July 1, 2015

In The Neighborhood...

I've just started walking 30 minutes first thing in the morning... and, in order to encourage myself to keep at it each day, I'm taking iPhone pics of beautiful & interesting things I see in the neighborhood while I walk.

I saw these purple coneflowers today & thought they were lovely, planted against a simple white picket fence background... Made me smile! :)

June 16, 2015

Tell Me A Story . . . .

I like to write... and if you're a regular blog reader of mine, you'll know this is so very true! I can also be kinda, just a little bit, overly wordy (*wink-wink*).

I don't have any aspirations to write books... My hat is off to those who are called to put deep & inspiring thoughts or delightful characters who have amazing adventures down on paper for others to read. That's such a great calling!... but it's not my calling.

Lately I've become more aware that I want to add words to my illustrations. Not lots of words... just a small taste of a story or a peek at what's going on 'behind the scenes'.

Mini-Stories For Tiny Art

And so... I thought I'd show you today what I mean by posting this silly doodle of mine. The illustration style is all me, the mini-story mine too... and so is the lettering. No downloaded fonts here!... It's all done from start to finish by hand... my hand. And I kinda like that!  :)

I'm sure as I play with this 'tiny pictures with mini-stories' idea that things will eventually evolve. But for now, I have no idea what will come of this... It's just another fun avenue to explore as I keep putting my pen to paper & doodling my little heart out!

May 15, 2015

Moore Doodles

One of the talented artists I enjoy 'following' is Stephanie Ackerman, whose colorful doodles & lettering style are whimsical & straight from her heart. As a Christian artist, Stephanie has been an encouragement to me to combine my faith & my love for color & illustration & journaling in a fresh new way. You can take a peek at Stephanie's Doodle Gallery here.

Just recently I decided to take one of Stephanie's online classes... 'A Whole New Doodle'. Honestly, I've had the BEST time playing with my pens, doing some 'freestyle doodling' and learning some basic lettering... and I'm just beginning!

While I was at our family's farm recently (and away from all my internet distractions!), I got out some basic supplies... a stack of plain old lined notebook paper, a pencil, an eraser, a medium sharpie pen, and a box full of Prismacolor markers... and I doodled my little heart out!  :)  I drew the borders 'freestyle' (no pencil sketching first), but the alphabet required a little more pencil & erasing!

Above is a little 'freestyle' border doodling...

...and some decorated capital letters below. My capitals are 'embellished' using Prismacolor markers... but you could use colored pencils or paint, really whatever you want!

I left these 'little' letters simply colorful, but they could have had some funky doodles in them too, just for fun.

The last Sunday afternoon of our farm visit, I sat at the kitchen table next to a sunny window, spread out all my art supplies, and colored a whole page of borders I'd inked up on Saturday. You would have thought I was a little kid with a brand new box of 64 Crayola crayons!... I was one happy 'colorer.' (that's a word, right?).

Color Me Happy!

If you like to doodle like I do... then I totally recommend Stephanie Ackerman's 'A Whole New Doodle' online class! Before you know it, you'll be doodling your heart out too!

April 10, 2015

Spring Has Sprung!

It always seems to happen this way... temps are in the 40's, I'm wearing my turtlenecks, fuzzy socks & fleece... and overnight SPRING suddenly appears! It teases at first with a crocus or two in my neighbor's front yard... and then unveils itself with drama & flair.

This year the cherry trees that line the streets in our neighborhood were truly spectacular! And now the dogwood trees are beginning to blossom... and yes, the azaleas are not very far behind. So far, I've watched out my kitchen window as a mama starling built her nest... and I was entertained by a squirrel very carefully filling a notch in the big oak tree to make her cozy nest. All the baby leaves are unfolding, making the whole world green again.

NEW LIFE!!... Just when it seems that winter will never end, along comes HOPE, and the whole world sighs in relief.

Thank you so much Lord!... for the gift of beauty, for the promise of hope, for new life that springs up when we least expect it. We can see You in all You have made... The whole world is praising You!!

March 17, 2015

Find Me On Flickr

"Animal Kingdom"

For a long time now, I've wanted to create a 'gallery' of my illustrations so I could share them here on my blog. But Blogger ...which I love 'cause it's so easy!... good old Blogger just doesn't have an 'app' for that.

So... I went back to my old flickr account, which was dusty & neglected... did some major housecleaning... and set up new PholkartStudio albums to show off my art, especially art I'm creating for the Doodle-a-Day challenge (having so much fun with that!).


