Monday, December 27, 2010

IF: "Winter"

Winter has come to the East Coast and to Europe it seems, but not to Colorado! For the first time  in three years we did not have a White Christmas- instead a wet, brown one, the horses and pastures soggy and on Christmas Day, to make more room for feasting we headed down McElmo to Sand Canyon to do a littel hiking with the dogs.

                     hope you are warm and cozy with the ones you love- no matter where you are!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

IF: "Mail"

I just got done mailing off 100 of these postcards to magazine, children's and general  book publishers and AD agencies art directors- wishing them a very Merry Christmas-
Merry Christmas to my blog followers- may you have a wonderful, snowy (just enough) holiday season surrounded by the ones you love and the time to remember the Reason for the Season- that a babe was born unto us to become a king that died on the cross to save this world!!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Outside of Salt Lake City,Utah traveling west on Interstate 80 you drive through "Phenomenon"  of the Salt Flats.

Where in July it looks like it there is snow on the ground. But then as you stare out the window-( when someone else is driving) you start to think that little piles of the salt are actually floating in the air- but they are not- there is just a few inches of water covering most of the flats and the sun reflects the mountain range in the distance  and the sky on the puddles of water and where the salt is mounded by the wind- it looks like it is floating above. The whole valley is just weird- and makes one feel like they are in another world. But it inspired this illustration for a sample Young Adult novel about a girl on some kind of a journey.
I had to show a close up of the girl- which is my oldest daughter- I had fun with all the embroidery on the purse and virtual tattoo- yes I virtually tattooed my daughter- and the bead work for her bracelet- this detail demand a huge canvas- think it was like 22 inches wide- but it is necessary to get any likeness in the face or be able to add rich embellishment.
I'm pretty happy with it- the illustration is set for a mailing for AD of chapter and YA books to try and get some cover work- all to go out after the holiday!

Friday, November 26, 2010

IF: " Savour"

Had to go to the dictionary for this one- cause all I could think about was food-
thanks to

savour US, savor [ˈseɪvə]n

1. the quality in a substance that is perceived by the sense of taste or smell

2. a specific taste or smell the savour of lime

3. a slight but distinctive quality or trace

4. the power to excite interest the -savour of wit has been lost

5. Archaic reputation

I picked #4- "the power to excite and interest -----" like this boy is watching the sky!"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We shall Never Forget...

Toady we celebrate Veteran's day. The girls are both dressed up and they will be bused a few blocks from their school to  the community center to honor the Veteran's we have in our community.
The men in my family have always served their country.
The first thing James Burns did stepping off the boat from Ireland was to fight in the Civil War- how willingly as an immigrant he joined the conflict, I don't know.
My great Uncle Edward, fought in World War 2 and was captured by the Japanese, enduring the infamous Death March, he was in the belly of a prison ship the US bombed and though he could of been left behind, a Japanese soldier unlocked his cell and got him to the deck and on a raft. For that my uncle gave him his watch.
Right before my brother was  born, my uncle Donny, just out of high school, joined the Marines before he could be drafted, and went to Vietnam. Assigned to reconnaissance, he was sneaking back into camp and  was shot by another Marine who thought he was the enemy, killed by "friendly fire"- a stupid term.
I never met Donny, he was killed before I was born, but the stories my grandma and great aunt would tell of him, usually over a piece of pie or cake I know him.
I have honored the Veterans of this country my whole life, the flag draped over my uncles coffin now flying over the cemetery where he is buried.Every Memorial Day we take flowers to the graves, my family's plot is easy to find, his military stone so different from those around.
My family has always served, my father and brother as well, though not in a time of war. We are a family that has not always agreed with what our country has done, or agreed with each other.
The right to have an opinion, the right to speak it- isn't that the most important right in this country and isn't all our voices  part of the "check and balance" of our government.
We can disagree with our government, but we should never not support our troops, the men and women who come home or forget the ones who do not.
Here is to honoring all the Veteran's of this country.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

It Snowed...correction...It's snowing!

Woke up this morning to white- just a dusting, but white. Jon said he saw the elk had moved down from the mountains to the rancher's fields next to us. They will stay there for the winter, the canyon a hidden throughfare for them to move as they feed off the left over dried alfalfa in the fields-taking it from the cattle also down from the mountains.
The cows and horses are extra fuzzy, who knows if in anticipation of another harsh winter. I hope not, I hope the winter will bring lots of snow and water, but the sun will shine as well.
It's a good time to stay home and wrtie and do art- I hope that I can!

Friday, November 05, 2010

IF: " Afterwards"

Do you ever plan out a very involved illustrations, sketch it out, start on the final, spend hours and hour on it and then only "Afterwards"- see the really big, perspective boo boo- that you should of seen in the sketch out! where is  the fence and side walk on the back side of the train- Chagall- known for his wild perspective would be agast at this!! Like the dad and kid- thank goodness you can crop things out now with Photoshop!

