Discovering my life Beautiful…one drawing at a time!


Where Real Women Create


I have, for a few years now, enjoyed getting my hands on a magazine called, Where Women Create. It is a beautifully photographed magazine showcasing the studios and crafting rooms of women from all over the United States, possibly in other countries as well. It is wonderful to read about how these artists/crafters got to be where they are and to see the spaces in which they make things. I especially like the favorite quote that each woman shares. I purchased this summer’s edition for my post-surgery recuperation time and have loved taking in all the loveliness.

Yet after reading this magazine, I’m always left with a question. “So where do ‘real’ women create?” By “real”, I’m not in any way saying that the women featured in the magazine are not. I just wonder if there would ever be a magazine to showcase where women who are not/have not yet made it big in the crafting world, create. What about the little nooks, the kitchen tables and counters, the under-the-stair cubby or the basement corner where so many women make a creative nest for themselves? Couldn’t we feature the myriads of ways that women, who juggle multiple children and/or full-time work loads, come up with to create?

Years ago, when my children were wee tiny, we lived in a small, 1920’s Craftsman-style Bungalow. It had a built-in breakfast nook with a butler’s pantry. I stowed two tupperware bins under the benches where the table was. These tupperware bins held all my painting and drawing supplies which I pulled out during my kids’ nap time to daily teach myself to draw and paint.


I have often drawn the space where I create now in our home in Kernersville. The above drawing was made just a couple of days ago. You can see others here, here, and here.  It is the sunroom off of the kitchen, open to everyone and everything that might come wandering in. It has our piano, two chairs, a sewing machine, a big teacher’s desk, a tall set of shelves, and a drawing table, all of which I use excepting the piano…this is where my son plays beautiful music. My oldest daughter, when she is home from college, knits and sews here, creating beautiful quilts. As an art space it isn’t ideal. But it works. It works rather well. Except in the summer when they are all home. ;)



I often take my “studio” outside…to knit or draw on the back porch, to paint in our yard or neighborhood, to sketch and paint downtown or some other area here in my town. I once read of a studio artist who sold all his easels and large-scale papers/canvases to make his studio the world at large, happily drawing and painting “out there” with only a portable chair and his on-the-go art supplies.

The woman I enjoyed reading about the most in this summer edition of Where Women Create, is Karen Way:

“Creative spaces come in many different sizes and shapes. It’s not the room that’s important; it’s what comes from within that room that counts. I have sewn and created all of my adult life. Over those years, my sewing rooms have been on the dining room table, tucked in small closets, and down in our dark, unfinished basement. My most recent creative space was actually brought about from tragedy.” (pg. 16)

So, I ask you…where do YOU create? If you feel so inclined, leave a comment describing your nook or table or however it is you manage to make a spot for yourself to make stuff whether it be drawing or knitting, clay work or weaving. If you’ve blogged about it before, leave us a link in your comment so that others can go visit and see your space. If you blog, and haven’t ever featured your creative spot, consider doing so soon and then come back and give us the link.

I, for one, would love to see where REAL women create…real, everyday, work-a-day women who simply want to live life a bit more artfully.

“One doesn’t need a huge space for creativity to flourish…one only needs LOVE!” -jpe


A Story to Tell


A few days ago, I was out walking in the morning. Mr. Whicker has bought the land on the back side of our neighborhood and has cleared out the brush, put up a wire fence, to make a lovely pasture (one of several he has on his land) for his cows. I’ve been visiting this back field all summer (a painting of the view here) to see if the cows have been allowed out to graze. This was the first day I’d ever seen them there.

The area surrounding the fence is overgrown with kudzu. Yuck! So I waded into the knee-high kudzu covered brush to get right up by the fence and take a few pics of the cows out in the field. All the while, I was hearing a munching, crunching sound over to the left not far from where I was standing. I did not see anything, so I didn’t pay much attention as I took pictures.

