Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Merry

Merry Christmas Everyone!
This was the sweet and gentle tableau this morning at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver. I adjusted the photo in elements to conceal identities. It sort of looks like stained glass don't you think?

And Google has been playing with some of my previous winter photos and I rather like the snow.

This nativity scene could use some sparkling stars I think. I wonder if Google has any stars hanging around?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Fun

Countdown to Christmas! I may not have a tree to decorate this year, but I can use my imagination.
I have often wondered why we don't have little strings of lights to enhance umbrellas and make drivers aware of pedestrians on rainy winter days and dark nights.

Friday, December 20, 2013

White Christmas almost.

We don't often get snow in Vancouver. By the time tomorrow arrives it will be gone. But this morning it was the White Christmas of the song by Byng Crosby. But only for today. Of course I took my camera and captured a couple of photos. When I look at this tree now I see a goddess form with arms raised. My imagination runs away with me at times.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

At Play With Text

 Tagzedo is fun to play with. It looks complicated but it is easy, free to use and fun. Just remember to save your creations with a name to you computer.

Saturday, December 07, 2013


Playing with an APP called Percolator.
From an old drawing.

And I thought I'd post a link to my Pinterest board.
Lots of ideas and inspiration for making art with kids from many sources.

My Pinterest Board

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Percolated Pansies

I've been playing today with an APP for iPad called Percolator. I took some of my older designs and gave them a whole new look. This is addictive and I know the thrill of this will wear off. But for now, I had the good fortune to have some time to play today. A nice break.

Top is original watercolor which was painted on letter size watercolor paper.
Next is the original design painted in Painter with white lines..
Bottom is the image adjusted in Percolator. This is so addicting! If you click the cursor hand on the bottom one you can see it large on the screen. Magical Circles.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


My notebook is now filled with 30 ideas for picture books. My brain is slightly fried. My plan to also draw sketches every day for thirty days was a little over enthusiastic. But at least I managed PiBoIdMo and I am not going to kick myself for not keeping up in the drawing department. At least now I have a bunch of tiny ideas and perhaps once I start to doodle a few of the characters with settings something will bloom and grow into a picture book. And that was the purpose for all the participants I think.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Trying Here!

I am taking part in Picture Book Idea a Day Month. PiBoIdMo. This is not easy. I have only twenty ideas in my notebook. I have to add ten more picture book ideas to make it up to thirty by the end of this month. Yikes. The end is almost here!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Crazy Week

It has been a week of unexpected treats. Lunches and coffee with friends and at the same time I have been taking part in Picture Book Idea Month writing. There have been wonderful posts each day from children's book writers and illustrators with many links leading to many resources for writers.
Aside from PiBoIdMo, and since I will be working with young students next year, I've been trying out an inexpensive APP called Drawing Pad. This APP comes with many brushes but my absolute favorite is the rainbow selection for drawing.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Grumpy Man

The Grumpy Man.
I thought I'd post him today.
I am plugging away with PiBo writing while attending to chores and responsibilities today like laundry and groceries and my little dog seems to have an infection in one eye. Fortunately I have some medication that is helping her but I still might need to take her to the vet.

Here's some really bad poetry. A result of PiBoIdMo. OK. You can laugh at me. But hey. I am trying here. I never meant to write a rhyme. I know rhyme is not really acceptable or in demand. But what the heck. It is only an exercise. Inspired by a man who always passes me when I walk my dog. He never says hello. He never gives eye contact. He even walks far around us as if he hates harmless little dogs. He actually has the body language of someone who hates us with a vengeance. I always pick up after Maggie so he has no reason to hate us. So here is my bad poem.

Gordon Grump

Gordon Grump was a nasty mean fellow.
He slithered like a snake and his teeth were orange yellow.
Some folks said he ate too many pickles.
 Some folks said he hoarded his nickles.

Gordon Grump, you didn't want to meet.
He never took a bath.
He had the smelliest of feet.
He had a wife who loved him but he was just too grumpy.
She left him for a cheery chap named Fred.

