Volunteer at Legends of Golf Tournament Bass Pro

panorama image of golfers on course with swans and waterfall in background

Volunteer … Think green lawns, sandy bunkers, legendary pros, media, eclectic crowds, divine landscapes, ponds with swans and boats, and waterfalls, all christened with rain, turning a week of volunteerism at the PGA TOUR® Champions Bass Pro Shops® Legends of Golf® at Big Cedar® Lodge into a stellar event, played on premier courses at Top of the Rock and Buffalo Ridge.

Volunteering, Not for Wimps

Volunteers in rain ponchos bearing standard for Faxon and McCarron and Forsman and Reid
Volunteers in rain ponchos

Volunteer at Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf Tournament for a rewarding, yet challenging adventure. For starters, it’s mid-April, and you feel like Goldilocks. It’s either “just right,” cold, or rainy. Or as one volunteer said, “I felt like a Popsicle.” Also, the crowd and the players are a tad intimidating at times. If you work the tournament, you can’t watch the golfers unless you have a free day or find yourself assigned to the course with a good viewpoint of the players. And, golf is played on a golf course, which means hiking over pathways and golf cart paths. As well, standing in the middle of a golf course for hours can be solitary. Most importantly, if you are a shutterbug like me, taking photos is prohibited while on duty. Well, that pretty much sums up the whining.

Why I Volunteer at the Tournament

Friends and family chuckle that I volunteer because it cost $50 and it takes 3-5 days of my personal time. Some may think I like the paparazzi, but – no. Volunteering for me is the big picture of what this extraordinary tournament brings to me personally and to our area and the sport of golf.

Kid Rock Swinging Golf Club
Kid Rock styling in camo for the Skins Shootout with Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Lee Trevino
  • Supports Missouri tourism and conservation efforts of Johnny and Jeanie Morris and the Bass Pro Shops.
  • The tournament is held in April, my birthday month, and it’s a gift of entertainment to me.
  • Love the color green, and April and May sprout the most beautiful greens in the Ozarks.
  • Love the outdoors. The gardening and horticulture at Top of the Rock is majestic.
  • Always something new and exciting. This year Kid Rock played in a Skins Shootout with Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Lee Trevino. You had to be there.
  • I volunteer to celebrate the efforts of Johnny Morris to make golfing a premier event in the Ozarks. Golf gained Olympic prominence at the 2016 Games in Rio.
  • I like crowds and meeting interesting people.
  • Top of the Rock overlooks Table Rock Lake, an idyllic setting.
  • Volunteers add  to the success of the tournament.
  • The tournament gets more exciting each year (Johnny Morris recently announced his purchase of the Legends of Golf franchise for another four years.)
  • It’s meritorious  to volunteer at this prestigious golf tournament that not only celebrates golf but also raises money for education at College of the Ozarks.
I was there: 2017 Tournament, April 19-23, 2017 – Top of the Rock

Golf is Only the Half of It ….

Dude Perfect and fan in Gift Shop at Top of the Rock
Thanks, Cory! Granddaughter Lucy spotted Cory in the Gift Shop at Top of the Rock

Cory Cotton, Twin #2 of Dude Perfect, was on stage Saturday to demonstrate golfing tips for fans. It was cold and drizzly, but no one seemed to care.

The tournament provides opportunities for area civic and business organizations to support golf and tourism. This year Branson Chick-fil-A surprised attendees at the gates with free, warm, yummy chicken sandwiches.

Entertaining Tournament Golfers

When not golfing, competitors are treated to bass fishing with pro fishermen on Table Rock Lake, skeet shooting at Bass Pro Outdoor Academy, and fly fishing for trout at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park.

stained glass art palette table favor for painters
An original stained glass table favor for guests

Golfers’ families are entertained as well. This year wives were hosted to a luncheon followed by an acrylic painting class at College of the Ozarks. Table settings included an art glass souvenir of a painter’s palette, crafted by the C of O students.

Volunteer Perks

  • The tournament is an ideal time to see the golf course and all its beauty.
  • Volunteers receive free access to the tournament and a Gold Pass for a guest – for the duration of the tournament.
  • Volunteers are in the thick of it, and often have opportunity to meet legendary golfers.
  • Volunteers are honored at a post-tournament dinner with prizes and awards.
  • You are part of something bigger than yourself.


Following the tournament, Johnny Morris and tournament chair hosted a Famous Dave’s BBQ dinner with Bluegrass to thank volunteers.

