Saturday, December 18, 2010


A portrait commission. I sometimes have trouble with long-haired dogs but this one seemed to go pretty well. As a matter of fact, I didn't even get to an "ugly" stage where I hate how the painting looks and wonder if I should sand it off and start over. Other than me fretting that it was getting too tight and wanting to loosen up, this one went quite smoothly and is one of the best pets yet. Wish they were all this easy! Acrylic on wood panel, 11x14.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I'm really enjoying painting small! Could be a touch of ADD, but when starting a big painting I always feel like I'm setting off on a trip like driving from SF to LA, and there's always a point where I feel like I'm running out of gas or off the road. The little ones are fun, quick, and I can't mess around with them too long or it's time to bring out Mr. Sandpaper and start over. So this is a piece I'm doing as part of an alphabet for a kids' book. I'm planning to do one set of people-made objects and one natural things...if I can stay on the road. I'm also doing prints of these mounted on wooden panels that I trade for a green picture of Andrew Jackson.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Betty Cake

A painted card for friend Betty's upcoming birthday. This is a 4x4 painting on wood. Love doing these. They're like eating a bon bon--a satisfying little treat that won't kill you.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sketchbook page

Drawing is a core skill for me and despite having done it since I was four, it's something I need to continually practice. Figure drawing sessions are great but illustrations tend to require clothed people. I live near a mall that seems to function as a town center--come to think of it, that's what it's called. Every Wednesday there's a farmer's market and I go there to draw people. I never realized how much people move until I began drawing them. I have literally seconds to capture someone's form. So what I call street drawing is a composite of a number of different poses and memory. It's an exhilarating exercise to draw a person with a few lightning-fast scribbles and it's also fun educating myself on what people wear, or in some cases what they don't wear. And what do people have in those giant purses? A couple of chihuahuas?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


An illustration for Illustration Friday (click on the word "acrobat" to see the site). Doing this piece made me think about my creative process. I screwed around all morning, went for a bike ride, came back and had lunch, wrestled with the cat as it kept walking on my art to get my attention, and finally started the painting in the late afternoon. I think it took about three hours to do. But it took about a day of thinking about it. I always berate myself for not getting right down to work early in the morning, but I think is like a baby--it's going to come when it's ready.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Some ideas take a long time to develop, others like this one just pop into my head. I was struggling with another idea for a few days so I decided to try something else. This one just came to me and only took a couple hours to work out. The image needed something in the foreground and then goofy rabbits dancing showed up and were a perfect addition.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Magic Box

Book cover art for a story that has been running laps in my head. I always have fun designing weird creatures. Acrylic on watercolor board.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Garage Kids

Doing illustration for kids is fun because it requires me to pull things and situations from my childhood. A lot of my free time was spent messing around in our chaotic garage. There was a brief time when a car my aunt gave me was parked in it, but other than that, there was simply no room for a car because of all the junk that was piled up there. My dad encouraged me to make my own toys and there was always plenty of tools and pieces of cars and machinery around to make things with, so this was probably the start of my imaginative thinking.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Way Out

This piece is a donation for illustrator Kelly Light's Ripple project, a fundraiser that sends money to help the wildlife affected by the BP oil spill.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sprinting Practice

I saw a cartoon with some scary rhinos in it that gave me the idea to do this piece.

Monday, June 28, 2010


An illustration from a story I wrote about a mythical village that is terrorized by a wind demon. Acrylic on watercolor board.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Teacup chihuahua

A line drawing for sample art. This might become a series of visual puns but basically just a fun drawing that came to mind.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wind Demons

An illustration for a kids' story. I wrote it a while ago and decided it was pretty good so I am developing it for an upcoming writer's conference. I re-drew the kid in this about twenty times. I'm learning that creating a children's book is a lot of work.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dragon's Back

Another illustration for my kids story Days With Dad. This is based on an actual incident when my Dad decided to install a totally new engine in our car the day before we were supposed to drive from Oakland to Los Angeles, about a 400-mile trip. My mother freaked out, like any rational person would and my Dad was like, "What's the big deal?" The idea that something could go wrong never entered his mind. So we were driving up a long steep mountain called the Grapevine and the engine started to overheat because it should have been broken in properly before being subjected to strenuous usage. Dad was about to pull over and stop when it began to rain. The rain cooled down the engine, we got over the mountain, and Dad proceeded to go about 130. I'm calling the Grapevine the Dragon's Back in this story.

