Thursday, November 22, 2012

Picture Book Month: Cats

I love Christopher Denise's depiction of kittens in David Elliott's Knitty Kitty which fits today's Picture Book Month theme of cats:
Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating!  We're heading off to dinner soon, but in the meantime we were able to enjoy a Thanksgiving rainbow:
Rainbows are an incredibly common occurrence here.  I think I've seen more rainbows in the year and a half we've lived here than I had in my entire life before!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Back from Prescott

Well, I'm back in town after visiting family in Prescott, AZ.  We had a great time and kept very busy.  We started out in Tucson visiting the Pima Air & Space Museum, then drove down to Sahuarita and took a very thorough five hour tour of a decommissioned missile silo complex at the Titan Missile Museum:
 Stopped by the beautiful Mission San Xavier del Bac on the way back to Prescott:
 Got in some good hiking on the Centenniel Trail and near Granite Mountain:
And finished off with a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced Arizona Biltmore before catching our flight out of Phoenix:
It was so good visiting with family and great fun all around!

Looks like I fell behind a bit on my Picture Book Month posting - and I even have books befitting the themes of all the days I missed!  Oh well - I'll pick up with today's theme of dogs.  I found this Little Golden Book on my shelf that I must have had since I was little.  I think the puppies are adorable.  And it looks like the book's held up pretty well considering how old it is!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Picture Book Month: Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

I can't say I have an especially deep interest in today's Picture Book Month theme of planes, trains, and automobiles, so I had to scrape a bit to find a book from my library fitting the topic.  The closest I could come was The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra and Sal Barracca, illustrated by Mark Buehner:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Picture Book Month: Elephants

Sally Hunter's Humphrey's Corner may be more a portrayal of early childhood than of elephants, but her softly illustrated elephant characters are simply adorable:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Picture Book Month: Creativity

Well, I missed a few days of my picture book month updates - not because I couldn't find any fitting titles from my library, but because I've been in transit to Arizona to visit family!  I'm still having fun here with my family, but thought I'd try to catch up on my posting, so for today's theme of creativity I dug out Robin's Room, written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by one of my favorite illustrator-couples, Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher.  Robin's parents try to channel his impressive, but somewhat destructive creativity by allowing him to renovate his own room:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Picture Book Month: Farm

Harvey Potter's rather, uh, nontraditional farm adds a twist to today's Picture Book Month theme of Farms:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Picture Book Month: Around the World

Holly Hobbie's first book in the Toot & Puddle series works well for today's Picture Book Month Theme of Around the World.  Toot takes off on a year-long adventure around the world while Puddle waits for his return:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Picture Book Month: Bugs

For today's Picture Book Month theme of bugs, I pulled out my rather battered copy of Nicholas Cricket who "plays every night in the Bug-a-Wug Cricket Band."  Written by Joyce Maxner and illustrated by the illustrious William Joyce:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Picture Book Month: Rabbits

I thought Leo the Lop would be a perfect match for today's Picture Book Month theme of rabbits.  I adore those old Serendipity books and always make sure to scout used bookstores for titles missing from my growing collection:
I have only a fraction of the 70 (!) Serendipity titles.  I guess I'll have to keep hunting for the rest!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Picture Book Month!

November is the month to celebrate the print picture book!  Every day a new essay by a "picture book champion" celebrating picture books can be found at  
Lots of other fun activities can be found on the site as well.  I particularly like the calendar.  I thought it might be fun to take each day's theme from the calendar and see if I can find a picture book in my own collection that fits the theme.  If you want to play along, post picture books you own or love that fit the theme in the comments.  I'd love to see what everyone comes up with.  So, starting today, the first daily theme is Ocean.  I think The Walloping Window Blind by Charles E. Carryl, illustrated by Jim LaMarche fits the theme pretty well:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Acorn Emergency!

This illustration is currently appearing in this month's issue of Ladybug magazine.  Can you find all the acorns?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Owl Artist

I have a painting that's very close to finished, but it will have to wait since at the moment I am tied up with work I can't show.  So, in the meantime, here's a little owl I painted for warm-up a while ago.  He's for sale at my Etsy Shop:

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Winter Campfire" Christmas Cards

I realize it's quite a bit early to be thinking about Christmas, but I know some people (me! me!) like to get started on their shopping early.  With that said, I've just listed two 4-pack sets of of "Winter Campfire" Christmas cards at my Etsy shop. I'm hoping to find more of these cards buried somewhere, but at the moment it looks like this is it, so get them while you can!
4-pack set of 5.5 x 7.25 greeting cards printed on card stock. Image framed by a 1/8" white border. Four white envelopes included. Blank inside.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pythagoras & Zero - in Chinese!

I brought in my mail today and discovered, to my delight, copies of the Chinese translations of my books, What's Your Angle, Pythagoras? and A Place for Zero!  I'm usually informed about the sales of foreign rights, but I'm always quite surprised when translated copies arrive in the mail - a really fun surprise!  I love seeing the foreign publishers' different approaches to cover design - quite different from the American versions!  There's barely a word of English to be found in these books, but I see a url on the back cover for Foreign Language Teaching and Resource Press, so I'm going to guess that's the Chinese publisher...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pansy Watercolor Study

Pansies from my little balcony garden!  I really like doing these simple watercolor nature studies every now and then.  They're almost relaxing to me - probably because they don't take anywhere near as long to paint as my usual techniques.  I'll have to do more of them.  :)
Available here at my Etsy Shop.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Envy in the Arctic

I'm none too thrilled with the way this piece turned out.  Something's not right about it, but it's time to move on.  So here it is:
They're a bit troublesome to paint, what with all the wrinkles, but having painted a couple, I now think walruses are pretty cute. (Though maybe they are not so pleasant if met in person...)

