Sunday, December 27, 2009

Peace on Earth


Here's my Christmas card, which I created too late to send to my friends. Ah well, there's always next year. I just love these guys!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happiest of Holidays!

I came across this old photo where I am watching my brother's glee as he discovers that Santa has granted his wish for a real space helmet, and my mother is enjoying the home-made Christmas card that I had labored over the previous day.

May your holidays be filled with the joys of family and friends and a granted wish or two!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's Here!

As the weatherman said last night, it's here. Everyone has gotten a big blizzard and now we have our share, too. It looks so beautiful, like a holiday card. I had to stop shoveling to take some pics. It was overcast and snowing so the photos are on the gray side.... I decided to shovel half way through the storm, since I will never be able to manage the 20 inches we're supposed to get if I wait until the end!

The birdbath is there somewhere.

My neighbor's house seen through my old crab apple tree.

Snowy treetops over my lawn.

Sorel boots are synonymous with Minnesota. They are warm, tall and rugged (no, this is not an online dating ad) and built to last. When I moved here 19 years ago, the first thing everyone told me was, "Buy a pair of Sorels". So I did and here they are. (there's another one tagging along)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Illustration Friday - "Hatch"

Was her thinking grandiose? Could she not see her goals clearly? Was it a case of mistaken identity? Whatever.....her best laid plans never hatched.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mushroom Princess


She's royalty and her court is the backyard, with very flighty attendants! I must say, pink is the sweetest color to use, and the most difficult of all colors to reproduce accurately on a computer monitor. Very frustrating! This collage is available in my shop, along with additional collages and prints. Don't forget - those holidays are just around the corner!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Countdown

It's two days before Thanksgiving, and I have wild turkeys asking to come into my backyard. I was told that turkeys are very smart birds. This is not smart! They might as well just ask if they can hop into my oven. Go away you crazy birds, play hard to get, will ya?

I look out to the garden, and there are three more!

And a final glance shows me the whole gang is here. How can I eat these beautiful big guys? I'm changing the menu to macaroni and cheese. Perhaps that was their plan. Perhaps they're not as dumb as I thought!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

And the Winner Is....

Minnesota Medicine Magazine Cover, July 2008


I can't resist posting this, although I posted it last year after completing the collage. I was just notified that this cover that I did for the publication Minnesota Medicine Magazine won a Silver Award for Best Single Cover for Associations in the Minnesota Magazine & Publication Awards ceremony last week. Yee haw! Am I happy? Yes, I am happy!

P.S. The doctor's bag is painted and the physician is a compilation of various magazine and vintage photo fragments all pieced together to form one figure. The theme was an announcement of the winners of the annual writing contest for physicians, hence all those words flying out of the bag.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How I Survived My Open Studio Event-Part 2

I pulled into the parking lot, and who should I see but Heinz Brummel photographing his latest creations. Yurts. If you don't know what a yurt is, that is understandable, but if you don't know who Heinz Brummel is, where have you been? Heinz is a legend in Minneapolis for just being Heinz (too many zany stories for here) and his extraordinary contemporary jewelry is not only sought after by collectors but exhibited internationally in galleries and museums. But now Heinz is into yurts, and you should be too. You don't have to go to Mongolia to appreciate the yurt, you can go camping on the weekend or have a cozy place ready your mother-in-law's next visit. Really - with a wood-burning stove in the center, these well-crafted portable structures are very cozy! You can find the whole story of Heinz's new passion here: And if you want to be bowled over by beautiful jewelry, step this way:

Next I spied Cathy and Steve in the Magic Bus Cafe. This is the first year that the purple bus (a 1978 ex-school bus) has joined the art festival, and what a great addition it proved to be. It was parked by the entrance to the building, and was busy the entire three days reviving weary art buyers who needed a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.

It is the brainchild of Chrissy and Cathy Lockyear, two sisters (can ya tell???) and Cathy's husband Chris, all who who share a love of cooking and catering. Their experience and enthusiasm were evident in the delicious healthy food - hot dogs with no nitrates, vegetarian & organic choices, and a menu with enticing names: "psychedelic relish", "magic chili dog" and "grateful dog" to name a few. Wouldn't this entertaining bus complete with charming hostesses be a great addition for your next family reunion? Check out their website:

Here's where Cathy treated me to a steaming hot French Roast Coffee.

Here's where Cathy spilled the entire cup of steaming hot French Roast Coffee.

We're almost to the door, you can see my paintings on the hallway walls....

We're in! And here is Cathy (guest artist for this year, I forgot to mention this but I thought you knew) taking one last look before we officially open. Her intricate mosaics are witty and poignant and filled with soul. I kept finding new details all weekend long, as did our visitors. Check out her website: for a closer look at an ancient art form gone contemporary.

Renee is doing some last minute arrangements here, she arrived only minutes before we did. Her business, bettyscagnetti, features one of a kind clothing and accessories, some of which are her original creations, some she refashions, and all of it has been adopted by a huge fan base that grows every year. You can see more of her playful fashions at

The three days were filled with visitors, sales and sunny days, an extraordinary combination for a November weekend! Thank you to all who came, you made it all worthwhile!

