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Art in Progress: Mackinac Island & Oak Mountain State Park

I hope you enjoy keeping up with my work in progress. I am very passionate about my newfound talent and look forward to sharing my work with you!

Mackinac Island, Michigan

This is my art project that I work on as I sit on our couch in the family room. Sometimes the TV is on. But usually Steve is reading or editing his manuscript, Noah may be doing his homework on his laptop, and Gwen usually has her headphones on while listening to her favorite songs from Glee, singing along at the top of her lungs.

I first discovered watercolor pencils while our family vacationed on Mackinac Island in 2015. I found a cute little bookstore and in the very back corner were a few art supplies. So I purchased the watercolor pencils and a sketch pad, and found my inspiration, our view from our hotel's balcony. I believe I did the best I could at the time, and a glass of wine did help a little bit.

Fast forward 4 years... I worked from a picture of this scene and sketched it onto 18"x24" watercolor paper. I have since upgraded the quality of watercolor pencils to the Derwent Intense brand, which is used by professional artists. I have learned to understand that a painting is more than just adding color to the page, but adding layers upon layers of color in the same area.

I was pleased to see all the different greens and textures I could make for the trees and bushes. The fence was quite tricky as it was white, but I looked at the "negative" as my guide, the dark spaces in between the planks. The red is a combination of red, orange, brown, yellow... back and forth, layer upon layer. I finally got the roof texture. Although the color is darker in my painting, I prefer the contrast.

I also treated myself to this super cute pencil roll up that I found on Amazon.


My first Commission...

My husband, Steve, commissioned me to create a work of art for his office. He has been retired from Shell for almost a year now and is wrapping up his first manuscript. His vision was for me to create something that would give him encouragement and inspiration for his writing.

Together, we came up with the idea of a tree as the focal point that would have inspirational phrases written on the branches. Some of which include:

- Don’t get it write, get it written - Rewriting is real writing

- Talk to your audience

- Keep the reader surprised and wondering

Thus the journey began. Steve had been a writer when he was a kid, creating a one-edition neighborhood newsletter, and he wrote many articles for his high school newspaper where he was first a sports editor and then later on became a co-editor. He saved all his articles all this time. We made copies of them (all yellowed by now) and I proceeded to create a collage of the articles at the bottom of the page. It pained me to tear these memories up, but it was not the originals and it would serve a purpose for the future. I included torn bits and pieces of article titles, poems, his signature, and drawings, just to name a few. That would become the earth where the tree had planted its roots.

I knew Steve spent a lot of time hiking with his father in Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham, Alabama where he grew up. Since he had taken me there a few times, I remembered Peavine Falls and how Steve said they spent a lot of time there, walking across the bridge to see the view. I found some images online and sort of made up my own.

The first image was my first attempt. It was a "rocky" start (pun intended) and that is how it stayed for quite a while. I wasn't quite happy with it, but I knew I was on the right track (ha ha). So I updated it (far right) to make it a bit more realistic, adding in rock textures, and defining the tree with the highlights and shading. I was very happy with the way the tree turned out, however I was still not happy with the trees in the background.

The far right picture is me taking a huge leap of faith! I decided to scrap the entire background (yikes!) as I mourned the loss of my beautiful tree! I thought I just might be crazy! I got the idea to add modeling paste to the rocks to give it more texture and to achieve a 3D effect. I gave the waterfall more personality, showing that it was a continuation from streams above.

I continued working on this and here is where I am currently... still not finished, but now have a firm plan! I had only been there in the fall, so I really wanted to capture the fall foliage. The tree is just a primer at this point, painting over the bottom layer. Steve was getting concerned that it wouldn't look right, covering up all the beauty that I had created. I knew he didn't need to worry. I just proceeded with my plan. The rocks are fully formed as is he waterfall with all it's splashing and movement. I plan to add more leaves to the large tree after I inscribe each of the branches. These color bits are torn from dried-up acrylic paint bits from previous flow art works. The grass on the right side of the tree will need to be updated.

Steve is very pleased. Even though this project began 5 months ago, and has had many different looks, this is the one I am most proud of. I will update you via my social media. Please follow me if you aren't already!


Beginning Collage Classes & Hands-on Workshops

I am delighted to offer collage beginning classes and workshops in which you will learn the basic steps to making amazing collages. My address will be emailed to you upon registration. (Houston - Meyerland/Bellaire area)

Mondays - June 3, 10, 17, 24

Tuesdays - May 28

**Evening & Weekend classes available by appointment.**

Beginning Collage Class

Noon - 2pm $35 in advance/$40 at the door ~ Perfect for first-timers ~ Optional: Bring your own scissors, Xacto blade, cutting mat, glue stick, and any magazines or items you may have already collected. ~ All other supplies are provided. NOTE: Although the class is over officially at 2pm, you are more than welcome to stay until 3pm.

Hands-on Workshop

1pm - 3pm $20 in advance/$25 at the door ~ Includes access to my library of magazines and cutting tools. ~ If you bring a beginner with you, then your workshop fee is 50% off and you may attend with them at noon (bonus hour - woo hoo!) and work on your own project.

~ Advanced Technique Lesson will also be provided!

NOTE: I will be conducting the Beginner's Class until 2pm, at which time I will be happy to help you with your specific projects.

If you have any questions or would like to register for classes or workshops, please email me at or call (713) 252-1612.


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