Volunteer goodie of a ABU Garcia reel and an autographed ball by Johnny Morris from the Legends of Golf dinner for tournament volunteers
My loot from Legends of Golf dinner for tournament volunteers

A table piled with goodies welcomed us. I chose a fishing reel by Berkley/Abu Garcia! Score.

And Johnny Morris signed a golf ball for me, a souvenir from the Pro-Am.

Another evening highlight: Johnny greeted volunteers, shaking hands and chatting with us. He asked for our continued support as he works to curate the resources of the area into a golfing destination for families.

BONUS GIFT: Volunteers were gifted with their choice of either golf for them and a guest to play 18 holes at Top of the Rock or Buffalo Ridge or a pass to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. Hip-hip-hooray!

Bluegrass and BBQ for Volunteers

Register to Volunteer in 2018

On October 15, 2017,  register to volunteer at the Legends website  for the 2018, PGA TOUR Champions Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf. Be the first.

Save the date: April 16-22, 2018 – the next Bass Pro Legends of Golf Tournament. As always, the tournament will host events and activities on a grand scale. And pack your rain boots in case of April showers.

More to Come from  Bass Pro …

Big Cedar Resort opened  Fun Mountain on Labor Day 2017 with a golf simulator, laser tag, bowling, arcade, bumper cars, rock wall, pool table, restaurants, and more.

In 2019, the Tiger Woods designed Payne’s Valley opens. It is the first public-access golf course in the U.S., thanks to Johnny Morris, Tiger Woods, and the Payne Stewart Family, who partnered to make a dream a reality.

And ready for the 2018 golf tournament, Johnny Morris’s Wonders of Wildlife opens Sept. 21, 2017, in nearby Springfield.

On the drawing board: Arnie’s Lodge at Top of the Rock.

Easter and Springtime Collide

Easter arrives at springtime. For me, spring brings marshmallow Peeps, chocolate bunnies, daffodils, dandelions, colored eggs, egg hunts, fishing, hiking, boating, canoeing, ball caps, flip-flops, summer clothes, summer colors, golf, tennis, camping, traveling, friends, flowers, sun glasses, plein aire watercolors, graduations, parties – and family.

Is it Easter yet?

Living in the Ozarks means I enjoy the best spring offers. Our lilac bush is blooming, and we bought a new lawn mower that’s still in the box. Too early to mow.

Illustration of a cardinal sitting atop an Easter egg surrounded by dandelions and a lucky worm
Cardinal’s Easter Egg

Spring comes with sounds. Canaries, titmice, woodpeckers, robins, and cardinals are daily sites at our bird feeders. The canaries made an early return from their winter’s journey, adding splashes of yellow to the backyard. Titmice and woodpeckers stick the winter out in the Ozarks. As well, some robins and cardinals winter here. All we have to do is step outdoors or open a window to hear spring.

We have a squirrel nesting in our back yard – and a possum!

Best of all, spring is when we celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His gift of new life evermore.

Slow down for Easter

Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, just came and went.

I say to myself as I do each year at this time, “Let’s not rush through this epic event.”  Do some bird watching. Watch Mother Nature wake up from her winter  nap. Journal an Easter Bible Study.

This week read the Gospel records on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that changed history forever.

  • Matthew 26:1-28:20
  • Mark 11:1-16:19
  • Luke 22:1-24:53
  • John 13:1-21:25.

As it is written … the week of Easter

Palm Sunday
  • Jesus enters Jerusalem in triumph, riding on a donkey colt (Mark 11: 1-10).
  • All of Jerusalem is stirred at the coming of Jesus, known as the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee (Matthew 21:1-11).
  • Crowds follow him and spread garments in his path and wave palm branches at him to welcome him as their king, shouting, “Hosanna to the highest!” … “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11: 1-10).
  • Jesus weeps over Jerusalem and foretells of future destruction for a nation he called to himself, yet did not recognize the coming of God (Luke 19:41).
  • Drives the money changers out of the temple for making the temple of prayer into a den of robbers (Matthew 21:12).
  • Jesus teaches his disciples how faith in God and forgiveness of others give power to prayer (Mark 11: 22-26).
  • Mt. Olivet discourse with disciples: Jesus tells of coming events and cautions the disciples to be watchful for his return (Mark 13).
  • Judas Iscariot plots with the chief priests to betray Jesus for a few coins (Mark 14: 10-11; Matt. 26:48).