Monday, June 14, 2010


An illustration for my kids' book illustration portfolio. After struggling with at lot of problems with the paper falling apart when I use washes on regular illustration board I heard about watercolor paper illustration board and gave it a try. Problem solved. It's got a little more texture than I like but the paper takes washes so much better that I can live with the texture.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tiburon Fireboat

A piece for an upcoming group show called Marinscapes, an annual fundraising event in Larkspur CA on July 2-4. This is acrylic on canvas. Am getting more comfortable using Golden's Open Acrylics. I do an underpainting with traditional acrylic and finish with the open paint. I can achieve the blending and brushstroke look of oil without the hassle of solvent disposal that comes with using oils. I'm working on a portfolio of art for kids books and after that it's time to get a little nutty and try some ideas that I've been seeing in my head--look out! A link to the Marinscapes event:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dad and the lawnmower

Being in possession of a multiple personality disorder I am developing a couple of children's books. This illustration is for a story I am writing about my goofy dad and his antics He was always repairing or modifying something and his favourite activity was making something more powerful and faster. Though his methods were unorthodox and unsophisticated he was an amazing mechanic. But sometimes things went awry. Like the time he replaced the carburetor on my cousin's car and it caught on fire. In my book I modify that experience to the time Dad fixed the lawnmower.

Friday, May 28, 2010

San Geronimo

A study for a larger painting. This is 6x6 on wood, a horse pasture in a West Marin area known as San Geronimo. Note to self: need to figure out horse anatomy. Lots of leg joints I don't quite understand. Memories of going to summer camp and riding a horse for the first time. Not having much exposure to animals at the time I was expecting it to be soft, like...our plush toys? Well, that horse's back was HARD. First time I really thought about the disadvantages of external genitalia. Yeoow! Then the horse ran under some low hanging tree branches. I'll paint horses and let someone else ride them.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Red Flower

The little 4x4 paintings were been well-received at my show opening. I would see people standing in front of them for a while and they seemed to really enjoy looking at them, so I'll probably do more and evolve them into images that have a little more going on. I just did this flower that I saw in my neighbor's garden. This is also a 4x4 on wood. At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all, the title demonstrates my extensive botanical knowledge.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Another piece for my show. This one is a 6x6 wood panel. I'm getting into this still life thing but will probably take it in a different direction now, although what I don't know. I'll be hanging the show in a few hours. It started off as 18 pieces but all the 4x4 paintings made it 29. A bunch of my friends are showing up so it'll be a good party and I'm pricing stuff so that they'll go home with someone else.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Love Ducky

Another 4x4 inch painting on wood. I'm going to have 12 of these in my show. They're really fun to do, almost like eating one of those mini ice cream bon bons called Dabs. They're fast (compared to a bigger painting) to do, too small to get anal retentive with, and look...uh, cute. Never thought I'd describe my work as cute but these are. Everyone I've shown them to loves them. Maybe it's the puppy/kitten thing. Someone was asking what kind of work I do. I happened to have one in my pocket. So I whipped it out. The painting that is. Well, here, this is what I do. The surprised response? "Wow, that's cool. It's cute." Look out, I'm carrying cute in my pocket!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I've been painting on wood an really liking it. Perhaps because it's a hard surface, I am able to get thick brush strokes that seem to disappear on canvas. Also, it's easy to sand off something I don't like and re-prime the surface without changing it much. Canvas loses its texture as the primer gets thicker so the paint doesn't act the same way and washes don't flow as well. I use cradled wood panels, meaning that there is reinforcing wood framework on the back of the surface. The sides of the reinforcing wood strips make for a nice edge that doesn't require framing. Framing could be added but it's actually redundant.

I'm doing a number of small still lifes (lives?) for my show. This bag is one of them. For some weird reason, my usual painting procedure has a different appearance when its on wood. I start off with a monochromatic underpainting. I will do a drawing and then build up medium and dark tonal areas. Usually this stage will look great on canvas, but on wood it's not very attractive. Then I add heavier colored areas and it really comes to life. This bag didn't look that great as an underpainting so I was afraid it would be a mediocre painting and then I added the color it was transformed into a piece I really like.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I've got a show coming up at the Tiburon-Belvedere Library here in Marin County CA. The opening is May 25 from 6-8pm and this will be one of the paintings there. It's acrylic on a wood panel, which is becoming one of my favorite surfaces to use. Being stiff and non-porous it's quite different from canvas but I like the way thick paint goes on. This is 4 inches by 4 inches. Been working my bootie off seven days a week getting ready for this show and the following one July 4th weekend.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cathleen's All-Star

Even though most of what I have been posting is landscapes or critter portraits I like doing a lot of different types of art. This is something I did for fun for a friend. It's acrylic on illustration board with some collage elements.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Heading Out

I've got a show coming up (May 25-June19) at a library in Tiburon CA, so I've been doing some work to display in that. This is one I'll be using on my postcard announcement. I was in downtown Tiburon as a fog bank was burning off. Tiburon was clear and sunny but the City was still a little under cover. I've got lots of work to do, as I'm also showing at a group show called Marinscapes in July. I'm trying not freak out!

Friday, April 2, 2010


A goofy little pup that will probably get huge. Done from a really low-res internet pic which made it a challenge I had fun with his face.