Then, I saw him. One ear, peeking around as he munched on the leaves and kudzu of a small tree only about 10 feet from where I was standing. I began clicking away, capturing the cow as he ate him morning meal. He did not see me for a while…and then…as it dawned on him that someone was standing there disturbing his breakfast reverie, his eye got bigger and he bolted! The sound of his huge girth pelting the ground as he ran away down the hill, is something I’ll not forget. He let out a howl and alerted another cow, apparently also enjoying a kudzu covered tree right next to him, whom I had not seen. The two of them dashed down the hill to join the others, all of them looking back at me, as if to see whether I would join the chase.

This is just one of many things I LOVE about living right next to a farm. Oh my…what stories I have to tell!! And I love to try telling them in my drawings and paintings.


I created a piece from one snap of my camera where he is still munching, oblivious to me. I am absolutely tee-totally having fun with watercolor and collage! Remember this one? Oh my…I feel a series coming on!

But what excites me even more is that I’m going back to Skool!!! Yes, folks, I’ve signed up to take a class, actually SIX of them, starting October 3rd!! I CAN’T WAIT! The same day this encounter with the cow happened, I saw THIS VIDEO on Danny Gregory’s blog about the upcoming semester of Sketchbook Skool…I drooled. Seriously.

Not only do I get to be taught by a couple of artists whom I have greatly esteemed for several years now, Veronica Lawlor and Melanie Reim, but I also get to have a day of sketching in Paris with a French artist, and of course, a class from Danny himself. All 6 of the teachers in this series are teaching about STORYTELLING, and oh boy am I excited about this!! The price for these classes seemed too good to pass up!

So be watching here, as I post my learnings, my homework, and whatever else gets stirred up as go back to Skool! I. CAN’T. WAIT.  Did I say that already? ;)



Out and About


I’ve been out drawing various places on Friday mornings and relishing every  minute! My friend Debbie and I parked our drawing chairs in the Gardens, finding all kinds of autumn beauty to draw and paint.


A few weeks ago, we ventured just across the street from where I live, to draw the horses at Smith Hollow Farm. My line drawings of the horses kept looking a lot like donkeys (ahem), due to not giving them the correctly proportioned long legs! I’m not sure my watercolor sketch got it right either, but they seem more like horses to me.


Near the end of our time at the farm, I turned my chair to look down the road. I dashed off this simple watercolor and didn’t think very highly of it at the time. Debbie liked it a lot and encouraged me to look at it again in a week or so…I might like it better, she said. This happens to both of us fairly regularly…not liking what we’ve drawn, but finding that it seems to improve a bit after getting away from it for a while. I’m not exactly sure why that is. Something to do with being too close to it at the time of making the drawing, and needing a bit of breathing space.

I’m also busy revamping my Etsy Shop! I’ve decided to create a second Etsy shop purely for the knit & crochet patterns, so that my current shop, now named Drawn2Life will only have original works of art, cards & prints, and signed copies of my books.  It isn’t quite there yet, if you happen to visit. Soon….very soon!

I hope you are able to drawcument something about your life today. I have an encounter with a cow that I plan to paint today…can’t wait to share with you!


On the Edge


This one just about got away from me! Some of you may feel that it actually DID get away from me. I dunno. It does seem to be teetering on the edge of chaos. One of the things I love about watercolor is how it has a mind of its own and begs to be allowed to frolic however it will. I like the look of a painting that at first seems chaotic and you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking at. But once your eyes adjust and land on a few distinct things, the image begins to make sense. I’m not saying this one totally fits that bill, but it’s close. I like the explosion of it…the unhindered color works held together only by the little picket fence…just like in real life.

Daily I walk by this neighbor’s small garden spot that surrounds their mailbox. I’m pretty sure that’s bougainvillea there blooming in red!  Gorgeous reddish pink flowers that look like paper! It is set off by this silvery looking plant with yellow spike flowers here and there. I continue to marvel at how I really do not expect to see such beauty in my own neighborhood. Not until I look for it, zoom in on small areas, photograph it, and paint it. Kind of like being a hunter.  I have to peel back the layers to reveal what’s actually there.

