous and I must admit, keeps me from working at times. We have a huge assortment of birds, to which it feels like our yard is the hub for bird nests. Squirrels and chipmunks (which here in Iowa we call squinnies) chase, run, and roll in the grass. And a darling rabbit family with young and highly active bunnies frolicking about and rolling in the dirt. When I first started to settle into the studio I took the bird bath which was out of view and placed it right in front of my studio front of where my drawing table was. This has been the best as I adore watching birds bathe, it's just too darn cute!

Needless to say, I am fully inspired, marveled at the gift I've been given, and in pure delight with the new studio. I continue to mold it, which is so exciting, and I look forward to seeing how it continues to influence my work. See this post to hear more about how it has been inspiring my current work for licensing.

Work in Progress with New Insights

It Begins with Story

After I signed with my licensing agent one of the first things she told me was I had beautiful faces but not enough story. Keep the central figures but explain who they are, what's their purpose, where are they, and what's the story? 

Environments, which tell the story, are hard for me, and I think God knows this. If not I've told Him enough times. When I look outside my studio windows I see His help in this matter.

My stories are about princesses and their interaction with nature; the fairytale love story engulfed with the life here on earth and in heaven, using birds, insects, garden creatures, leaves, flowers, and pattern to share the plot line. 

Applying Story with Work

I never thought my work would have such a structured theme, but it does. I'm in love with birds and leaves together; butterflies and flowers; the little bumblebee humming it's way through a bush; and the bright sunlight that shows all of it! 

God's creation and music, how could I not be in love? But how do I incorporate this into my work?

Originally "Quiet Time"
I haven't quite figured that out yet, but by taking existing works and adding to them has helped. For "Quiet Time" I painted sea life separate on a different sheet and photoshopped them in, adding quite a busy life around her. In "You Are the Sun, I Am the Moon" I drew and painted directly onto the existing piece to tell a story about a princess and her Prince. The story was already there, I just had to find it.

The piece above is definitely an experimentation since I was in the middle of painting it when I signed with the agent. I had the pretty face but no story...again.

Taking what I have learned about my themes and using the inspiration outside, I have decided she is a maiden being presented to her groom for the very first time. So the environment around her must be lush, enchanting, and bright.

I have a long way to go, but it's refreshing to know there's a story to be found and to know I can rest in the confidence of what I've been given to do.

"You Are the Sun, I Am the Moon"

Mar 18, 2013

Studio Move Out

Production in the studio has been slow.
That's not to mention all of the cool stuff that's happening behind the scenes! 
So let me fill you in with one biggie.

We're moving into our first house at the end of March!!

Yep, my husband and I were finally given the gift of buying our first home, and that means packing it all up. The whole month of March has been preparing and packing, and now we're at the tail end called "crunch time".

This also means working in the studio towards art has been placed aside. Artist cap off, homemaker cap on. Although, picking out paint colors has rambled our design heads a bit. ;)

I'm very excited to be moving into our new home, and the new studio (eeee!!!), and I can't wait to show you! Until I can, here is the before and after of my current studio...the after being where it's at today. Just so you can get an idea.

I still have a mini work space for painting and basic office work since we're still in the apartment for two more weeks, but everything else is getting boxed up and ready to haul.

My wee shop is going on vacation Wednesday March 20th until April 15th, that's the longest time on vacation since I opened the shop 5 years ago.

Beginning April 15th thru April 19th everything in the shop will be 35% off to kick off the new studio! Mark your calenders for this sale!

More details will be on Facebook along with sneak peeks of the new studio as I get it all put together.

Want the first peek? The studio is through those doors...

Feb 22, 2013


Well, princesses will have to wait until the fairies fly South for the winter. 

I have been given a new project involving these wonderful wee folk, and it's been quite some time since I have painted them. Almost two years in fact! I think I've done one or two here and there, but not many.

To catch you up to date, here are the new members of the portfolio family. It's been interesting to see how the added styles and techniques I've acquired over the last couple of years is being translated into the fairies.