Gordon Grump lived all alone, forgotten and more grumpy.
He never cooked or made his bed.
His mattress was all lumpy.
He ate dandelions in the lane and worms from the compost.
And when in the end he died in a dump they said it was sad about poor Gordon Grump.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Day Two

Today was a rain day in Vancouver. But I wrote down five sheets of ideas for picture books and titles. I also managed to do another edit for story I have been working on for two years. Today I also joined a sketch a day in November group. I missed day one but on this day two I am going to post a digital sketch on today's RAIN theme. I worked on it after supper tonight while the rain poured down outside. My little dog is so bored but she is being a trooper and putting up with me. As I look at this now I think I forgot to add rain. Woops!

The PiBoIdMo group is such a treat. Writers on the PiBo facebook page keep sharing great ideas and website resources for writing and generating ideas such as Scholastic resource for elementary school writers. This is fun for adults too.
Also Writing prompt generator

I added rain. There are some days like today when I love digital painting.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Day 1 of PiBoIdMo

This is day one of the Picture Book Idea A Day in November month. This morning while walking Maggie a few kernels of ideas popped into my head. Things that might get me started are things like the sour faced gentleman who I often see in the neighborhood and who never gives eye contact and who always looks grumpy and who passed us by looking irritated once again. And there was the squirrel collecting bits between oak leaves, and then he chased away a grey squirrel and I tried to get a photo but they were too fast for my camera. And there is also the question of the crows that usually follow us along. Where are the crows? So this is a beginning and here we go. I will now sit down with my little spiral notebook and I promise myself I will write. Wish me well please. I am not sure I can actually do this.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The CARD Arrived!

Last Monday there was a delivery to my door of four boxes of UNICEF cards and on the front of each box is the image of children playing on ice. It is the design that I spent so many hours working on last winter far into the night and early morning hours of January. I had no expectations of winning but I pushed myself to keep on with it and now I am so glad I followed through. I thought I'd post a photo here so that you can share in this. Whew! Who knew UNICEF and Hallmark would actually like my work and choose it as a winner. I am thrilled about this. What an honor to think that a design I created will be sold in Hallmark stores across the USA and Canada to earn money for children in need around the world.
This box design is the Canadian version. I think the US box won't have the red maple leaf representing Canada. I think they will be in stores after October 21 or so. I feel so grateful to Hallmark and to UNICEF for liking my design. It's almost like having a book published. Not quite the same. Yet it is a  similar feeling and it has made my heart flutter a little bit with happiness this week.
The boxes are solid and beautiful and the cards are beautifully printed. I am totally thrilled. I keep having happy dance moments. For me this is a sort of miracle. I always wanted to design a Hallmark card but as far as I knew there was no way. EVER. Since I am Canadian. But here is the miracle. It did actually happen. So off I go dancing about my little place with Maggie my Shih Tzu and she is also dancing around me and trying not to get stepped on.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Spooky Halloween Video

Here is another attempt to post a little Halloween Video I made last year for my five year old grandson and nephew. I posted the VIMEO link in a previous post but it seems the link does not work for everyone. So I thought I'd try to post it directly here on the blog. I drew the characters with my Wacom tablet using the free online drawing tool Scribbler Too by Mario Klingemann. Then in Photoshop Elements I colored some of the drawings lines using a little trick I learned. And I reversed most of the drawings.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Spooks and Scary Things

I think it is time again for spooks and scary things. So I'm posting my scary Halloween video from last year. Hehehehehehe. Now where did I put my broom and pointy hat?
The link is HERE.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Little Flip and a Little Boom

I thought I'd put together a few clips of simple animation exercises I have created while trying to figure out how to use  Flip Boom Doodle which is a lovely little animation program for young people from Toon Boom. When clips are linked together in a separate movie editor software one can add music and titles and effects.When saving, one can convert the clips to mpeg or movie files. It is reasonably inexpensive. It has it's limitations but the program is solid and fun to play with. I am thinking about working with children and what might be possible using basic shapes and simple lines.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A List

