Saturday, August 15, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

Celeste the Snake

When I went to the Wildlife Preserve in Frankfort Kentucky I saw a snake that looked quite serene.  So I was inspired to make this paper cut out illustration.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

An Exciting Discovery!

I've been fooling around with the paper cut outs and I finally figured out how to make facial expressions with this style.  This has been quite a challenge for me and so this discovery makes me very happy.  This opens up a lot of doors to new and exciting illustration possibilities.

Monday, July 13, 2015

It's Just Hair

Last month I shaved off all 18 inches of my beautiful red hair and sold it for money.  Originally I was just going to sell 14 inches for $500, but when the buyer offered $1000 for me to shave my head I said, "What the hell.  I'll do it." It all happened so fast.  I cut it all off that very night before I could change my mind.  "It's just hair."  I kept telling myself.  "It will grow back."

The day after I posted a picture of my newly shaved head on Facebook and received an overwhelming response.  190 likes and 58 comments.  Some of them were even from famous authors and illustrators whom I stalk including: Vanessa Newton, Patricia Hruby Powell, Lita Judge, Debora Underwood, Diana Aston and Sharon Lovejoy.  It is by far the most popular facebook post I have ever made.  

It turns out that shaving your head can be a really fun social experiment.  I've always received a lot of compliments from strangers about my long red hair, but I received even more after I shaved it all off!  It was fun to come in to work at the library and watch my coworkers do double takes.  One of them said, "I forgot to wear my tie today, but you forgot to wear your hair!"  My boss kept saying.  "I'm not used to it.  I'm still not used to it."  Patrons at the library tend to stare at me more, especially children (probably trying to decipher whether I'm a boy or a girl.)

I was surprised by how supportive my husband has been through the whole thing.  He immediately accepted my decision and even shaved my head for me.  He jokes around and says I look like a boy, but it is clear he still finds me attractive and makes me feel beautiful.

This whole thing has certainly been a roller coaster full of ups and downs.  Some days I feel sexy, but there are many days I miss my long hair (especially now that my current look is an awkward buzz cut).  However, I never regret my decision.  It's just hair after all. The experience has been so eye opening and unique.  If I could go back in time I would do it all over again.

Here is a poem I wrote about my own reaction when I first cut my hair.

A New Haircut
That was the word that came to mind
As the hair clippers moved repeatedly
across my vulnerable scalp.

It sounded so harsh,
a word you might use to describe
Nazis shaving the heads
of their Holocaust victims.

Fistfuls of thick red hair
tumbled to the kitchen floor
in graceful spirals,
leaving my head

I looked at the 18 inches of hair on the floor,
then looked in the mirror.

Staring in to my reflection
I did not think,
I did not think,
I did not think,

I thought,
I thought,
I thought,

It’s nice to know that it was not my hair that made me beautiful.
It was me all along.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Open for Business!

Hi all!

Please excuse this shameless advertising, but I am excited to announce that I've finally opened a shop on Etsy!  You can now purchase 8.5x11 prints of my artwork for $15.  I am also providing some new services including customized t-shirt designs and illustrated portraits.  You can visit my shop here.  Please feel free to browse and see if there is anything of interest to you!  Also let me know if you have your own Etsy shop you would like me to favorite.  I am very new to all this and would like to try building up a circle of friends on Etsy!

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Scarlet Tanager Surprise

This ink and watercolor piece is an entry for Susanna Hill's Illustrator Contest.  The prompt is "Discovery", and I am so incredibly excited!!!  There are already some wonderful entries and I can't wait to see the others.

I don't want to say too much about this piece because I want to leave room for the viewers' imaginations and interpretations, but I will say that scarlet tanagers are not very common birds, and for a young birdwatcher to happen upon an entire tree of them is rare.

Monday, June 8, 2015

It's Time to Stop Categorizing Books by Gender!

I love reading lists.  I have a whole board on pintrest devoted to them, and I follow bloggers who frequently post them.  Reading lists are great!  However, there is one thing that absolutely drives me nuts about book lists.  Especially the ones for kids.  So often they are grouped in to "Books for Boys"and "Books for Girls." Why do people feel like they have to categorize literature by gender?  We shouldn't limit our kids like that.  They should be able to read whatever they damn well please without worrying about whether it's a girl book or a boy book.

Here is an example of what I mean.  Often times lists will look something like this.

Books for kids in Kindergarten and Under

Fancy Nancy
Angelina Ballerina
Ladybug Girl
Amelia Bedelia
The Paper Bag Princess

No David!
Cars, Trucks, and Things that Go!
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site.
Freight Train
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight

Chapter Books for Young Kids

The Secret Garden
Little House on the Prairie
American Girl Books
Ramona Books
Ella Enchanted

The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Tale of Despereaux
Call it Courage
Encyclopedia Brown

GAH!!!  It's so infuriating!  I don't want to have to defend myself for checking out books like Fancy Nancy and Ella the Elephant for my son.  I don't want him to feel judged for reading A Little Princess in elementary school.  I want him to live in a world where he can proudly read Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, or Jane Eyre without fear of being called a sissy.

There is no such thing as "Girl Books" and "Boy Books."  There are only books. If we raise our kids to think likewise a whole new world of possibilities opens up, and the world will be a better place.