Faltered Pride

Many years ago when my children were much younger they regularly participated in pow-wows and I helped make parts of their costumes. I had a section of beadwork that wasn’t needed and it’s been laying in my craft box for years so I decided to do a detailed drawing of the beads. I really like this color combination. Continue reading Faltered Pride

How to Cut Your Own Double Mat

Creating artwork to exhibit, show and sell is only a part of the work of an artist. To show your work, you must have it framed and ready to hang. Depending on the medium you use to create your work, you may also need to have your pieces matted before framing. Even though I’d love to be able to tell you that the framing is just the containment package – – the hanging system, if you  will, and that customers are truly only interested in the artwork, we all know that just isn’t the case. It’s the packaging for the product you are trying to sell. The framing is important. Like it or not, it might make or break the sale.

But framing is expensive, right? Don’t I know it! Continue reading How to Cut Your Own Double Mat

Lullaby of Singing Wind Woman

My two older children are Sioux Native American. I think I mentioned that in the blog post about Half-Blood Whole-Heart which used my son as a model. This time I used a photo of my daughter and grandson as the models for LULLABY OF SINGING WIND WOMAN.

Sharayah Burrell Sharayah Cornwell

This drawing was not an attempt at a portrait, I was using the photo as a reference only. After playing with the sketch and changing her hair to a braid, I used tracing paper and a white charcoal pencil to transfer the sketch to my final drawing paper, Canson Mi Tientes Touch black paper.

Lullaby of Singing Wind Woman

I first trace the drawing with a graphite pencil on tracing paper. Then I turn the paper over and, on the back side, trace the graphite drawing with a white charcoal pencil. Sometimes I use a pastel pencil. I can then position the sketch, with the white side down, on my final drawing paper and trace over the line again to transfer the white sketch to the black paper.

Lullabye of Singing Wind Woman

I decided to start with the background first. I was trying an experimental idea and if it didn’t workout I wanted to be free to chuck the whole thing in the bin without losing the time invested in the main composition. I chose turquoise, orange and yellow as the main colors for the background and used Prismacolor Art Stix to lay down most of the color.

Prismacolor Premier Art Stix
Woodless colored pencils

These are fabulous for covering large areas in a short amount of time. They are the same waxed based pigment found in the regular pencils, just without the wood casing and in a different shape.

Unfortunately most of my work-in-progress photos were lost to cyber oblivion, so I only have what was already posted on my Facebook page. I have no clue what happened to all the other photos. No doubt they will turn up after I no longer need them.  Here are the photos I do have.

As I stated earlier, my daughter is Sioux Native American and her native name is Singing Wind Woman. She was not actually singing a lullaby at the time the original photo was taken. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, she had just changed a very nasty diaper. I changed quite a few things about the piece. Her hair was changed from a messy bun to a braid, I added an earring, and changed the t-shirt to a leather fringed tunic. I also changed the baby sleeper to just a blanket. To make these changes I researched pictures online to get a better understanding of braided hair and dreamcatchers. I also looked at numerous photos of leather fringed jackets to be able to better visualize what fringe should look like. I had to imagine the beading on the fringe and just wing it.  For the baby blanket, I used a saddle blanket that we have here at home and wrapped it around a baby doll from the grandkids toy box. I was very pleased with how the blanket turned out.

I couldn’t decide if I should try adding a dreamcatcher to the background when my older son suggested that I make a color copy and pencil it in on the copy to try it out first. Brilliant idea. I did just that and after conferring back with him, my husband and my daughter, we decided the dreamcatcher needed to be there. I couldn’t find a detailed photo that I liked of a dreamcatcher to use as a reference. Then I remembered that I have a dreamcatcher necklace buried in a box. Perfect! I knew I wanted it to be simple and the necklace I have worked great as a reference.

Small color copy with penciled in dreamcatcher background.

Here is the finished work. LULLABY OF SINGING WIND WOMAN, Prismacolor colored pencil on Canson Mi Tientes Touch black paper, 12 x 16, matted and framed to 16 x 20. Photo reference, my own.

Lullaby of Singing Wind Woman
Lullaby of Singing Wind Woman

This piece is on display at the Logansport Art Association 108th Annual Spring Art Show in Logansport, Indiana through the month of June 2019.


Half-Blood Whole-Heart

This is my most recent colored pencil drawing. I estimated that it took me 50+ hours of actual drawing time and countless more hours of thinking and planning.

