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.


Birthday Card and Miniature Art

I like to send cards. Actual paper cards sent via the post office and delivered by a real person. I don’t do e-cards. It was an interesting idea for a about two months when they first hit the internet, but their time has gone. I don’t always remember to  send cards on time, but I do like to send them. I decided this year that I was going to make the cards I send. No more store bought cards, I’ll make them all myself.  Well, it’s a goal anyway. The first family birthday on the calendar got a store bought card. It was just too perfect for him, so we went with it.

I had a lot of fun making my first card. It was a birthday card for a dear friend. Since the birthday is past, I can now show you all the card. I was very pleased with how it turned out.

Unfortunately I didn’t think to take any pictures along the way, so I can only post the final picture. I started with a plain white card. I added a patterned green paper and brown ribbon. The green paper is actually scrapbook paper. The brown paper with the white polka dots was cut from the front of another card. I had bought a couple of packs of Thank You cards because I liked the paper and thought it could be useful. I cut a circle from the brown and a flower shape from a green and silver lace card.  Then I cut a small brown circle and glued a white rosette for the middle of the flower.  I knew I would be using the tiny pearl embellishments later and I wanted the rosette to match. So before I attached the rosette, I painted it with white pearl nail polish.  I really liked the way it looked, but I hadn’t considered the fact that nail polish can be a bit smelly.  Oops! Fortunately I had some time before the card needed to be mailed, so I let it “air out” for a while. I hope it didn’t smell too much like nail polish when she opened the card.

Card flower

I’ve been collecting rubber stamps. I’m amazed at how many stamps I’ve been able to find at Goodwill and yard sales. Seems like every time I stop in, I find at least one or two rubber stamps. I don’t always  buy them, some are weird, but I see a lot of them. Sometimes they are sold by the bag full so I bring home some of those weird ones. They will probably end up back at Goodwill to be sold again.  One of my Goodwill shopping trips yielded a very nice little “Happy Birthday” rubber stamp.  I really like that it combines two different font styles. I used this stamp with a dark brown ink for the front cover message and then applied the tiny pearl embellishments. They come with a little spot of adhesive on the back and are very easy to use.


The interior of the card is more of the green pattern paper and vellum with just a little of the brown polka dot trim. I used the computer to print the message on the interior in a dark brown.  And, viola! It’s finished! My first card.



One of the fun things about making cards is that I now have a reason to save paper scraps! Even small pieces of pretty papers can be used to make trim and embellishment pieces for greeting cards. So, now when I see pretty papers like old cards, product packaging, etc., I will be justified in saving all those pretty little scraps for future cards.

I also like making cards because I can finish them faster than a drawing. Colored pencil drawings take a long time. A very long time. It’s nice to work on such a small scale and be able to see something finished in one afternoon. This reminds me of a series of miniature drawings that I did back in the early ’90s. Yes, I said ’90s. About 1992 to be more precise. Although I doubt I was able to finish one of these in only one afternoon, they didn’t take very long at all. I did the drawings to submit to an international competition for miniature art in Canada. One of the drawings, “Spotted Eagle” received a second place purchase award in the drawing category. I wonder how I even found out about this competition. We’re talking 1992! There was no internet. The world was a much bigger place. How did I find out about a competition in Canada? I have no idea. Not a clue as to how I discovered this competition.

“Spotted Eagle” was purchased at the competition, so the only picture I have of it is a scanned image of a photocopy that I made before I sent it off to the competition. Yes, they had color copiers in 1992. The other two drawings in the series were returned to me and are now in the possession of my former husband. I was able to borrow them last summer and scan the original artwork to have much higher quality digital files. The image size for each of these drawings is 3″ x 5″.  Here is the complete series:

"Spotted Eagle" a.k.a Kenneth Red Elk was my former father-in-law. He was Yankton Sioux Native American
“Spotted Eagle” a.k.a Kenneth Red Elk was my former father-in-law. He was Yankton Sioux Native American. The hide painting in the background was inspired by hide paintings his brother used to paint. 
"Dakota Babe" is a drawing of my daughter, Sharayah. She was about 2 1/2 years old at this time. She always sucked on her fingers when she slept.
“Dakota Babe” is a drawing of my daughter, Sharayah. She was about 2 1/2 years old at this time. She always sucked on her fingers when she slept. 
"Dakota Pride" is a collection of family history items that my father-in-law was holding for his family.
“Dakota Pride” is a collection of family history items that my father-in-law was holding for his family.

Small prints of “Dakota Babe” and “Dakota Pride” are available for purchase on my website,





Starting a New Portrait

It’s time for another portrait. This one will be a “twin” to the portrait of my grandson, Nolan, that I posted about earlier. This literally will be a twin since it will be a portrait of Nolan’s twin sister, Harper. This will be a mixed media portrait consisting of a pen & ink drawing on a background of acrylic paints.

This morning I worked on the background. I first painted a layer of gesso over the paper and allowed it to dry.

Painted acrylic background for Harper's portrait.
Painted acrylic background for Harper’s portrait.

Next I used a brayer to apply a layer of Cadmium Yellow and Diva Pink acrylic paints. I used a blow dryer to speed up the drying time for these two layers. Once those were dry, I used a damp sea sponge to dabble on some purple  paint, and then a wadded up paper towel to add gold glitter paint and purple glitter paint. Once everything was dry I decided to add some more of the pink so I used a small piece of bubble wrap, the small size, to apply dots of pink. I just love how all of these colors work together. I enjoy looking at just the background. I almost don’t want to add a portrait on top of it.

I’ll keep you posted with work-in-progress photos once I get started. It may be a while before I will be able to work on this one. We’re rolling in to the busy time of year and I’m also preparing other finished artworks for two upcoming shows. I’ll get back to it as soon as I can.

Art and Family Influences

I was out of town all last week at my dad’s place. Well, technically it now belongs to my sister and me, but that still sounds weird to me so I’ll refer to it as Dad’s place. Nestled in the hills and hollers of southern Indiana, I was without cable and internet all week unless I drove to the McDonald’s in a neighboring town and made use of the free WiFi. My cell phone connection was also a bit spotty, so my week was quiet and disconnected from global events.

Continue reading Art and Family Influences