Update - Current Work in Progress


She's coming along. I bought the Daniel Smith dot sheets again and playing with new colors to determine which ones I want to add to my palette. I really like the black. I'll let you know which ones I choose after the painting is finished.



"Spring Maiden"

After looking through my portfolio of fairies, I realized there were no fairy brides, time for a change!
It's refreshing to get back onto hot pressed paper after a some time on cold pressed.

Feb 1, 2013

Tools of the Trade

Ever wonder what I work with?
I am always curious to see other artists' studios, the tools they use, even down to how they brush the paint on. It fascinates me.

I'm working on a project right now that has forced me to look closer at what I work with and why I work with it.

You can find commentaries on blogs, forums, and Facebook about how one artist will voice their favorite pencil, while another artist in the same field will swear by another brand. Call it the sport of art if you like (I'm sure there's an artist out there with a rabbit's foot).

Most of my tools have a story or memory attached to them. 

The oldest tool I've used every day in the studio is my kneaded eraser.

My dad is an art teacher most of my life, so I grew up with this wonderful tool laying around his art studio coiled up or made into small pyramids. Something to do while thinking or working. I was introduced to it very young.

The next tool oldest to me is a retractable Tuff Stuff! The moment I discovered this eraser years ago I fell in love and haven't gone back. It gets into the little spots and is always a clean erase. I don't go anywhere without it!

My pencils are newer to me. I have worked with mechanical pencils for at least 15 years now, but the one I used as a teenager...well....was great for a teenager.

Two years ago I did some research and tried Pentel GraphGear 500 on a whim. Love them! Great body weight, good lead selection, amazingly priced! The green Pentel is their most standard. Pentel P205...still a great drawing pencil!

Sketchbooks are personal, in every sense, like a diary. I have always favored the large Strathmore or Canson spiralbounds, 9x12 inch. I have several moleskines too that are smaller....and I adore them, but I like space for my hand when I draw, this allows it.

Color Theory wasn't around in the beginning for me, so I just picked colors that worked to my eye. This did not help in finding the best palette for me, or how to lay it out even.

All of my palettes up to several years ago were rectangle and felt rough to me. Nothing progressed fluidly for me, only manageable.

There was a teacher of watercolor where I work (The Des Moines Art Center) who had a round palette out during one of her classes, and I was introduced to the Stephen Quiller Palette. A circle! Imagine color on a wheel!

I took her class, several times, and have since learned how to better use my palette effectively.

The paints I use are a blend of  Daniel Smith and Winsor Newton.  I always have a messy palette, it's cleaned maybe once every two months. I also paint on primarily Arches Hot Press and Cold Press 140lbs. It's a comfortable inbetween weight and their brand is one of the oldest. I'm open to other papers, but I'm a snob about Arches. The brushes? Cotman series 666.

If you know my work you'll notice my use of white. This started in the phase of trying to keep the white of the paper and failing. I taught myself watercolor, so I turned to problem-solving (an illustrator's best trait).

First it was FW liquid acrylic. I would brush it on, but it cakes easily. Nowadays I usually water it down.

The other partner in crime is the white gel pen. Discovered this while watching watercolor videos on YouTube. Genius! I don't think I use the best one, your basic Gelly Roll, but will be ordering a UniBall gel pen and I'm looking forward to seeing how it works!

Last but not least, the infamous indigo colored pencil. 

I started using this prominently last year while working on Tangerine. I was first introduced to Verithin Colored Pencils by Prismacolor a couple of years back. They're fantastic because of the harder lead with less wax. Because I'm not a colored pencil artist, this worked great for sketching!

The indigo was an accident. I was sketching with it, and as I added color (without thinking of the muddiness it could create) I noticed how it's more dulled tone worked. After Tangerine I continued to sketch with it. The hue is attractive to me, mixed with graphite or color. It helps to provide me my shadows.

Although indigo can create mud very quickly (it's not for the inexperienced), it does create a more earthy visual of color hues in the painting. I trust it so much I paint with indigo as well.

I try to sharpen always with a blade so that I don't go through the pencil as fast (taught by my dad), and the electric eraser was a gift to me. Never knew I would have a need of it until I discovered it erases the indigo colored pencil wonderfully!