(no recorded events in scripture)

  • Jesus asks Peter and John to find a room for the Passover supper and to make preparations (Mark 14:12-16).
  • Jesus washes disciple’s feet as they take supper together (Matt. 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; John 13:1-17).
  • Jesus is betrayed by Judas (Matt. 26:47-50).
  • Peter denies knowing Jesus three times (Matt. 26:69-75).
Good Friday
  • Jewish leaders condemn Jesus (Mark 15:1).
  • Pilate examines Jesus before the crowd of religious leaders (Mark 15:1-15).
  • Jesus is beaten, scoured with hyssop, and mocked (Mark 14: 64).
  • Judas Iscariot repents (Matt. 27:3-10).
  • Jesus,  crucified and buried (Mark 15:25-46).

Jesus’s tomb is secured by guards under the orders of Pilot (Matt. 27: 62-66).

Easter Sunday
  • Jesus rises from the dead
  • Guards find tomb empty
  • Angels appear at tomb
  • Jesus appears five times to disciples
    Mark 16: 6-14

Tune into Easter Worship

Adam Donyes, a Bible teacher from Link Year (Branson, Mo.) spoke on Palm Sunday at Woodland Hills. He led us through a study of the Passion of Christ.

SIDE NOTE: We live in a tourist area, and we dress rather sporty for church, being a camping and fishing kind of place. We want vacationing visitors to feel comfortable. So, ignore the casual dress of speakers at Woodland Hills Family Church. We may be casual about our dress, but we are serious about our faith.

Happy Easter and Happy Springtime from the Ozarks!

Illustration of buffalo chomping on a bunch of dandelions
Even buffalo get spring fever in the Ozarks

Pixel Art Animation Tutorials AdobeLive

Pixel Art of fish swimming in sea with an air balloon overhead that turns out to be a fisherman
Fishy, fishy in the Sea

Pixel Animation, Lesson One

Pixel Animation and Motion Design are mesmerizing and fun to watch on web pages if you like text and art dancing around your website like I do.

So, I made my first pixel art animation, Fishy, Fishy in the Sea. Plot: Fish are happily swimming  on an idyllic day when a seemingly peaceful air balloon floating overhead is piloted by a fisherman who pulls out a fishing reel and plunks a lure into the water. Water splashes. Fish scatter. End of story. The animation loops endlessly.

Famous Motion Designers Demonstrate Their Work Process, Live

Earlier in March, AdobeLive from Paris streamed video of motion designers working with animation. Designers included: Made By Radio; Alexandra Lund; Lucile Patron; and Cyril Izran. During the 3-day broadcasts, the designers worked in their favorite Adobe animation programs and with their favorite tools and plugins.

During Lucile Patron’s video on Day 1, I caught the bug to design a pixel art animation. I wanted to join the party. During the live stream, hosts Rufus and Michael encourage viewers to submit samples of their animations and motion design for critique and to win a year’s subscription to Adobe CC.

You know how I love contests, so I worked relentlessly during the 3-day stream to create my first pixel animation to post on Twitter.

Lucile Patron, AKA Fulifuli, made pixel art animation in Photoshop look so easy and fun, I thought, Why not me?

I bravely opened Photoshop CC to create my first pixel art animated masterpiece. I can do Photoshop, I thought.

Surprisingly, pixel art animation turned out to be work. Hopefully, I will make another animation in the near future after a tad more practice. Until then, I remain a starry-eyed duck, counting the stars!

vector illustration of two ducks on a starry night counting stars
Two Ducks, Counting the Stars


Subscribe to AdobeLive to Watch Live Streams & Replays from Paris

Watch Pixel Art and Motion Design video replays at AdobeLive or on YouTube AdobeLive. Search videos of motion designers to see their workflow, i.e.,  Made By Radio; Alexandra Lund; Lucile Patron; and Cyril Izran.

