Monthly Archives: January 2014

Self Portrait #1

Pastel on paper

Self portrait 1 copy Self Portrait #1
Just playing around one night with my new pastel pencils. I started this one in all red. It actually looked pretty cool without adding other colors. So cool that I contemplated for several days just stopping there! But I just couldn’t resist the overwhelming urge to carve out the shadows with tons of black. So there you go. I like my self portraits to be somewhat dark and mysterious, although I couldn’t be further from that in real life!

A few detail shots:

Self portrait 1 Detail 1 copy 300x233 Self Portrait #1 Self portrait 1 Detail 2 copy 300x144 Self Portrait #1

Ana Reclining

Pastel on paper

Ana reclining Lrg copy Ana Reclining
A lot of work and love went into this 18×24″ little lovely. The hand was the most challenging square few inches of this work.¬† I sketched that hand about ten times and reached such a level of frustration that I resolved to lay it down for the night and come back to it the next day. About ten minutes later I picked up my sketchbook and nailed it! Shows you what taking a short break can do for you. The relaxed drape of the hand gave me fits because no matter how I drew it, the fingers looked stiff. But I finally figured out the precise angle and shadowing to make it work. I took notes and transferred the new-found technique to the piece the next morning. Voila!

Here is the sketch where I finally figured it out. I’ll spare you the ugly rest.
Hand study Ana Reclining

And some detail shots…

Ana reclining Detail 2 copy Ana Reclining Ana reclining Detail 1 copy Ana Reclining



Pastel on paper

Portrait S Means Lrg copy Sam

Here’s a colorful portrait of a gorgeous, fiery-haired boy in his acolyte robes. It was fun building up the colors of his hair, which include bright oranges, hot pinks, and dark purples. Really! The candlestick was a lot of fun too. Makes me want to do a still life or two soon. My next project is of his brother. Stay tuned… (update: click here to see the finished portrait of Sam’s brother, Jack)

I used a combination of pastel pencils and soft pastel on Mi Teintes Paper.

Detail photo:

Portrait Means Detail 1 copy Sam

Middle Schoolers

One of the many things that are way cool about my day job is that I’m surrounded by precious, young faces all day – and I’m paid to photograph them. How lucky am I?

I found myself at a middle school luncheon the other day, and I thought I’d share a few gems. They had just wrapped up a week of grueling exams, and this was the last day before Christmas break. This is pure relief. A blissful look that can’t be faked.

This is one of my FAVE students to photograph. He has this unexplainable charm that shines on camera, and I could devour this pic.

IMG 0277111 Middle Schoolers

I’d love to paint this little beauty’s portrait one day…

IMG 0305111 Middle Schoolers

Those boys…

IMG 02911111 Middle Schoolers

This sweet girl always runs away from me when I’m wielding my camera at her. So I was especially thankful to catch this gorgeous shot. I adore the points of light reflecting from the greenery and the glowing outline of her profile. Ahh.

IMG 0311111 Middle Schoolers

Good Shepherd

A wanna-be photographer taking photos of the Church of the Good Shepherd is kind of like cheating. I spent about ten minutes snapping these pics, and of course this location never disappoints.

These doors have probably been photographed a million times, but I thought I’d try something a little different. I set the camera on the brick pathway and tilted it up a bit. The effect was pretty cool I think.

IMG 94151111 640x1024 Good Shepherd

IMG 9316111 678x1024 Good Shepherd

IMG 93991111 1024x682 Good Shepherd

IMG 9437222 1024x682 Good Shepherd



Charcoal on paper

Charcoal Figure Ginger Ginger

This adorable gal is a drawing study I did late one night when I first started drawing again, post-Vivian. She’s from a drawing instruction book, “The Mastery of Drawing,” that was published in 1950. My grandmother used it when she was studying figures and gave it to me when I was around ten years old. It’s full of beautiful, full-figured nudes, all looking like they stepped out of a mid-century pinup calendar.

I was just starting to work with charcoals, a medium that’s kind of a second language for me. The background was frustrating because I just couldn’t get it as dark as I wanted.

I normally don’t do smiling faces, and she’s definitely not my best work, technically, but her cute smirk and billowy hair make me happy, so I thought I’d share.

Here she is in progress…

1461538 694136070596416 860683314 n Ginger

Sitting Pretty

Charcoal on paper

Charcoal Figure Sitting Pretty Sitting Pretty

This loose little sketch of a random model I found online is one of my favorite charcoals. I had her framed in a simple black frame and black mat to accentuate the stark white against the charcoal. She’s just adorbs.

Waiting Still

Oil pastel on paper

After stumbling upon Connie Chadwell’s blog, The Oil Pastel Review, I fell absolutely in lust with oil pastels and the magic she works with them! I mean, just look at this beautiness!

shoefix Waiting Still

“Fixing her Shoe” by Connie Chadwell

So I promptly spent WAY too much money ordering the very best oil pastels and got to work completely stealing Connie’s style, and this is the first of several of my obsessive string of Connie-esque beauties…

Pastel Figure Waiting Waiting Still

This is Josh’s favorite piece of mine. In case you don’t know, Josh is my husband, and he has the absolute WORST reactions of anyone I’ve ever known. If you give me a dollar for a water on a day that I’m kinda thirsty, I’ll, like, hug you and tell you how incomplete my life would be without you. On the other hand, I could wake Josh up tomorrow morning with two round-trip tickets to Tahiti and tell him the car is packed, and he would probably say, “Oh babe. That’s great. Thanks.” And that’s it. So it’s no surprise that he doesn’t get overly excited when I show him a piece I’ve worked on for eight hours straight and that I think may belong in the Louvre.

But when he saw this painting – one that only took me about 45 minutes – he freaked out. He loved it! He says it reminds him of when we were young and truly, madly, deeply in love. Not that we aren’t still, but you know that new relationship phase I speak of. I was a dark, artsy girl back then, and I had a red velvet(ish) coverlet on my bed and was obsessed with cobalt blue.

Anyways, thank you, Connie, for being a constant inspiration to me since that fateful day I found your precious blog. I can only dream of being as freaking awesome.

Let me also give credit to Freda Austin Nichols, the photographer who took the photo that inspired this work. I found her on – a great photographer that I bookmarked right away!

IMG 0733tql Waiting Still

Bren’s Girl

Oil pastel on paper

Pastel Figure Brens Girl Brens Girl

This little ditty is another oil pastel inspired by Connie Chadwell (click here to see my post about how she inspires me so). I was really experimenting with darks in my skin tones, and I need to start doing that again. Love her warm red cheeks. I named this “Brenn’s Girl” because my compadre, Brenna, fell in love with her at first sight. So I framed her in a simple black frame and double black mat and gave her to Brenna for Christmas.

Thanks for reading!

Effie Claire

Pastel Portrait Effie Effie Claire

This 18×24″ oil pastel portrait of a dear friend’s little girl, Effie Claire, is one of my favorites. I painted from a photo that very much captures that childish innocence in those giant, dark eyes. But at the same time, she looks somehow wise and almost burdened. That contrast, juxtaposed to the cheerful bouquet of balloons, just seals the deal. I framed this in a sweet, white frame and mat, and gave it to her as a Christmas gift. It looks perfect hanging on the minty green walls of her bedroom that’s filled with white antique furniture. Yay!