New course starts April 18!

Eight Flowers Eight Ways
10 Lessons – work at your own pace

This richly illustrated, information-packed course focuses on drawing and painting eight historic flowers (orchid, peony, saffron crocus, angel trumpet and more) using eight very different techniques. We’ll use pencil, ink and watercolor — separately and in various combinations, and in a variety of creative styles. Each lesson, posted weekly on Tuesdays, includes video and multiple printable pages. Unlimited instructor guidance and feedback are available by email. Keep video access for one full year from the start date. Registration is payable by check or PayPal. To sign up, email me directly at



Beautiful Pest


Invasive species can be beautiful. One example: the butterfly moth (Paysandisia archon), a stowaway in shipments of palms going from its native Argentina to the European mainland. Now thousands of them are happily devouring palm trees from the inside out all along the Mediterranean. But despite their voracious appetite for trees, they are lovely to draw.


The camellias have arrived

It’s camellia season on the Gulf Coast and big, showy blossoms are everywhere. Unlike the azalea’s brief explosion of riotous color followed by ten months of weedy-looking shrubbery, the camellia’s glossy greenery looks robust year round. Some varieties bloom for months and can survive, essentially neglected, for centuries.

But I like them because they are such fun to draw. Simple or heavily ruffled, their flowers range from snowy white to delicate pink to intense crimson — or speckled and spattered combinations of these colors. And their crepe texture is perfect for colored pencil. Here’s a recent preliminary drawing using a dark umber Prismacolor pencil:


And here’s the same drawing, with layers of color added. I used five colors in addition to the umber “foundation drawing” :  Crimson, Cream, Chartreuse, Canary Yellow and Dark Green:


Drawing 30 cats for Inktober 2016


It’s time once again for the annual, worldwide, month-long challenge: a drawing each day  in ink. (If you’d like to take part — and I encourage you to do exactly that — here’s the Inktober website for more info.)

I’m planning to caricature a different cat each day. This one is Otis, a sweet yellow kitty I had many long years ago, when my girls were small.  Otis loved attention, and he allowed the girls to dress him in baby clothes and push him around in a stroller. He was a mellow sort of cat.

Tomorrow’s sketch will be Jakey, a handsome kitty who lives in Connecticut. See you then.



You asked and I listened…

I’m delighted to announce that all 11 of my previous online art courses are being converted to an on-demand, “start anytime” format with a full year of video access. The first three, Drawn & Decorated Watercolor Lettering, The Heirloom Garden in Colored Pencil, and Birds in Watercolor and Beyond, are available now. The rest will be added within the coming week.

The new anytime art class lineup includes:

  • Drawn & Decorated Watercolor Lettering (10 lessons)
  • The Heirloom Garden in Colored Pencil (10 lessons)
  • Birds in Watercolor and Beyond (10 lessons)
  • Birds in Colored Pencil (9 lessons)
  • Drawing Horses and Ponies (10 lessons)
  • Drawing Dogs and Cats (8 lessons)
  • Draw Owls: Designed for the Dark (4 lesson mini-course)
  • Draw and Paint Six Culinary Herbs (10 lessons)
  • Botanical Sketchbook Painting (4 subject modules)
  • Draw and Paint Fairies in Nature (10 lessons)
  • Fairies II: Draw and Paint the Enchanted World (10 lessons)

As always, you are free to work at your own pace and instructor feedback is available as often as you like. For more information and supply lists, visit my Start Anytime Online Classes page.


WC April 2014 poster2



Start anytime, keep it a full year…

Painted Ribbons Pic

Good news: now my popular “Botanical Sketchbook Painting” course is available on demand, anytime you want to begin — and you keep access to the course website for a full year.

When you sign up, you’ll receive a link to  all the video lessons and all printable pdf pages right away. This way, each participant is truly free to create multiple pieces, to work at her own pace and focus on each aspect of the process — designing, painting, writing, lettering — whenever it is convenient. Instructor feedback and guidance via email is available at all times. I love to hear from you!  The cost of the course is $65. To sign up, email me at

For more info, and the supply list, scroll below the luna moth…

LunaSteps 8

What is this course about?

Every plant has a fascinating story waiting to be told. Roses and the legend of St. Elizabeth, irises and the survival of King Clovis to become the father of the French nation, angel trumpets and the doomed settlement of Jamestown — turn over any leaf and find a tale hidden just beneath. In this course, learn to tone and texture your own paper to create a wonderful vintage look that can range from rustic to refined. Then use a surprisingly simple four-step method for layering opaque paint and colored pencil to make botanical images that sing on the page. A lighthearted look at page design will provide ideas for arranging the elements of your botanical tale. We’ll also cover tips for distilling your written narrative down to a few bright, clear sentences and labels that communicate the heart of your story hand-in-hand with the drawn and painted page.


Here’s the supply list. If you live where some of the materials aren’t available, live outside the US, or prefer to use something you already have, I can advise on good substitutes. 🙂

  • 2B drawing pencil and kneaded eraser
  • 12-tube set of Reeves gouache (costs $10.50 from
  • Large plastic watercolor palette or old white china plate for mixing paint
  • Pigma Micron black waterproof ink pen, size 03 or 05
  • Basic set (12 or more) Prismacolor Premiere colored pencils
  • Inexpensive synthetic watercolor brushes – #1 round, #4 round, #10 round
  • A sheet of heavy watercolor paper (at least 300 lb weight). Cold press. Buy a full 22×30 inch sheet if possible, and you can use it for several paintings.

Questions about the supplies? Email me.

Pencil Overdrawing

4-29 Polyphemus moth2

On a steamy Alabama evening a few years ago, I saw something desperately flopping on the pavement in front of the local grocery store. At first I thought it was a small bird, but when it suddenly looped into the air I saw that it was an enormous moth. It struggled upward, scissoring the air with its wings, and then — to my surprise — it flew right in through my open truck window and landed awkwardly on the seat beside me.

This wondrous visitor was Antherea polyphemus, the largest moth in North America and one of a gorgeous retinue of silkworm moths whose beauty rivals that of any butterfly. With no functioning mouth parts, they live only about four days after emerging from their silken cocoons. My polyphemus moth friend appeared to be at the end of his short lifespan. He was missing a leg and a generous wedge of one wing, evidence of a harrowing escape from a hungry bird or the jaws of a gecko.

I let him rest on the seat during the drive home. He died somewhere along the miles of country road and so, after unloading the groceries, I placed the moth gently on my drawing table and sketched the graceful arc and lush patterns of those huge wings. A few weeks later, the sketch became the inspiration for a set of fairy wings:

L2 Polyphemus Moth

Few artists use the technique, but pencil overdrawing (drawing the shading and details over a thin, flat layer of watercolor) is perfect for the subtle patterns and textures of a moth’s wing. You build the layers slowly and gradually, barely touching the paper with strokes as light as a moth, and the drawing becomes a deeply relaxing process.

We used pencil overdrawing in this week’s Draw Paint Letter email video lesson. If you like to draw, but are intimidated by realistic watercolor, it’s a good way to get your feet wet (so to speak).

Happy drawing,