Tag Archives: art

The First of Many Wild Rides

Impulse and risky choices have taken me on all kinds of adventures. This story epitomizes who I am.

After graduating from college, I struggled to find illustration jobs. Every month or two, I drew promotional advertisements for an upscale women’s clothing store where I worked selling clothes. The intermittent opportunities paid a meager wage. I made more money selling clothes than drawing them.

Esprit Girl

Then, I had a brilliant idea. Madison, Wisconsin is only a few hours away from Chicago, so I took the Van Galder Bus to the Merchandise Mart. I hoped to find a few businesses willing to pay me to draw their clothing and accessories.

With an art portfolio held tight in my hand, I knocked on doors all day, but only found one interested company. I showed the owner my drawings and paintings. She picked a purse from a pile on a table and said, “Draw this one.” She handed me a #2 pencil, a piece of typing paper and escorted me to her desk. She and her staff watched as I drew. Perspiration dripped from every pore on my body. Somehow, I managed to finish. She smiled and paid me $10.00. It covered less than half of my bus fare.

Purse Illustration

I took the elevator down to the lobby and stepped into the chilly spring air. After reorienting myself, I made my way to the bus stop. I thought about my career choice and if it would be worth it to travel to Chicago again.

While I stood shivering on the curb with my back against the Lake Michigan wind, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and a thirty-something, unshaven man in a light jacket and jeans asked, “Are you waiting for the bus back to Madison?” Continue reading

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Ice Castle Photos and an Interview with Its Creator Brent Christensen

After exploring Breckenridge’s breathtaking Ice Castle, I searched for the artist behind this magical place. I contacted Brent Christensen, the founder of Ice Castles, who also built them in New Hampshire and Utah this winter.

Breck Ice Castle 22

Take it away Brent!

“I’m the artist and designer of the layout at each of our three locations, but I rely heavily on our many well-trained, hard working, dedicated employees. Each of our sites took about 4 weeks of working 12-16 (hour) days.  Our Breck site has about 10 full and part-time employees, New Hampshire about 15 and Midway (Utah), about 20.”

Breck Ice Castle 20

Fire and ice. Continue reading

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The Big Reveal, DIY and a Message

After almost sixty hours, my annual Christmas cards are done. Whew! I smiled while dropping them into the mailbox and imagined my friends and family opening up my little art project. Time is at a premium and many don’t even send store bought cards. We live in an electronic age where communication is at our fingertips. We make contact through texts, tweets and Facebook. Very few pick up the phone and actually talk to people anymore. Everyone is too busy.

I am a dinosaur in today’s world. I plodded through the week while drawing, printing, cutting, and pasting. My gift to others is not just about the card. It is about the love  and time it takes to create them. Each one  took over 45 minutes. Yep, That was a little overboard. Thanks to Timethief, I have a wealth of new ideas for next year and promise to start in July!

The Process:

First I decide on an activity. My family is found skiing in many of my cards, but I wanted to come up with something unique for 2013. It has been an exceptional year in some ways, but I was derailed by breast cancer. When I thought of the concept, Dancing on 2013’s Grave, I laughed out loud!

Yes Wild Riders. I am ready to dance once again. Did you miss me?

First I sketch my ideas. Once I have a workable drawing, I use tracing paper and a marker for a final copy. I  hope to capture the likeness of everyone. I only draw once a year, so I am always a little nervous when I start. Sometimes the illustration just works like this year when it only took two hours. Other times, I find it challenging to recreate the shape of the eyes, the nose, the mouth, and the jawline. There’s always some printing involved. Thank God for the invention of the inkjet. I used to run back and forth to a commercial printer in a neighboring town to get the pieces camera ready.

2013 drawing Continue reading

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Frozen Words – A Photo Essay

snow sculpture 1

As writers, we cast our words into the world.

snow sculpture 2

Like the snowflakes in these sculptures, each letter of the alphabet gives our imagination the structure in which to escape, gain new knowledge and connect with the vast universe. Continue reading

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What Will You Do with the Bonus?

Thanksgiving is a few days away. Can I help you up from the floor? There is a reason why it has crept up so fast. November 22nd is the earliest date possible. The holiday is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month. Every once in a while, another Thursday sneaks in. The good news (and you can usually count on me for that), is there are also five weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Yay!

That means we will have several extra days to prepare for the holidays.

There will be…

…time for shopping.

Continue reading

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A Quicky! Fan Art for Chuck Wendig

Have you met Chuck Wendig? Well this is a picture of him, but usually he is attached to a body.  He looks a bit bereft which is not a good description of him. In fact over at his hilarious, irreverent and twisted blog, Terrible Minds, he has a lot to say. Continue reading

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Catching the Love Bug

Last week, I picked up my daughter from Denver International Airport. While I waited for her in the tented and skylighted terminal, I noticed a brightly colored 1990 Volkswagen Beetle. At first, I thought it had been artistically painted, but the gathering crowd took countless photos, so I took a closer look. I couldn’t believe what I saw!

Continue reading

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Cutting Up at Christmas


One of my favorite  holiday traditions is illustrating a family Christmas card. Over the years it has often included skiing and snowboarding off cliffs and roof tops. Some represented traditional themes like baking cookies together as a family and others illustrated what my family had been up to in the past year; a brag letter without the GPA!

This year I found myself drawn, (no pun intended) to a card I created two years ago. I knew it would be time-consuming and a huge challenge, but hey, that’s just how I roll.

As I began my first prototype – and there were many – I realized how much this year’s card resembled the basics of writing a story. Continue reading

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