Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas

Even though it is the day after, I feel it's only the beginning of celebrating the twelve days of Christmas to honor the birth of Jesus.

To me, it's sad to see the lights and decorations disappear so quickly after all the effort in preparing for this celebration.  It should go on until the Feast of the Magi who arrived to pay Him homage, and my lights will remain bright until then.  It's so depressing when taking down the tinsel and lights that warm the cold winter days, and being left with the bleak darkness of the coming winter weeks of hibernation.  I will have to keep myself occupied with my painting and cardmaking until the robins appear once more. 

I know it's been a while since I've added to this blog as it's been such a busy time with all the holidays arriving at the end of the year.  And, for me, it's such a chore to take photos or have something of interest to show on this blog.  But, perhaps now as I hibernate at home during these cold winter weeks, I'll find some time to visit with you.   So today I'll once again share with you some of my paintings of sunny landscapes to warm our winter hearts.

"Taos Mountainside" is a plein aire pastel painting made during a workshop in Taos, NM with Lorenzo Chavez, the noted western pastelist.  It brings fond memories of a beautiful October day on that mountainside.

 "Nature's Paintbox" is another pastel painting done from a photo of this beautiful desert sight in Bakersfield, CA and done as a gift to my sister, Lorraine, who lives in Pittsburgh, hometown.

"Cannes Sunset" was a pastel painting from a photo taken of this beautiful sight while on a Mediteranian cruise along the coast of Italy, Sicily, Spain and France, a most unforgettable trip.

Just seeing these paintings again makes me feel a bit warmer on this cold winter night with snowshowers outside.

I'll leave you now with these warm sights, until next time...and do come back!

Best wishes for the approaching new year.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Painting Gallery

Thanks to everyone that left such wonderful comments about those first paintings I posted last month.  It always is encouraging to hear praises and is appreciated, but I'd also appreciate hearing what you might not have liked about one, or suggestions on a change.  I'll be posting them periodically here in my corner studio as it is a motivator to have a "gallery" to show one's work.

What have I been painting lately, you ask? Well, seems like whatever inspires me and at the moment I have a goal to enter some miniature paintings into a few exhibitions around the country. My favorite of them this year is the Alaskan scene below that I sketched from a friend's photo, and it's done in oil on a tiny canvas.  It's been accepted for the MSPGS juried show, 77th Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature at the Strathmore Mansion in Bethesda, MD.

Denali Park, Alaska - Oil on canvas - 3 x 3

I was so happy with the way it turned out (though my photo could be better) and decided to try enlarging it to an 11 x 14.  I'm being brave enough to show you this work-in-progress below (ugh!)

This didn't go so well, and in fact, I set it aside for a while, and then tackled it again after scrubbing out a good portion of it. Oils are not my favorite medium as they take so much time, and I'm a very slow painter. I keep setting it aside and work at it between others that are works-in-progress.  However, I want to share this unfinished piece with you anyway to get your comments, and it will spur me on to finish it sometime soon, I hope.
Here's another miniature that turned out pretty well and I thought was worth an entry in the Miniature Art exhibit at the Art Gallery of Fells Point, Baltimore, MD. 
Surreybrook Gardens 
Pastel  2-1/2 x 3-1/2  

These gardens are designed as part of a local retail nursery here in Frederick and a beautiful place to visit.  I painted this miniature after I had done an 11 x 14 oil of the same scene.  I had entered the larger oil painting into the exhibit at Art in the Mill in Berryville, VA  last week, and it was sold.
By the way, have to mention that the paintings shown in this blog are originals and copyright protected, so am only displaying them here in my Corner Studio for you  ..... a gallery of sorts since they are for sale (if not so marked).  Just let me know if you have any comments or questions about any of them.

I'll be showing more of my recent work in the coming weeks, and I hope you'll check back to see them.    Plus, am now busily working on some handmade holiday cards to send to Operation Write Home (OWH) for the deployed troops.  Here's a few that I just mailed off to OWH.
I think that's enough for now, as I must get back to making more holiday cards that are urgently needed to ship soon.  There's also a big need for the handwritten letters to Any Hero that are included with every box of cards shipped to the troops.  Just go to the OWH website for info if you would also like to help.

Thanks for visiting here....and come back soon as I promise to have more to share with you.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Winner!

Just had to share the news, as am not used to winning anything.  However, my entry below for the Stamps R Us Kids Birthday Card Challenge #4 made me a winner of the prize, courtesy of Laura.  

