Just another WordPress.com site

Posts tagged “illustration

The Inner Workings of My Soul

” A writer is dear and necessary for us only in the measure in which he reveals to us the inner working of his soul.” –Leo Tolstoi, Russian author, 1800s. When young, while eating breakfast each morning before getting on the school bus, I always had a couple of favorite books handy for entertainment. Cereal boxes only had so much content and this was in the days before digital stimulus. I actually LIKED studying for spelling tests. Something about words: their meanings, sounds, and placement engaged me. Was I a budding writer? The day an English teacher in high school read my fiction story to the class as a quality example sent a flush of excitement through me and planted itself in my memory. But, I didn’t choose writing, I chose art. The writing, however, tagged along. I have a trunk full of journals, several story starts, and then…quote bookI started writing captions to go along with the sketches I post each day. This book, “The New Dictionary of Thoughts” has been a faithful companion in that process. It was published in 1936 and contains quotes from “thinkers” prior to that date, of course. I find the language usage elegant. It also helps that the topics of quotes are arranged in alphabetical order. Autumn and Avarice are right next to each other, lol. How cool is that! And one can not simply walk into the Mordor of writing without the research assistance of the Internet. What an astonishing age to live in! Posting on Instagram has helped me keep my musings condensed, valuable to whittling the words down to their essence and essential in a world of short attention spans–myself included. The writing has become as important as the sketch. That was unexpected. When I look for a subject to sketch now, there must be a concept to go with it. Keeps me on the edge of my intellectual seat. When the visual and the writing come together there is that same “flush of excitement” I felt in my English high school class so many years ago. A few more recent and favorite postings follow:Cactus Rock WomanDay 506: BEAUTY or BURDEN? No kidding, standing on a low wall I looked down on some rocks and a desert plant in our yard and from that slightly different perspective I saw this head and shoulder adorned. BEAUTY: Move over Marie Antoinette updo, Marilyn Monroe’s glamour waves, and Princess Leia’s side buns! BURDEN: Or perhaps this is a cactus to bear, an opuntia around the neck, stickers on your back, a prickly conscience. Just a little artistic fantasy to badger the point: BEAUTY (or BURDEN) is in the eye (or heart) of the beholder?William and tiny earthlingsDay 520: Traveling the earth tiny Earthlings? I see your excited faces inside that little blimp. Taking a risk to see what’s around the corner? Got toothbrushes and quarters to call home? No, wait! Quarters don’t work anymore. Got your phone chargers? Take lots of pictures! Don’t forget clean underwear and an extra pair of socks! “Rather see the wonders of the world abroad than, living dully sluggardized at home, wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.”–Shakespeare.Blue pitcher and pearsDay 523: Simple food and drink, simply put, is not simple…now. These essentials of life have brewed and bred a world of complexity and memorable quotes: A Dish Fit For The Gods; All You Can Eat; Chow Down; It Is Meate And Drink To Me (Shakespeare again); Let Them Eat Cake (Marie did NOT say this); and the growing harvest of study indicating that YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. (Unless, of course, something is EATING YOU. Think GRABOIDS, “This valley is just one long smorgasbord!” And DINOSAURS, “Let’s get this moveable feast under way!” I digress.) Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may have to count your calories, measure cups of vegetables, ounces of water, and be sugar free.2016-04-01 23.31.00Day 593: Oh, the CRAZY things you could find on the Internet today!!! The U.S. Army has NOT discovered how to teleport people. The National Air and Space Museum has NOT begun breeding tribbles. Archaeologists at Vanderbilt University have NOT discovered the skeleton of a 39 foot tall squirrel. The British Milk Council is NOT selling unicorn milk. Sony has NOT developed a slime resistant proton pack. Verizon is NOT connecting your eyeballs directly into your social media accounts. There are NO pizza scented candles, No T-rex line of T-shirts, and No 3D-printed clam chowder. Dang! Happy April Fool’s Day anyway, lol.


After The Art Show…Now What?!

It has been almost four months since I last posted. After the WE THREE art show I went back to my studio to clean up and figure out: where do I want to go in the “vortex of art” from here? Threw out a bunch of old and unfinished paintings. That was actually a breath of fresh air. As the panels hit the bottom of the garbage can they took with them the puritan need to “get back to them”, work hard to “fix” them, or continue messing with boring designs hoping for a miracle to occur. I jumped right into some illustration work…must pay bills…and started a “lost cause” painting. Seemed to have lost my traction. So, I needed another deadline, this time self-imposed, as well as a “plan”. Hence, Laser Mode Masters was born! On August 18, 2014, our daughter, Katie, started Theater graduate school at the University of Houston, Texas. Roxane Pfister (of WE THREE fame) and I chose to start our own “masters” program at the same time. A master’s program is a structure and curriculum of intensive study to prepare you for the professional world. We created our own. Laser Mode is a name meant to illicit “focus”. Hence, we are working on our Laser Mode Masters. For my part, I have broken my self-generated curriculum into five categories: Story, Illustration, Social Media, Impressionist/Realism Painting, and Concept painting. Here are some of the things I’ve done:

Began reading some Writer's Digest magazine articles and  to understand premise, outline, protagonist. Have a notebook that I assembled all my story ideas into. Began plumbing the depths of one of the stories about "sadding". Stay tuned for what that jargon means.

