Wednesdays in Lawrence (pt. 1)

As many of you know, for the past two semesters, I've been teaching a class at my alma mater, The University of Kansas. This semester, I've decided to make the most of my 40 minute drive up to LFK (for the non-kansan) and start a weekly sketchbook project. Every Wednesday I'll spend an hour or two before or after class sketching on campus or somewhere around town. Typically, I'll go back to my studio and "complete" the pieces (so, no, not dragging an entire paint set around with me). Here are the results of my recent outings. I'll update here periodically, but be sure to follow my tumblr blog or for weekly updates! 

Wheatfields

Wheatfields

On the Hill

On the Hill

Murphy Hall Box Office

Murphy Hall Box Office

Murphy Hall benches. 

Murphy Hall benches. 

The Hill on a Cold, Cold Day.

The Hill on a Cold, Cold Day.

Put a Dog on It

I've just returned from a week-long trip to Dallas where I ate a lot of food, purchased some new cowboy boots and most importantly, had the wonderful opportunity to paint a mural! 

I was so graciously hired by Chris Hartley of Dunhill Homes to create this mural for one of their knock-out model homes. He had seen my previous mural work and thought this would be an excellent addition to the already awesome interiors they create for their model homes. Below are some of our process shots.

we don't need no stinkin' projector 

we don't need no stinkin' projector 

about as far as we got on day 1 (the entire mural took four days)

about as far as we got on day 1 (the entire mural took four days)

My lovely assistant, Colleen! 

My lovely assistant, Colleen

almost there!

almost there!

getting a little loopy!

getting a little loopy!

Behr paint is hands down the best! 

Behr paint is hands down the best! 

some detail shots

some detail shots

tah-dah!

tah-dah!

I obviously had a blast creating this mural and I cannot wait to begin my next one! OF course, I could not have done this alone. MANY thanks to my cousin and friend Colleen Hartley for assisting me on this job. It was a week I'll never forget! And of course, I would be terribly amiss to leave you without sharing a little gif of the process:


Christmas' Last Hurrah

After spending the majority of the holidays either sick and feeling utterly unmotivated to create, I was thrilled when the temps soared last Friday and I was able to get down to The Plaza to sketch! If you haven't yet been down to see one of Kansas City's favorite holiday attractions, you better hurry! Tonight is the last night. Below is my favorite painting of the the bunch. Check out my tumblr page for all my sketches!

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World Series Bound!

Did you hear? Have you heard the news? THE Kansas City Royals are in the World Series!! I am so excited, I took a moment today to letter this little homage. I have a very big deadline looming and definitely did not have time for such matters, so I hope that speaks to how FREAKIN' EXCITED I am! Let's go boys, our work is not done yet! 

Lil' Quickies

During the Brush Creek Art Walk I had an epiphany. I've always been of the mindset that watercolor is somewhat of a quick medium. It's not like oil or colored pencils where you can spend hours and hours building up an image. If you paint over a watercolor too much, you just get mud. While the act of watercolor is relatively fast, the thought process behind it can be excruciatingly slow. It's a lot of testing out colors to make sure you get just the right one (there's no going back, no command-Z!) and reverse thinking on how to get the highlights and shadows just right.

After being disappointed in how far I could get during the first two-hour quick paint competition at the Art Walk, I decided to keep it small for the second. This image measures 5'x5' and took about an hour and a half. 

It was a blast. So. I did some more. I think I would like to make this a regular thing. After all, I can always spare an hour and a half in the name of watercolor. 

And speaking of thought process, I took some photos of my plaza painting along the way to make this litter gif. I like gifs. 

Tis The Season?

Back-to-school season has officially come and gone in these parts, so you know what that means. Halloween? No. Pumpkin Spice Lattes? Gross. Thanksgiving? Don't be silly.  IT'S TIME TO BUY CHRISTMAS CARDS! Really? Yes, really! The cards I designed this season for Petite Alma are up and available to purchase on TinyPrints. Here is a small sampling, but be sure to check out the whole collection. There are all kinds of different configurations, color schemes and even envelope liners if you want to be all fancy pants. 

all designs © Petite Alma, 2014

Buy My Art!

My painting of the J.C. Nichols fountain at night is part of an online auction whose proceeds will help to maintain and some cases save our city's fountains. Also, half goes to me, so support the fountains or an artist. It's a win/win situation. This watercolor painting measures 15"x11" and comes matted and framed. It's also one of the lower starting bids on the site, so you may get it for a steal! Paintings are also on display at the Buttonwood Art Space at 3013 Main Street (definitely go check them out as they ALL look better in person). Bidding begins Sept. 5th so be forewarned I will probably bug you again on Friday. 

Be Brave! Have Courage!