So, it is possible and will now spur me on to try entering more challenges.
See you there!?


Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday's Catch-up Challenge

Hello again!

I didn't get a chance to case one of Kate's lovely cards shared as the Featured Cardmaker on September 3rd, so am glad I can enter it now for Monday's challenge:

Also, finally got around to making the Any Hero card to post for the Any Hero cardmaking party sponsored by Eat Cake Graphics, which I'll do today since it's not too late for that one.  The image is from a set of free digis provided to OWH by the Stamping Boutique.

Really do have some catching up to do now, as there's still the pink birthday card to make for sketch #33.  The image is from Indadinkado's clear stamp set of Beautiful Fairies. 

And last but not least, finally got to make the birthday card for OWH using
a free digi of the birthday chef from Sherry that is so cute.

There's more catch-up to do on these challenges and  I hope to get to a few more of them before the end of the month.  They are certainly keeping all of us busy this month creating these cards for OWH to send to our heroes.  Time well spent for a great cause!  Will be back again soon, and hope to see you here next time.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

OWH Birthday Bash

Heard there's a party going on, right?  So, I'm back again to join in on the big Birthday Bash at Operation Write Home.  I haven't been around for a while as, for me, it seems difficult to do very often since I'm still learning about this blogging thingie and it takes me too long to decide what to tell you, then to take the photos that I want to share, and post them here, etc. 

Since it's been such a sweltering summer in these parts, I've been hibernating with my A/C going full blast.  Have lots to keep me from going stir-crazy, not only with my painting, but also devoting evenings to making cards for our heroes and sending them to an Operation Write Home (OWH) shipper to forward on to one of the military units.

This month of September already has been quite a busy one, especially with the big Birthday Bash going on at OWH during the entire month.  There are daily challenges for cards to create for our heroes, with many prizes being offered if the cards are published in a blog and linked to OWH or one of the many sponsors.  This is all so new to me, but I want to join the party with at least a few of the challenges.  So, I'll start by showing you the one I created for the Stamps R Us challenge for a child's birthday card using Elizabeth Dulimba's cute digital stamp of a birthday bear. 
You might like to try it yourself, as even if you are not a card maker, there's a great video here that will lead you through the process of making a simple card. Who knows, you might enjoy trying this, and join the rest of us crafters for this wonderful cause.

I did manage to meet another challenge for the Mid-Week Throwdown to create a happy Halloween card, and here's what I came up with.  This little owl is a Studio G clear stamp.

Well, I have to say I've been busy trying to catch up on a few of these challenges, cause here's another that I managed to do for sketch #34 that was to be a thank you card with yellow in it.

Last but not least, I also met the Family Challenge by Ciara, the OWH mascot.   My talented daughter, Sandy, did some great sketches of Ciara for digital stamps that were free for use in making cards for OWH, and I used this cute one of Ciara sitting beside her snow buddy. 

I think that's about all for now, but I'm on a roll here this weekend, and hope to meet a few more challenges that I'll post later.  Am so glad we have until the end of the month to keep creating lots of cards for our heroes.

Thanks for stopping by today, and hope you'll return again to see more in my little corner studio. 


P.S.  Forgot to mention when I wrote the above, that my thoughts and prayers were with all that were affected by the 9/11 disaster.  We should never forget those that were lost to us and the heroes that resulted from it.  May the Lord bless them all. 

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Christmas Cards for Our Heroes

As cardmakers, I think we all know that now is the time to get ready for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, not only for our personal card use, but to send to the troops overseas, which requires extra time for the mail to get to them, and for them to write and send the cards home.   The mid-week throwdown challenge at OWH this week is Christmas in July and was a great idea, as well as a nice cooling thought during this hot summer.  Here's the first card to get me rolling:

If you didn't see last week's tutorial on paper punch characters, you have to check it out as it is a lot of fun to work with.   I got the hang of making Elmo, Grover, and Big Bird, and decided to try other cutout shapes.  Here's two that turned out pretty cute, I thought, and plan to send them  along to OWH for a hero to send to his kids.

While I'm on this roll today, want to continue getting some Halloween cards made as well to send to Dixie soon as the Sept. 20th due date is not far off,  and I know the shippers like to get them earlier if possible. 
Thanks for stopping by, and do come back in the next couple days as I'll have some more paintings to show you that I've been working on. 
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


If you've been looking for the next edition here, I'm finally getting around to it, and appreciate that you are visiting here again.

