Saturday, December 21, 2013

4, 3, 2, 1...

When it comes to decorating for Christmas, I take the less-is-more approach. My six-year-old does not appreciate this. He thinks we should really be decking the halls. One decoration I have is this little snowman who counts down to the Big Day. He came with three number blocks, so I guess if you wanted to, you could keep him out all year and start the countdown the day after Christmas. I am not that dedicated. So he comes out every December. Or maybe the day after Thanksgiving, if he's lucky.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I like to think that I liked owls before they became trendy. But the timing was really close. Maybe I'm a trendsetter! Maybe I started the whole owl obsession! Probably not. Luckily I didn't go overboard with owl paraphernalia. But I will admit, there are a few owls around the house.

This is Owl (the stuffed animals in our house have very original names), a puppet from IKEA that I couldn't resist. 

Moleskine, Microns & yellow highlighter

And an ornament that my sister bought me.

Bond paper sketchbook & Micron pens

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sketchy Car Rides

It's been awhile since I've posted. I can't believe how fast three months can go by! I haven't made time to draw anything for an extended period of time, so I try to find a few minutes here and there when I can. Sometimes I have five to ten minutes before I need to go into work, so I get out my tiny Moleskine and draw the stuff laying around my messy car. Sometimes I take Simon for a ride so he will nap, and I pull over somewhere and draw. Today I went to Havre de Grace, and before I left I drew the alley in front of my parking spot. They're not always the most inspiring things, but it keeps me drawing. And that keeps me sane.

Moleskine sketchbook & Micron pens

Moleskine & Microns

Moleskine & pencil
Moleskine & Microns


Stillman&Birn (Epsilon) sketchbook, Microns, Winsor&Newton travel watercolors

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Our house is full of toys. From the tiniest little Lego brick to a giant stuffed moose. There are a lot of them. So whenever I'm at a loss for what to draw, there's always a toy close by.

Here are some toys I've drawn this past week, and some that I've drawn over the last few months that I never got around to posting.

Owl from Winnie the Pooh
Peas in a Pod from Toy Story

Wooden Fire Truck from Target

An alligator from Diego

Some of our tubby time friends

"Little Doggie" from IKEA

Little Pig Car

Little Rooster Car

A little truck from B.

"Big Bear" from IKEA

Rocking Moose from IKEA

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Home sweet home

This is our home. I love our home. This September we will have lived here for three years. My husband found it when we were looking to move our growing family from a tiny townhouse just a few miles away. When he drove me past it for the first time I said, "that could be really good... or really bad."

Turns out it was really good, and just gets better as we make our own updates. It was designed and built in 1965 by the man we bought it from. When our real estate agent brought us to see the house the owner was home and gave us a tour, telling us about his life and the two boys he and his wife raised here.

He was a commercial artist (he designed the Mr. Goodbar wrapper!) and he and his wife both painted. He made a large art studio for himself, but once he got married and had kids, they used that space as a playroom and added two bedrooms onto it. Now it's a perfect space for our two boys.

They then made part of the lower level into a studio, which has a closet with shelves of paper that he left for me, including some old sketchbooks... with drawings in them, I believe done by his wife.
He also gave me his drawing table and his wife's easel.

At first I thought it might feel strange to live in their house and keep so many of their things (we've kept other furniture, lights, books, dishes...), but all of those things just turned out to be part of the house and its story. And they've turned into things I now treasure.

This is my drawing of another package design done by the previous owner of our house. When we went on our last tour of the house with him I asked if he was planning on taking this empty can, because if he didn't want it anymore, I definitely did. He left me two of them.

And... here's a little pile of Mr. Goodbar mini's I drew the other night.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Drawing at Susquehanna State Park

Rock Run Grist Mill - Susquehanna State Park

This past weekend, Molly and I went to Havre de Grace to eat lunch and to do some drawing. As we were eating it started to rain, so we figured we would try to sketch from inside the car. We found a church we were interested in drawing, but we couldn't situate the car so that we had a decent view of the steeple.

Disappointed by the rain we started to head home, planning to make a pitstop at Starbucks to get a coffee and sketch that. At least it would be something!

Five minutes out of Havre de Grace it stopped raining. Of course! But then... a sign... for Susquehanna State Park. Let's go there!

The road ended at the Rock Run Historic Area. This area includes a house, a barn, a spring house, and a grist mill which was built in 1794. We chose to set up our camp chairs on a hill overlooking a piece of the Susquehanna River to draw the mill.

It still looked like it was going to rain, so we figured we'd better do some quick drawing if we wanted to leave with anything. We jumped in with our pens and within minutes were laughing at how "off" our drawings were. But, then the sun came out! And two hours later we had some decent drawings and some new friends:

Two of the tiniest frogs I've ever seen. They had to have been less than an inch long. 

