Spooky Halloween – Doylestown, Wisconsin

Spooky grapes floating in egg whites and eyeballs
Float grapes in a bowl of egg whites. Close your eyes. Feel the slimy grapes squish through your fingers. Imagine how brave I felt in first grade as I listened to ghost stories, with visions of eyeballs dancing in my head!

My First Ever Spooky Halloween

Unaware to me as a child, I had a speech impediment.

I was clueless my speech was not stellar until my 1st-grade teacher, Mrs. Theresa Bow, enlisted Sally, a 6th-grader, to tutor me in pronunciation.

Those speech lessons turned spooky on Halloween morning, thanks to my playful tutor. She snagged my imagination and drew me into the 6th-grade plot —  scare the Jello out of  the 1st-graders.

Spooky glass eyes from antique Nippon doll
Spooky glass eyes from antique Nippon doll

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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

IMG_0064

Painting Pool Balls in Spots and Stripes

Billiards anyone?

montage illustration of pool balls
Pool ball jumble

In high school, I learned to shoot pool, AKA billiards, thanks to Saints Hubert and Ellene Watson, our church youth leaders. They adopted me, so to speak, as an honored guest into their home when I was a teen.

Friday nights, Ellene would bake her famous chocolate cake with butter cream frosting and  Hube racked up the pool balls for a spirited game of pool.

I have no recollection of helping with dishes and I no doubt scratched the green felt on Hube’s pristine pool table. Nevertheless, they rolled out the red carpet for me, week after week.

On Cue music box by Enesco with mice playing pool: Karen Hahn designer
Mice shoot a game of pool in the vintage Enesco musical “On Cue” to the tune of “The Entertainer”: Enesco designer Karen Hahn

Pool balls with stripes and spots

Today, I have my own set of pool balls, displayed in a crystal bowl. They remind me of friendship. I love peering at the ivory balls, much like watching goldfish in a fish bowl.

Beautiful, ivory white balls, each numbered and splashed with bright stripes and spots, ready for a game.

Why not make a painting of pool balls?

You draw what you love. Unfortunately, drawing and painting pool balls for me has led to a stash of failed attempts.

sketch of shading to add dimension to a flat object
Darrell’s quick-sketch to show how shading gives dimension to a pool ball

Hubby Darrell had compassion on me and sketched a pool ball with shape in front of my eyes — in a nano second.

Choose a light source, he said. Add shading to give shape and dimension, he said.

Suddenly he transforms a circle into a pool ball.

For me, it does not. So, I continue to study the elusive pool ball.

Back to the Drawing Board

Hopelessly, I asked Darrell to photograph our pool balls, thinking I could draw from the photographs. He photographed each one, individually, with the same light source.

I made a montage illustration in Photoshop by masking and arranging balls to my liking, resizing some.

Undaunted with my failures at painting, I played around with the pool balls in my digital art programs to make a poster.

illustration of pool balls
Play Ball!
Digital Pool Balls Spin Around on My Computer
Pool ball photography
Montage of pool ball photography
Photography: pool ball montage

Early Snowfall and Pillowcase Art

Snowy art for pillowcases by Darrell Wiskur to color
Snowfall in the Ozarks

 A dreamy, deep snow came early to Arkansas, 2013.

We hope for snow in the Ozarks

We woke one morning to a mid-December snow, 10-inches deep, over a slick layer of ice. We were glad for the surprise snowfall.

It is always super nice not having to fret about if or if-not we will have a Hallmark snow before Christmas Day … always a quandary in the Arkansas Ozarks.

Snowbound and off school, the grandchildren went sledding, built snowmen, and decorated gingerbread houses … putting everyone in a holiday state of mind.

School buses, parked. Our world stood still.

As we were on the verge of cabin fever, the sun came out and melted the snow. Alas, we were as happy to see the snow go as to see it come.

How To Tutorial

Pillowcase art for a snowy Christmas

The snowy woodland scene is an illustration by hubby Darrell Wiskur for a book daughter Wendy O’Dell wrote and designed.

The book, Mommy’s Days, Planning Daily Activities with Infants and Toddlers, was published in 1998 by Heir Press.

Darrell’s illustrations were pencil line-drawings. The book was printed in black & white. I wanted to color it, so I scanned the art and turned it into a vector illustration in Adobe Illustrator.

I created shapes, which I filled with color, then added a gradient to the background in Photoshop.

I love the art and the verse:

Stars shining brightly
Soft snow on the trees
The ornaments of God
All nature can see!

Art for a pillowcase

So much in love with the art, I printed the snowy woodland scene on pillowcases for our grandchildren to color.

Our family likes a calming craft for the children before Christmas dinner. I thought this wonderful verse and snowy woodland scene would make a perfect Christmas craft.

I had the line-drawing printed on pillowcases at a specialty printing shop.

Oops, didn’t think that through

Grandchildren paint pillowcases on Christmas Day
Drew coloring a pillowcase with washable fabric pens.
Grandchildren paint pillowcases before Christmas dinner
Stephanie loves art and working hard
Painting a snow pillowcase on Christmas
You would have to be a surrealist to paint snow anything but white.

Coloring snow is less than a perfect idea. After-all, snow is white. Fortunately, we have creative grandchildren.

Merry Christmas to All, and to All, a Good Night!

Merry Christmas‘Tis the joyous Christmas season

A favorite Christmas quote from A Christmas Carol, says …

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its Mighty founder was a child Himself.
-Charles Dickens

The key to happiness is to hold on to that child-like wonder at Christmas.

Bah Humbug! cross stitch needlework
Bah Humbug!

Alas, the holiday season can bring a mix of good and bad memories. Once, during my  Bah Humbug! period, I cross-stitched another Dickens quote, Bah Humbug! And beautified it with a gilded frame.

Foremost this Christmas, cherish the simple things of the heart. Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes. -Charles Dickens

Merry  Christmas to all and to all a good life!

How To TutorialMy digital how-to artwork for story illustration:

In Adobe Illustrator, I penned a blue gradient for my snow bank.
rolling_snow300x
I created layers of art in Photoshop. On top of the snow, I layered my Santa art, created in Illustrator.
Then, I duplicated Santa and skewed him, dialing back the transparency for a red shadow on the snow. I imagined Santa’s suit would reflect a jolly red on the snow rather and not gray.
Santa and his Shadow
To complete the illustration, I added a lens flair above the snow for a heavenly light.

Christmas Greetings illustration of the nativity
“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its Mighty founder was a child Himself.” -Dickens

And cropped line work of the Nativity by hubby Darrell Wiskur  from a Merry Christmas letter he designed years ago, commissioned by a dentist for his office Christmas letter. 

Read Luke 21:1-40, a Biblical record of the incarnation of Christ … Emmanuel, God is with us.