Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Condo House Portrait (pen and ink) - finished!

I have finally finished my last pen and ink house portrait commission for the year! The image size is approximately 10" x 8". This was a condo/townhouse unit and it was a rather tricky portrait to complete. There is actually a large pine tree right on the corner of the house that obscures most of it, so the client agreed that I could remove that from the final drawing. 

In addition, the front of condo faces another condo with just a narrow walkway in between the two. It was difficult to get a good reference photo, so I did a lot of cobbling together of various photos and angles to get the final view. Overall, it was a very interesting portrait to complete and a good learning experience!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Wishes!

Merry Christmas and happy solstice! I did this little sketch of our cat, Lucy, sitting at the window sill at our old place a few years ago. Loved how she was looking out the window as it was snowing. I added the hat, but otherwise the red walls and red and green drapes were actually how we had the living room decorated! :)

As we all look forward to celebrating the upcoming holidays, I want to thank you all for your interest in my blog and wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I look forward to creating more artwork in the new year and hope you will join me for the journey.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Save the Date Postcards! Simple, elegant and unique featuring hand-drawn botanical artwork.

NEW: Save the Date postcards! These elegant, simple and unique postcards can be personalized with your own event details.
See my postcards at Zazzle for more designs!
Tulip Save the Date Postcard 
Rose Save the Date Postcard
African Daisy Save the Date Postcard

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sea Shell Thank You Card and African Daisy Invitation Template

Happy Friday!
I am expanding my horizons and have been starting create some card designs with text and templates that can be personalized. The first two I have created are below. What do you think?

Since most of you have been around my blog for awhile, I would love to hear what other illustrations of mine do you think would work well on invitations, thank you cards, or other specific cards? I'm open to suggestions, so feel free to comment and let me know!

Sea Shell Thank You Card

African Daisy Invitation

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Big Sale at Zazzle until Dec. 20th - iPhone cases, necklaces and premium ornaments

If you still have some shopping to do, check out Zazzle's deal through December 20th:
  • $10 off of premium ornaments
  • $20 off necklaces
  • $30 off iPhone cases
To get the discounts, use the code NEWPRODSZAZZ at checkout. Plus there is Free Shipping on orders over $50 (use the code FREESHIPFORU).

Kinderdijk Windmill iPhone 3G Case

Rose Necklace

Lone Cypress Premium Holiday Ornament

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gifts for the gardener?

Need some gift ideas for the gardener? Or just need a touch of spring as we head into winter?

Come by and see some of the new items I recently added in my store featuring my red and yellow tulip illustration:

NEW: Sterling silver pendant necklaces

Tulip Apron:

Or, maybe some unique sandstone coasters?

Thanks for stopping by and stay warm!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

House portrait in pen and ink - finished for Christmas

I have completed the first of two house portrait commissions that I am doing for Christmas this year. This is done in pen and ink on Fabriano Artistico Bright White 140 lb hot press paper. It's approximately 14 inches wide and 11 inches tall, and will be put into a 20 x 16 double black conservation mat.

One of the challenges of this portrait was the fact that the home is on a larger piece of land with a long, tree-lined driveway. If you took the long view to include the surrounding driveway and barns, the house would end up being rather tiny. So as the client and I discussed different options, we ultimately agreed that this cropped view would be best. It includes part of the long drive, but gives a closer view of the house. I also did something a little different and included the homeowner's three dogs in the driveway, as they are an integral part of the landscape and family.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Botanical Ornament - American Holly

This is one of the ceramic ornaments that I have recently put into my online Zazzle store. It features a small botanical painting that I did of an American Holly.

The ornament can be personalized on both sides, and I am actually going to add the date and order one for our tree :) They make great gifts for the holidays. 

Keep in mind that you don't have to just choose holiday themes. I have a number of ornaments available, including:

Poinsettia (pen and ink)
Rose (colored pencil)
Noel (calligraphy)

Botanical and Wildlife:
African Daisy (colored pencil)
Camel (graphite pencil)
American Red Raspberry (ink and colored pencil)
Lone Cypress (pen and ink) -- this one is metal, not ceramic.

Come on by and take a look!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Old Christmas Cards...what do you think?