Thursday, November 04, 2010


November is National Novel Writing Month- a fun "kick in the pants", with a lot of interaction from other NANO writers both locally and internationally, to just get that first draft down and fill the white pages- you can track your word count and if you get to 50,000 words in the month, the average of a novel, you can post an award on your site! I tried it last year- puttered out about half way through- this year- I was deep in outlining a YA, so am not participating- since NANO wants you to start with a fresh idea first of the month.I am doing NANOMD-  Get the ...NOTES and NOTES OFF MY DOOR month. You know that technique- plotting out your outline on note cards, laying them on the floor, so that you can move things around, get the bird's eye view of your novel.  Well I have a little problem keeping track of a bunch of little pieces of paper-wind drafts and big dog tails tend to make them go flutter...i.e. you tape them to the back of your door! Brilliant, except eventually the tape loses its grip and I have to go looking for where key plot points went fluttering to.
I recently had my own "kick in the pants" to finally get serious to writing this novel that has been swimming around in my head for a very,very long time. I was up in the Denver area to speak at the RMC SCBWI Fall Conference on a panel of First Published Writers and Illustrators with the fun Jean Reidy and Lindsay Eland, both writers and I was the illustrator, well the day before, I had a rock the size of a grapefruit go into the car' windshield going about 50 mph down the highway-
the force of the impact covered my mom and I with glass dust and blew out my entire back window- thank God -we and no one else around us was hurt. Well needless to say, I had a hard time going to sleep that night, God and I had a little conversation and you know- I felt pretty good about my life- being a mom, a wife, my service to Him, in the church, but what went to the front of my mind was this Novel! That I hadn't written it! That I hadn't put my all towards my art and my writing! Not saying the "World need me to write this novel" more it has become a blockage in my creative pipes- I'm constipated and need to blow this "Monstrosity" out of my head to be able to move forward!! Thus why my door is covered white- it is all there- it has been there for, well I don't want to admit how long this thing has been perfectly laid out in my head- getting it on the paper- that first draft- that first "crappy" draft- that is what my hope for November is- no matter how crappy it is! FYI- after all that- the YA is set in Utah during World War 2- centered around the young daughter of a Polygamist and about a little known fact that the Manhattan Project was secretly searching for Uranium for the Bombs in Utah.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Pie for Dinner?

There is a reason our grandparents could have dessert with every "high carb" meal  they ate- they worked really, really hard!
I spent a good part of the day, stripping and airing out linens, and "beating" the rug under our bed- and wipping down walls by hand, and sweeping out the corner of our wood floor- I  think I burned way more calories then a work out at the gym.
I have often heard those who do a lot of "treadmill" "exercise bikes" or " cardio" classes bemoan that it didn't seem to help when they found themselves  in "day to day" hard labor and I believe it- My grandma would talk of days starting at 5 am to milk the cows, feed the livestock, stack the wood, do the laundry and dishes manually, sweeping, mopping by hand, cleaning with rags, etc- but also their dinner tables were always covered in bread, gravies and desserts- humm?
Today we seem to frantically seek out ways to make our lives eaiser- better washers, dryers, diswashers, mops, dust devices, etc-  that also will eventually fill up the landfills or use more electricity- but that is another post- and then we go to the gym and work out- how about moving a wood pile, hanging our wet clothes out on an oldfashion clothes line, beating rugs or washing floors on hands and knees? Hey it is better for the environment, our houses are cleaner really and we can have our pie guilt free!

Friday, October 29, 2010

IF: "Spent"

I have "Spent" a lot of time in the mountains of Colorado. My dad was a Forest Ranger, we literally went " over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go." My mom, bought property full of dirt, stream and deer where we climbed the hills and avoided the rattlesnakes. Our church groups went to a camp called "Wilderness Ranch" where more rattlesnakes had to be avoided- and a few were caught by one of the dads- and cooked over an open fire- it tastes like chicken if you are wondering. I was a Girl Scout I know how to build a fire starting with a teepee of dry sticks.

My Step Dad had a cabin- that we were always at- where the elk roamed right below Long Peak and Estes Park- where now old enough I could drive myself, through the meandering canyons of the Rockies foothills- where I discovered a mountain chapel- nestled by black rocks and behind the infamous Stanley Hotel- the inspiration for Steven Kings- "The Shining"- Well years later when Jon, leaning against the back of a pick up truck- nestled in a hidden valley, near the elk and deer and below Kenosha Pass- and asked me to marry him- I remembered that chapel- and that winter we were married there- Elk graving  outside the windows.