1. STORY: Began reading some Writer’s Digest magazine articles and to understand premise, outline, protagonist. Have a notebook that I assembled all my story ideas into. Began plumbing the depths of one of the stories about “sadding”. Stay tuned for what that jargon means.

2. Illustration: This is a painting for commission/illustration for an LDS church magazine article about marriage in the temple. I used to use prismacolor pencils and pastels for my illustration work. Nowadays I am requested to oil paint my illustrations. I like the change. More practice with oil. Pays the bills.

2. Illustration: This is a painting for commission/illustration for an LDS church magazine article about marriage in the temple. I used to use prismacolor pencils and pastels for my illustration work. Nowadays I am requested to oil paint my illustrations. I like the change. More practice with oil. Pays the bills.

3. Social Media: Every day of two years of Laser Mode Masters I post a pen and ink drawing from life on Instagram (and then connect into Facebook). That's 730 sketches practicing eye/hand co-ordination, converting 3D into 2D, recognizing shapes, negative spaces, seeing gesture, etc. Essential practice for an artist. I am up to Day 55. I may have established an essential art habit!

3. Social Media: Every day of two years of Laser Mode Masters I post a pen and ink drawing from life on Instagram (and then connect into Facebook). That’s 730 sketches practicing eye/hand co-ordination, converting 3D into 2D, recognizing shapes, negative spaces, seeing gesture, etc. Essential practice for an artist. I am up to Day 55. I may have already established an important art habit!

4. Impressionist/Realistic Painting: Back in the delicious game of paint application. Working on keeping some edges and losing others, thick or thin paint, and always thinking about the overall design.

4. Impressionist/Realistic Painting: Back in the delicious game of paint application. Working on keeping some edges and losing others, thick or thin paint, and always thinking about the overall design.

5. Concept Painting: From my binder of assembled doodles, scribbles, and jottings, I am painting the ideas that float through the air around me and land in my head. These paintings are usually more stylized. I DO enjoy painting both impressionistic AND stylized. I am fully-self-expressing in both realms, lol!

5. Concept Painting: From my binder of assembled doodles, scribbles, and jottings, I am painting the ideas that float through the air around me and land in my head. These paintings are usually more stylized. I DO enjoy painting both impressionistic AND stylized. I am fully-self-expressing in both realms, lol!


WE THREE Traveling The Art “Road Less Traveled”

WE THREE were part of five founding members of our high school art society. Circa 1968.

Roxane Mitchell (now Pfister), Barbara Summers (now Edwards), and me, Dilleen Humphries (now Marsh) in 1968. The beginning of a 46 year odyssey.

WE THREE artists began to cement our friendship in 8th grade. It was 1966. Congregating under the influence of our art teacher, Bob Whitney, in Ucon, Idaho, Barbara Summers, Roxane Mitchell, and me, Dilleen Humphries, took those first steps on an art trek together that has spanned 5 decades. In high school WE THREE were part of five founding members of Bonneville High School’s Art Society. Drawing and sculpting and only occasionally painting were our daily disciplines. We were well versed on the life of Michaelangelo. Unusual and fortunate for a high school art experience. Then college. Rox took off to Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. Barb and I settled at USU in Logan, Utah in the fall of 1969. Two years later Rox joined us at USU. Under the tutelage of Glen Edwards and Jon Anderson we began to paint. At first it was in acrylics…then occasionally oils. In 1974 Rox and I drove off (actually, my sister, Deon, was driving-it was her car) across the southwest desert to the “art” gold of California. We were going to be famous illustrators! Barb married our USU teacher, Glen. Years, marriage, and children later WE THREE are now all living in Utah. After high school and college how do you stay in touch with your friends? Remember, this is way before FACEBOOK or even the internet. We’d occasionally get together, drop in for a visit, pair up and do a workshop, or go plein aire painting… and then we began “retreating”. RETREAT: a period of seclusion, esp. for spiritual (and artistic) renewal. Our first ALL THREE retreat was in 1988. We went to the Teton mountain range to paint. Since then we have “retreated” about 20 times. Logan Fine Art Gallery has extended an invitation to WE THREE to exhibit as a three woman show in June 2014. What is the value of traveling the art “road less traveled” with friends? We could give you an earful…”


Pushing The Envelope: What Does It Take To Do That?

Driz and Siz revisited

What do I really, really love? Halloween! Fairy tales! Every October, as I was growing up, my dad decorated for Halloween with enthusiasm. Coming from a farm background where harvest time holds a nostalgic and small town Sleepy Hollow place in my heart the make-over of Driz was pure pleasure. The re-do of Siz came from that book of fairy tales I read every morning while eating breakfast before school, compliments of my mother making sure we had books in the house. Fairy princess and zombie vampire – so much more interesting! Then I sat down to edit my stories and found that my “new and improved” characters lent themselves to WAY more interesting story lines. A whole new world and definitely more work just opened up!


