Celebrate Summer at the Beach!

Here in the northeast, April showers have lingered a more than a bit late, but that hasn’t put a damper on getting set for summer at the beach.

I’ve been designing a lot of new coastal themed items this year, to add to my beach living collection.

This year it’s all about mermaids and other fantastic sea creatures!



The image for the Mermaid Song Beach Towel , above, is an eCollage of elements from a beautiful 1883 illustration by the great artist and illustrator, Walter Crane.  And check out this  matching outdoor pillow  !

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And I am loving this Octopus Pillow . Archaeologists found this gorgeous design on a floor mosaic at the site of ancient Pompeii.

octopus pillow


For your deck doorway… a Mermaids Door Mat , featuring an eCollage featuring details from a Belle Epoque painting :

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Mermaids Combing Their Hair Outdoor Pillow

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Mermaids Bar Tray

This Mermaids Art School Pencil Case has a variety of uses. It’s fully lined, and can also hold cosmetics or coupons. I use mine as a mini purse to throw in my beach bag.

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And for your indoor coastal decor, add a Mermaid Strong Keepsake Box . Beautifully made of black lacquered wood, with a tile inset, this box is fully lined an a velvety soft grey. A keeper for the coffee table, or dresser top!




And of course some of my all time favorites….



And from my own original watercolors:




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And I have to add my Princess Fish Beach Towel .

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Andie and the beach towel


Stay tuned for more!

March Challenge Completed!

Sktchy  provided a variety of challenging photos for the March Challenge. Here is the result:

Week 4: March 30 Faces / 30 Days

March 30 faces Day 30 rev

I am starting this entry and ending it with my Day 30 Drawing.  I finished the challenge {YAY!}  So, here is a recap of the last days of the challenge. As you can see, Day 22 – 24 [directly below] were pretty uninspired.

March 30 Day 22 March 30 Day 23 March 30 Day 24

Things picked up on Day 25.  I am so pleased this drawing:


The high point from Day 26 -29 was the experiment with watercolor brush pens on Day 28.

MARCH 30 FACES DAY 26  MARCH 30 FACES DAY 27March 30 faces Day 28 final   March 30 faces Day 29

As I sat down to draw on Day 30, I really hoped to be able to execute a portrait I’d be pleased with. I am so happy with the result [below].

March 30 faces Day 30 rev


















Week 3: 30 Faces / 30 Days

The weeks are flying by, This week started with a focus on ears:

March 30 Faces day 15

Day 15

Day 16 focused on feeling the subject, looking more at the subject than at the drawing, and exploring the image via preliminary contour drawings.

March 30 Faces day 16

Day 16

Day 17 was a day for loosening up and experimenting. Here I used color permanent markers over graphite with white paint pen for highlights:

March 30 Faces day 17 photoshop

Day 17

Day 18: back to graphite. Today’s focus was on ears:

March 30 Faces day 18

Day 18

Day 19: Tired of graphite, and marker was too bold for this muse. Today’s tip was on hatching cross hatching and stippling. I took a chance and tried color watercolor pencil again, even though my past experiences have been disastrous. I approached the colors as if I were doing a wet watercolor, and layered colors in for the face and hair. at the end I added some white paint pen for highlights. I am so happy with this one!

March 30 Faces day 19 1

Day 19

Day 20: Today the tip was about quick sketches, and I was having none of it. When I saw the muse for the day, I knew I wanted something soft and peaceful. I tried charcoal pencil, which I haven’t worked with in decades. [Truly! The charcoal point on the pencil was so dried out I had to sharpen it repeated times before it would mark smoothly. The image was challenging, but I am pleased with my second try.

March 30 Faces day 20

Day 21

Day 21: This week I produced a lot of images I am pleased with. The generic young woman with the zombie eyes, below, is not one of them. Charcoal again, blah image. Day 17, 18, 19 and 20 are clear favorites.

March 30 Faces Day 21 1

Day 21

And now, back to the drawing board!



30 Faces / 30 Days …. Week 2

I’m a bit late in posting, but week 2 was great! I am still seeing improvement, although some days my work is less than inspired. [like day 8 – meh]

March 30 :30 Day 8

Day 8

March 30 :30 Day 9

Day 9

March 30 :30 Day 10

Day 10

I love the day 10 picture. I am so pleased that it has a looseness about it, unlike day 11 and 12 below, which have gone back to being too stiff. I have a lot to work on, but days like this energize me!

