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One of the earliest cats in our funny family, and the one involved in the aforementioned tragic hit-and-run. He lived up to his name as well and behaved like a complete imbecile every day of his short little life.
I have been known to put a candy cane sticker in his paw or a festive bow sticker at his chin and send him out as a Christmas card. Fun!
Boy FairyBoy Fairy
Okay. Women Renfest patrons were beginning to ask me why I only drew female nudes and didn’t have anything drooly for the ladies. I didn’t have a clue! So after getting an earful often from my female customers, I set about giving them what they wanted. This isn’t it. But it was meant to be originally!… I’d wanted the figure in the drawing to be posed strategically so as to leave certain things to the viewer's imagination, and everything was going along as planned until it came time to draw the feet. Feet aren’t fun (or particularly easy) to draw, in my opinion, and not many are attractive. The man in my drawing had butt-ugly feet! So I put boots on him, the kind we Festies all wear eventually after we’ve sold our cars to pay for them. Then I got a good giggle because now he looked just like the centerfold from a naughty women’s mag! (You know the kind: the one where the hunky model is standing out by the barn, showering under a watering can or something, and wearing nothing but cowboy boots and a Stetson. Good god…) That was reprehensible (not to mention too funny for words) so I gave him a loincloth and hoped that my customers would be happy. They were, but not much. I still get ribbed now for not playing fair, but I remind them that the guy in the drawing is naked under the loincloth, and isn't that enough?? And then I tell them to wait and see what comes off the drawing table next year.
Can't SleepCan’t Sleep
Here it is – the ‘phone-call art’ that started it all. I’ve mentioned before (see Kali) that there’s a pencil drawing on my dining room wall that I did accidentally while taking a lengthy phone call. (Mothers, cut me some slack – there was no paper at my drawing table, and I didn’t realize I was wrecking the resale value of my house until after I hung up the phone!) The drawing is of sleeping angels, and I’ve since decorated them with gold stick-on stars to cover nail holes in the wall. This was after I decided not to paint over them. Before I decided not to paint over them, I took the idea they generated and created this drawing, threw the original art into a frame, and gave it to my friend Denise for Christmas. She let me print it not long afterwards, and on a lark I took a few of the prints and hand-colored the only angel in the piece that’s awake. It was an instant hit, and now both the uncolored and hand-colored prints are so popular that I can hardly keep enough of them shrink-wrapped. And I hate to shrink-wrap. Why do you people do this to me?
Can't Stay AwakeCan’t Stay Awake
This companion piece to Can’t Sleep sounded like the next logical step after the success of its ‘parent’ print. I thought it’d be a piece of cake to create but it was awful! Maybe my style was changing or something, I don’t know. But James can attest to the fact that those little angels’ ears are probably still ringing from the words I used as I tried to get them down on paper! (Funny story? James has suggested that I do a third drawing – a wake and pouty angel with her arms crossed, surrounded by a bevy of little sleeping devils. The title? “Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”)
Another lost sketch from the bowels of the portfolio that is (if I remember correctly) another example of ‘phone call art’… ‘Glee’ (as I’ve named the character) was framed and given to my friend Denise as a gift. When she saw it she immediately remarked that it is probably the only one of my pieces that is overwhelmingly joyous. It is, isn’t it? It makes me smile and want to kick up my heels everytime I look at it.
This print was so popular that it has since sold out, and so I chose to renew it as a note design. Not surprisingly, it became a hit as a Christmas card, and more than a few customers have chosen to frame the card as a miniature version of the print. I like to ask customers if they have a special place in mind when they decide to frame one of my pieces, and it was unanimous that this would be displayed ‘up at the cabin.’ Watch for more bird designs (and feel free to email me with any favorite bird requests).
Cloud FairyCloud Fairy
I know – this is pin-up art. With perky parts and everything. What can I say? I like her because she looks so innocent and so comfortable in her nakedness. Both this piece and “Moon Fairy” are the first in a series of five related drawings, so watch for ’em, you collectors out there. (And you know who you are. What would I do without you?)
DamienDamien Print Note Card
This is one of my favorite drawings. It looks so cute and innocent, doesn’t it? Except that this portrait is of my cat Damien, who lived up to every inch of his hellish name. I have to admit, though, that even as an adult he was able to make this ‘who, Me?’ face. What a character! He died early in age from kidney failure and I miss him like absolute crazy, although I’m convinced that he’s currently haunting Tumbledown and wreaking havoc on his in-life scapegoat, Mrfy. Occasionally we’ll hear some very heavy 4-legged creature jump down off the kitchen counter, and although Mrfy looks like he’s ready to foal at any moment, it’s not him. Has to be Damien…
Many Christmases now I've decorated this card by using stickers to add a red or green bow or a sprig of holly at the throat, or a jaunty Santa hat over one ear. It makes a darling Christmas card.