Rework! Rework! Rework!

Around The Corner pages 24 & 25 001balloon driftingIs an artist’s or a writer’s “work” ever really complete?! I heard a story once that the famous impressionist painter, Edgar Degas, stealthily climbed in the window of a patron that had bought one of his pieces to repaint the parts of the painting he just couldn’t live with. Maybe urban legend. However, as I took the coaching of that first rejection and looked again at my stories I began to see through a different filter. Just as an example I am posting the “before and after” of the ending to my story: “Around The Corner”. The bottom sketch shows the balloon lazily drifting to join a party of balloons in the land where lost balloons go. A very anti-climax kind of ending. This is the BEFORE. The top sketch is the REWORK and shows the balloon having a very different kind of adventure . . . with a little humor. This is the AFTER. MUCH more interesting! Well, reworked the whole story with new energy and yesterday, May 8, I pushed the “send” button two more times. Sent this story to TWO more possible literary agents. The line: “You have to do the work to do the work!” keeps running through my mind. A BIG thank you to my husband, Mike; my daughter, Katie; and various encouraging art friends. I am on a roll.


My first REJECTION in finding an agent for my author/illustrator life!

On the 19th of February, after the cat and tears drama previously reported, I pushed the first “send” button to electronically submit three of my stories to the first agency I applied to for representation. Since they indicated a 30 DAY response time, I, of course, anxiously checked my emails daily and boldly (or desperately) emailed the question to the agency: “Did you receive my submissions?” on the 26th DAY. Within a couple of hours I got an apologetic response of “we have no record of your submission”. Good thing I asked! The agent was very courteous, gave me a direct email to send my stuff to and answered me within 6 days with my first REJECTION!! Yay! I am on my way! Actually he was kind and gave me some instructive observations about my work. Then he added: “thx for submitting. i enjoyed these more than most.” (The world of email punctuation.) A little encouragement is fuel-to-the-fire. Back to the drawing and thinking boards I went.

driz up close


An interesting illustration job about corrupt communication. Hot off the art table. Oil and collage. What we say can tear down or build “float” us up. And then there is cyber-bullying.

The Greek root for the word sarcasm is sarkazein and means "to tear flesh like dogs". Ouch.

The Greek root for the word sarcasm is sarkazein and means “to tear flesh like dogs”. Ouch.

corrupt communication art 005 corrupt communication art 007 corrupt communication art 012 corrupt communication art 010


Continuing to pursue the dream of publishing as an author/illustrator! Introducing Driz and Siz, little starlets of stories, “Around The Corner” and “It Is What It Is”.

Today, with trepidation and relief I clicked the “submit” button on my story submissions to a literary agency in New York. I am pursuing the process of getting an agent to represent me as an author/illustrator. It has been a year since I sent three publishers a rough outline of one of my stories, “Nightmare Roundup”. I never heard back from any of them. I am wiser and my stories are more refined this time around. I will start with finding an agent. I am reminded of a clever dialog that passed between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her friend, Willow: “How do you get to be RENOWNED? I mean, like, do you have to be NOWNED first?” -Buffy. “Yes. First there’s the painful NOWNING process.” -Willow. It WAS painful. After the writing, rewriting, rewriting, rewriting . . . and drawing, redrawing, redrawing . . . I thought I had all that I needed to¬† submit my stories. Sat down to submit my stories online and remembered to make a copy to mail to myself for copyright purposes. Copied and packaged stories and sketches. Drove to post office and discovered I was 14 minutes past their closing time. Went back to the computer to attempt submitting again. Carefully worded and filled out the electronic form to the point of submitting when our cat, Frankie, chose that moment to jump up on the computer keyboard and erase all my work. I burst into tears. Composed myself and started again. Pushed the submit button and got an air message that said my 8000KB file was too big for their requested 800KB attachment size. Was really bummed. I am not so computer literate that I could fix that on my own. That was Saturday night. Was inspired Sunday in church with this line from a speaker: “Recognizing something’s potential and not giving up on it.” Monday I got help from a very generous Alphagraphics computer tech, Kathy, who reduced the sizes of my attachments. Have spent the day, today, Tuesday, submitting three stories for consideration. Now the waiting. I feel peaceful. God called and I have just been picking up the phone . . . pursuing the inspiration of these stories and the desire to be published as an author/illustrator.

Fearfully cautious Driz and bubbling blissful Siz. Seven year old sisters adventuring around corners and across playgrounds.

Fearfully cautious Driz and bubbling blissful Siz. Seven year old sisters adventuring around corners and across playgrounds.


Posters and cards we sold at our Garden Art Show and Sale, Sep 15. Some still for sale!

Rox and I entered the marketing world of posters and cards at our Garden Art Show and Sale.