Beauty in chaos. Yep. I like that.


A New View


I am a creature of habit. I wake up around the same time each morning. I love my morning routine of walking, journaling, reading, writing. I eat meals at approximately the same times each day. I have favorite sketchbooks I stick with. I shop for groceries at the same places. I drive the same routes to wherever I’m going. Yes, there’s comfort in familiarity. Change, for me, is often unwelcome.

Yet change nearly always brings many benefits. One huge benefit is that I’m forced to see things from a new perspective, or I simply see new things period! Circumstances beyond our control can shift our perspective in really good ways. Both surgeries have done this in my life. Most recently, when I came home from the hospital, I knew I wanted to go for little walks, no matter how short, no matter how bent over and shuffling I was. Just to move my body, get the blood flowing, and be outdoors breathing fresh air and seeing sky, trees, grass, etc. I love to walk.

Even on my walks I tend to take the same route day in and day out. This summer I began taking a different route due to not wanting to tackle hills yet. This led me to walk down into our neighborhood instead of up and out of our neighborhood. Off of one of the cul de sacs is a view I hadn’t seen in a while. Mr. Whicker, as you know, has a farm at the top of our neighborhood. Last year he purchased more land at the back of his property and this is a view from the cul de sac. He leveled the field and planted wheat or hay (whatever it is he feeds his cows). I have loved walking down to gaze on the glowing field over the fence. Vines have grown along the posts and wire fence. I do love having new views…especially for drawing and painting!

So I’m embracing change in my life. I’m enjoying new views, new perspectives, and new work as a creative person. Even my body is having to get used to a new way of working. This too will become familiar one day. But for now, so much is different. Discouragement and fear licks at my heels some days. I’m doing battle with it by knitting, drawing and painting. Yes, they are familiar things to me…but they allow me to absorb and accept the new in a celebratory way. They function as anchors, rooting me to the ground as things change daily.

I hope you are able to experience some change in your own life. Embrace it with a drawing! Celebrate it in paint! Or knit your way through it one stitch at a time.


Following a Hunch


I posted this close-up pic on Instagram and had a hunch that I would paint it and possibly add some elements of collage. I wasn’t sure though. So I started out slowly drawing the contours in pencil. So many times, I am unclear as to how I will proceed with a drawing/painting, but just beginning, making a start, almost always reveals what I want to do next.


*Note: I do not trace my photographs. I know there are artists who do this and that’s their decision. But I think tracing cuts out half the fun! I love to prop the photo on my iPad up in front of me and draw in my sketchbook looking back and forth for shape sizes and line intersections.


I decided I wanted to keep the line work evident, but to switch up the line quality. So I chose a Sharpie Fine Pen, a grease pencil, and a bic pen to give three different textures to the lines. For some reason (a hunch) I wanted to leave the lilies in pencil thinking I might collage them or something else.



I began to lay in color, bright, oozly and wazzly color…


At this point the idea of adding in collage elements was pretty strong in my mind, but I wanted painted color everywhere, even under whatever I might collage.


So I scoured magazines for oranges, and pilfered my paper stash for other decorative papers…


The collage part was so much fun! But it does take a bit of time choosing just the right papers, where they might go, cutting them into just the right shapes, deciding how much or how little to collage.


But in then end it was so worth it! This is my favorite of all the recent florals!


I love the jewel tones of watercolor juxtaposed with the bright textured papers. It’s difficult to see in a photograph, but there are shiny bits of paper that just add sparkle to the overall image. I’m definitely doing this again! And yes, I’ve done this kind of watercolor/collage before, but hadn’t in a while so it felt like discovery. You should try it too!!

**This one is in my Etsy Shop, just waiting to be “picked”.;)



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