Viewing Tips for AdobeLive

  • Subscribe to AdobeLive so you can be alerted of upcoming live streams.
  • Watch at AdobeLive.com during the live streams to join the chat and to be eligible for prizes, and receive portfolio review when offered.
  • During the stream, hosts may give the option to submit on Twitter/#adobelive samples in whatever field of design is being spotlighted during the program for a portfolio critique.
  • Bonus: Adobe Illustrator celebrates its 30-year anniversary in March 2017, and some AdobeLive streams offer a giveaway of a 1-yr free subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, drawn at random by the Nightbot robot.
  • The live stream format is to film each guest artist at work in three, 2-hour cycles, over three days – so pop some popcorn and relax.
  • The video sessions are recorded in real-time as if a film crew watched you from the start to the end of a piece of art, so plan to spend some time if you don’t want to miss the tips and tricks scattered throughout the filming.
  • Once the 3-day live streams end, the videos from the stream are available as replays on AdobeLive and on YouTube.
  • When you are watch replays, it’s best to watch them chronologically, Day 1 of 3 first, because some artists spread one project over the three days, and it’s good to watch from the beginning. However, other artists start and end a project same day, and will present an entirely different project each day.
  • BONUS: The live streams from Paris film guest artists and designers from cities in Spain, Great Britain, Italy, France, Australia, Belgium, etc., presenting a wonderful international glimpse into today’s trendy digital art world. Also, English is not the given language for most guests, which makes the program even more dynamic as often they are working on computers with interface labels in French, Italian, etc.

Tips for creating pixel art animations in Photoshop CC from Fulifuli, streamed live from Paris

  • When you open Photoshop, change the Edit > Preferences settings from the default settings. In Units & Rulers, set the Rules & Type to Pixels; in Guides, Grid & Slices, set Gridline and Subdivision  to “1” Pixel.
  • Fulifuli cautions to start small with your first pixel art animation. Example: for one character, use a canvas size in the neighborhood of 56 pixels by 56 pixels.
  • View>Show>Grid will show you the pixel grid as you work. Toggle shortcut to show and hide the pixel grid is [ctrl + ‘ ].
  • Work in the Motion workspace for animation rather than the default Essentials workspace.
  • You will need to work with the Timeline window visible, which isn’t visible by default unless you are in the Motion workspace. If you prefer to work in a custom workspace, you can access the Timeline panel from the Window’s drop down menu.
  • In the Timeline panel, select Create Frame Animation as your are creating a frame-by-frame animation through layers.
  • Export and  Save for Web (alt+ ctrl+shift+s) your digital art animation as a gif.
  • Regarding number of frames needed for an animation: you can always add or subtract frames. It takes at least eight frames to loop a walking sequence as Fulifuli demonstrated on Day 2.
  • On export, to enlarge your gif animation in the Save for Web panel, increase the pixels by whole percentages, i.e., 200%, 300%, 400% 600% … do not increase by 430%, for instance.
  • Also, generally there is no need to change other gif defaults on export. You will want “nearest neighbor” and other standard defaults.

For a study in the art of color and color palettes, notice Fulifuli’s Color Swatches panel in Photoshop as you watch the video. Her swatches caused much excitement during the live stream. Also, enjoy Fulifuli and Rufus as they banter about swatches and “gif” vs. “jiff.”


Creative Cloud Love for Adobe CC and a Flutterby

Creative bubbalo lettering, painted with butterflies and flowers
Buffalo and Butterflies

Creative Adobe Cloud, a Dreamy Resource for Digital Art and Design

Digital art and design just got more funner, thanks to Adobe Creative Cloud. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I subscribed to Adobe CC. Buying it was happenstance because I was in desperate need of a current version of Dreamweaver, and Adobe no longer sells its programs on disc – only through the cloud.

Now I am walking on a cloud. I grab free fonts from TypeKit, play with color palettes at Adobe Color CC, share my portfolio online and follow my favorite designers on Adobe’s Behance, integrate Adobe iPhone and iPad apps with Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign,  etc.

The sky is the limit. Adobe even gives you a website free with your subscription. I made a PatriciaWiskur website on Behance in a matter of hours, thanks to Adobe’s templates.

Discover the Adobe Community

To top it off, I discovered AdobeLive for the Creative Cloud on YouTube and subscribed to the Adobe CC channel to be alerted of future tutorial and events streams from Adobe.

For a creative, continental experience, watch replays from AdobeLive France with Michael Chaize, Creative Cloud Evangelist, and  Rufus Deuchler, Principal Manager of Creative Cloud Evangelism Adobe. They film artists and designers from London, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, etc., as the artists work in real time.

Once streamed, you can watch replays on AdobeLive and YouTube/Adobe Creative Cloud.

Michael and Rufus are engaging moderators. Not only are they Adobe Creative Cloud experts but also artists, photographers, and designers who bring substance and humor to the creative sessions.

Favorite AdobeLive Streams from France

Bird House designed by Maite Franchi and illustrated in Adobe Illustrator
My first attempt to replicate Maite Franchi’s exclusive bird house with Jacuzzi. Watching Maite execute her sketch in Illustrator is memorable.