I have sent out a lot of homemade Christmas cards over the years, as I am sure many of you have. I thought it would be fun to show you some of them. Some differ quite a bit from my current artwork, but they are a fun bunch.

Let me know what you think and if you have a favorite among them!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Need shopping ideas? Unique stocking stuffers? Stop by my updated Zazzle store today!

Happy almost Thanksgiving! I hope you are having a wonderful start to the holiday season.

I have been hard at work updating my Zazzle Store in anticipation of the upcoming holidays and have added a number of new products in the last week. You may have noticed the Zazzle panel to the right here on my blog that shows some of the products available.  Much more is listed on the site itself, so please stop by to take a look!

All products feature my original artwork and include:
Many of these items make great gifts for corporate groups, school groups, garden clubs, etc.

Keep in mind that all of the products are customizable. For example, you can add your own  text to create a custom return address labels for your holiday cards, or add your name to a custom iPhone case, etc.

If you are interested in getting email updates in the future as I continue to refine the store, add new products, etc., you can click the Fan Club link, and choose Join a Fan Club to be added. Or, feel free to just leave a comment (with email info or where I can find your contact details) for me on this post and I will add you to my mailing list.

Good luck with all of your shopping adventures, wherever they may be!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Windmills in the Netherlands - pen and ink illustrations

These are two pen and ink drawings I did from a trip to the Netherlands. We visited friends there and did a good bit of driving around. The first is from the windmills at Kinderdijk, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

The second was a windmill and canal boat that we saw along the way in our drive through the countryside. Such beautiful landscapes in the Netherlands. I would love to go back for another visit and take my colored pencils to capture the gorgeous tulip fields in the spring!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Botanical Note Card Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Helen Setter who has won my first blog giveaway! Helen will receive a set of 10 botanical note cards featuring my original artwork.

Thanks to everyone who participated and who joined the blog as a follower. I appreciate your support!

If you are interested in ordering any note cards for yourself or as gifts for the upcoming holiday season, please take a look at my Zazzle site for my current offerings. I recently added two ceramic ornaments featuring my American Holly and my Poinsettia illustrations. I also have return address labels and stamps

TODAY ONLY: Zazzle is offering 50% off all card orders. Use code: ZAZZLECARD50

Friday, November 12, 2010

Poinsettia in pen and ink

Happy Friday, all! 

This is a pen and ink drawing of a poinsettia that I did some years ago. It was done using a pointillism technique (applying many, small dots of ink to do the shading) and a thicker pen width. It's a little different from my usual style, but I like the overall effect.

UPDATE 2010: I have also created matching return address labels that can be customized with your information as well as a beautiful ceramic ornament, stickers, and stamps - all featuring my Poinsettia drawing. 

Have you entered my botanical note card giveaway yet? There are just a few more days to enter! 
The note cards would make a great little gift for yourself or someone else for the upcoming holidays.
Check out the details on how to enter and good luck!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Botanical Note Card Giveaway!

I am excited to announce my first blog giveaway!

I will be giving away a set of 10 botanical note cards, featuring my original artwork, in honor of my 2nd blog anniversary today. The set contains 4 American Holly cards, 2 Iris cards, 2 American Red Raspberry cards, and 2 Rose with Buds cards:

  • 4" x 5.6"
  • Printed on ultra-heavyweight (120 lb.) card stock with a gloss finish.
  • Each card comes with a white envelope and is blank inside.
To enter, leave a comment with your name and contact information (email address or website/blog address is fine), by Monday, November 15 at 12 noon, and I will use a random number generator to choose the winner. 

For extra chances to win, leave an additional comment here to tell me if:
  • You already follow my blog OR you have become a follower
  • You have posted about this giveaway on your blog
These cards and more can be found at my Zazzle store. Please stop by for a visit!

I have recently added some return address labels and postage stamps that would be perfect for the upcoming holiday season. Keep in mind that there is no minimum order and you do not have to buy multiples of the same card to receive a quantity discount. You will receive a quantity discount on any order of 10 or more cards.

Be sure to tell your friends about the giveaway!
And thanks for visiting!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

House portraits - what makes a good photo to draw from?