Monday, November 9, 2009

How I Survived My Open Studio Event

I was driving to my studio on Saturday morning, heading for the annual Art Attack Open Studios event, in which I was participating. I was late of course, eating my lunch because I knew I wouldn't have time once I got there, when I had the idea that it would be fun to document the event. So I took out my camera and began shooting "landmarks" along the way to the studio. I became one of those idiots that I loath, mindless jerks who text and apply mascara and search for a book in the back seat while driving their car. Only I was holding a camera in one hand, a chicken sandwich in my other hand, and the steering wheel in my third hand. (?) Hold onto your hats, I'm exiting the freeway.

I drove over the Mississipi River, which contrary to a non-resident's usual assumption, does not divide Minneapolis from St. Paul. It actually snakes around and through the town of Minneapolis. Look at this gorgeous brewery sign - it's for sale. It's been a fixture here for over 60 years, and used to light up the night skyline until its owner went bankrupt and couldn't pay the light bill. It can be yours for few 100 thousand dollars. If I had the money I'd install it in my picture window, even though it must be 10 stories high. An article about it is here.

After I crossed the river, I drove by Nye's Polonaise Room. Oh, how we all adore Nye's - it's the first place we take our visitors. It's been entertaining locals since 1949, and several years ago, Esquire magazine named it Best Bar in America. The piano bar is the domain of Sweet Lou Snider who has been filling requests with undiminished good humor for over 40 years. When asked when was she going to retire, she replied, "When I'm dead". The side room hosts The Most Dangerous Polka Band every Friday and Saturday night, and the large banquet room is always filled with every day diners as well as large parties who are recuperating from every event from weddings to funerals. Even their website is entertaining (be forewarned, it opens with music):
And the Esquire article is here: here

OK, so now I'm turning the corner to pull into the parking lot of the building, and what do I see but this classy oh so professional sign. It says, "BARGAINS GALORE".

Here's the main entrance, and I see that the place is already hopping with visitors! Yay!

Here I am. So tomorrow, Part 2, with some very interesting folks I'd like you to meet!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Art Attack

Yes, it's that time of year. My glorious studio building, filled with over 200 crazy talented artists (we're one BIG family), will be open this weekend with everyone sharing their wares with the public. It's Fall and Northrup King Complex celebrates with Art Attack!

Potters, tile makers, painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, jewelers, print makers, and textile designers - you'll have lots of eye candy and inspiration to brighten your day, complete with lots of free parking!

I'm in Studio 350, which I share with bettyscagnetti, a unique shop of re-fashioned garments and accessories all embellished with playful finishing touches.

This year our guest artist is Cathy Young, who will be showcasing her gorgeous and well, quite frankly, mind-boggling mosaic pieces. Carefully crafted from broken tiles, pottery bits, beads and paper, these complex constructions have to be seen to be believed, and you can get a sneak preview here.

Hey, c'mon down!!!!

Friday, November 6 – 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 7 – Noon to 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 8 – Noon to 5:00 p.m.

P.S. If you'd like directions, or more information about the event, visit the building's website:

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

There's nothing scarier than a mad squirrel! So feed those little guys some extra peanuts tonight, so we don't have them roaming the city with their trick or treat bags!

Friday, September 25, 2009

IF - Patterns

Do you find yourself thinking the same thoughts over and over again? I do. What's worse, I didn't even know I was doing this until I read an article that stated that 90% of people's thoughts are repetitious. So that means only 10% of our daily thinking is original. Talk about a rut! The first observation is close up and everything seems new and swirly and fascinating and original. Until you step back and look at the whole picture, and see then you see the pattern.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of Fall

First day of fall? Today? Wait a minute! I'm not through with summer yet! I haven't had that vacation to some far away national park, I haven't cleaned out the garage from last winter's collection of debris (well, now I won't have to, since winter is nipping at our heels), I haven't been to a picnic...I'm just not ready to say goodbye to summer yet. So I won't. The first day of fall is now officially November 1, please mark your calendars accordingly.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

October Cover

Here's the latest cover I did for Minnesota Medicine magazine, which featured an article on the HIV virus.

This is a detail of the collage of the virus, consisting elements relating to the medical/research community. I used the diagram below as my source of inspiration.

But it didn't begin with a concept anywhere near the end result! The following are my initial thumbnails. The original instructions from the art director were to follow the article's premise, which was that the virus is evasive, mutates quickly, disguises itself within the very cells that are supposed to destroy it, it's a chameleon and quick-adapting. So I came up with some sketches and added splashes of color to indicate the impact that color could provide. But the resulting decision was that they preferred to see less. So we went with simplicity. It may be simple to look at, but to come up with the patterns and find the correct corresponding images was not very simple at all! But I do think it is an arresting image for the serious subject matter.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Out of the Cave

My old computer died on me. It did not go peacefully into the night. No, it stalled and balked and went bananas. It shut down when it wasn't supposed to and wouldn't shut down when I asked it politely to do so. It swore at me with all kinds of alien language that popped up at odd moments on my monitor. The turning point was when the monitor turned PINK. It has always been a calm navy blue. I felt sorry then, it was almost as if my poor computer was bleeding internally, even though a moment later it returned to the usual blue. Before it totally died on me, I rushed off to buy a new computer, something I had been putting off for way too long.