AdobeLive gives an inside glimpse into how the pros approach an art project. From a small production studio in Paris, the Adobe team live streams creative artists who work from concept to finished art, armed with sketch pads, iPads, Apple Pencils, computers, tablets, and Adobe CC. The live streams are lengthy, two-hours each, and provide a rare insight into an artist’s style.

These are some of my favorite Adobe CC streams from Paris, that you can replay on  YouTube:

  • Maite Franchi: creates three illustrations from sketches with Adobe Illustrator, working with symbols, original color palettes, and design tips; then adds texture to her art in Photoshop (watch Maite’s AdobeLive YouTube video to see how she executes her bird house in Illustrator and Photoshop)
  • Marie-Laure Cruschi: has a French design studio, CRUSCHIFORM
  • Pieter Ceizer: demonstrates typography and hand lettering – Pieter is a superstar from the Netherlands now living in Paris, with clients such as Nike, Tommy Hilfiger,  Coca-Cola, etc. Visit his website or see him on Instagram.
  • Swerve from the UK: free-lance designer with his own popular YouTube tutorial channel and eclectic style
  • Amanda Berglund, free-lancer from Sweden, creates in real time a poster for an exhibition for Danish designer Finn Juhl and re-brands Science Illustrated with a new cover design – see her on Behance
  • Tina Touli: London based illustrator. In three sessions Tina creates a poster and pamphlet design to celebrate the 30th year anniversary of Adobe Illustrator – must see all three videos (link to the third of three session).
  • Victoria Uvaldy: illustrator from Barcelona – a modern approach to magazine design with Adobe InDesign. Victoria covers the nuts and bolts process from conception to layout with photos and text.

Illustration Tee-Shirt Art Streamed Live from San Francisco

Butterfly on leaf with iris bloom and a stem of lilies of the valley
Iris and a butterfly, AKA, a “flutterby”

In February, AdobeLive streamed from  San Francisco, with talented U.S. designers and their creative process, during a 3-day marathon that included portfolio revue, tee-shirt art, drawings for free subscriptions to Adobe CC, and tips and resources. Check out replays of the event artists on YouTube/Adobe CC or AdobeLive:

AdobeLive Streams Coming in March

AdobeLive is held every two weeks with artists from different digital art disciplines. Viewers are invited to share their work during the streams at Twitter.com and #AdobeLive. Also, Adobe gives away subscriptions to Adobe Creative Cloud and art prints during the live streams.


  • Motion Design, March 7-8-9
  • Video Editing: March 21-22-23

Get the Newest and the Greatest! Adobe no longer sells their world famous programs in a box of discs, AKA The Adobe Creative Suite, but licenses them online through the Adobe Creative Cloud that drops them down from a cloud to your computer like fairy dust. Farewell to discs! The best thing ever is you always have the latest versions of your favorite Adobe programs, and with your monthly subscription,  you have access to their entire library of programs, fonts, and apps.

Watch Maite Franchi create her birdhouse in Illustrator in real time!

Buffalo Roam In Their Ozark Home

Home, Home on the Range

Buffalo [AKA, bison] roaming the range in old western films is shear movie magic. I loved the pivotal movie moment when cowboys would ride over a mountain top and see herds of cattle or bison below with the soundtrack playing in the background…Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam….

I found those films fascinating in my childhood. Beloved cowboys Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Hopalong Cassidy named their horses, carried a guitar strapped to their saddle, made grand entrances into a saloon, and rode down trails amidst rolling sage brush.

Flash forward to the Ozarks today. Thanks to brilliant conservation, you can ride or drive to a mountain top in Missouri and Arkansas and see  a herd of bison below in a nature preserve like Dogwood Canyon or spot them grazing along a ridge, like Buffalo Ridge Golf Course.

Famous Sculptor Designs Most Famous Buffalo

End of the Trail, James Earl Fraser
James Earl Fraser, “End of the Trail,” at Top of the Rock, Branson, MO.

Renowned sculptor James Earl Fraser, artist of the famous End of the Trail bronze, also designed the buffalo on the collectible Buffalo Nickle (minted between 1913 and 1938). The Fraser buffalo on the nickle is the most famous buffalo of all.

Of course, there are the beloved Buffalo wings, Buffalo Bills, and Buffalo, NY.

Bison roaming Ozark mountains and nature preserves remind us to conserve nature and to celebrate our pathfinders, cowboys and Native Americans who once slept beneath the stars.