Today I thought I would post something a little different. I have been working on some house portraits in pen and ink lately and usually work from photos. See my online portfolio for examples of completed portraits.

It is extremely important to have good photos to work from, including a single shot from the angle at which the final portrait will show the house, and close-ups of architectural details such as doors, windows, light fixtures, landscaping, etc. I have been able to take the photos myself this time, but often, a client is located elsewhere and has to take photos of the home themselves. 

Some of the tips that I post to my website for taking great photos include the following: 
  • At least one photo should be taken of the front of the building, from an angle away from the garage, so it is not the predominant feature.  If possible, include a small view of the side.
  • Close-up photos are very helpful. If possible, take photos of the front door, windows, any special features of the building, especially if hidden by bushes or trees.  
  • Avoid having the front of the building in deep shadow. Cloudy days are fine if there is enough light. 
  • Utility lines, cars, and people will be removed from the photos unless you request otherwise.  
  • The building(s) on either side of your building will not be included, unless you request otherwise.
Here are some example photos so you can see what I mean:

Great photo!
This shows a three-quarter view (e.g., part of the side) and the front door will be visible in the drawing. The front porch is in a bit of a deep shadow, but a close-up will help resolve that.

Ok photo.
This is workable as it shows the front door clearly, but it is a straight-on view of the front, so the drawing could turn out a bit flat without the side perspective.

Not good.
This view makes the garage the prominent feature and the front door is basically hidden. This would not make a good final drawing.

Close-up details: 

This allows me to include all of the architectural details of the home including the front door, porch, windows, lamps, etc., making the final drawing accurate and personal to the home owner.



A custom house portrait offers a unique way to commemorate a special place. They make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, holidays and more. Consider ordering a house portrait for someone or yourself today!

NOTE: The holiday season is rapidly approaching. House portraits typically take 3-4 weeks to complete, so my commissions list is nearly full for this year. However, I am happy to offer gift certificates that can be presented at holiday-time with the portrait to be completed after the new year.

Email me at carol @ ccreechstudio . com  with questions or for more details!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thanks to Kelly Dorman and Felicia Kramer!

A big THANK YOU to Felicia Kramer and Kelly Dorman for randomly choosing me as the winner of the “In the Michigan Studio” Backward Glances $40 giveaway. I'm so excited! I get to use the $40 towards a purchase from Kelly's Etsy shop: Backward Glances

Felicia is a wonderful artist who featured Kelly in a recent blog post. Felicia's Etsy shop is: Another Bright Idea

Kelly is a wonderfully talented artist from Mackinac Island, Michigan whom I have been following via the Bead Journal Project. She does amazing bead work and historical pieces - be sure and visit her blog: Mackin-Art.

I can't wait to go shopping! :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

House portrait - pen and ink

This is a recently completed a house portrait that I rendered in pen and ink. This was done on smooth Bristol with a Copic multiliner pen (size 0.05) and the image size is approximately 10 X 8 inches. There was a lot of detail both in the house and the landscaping, so it was a fun portrait to complete.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thanks to Marlene Brady!

A big thank you to Marlene Brady for her gorgeous bracelet giveaway that I won. Marlene is a polymer clay artist who also does beading and mixed media painting. Check out her blog, her page on Crafthaus, and her Flickr photos for her amazing and creative work.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bee Eaters (birds) drawing - colored pencil on mat board

This is a drawing of two bee eaters, drawn from museum specimens in colored pencil on a piece of mat board. It was one of my first attempts at using colored pencil years ago, and I was happily surprised at how it turned out. Both the color and texture of the mat board really helped to enhance the overall result.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Raspberry plant - pen and ink

This is another drawing (done this summer) from our raspberry bush. I based it on the one I did last year, using part of the leaves, but adding more berries from an initial study sketch I had in my sketchbook. I wanted to include more berries, some fully ripe and some in the process. To keep it simple (and save time) I just left it as a line drawing in pen and ink.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Camel in graphite

I haven't had much time lately to draw, so I thought I would post some previous work. This is a camel that I drew from a photo I took at the Amersfoort Zoo in the Netherlands. I love the expression and it was fun to render those big eyelashes!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Leaf in graphite

