Thursday Work in Progress

Every new year, i try my best to get on a regular blogging schedule. Historically, i fall apart somewhere along the line and let myself get bogged down in deadlines. BUT!! Try, try again, i say. : ) So here is an easy peasy thursday post. WORK IN PROGRESS! How hard can that be to maintain, right? There always seems to be a work in progress around this joint.

This one is a 36×36 acrylic that is due tomorrow…..well, its closeup is due tomorrow. It’s my signature piece for a juried show i’m doing in April and the show coordinators need photos of every participant’s work for their catalog by tomorrow. Can you say, procrastination? Yep. i can.

i’ve had an idea in my head all winter break for some new paintings that would incorporate subtle tonalities of darks and lights (black/navy/charcoal/smoke and white/buff/cream/cement) with my love of brights and neons. i didn’t know how it would all come together. i figured i’d experiment on the canvas and see what happened. The image above is the result of 3 frustrating sessions. i was actually doing that thing i’ve read about where artists work out their issues on the canvas – ha!

i loved the idea, felt hopeful at my beginning stages, hated the whole darn thing for about 4 hours….pushed through…..had a spark of inspiration….and now the paint and i are getting along again.  i think it’s finally headed in the right direction. I’m calling it (and the 3 smaller companion pieces that i’ll also submit) “Paper Chains.” It just jumped out at me and now i am in love with the concept.

Funny how that happens.

For me, if every painting isn’t my “new favorite” while i’m painting it, i’m not happy. So far, so good! Fingers crossed! Hopefully more back-to-back NCIS episodes will be similarly inspiring for me tonight as i finish : )

i will be sure to post the lil babies, and whole dang Paper Chain family when they are all done and cozy together.

Kids Art Collaboration

A couple months ago, i put a shout out on my facebook page asking for some kiddos to try out a collaboration idea i had. i got a few takers and embarked on a sort of “art pen pal” project. What happened next was maybe the best experience in my art business so far. SO much joy and experimentation and fulfillment and surprise.

Basically, i mail out a blank canvas to each participant with some simple instructions, examples and tips about how i like to work. But i also encourage the kids to experiment and am sure to tell them “there is no wrong way.” Then i wait for the white canvases to come back to me with color! It’s like christmas when i see a manila envelope in the mailman’s hand!

Here is an example (left) of Layer 1 as it was sent back by one child (actually 3 siblings) and then the layer i added for my part (right). i then mailed the canvas back with more instruction and examples for round 2. Below (left) you see the kids’ next stage painting with their doodles added. Then (right) you see how i finished it off with a few of my own doodles and some colored in areas. i mailed the final back to the kids with my signature on the back and encouraged them to sign their names on the front or sides of the canvas, That’s it!

The whole process has been such great fun for me and getting to be part of an artistic journey with kids is so rewarding. Some of the moms have told me the kids feel nervous at first to “ruin” it all. But i hope they come away with the confidence to realize that they can’t possibly ruin their own art. Any mark they make speaks to their own creative eye and hand. It’s authentic and so (to me) it is good!! i’ve gotten such a variety of color combos, shapes and forms back. Some paintings feature neat, tidy brush strokes and some are made with wild abandon. It is just so awesome to see.

Here are some more in-progress images that have been coming out of this project.

The above is stage 2 and completion….

This one is stage 1 from my kiddo collaborator and then my additions – all ready to be shipped back through the mail.

…another stage 1 then my additions all ready for my partner to tackle stage 2.

…one last example of how they look when they first arrive back to me and then go back out for step 2.

In the course of creating these artworks, my wheels started turning, and one day i had a shower idea. Do you get all your best ideas in the shower? What is it? The smell of shampoo? The steam? Aaaaaaanyway, i thought; wouldn’t it be great to sell prints of the finished art in my etsy shop and contribute the proceeds to other kids? Maybe kids at CHOP? or a local arts program?

Kids helping kids through art!! AGHHHH!!! Do you love it!?

Of course, the kids would have to all give a thumbs up. i would never sell their work without permission or recompense. But the few i polled so far all seemed on board. So, when i have a collection of completed works in hand, i will be calling around to find a cause that will be a perfect fit. Oh happy day : )

For more information on these collaborations, take a look at the listing in my etsy shop! Or just follow along and try collaborating with your kiddos at home! You don’t need me! Trust me. You will surprise yourself and your kids will get a confidence boost times a jillion.

xo, s


inspired by kids

i have been working on a painting for a charity auction (with a little help from from my toddler) these past couple weeks. Specifically, it’s a painting for The Please Touch Museum of Philadelphia and their annual Great Friends to Kids Fundraising event. Kids are my heart. i always want to help. i always cry watching videos and reading stories about kids who are surviving against insurmountable odds and teaching us all how to get some perspective already! Right?

When in doubt….think like a kid and have joy like one.

