Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Galena's Horseshoe Mound Public Art Project

"The Earth has Music for those who Listen." ~ George Santanaya
I was honored to be invited to create artwork to be on one of six benches installed at Horseshoe Mound Preserve in Galena, IL. The benches are made of indigenous oak and were crafted by area craftsman Larry Cording.

This beautiful scenic area is one of the highest points in Jo Daviess County.

The mission of the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation is to conserve and enhance natural wildlife habitat, cultural heritage, agricultural character, and the scenic vistas of Jo Daviess County and the surrounding area for future generations.

My design was intended to show the geology of the area, so I depicted the Mound itself, the Galena (formerly Fever) River, a cardinal, a cone flower, monarch butterfly, a tree frog, snail, bumble bee, a grasshopper and dragonfly in an early autumn landscape painted in a whimsical style. This acrylic painting on wood was outside of my comfort zone, but I had fun with it. My first public art project.

Looking forward to seeing all of the art benches at the grand opening at the end of September, 2014. 

Paleolithic snail rendering, this snail only lives in the driftless area.

Galena River from a reference photo a tourist took from a hot air balloon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Small Daily Sketches

Some small, quick daily sketches of regional wildflowers and grasses, studies for an upcoming portrait commission. Enjoying my Pro Artist Watercolor Travel Kit by Windsor Newton and brushing up my skills for September travel journaling in the EU!

Hawk weed? and clover with grass. Ink and watercolor.

Lamb's Ear - ink. I did add watercolor later, but don't have a photo

Wild grasses and ants and a bee - ink and watercolor 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Dear Trixie"

"Dear Trixie" posthumous portrait of our lovely friend Lisa Hammer, pen name Trixie Kitsch,
29 x 22" mixed media

Lisa was kind and generous, a talented artist and writer, she had a biting sense of humor
and a heart of gold. She saw through our veneer and loved our souls.
The world lost a great woman at Valentine's week, 2014.

Farewell Dear Trixie, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

"Thinking Itself Is Love - Self Portrait with Brain Tumor"

"Thinking Itself Is Love (Self Portrait with Brain Tumor)"
16 x 8" mixed media
After thinking about this project for over a year, I finally made this self portrait. I used references from my MRI scans that were taken before neurosurgery to remove a benign Meningioma brain tumor. I am doing very well, nearly two years post-op. Thank you to everyone who supported me during this most trying time of my life. I really don't know where I would be without all of you.

I have spent a great deal of time thinking about how a broken heart might effect the mind and physical and mental health. Forgiveness and Love are always the answer. 

"…the heart is not broken, in the sense that it does not exist before the break. But it is the break itself that makes the heart. The heart is not an organ, and neither it is a faculty. It is: that I is broken and traversed by the other where its presence is most intimate and its life is most open. The beating of the heart - rhythm of the partition of being, syncope of the sharing of singularity - cuts across presence, life, consciousness. That is why thinking - which is nothing other than the weighing or testing of the limits, the ends, of presence, of life, of consciousness - thinking itself is love."

 ~ Jean Luc Nancy, Shattered Love

"Dove and Peonies" Commission

"Dove and Peonies"   

Commissioned charcoal drawing on beige paper with white pastel pencil. 10 x 8"

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Magnolia and Dove

"Magnolia and Dove"
 8 x 8" charcoal and white pastel pencil on beige paper. A gift for a friend.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tim: Portrait Commission

This portrait was commissioned by the subject, great character is evident!

"Tim" 20 x 16" carbon pencil on ivory French Rives paper.

Full composition


Thursday, May 8, 2014


For my Mom. <3

5.5 x 3.5" brown ink and watercolor on paper.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lily of the Vale

Walnut ink on vintage handmade paper, 14 x 10" 

And the 
Naiad-like lily of the vale,
Whom youth makes so fair and passion so pale 
Percy Bysshe 
from The 
Sensitive Plant 
Part 1

Friday, March 14, 2014

Galena Home and Studio

It was quite a transition from downtown Chicago studio to small town, and I am now feeling at home in my Galena apartment art studio. The lush, hilly landscape and close proximity of the Mississippi River lend artistic inspiration that cannot be rivaled elsewhere in Illinois. Springtime brings a show of blossoms in Victorian gardens. Summertime outdoor activities include bike paths, nature walks or boating on the Galena River. The changing colors of a wide variety of deciduous trees make autumn Galena's busiest season. Winter sports abound with cross country trails and downhill skiing.