Right now, I have some "Oldies But Goodies" illustrations there from my first blog (circa 2006!), along with a bunch of ACEO's (Artist Trading Cards) I created to sell in my Etsy shop, PholkartStudio (currently on an extended vacation to some undisclosed tropical paradise or other exotic location... haha!). No doubt this little 'gallery' will evolve over time. But for now, I'm just happy to have a little 'home' where my art can stay... and you can visit. And I really do hope you will!  :)

February 26, 2015

Apples vs. Oranges

See Photo Credit Below

From time to time I can really get myself into a creative 'funk'!... and unfortunately, February has ended up being a very 'funky' month for me. As much as I love having access to so much arty inspiration & creative community online... if I'm not very very careful, I start comparing my abilities with other artists & end up feeling blechh about me! (...and yes, I'm sure that blechh must be a real word and not just something I'm making up!).

So... it was interesting that I stumbled on this quote yesterday:

"Comparison is the thief of joy."
- Theodore Roosevelt

Hmmmmm... Well, thank you Theodore... I really needed to hear that! In my mind, I know that this is true... but my heart forgets from time to time.

When it comes right down to it, I have a choice to make every time I enter my creative online community. I can hold my arty talents up against the talents of others and evaluate how I measure up... or I can choose to embrace joy by refusing to compare. Instead, I can appreciate how uniquely the Lord has made me while also appreciating & encouraging the giftedness of others.

Thank you Lord for reminding me once again to trust my thoughts, my talents & my heart to you.

photo credit: Apples & Oranges - They Don't Compare via photopin (license)

February 18, 2015

Snowbound in North Carolina

Here in the Piedmont of North Carolina, we don't get snow very often... but when we do, the whole city comes to a standstill. This week, I've been snowbound in our little house on the hill with two inches of snow on the ground, all covered by a thick coating of ice. I've decided that walking our dog Winnie is hazardous to my health, since I've fallen & bonked myself twice so far. So as much as I love the IDEA of snow, with all it's beauty & quietness... this girl is choosing to enjoy the snow through the windows of my cozy warm house while sipping hot coffee & tea! Afterall... snow days make perfect art days!

February 12, 2015

I'm not usually a 'joiner' but...

...one of my online art friends recently let me know about a fun art challenge, and I've decided to jump in! It's called Doodle-a-Day (thanks to Etsy seller, Ello Lovey!). Every month, a new list of prompts is published for each day of the week. I thought this challenge went along well with my own personal mini-challenge. Kinda nice to have a prompt to get the old creative juices flowing!

Now obviously (what with life & all!)... I'm not going to be able to create a finished doodle each day of the month! But I decided to pick a few words from the list that jump out at me, doodle my little heart out, & post the finished doodle on my PholkartStudio facebook page. Knowing me, I probably won't be able to resist making these more than doodles. It's sort of like reading a good book... I want to know how it's going to come out in the end!

So, here's February's list if you'd like to play along too!...

My very first doodle was for Feb. 8th... ROBOT. I decided to stick with the size & the border I've been using for my own challenge... and this is what I came up with. Kinda reminds me of when I made a robot Halloween costume for my son... except his involved a whole lot of aluminum foil!

This little cutie was doodled on smooth #300 Bristol paper & inked with a Micron pen, Copics, Prismacolor markers & Prisma colored pencils.

February 4, 2015

Welcome Home Winnie!

Four years ago this month, Winnie, a gentle black lab, came to live at our house... The moment I saw her, I totally fell in love.  :)

My husband Joe & I don't know much about Winnie's story... If only she could tell us! She came to us through the Lab Rescue of North Carolina, found by a caring stranger somewhere near a beach in eastern Carolina. She had recently had a litter of puppies, though we have no idea what happened to them. All we know is that Winnie was very sick with heartworm disease when she was found and she needed lots of love & care.

The kind folks at the Lab Rescue named her Winnie... and my husband decided she'd been through enough... she shouldn't have to get used to a brand new name too. So 'Winnie' it was.

When we first adopted Winnie, the lab rescue guessed she was somewhere between two and three years old. But after our family vet needed to x-ray her, we discovered that our young dog was actually a whole lot older (which helped explain her very laid back personality).

Winnie's the first dog we've adopted since my sons have grown up... and she's been the perfect companion for me. Nothing makes her happier than a walk around the neighborhood, her chewy 'Kong' & her favorite toy duck (now looking a lot worse for wear!). She follows the sun around our house & is content just to 'be' with me... my super sweet studio buddy!  :)  Without a doubt, Winnie helps make our house a home!

The doodle above was drawn on a 4x6 index card, just for fun, using a black Micron pen, Copic markers, Prismacolor markers & Prismacolor pencils.  :)

January 26, 2015

Time for a Blog Makeover

I really don't know how this happened... but somehow, long ago, this chubby mermaid became the star of my blog header...

