Creating visuals to accompany text is at the heart of illustration. I love when multiple mediums come together to give an impression. When words of a quote are paired with a scene it can create even more resonance and impact.

This project was painted for my best friend, a soon-to-be counselor, for her future office. It was so fun to pick the colors for this piece that not only captured the scene but also fit with her style and office palette.

The granulation in the sky is my favorite. It’s a combination of Vivianite and Azurite, both Poems About You handmade mineral watercolors, with the addition of Maya blue by Ruby Mountain Paint Co.

The finished piece was matted which gives some weight to the white space.

Illustration on White, 5×7″ (paper size left at 8×10″)
White mat add on
Paper: Arches Cold Press
Paint: Winsor & Newton professional, Poems About You mineral, Ruby Mountain Paint Co.

Here is a handful of 5×7″ recipes I’ve done over the years!

Nana pancakes (2016) This was a recipe I painted for myself of my Nana’s amazing pancakes. It’s still one of my favorite color palettes and layouts to date.

Puff Pancake (Commission 2018) – This was commissioned as a Valentine’s present from a wife to her husband of his signature breakfast special!

Sweet Potato Chili (2019) This sweet potato chili is actually a recipe I invented and painted as a party favor one time. It is my family’s go-to meal for cold autumn nights. Packed with tons of veggies and the perfect combinations of spices.

Mimi’s Red Velvet Cake (Commission 2019) I’m absolutely in love with the way the red and turquoise pops in this commission!

Set of four Nana’s Recipes (Commission 2020) These four were painted as a commissioned set. Click the image for the full post and in-progress shots!

Recipe Illustrations

Your cherished family recipe brought to life!
Check out the details, including sizes and pricing.

This was a special piece to illustrate. A thoughtful wife reached out to coordinate something special for her husband. His father had passed away and the two shared a love of motorcycles together. To celebrate his memory, she commissioned an illustration of his Dad’s Honda, Indianhead motorcycle for his birthday.

I was really excited to dive into the intricate chrome and reflections. Reflective surfaces are a lot of fun to paint with watercolor. I also might have used this painting as an excuse to try a few new red watercolors…ended up settling on Da Vinci Red. It’s a perfect bright read that doesn’t pull orange or pink. It also is pretty easy to control.

The other element in this motorcycle I was particularly excited about was all that chrome! I branched out of my typical Payne’s Grey and Ivory Black (Windsor Newton) rut and decided to try Shadow Violet (Daniel Smith) and Grey Ochre (Ruby Mountain Paint Co.) for the chrome. I did pull some Payne’s in where I needed blue but for the most part those grey/purples carried the load! Because of the red of the motorcycle the chrome was picking up lots of pinks and purples and not so much blues/greens. Using a grey/purple helped keep everything cohseive.

I like to create a cheat sheet for each project’s color palette. You have no idea how quickly I can forget my color mixing recipes…yes even mid-project! I have my experiments and musings on the larger sheet of paper and my final color palette with recipes and pigment names on the smaller strip. I also used Bloodstone Genuine (Daniel Smith) for the pavement underneath the bike to get that nice gritty granulation.

I’m very happy with how the final motorcycle illustration turned out!

Illustration on White, 8×10″
Paper: Arches cold-press watercolor paper
Paint: Winsor & Newton Professional, Daniel Smith Artist, Ruby Mountain Paint Co.

It’s not every day you get to paint an idyllic vineyard wedding venue in watercolor and ink as a matching set! I pretty much swooned as soon as I heard the words ‘neutral sage greens’ and got a peek at the reference photos.

To celebrate their 10th anniversary, my client commissioned this beautiful set featuring two scenes from their wedding venue. I just love the idea and might copy it for myself! (Matt and I will celebrate 10 years in 2022!)

The biggest feature of this arbor is the depth of the vines twisted about. I realized it was going to be too overwhelming to tackle with paint first since both shapes and colors were working together to build this depth. Instead, I focused on outlines first to get my shapes in order – detail in the foreground and the bunches of leaves in the background. Once I got the ink set I could bring in my color and focus on the way the light danced around and created depth.

Before even starting on this first piece though, I did focus just on color. I maybe used this commission as an excuse to buy and try a few more greens…Good thing because I ended up settling on oxide of chromium from Windsor & Newton watercolors for my green. Here are the leaders of my final palette!

