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About Me

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Guymon, Oklahoma, United States
I am blessed to live where my grandfather homesteaded, to have three beautiful daughters who are my best friends, to have six delightful grandchildren who live nearby, to be married to my sweetheart of 35 years and to thrill to the special magic of creating my own works of art. I'll never cease to thrill to witnessing new ideas and images come to life from the point of a pencil or splash of a brush. I am blessed.

Friday, June 28, 2013

TRAVEL WITH PASSPORT


After a horrible two weeks of being terribly sick, I am finally back in my studio and working away.  It's been a nightmare and I hope to never go through that again.  I am still not back to eating much but I can manage to get out of bed and enjoy getting out of the house on short trips.  My goal is to enjoy a big, juicy cheeseburger in the very near future but for right now I am still on jello and oatmeal.

While I was in OKC at the Paseo Art Festival, I had a commission request for a new Travel drawing.  The customer requested brighter colors and asked that I add a passport image.  She also wanted a square rather than full page format.  I drug myself up to my studio a couple of days ago and attempted to get her piece going.  Now it is finished, scanned and I am waiting to hear if she approves.


"Travel"
6" x 6" Mixed Media Drawing on Distressed, Dictionary Page


The same drawing lettered with a full page format.

When I first scan my work to include on this blog or other online services, I add digital lettering.  I like to move it around on the page until it finds the right location to enhance the drawing.  My prints then have this digital lettering.  However, I hand letter all of the original drawings using sepia watercolor.

Monday, June 24, 2013

IT'S BEEN A TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE


After ten horrible days of suffering and flat out wishing someone would shoot me, I am starting to emerge from the worst allergic reaction I've ever experienced. I have learned that like a rare few, I am highly allergic to the hip, superfood Quinoa (pronounced Keeen-wah).  

I have noticed this highly nutritious grain/seed all over the place as a healthy alternative to other side dishes. I decided to try it out on the evening before my husband and I left for a week long trip. Just a few hours afterward we both felt like we were starting a summer cold. By the next morning as we drove through two states, our throats started to swell shut. 

Long story short - after trips to Urgent Care, multiple calls to our family physician, hours spent in misery in a hotel room unable to swallow while infection spread we finally made it back home. My husband has improved pretty quickly thanks to penicillin but I have had to manage with other antibiotics and am just now getting out of bed. 

According to research this reaction isn't too uncommon. Let me tell you that it is unpleasant and terribly painful. My local doctor today told me I still have a week to go before I am over the swelling, pain and aches. 

I have a full easel in my studio waiting for me but it may be a few more days before I attempt to get back to work. Lots of hot tea, pain killers and sleep for a while more. From now on I think I will be less adventurous with my food choices.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I have struggled with pricing artwork since I was a eight and made my first sale of a portrait I drew of a rancher during a cattle auction.  From childhood I have dreamed of being a working artist and in the past ten years or so, that dream has become a reality.  Now that I dedicate myself to the business of producing and selling my work (while still working as a full time, public school art teacher) I have been all over the map with pricing. (By the way - the rancher happily gave me $5.00 for his portrait and his family still has it after all of these years.) 

Recently I made the decision to be consistent with my work online, at galleries and at festivals.  I've been holding my breath for fear higher prices that work great in  real life will be unsuccessful online - so far - still holding.  For instance, I have been selling prints of my work on Etsy at much lower prices to match what I notice in other Etsy shops.  That didn't seem fair when I have higher prices at local shops and festivals.  It seemed wrong to have a patron purchase something in person only to follow up online and discover they could have found it cheaper even with shipping.  Now it's the same across the board.

I'm anxious to hear back from others about how they deal with this issue.

I recently stumbled on this list from Canadian artist, Robert Genn and some other online insight to pricing and selling art.  I agree with a lot of it so I thought I'd share.....

Most of my work is $250.00 or less for a framed original.  I have sold more expensive, challenging pieces but I think this range works best for what I am currently doing.


I'm not a fan of setting prices based on size or time.  (I have created some really intricate, small work that I wouldn't value by it's tiny size.)  I generally price what I think most folks can afford.  I wander around notable galleries and dream of the day someone might want to pay thousands for one of my pieces but I'd much rather sell reasonably priced pieces that find happy homes.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TIE

"Tie"
6" x 9" Mixed Media Drawing on Distressed, Dictionary Page

After finishing a commissioned tie I decided Father's Day called for one more.  This time I picked the colors and style.  This particular dictionary page is extremely old.  It didn't want much pressure or many marks so it was suited for a simple drawing without much detail.  I think all three of these fellas are somewhere in my husband's closet.

Monday, June 10, 2013

MY GIFT FROM LETICIA

"My Hands"
18" x 24" Colored Pencil Drawing on Canson Mi-Teines Paper
Artist - Leticia Bernabe

I am blessed to get to teach amazing people.  I love working with my students and I especially love being a part of their lives and running into them long after they graduate. The past few days I have seen and heard from a lot of former students and it always makes my day to get hugs and smiles.

One such exceptional young woman is Leticia Bernabe who was in my class for four years.  She is not only a remarkable artists but also a really kind, beautiful person.  On her last day of high school she gave me this work of art.  It means so much to me.  This piece won her Best of Show at our biggest art competition and I was thrilled she generously presented it to me.  She wouldn't let me buy it no matter how hard I tried.

This piece came from an Advanced Placement assignment requiring students to use some sort of portal in their work.  Leticia really was baffled about what to do and asked me for some clarification.  I grabbed an old frame and stuck my hands through it to explain what a portal actually is and that it is a great metaphor.  I further explained that a window or doorway in artwork can symbolize private and public thoughts, past versus future, real contrasted with imaginary and blah, blah, blah.  As soon as I stuck my hands through the frame she grabbed a classroom camera and started taking photos of my hands.

She built from those photos a piece that totally amazed me.  I love the sleeping student (she told me her brother was her model) and my hands reaching through the frame.  Wow - this is all about being an art teacher!

DISCLAIMER:  Now I have to add that I NEVER mark or paint on a student's work.  Their work has to be created by them.  From time to time I've had art teachers take away my brush or pencil and mark on my work and it totally ruined my piece for me - it became theirs - not mine.  I will use a pencil or my fingers to point out proportions or suggestions but I make it a policy to never change a student's piece. 


Leticia is going to college next fall.  This is a photo of her this past year when she was crowned Fiesta Queen at a local festival which was quite an honor.  She received a substantial. collage scholarship to go with the crown.  Such a special girl - I really adore her.  

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

COMMISSIONED TIES


Commissioned Ties

As I participate in more and more art shows, I am happy to be getting more and more commission work.  I am honored that people enjoy and want me to create something unique but I really stress over trying to match the customer's ideas.

A good friend asked that I create a page of ties for her husband.  Her husband loves ties and not just any ties - he loves a particular brand and style.  When she emailed me his choice ties I immediately panicked - they were really ornate, highly detailed and vivid colors.  My dictionary pages can't tolerate much pressure or heavy mark making and the mediums I've discovered don't lend themselves to intricate details.  My friend seemed okay with the need to take some "creative liberties" with the subjects.

Today I tackled this project and it was a rough one.  I love drawing when things flow and the piece nearly draws itself. In fact, drawing is much like therapy for me. This project took me hours (even though it looks really simple) and I spent most of the time fighting what I was doing.  I grit my teeth and plowed through and fortunately, my friend loved the finished product......"whew-eeee!"

I think I'd like to create a TIE page for father's day but for my next one I am going to play with some simpler patterns.


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

COMMISSIONED THEATER MASKS

"Theater"
6" x 9" Mixed Media Drawing on Distressed, Dictionary Page

My husband is a high school, speech and debate coach and many of our closest friends are also coaches.  After 34 years of teaching we have a lot of coach friends.

This spring a great friend and fellow coach requested a drawing of comedy/tragedy masks on a dictionary page.  He also requested that I use gold and violet (I assume his team's school colors).  Here is the result.  I just send him the image via Facebook and he approved.  Whew - commissions always stress me out - never know if I'm going to reflect the customer's vision.

Monday, June 03, 2013

2013 SUNFLOWER FESTIVAL

Come see me at the Sunflower Art, Food & Wine Festival

I am once again participating with an art booth at our community's Sunflower Art, Food and Wine Festival.  I've been dragging my feet about exhibiting this year because the emphasis seems to be mostly on attracting vinyards from around our state rather than building an event by and for local artists.  The festival no longer offers awards to artists but spends lots of money to woo wineries - none of which are local.

In years past, the sponsors for this event have given local artists banners to paint which were displayed on main street prior to the festival.  I loved this project and so did a lot of other artists.  It was always fun to see your work displayed in your home town all along the street.  The sponsors did away with that this year which really disappointed me and angered others.

I have built up a lot of framed inventory for my summer show schedule and I enjoy showing my work to friends and family in the area.  I live just a few, short blocks from main street.  The staff of the festival are extremely kind and supportive so it makes sense to contribute to the event even though I wish it would be more about art and helping local artists market their work.  I strongly suspect this will be the last attempt at holding this kind of event in our community.  That makes me very sad.




Saturday, June 01, 2013

THE PASEO FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS WAS A HIT

My Husband, Michael & I at our Booth
This was our 35th Wedding Anniversary! 

We are home and starting to unpack after a wonderful time as one of the juried artists at The Paseo Festival of the Arts in Oklahoma City.  This was the 37th year of the festival and it fit in between a number of terrible tornado outbreaks in the area.  Fortunately, the weather was great while we were in town.

I am so fortunate to have family that is willing and able to help me set up and staff my booth.  My husband was with me the entire time and was my top salesman.  My daughters and son-in-laws also were indispensable when it came to setting up and tearing down the display and tent.

Inside my Booth

The festival featured 80 artists and I was thrilled to be selected to participate.  This was the first of a series of art shows and events and I have scheduled for the summer.

My dear friend, Robert

 One of the best parts of the festival was getting to visit with wonderful friends who dropped by.  This is Robert Yocham, a childhood friend and my date for the senior prom a million years ago.

My former student, Hector

Another treat was seeing former students who stopped by my booth.  This is Hector Cobos Leon, a former student and professional potter who lives and works in the Paseo Arts District.  He is working artist who was also exhibiting in the festival.  He is a multi-talented, wonderful, young man.