These shots are in-progress, late-night : ) But when completed…i’ll post a lovely daylight shot : )


Major Catch-Up

SO much has happened since my last post.

Had lots of doctor visits. Had 2 bouts of sick kiddos and one LONG round of sick mommy. Threw 2 surprise parties on consecutive weekends. (Pic above from my folks’ 40th wedding anniversary with my siblings and their spouses.) Created new art for my very first application to a large juried art show. Tried my best to create some new illustrations. Fridge broke. Central AC died. Pulled out about 1/8th of my hair and chewed my fingernails down to the nubs. Hubby (and i) survived a crazy month of random-lots-of-overtime-and-weekend-hours schedule. C started first grade-all day. (sniff*)

And we heard a tiny little heartbeat for the very first time. : )

And that’s just the highlights!

Here is a little visual diary of some of the above.

Free Printable post on Lil Blue Boo

PEAPOD – 24×30 x1.5″ – $425 on etsy

BUBBLEBATH – 36x36x1.5″ – $995 on etsy

Kids Book mock-up illustration

Sneak Peek of logo in progress

Digital Art

PRINCESS MONSTER – 8×8 print – $18 on etsy

3-RING CIRCUS – 36x36x1.5″ – $995

BALLERINA – 36x36x1.5″ – $995

SING – 16x16x1.5″ – $495

C on his First Day of First Grade (double sniff*) : )

Peace out!



settling in

After a few weeks of living in limbo between 2 workspaces here in our house, i am finally all in one room. Studio and office spaces melded into one, with attached bathroom (read: brush-cleaning sink!). i hope this will make me so much more productive with everything i need organized in one spot.

But i might be even happier that my family now has my old office space to use as a den/computer room/reading room, and the boys have my old basement painting space to use for all kinds of messy crafts! Now THAT makes me smile ear to ear. Being spread out was starting to make me feel like i was taking up the whole house!

The above painting is the first one i’ve started since we got everything in place back here.

Here are some progress shots of the space if you like that sort of thing : ) i will repost purdier photos once curtains and pictures are hung and all the finishing and wire-hiding is complete.


productive days creating

Nothing can put an actual, noticeable spring in my step as much as a super-productive day of creating….even better when some of the hours are billable, right? : ) On days like that, i sorta feel like the stars are aligned, and everything will be alright with the world. i’ve got glitter under my nails by bedtime (hopefully the kids didn’t eat any with their lunch?!), and i’ve got a big stupid grin on my face.

i had one of those days yesterday. It was so needed.

i was so grateful for it.

Half client work that miraculously hit zero snags, and half creating artwork for my shop and fun projects. Do you guys also have that magical recipe? that perfect storm of little things that add up and make you feel so happy and content just to BE?  The kind of day that makes you feel like a good night’s sleep is on its way? i’m so interested to hear….for real-real! i swear, sometimes it just a day of sunshine and breezes that can do it! Or a day when the baby sleeps soundly during his nap and the house is peaceful for a bit. AH, the little things!

Anyway! Here are a few little tidbits of what yesterday’s creative sessions entailed…

~ a new print for the etsy shop

~ and the start of some sketching for the next in that same series

~ a bit of sketching for a commisioned t-shirt design

~ and little sliver of a peek at some free, BOY-FRIENDLY art you’ll be able to download over at Lil Blue Boo.

Hope you all had a great day too, and more of the same today!


Yay for Productivity!

Nothing like the sun streaming through the studio window on a sunday afternoon. Endless possibilities. This is such a beautiful sight to me.

Every weekend i swear i will catch up on overdue work and get some fresh new artwork done.

Every weekend flashes by in the blink of an eye and i come up short.

But this weekend, for some reason….i got it ALL done??? …and then some. So that meant that i could spend some time this lovely sunday afternoon being creative.

i’ve been keeping a little secret. i was contacted by an artist/author whom i consider to be pretty. darn. great. and she asked if i wanted to be part of her upcoming Blog Book Tour! Wow! Yay! (Once my very wet-behind-the-ears-in-the-world-of-publishing self came to understand what that was, i was stoked!) Essentially, she’ll be guest posting on popular creative blogs all over the web in the coming weeks talking about the launch of her new book, offering tips and tricks. interviews, videos and the like. Its a press junket that doesn’t require leaving your couch.

Turns out that this artist is about to roll out her own doodle book this month and thought we could partner on some fun press opportunities!!

Now, this is the part where i get all soft and squishy thinking of how many beautiful people i’ve met since embarking down this road toward my dream of being a full-time artist. i have found this community to be so giving, so willing to help. Nobody is looking to hog all the limelight and i have yet to meet a fellow artist who has been anything but amazingly generous.

Anyway, i’m still going to keep the full details under wraps a tad longer, but i thought i’d post some little tidbits from this first collaborative project we are working on together. i got to do Phase 1, then pass my work off to her for Phase 2, then i get it back for round 3 and …you get the idea. i can’t wait to see what develops! Happy Sunday!