March 30 Faces day 11

Day 11

March 30 Faces day 12

Day 12

March 30 Faces day 13

Day 13

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Day 13 was all about rendering hands. But as you can see from the model photo [at right], this was an extreme hand placement. I drew this one over and over, getting crankier with each version. I started muttering that she better not sneeze or she’ll rip out her ear lobes…

Joke was on me. I finally got the hands right, but instead of capturing the otherworldly facial expression of the model, in my drawing, she looks like she’s about to sneeze! And the face looks so stiff!

March 30 Faces day 14

Day 14

For this one I tried something new. I drew the whole thing, studying all of the elements as I went, and got another stiff picture. Then put it aside and drew it again. The result is a drawing that was done quickly, and has a nice loose feeling. I think I learned something… and feel very good about this drawing.


30 Faces / 30 days March

Well I’m doing it again. This round of the challenge started on the Ides of March. Here is the first week of drawings:

Day 1 – 3, above.  Day 1 was an exercise in “blind drawing”. We were to look only at the image, not at the paper.  Day 2 was a real challenge. by the time I finished I was ready to scream, myself. I would never before have chosen to draw such a challenging expression. I used to avoid any pose that had teeth showing! That’s the beauty of these challenges. You commit to doing whatever gets sent, and know id you’re struggling, so is everyone, most likely!

Day 3 was uninspiring, but great practice on facial hair.

March 30 :30 Day 4

Day 4

Day 4 was all about hair… and I so love this one. It’s one of my favorites.


March 30 :30 Day 5

Day 5

Day 5: Today’s tip was about using exaggeration to get a likeness, and I finished this one very quickly.  It left enough time to go back to the day 4 model and do it again, in watercolor…

March 30 Day 4 redo in watercolor

I did this in glazes of pure color. First cobalt blue, then yellow ocher, and lastly rose madder. Doing the glazes gave the finished picture a very luminous look, but I don’t know if I would have had the patience to use this approach, if I hadn’t’t resolved all the forms, by drawing it in detail before…. I need to remember that!


Day 6

Day 6. The tip was about mouth construction.

And on Day 7, [below]  finally an older face. Not only older, but with amazing wrinkles.

I decided to opt for no shading on the face, and just create the roadmap of the face from the lines. I enjoyed drawing this one a alot.

I found out from the other participants about Blackwing Pencils. They are fabulous to draw with. The richness of the Palomino Blackwing can’t be beat, and for a lighter touch, the Pearl Blackwing, If you love to draw… treat yourself.

March 30 :30 Day 7

Day 7


Wrapping up 30 Faces / 30 Days [February]

Yesterday was the last day of this challenge, and I have to say it has been really great.

03 05 18 Day 29 300dpi 1

Day 29

The tip for day 29 was to emulate someone’s style you admire, Well I have been very awestruck by the participants who work in ink and marker, particularly color markers. I have become very dependent on knowing I can erase… or even lift [with watercolor]. So I decided to take the plunge. I got out a set of permanent markers I bought maybe 6 month’s ago, but had not yet touched, and with just the lightest pencil sketch below, I took the plunge! I am so happy with the results… but I have to say, in working this out on paper, I used brain cells I didn’t know I had!

03 06 18 Day 30 300dpi

Day 30

The tip for day 30 had to do with overlaping and overlaying. So I drew the photo, and then drew it in reverse, changing the lighting so that both images are lit in the same direction.

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And here is a round-up all the drawings for this challenge. I am so pleased with the progress I’ve made and the discipline this exercise has instilled.

I missed getting a face to draw today, so I found one on Pinterest.  Guess I’ll work that way until March 15, when the next challenge begins!





Week 4: 30 Faces / 30 Days

End of week 4, and two more days to go for this challenge. … Here’s this week’s pictures:

02 26 Final Day 300dpi_edited-1

Day 22 – From the Model

Day 22 was a straightforward pose, offering a chance to work on watercolor skills.

02 27 18 2nd drawing Day 23 300dpi

Day 23 – From The Model

Day 23 was a skowly pose that reminded me of DaVinci’s studies of the heads of old men. The tip of the day was to try crosshatching, which put me squarely back in drawing. I hatched in pencil and in a fine eraser “pen”.