I thought I'd drop in with a post since it's been a while now. What have I been up to? Does anybody care? Probably not. But I thought I'd list some of the things that have been happening even if it is just to document the days.
1. Two weeks ago I went out and bought a carpet cleaning machine and I've got to admit if feels really good to know I have blasted grunge out of my carpet and sent it down the drain. And now my carpets are spotless. Feels good.
2. With cooler temperatures in the days now, I  have found more energy.
3. I'm on a fifth revision of a new children's picture book idea and I think it is beginning to work. It may even work as a chapter book or a graphic novel style story. My friend, writer Elizabeth Lute of Enderby has been helping me with a few edits and suggestions and I find the feedback so helpful.
4. I now know what a 1932 Chevrolet looked like
5. I found out information about Mr. Charles Atlas and his exercise program, information related to my book project research.
6. I have been accepted into the Artist In Residence Program with the Vancouver School Board for 2014 which is a surprise to me but I am very excited about it.
7. Today I attended a presentation by a poet JonArno Lawson out at the university and afterwards I enjoyed a sushi lunch with a long time teacher poet friend Avis Harley.
8. Today was a lovely sunny autumn day of perfect weather and the city is green and lush after last week's rain.
9. Oh!... and last week my computer's hard drive ground to a halt and I had to take it in for repair and the good news is Paul, the fine technician at London Drugs was able to save all my precious files and also installed a new two Terabyte drive which is much better for all I do with graphics and animation experiments than my old 500 Gig drive.
There it is. Things are moving along.
The photo above was taken a number of years ago when I was presenting book talks to elementary school  children in school libraries.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Package

Yesterday Fedex buzzed my door and a cheerful fellow handed me a large white package.

Inside is what they call a 'flat' of the final card design with a winner seal attached and signatures of the Hallmark group. The card will be sold across the USA and Canada after October 21 in box sets of twelve cards to benefit UNICEF produced by Hallmark.
So now I am going to look for a frame and I'm now looking forward to receiving packages of the finished cards. They should arrive around the end of October. The wonderful people at Hallmark promised to send me twelve boxes of twelve cards with my design of children skating in each box. What a treat! I am so excited.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

A Thirty Second Animation

August was a fan appreciation month on the Hallmark fan page. One was to submit a 30 second video on the theme of Love Grows Here. I have posted my little animation to Vimeo and I am waiting to see if it stands a chance at being considered in the running.
The video is posted HERE.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Old Videos

Over the past two weeks my attention has been focused on trying to create a 30 second video to enter into the Hallmark Fan Appreciation challenge this month. My idea was to gather up some old photos and videos of the family to start experimenting in order to see what happened as the clips came together.
I ended up becoming aware of all the videos I have taken in the past with an outdated camera. The project pulled me into nostalgia and I have to say I have a new appreciation for my actions at that time. My family never liked being on camera but I persevered and now I have quite a collection of birthday parties and grand children's piano concerts. These of course are completely personal and I doubt anyone other than family would have any interest in this. But I loved spending time looking at these clips. For example, seeing my bright and handsome grandson at twelve is a delightful treat because he is now a six foot young man with a whole new sense of self confidence, and he is soon to be off to university.
After putting together three 30 second shorts and after choosing one that seems to work best I am waiting for approval from the family to post it to the challenge on Vimeo. But I am not hearing back and I have a feeling they won't approve of going into the cyberspace world. I perfectly understand, so my little video on the theme of 'LOVE GROWS HERE' will probably never be posted. In the meantime the process of going through family memories has been absolutely lovely.
And in between editing I doodled more with Art Rage rainbow beads for fun so I could have some visuals to post here to perk the blog up a bit in case anyone comes by. LOL. Thank you dear readers whoever you are.

And at play with a hairy brush in Art Rage.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

More Silly

I give myself permission to play for a while. It has been far too hot around here lately. Even my dog Maggie can't cope. But today it rained! Beautiful and blessed rain! What relief. I decided to post some junk drawings because I had fun drawing with the rainbow effect line brush with Art Rage. Maybe I will start a new Free To Play blog.
Note: Art Rage is also available for iPad. It doesn't have the 'rainbow' brush but it does have a variety of great digital brushes.
I am not trying to sell anything. I just take so much pleasure in these digital toys for artists to paint with. They are a great way to break out of artists' block. At least I hope so.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Tired and Silly

My Irises have gone to seed. I ruined it with too much line work. So instead of being totally depressed about messing up, I took the irises into the digital world using Art Rage just for fun. Then I started to play and doodle with a rainbow brush I discovered which gives one a feeling of decorating fabric with tiny pearls. Then I got silly. But I think it is OK today. To be silly. Just for today.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Today I made myself get out my paints and brushes. It is strange to say, but I feel better now. At least I painted. It is a start.
Stage one
Reference photo and stage two

Stage four...I am still working on it.