Now- well you know where I am now- looking out at red dirt and sage- far south of where I grew up, but still up against the Rockies- the names replaced from French- like the Cache La Poudre river near Wyoming, meaning "hide the powder"- were I spent a lot of my childhood- - - now the river are in Spanish- "Rio de las Animas Perdidas" which means "River of Lost Souls" and Florida is not pronounced like the State- but Flor-E-Da as in Spanish.

Where you spend you time- changes you- I can dream of California and the ocean- or Europe- when other bloggers show me moss covered church and wooded lanes- I can "pine" for culture and other parts of the world- but this is where I have spent my life- this is what is in my bones and my soul and so this is what is my art.

Friday, October 22, 2010

IF: "Running"

" The water was running so fast that they could never get across"
This is actually a new illustration- in my attempt to market towards covers for chapter books- but it also is some what grounded in reality!

My grandmother lived through the Big Thompson flood in Colorado back in 1976- don't hold me to the exact year- I was like in 3rd grade.
A large amount of rain sent a 60 foot wall of water through the narrow canyon which heads West- up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park- and 70 + people were killed because they did not heed the warnings of the police officers telling them to get out- two officers lost their lives trying to save people.
My grandpa- a carpenter- had actually built many of the cabins in the Big Thompson Canyon- that literally got swept away in the rushing water- but for his cabin, he built it high on a hill- he died when I was four-but  my grandma spent that terrible night safe listening to people's screams and the explosion of propane tanks, thanks to his hynesight-  a strip motel which over hung the river right below her cabin was totally taken away along with the family that had climb on top of the roof for safety instead of climbing the hill to safety- people do crazy things in crisis.
The next morning- she walked down to the river- now piled high with gigantic boulders and debris and watched neighbors save a man- stranded in the middle of the river, his clothes ripped from his body.
she had called us in the middle of the night- but then the phone went dead- we lived down the canyon in the larger town of  Loveland and so the next day- my mom borrowed a 4x4 and was driving over rough mountain access roadsto come save her but literally met her  4x4 driving her 1967 Chevy Caprice out with other neighbors- the road the only way out- since the main highway was ripped apart, another neighbor was actually trying to get out in a RV!
Grandma only spent a few days with us and then wanted to get back to her cabin, concerned about looting- so she went with a pistol and was a lady who knew how to use it. She also had spent a great deal of her life without electricity, running water and knew how to use the cook stove residing in the stone basement of her cabin- we supplied her with a generator- but it was too noisy and she only fired it up to brew her morning coffee.
My brother and I, when we were allowed to come and stay with her- hiked high up on the hill and the vision of the ripped apart black road was the inspiration for the illustration- though not the exact view- or my brother and I. I wish I could of added more- the overturned cars and the helicoptors hovering in the air-looking for survivors- can still hear my bossy older brother telling me not to wave at them in fear they would think we need help.
She did have one run in with some looter, two men came knocking at her door one night and she waited patiently on the othe side of the door- the pistol load- but they never broken in- the next day she tracked them to the neighbors house- that was vacant and discovered a broken window and blood where they had gained access to the cabin and had stolen items.
People were always impressed by her sticking it out- up there- after my grandfather died and staying through the flood's aftermath- she would always laugh and tell them it reminded her of "keeping house" for her farmer brothers when she was a young girl and lived in a isolated farm had to sweep snakes out of the house . Her younger sisters wanted a chance to housekeep for their brother that were farming away from the larger family farm- but with a prideful laugh- Grandma would tells us they never lasted long and soon she was back- the only one tough enough to handle it.
Boy do I miss her!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

IF: "Spooky"

Not really the spookiest spider in the world-but actually have a new illustration ready for season-I  put it on postcards for a promo mailing- hopefully that will get done and out before Halloween- since sending Art Directors a Halloween postcard after Halloween would be "Spooky" or "Tacky"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Road Trip: Santa Fe

Got to go to Santa Fe this weekend, with daughter #1, who is looking at colleges- (whole'nother blog)- but we ended the weekend  meandering Santa Fe,  the narrow adobe streets were in shadows as we hurried to our favorite breakfast place, the morning sun not high enough yet to warm them up ....

 We always seem to be at the big communal table, in the middle, but always meet interesting people, and the food.... there is a reason everyone comes here and will wait, and wait- til almost lunch for their breakfast.

 The sun started  shining, by the time we got to the square...
 and warmed up the long porch of the Palace of the Governors where the Pueblo Indians sell wonderful jewelery.

Still needing a little warmth and caffine, I headed to the Starbucks, somehow "cooler" in Santa Fe!

