Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Lately, my days have been filled with getting ready for Christmas, and getting my Christmas book ready!  While A is for the BIG OAK TREE, was a brightly colored, vibrant book, my goal with this book is something old-fashioned, simple, and quiet - all done in pen and ink.  No bright colors or other distractions from the age old  Christmas story - the story that is so powerful all on its own!

An Owl For Christmas is the story of a little boy and his dad who go in search of the Great Horned Owl on a cold, December night.  They venture down the wooded lane and, along the way, see many signs of a northern Christmas - lights blinking on their neighbors' snowy eaves, bundled up carolers singing sweetly, and snow-heavy pine branches.  As they observe all this, little Jack learns of the real meaning of Christmas!  

There are also a few pages at the end that give tips and suggestions on how a child can go on an owl hunt of their own, complete with a spot for recording their own owling adventures.

Here are a few teasers from my most recently finished pages.

While the book won't be ready for this Christmas, it will be in my Etsy shop early in the new year.  Following close behind, will be 
A Child's Nature Journal, where children can record their own observations from the great outdoors.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


It's been a snowy day in SE Wisconsin and perfect for working on illustrations for my new book,

While I did lots of drawing today for the book, the most time-consuming part of it all is getting everything placed on the word document so that it's in the proper format and ready to send to the printer.  After lots of drawing and computer time today, I'm about a fourth of the way done.

Much different from my bright and colorful ABC book, O is for the BIG OAK TREEI want both the illustrations and the words in this book to be soft, and quiet, and old-fashioned.  I'm still not sure if I want to leave the illustrations as pen and ink, or do a light wash of watercolor.

Here's the cover and a page from today's work -

Add caption
O is for the BIG OAK TREE is sold out!  Thanks everyone! I'll be picking up the next printing this week, so you can still get one in time for Christmas!  They can be ordered here.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


FOUR NEW PROJECTS are in the making and  
here is a sneak peek at TWO of them!

While it won't be ready for THIS Christmas, the story is already written and I'm in the process of sketching out the illustrations.  I'll be posting about all of that as I go along.  An Owl For Christmas will inspire owl hunts in YOUR children and will have the opportunity for your child to add to the book, journaling about their own "owling" experiences, plus a few other surprises.

This will be an illustrated nature journal for children - a kind of companion book to An Owl For Christmas.  It will be a place to record ALL those childhood woodland discoveries to be remembered for generations to come, written in their own handwriting.  All this wrapped up in a spiral bound, child-sized notebook that can be held and filled while the exploration happens!  There are a couple surprises included with this one too!  I wish I had had one of these when my boys were little.  What a keepsake to look back on now that they're grown.

And, last but not least . . .

  With the Christmas season upon us, we're all busy trying to find that perfect gift for everyone on our list.  If you have a little one (age 0 to 7 years) on YOUR list this year, I have about 5 more copies of my ABC book still available in my Etsy shop.  You can click the box at the upper right of the blog to go directly to the book site on Etsy.
(I could order another printing if you find they're sold out when you log on, but let me know as soon as possible keeping in mind printing/shipping times.)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Christmas is coming and there are some new items in my Etsy shop, GILLYFLOWER COTTAGE.

Note cards have arrived and are sold in sets of six - great to give to the hostesses of your holiday parties!   Or frame one card and tie up the rest with a ribbon for a special gift.   These 4.5 x 6 inch folded note cards have been professionally printed with my original artwork.  They are blank on the inside and have a smaller version of the print on the back of the card.  The matching original painting is still available for some of the note cards at dailypaintworks.com.

(Original painting SOLD)

(Original 5.5 x 5.5 inch watercolor 
painting for sale at Daily Paintworks - $25)

(original 8 x 10 oil painting on gallery wrapped 
canvas for sale at Daily Paintworks - $50)

(original oil painting not for sale)

(original 12 x 12 inch oil painting for 
sale at Daily Paintworks - $115)

AND . . . 

For the little ones on your list, my ABC book is available
on Etsy for $14.99.   This sturdy children's book is vibrant, colorful, and filled with my original art and rhymes for children.

       Daily Paintworks payments are made through PayPal, a safe and reliable way to make online purchases.  

In my Etsy shop, Gillyflower Cottage, purchases can be made with either PayPal or credit card.

Friday, November 8, 2013


I recently joined the ARTISTS JOURNAL WORKSHOP group on Facebook.  Then, a few days ago I posted this photo of a little branch of crab apples from our tree in the garden. 

I asked fellow painters in the group if they would be interested in giving it a shot.  Then the plan would be to post all together today so we could see each other's work.  I was pleasantly surprised at how many were excited about it and agreed to give it a try.  My version is shown below - as they post their own versions - I'll check with them about adding their work to this blog post so you can see what they've done also.