Two black and white striped butterflies that I had never seen before. "They look like zebras," I said. A quick search online: Zebra Swallowtails. How appropriate. I also learned that they live off of the paw paw tree. Apparently I have never been near a paw paw tree in June. In fact, I don't know if I have been near a paw paw tree ever.

We also had a girl stop by after her run. She said that she wanted to have a career in art, but was discouraged because they told her, "there's no money in art until you're dead. Then everyone who bought your work gets rich by selling it." Sigh.

She liked to draw, but since she was encouraged to follow a different path she thought she'd try photography. Same response from them. So she did neither and is currently a bartender. I told her to go get a sketchbook and start drawing! There's plenty of time to get back into it! Molly and I have "real jobs" too. We draw for FUN. She laughed. But as she walked away she said, "you know... you two may have inspired me to bring a sketchbook next time I come here."


And here's a quick watercolor sketch I did right before we left...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Drawing with Danny

A few weekends ago, from May 31 - June 2, I was able to join a group of 40+ fellow sketchers for a drawing workshop in the Berkshire Mountains in Rowe, Massachusetts... hosted by Danny Gregory!


Danny's books and blog, and all of the artists that I have "met" through him, have kept me inspired and drawing in my own sketchbook consistently for four years now. (This was my first blog post, talking about how inspired I was by Danny's book, An Illustrated Life. And here's another that I posted for Illustration Friday where I mentioned Danny's book again!) 

So for Danny to give a workshop that was affordable and within driving distance was almost unbelievable for me. With the encouragement of my amazing husband, I signed up immediately!

Highlight's of the weekend: taking an eight hour road trip with one of my favorite people (my youngest sister, Molly, came with me!)...  talking about drawing and art throughout the weekend with so many like-minded sketchers... being in the mountains, (the drive from Albany, NY to Rowe Camp and Conference Center was especially beautiful!)... eating dinner and chatting with Danny and his girlfriend, Jenny... going through as many of Danny's personal journals as I could; in fact, Saturday night was a bit surreal for me when Danny shared over 45 of his own journals with our group. It was just incredible to be sitting there looking through them and recognizing pages I've seen in his books, and pouring over hundreds more that I had never seen before.

I still can't believe I was able to participate in his first workshop.

And then... just to blow my mind a little bit more... the day after we got home, Danny posted a blog entry about his experience teaching his first workshop, and included a photo of a drawing I did of a firetruck from when we visited the local fire department. After following his blog religiously for four years, there sat one of my drawings on his blog.


No, wait. I don't think that can even be considered "a dream come true." I don't think even my crazy imagination could have dreamed that one up. That was really a bit insane to see my drawing on his blog.

That weekend will go down in history as one of the greatest for me. I will be forever thankful that Danny wanted to do a workshop and that I was able to join in on the fun.

Links and photos from an unforgettable weekend...

Danny's blog post the day after the workshop.

A video Danny made a few weeks later about the workshop.

My photos:

The Berkshire Mountains
Entrance to Rowe Camp & Conference Center
Time to sign in!

Carved tree stump outside The Farmhouse
The house Molly and I stayed in

Below was the result of Danny's first lesson: draw what you see, not what you think you see. 

Before he began teaching anything that first night, Danny handed each of us two post-it notes. One had lines all over it and the other was blank. We were asked to take the blank post-it note and draw exactly what we saw on the other one. And then we handed them all back in to him. During his lesson, Danny talked about a man who had never drawn or painted his whole life, but in retirement hired someone to teach him to paint. And then he painted and painted and painted. Like him or not, this person turned out to be George Bush. At the very end of the lesson, after Danny and Jenny had assembled all of the post-it's that we had drawn, they turned the flip-chart around. The entire class had recreated one of Danny's drawings - one square at a time!
The result of the first lesson
There's my square in the middle!
A quick sketch of my delicious coffee
My drawing of Molly
Lunch was quickly eaten. Dessert was drawn.... and then eaten.
At the fire station
My drawing of one of the fire trucks
Jenny, Danny, Molly, and me.

Dream. Come. True!


Thursday, May 23, 2013


I was able to find a small window of time today to sketch some roses I cut from the backyard. (I keep trying to adjust the colors a bit so they look more like the actual sketch, but I'm starting to drive myself crazy. I'm going to let it be.)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sketching at Ladew Topiary Gardens

This morning Molly, Michael, and I went to Ladew Topiary Gardens to do some sketching. Here are some pictures of us and our sketches. Michael got there first and set up at the Croquet Court (no.5 on the map). We were there for about two hours, but could have stayed all day. The weather and gardens were beautiful and we had so much fun!

Molly and Michael at the table in the Croquet Court


Molly's sketch: pen with watercolor pencils


Michael's sketch #1: watercolor

Michael's sketch #2: pencil

Me (Amy)

My sketch: pen and watercolor