Little known facts about the American bison

  • American bison is the formal name for the American buffalo.
  • The bison is the national mammal of the U.S.
  • In addition to being a major food mainstay. the American Indians found a use for nearly every part of the bison: buffalo robes, tools, utensils, and implements for hunting and war; hides for canoes and various styles of portable huts and teepees.
  • American bison are gregarious. It was not uncommon for herds to grow to 1,000 bison and for herds to migrate together and form a herd of two- to three-thousand.
  • Known as herbivores, they snack on grass every two hours, moving between snacks to greener grass, throwing in a nap along the way.
  • The American bison have distant relatives in Europe.
  • Mason and Dixon journal about spotting bison when they surveyed the Mason-Dixon line.
  • Bison share international lineage with the Asian water buffalo and the African buffalo.
  • The average bison weighs over a 1,000 pounds.
  • They are protective of their space. Stay out of it, or you may find a 1,000 pound buffalo charging at you.
  • The average lifespan of the American bison is between 15 and 25 years.


Modern Portrait of Pres. Donald J. Trump

My first portrait of our new President, in a Modern style

Trump of Spades playing card
Trump of Spades

I went Modern when I got out my pen to ink the portrait of our new President, then framed it for a deck of cards. The first thing that pops into my mind when I hear the word trump is … Play Your Trump Card.

A great painter is always commissioned to paint an Trump of Hearts for Valentine's Day, a Modern Portrait of Donald J. TrumpOfficial Portrait of the President to hang in the National Portrait Gallery in the Smithsonian, a tradition since Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of President George Washington.

My portrait is the unofficial portrait.

Trump of Diamonds, Hearts, Spades, and Clubs

Play your Trump card of Diamonds
Trump of Diamonds

I had to frame Donald Trump’s portrait with all of the playing card suits, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades, and Clubs, so  you could play with a full deck.

Here’s a link to a coloring page. Go wild with  your color palette when you paint, like I did.

Credit: my Modern Art of Pres. Trump was inspired by Newsweek’s Special Inaugural issue: Trump, Commander in Chief.

Color and doodle 45th President of the U.S.
Click to paint Trump Portrait

Contest Crazy Led Me To Winsor & Newton Contest

The words Prize and Free always turn my head

So, when Winsor & Newton hailed a new line of ink pen and brush markers with an art contest centered on their ProMarkers and BrushMarkers and having a grand prize of a complete set of their ProMarkers, I was in.

Contest Pay to Play

The catch was, I didn’t own any of their markers, and I had only used gel and ink markers in lettering and calligraphy – not illustration. Still I jumped in, cannon ball style, to win their prized markers.

To enter, I bought the required Winsor & Newton ProMarkers and downloaded their template. They didn’t want random art, they challenged artists with a template of five flowing lines taken from their iconic, winged lion logo.

Winsor & Newton ProMarker Contest template
Winsor&Newton contest template

Inspired by those five flowing lines and a table full of newly purchased W&N ProMarkers and BrushMarkers, I began a month-long obsessions to create my very first masterpiece.

contest entry with pumpkin, fish, turtle, leaves
“Summer’s end” – Farewell to summer … hello, autumn!

In the end, I submitted Summer’s End, the first layout I had inked. I knew it was a flop, but I had worked my heart out and felt compelled to enter the contest if for no other reason than to validate my month-long obsession. Summer’s End got four Likes on Instagram.

I had allocated so much time to the initial layout and idea phase that little time remained for the final work and inking. No time for a re-work and no time remaining to ink my favorite layout, Kitty Diva.

Contest Entry Kitty Diva in Fish Repose
Kitty Diva lounging on a chaise lounge, surrounded by fish, line work for inking

Contest over. Winners announced. View their work.

Still a winner! I have a drawer full of newly-purchased Winsor & Newton markers and a feeling of accomplishment.

The beauty of entering art contests is that you challenge yourself to think outside the box. I mean, I never would have drawn Kitty Diva lounging on a chaise sofa and in a room decorated with fish, were it not for the contest and those five flowing lines.

So, everyone wins when you challenge yourself to be better.

You can color your own Kitty Diva and Summer’s End on the Color page of my website.