A simple post today - one of our maple leaves, in graphite. Lots of things are starting to dry up now that it is fall and the leaves have such interesting shapes and shadows. Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gloxinia - line drawing in graphite

This is a line drawing that I did for a botanical illustration class a few years ago. The assignment was to specifically focus on the line work. This gloxinia had such wonderful, thick leaves and robust blossoms and buds. It was very fun to draw.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Portrait of two dogs in graphite

This is a commission that I recently completed of two dogs. The final drawing is about 11 X 14. I did this on hot press watercolor paper and used a mechanical pencil. I found that I worked slowly in layers of graphite, first with a rough sketch and then making sure I got the eyes and features correct before filling in the detail of the fur. I blended as I went using the pencil, rather than a blending stomp or other tool. I think that the final version looks 'rougher' to me than other graphite pet portraits I have seen, but in the end, I really like the effect and think that both dogs turned out very well.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Garlic Scapes

I found these garlic scapes at the store earlier this summer and just had to draw them! The curling shapes were really fun to render in pen and ink. Hope you enjoy! P.S. They were really tasty, too. :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hibiscus sketches

I had a wonderful chance to do some sketching this week while relatives were in visiting, so I wanted to share. This is a beautiful hibiscus plant that had a big blossom and many unopened buds. I love the shape of the buds and couldn't get enough of sketching them. As always, I wish I had more time to spend on it, but I did manage to get a quick color study in as well. I took many photos, so perhaps I'll be able to do something more finished another time.

I did sketches on several different sheets of bristol board, but compiled the best ones on this one page in Photoshop to save space on the post.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

April Bead Journal - finished

I have finished my April Bead Journal piece. Yes, I'm clearly a bit behind, but plugging along! I did not encrust the whole piece this time - partly to save time and partly because I chose a more planned, geometric design, and I think it looks nicer with a bit of white space.

I originally wanted to do a beaded version of a pysanky (a Ukrainian Easter egg that is 'written' on with a stylus and beeswax, and dyed from light to dark colors). I chose a star pattern design with a red background. I began beading on white felt, as that is the background you would have if you began with an ordinary, raw egg (if you were doing pysanky.)

However, my beads (mostly size 11) were a little large to get the detail to fit into the relatively small piece of felt. So, I just beaded what I could of the design and improvised the rest. I had some lovely Mookite stone beads in various shades of dark red as well as tan, so I worked those in, too.
Overall, I think the piece came out nicely and definitely reflects the sunny bright feeling I had in April with the onset of spring as well as the Easter season.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

March Bead Journal Project - finished!

Good morning! I have finally finished my March Bead Journal Project piece. I really enjoyed the bright colors and flowing pattern. I still haven't figured out how to sew down the big orange stone under the turtle - I'm certain there are instructions in one of the many books I have on beading, but I haven't had time to flip through them to find out! Any tips are welcome.

I have a specific plan for my April piece, so I am hoping it goes a bit more quickly (once I get it started.)

Have a great day!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

March Bead Journal Project - in progress

I am still plugging away at my March Bead Journal Project, and thought I would post an in-progress scan. I'm not sure when I'll finish it, but I am enjoying just doing whatever comes to mind with this one.

The fabric is a darker mossy green/brown piece of ultrasuede. I am using brighter colored beads this month, which I think stand out nicely on the background. And I had this neat-looking turtle bead that I wanted to include. So, I have sort of ended up with a turtle on an orange rock with a very colorful body of water around it. At least that's how I see it! I'm always interested in everyone's interpretation, so feel free to leave comments. Have a great week!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter and a daffodil!

Happy Easter! Here is a bright daffodil drawing done in pen and ink and colored pencil. This was one we picked from the front yard flower bed. I love these with the orange center and yellow petals. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Sun Star" or "Orange Star" perennial - graphite drawing

This is a graphite drawing of a beautiful perennial plant that I picked up at the store the other day. It is called the "Sun Star" or "Orange Star" (Ornithogalum dubium). The flowers, though you can't tell here, are a bright orange color with some bits of dark green at the tip of the flower petals.