This drawing has been rolling around in my imagination for about a year. I had my son pose for some reference photos when he was home for the holidays last winter, but I didn’t actually start on the drawing until about May. Honestly, most of the time I was working on it, I wasn’t sure if I would ever finish it. Many times I considered ripping it off of the easel and throwing it away. Half-Blood Whole-Heart is a conglomeration of many different reference photos as well as sheer imagination when I couldn’t find the references I wanted. Continue reading Half-Blood Whole-Heart

Free Spirit

I finally have another drawing to share with you! I am very pleased with how this one turned out. It was a very challenging piece for me as I really didn’t know for sure what the end product was going to be when I started drawing. I usually have a very definite plan, including detailed reference photos, before I start a drawing. This time I was “winging” it, so I spent a good deal of time just staring at it and planning what I wanted it to look like and how to achieve what I was imagining. Continue reading Free Spirit

The Highlander

I finished it! Just in time. I wanted to finish this piece to be exhibited in a local weekend art show and just barely made the deadline. Work was to be delivered on Monday October 30th. I finished the artwork in the morning on Sunday the 29th and spent the afternoon framing it. Nothing quite like a deadline.

I’ve assembled quite a few work-in-progress photos to show the steps along the way.



I was very pleased with the clasp on the headband in the above photo.

The very last thing I drew on this piece was the beard. I was so anxious to get to the beard. I knew it would really “make” the piece. I used seven different colors of pencil for the beard. They included: Black, Polychromos Dark Sepia, Polychromos Warm Grey II, Prismacolor 90% Cool Grey, Prismacolor 90% French Grey, Prismacolor 70% French Grey, and Prismacolor White. I don’t remember which brand of Black I used. I just know I didn’t us much of it.


colored pencil, drawing, art,
Image Size: 17.5 x 22 inches Medium: Colored Pencil – Prismacolor Premier, Faber-Castell Polychromos, Walnut Hollow, Caran d’ Ache Pablos Paper: Canson Mi-Tientes Touch Photo Ref: My own, Shawn Parker

Wax On Wax Off

using a kneaded eraser to remove layers of colored pencil

Wax on wax off. The title might seem unusual, but it truly applies to this post. I use mostly Prismacolor colored pencils in my drawings and they are a wax based pencil. Sometimes I add pencil layers, sometimes I take them off.

In this post I want to explain in step-by-step detail how I approached the plaid fabric in The Highlander. Continue reading Wax On Wax Off

Tentatively Titled “The Highlander” WIP

Finally a new work-in-progress. Albeit, very slow progress. It’s so hard to get any artwork done during the summer. So in between freezing corn, canning tomatoes and digging potatoes, I started a new colored pencil work.

I’ve drawn everyone in the family except my husband, so he is the star of this work. It isn’t really a portrait, I’m just using him as my model. I am working with a variety of reference photos to put together the final piece that I “see” in my mind. Continue reading Tentatively Titled “The Highlander” WIP

A Summer Day

A Facebook friend of mine posted a photo she had taken of her sons at the lake. I loved the photo so much that I asked her for permission to use it as a reference for a painting.

I’ve held on to the reference photo for a couple of years or so and finally got around to using it.

I started the piece by sketching the boys on tracing paper, then transferring the sketch to a sheet of Oil Pastel Card by Sennelier.

sketch tracing paper
First sketch of the boys on tracing paper

They look kind of creepy with no legs or faces.

Once I sketched in some basic outlines, I began with an underpainting of complimentary colors. I chose to create this piece in oil pastel and used oil pastels for the underpainting as well. I had considered using a thin wash of oil paints, but chose to do the entire piece in the pastels.

oil pastels, painting, underpainting
Underpainting in complimentary colors

Next I used a brush and odorless mineral spirits to blend the pastel colors around and cover more of the paper. The pastel didn’t move as much on the paper as I had hoped. I was rethinking my decision to use only pastels and not oil paints.

Oil pastels with a wash of mineral spirits

I began layering colors much like I do with colored pencil, carefully working around the areas of the boys.



And…the finished product.

Photo of final work on display.

I’m still considering the oil pastels an experiment. I have fun working with them, but I’m not always sure how much I like the final results. I’ll just have to keep playing with them.

Photography Backdrop

My daughter is a photographer. No, she is an amazing photographer! You can view some of her work here.  She’s asked me to paint backdrops for her a few times and I just never got around to doing anything because most of my work was in colored pencil and very detailed. I didn’t think I could create something that would lend itself well to being reproduced in such a huge format…until now.  Continue reading Photography Backdrop