Original Contest Rules for Winsor & Newton’s 2016 Contest

  • Create your artwork – it can be anything you like, but you must use the lines displayed on the template below
  • Your artwork must be made using mainly ProMarkers and/or BrushMarkers
  • Upload your picture to Instagram using the hashtags: #InspiredByProMarker and #WinsorNewtonChallenge. You can enter as many artworks as you would like and the closing date is 31 October 23.59 GMT. (Check out the talented artist who entered the contest on Instagram.)

Winsor & Newton

Founded in 1832 in London by William Winsor and Henry Newton, the company continues to supply artists with paints, brushes, and art papers world wide. Headquartered in England.

Check out their new travel watercolor palette and brush set for sketch books and their professional compact palette for your masterpieces. And watch some art tutorials. Maybe there’s an art contest in your future.

Illustration for Children’s Books

Annual Talent Search For a Children’s Book Illustrator

illustration of birds on teacup for global talent search 2016
Birds Chatter on Tea Cup, my entry for GTS2016

I’ve emerged from my cave after sleeping through the fourth annual Lilla Rogers’s Global Talent Search. I would still be in the dark about the talent search if not for artsy friends on Instagram. Fortuitously, a hash tag led me to a talented network of artist and illustrators who had entered a contest to win agency representation by Lilla Rogers Studio.

Lilla Rogers at Make Art That Sells sponsors an annual  Global Talent Search competition to find talented children’s book illustrators. The Grand Prize winner receives agency representation from Lilla Rogers Studio; career development support in illustration; and numerous product licenses. Zowie!

Stop the presses: Lilla Rogers announced the winners of the Global Talent Search 2016. Entering the finals, Five Finalists were selected! Also, Mara Penny’s menu cover for Sunny Spindler’s cafe received the People’s Choice Award! See their work!

Continue reading Illustration for Children’s Books

Philosophy of Sprinkles and Artwork

Extra, Extra Sprinkles, Please!

ice cream sundae with sprinkles for greeting card
Greeting card art with sprinkles

Sprinkles on ice cream at a drive-through window inspired my fancy sundae art. I was seeking ice cream, AKA Fun Food, with my granddaughter, Tori, and discovered the secret of life — sprinkles.

We were traveling, and pulled into the nearest Dairy Queen.

We sailed past the menu board  (we have the DQ menu memorized). We rolled down the car window, and chirped out our order.

Tori ordered her favorite Blizzard, topped with sprinkles.

A minute later, she springs up from her seat, remembering she forgot something on her order. In her most polite voice she adds …”and extra, EXTRA, sprinkles, please!”

Add Sprinkles to Everything!

ice cream sundae art with extra, extra sprinkles
Extra, extra sprinkles, please!

What’s a few more sprinkles? I loved the delight in Tori’s eyes when she saw her Blizzard generously covered with sprinkles.

When I think of good getting better, I visualize extra, extra sprinkles and the enjoyment the little things in life bring. Don’t skimp on the good stuff.

It is that practice in life to top what you are doing with something better and to want to change the ordinary into the extra ordinary that maximizes the little joys of  life. Continue reading Philosophy of Sprinkles and Artwork

Miniature Art Collection of Icons and Symbols

Icons, Art in Miniature


Icons and symbols are miniature pieces of art. Their swirling lines and shapes create iconic images that decorate, illustrate, and identify. These icons can become epic, i.e., the Mac Apple. (See a page of icons on my Blog and a more complete collection at Swim Yellow Duck.)

miniature "pw" monogram with calligraphy border
My “PW” monogram, underwater

I christened my PW monogram floating in the sea alongside a whale as art in miniature and on a lesser scale.

Working from a sketch, I had envisioned my initials inside a formal cartouche symbol, somewhat like a monogram found impressed on an old English manuscript. However, my mind wandered to Lollipop Land as I worked, and soon my “PW” initials were under water watching a whale swim by.

An Iconic Collection

Art from the Free Icons & Symbols Collection
Free Icons & Symbols Collection

I’ve launched a  collection of icons and symbols from my digital doodles for you to use as a resource, gratis. It’s an Iconic Collection of Free Icons and Symbols .

The zip folders include various file sizes in three formats, JPG, PNG, and SVG, that you are free to download. I’ve showcased some on my Free Icons and Symbols in a gallery on my blog. For a more complete visual reference, check out my Swim Yellow Duck gallery.

purple imperial insignia icon from the Free Icon& Symbol Collection
Imperial Insignia Icon

I tend towards elongated swirls. I think flowers. Many of my icons are flowers and scrolls. In my handwriting, much like stopping to smell the roses, I stop to twirl my letters because I love the curve of a line.

Icon for Christmas in July

Oh, Christmas Tree
Oh, Christmas Tree

If you are one of those who dream of snow on a sunny day in July, you might be a Christmas in July person. It’s a great time to buy yourself a gift because summer sales in July are door busters.

The fun thing about icons in my collection is that you can make them any size and any color.Christmas tree decorated

Cactus Icon

Flowering Cactus Icon from the Free Icon and Symbols Collection
Flowering Cactus

What comes to mind first when you see a cactus? You’re thirsty, an iguana, desert sand, sun screen, a western movie or possibly, tequila … ?

For me, it’s Cabo San Lucas, my favorite vacation spot. Although, anywhere in the tropics with sand and the ocean would suite me well.

I will post more icons from time to time. Until then, happy trails ….

How-to: Add Color To Digital Art in a Click or Two or Three

The art in my folders is, for the most part, saved in three formats, JPG, PNG, and SVG.

Inverted icon in JPEG format and framed withwith green border
JPEG: inverted black & white and added a green border to the bounding box

A JPG image is compressed and set in a white bounding box. There is little you can do to affect a JPG  in two or three clicks. In art programs like Adobe Photoshop, you can invert the colors, i.e., change the white to black and black to white.  And, you can frame the bounding box.

The PNG and SVG formats lend themselves more simply to editing.

PNG image of a cactus icon colorized and embossed in Photoshop
PNG: colorized and embossed in Photoshop – retained the transparent background

In art programs like Adobe Photoshop, you can lock the transparent background on a PNG, and paint away to change the color. As well, you can do anything to a PNG that you can do with a JPG and still retain the image transparency when you save it as a PNG.

You can totally edit an SVG image in vector art programs like Adobe Illustrator etc. The sky is the limit. Add a pattern background to the image, animate the image, or completely re-make the image, make it huge or make it tiny,  all without loosing image quality, thanks to the nature of the beloved vector format.

Original cactus icon
Original SVG Cactus Icon
Changed the flower to a bird and replaced the black and white with color
SVG: original image edited in Illustrator: changed the flower to a bird and replaced the black and white with color, all with a few simple clicks!

Happy Campers Own Trailers

RVs are Home on Wheels

I’ve always preferred camping out in a hotel room, but watching a steady parade of campers to the Ozarks this summer has made me curious as to the world of RV trailers.

I now picture myself hauling a teardrop Tab camper or other glam buggy to a nearby lake or camping spot for spontaneous outings and for hauling around my art supplies.

poster with nine campers
Campers on Parade

Campers in Art

Hence, I was inspired to draw some campers recently, and I have added a few of the campers to my Free Image Gallery of digital art.

Camper RV with patriotic trunks
Dory’s Camper

Dory’s Camper was inspired by my cousin. Her RV is huge and modern, unlike the vintage one I drew, but she prompted the red, white and blue trunks waving  from the antenna.

My first sketch included a flag, but thoughts of Dory and the family reunion in Nashville popped into mind.

Dory had arrived at the campsite driving her mobile home, loaded with food and fun. Later in the day, she pulled out some undies and clipped them on the clothesline.

The panties were huge. It was fun watching her decorate the camp site.  I always smile when I think back on the fun time with family and the reunion and picture those panties waving in the breeze.

Cousin Dory hanging large undies on a clothesline at the campsite
Undies for the clothesline


Flip Flops in my Digital Art Gallery

I Love Flip Flops

Flip Flops with a black and white check pattern
Flip flops with a Checkered Past

There is nothing that puts me in a vacation state of mind more quickly than slipping on a pair of flip flops.

In May, I was in my perpetual vacation-state-of-mind, and drew lots of flip flops, which I added to my Free Art Gallery.

Also, I modeled them together with some sandals for a poster and added it to my Art Gallery.


Flip Flops Take My Mind Off Politics

icon for free digital art
Wide Eyed Me

Wide Eyed rather describes my state of mind this political season. I am in a dizzying state of whazzup.

First, Jeb bowed out of the 2016 Race for the  White House 2018, more accurately described as the demolition derby. He and the clan are dissing the National Republican Convention, even.

Pretty bummed. I like principled governors like Jeb Busch and John Kasich, who accomplish reforms and know how to navigate the system. I want to see in my lifetime an immigration policy for Hispanics in particular that institutes a pathway to citizenship for a people who have enriched our culture and who have been welcomed through our back door for some 50 years. Continue reading Flip Flops in my Digital Art Gallery