And then we meandered up Canyon Road- lined on both sides with Art Galleries.....

and then father up, adobe walls and cool gates only hint at the wonderful sucluded haciendas behind  and artist studio, that make me tempted to convince Jon we need to retire here...

Then driving home, we stopped at Abiqui, the village in the Rio Grande valley that Georgia O'Keefe renovated a house and is known for its "penitent worshippers and "Christ in the Desert" monastery and Ghost Ranch. 

 And then another little village along the way, can't remember which one, I thook this picture....
Just because I love the old house and want to use it in a illustrations. Santa Fe, Road trip with my daugher, just me and her, it was a very good weekend!!

Friday, October 08, 2010

IF: "Transportation"

This is from a long time ago- when we drove around the island of Maui, with good friends that were there for 3 months for their business. The island is small and much of the roads teeter between hilly land and sea.We meandered  the "upcountry " of villages and pastures full of black cows, feral chickens and a few junked out cars.

Friday, October 01, 2010

IF: "Beneath"

Isn't "Beneath" a blanket, snuggled near someone you love a nice way to spend the fall! Hope you can go see the Colors this weekend- we are here in Colordo!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

IF: "Old Fashion"

Hans Christian Anderson wrote The Red Shoes over 150  years ago (1845)- but amazing we still all know the stoy- like we know...
Town Mouse  Country Mouse written by Aesop 6th Century BC and illustrated by Milo Winter, 1919

Old Mother Goose, whos "rep" started to grow in the 1660's and became an American icon with Blanche Fisher Wright's illustration in 1916
or my husband and daughter favorite- Kippling's "Just So stories", including
 "How the Rino got His Skin" published in 1902

illustrated by Rudyard Kipling himself in woodcut.

All might be Old Fashioned- but they still sit on the shelves of every bookstore we go into- and are still read, cuddled up before bed- the true test of any book.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

That's it- from Telluride

The Festival is over, good thing because it has been raining here now stop since I drove back down the canyon to home.
It was a whirlwind- to be milling around with movie stars and directors....but really- apart from their $300 dollar cotton shirts, levis, and expensive watches, sunglasses and cowboy boots- they are just like us!

It was fun to see Geoffrey Rush ( a.k.a Captian Barbosa) hurrying down the main street, by himself, getting from one venue to the next. 
So that is it for the Telluride Film Festival- go to On Popcorn and Movies for full coverage or for some recommandations for movies to see this fall and winter. I have a great need to not think or write for a while and just stitch something!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Still up in Telluride...

and was running around so much I posted a lot yesterday but forgot to post over on this blog to direct you there. So far my favorites are a seven part series on the history of Hollywood to be aired in November called "Moguls and Movie Stars" on the TCM channel and the world first view, the film still wet of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech. Click on over to "On Popcorn and Movies" for the full run down or start following it for play by play the rest of the weekend and here is something to tempt you.... do you know who this is?

I will be posting about him tomorrow- hint- he use to be Spidey's best friend and then arch enemy and now he is getting intimate with a big boulder in his new movie!

More to come from Telluride- off to another movie! Happy Labor Day Weekend!!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Telluride Film Festival: Day One

Not much happening yet, but jump on over to ...On Popcorn and Movies, if you want to read up on the beginings of probably the only festival you will see the big namers in grunchy tshirts and jeans- or start following my other blog for continous updates.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Telluride Film Festival:

Looking forward to this one, if reports are true...

News, sightings and line up of movies are already pouring out of cyberspace, if you are interested in such thing jump over to my other blog, ...On Popcorn and Movies or become a follower- will try to post daily on all the news direct from Telluride.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Headed to the Telluride Film Festival...

I will be here this labor day weekend, abandoning my family, who believe me-won't be suffering - backbacking in Utah...humm? backpacking, carrying all the contents you need for three days on your back or watching like ten films in a weekend- that really is not as hard as a decision as it should be- sorry Honey ( for hubby who might be reading this)
I'm heading out tomorrow to spend four days at the Telluride Film Festival...

The actual list of films are still up to speculation, they do not release the names of the films showing until the Friday- the first day of the festival.

I will be posting daily- on my other blog- On Popcorn and Movies, with links from here- covering the films and street life up there, always interesting- with many Q and A panel discussions- with the writers, directors and actors.

Whatever you are up to this last weekend of the summer- hope it is wonderful!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Light Is Tilting...

We hiked up to Colorado's only real geyser, up the West Fork near Dunton. The dogs ran, the girls goofed with each other while they hiked up the trail, and then sat around the stinky milky pool of water until it bubbled up...

 then it was down the aspen clad hill collecting firewood to go cook hotdogs over and then the summer was over.

Today, the house is quiet, the dogs are sleeping and the light is beginning to tilt sideways...Fall is thinking about coming and I'm ready!