And other interpretations from artists at the Artist's Journal Workshop . . .
Kate Abbe's crab apples - using watercolor pencils.  Beautiful, Kate!

Rosemary Connelly, of http://livecheapmakeart.com/, did this creative sketchbook watercolor of the crab apples!

 Susan Bronsak first did the apples in pen and ink.  Then she decided to finish it off with watercolor pencils.  SO nice - and so brave!!!

Here is Gerda van Hummel's version - so pretty!

Suvitha Ramaswamy did this beautiful watercolor of the crab apples.  Love the shadows!

Palma Rea's beautiful crab apple sketchbook page - love the shadows Palma!

Here are the crab apples painted by Marcea Flowers Clive.  Isn't this pretty?  Love the little leafy border too, Marcea!

Here is Marylou Geiger Stable's version of the crab apples.  It was a complicated little branch of apples and Marylou didn't shy away from any of it!  Beautiful Marylou!

Vivi Toscano just shared her crab apple painting!  
Wonderful, Vivi - thanks for taking part!

Jacqui Petersen - I love how loose it is Jacqui! 
I'm always feeling like I have to complete every edge - this is so nice!

Carol Holt's open book sketch - what a pretty composition!

Barbara Cox's painting - great shading - is this watercolor pencil?

 Barbara Cox's daughter painted the apples along with her!  I couldn't make this pic any bigger without losing all focus - sorry!

Jules Woolford crab apples - a beautiful value study next to the colored version!

Valerie Weller - love the quote!

I'm going to end this post here, but,
  Thank you so much for your participation everyone! 

Thursday, October 31, 2013


I'm still enjoying my watercolors and today it's -
"The Boss"
He's 8 x 8 inches and painted on 300# Arches paper.

I wanted to try painting this one without sketching first and that actually made it more fun because you don't know for sure how it's going to turn out until you're done.  I still have some background work to do so it isn't signed yet.  Also, some people have asked about the depth of color in these watercolors.  I use a Grumbacher pan set - 24 colors.  This particular one comes in "opaque" and "transparent" and I use the "opaque" - I'm not a fan of the watery, transparent look. You can see my set here.

The frame is a 16" square, black and silver with a black mat.

One of my boys has mentioned several times that he'd like a painting of a rooster for his office.  Specifically, a rooster that has a bit of an attitude . . . kind of a judgmental look about him.  I think most roosters look that way naturally, but "The Boss" was done for him.  So this painting will soon be heading to Minnesota.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"THE JUDGE" 6 x 8 inch watercolor

Today, a friend and I took a drive to a great little shop in the country, Monches Farm.  Along with beautiful seasonal home decor, they have a perennial farm, and a chicken house.  Seeing all the chickens and the roosters strutting around made me think about painting one of those kingpins!  

I've named him "The Judge" - because he's the one who would walk around like he owns the place.  6 x 8 inch watercolor - it's the perfect size for a standard 5 x 7 inch mat.  It has been painted on extremely sturdy #300 Arches Cold Press Watercolor Paper.  You can find it in my Etsy shop, Gillyflower Cottage, or on my gallery page at Daily Paintworks.  

Also, my ABC book, 
O is for the BIG OAK TREE, Children's Rhymes from A to Z
is in the shop at Gillyflower Cottage.  They did a great job on them.  The colors are rich and vibrant and the books are printed on heavy cardstock with the front and back covers on even heavier stock.  Spiral bound to make it easy to see the whole painting on each page, and easy holding for read-alouds.

I ordered 30 copies and am busy personalizing - 15 books have been purchased and will be mailed out by the end of the week.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


From front . . .
. . . to back - the book is done and ready to ship!

You can find them in my Etsy shop here.
Personalization page for Grandparents is available here.

  I'm happy to be finished with the book, but I also feel sad that it's done.  I need a new project and I'm at a loss for what it should be.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 24, 2013


The 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge taught me a lot about the importance of daily painting if you want to improve.   So I've been working in a couple different sketchbooks, and trying to get in my painting practice every day.   Today's watercolor sketch is one of my favorite subjects - the Icelandic Blue Poppy!  

Sketching it out in pencil, then pen . . .
and finally, watercolor.

Next . . .   

the first proof of,
O is for the BIG OAK TREE,
Children's Rhymes from A to Z
is in.  

The colors are vibrant and everything is looking great!  It looks like the printed books will be ready in the next couple weeks, so it's way ahead of schedule.  I'll be placing the order based on sales made in my Etsy shop plus a couple extras.  If you're interested, the book listing is here, and the personalization option is here.  Etsy automatically adds the shipping cost to the book, so if you're local (Milwaukee area), I'll be refunding you the shipping amount when you pick up the book.

Thanks for the visit!



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