The Other Side of My Easel: Whimsy Sisters (part 1)

Hello again Creative Friends!

Today I would like to introduce the first in a series of illustrations I call Whimsies.

Whimsies are my take on quirky, make-believe folks that come to life in my mind and live in the pages of my sketchbook! 🙂

Whimsies are a lot of fun to conceive of, draw, and paint because I am limited only by my imagination—there basically is no wrong way to draw a Whimsy!

So without further ado…

Let me introduce “Penney”—one of the three “Whimsy Sisters.”


Penney is a sweet girl. One of three girls in the family, she doesn’t like fighting or arguing with her two older, rather bossy, sisters. Instead she much prefers things to be civilized and beautiful. Birds and animals are her friends. She has by far the most beauteous heart and countenance of the three, though she would never say that about herself, and she brings sunshine wherever she goes.

Let’s take a peek at how I created Penney: 

Pencil drawing and initial watercolor wash

Secondary washes and color palette

Added shadowing and detail

I hope you enjoyed meeting Penney!
I plan to introduce her sisters in upcoming posts.

Until then, make time for your imagination.

Have fun!


The Other Side of My Easel: Sketchbook Whimsy!

Hello, my creative friends!

Let me ask you a serious question. 


Think about the question for a minute. You may be wondering where this is going, but let me ask you a few more questions:

  • Do you tend to lose track of time when you are in the creative process? (I call that being “in the zone”.)
  • Do you find yourself wishing for, craving, even needing time spent in some creative activity?
  • Do you feel better (more balanced or centered) after you have gotten to spend time in your creative process?
  • Do you feel unfulfilled, anxious, or restless when you don’t get enough time or opportunity to create? 
  • Do you miss the time you could have spent creating when other priorities in life arise?

I think that if you answered “yes” to any of the above, you, my friend, are an artist. 🙂

But what does any of this have to do with this blog?

Well, let me tell those of you who don’t personally know me that I absolutely adore and am committed to the pastel medium. For me, its immediacy, vibrancy, and tactile nature make it my number one choice when I want to get seriously creative.

But one can’t be (or shouldn’t be, I believe) serious ALL the time. As I grow in my ability to express myself with my art, I can more clearly see the need to incorporate some serious PLAY-TIME (sorry, I couldn’t resist…) into my artistic life! 

So today, I am throwing caution to the wind and opening up my sketchbook to share with you some of my latest play-time creations. 

First up: A Nesting Composition of Colorful Butterflies

Nested Butterflies — watercolor and graphite

I LOVE doing nested compositions. It’s an easy way to practice and experiment with shapes, colors, and layout using a single subject. No two are ever the same! Pop the finished piece onto a colorful piece of scrapbook paper and attach it in your sketchbook, or adorn the top of a blank greeting card and send it off to a lucky person!
They can read it and then frame it!

Next up: A Nesting Composition of Mason Jars

Nested Mason Jars — watercolor and graphite

I plan to do more nesting compositions….balloons, teapots, and toadstools are on my play list! 

Here’s one more pic showing my shortcut to drawing mason jars….

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I plan to share more of my sketchbook creations in the near future, so stay tuned!

Before I go, I would like to mention the book The Art of Creative Watercolor—Inspiration & Techniques for Imaginative Drawing and Painting by Danielle Donaldson. This book is AWESOME!! It’s where I got the idea for nesting compositions. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is looking to foster a more playful creative process. Check it out!

Till next time,

Stay Creative!!




Pastel Painting Demo: Country View

Hi creative friends!

Today I am bringing you a pastel painting demo for a recent painting I did.
I have included a few progress shots, as well as the video.
(Click on the photo above.)

UArt 400 and the thumbnail

Below you can see the underpainting I did using hard pastels.
I chose rosy hues in four values, and then I smudged these into the tooth of the paper using a piece of foam pipe insulation. 
This lets me start with an unfocused, dreamy quality. 



About midway through the painting…

Here is the finished painting. You can see little bits of the rosy underpainting peaking through..

Country View, 4 3/4 x 12

I hope you enjoyed this latest post and video.

If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel—just click on the sidebar arrow on the right near the top of this page.

Thanks for reading….And stay creative!



How to Scale Up Your Paper Size

Hello fellow creatives!

Today, I have a quick tip for you. 🙂

There are times when you may have a reference photo or even a small drawing or thumbnail sketch you’ve created that you need to draw on a bigger scale.

For example, I recently created this sketch and I wanted to do a larger painting of it.

Original sketch: ~2 1/2” x 6”

I needed to scale up my sketch to a larger piece of paper that would allow me to keep the original sketch’s proportions.

Well, there’s a quick and easy way to scale up your photo to whatever paper you have WITHOUT MEASURING!


You’ll Need: Paper, ruler, photo/sketch, pencil


Line up the top left corner of the photo/sketch you would like to scale up with the top left corner of whatever piece of paper you want to use for your larger work.


Once your paper corners are lined up, align your ruler with the top left corner and the bottom right corner of the photo/sketch. (See arrows)


Now simply use your pencil to draw a light line from the bottom right edge of the photo to the edge of your larger piece of paper. (Or you can simply make a small mark at the outer edge if you don’t want to have to erase a line later.)

Line drawn from photo corner to paper edge


The final step is to use the mark you made at the outer edge of the paper to draw a line straight across your paper. This gives you the new bottom boundary for your scaled up paper.

Draw the bottom boundary

Whatever is below this line can be removed and used as scrap or for another artwork!

I hope you find this tip helpful next time you enlarge your reference photo!

Till next time, stay creative!



Weekly Thumbnails: Week 4

Hello everyone!

Today’s post is just a quick one to show you my latest thumbnails. Each of this week’s sketches was done using the iPastels app, which I am liking more and more now that I have had a little time to get to know how to use it!

My favorite feature? The smudging tool, of course! Can’t keep my hands out of the pastel—even virtually… 🙂




Hope you enjoyed seeing these. Have a great day everyone! 🙂