Damien NowDamien Now
See? I told you he lived up to his name! Damien was one of the largest cats I’ve known – and he had one of the largest attitudes too. He would routinely scare, intimidate and disfigure his loved ones and then grovel with remorse afterwards. Clearly unable to think first before acting! And now I swear that he haunts Tumbledown. Either that or my current cat Mrfy is delusional. (Highly possible…) Funny story? One summer I put him outside on a leash only to see him languishing in the hot sun only moments later, as if he were suffering from heatstroke. I ran outside and shook him, only to be given the nastiest cat look imaginable. An hour or so later, I looked outside to check on him and watched in amazement as a bird landed on the grass within inches of his prone body and he snagged it. I’d blown his cover earlier. No wonder he wasn’t amused! (Miss you, Big Guy…)
One year I decorated him in a jaunty Santa hat sticker and sent him out as a Christmas card with an Attitude.
Dragonfly FairyDragonfly Fairy
This is another popular piece, and especially attractive when it’s hand-colored. The drawing was a pleasure to create until it came time to do the feet which necessitated me taking off my shoes and socks and posing mine in a mirror so I could use them as models. And the hands were no picnic either. So I made James sit on the floor by my drawing table and support his weight on his hands so that I could get them right as well. Now he gets a kick out of telling customers that he posed for the art (conveniently leaving out the rest of the story) and then savoring the looks on their faces…
Feather StarFeather Star
I'm going through my star phase. I like stars on everything. I especially like celtic knot stars with points that interlock and continue endlessly, like a moebius strip. And I love birds too, and everything about them. I can’t help but collect the feathers that I find on the ground (maybe one day I’ll make wings and fly away?). Five crow feathers became the model for this drawing. I still know which ones they are in the bouquet of them I keep on my fireplace mantel.
Flower FairyFlower Fairy
More phone art, an undiscovered sketch from the bottomless portfolio, and yet another gift to my friend Denise. (She’s running out of wall space!) This is the first of my faeries to have body art, arm jewelry, and breasts. And it just might be my first faery drawing, period. (Getting old, can’t quite remember…)
Hand StarHand Star
Here’s that star configuration again! This idea came about when Mayfaire sponsored my daughter’s co-ed softball team and it needed a logo. Originally I’d wanted to put a bat into each of the hands in the art, but when the deadline came and went and the art still wasn’t finished, I forgot the bat idea and just interlocked the hands with each other. For variety, I gave each hand three pieces of jewelry, and I used my own jewelry as models. I used my own hands as models as well. When customers see this art, their reaction is either ‘ew!’ or ‘cool!’ All I know is, the folks who like it, love it.
Harp SealHarp Seal Print Note Card
It surprised me when this drawing became such a hit with my customers. I think it must amuse them that just dots no bigger than the point of a pin can come together on paper to make a detailed picture. At the time this drawing was done, I was working with a Rapidograph drafting pen, which explains why the dots are so fine and consistent.
Irish (Cat)Irish (Cat)
I have a fabulous friend named Denise Cardos. We met at Festival (where else??) and recognized each other immediately as Kindred Spirits. At the time, she had a marmalade cat by the name of Irish, who was really a furperson. (Imagine if Peter Ustinov were a cat.) Whenever I’d visit, he’d park himself on the coffee table between the two of us and join in the conversation. He absolutely quacked when he talked! And although I’d never experienced it firsthand, I’d been told that he was fond of showing the door to guests who’d overstayed their welcome… When Irish died, Denise wrote a poem for him and shared it with me, and now I’m sharing it with you: FIND IRISH POEM AND INSERT HERE.
One year I put a Santa hat sticker on his head and sent him out as a Christmas card. Fun!
Kali Avenging AngelKali Avenging Angel
This drawing drew herself. She named herself too (I had no idea there was a real ‘Kali,’ but I do now). For a while I had a small drawing table set up in my living room for reasons I can’t remember (the studio was probably a mess). I got in the habit of sitting at it during especially long phone calls and then being surprised by what appeared on my paper afterwards. (An early Can’t Sleep sketch that still exists on my dining room wall happened this way too – oops!) I used personal pieces as models for the bolene and the crystal ball, and Kali’s hands are modeled after my own, but I wish I could I was the model for the rest of her! I didn't know anything about my creation until weeks after I’d drawn her, when I thought she had finally revealed to me her mythos. As I look at her, I think of the Stephen King short story, “The Lake.” (Friends, please correct me if this isn’t the right title!) In it, an oilslick-like creature shimmers in the water to hypnotize its victims before bringing about their deaths. Kali is an angel of death, kind, serious, sober and empathetic. With her calming beauty and the mesmerizing crystal she offers, she claims her victims swiftly and with mercy, then comforts them in her arms as she carries them aloft to Heaven with her great wings…
Large EagleLarge Eagle
(“In Flight”) One of my earliest eagle drawings. A large acrylic full-color version of this hangs in the VFW in Princeton Minnesota. Slowly yellowing from all the cigarette smoke, I’m sure, but still standing proudly as a symbol of all that is America.