The tag says that it is native to South Africa and blooms from one to three months. It takes bright, indirect sunlight indoors and you have to keep the planting mix moist. Once the flower spikes are spent, you remove them from the base, rather than just the blossom.
I really like the structure of this plant and how the flowers emerge from the cone-like structure in the center. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A little bit of spring

Happy almost-spring! I bought some beautiful tulips at the store and had to draw one. The bright red and yellow colors are just so cheerful. This is pen and ink and colored pencil. I'd like to do a more careful study sometime, but for now, this quick rendering will do just fine.
UPDATE (Dec. 2010): I have added this illustration to my Zazzle shop. Take a look at the beautiful sterling silver necklace, card, coaster, magnet, or tote bag featuring this illustration. Come by the shop to see more!

Friday, February 19, 2010

February Bead Journal - finished

I have finished my February Bead Journal piece. I started out wanting to do something with these neat looking tiger-eye rock chip beads. I just love the browns and golds in the stones and initially thought I would try to make a bison out of it.

Why a bison? Well, here in Ann Arbor we have Domino's Farms up north of the city. It's an office park, but they also have a petting zoo for kids and herds of other animals, including bison. The bison are out grazing everyday in the pastures surrounding the office park, so at least once a week this winter, when we are out and about, we swing by to see the bison herd. My 2 1/2 year old loves it and it's one of our favorite things to do - and it is easy for me since she and our 6 month old are all cozy in their car seats.

So, I tried seeing how I could make a bison out of these stones and actually had a lot of trouble, so I abandoned the idea. I just started sewing on the stones in a sort of swirly S pattern, as I apparently tend to like, and outlined it with some gold beads. I also had some nice matte brown seed beads, so I added a few of those, thinking that I would just add some variation. No idea where it was going.
Well, the funny part is that my 2-year-old, who likes to see what I am working on, saw it and turned it around and said, "it's a horse". I flipped it upside-down and wouldn't you know, she was right! I realized that it actually was starting to look like a bison - talk about the subconscious at work and the beads telling me what they wanted to be!

So, I flipped it around, took out some of the brown line of beads and did what I could to make it look like a bison. It was sort of 'standing' on a downward slope, so I left the whole piece a little off-kilter. I think it turned out rather well, considering I didn't have a plan when I began. I wanted to leave the main S-curve of stones since that's how it all started (didn't want to edit it too much.) So, it may look a little crooked, but I love it. I used some of these pearly off-white seed-beads to add some snow to the ground and flakes in the air. All in all, a very interesting experiment and something that really journals a part of my life with the girls this winter. Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January Bead Journal - finished!

Well, here it is! I've finished my January Bead Journal piece. I scanned it (rather than taking a photo), so the fabric looks a little lumpy because of the big bead. Eventually, I hope to bind all of the pages together somehow into a book of sorts. I still need to add a backing and possibly a border around the whole thing.

I really like the colors of this piece, though I'm not sure I'm satisfied with the layout. I keep looking at it upside-down and liking that better! So, I may flip it. Who knows! I'm just happy that I completed it. I would love to hear any comments/suggestions anyone may have.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

January Bead Journal Piece - in progress

I've started work on my January Bead Journal piece! I am working on rectangles of ultrasuede that are about 3.25 inches by 4.5 inches. I took Robin's suggestion and added some acid-free paper to the back for stiffness, and basted that to the ultrasuede with a margin around the edge for finishing. I'll hopefully bind all of the pages together at the end of the project into a little book (binding will be on the far left, so I have a slightly larger margin there.)

Like many folks, I like the idea of various white beads conveying winter/snow. But I decided that I wanted some color, too. I went to one of the local bead shops here and found a nice piece of purple ultrasuede and some pretty little Rhodonite stones, so I began by putting those on. I then added the long tube beads around the larger stone and have been adding seed beads from there. I am still not sure where this will end up, but I like it so far! I have some pink seed beads and some metallic looking purple-ish seed beads that I hope to add. Hope you enjoy seeing the progress!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Trial bead piece - finished

I've completed the trial bead embroidery piece that I posted yesterday. I was thinking of doing a border around the edge, but I sort of like that it is irregular and not perfectly round. I'm looking forward to switching gears and starting to think of how I want to approach my first Bead Journal piece for January. I'll be sure to post pictures as I go!

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