I've recently returned from a fantastic, desperately needed trip to California! I'm so back logged though that I haven't even scanned half of my sketches done on my travels. Key words for the week would be: IDOLS, SUNSETS, SEAFOOD, DISNEY, DISASTER, DISNEY, MIRACLES, FAMILY, FUN. Not bad for a week's vacay, huh? I hope to post much more soon, but for now, some wise words from a childhood hero, Tomie DePaola as he delivered a closing keynote at the LA SCBWI conference:

RIP Robin Williams

The folks over at Storybird wanted to do something special to honor the life of Robin Williams. Since they know I dabble in the letter arts from time to time, they asked me to letter a line of his from Dead Poets Society.

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Rest in peace Mr. Williams. You will be dearly missed.

On Location: Lawrence City Band

My summer sketch club has been seeing the sights this summer! While we typically frequent iconic locations in Kansas City, this past week we hit the road and traveled west to Lawrence, Kansas ( aka Larryville, L-Town, LFK and the Home of the Jayhawks). If you know very little about me, you probably know that Lawrence holds a very special place in my heart.

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If you know a little more about me, you know that I used to play the clarinet. I played throughout college on a scholarship and even a little while after with various groups including the Lawrence City Band.

The band plays every Summer Wednesday in South Park located in downtown Lawrence. Having been a former musician with the band I knew that they also rehearse two hours before every concert at KU's Murphy Hall. I shot off a quick email to the director and got the ok to come draw the musicians during their rehearsal. 

 

It wasn't until I was in that room drawing and listening to the music that I realized how much I missed playing myself. I did the math and figured that I spent approximately 1080 hours playing in that rehearsal room in Murphy Hall during my college days! That doesn't include the time spent in my professor's office or the creepy old practice rooms on the top floor (that I'm now kicking myself that I didn't draw as well!). It's no wonder old memories surfaced.

This post goes out to my old band buds, especially those who are still making music. In whatever capacity! It takes effort and you rock (or toot or blow :)

 

An Obsession.

It's officially summer in these parts. And you know what, it hasn't been terrible! I've been keeping very busy these days teaching drawing at KCAI, working for Petite Alma, Storybird, and a very new exciting book project! I've also started up a drawing on location group here in Kansas City (just like the one in NYC last summer). It's been a lot of fun exploring my hometown, meeting new people and seeing everything through new eyes. 

Last week we met at the Plaza (and outdoor shopping area in midtown KC). I live near by, so I actually come down to draw at the Plaza quite a bit. I've been enamored with the J.C. Nichols fountain and the sculptures of the horses that represent four major rivers of the world (The Mississippi, Volga, Seine and Rhine). After Sketch Club was over, I passed by the fountain on my way home and was just stunned by how pretty it looked all lit up. It was a have-to-draw moment. 

Night Fountain, Kansas City

Night Fountain, Kansas City

Of course, this isn't what I sat down and painted on location! I've been wanting to experiment with taking my sketchbook drawings and paintings and turning them into more refined larger paintings and practice my watercolor skills in the process. This piece is 12x16" and done completely in watercolor with a bit of white gouache (look ma, no photoshop!). 

Keep in mind, this was not my first shot at the fountain. I've been drawing it regularly all spring and have finally captured all four horses. Here are a few of my other Fountain pieces:

this one is the on-location sketch of the above, larger piece

this one is the on-location sketch of the above, larger piece


Obsessions are fun, aren't they? While I sometimes post my location drawings on this blog, I always post them on my tumblr, so make sure to follow me there as well! 

First Fridays Show

Hey everyone! I have some work up with some of the uber talented folks of Hufft Projects this First Friday (June 6) at MWE Inc. (1720 Wyandotte St.). No, I haven’t completely switched gears and become an architect. My husband works there and they were kind enough to let me join in on the fun. Since summer is upon us, I thought it would be fun to show some of my Swimmer Girls! I will have prints of illustrations from the book as well as some original paintings. Some never before shown! Click here for more info about the show AND the other talented artists that will be there. It's going to be a great show of very diverse work. Hope to see you there! 

Many thanks to MWE Inc. and Hufft Projects, especially Gavin Snider for organizing this and letting some extended family (me) join in!


 

If I see you in the next couple of weeks and I don’t remember my name or only have one shoe on, it’s because things are a little cray cray over here. This is a personal piece (and part of something larger) I did back when I had free time. Sigh…free time.

 

Recent Storybird Spots

As each chapter of Alone in a Crowded Place is revealed over on Storybird, a new spot illustration is revealed as well. Here are some recents. Stay tuned for more of these. With nearly 40 spots, we are only at the beginning! 

Our main character, Sam, hearing some surprising news! 

Our main character, Sam, hearing some surprising news! 

The setting of this spooky story, a library in an old Victorian mansion. 

The setting of this spooky story, a library in an old Victorian mansion. 

A most unusual book.

A most unusual book.

Something strange is happening in that old bell tower!

Something strange is happening in that old bell tower!