LegendLegend Print Note Card
(“Robin of Loxley”) I used to receive a fanzine associated with the Showtime series, “Robin of Sherwood.” One day I thought it would be a kick to create a cover for it and just submit the art to the creators of the mag as a surprise. They used it, and the cover inspired other fans to send in their art. Because the earliest episodes in the series were my favorites, I chose to draw Robin as he was portrayed by the original actor, but I gave him the sword Albion instead of the longbow. Because this cover generated a lot of positive response, I drew another: “Huntington.”
LeoLeo, Wishing
A customer once told me that this is just the best “I Miss You” card. (Thank you, Carl!) The cat in the picture is my daughter Sarah’s cat “Leo” who recently passed away at 17 years of age. (We named her Leo because she had a ‘beard,’ and at the time we were all big fans of Leo Buscaglia, the only other bearded person we knew.) The window in the drawing is my window. The plant is mine. Curtain, too. Not the rain, though… In her younger days, Leo was an outdoor cat and the world’s best murderer of all things smaller than herself. When we lost a cat in later years to a tragic hit-and-run, Leo was put on a leash when she was outside, but she never forgot her freedom and would often stand like this in the window and watch the world go by. It was obvious what was going on in that pretty little head of hers. (Miss you, Lady…)
One year I put a festive holiday wreath sticker in the window and sent this out as a Christmas card.
The original title of this drawing is ‘The Minstrel and the Muse.’ It’s my way of honoring my friend, Lojo Russo, the remarkable singer/songwriter responsible for a lyric that stopped my heart and made me absolutely weep the first time I heard it. (Loj, you are a creative genius!) She’s currently living her dream and making people like me desperate to follow her example. Anyone reading this, please check out her website www.LojoRusso.com and buy/beg/borrow/steal one of her CDs. You’ll be so glad you did!
Lolly BugLolly Bug
I love this drawing. Love it! The original was created as a birthday gift for a fabulously creative and inspirational friend who just so happens to have two teensy fairy children that I could just hug to pieces. (Love you, Lolly! And your darling children and silly husband too!) I displayed it on my shop counter for a day and it drew so much customer attention that I had to print it.
Bless you, Minnesota, for making this drawing so popular too! I like it because it’s a loony pose that you don’t see very often in wildlife art.
Love BearethLove Beareth
I designed this as the invitation for my brother Roger’s wedding. Coordinating the lettering and inking all the filigree was a challenge! But it's one of my favorite card designs, and I especially like to color the first letter of the verse a rich red and the foliage behind it a bright green and send it out as a Christmas card.
Love PotionLove Potion
What was I thinking?? Who knows… This is another ‘telephone call’ drawing. I’d begun sketching things – bottles, censers, candles – that currently appear on my fireplace mantel, then finished by adding little entities to the resulting still life. At first I assumed the ghostly faces meant that the substances in the bottles were poisonous, but when the nude appeared(!), then I knew they must be love potions (or maybe Garden of Eden products)…
This drawing was originally done as a mirror-image companion piece to ‘Kali.’ I see Luna as a Moon Moth-winged fairy queen, resplendent in her earthy twig crown and trailing shawl. Whereas Kali’s face surprised me by revealing its mercy, I wasn’t surprised at all when Luna’s face appeared regal and aloof. Appropriate for royalty…
This is Mayfaire as it looked my second year at Fest when I was asked to tear down my existing shop, design a new one, have it approved by Fest Management, hire a builder, discover two weeks before Opening Day that nothing of the new shop existed but the slab on which it would stand after which I panicked, cried to my Dad, lost 40 lbs., learned how to shingle a roof, and then subsequently won the Best New Shop Design award. Huzzah! James and I have since made some necessary changes to Mayfaire (a new roof was mandatory – I may have learned to shingle one, but apparently not very well!), and a new card featuring its ‘facelift’ is in the works. (Anyone remember the very first Mayfaire? That card is in the works too!)
Mom BugMom Bug
Would you believe this was a sketch that I’d never intended to print? The guys at Flaire Print Communications had discovered that there was room for one more drawing on last season’s print run, and because there was no time to create any additional art, I leafed through old sketchbooks and portfolios and found this drawing. I thought for sure it was a waste of paper – not because I didn’t love the art, but because I didn’t think anyone else would. Boy, was I wrong! Not since ‘Can’t Sleep’ has a sketch of mine garnered so much attention. Thank you, everybody!