In addition to those four main colors, I used some naples yellow and yellow orchre to tone my green a bit and brought paynes grey in for some shadows. (All Windsor & Newton Professional Watercolors)

My mixing chart for figuring out just the right green might have gotten a bit out of control…pictured above is one of my TWO full sketchbook pages filled with green/yellow watercolor mixing charts!

After finishing up the arbor, I started painting number two without skipping a beat. This scene included the winery in the background and had a terrific view down the vineyard.

Making this matching pair was such a joy. I had lots of fun creating a cohesive palette and painting such luscious romantic views. Seeing the two paintings side by side was incredibly satisfying!

Full Background Illustration (ragged edge), 8×10″
Paper: Arches cold-press watercolor paper
Paint: Winsor & Newton Professional, Daniel Smith Artist, Ruby Mountain Paint Co.

Another brilliant Christmas gift idea! My friend commissioned this sign of a family-favorite vacation spot through the years for her mom.

I started out creating a limited woodsy palette. I used Titan buff (Ruby Mountain Paint Co.) Vandyke Brown, Ultramarine blue, and Olive green (Winsor & Newton Cotman/Artist Watercolors)

Then it was just a matter of painting it all in! Once I reached the end of the painting phase, I realized this might just stand alone without ink. My friend agreed!

This piece was incredibly relaxing to paint and I was really happy with the final result. Made me wonder if I should create a series of NH state park signs!

Illustration on White 8×10″
Paper: Arches Cold-pressed Watercolor
Paint: Winsor & Newton Cotman & Professional, Ruby Mountain Paint Co.

Lovely 5×7″ illustrations on white. Both places are filled with memories. My client’s Nana’s house as well as the Chi Omega house from Vanderbilt University.

The illustration of this sweet yellow house required a few adjustments to restore it to its former glory. With a solid reference photo and the right notes, it was smooth sailing; adding in the right flowers and removing a few other features.

Getting the colors and windows right for Chi Omega was especially fun! Using multiple reference photos I adjusted the season to ensure both trees and flowers were in full bloom.

Custom Illustrations

Home, Scene & Auto
Check out the details, including sizes and pricing.

Both of these illustrations are 5×7″ and utilize my Illustration on White style. Illustrations at this size can fit directly into a 5×7″ frame or you can mat them for a more dramatic presentation style and frame them at 8×10″.

Illustration on White, 5×7″
Paper: Arches cold-press watercolor paper
Paint: Winsor & Newton Professional

It was so fun to illustrate this beautiful home and it’s gorgeous landscaping!

To start out, I settled on a base color palette to keep the entire piece cohesive. I needed the greens to balance well and had to find the perfect soft yellow for the house.

The hardest color to nail was definitely the shadows on the pale yellow. I finally ended up using a combination of Naples Yellow with some Indigo and Davy’s Grey (Winsor & Newton Professional).

This home illustration is an exception to my typical “Home Illustration” pricing tiers as it’s shown at a two-point perspective instead of straight-on with a one-point perspective.

Definitely possible, but much more time-consuming and that does impact the price. The final result was quite dramatically striking!

The final piece came together so well. Here it is without ink above!

And finally, with the last touches. Ink added to the house and major landscaping features.

This custom watercolor and ink illustration was a thoughtful Christmas gift from a wife to her husband. He has made quite a few improvements to the house and the landscaping since they moved in and she wanted to celebrate the home they’ve made together.

Custom Illustrations

Home, Scene & Auto
Check out the details, including sizes and pricing.

Full-background Illustration 8×10″ *two-point perspective*
Paper: Arches Cold Press
Paint: Winsor & Newton Professional

A set of thoughtful siblings commissioned this for their mom as a Christmas gift.

The color scheme reflects the branding on a Nestle bag of chocolate morsels and the illustration also includes their family’s stand mixer and measuring cup.

I love it when clients include special instructions for key elements of the illustration. I can always accommodate specific color schemes or even kitchen tools or dishes into an illustration to make it as personal as possible!

Recipe Illustrations

Your cherished family recipe brought to life!
Check out the details, including sizes and pricing.

Recipe Illustration 8×10″
Paper: Canson Bristol
Paint: Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor