Small Press Expo 2016

I had a wonderful time at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda MD today, with my companion Maddie who is 14. We each went to different panels and met up to compare notes.

I am new to the world of contemporary comics and I have to say: WOW! It was such a vibrant scene – the exhibit hall was packed with creative happy people, colorful, expressive, curious, interesting, and fun. I played a new card game with giant demo cards, met my graphic novelist hero, Noelle Stevenson, ran into some fan artists I know, discovered a magical book about Monet’s Mouse!

I attended one panel with several comic artists discussing how they support their drawing habits. Creatively, of course!

Tomato Fairies

Cathy G Johnson works as an illustrator, teaches after-school programs and sells books and prints- real hand made screen prints!

Here’s a book she offers for reading online: “Going Back” – a travel journal.

Eleanor Davis is an illustrator you’ve probably seen around. She recently illustrated a New Yorker article “The Most Exclusive Restaurant in America, and here’s one of a series of Google Doodles:

Aimée de Jongh came from the Netherlands to #spx. Here’s a video she animated:

The whole thing filled me with hope for the world, so many happy creatives making magic and sharing it with an enthusiastic audience. I won’t miss next year’s show!

Always Weaving a New Story

Yesterday I did a cool one-day workshop called Storyweaving, which is a unique method of working our creative subconscious to reveal and retell the stories we live by.  The workshop leader is Carol Burbank, my dear friend, and I’ve had the privelege of watching her grow as a teacher and healer (and I helped her create the web site. **iz proud of her & me**). Check out her site for upcoming workshops, classes, talks and more.

We gathered in the morning and got started with some meditation. It was a nice group of four, all of us women of a certain age who are moving bravely into life changes.We worked with group story-telling and then made ‘self portraits’ to discover images, themes, tools to help us with our current transformations.

I took this workshop before, back in December


At that time my art piece revealed a protective angel-self who held my hurt and depressed self. You can see her, held in the angels’s heart, at left, curled into a tight dark ball.

At the time, I judged the self portrait as ‘art’ and was embarrassed by the sugary fairy angel. But in time I became very grateful for her energy watching over me. It was a tough year last year, and there was much healing to do in the dark of winter.

This time I made two images.


In the first,  I wanted to get the literal idea of the body as temple (in Hawaiian: hei’au) out onto the page.

I was obviously working with feeling large and heavy, going for a sense of sacred and ancient goddess. Hawaiian is one culture that honors the fat body as beautiful. I have a pretty hard time doing that, but in working on this I began to enjoy the lumpy lava body, her serenity, and all the lush gifts that were brought to her.






Once I got that idea out, it was easier to work more dreamlike way, less cerebral control. I chose colors and drew without looking for about half of the picture. This one reveals a flowing, evolving bright rosy energy.

There’s a sense of moving hands, red with life energy, and growing embrionic and vine-like growth. It’s luminous, expansive, moving. No more hiding now, it’s all about unfurl and grow.

BIG changes in three months!

Since we are always writing our story, it’s important for me to resist the old gloomy myths that hold me back from all the good I can do.

Art from Nature class starts March 29

Drawing & Painting from Nature

Traditional and Expressive techniques

Here’s a fun class to gain experience and develop technique in drawing and painting using nature as our subject matter. Working in a variety of drawing media and watercolours we will explore technique, composition and colour working from, and with, Nature.

The natural form has a an inherent rhythm whether it’s sky, sand, leaves, fur, flames. You can capture that rhythm in your drawing and painting, by tuning in to what we and all creation have in common. Your charcoal is burnt wood, your brush is animal hair, your paper is cotton fibre, your paint is ground earth. The art is in letting the natural ways of our materials interact with your natural curiousity about the world.

4th Annual Fantastic Fall Fangirl Frolic

I have always wanted to host a group of 12 or more in this house to see if it could be done. This year’s Fangirl’s weekend was the first time I ever pulled it off, and it couldnt have been better!

I'm the tall one. Bailey the Leonberger on the right

The weather cooperated beautifully and allowed for luches on the deck, a bonfire circle, great riverside dog walks and plein aire painting.

Team Cook and Team Cleanup did an amazing job keeping everyone well fed and watered all weekend. The final count was 12 overnighters, two day trippers, four dogs and one cat. We only needed 2 air mattresses!

Ari the Italian Hound of Love and her human

What did we do? Laugh, hug, tell stories, gossip, share creative ideas, write, draw, cook, wash dishes, sweep, play with pets, walk in the splendid fall weather, laugh more, hug more, dance around the fire, eat marshmallows toasted to charcoal perfection.

fanartists hard at work

It couldn’t have been better. Thank you everyone for making this event truly the Fantastic Fall Fangirl’s Frolic.Save the Date: October 19-21, 2012

another chapter comes to an end

When the film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, opens July 15, yet another chapter of the Harry Potter phenomenon will come to a close. Just before the final book was published in 2007 I discovered an entire world of HP fans online, including lots of fan artists and writers creating fanwork in great abundance.

The desire for more of JK Rowling’s amazing world drove many of us to generate stories and images to sustain us between the books. I jumped in to the fun, experimenting with digital art, learning from my (much younger!) new friends, rekindling an interest in drawing the human form.

Portrait has always been my weakest skill, and I have been tested, mightily, trying to render beloved characters. Here are a few of my fan artworks from the Harry Potter universe:

Maiden, Mother & Crone

This painting was made for the 2009 HP Crossover Challenge, and my prompt wasShakespeare’s Macbeth. All the art I found for Shakespeare’s 3 witches were negative portrayals of witches as ugly hags, so I chose to paint the Good Witches as the Triple Goddess, and as representatives of Air, Fire and Earth (Baby Teddy and his dragon are Water)

Last Kiss

I painted this for the 2008 Lily Evans/Severus Snape gift exchange. I chose a moment implied, but not written, in the text, where Severus Snape says farewell to his childhood love, as he leaves to join Voldemort’s Death Eaters, and Lily marries James Potter. Snape holds an Aspohodel lily in his hand, significant in potion-making.

Thanks, Dad

Here’s a pastel drawing made for a fanfiction story, Light Between the Cracks and it’s sequel,  where Snape maintained a secret muggle family, along with all of his other secrets! His eldest daughter is of course presented with a Hogwarts letter when she comes of age, revealing who her father really was. Here she is, a successful Ravenclaw student, having visited her father in portrait form for some advice.