As I mentioned before, I've been busy during the day trying to get some paintings done to submit in upcoming shows, and evenings I try to get a few cards made for Operation Write Home.  But it's slow going as this has been a record hot summer in these parts, and seems to make me drag my feet, if you know what I mean.  However, I do want to share with you some good news.  I recently exhibited two paintings with our local art association in the Mary Condon Hodgson Gallery at the community college here, and learned that one of them SOLD! Here's a glimpse of it for you to see.   

Along the Riverbed, a 9x12 pastel.
This scene was painted from a reference photo given to me to use by my artist friend, Gail S., after her trip to Acadia National Park last fall.  The colors were so spectacular and were the only inspiration I needed.
Now if anyone is wondering just what is pastel, I'd like to explain that contrary to what many think, it is
NOT CHALK.  Pastels are a pure pigment hand shaped into sticks, from hard to soft,  for direct application to Canson paper, Wallis or hardboard sanded support that helps to hold many pastel  layers.  Pastels originated many years ago among the master painters and their works have endured over the years as well as any oil painting.  It is a very fragile medium  which  must be framed under glass when completed,  without any fixative as it tends to darken the colors.  It lost its popularity with the advent of newer mediums, but the past few years has found a resurgence among artists.   It is my preferred medium these days.
You can learn more about pastels from a blog by the  renowned pastelist,   Richard McKinley as well as in The Pastel Journal .
Below is the other painting I entered which wasn't sold but I'll show you my abstract side anyway.

Untitled, a 6x6 acrylic abstract. 
This was a fun painting that I did a year or so ago after taking a class with C.Edward Ramsburg, a genius in handling the paint and a great instructor.  I've had several of his sessions now, trying to get myself into this mode of painting to loosen up my realistic painting style. 

As easy as it may seem, it truly is not, and I know that many folks don't like abstracts because some of them are difficult to like or understand.   I had to call this "Untitled" because I'm not sure myself what I see in it other than the colorful shapes that appeared.  Maybe someone here can help me out by telling me what you see or think of it. 
Which brings to mind something I read by Dennis Dulton, a New Zealand philsopher, in his book "The Art Instinct" where he states:  "The most exquisite stuff is what we can't explain,  that's why we call it art."  Not that mine is exquisite, it's just different and unexplainable!  I've done many more since this one which I may share with you at another time.

Again, thank you for visiting and continuing to check on my progress here.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Christmas in July

Hello there.... I'm back, believe it or not, and wishing for Christmas in July!
We are in the midst of a record heatwave here, and Frederick registered 106 degrees F. yesterday, but only 103 today:((  I'm feeling summertime cabin fever and decided it would be a nice diversion to create some wintertime/Christmas cards for our heroes early to keep thinking "cool".  However, first I wanted to make a card using sketch challenge #23, and afterwards found that it also covered the midweek inspiration color challenge.  
This is also one of the images included in the 5-page set of stamped images promised as a surprise gift to one lucky person during the Independence Day blog tour last weekend.  I have made a random pick of all comments received, and the winner is:   Carol L.  I'll be getting in touch with Carol for mailing instructions this week.   I thank everyone for their kind comments and for participating in this blog tour with me.

Before I call it a night here, I'd like to mention that I'll be busy working on some paintings over the next few weeks to get them ready to enter into several shows, so I may not be blogging very often.   But, if anyone is interested in seeing some of them, you won't have to twist my arm to get me to post a few.... maybe even as "works in progress" so I can get your feedback.  I believe I wrote earlier that I do keep busy creating not only cards for our heroes, but paintings in pastel, oil and acrylic and want to share them with you here in my Corner Studio. 

In the meantime, thank you for visiting here, and do check back periodically to see how my work is progressing.   Keep cool....and have a good night.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Hello everyone:  Glad to see you here if you're still traveling the OWH Blog Tour and haven't visited me earlier, and welcome back to those who came by yesterday.  Really appreciated all the wonderful comments that inspire me to keep going with this blog, so read on for my surprise offer.

First, I mentioned that I would post another patriotic birthday card that I made for a young man named Brian, who is British!  My daughter Debbie has lived and worked in London for several years, and Brian is her dearest friend.  He came along with Debbie for a visit the past two Christmases, spending a couple weeks each time at my home, so I have gotten to know him fairly well.  Brian is a wonderful young man and I highly approve of him being my daughter's significant other!   He thoroughly enjoyed seeing some of the U.S. during these visits as Frederick is quite central to the sights in Washington, Baltimore, and the east coast region.   It being Christmastime, we arranged a family visit to see the White House in 2008, and in 2009 had a 20-inch snowfall in his honor!  (This sounds so good to me today in a 90-degree heat wave.)