Friday, July 20, 2012

IF: Carry

I'm going to cheat a little bit for this week's Illustration Friday topic and pull an illustration from my book, What's Your Angle, Pythagoras?
In this scene, Pythagoras and his father are helping Nef, the builder, carry building materials in ancient Egypt.  Nef had apparently hurt his thumb and couldn't carry more than a tile, leaving Pyth and his dad to do the heavy lifting.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

New Website Design

I'd been growing a bit weary of my website design for a while now.  I figure after six years of the same old site, a redesign might be in order.  I wanted to get away from the clutter and go for a clean, simple, and straightforward design -  There are a few pieces of art in the gallery that I've never posted online before, but most of it was either on my site previously and/or posted on this blog.  The new design is very visually spare compared to my old design, but hopefully that will only help to not distract from the art itself.  Plus it has this cute little animated bird (who's looking a wee bit blurry here...):
Also, I set up a Facebook page for my work if anybody prefers to follow in that fashion.  Facebook seems like it might be a better place for interaction than these standard blog formats.  So, hope you enjoy!  Feedback is welcome too!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Trip to Seattle

We made an early escape this year from what promises to be another hot summer.  Just came back from the Seattle area a few days ago where we spent one night in a treehouse at Treehouse Point:
Stood in the chilly mist of Snoqualmie Falls:
Wandered the quaint Bavarian-style town of Leavenworth:
Hiked a small, but steep mountain near Ellensburg, WA:
Hiked up another mountain trail near Monroe, WA which took us past three more waterfalls!
And some great views:
Finally ending up at the ice-covered Lake Serene:
Oh, and we managed to squeeze in a wedding and graduation too - the real main events!
Whew!  Now I'm tired!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Art Display #2 at the Allen Public Library

I'm so pleased to have been asked by the Allen Public Library to set up yet another display of my work in their gallery/lobby!  The illustrations on display this time are from two of my books - The New House and A Place for Zero.  The exhibit will be on display in case #4 until June 25, 2012.
If you live nearby, please stop by and check it out!
Allen Public Library
300 N. Allen Drive
Allen, Texas 75013

Friday, May 25, 2012

Goldfinch Babies

Here's an illustration that just appeared in this past April's issue of Babybug magazine.  Baby birds - one of my favorite subjects!
 The original is available here at my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Take Steps & IF: Jump

Before moving on to the main art feature today, a bit about Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis - I'll be walking in this year's event to help raise money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America's ongoing search to find a cure for these devastating diseases.  It's a very personal cause for me since I developed ulcerative colitis four years ago and understand all too well what many people live with every day.  I've been very fortunate to have found a treatment that works well for me, but many people are not responsive to conventional medicines and a true cure is what we all really need and want.  So, I'd be thrilled if you'd consider supporting me in our efforts to find a cure!  If you wish to contribute, please visit my Donation page and click the green "Donate to Phyllis" button on the right.

Thanks very much for your attention and now on to today's submission for Illustration Friday...

IF:  Jump

My husband grew up in a very small town in northern Arizona and as is the case with many small towns, there was not a great deal to do in and around town. From the stories I've heard, it sounds like cliff-jumping may have been the highlight of many a summer for him.  I'm not sure I'd have the nerves of steel required for such an activity!

Monday, April 9, 2012

IF: Vocal

A quick sketch of a little girl being rather vocal about some turtles she's spotted for this week's Illustration Friday:My husband can attest that I react similarly whenever I spot wild animals on our frequent hikes. I guess some of us never grow up...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

IF: Return

The first idea that popped into my mind for this week's Illustration Friday topic was returning library books - probably because I had some library books that needed to be returned soon too! Here's the quick resulting sketch:

Friday, March 23, 2012

IF: Swamp

I'd never realized before that swamps seem to be one of my favorite settings for paintings until I started thinking about today's Illustration Friday topic. I discovered I have a number of paintings set in the swamp, so I thought I'd cheat a little bit and drag another one out from the archives. If you've been to my website, then you've probably already seen this and if you haven't, then it'll be brand new to you!
This painting is available as a print on my Etsy shop.

This topic seems unusually appropriate to me since only just a couple weeks ago we visited the Heard Natural Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary where there's a beautiful wetlands trail:

I'm glad I found some local inspiration for future set-in-the-swamp paintings!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

IF: Shade

A quick one for this week's Illustration Friday:I played the beautiful and meditative game, Journey, just after it released last week and feeling inspired by their use of color, I decided to color this sketch based on the "Desert" level.

I just realized as I went to post this on Illustration Friday's site, that, in my haste, I read "shades" as "shade" which changes the meaning quite a bit. Ah well.... I'll make sure next time to re-read before I sketch! Reading is fundamental after all...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cool Dragons

Some small paintings I created for a Memory-style card game that appeared in this past January's issue of Spider magazine. Each one is available for purchase in my Etsy shop:

Friday, February 17, 2012

IF: Fluid

I thought I'd unbury this ancient painting from the archive section on my website for this week's Illustration Friday. This painting is from many, many years ago, but seemed fairly appropriate for today's topic:
It's even doubly appropriate, since as it happens, I'm currently working on a companion piece to this illustration which I hope to finish soon.