Do you have a favorite pen or material that you use a bit religiously?

Jan 25, 2013

Original Art For Sale

Looking for the Real Thing?
Purchasing an original is a big deal. 

Not only is the price demanding, but you're investing in something unique, one of a kind, fragile, and ultimately an asset to you and your legacy.

Sounds deep, but art collecting truly is just that.

My goal this year is to make my originals more obtainable to you. Throughout the year you will find them on Facebook in a photo album, here under Art for Sale, and hopefully soon on my website.

The blog is the simplest way to purchase an original. Visit Art for Sale (found at the top of this page), find the piece, and click Purchase.

It goes through Paypal, and if that doesn't work for you, please Email me and we can make an arrangement. If you've ever done business with me, then you know I'll do whatever is in my abilities to make it work for you.

Buying art isn't like buying something from the store, it's an investment...remember? I make that investment too by serving you, getting to know who you are, and if possible check in and see how that piece is working for you and your home.

I also create Custom Work 
If you're interested in owning an original, but don't see one you'd like to purchase simply request a custom piece by visiting my Etsy shop and contacting me through the "Request custom item" link there, or email me.

Please be sure to read these Policies first before you ask for a custom it should answer most of your questions.

New works will be added often, so keep your eye on the Art for Sale page by bookmarking it!

Jan 21, 2013

Featured Art - Midnight Warrior

"I am hidden with Christ in God" - Col. 3:3
"I have not been given a spirit of fear." 2 Tim. 1:7

Title: Midnight Warrior
Size: 4x6
Medium: watercolor, colored pencil

Midnight Warrior is a self portrait of myself - metaphorically. 

Like many masters and artisans from long ago, I throughly enjoy and intend to add symbolism into my work, adding story and insight to my life and my beliefs. 

The mask symbolizes that I am still hidden from my true self, to others, and to God. It reflects that I am still unsure to reveal all of me, to trust God.

The mask is golden, a treasure and symbol of royalty because I am a princess and heir to a heavenly Kingdom

The owl feathers, and suggestive nature of an owl, stands for wisdom. The Holy Spirit is my guide, and through Him I gain wisdom.

The color palette is full of twilight and midnight colors that help me feel strong and filled with His powerful presence

The moon crest and fairy wings has been symbols for me almost 20 years. Starting my spiritual journey as a follower of the goddess in pagan beliefs, the moon crest and fairy wings have become a symbol of my humanity, whereas the sun is a symbol of God. 

work in progress shots

She looks at you not ashamed of who she is, but her body language shows how she is still not trusting of others, not trusting to expose all of her. A warrior in training, hiding in the shadows, learning how to stand firm in His Word.

Find prints for this Featured Art

Jan 8, 2013

Project 2013

With the new studio fitness outline, and new works in progress, there is also new subject matter.

I've been drawing fairies, mermaids, and in recent years, angels, for 20+ years. Although I will probably always create them, they will not be my focus.

I continue to study my art and it's purpose. Why was I given this gift anyways?! It's not like I can go out and hand it to someone at a food pantry, I can't hand it to someone as clothes, I can't save animals through it, I can't change the laws of prostitution and sex-trafficking with my art.....

Or can I?

"Sitting with Angels"
Buy Print Here
I can encourage, strengthen, give love, share hope, and inspire faith through the imagery I choose to draw and paint.

Wow. I mean, what a gift!

The new subject matter for this year is Princess:

prin·cess noun- a non-reigning female member of a royal family. 

What Scripture says:

Romans 8:17
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:16-18

Galatians 3:29
If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:28-29

God is the High King. Heaven (and Heaven on earth) is His Kingdom, Christ is the Prince, our bridegroom. That must mean I'm His Princess...His bride.

I am a princess, so are all of the women of this world. 

I can give the gift of showing you, me, and others what God and Christ sees when He looks upon us. I don't know about you, but there are many days when I look in the mirror and see something dark, dirty, guilty, and unforgivable. That is NOT what God sees.