Sometimes a quiet time of reflection in a beautiful space is all the inspiration we need. Daily sketches seed ideas to larger plans. Looking inward adds richness to the creative process. There is time and a place for peace and contemplation, and it is good.

I am grateful for my artistic friends. 

~ Welcome! ~ 

My apartment building last summer, Galena historic district.

Victorian interior suits my style and high ceilings suit my easel.
Restful colors and open floor plan.

Easel and desk, lots of natural light from high windows.

Original stained glass in the kitchen.

Espresso on demand. Life is good!
Latte at the drawing table, enjoying the comforts of home.

Gorgeous view from my kitchen window.

Looking forward to springtime on the three season porch and back patio.

Bouquet from the garden. I also have a raised bed for herbs and vegetables.

Pocket door detail, beauty wherever I look.
Drawing room, with a view! Plenty of room for entertaining and for teaching.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Botanical Drawings Book Project

 Beginnings ~ a book of botanical drawings. 

"...and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?" ~ Vincent van Gogh

Unique vintage handmade sketchbook by Ericka Schmitt, an inspiring gift from my lovely friend Jane Guill. It's beautifully made and embellished - a pleasure to draw on the cotton rag paper.


 "...and the naiad - like the lily of the vale..." ~ Shelly 

Lily of the valley - Majalis "of or belonging to May." Mayfly naiad
walnut ink on 100% cotton rag, 5 x 7.5"

                                    “So in the dark we hide the heart that bleeds, 
                                And wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.”
                         ~ Countee Cullen

                         "Bleeding Heart and Goldfinch"

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

One Sketch A Day

Five weeks in!

A lovely Solstice gift from a friend has turned into what I hope will be a year long project. The "One Sketch A Day"sketchbook has been filling out day by day. I splurged and bought a nice "Pen & Ink" brand fountain pen to go along with the gift.

I have not been making enough art during my traumatic events of the past few years. It feels good to be drawing regularly again. The act of creating, even if only for just a few minutes a day, is meditative and opens my mind to ideas for larger projects in the future.

"Happy Socks" February 1, 2014

I tend to draw from fifteen minutes to an hour per session and subjects are whatever I see around me during my daily routine. Life is busy and if I skip a day's sketch I make two small sketches the next day or one larger one, full page. I am drawing from observation instead of using reference photographs. I like the diary aspect of the project as well. Five weeks in, I feel my confidence returning and I am not as intimidated to begin as I was the first week or two. I get excited when I see something I want to add to the book and often fire right in. In the coming months I hope to draw more people who may be out enjoying life's quiet moments in establishments or outdoor settings in Galena and other places I travel.

I am looking forward to where this journal will take me throughout year. Happy to be alive and well and able to make art one year post craniotomy!

Peter/Anngela's Medicine Pouch/Capp January 21 - 24

Through My Kitchen Window/Banister Detail January 25 - 28

Marty & Peter/Walnut Ink January 5/6, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Galena Architectural Details, One Sketch A Day

"Galena River Wine & Cheese - in Snow"
"Coach House - View From My Kitchen Window" and Banister Detail - Galena, IL
Banister Detail, Galena, IL

Banister Detail, Galena, IL

Monday, February 3, 2014

Courting Candle Daily Sketch

"Candlemas" Courting Candle
Catch up sketch, two days in one. This was done on Candlemas, also known at Imbolc and Groundhog's Day. The Courting Candle history is found here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Chocolates Daily Sketch

"Fannie May" 3 x 5" chocolates were a gift from my daughter, drawn on a favorite floral plate!
 This sketch was done with my fountain pen and two shades of gray markers. I loved this technique, but unfortunately the markers bled through the sketch paper! Made for an interesting "verso" sketch two days out!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sketches Inspired by Inspiring Friends!

"Peter's Flute" with Peter Fraterdeus

"Mortar & Pestle - found at Pinder Pottery" 3 x 5"
"One Sketch A Day." The top sketch was done with a marker, the bottom with my freshly flushed fountain pen.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Walnut Ink Studies

"Bird Sanctuary?" 5 x 6"

"From My Studio" 5 x 6"
Studio interior and wild life fun, that was one squirrel but he was difficult to capture so I drew him twice! Walnut ink made by my friend Thom Metcalf, dipped the fountain pen for these but still had trouble with the ink drying out and paper scratching through. Dry overheated air, with this winter's extreme Polar Vortex conditions.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Four Daily Sketches

Four Daily Sketches in my One Sketch A Day journal, each page 5 x 6"