Redeeming the time

Be wise with your time. Instead of being on your smartphone while you wait, do something productive. You never know how much time you have.

While I was waiting for my car to be serviced yesterday, I started sketching a bird from a photo taken by my talented friend Hannah (you can find some of her beautiful photography here). As I say, I started sketching, but as time went on and my car wasn’t finished, I kept refining the sketch. Soon the sketch graduated to the status of ‘drawing.’ By the time I got home I was able to put in about 20 more minutes to finish it up. Then I slapped it in a frame and Shazam! Wall art!

I think I’ll offer it for sale at the Artwalk in my town this weekend. If no one buys it, I like it well enough that I’ll put it on my own wall.

So there you go. Time not wasted.IMG_4730

Thank you Franklin Elementary!

This Friday, I spent a lovely morning with the approximately 75 third-graders of Franklin Elementary during their library time. The students had already gone through a series of projects and lessons planned and organized by Franklin’s Rock Star Librarian (the principal’s own words, and I agree!) about the genres and production of books. They had created some wonderful book covers for one of their projects. The students had intelligent questions and demonstrated well the book knowledge they acquired.  I told them about my own processes for creating characters and illustrating stories and really enjoyed my time.

Thank you Franklin Elementary for the wonderful visit!Franklin Elementary 2017.jpg

Cover Reveal for Little Mouse

I’m very pleased to introduce the cover for my next book project! Little Mouse Finds a Friend, by Jeni Leidenfrost, is slated to be published at the end of August by Jovial Press. After several years of tweaking the text and painting and painting (and repainting), Jeni and I are excited to get Little Mouse and his family and friends into your hands. Keep an eye out for more announcements in September!

Little Mouse Finds a Friend cover White_SM_no boarder.jpg

Signs of spring

I want it to be spring. I really do. Where I live, our winter was full of deep snow, then some melting, then some ice, then snow on top of ice, then several people I know breaking arms. Seriously. About three. (Okay, technically that’s ‘a few’ and not ‘several’)


So here’s some signs of spring painted by myself, soon to appear in a picture book by Jeni Leidenfrost: Little Mouse Finds a Friend. It’s a sweet little story. But what I like most about it right now, is that there’s a lot of green in it. And not so very much of the white stuff…

Why can’t Little Mouse find Caterpillar?

Finding the perfect Christmas tree

We drive up to the big red barn at Spring Valley Family Tree Farm and we’re greeted by three friendly Christmas goats visiting from Meadowlark Heritage Farm. One has a big red clanking bell around it’s neck and a reindeer horn headband. We walk into the barn and smell cinnamon sugar and sweet batter in hot oil. There is a donut cart to our right frying up fresh donuts. On the left is a wreath display and a pretty girl playing a keyboard and singing Christmas carols. At the side of the barn, outside the door to the Christmas shop, there is complementary cocoa, coffee, cookies, and candy canes. We open the door to the shop and see lovely Christmas decorations and cards and locally made soaps and jewelry.

I’m here to drop off some of my art to sell in the shop. My girls and I spy the display where they have the book I illustrated already for sale. Nearby there are some cute snowman decorations made from tree limbs. One of them reminds us of Granddad, so we buy that one for Grandma. The smiling girl behind the counter tells us that her mom made the snowmen and she painted their faces. Soon we are stirring up hot cocoa and admiring the fresh smelling Christmas trees. We see one we like. The branches are strong for heavy ornaments and the needles are short and not too prickly. The lady who owns the tree farm tells us what kind it is.

Can we get it? It is too tall for our house.

The nice man in the Carhartt jacket show us where in the fields we can find one like it only smaller. He gives us a santa hat to put on top of the tree we pick so the young man with the four wheeler and chainsaw can find it. Some families have brought their own saw to cut down a tree. They drag it back to the barn together on a tarp to keep it from getting muddy. We didn’t wear very good shoes for dragging trees, so the young man with the cowboy hat cuts it down and brings it to the barn where we pay for it.

Our tree is perfect. We are so thankful for our fun time at the Christmas tree farm!img_3854