02 28 18 2nd drawing Day 24 300dpi

Day 24 – From the Model

Day 24: For real the model photo had his tongue sticking out! Well, I tried. But the anatomy is so off!

03 01 18 Day 25 300dpi

Day 25 – from the Model

Day 25: Back to a more normal pose. I love the challenge of the side lighting. I’m enjoying drawing and smudging with a stump. … really pleased with this one.

03 02 18 Day 26 300dpi

Day 26 – from the Model

Day 26: Combining working with the stump and crosshatching, but ..meh.

03 02 18 FinalRev Andie 300dpi

Day 26 – 2nd portrait

I was so uninspired by the day 6 model, that I had to do another picture. This is a portrait of my grand-niece also from a photo. I really like this one, even though I can see where it could be improved.

03 03 18 Day 300dpi

Day 27 – From the Model

Day 27: I started with graphite, changed over to watercolor pencils, made a complete mess, so I got out some old acrylic paints and painted over the mess … meh, again except there’s the start of something I like in the cheeks.

Day 28:

Model Photo for day 28

The tip for the day was to layer images on top of each other to get a staggered effect.  Here is model photo:

SO, this was quite a challenge digitally, since I do not have Procreate [yet! I am considering this..], and I barely find my way around photoshop.

So, here’s what I did to make the two variations.

day-28-drawing-300dpi.jpegFirst I drew the picture with HB to 5B pencils, a stump to smudge with, and a needed eraser, and a fine point eraser.

Then I scanned it. I pasted the scanned image into word, and cropped it to an oval.

Working in word, I then made a copy, pasted the copy, and removed the background from the copy.

I cropped the copy to an oval shape. I changed the color of the copy to blue lines/white background, and made it transparent. I then used WRAP TEXT to float the copy over the original image, placing it slightly off register. I wanted it to be a much more subtle shift for each color layer, that in the original model photo. [Just enough to tease the rods and cones 😉 ]

I then copied the floated copy again, changed the color to yellow, placed it, again slightly off, and did it once more in orange. Once finished I took a screen shot.

I opened the screen shot in Photoshop, increased color saturation and played a bit with the contrast, and got image 1, below, on the right with the addition of a slight cyan tone filter and a touch of the diffuse glow filter.

filters 3

Day 28 – Image #1

For image 2, below, I used the diffuse glow and film grain filters and added a slight sepia tone.

filters 1

Day 28 – Image #2

Cant decide which I like best, although right now I am leaning towards image 2. Oh well,…  2 more days to go, then a little break before the March Challenge.

Week 3: 30 Faces / 30 Days

This week I can appreciate more and more the value of working daily.  So much so that I’ve signed up for an additional 30 days in March.

02 19 18 Day 15 300dpi

Day 15

Day 15’s model kept reminding me of the “Girl with the Pearl Earring”. I especially like how the hair is handled. I am getting better at rendering sculptural forms in watercolor.

02 20 18 Day 16 300dpi_edited-1

Day 16

Day 16 is one of my favorites. I really like the freshness  and loose execution of the hair. At the same time I really like the layers of crosshatching to build up color and form on the flesh.

02 21 18 Rev Day 17 300dpi

Day 17

I tried to stay looser in Day 17. The challenge here was the back lighting.

02 22 18 Rev Day 18 300dpi_edited-1

Day 18

Today’s tip was to speed up by working smaller … I tried smaller, in pencil, and worked just as long… Oh, well…

02 23 18 Day 19 300dpi

Day 19

So I tried that tip again with the fun photo provided for day 19, and was able to execute this quickly.

02 24 18 Day 19 20 300dpi

Day 20

On Day 20 I tried working exclusively in pure color washes,- no mixing on the palette. I like the translucence I got on the skin.  I think it captures the delicate skin tones of very fair redheads, so I am really pleased with this one.

02 25 18 Rev Day 21 300dpi

Day 2: Today was all about the shapes, – working in monochrome to eliminate the distraction of color. The model photo was in shades of red. I had to tone it down. I used a combo of rose madder and perylene green. {less irritating on the retinas}

So that was week 3. Looking forward to the first photo of week 4 in the a.m.