I hope this year I can share the light and beauty of our soul when it is seen by our King. I thank God that He has given me this gift so that when I draw it, He is telling me "I love you".

PS: This also includes the Warrior Princess in us. More on that later. ;)

Light of Memories - WIP

My newest work in progress (WIP) is in response to the tragic shooting in Connecticut last month.
It hit me deeper than any tragic event outside of my bubble.

It's rare for me to go to the drawing board to create a response visually. I think I rather talk it out, but this time there just weren't any words. I didn't know what to do but stare at the T.V. in disbelief.

As an art teacher I tell my students how important it is that we describe our reactions, thoughts, and views through our art. This is how we communicate, and art in the history of our world has provided many things to the public. Insight, education, opinion, radical change, etc....there's so much art all forms!

I had to make a response as an artist.

I started with a girl, then I decided that I was going to make a twin boy as well. They will be two separate pieces, but meant to be together. My goal is to have them done by March or April. The wings are in question right now.

Would you keep the wings or let these children be human?

Jan 2, 2013

Health in the Studio

I welcome 2013 with open arms and submission. 

Do you ever sit down to plan and organize your work week but find that you enjoy the organizing more than the doing? That's me in a nutshell. It's taken a decade to realize this, but I'm grateful that I have! And this is why 2013 is going to be different!

First my health. Last year was all about my mental health and figuring out my identity. This year it's about my physical health...and that includes stress levels. 

I'm a highly active person, not in the sports or adventurous aspects, but I'm always moving, thinking, and analyzing. Can you relate?

To bring the stress down, I reorganized my studio into "sections". I had this before, but not so broken down. When we move I will break it down even further. I have four sections: Office, Create, Process, and Craft.

Your typical office desk, makes me feel like I am somewhere else other than my home. I have created a place for all of my mail, charity, financials, receipts, and project logs, and so much more. It is be cleared off at the end of the day and no more piles of papers! Everyone has a place. I always have piles and piles of papers that build up...nothing more stressful knowing I have to go through them and then never do. 

This is the happy place, where I create my work. I reorganized adding to the amount of mugs, laying out all my art materials instead of hiding them in drawers. I want to be exposed to the options for creating this year. Notice no chair (must get a stool though). 

My husband, Brian, started a "movement" if you will at his work about standing at your desk while working. He did major study upon it, and now stands all day. His testimony declares how much more he's motivated and energized to work...especially through those grueling afternoon hours. I have always didn't think much on it except to pat him on the back.

I got the 2013 Artist's and Graphic Designer's Market book and there it was! An article about standing in the studio to stay healthy. Well there ya go! I decided to make the move and have found the results quick and awesome. I can definitely work longer hours without becoming tired or even creatively numb. My imagination and creative juices run longer. 

I'm very excited about this, but if you go this route be sure to invest in a stool for frequent short sits (that's a healthy thing to do too), and a padded mat or insoles for your shoes to help your heels get through the change. I use a small step stool to alternate my feet.

I needed a place to process my Etsy orders, make promotional items, or even mat and frame work. It's daunting to place a table in the middle of my small studio, but necessary. It hasn't gotten in the way yet! 

Part of my office desk problem last year was the use of office work slash processing. It got cluttered very fast, I felt like I was working in a box that was too small, and I was suffocating without knowing it. This has been extremely helpful!

I am a collector of all decorative papers, and with my little side hobbies of jewelery, bird houses, ornaments, etc., I needed a place to store all of it. A small little section of my studio is devoted to this, and I'm happy to say it's a piled up mess, but thankfully it can stay that way. 
All of the crafts were getting lost in my art materials, and it became frustration overload. Amazing what a small little change can do!

Caffeine and Sleep
The amount of caffeine I take in has changed, instead of consuming all the way up to when I go to bed, I cut off no later than 4pm.

Sleep is hard for me to get enough of, but my hope is with the stress levels low and the calm of knowing that the Lord has my life in His hands, I will be able to get the rest needed. Getting to bed before midnight is a change that has started for the best. A goal to get 6 hours minimum. 

What do you think of these changes? 
Have you heard of any of these before?
What are you doing differently this year?