While transferring my old files to the new computer, the technician read the serial numbers on my first computer and declared that it was considered "vintage". Imagine - a six year old computer is considered vintage! This seems outrageous!

I not only have to learn a new operating system, but a new email program and several new graphics programs that I have also failed to update over the years. The technician said I was "leaving my cave and entering a space ship." I loved that - it describes my thoughts exactly!

I will never procrastinate again.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Old Friends

Recently, four of my friends surprised me on my birthday. I thought I was going to dinner with one friend, and when I got to the restaurant, the waitress took us to a booth, and there sat three more of my friends, one from out of state! They were all grinning like cats who had just swallowed canaries. I was so surprised it took me all evening and lots of wine to get over my shock! The funny thing was, only two of them knew each other, and that included my friend from out of state, so it was a major email project for them to co-ordinate this surprise for me. I was so touched. I totally love and adore my friends. They see me as I really am, they have held my hand through all the ups and downs of my complicated life, and they love me unconditionally. I've been blessed with a family that also loves me unconditionally too, but you know how it is with families...they are........your family. Your family tends not to appreciate the same things about you that your friends find will find amusing/shocking/admirable.

The evening was filled with good food and lots of laughter and ended with the waitress presenting me with a birthday cake (actually, a yummy fruit thingie, a tart? I can't remember...) with a giant roman candle sprouting a fountain of sparkles that lit up the booth. It was the perfect ending to the perfect birthday.

By the way, this is a VINTAGE postcard - THESE ARE NOT MY FRIENDS. I AM NOT IN THIS PICTURE. I am not this old. Really.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ivanhoe Road

I had an epiphany the other morning while driving in my car. An epiphany in a car is almost as dangerous as a spider, I nearly drove off the road. Sometimes it really IS just how you choose to look at things that determines what you see. And if that doesn't make sense to you, I'll try and illustrate it with these photos of my neighborhood.

This is a little side road, off the beaten track, near my home where I walk every morning. Even though there are homes along the way, I never see anybody in them, there are never any cars or people. It's just quiet and other-worldly, quite different from the noisy middle class neighborhood my tiny house sits in, where I hear roofs being repaired, the hum of the freeway, kids screaming and trees being cut down, lawns being mowed. You know, the usual never-ending racket of summer in the burbs.

But just a few blocks away is Ivanhoe Road, a secret escape where I can walk and feel as if I am on vacation a thousand miles away.

There are marshlands and prairie grasses flooded with sunlight, and all I hear is the silence broken only by the wind or the birds and the frogs.
OK, you get the picture. Now it's important to note here that there is a big tall fence in the background of this picture. You can't see it, it's hidden by the foliage in the background. It was ages before I even noticed it.

Here's the picture taken the day of my epiphany. I was driving along humming a tune thinking of the groceries I had just picked up and how they were probably melting when I looked out my window. OMG, there was that fence!! That meant that Ivanhoe Road was right on the other side, but I couldn't see it because of all the foliage. That meant that for years I had been driving down this road to the grocery store, going past this strip mall and all the urban blight that was so annoying, and hidden on the other side of these trees was Ivanhoe Road. My Paradise Lost was right next to a mall. Only 50 feet away! What a difference 50 feet made - it was like living in a dual reality. It made me wonder about the rest of my life, and how I could look at it. Ivanhoe Road and the strip mall were almost the same, it just was a matter of sliding a little more this way or a little more that way that determined whether you were experiencing heaven or hell.

This sounds so dumb. One person's epiphany is another person's "well, yeah...". You just had to be there.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


If there's anything that will modify your life, it's new baby!

Here are more stationery illustrations I recently created for moms and moms-to-be (the calligraphy is by the talented Crystal Kluge), all available for purchase at Pretty Girl Designs. Check it out - there are pages and pages of cute illustrations (most of them created by Pretty Girl's original illustrator, the above mentioned fabulous Crystal Kluge) that you can select for your very own customized invitations, announcements and general all-purpose happy day greeting cards!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pretty Girl Designs

I'm switching gears today, showing you a post from my other blog, andreesillustration. I'm so thrilled to have my illustrations included in Pretty Girl Designs! Creator Darcy Jerome began her stationery/gift business with the motto, "Happy girls are pretty girls", and when you see these sparkling creations, you will just light up! She has taken glitter to the next dimension, finishing each piece by hand. Be sure to visit her shop and blog and check out the fun announcements, invitations and cards available for purchase.

Crystal Kluge has been illustrating for Pretty Girl Designs from the start, and I am totally awed by her playful style and versatility. Check out her blog for an artistic treat.