Instagram where have you been all my life?

I just signed up on Instagram because some podcast interview I listened to said its the place for artists.

Found this amazing artist:

Irina Trzaskos

If you have t checked out instagram give it a try.
I dont understand it as usual- more confusing hash tag stuff but all I can say is Wow!!

What’s your favorite social media platform?


My best colored pencil tip ever

Is there anything better then a sharp pencil point for getting details? Have you ever struggled to sharpen your colored pencils? Do you put them in a pencil sharpener only to have the point break over and over until you find yourself holding a nib?

Colored pencils usually have softer leads inside of them then a regular school pencil. Especially the good kind or the new watercolor aqua pencils that allow you to paint with water and a brush after coloring.

Well eye liner pencil sharpeners are perfect for sharpening colored pencils. Although they can cost a little more then the dime (dollar) store pencil sharpener I have found them to be worth their weight in gold. I keep one on my art desk, in my backpack, and my travel tool kit.

Try it and let me know if it works for you!

Do you have any tricks that work well for you?


5 reasons why you should be listening to podcasts.


Listening To Chris Farrell On the Solopreneur Hour “You are exactly where you should be right now…” and I’m running through Paris right by La Place du Tertre

1. Podcasts are inspirational.

Listening to stories about other people’s journeys will give you confidence to complete your own goals. As you hear about their challenges, obstacles and downright failures and how they overcame them you will gain faith in your ability to conquer your own fears, climb your own mountains, and reach for your own dreams.


2. There are Podcasts about everything.

Do you like beer, bull riding, to play Magic? Do you want to learn how to sell your first novel, social media marketing or real estate investing? Are you a knitter, gardener, tae kwon do master? Do you want to travel, adopt a baby, lose weight? Want to learn how to farm, work from home, open a retail clothing store? What do you like? I’ll bet there’s a podcast about it out there.

3. Free education.

Podcasting is one of the newest forms of education available and Yes it’s free! There is so much quality information out there you can practically earn an MBA from listening provided you follow the action steps presented and do the work recommended.

4. Podcasting is the ultimate multitasking activity.

You can listen to podcasts while driving, exercising, folding the laundry or doing any mundane task. You might actually find yourself looking forward to your next workout because it means you get to hear the newest episode just downloaded from your favorite host. It’s almost like hanging out with them.

5. Discover friends who have the same interests as you.

Lots of Podcasters have communities that have organically developed over time of fans that share knowledge, tips, successes, etc. Many of these people you end up meeting in person in the future at a conference, concert, or event. Networking has never been easier nor has meeting like minded people from all corners of the world.


Headed to a Conference to Meet my Peeps! Driven over Going-To-The-Sun Road by one of my Favorite Guests!


Glacier National Park




The biggest little difference for watercolor painting.


I was amazed at how much easier this spray bottle has made my water color painting. I used to use a big old spray bottle that was always hard to adjust from stream to spray and just was too big. This little bottle I picked up when traveling once has been AWESOME! I just love it, it gets my paints nice and wet, doesn’t fall over on my desk all the time, and works perfect!

It’s the little things right?!

Are there any tricks you’d like to share that seem tiny but make such a big difference?

Silver Tip Grizzly


My husband and I saw a silver tip grizzly the other day. I didn’t get a picture so the next morning I made this quick sketch in m journal. I think one of my greatest strengths as an artist is being able to capture a moment after it has passed. I have taken my time getting there, but I am able to remember a lot of strong memories and details from images I capture with colored pencils. As a matter of fact, I created my first children’s book mockup when my husband and I were talking about a family vacation highlight he didn’t remember, which was so unusual because it’s me that typically forgets everything. That’s why I keep a journal!


Do you have any secrets for remembering details or capturing moments when your camera is unavailable?



Paintings From the Peace Garden

peace garden

One of my favorite holidays of the year is coming up. It’s the international day of peace on September 21st. Jeremy Gilley worked hard to get this day officially created so we celebrate it the same every year and it includes a universal cease fire clause because of him. To learn about Jeremy’s journey  you can go to his website. I’ve probably watched the movie 2 dozen times at least.

garden rocker

This year something special is happening for Peace Day this weekend. It’s called the People’s Climate March.

I wish I could be there.


Although these aren’t new, I have spent a lot of time in the peace garden this summer. Mike had the peace sign built for me for my graduation back in 2003! I love hanging out down here. It’s been absolutely beautiful this summer, but I am quite glad it is fall even though almost everything froze the other night. Feeling so blessed today, I live in the most beautiful place in the world. Hey did I mention we saw a grizzly bear last night? I’ve heard the bears are out.  Always an adventure around hear.

  deer in garden

Sometimes Even an Artist Needs Inspiration



I checked this amazing book out of the library the other day. Full of inspiration, techniques, art projects and ideas, it’s given me new inspiration to get back to work. I have always struggled with pastels, but in a little over 15 minutes this first sample project came out pretty good I think. Most of what I have learned as an artist I learned at my art desk from books. I have a great colored pencil book and a watercolor book as well that I have used for years to study from.


What do you do to stay inspired?





Jones Beach with my nieces.

When at the beach this summer on Father’s Day with my brother’s family, my niece said to me, “What’s that?” when I was writing in my journal. I thought haven’t you ever seen a real journal before? How can that be? I have over 40 of them at least. I realized that one of my special skills is describing things in a visual way with lots of details to capture a moment.

A lot of times, my sketches in my journal provide valuable images for a final product and can enhance a photograph’s limitations when expressing the mood. One example of this is my Glacier Park Bear Notecards I made last summer. I took lots of pictures of the lake, but it was my journal entry from my first day there that helped me capture the essence of the sun hitting the lake and the young couple in love on the bench.

IMG_0023  DSCN5030 DSCN5032IMG_0022



Publisher’s Weekly’s Children’s Bookshelf

Well, today, all I have is a suggestion that you subscribe to Publisher’s Weekly’s Children’s Bookshelf email. The best way to stay updated on what’s going on in children’s book industry is by reading what Publisher’s Weekly has to say. This has to be one of the most valuable resources and informative newsletters that is available for any niche across the board.

Do you subscribe to publisher’s weekly? Is there a resource you can recommend? How to stay up-to-date on the industry?

SCBWI meetup

Napoleon Hill’s masterpiece Think and Grow Rich outlines the 13 steps successful people follow to grow their legacy. Among the steps is to belong to a mastermind group that works with you to help you achieve your goals. Jim Collins also talks about this principle in his book Good to Great, describing the process of selecting the right people for your team before moving forward as a common characteristic of great leaders.

When I was recently in New York, I tried to connect with a variety of networks. I attended several local Toastmaster meetings, I met with an online study group each morning before work, and I researched different writing groups of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Although only one SCBWI group fell within my schedule, I did find one other author/illustrator to meet up with.

It was one of the best things I ever did. I learned so much from her experiences. Best of all was meeting someone so much like me. We had so many things in common. I really enjoyed our time together. We made simple concrete goals to move our projects forward and it was nice to talk about the challenges of completing our goal, the successes and to have someone else sincerely interested in our work.

Here is a great post on how to find the people you need to start your mastermind.

Do you belong to a mastermind? If so how did you begin and where did you find your fellow master minders?