Brian is celebrating his birthday now as well, so although this card may seem to be for the 4th of July fireworks,  it can really be fireworks for anyone's birthday!  It's a very simple card on The Paper Company cardstock base, but the Paper Pizazz "Fireworks" makes the entire scene and I didn't feel it needed more embellishment, other than the clear block birthday stamp by Inkadinkado stamped onto some gold wrapping paper for shine! 
Now...I do have a special surprise for all of my new "friends" here, and so that previous visitors don't feel neglected, I will also post this notice on the Forum as well.   I hadn't really planned to offer any blog candy as this is a first for me, but  in reading all the comments about my little fairy card, I decided to do something for all my visitors.  The Inkadinkado "Beautiful Fairies" clear stamp set consists of four fairy images as shown below on one sheet, and I am offering five of these fairy image sheets to one lucky person who leaves a comment on my blog, once or more this weekend.   A random pick winner will be made after 11 P.M. EST on Wednesday, July 7th.  So, if you really really liked the fairy image, hope to see you back here again and again! 
I hope everyone will enjoy some of the wonderful fireworks that fill the skies (and our TV's) around our great country this weekend.  Also, stop by the Forum's blog discussion on Opening Ceremonies to learn about our National Anthem.  Afterwards, continue your journey on this OWH Stars and Stamps blog tour by clicking  here.   Have a wonderful Independence Day!


Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Birthday America

I'm really celebrating this 4th of July by joining in on the OWH blog tour with my SECOND post in this new blog of mine....a totally new experience for me. 
Since we're celebrating America's birthday, the theme is, of course, a birthday card.   I was thinking about that last week on June half-birthday!
Friends have often told me I should celebrate that day instead of December 25th as it seems to get lost with everyone else celebrating Christmas.  Yet, my family and close friends always seem to specially remember me that day, so
I've not been "cheated" as one might think.  But today, for starters, I'll show you the birthday card it inspired me to make that will be going into my next package of OWH cards soon.
This image is from Inkadinkado's clear stamp set "Beautiful Fairies" that I recently added to my beginner's collection as I couldn't resist it, and I think the "make a wish sentiment" suits my June 25th half-birthday!  (Does anyone else out there celebrate a half-birthday?  I know my granddaughters always did, and at my age, I should just be forgetting them!)

Moving on.... I did make a  card for the previous Midweek Throwdown - gettin Digi with it! that was sponsored by Tracie at The Stamping Boutique, and am just getting around to uploading it now, since it's the patriotic theme
for a hero looking forward to returning home soon.
I'll sign off with this for now, but hope you'll return again this weekend to see the  patriotic birthday card that I made for a special young man, and to read my little story about him.  I'm now looking forward to visiting some of you on this blog tour during the next few days.  Happy 4th of July to all.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Hello.... thank you for visiting me here, on my very first blog. Can't believe I'm attempting to do this as it's all so knew to me. I hope you'll be patient as I attempt to share with you my thoughts, stories, photos, artwork, and my latest endeavors in card making.

What really got me to this point was my talented and creative daughter, Sandra...or Sandy as most know her. I have a treasure box full of her handmade cards, but didn't really know much about the Cards for Heroes project that she began some time ago. It has really grown in the past couple of years, so last October I decided to visit Sandy to check it out, and learned so much about it's operation.  In addition, Sandy patiently took me through Cardmaking 101, and I had such fun with it that she sent me home with some supplies to continue. Here's a photo of me with one of the first cards I made with Sandy.

The holidays then were a great inspiration, and knowing it was for such a worthy cause, I really began making cards in earnest. I am now a fan of the Homefront and S&S blogs, and learning so much through them because of all of you out there. It's a world of it's own I've discovered, and I find it hard to keep up with everyone online. But, I'm trying, and hope having this blog will help me even more.
Now, if I can figure out how to do it, I want to show you the card that I made for the recent sketch challenge #22.   I still haven't learned how to keep track of everything I use when designing a card, and can only tell you that I used Paper Co. cardstock base, some polka dot embossed paper, a floral swap image and ribbon from Michael's.
Again, thanks for visiting me here and leaving any comments you'd like to make. Do hope you'll return and see how I'm progressing with this new blog.