She's a character from one of the first art cards I made years ago... Yes, she looks gigantic here, but she really only measures a teeny-tiny 2.5" x 3.5". Still, she's very sensitive about her weight (*wink*).

I think I just related to her, with her flowing auburn hair (the color my hair used to be). She's all dressed in a cheerful shade of purple & swimming happily in the sea. Cute little mermaid... she's perfectly imperfect, and I liked that about her. Somewhere along the way, we became fast friends, and she's followed me all over the web.

Fast forward a bunch of years and many colored pencils & markers later... this sweet silly doodle showed up in my sketchbook. And once again, I just knew I could relate to her. She's growing older, but she continues to smile at the future. She's comfy 'just being herself'. She loves God and is blessed to encourage others along the way. She still believes in the magic of art & creativity, and it brings her so much joy! She's a little bit 'creakier' these days... and you can see the laugh lines around her eyes.

I'm not sure yet what her name will be... maybe something old fashioned, like Clara or Felicity or Grace. But I am sure that she's the perfect companion for me as I continue on my arty journey!

January 23, 2015

Still Doodling...

I'm still doodling over here... and thought I'd share a few of my favorites from my January 'Draw Everyday' Challenge (which has turned out to be the 'Draw As Often As You Can & Have Fun Doing It' Challenge!). I abandoned the idea of numbering each card I drew... but I've kept the same freehand border & stay in it only when I want to. That's what happens when you make up the rules as you go along!

So, while the crockpot is simmering & the dryer is humming & the coffee is hot, here I go sharing a few designs that I like... in no particular order.

'Love One Another'

'Whimsical Flowers'

'Rainy Day'

(Hmmm!... I think I'm noticing a weather theme here.)

...and because I love drawing children, a couple more 'kid-themed' designs doodled their way out of my pencil too.

'Future Engineer'

'Amanda Loves Books'

I have to say, I really have enjoyed doodling these little challenge cards... they've been just the jump-start my creativity has needed.

So, maybe I'll keep on doodling some more...

January 12, 2015

Rainy Days and Mondays...

So... It's been one of 'those' days. Foggy, drizzly & cold outside... and I've been at home trying to find my cleaning enthusiasm while conquering our mountain of dirty laundry. (Really!... where does all that dirty laundry come from anyway??). Folding the (now) clean mountain of laundry, then walking the dog in my yellow raincoat... I wonder what we're having for dinner tonight. Aside from the yucky weather, it's been a pretty normal Monday at our house.

Most Mondays I eventually get my 'engine' revved up. I make a big pot of coffee, treat myself to a piece of dark chocolate, & turn some 'coffee house' music on Pandora... or maybe some Amy Grant or James Taylor. Happy music... Comfort music... 'Music to get things done by'. But today, the 'blahs' have followed me around the house all the day long... 'Blah, blah, blah blah blah!'

And then it hits me!... What better way to chase away my 'meh' feeling than to give it a face... and maybe a cozy pair of pink bunny slippers & a nice cup of hot coffee in an 'I Love You' mug.

And so I did!  :)

This is #5 in my Doodle mini-challenge... just something quick & fun I'm doing to help me get my drawing 'mojo' back. I think it just might be working.  :) 

January 7, 2015

The 'Draw Everyday' Mini-Challenge

I'm blessed to be a member of a little online art group. It's a 'safe' place where we can share the many ups & downs of being creative and marketing artwork.

During the month of January, some of us are doing a mini-challenge to encourage us to draw or be creative every day. Sounds simple, right?... Well, that's what I thought too!

So, I decided to doodle a tiny card each day... sorta my version of the illustrated calendars I've admired online. I wanted the whole process to be straightforward, portable & simple... so I cut some 4x6" cards in half & decided each card would have the numbered date & be done in my favorite Prismacolor markers & colored pencils. I envisioned each doodle taking less than 10 minutes (ha!).

The little 'Man In The Moon' above was the first to doodle its' way off my pencil. Believe me, he took LOTS more time to create than I'd thought he would! (...This is supposed to be quick & easy, right?).

Day Two found me out of town & staring at the blank card from my ziplock 'travel bag' without a clue about what to draw. Thinking "winter", after a long while I finally came up with this chilly penguin. Two down, 29 itty-bitty cards to go...

By the time Day Three was over & not one pencil scribble to show for it, I knew it was time to switch over to 'Plan B'... 'Draw as often as you can & don't worry about it. Just Keep Drawing!!' ...So that's my game plan & I'm sticking with it!

The opinionated perfectionist who lives in my head has already been ranting about the 'cuteness' & originality of my little cards. Not only that, but she's completely outraged by the scan quality of these little pieces of art. No worries though... I have banished her from my studio for the duration of this challenge. I can still hear her knocking... but I'm not letting her back in!