Wow. My alltime favorite Enchanted Cottage Card! The full title of this piece is ‘Night Comes to Ravenwood.’ This is based on an Art Nouveau design that I fell in love with a guzzillion years ago and reworked to fit my vision. The theme of it appears everywhere in my art. Look for it as multiple stationery and bookmark designs and as a future bookplate design. (Bookplates have been a product I’ve offered in the past, and because of low interest I’d recently made the decision to discontinue them only to discover that young customers have brought bookplate sales to an all-time high, probably because of Harry Potter. So expect them to be reprinted and offered again soon. Email me your preference: self-stick, moisten-and-stick, or plain. Plain is the style preferred by serious booklovers everywhere, as it allows them to adhere the bookplates to their beloved books with acid-free library paste. But I’ll let you decide!)
Rooms for RentRooms for Rent
The thing I like about this fun sketch is that it frames beautifully as a print. The contrasts in the design are striking! And I like it because Mike Wahoske (one of my favorite people to work for!) and his fun daughter Jenny (with the gorgeous smile!) suggested the drawing’s title. I love it!
Christmas SantaSanta
Are you happy now? (And you know who you are!) After cornering me for years to create a Christmas card, here it is. I chose to draw Santa as the jolly old elfin Holly King he’s supposed to be, so there.
When my parents lived on a lake, my daughters and I would often walk down to the dock to stand by the water. Their small dog Trixie would usually accompany us. One time I looked up to see an enormous bald eagle perched in a tree right overhead. It was breathtaking! Its eye was yellow and brilliant and SO not looking back at me at all! Needless to say, Trix was scooped up and immediately hurried into the house… This is my favorite of the eagle drawings. I love the feathers and the soft detail that only pencil renders.
Serenity prayer, Monarch butterflies (my favorite) – ’nuff sed. Except that I wish I'd done my research better. Apparently the quote can be attributed to St. Francis. (Sorry, sir!) BTW – anyone out there ever raise Monarchs? It’s a beautiful experience and one I highly recommend, especially if you have little children. Heaven will love you for it..
Sherwood ForestSherwood Forest Print Note Card
Yes, friends who’ve been there have explained to me that Sherwood Forest is pretty much just a great oak in a field now (an exaggeration, but you get the picture), but in my head, it’ll always look like this: darkened by trees so tall they block the sun, and punctuated here and there by water. This was another drawing inspired by the “Robin of Sherwood” series, and originally I’d intended to have a small silhouette of an archer in the background but changed my mind.
SolsticeSolstice Print Note Card
I love trees. Especially bare ones. I can’t get enough of them! They’re one of the reasons why early spring and late fall are two of my favorite times of the year, and probably the only reason why I continue to tolerate these Minnesota winters. I love them so much that I've hauled bare branches into my house and set them up everywhere. They just look cool. So when customers began pestering me for Christmas cards, I eventually succumbed by creating a Solstice card first, and here it is. I love Celtic knots too, and circles and stars (as if you couldn’t tell), and of course they're in the art as well.
Star FairyStar Fairy
This was originally a drawing for my partner James for Christmas one year. He loves pin-up art. I confess I do, too, so we’re usually competing to see who can amass a bigger collection of tasteful pornography. (I’ll bet he’s the only guy on the planet whose partner forces him to ogle naked women…) So I drew this figure for him and couldn’t help myself but put stars where her nipples should be (hence the name), and then I had to give her floofy free-form wings. Before taking her to my buddies at Flaire, I made some alterations so that she’d look more normal. I don’t know why I felt I had to; maybe because the stars were a little over the top!
The original title of this one is ‘The Torysteller,’ (are you guessing by now that the titles of these pieces have been shortened to code to make it easier for my partner and me to keep track of them on our sales sheets? Sad.) and it was drawn to honor another fabulously creative friend of mine who performs at RenFest as Zilch the Torysteller. In spite of the fact that I chose to draw him sans his silly hat and silly Zilch face, his guzzillions of fans have no trouble recognizing him, so I musta done good. Now if I can just get my act together and create the series of Zilch holiday cards that I’ve threatened to make for years. The greeting inside? “Crappy Hissmass,” of course. (Love you, Terry, you silly goof! Keep making us laugh…)
Three CatsThree Cats Note Card Stationery
Ah, the Cats Hilgemann. A customer (___) sent me a photo of her feline family and here they are, immortalized on a card design. They are ____, ____, and Kirby (my favorite because he looks enormous, and I have a fondness for fat cats).
Customers kept asking for a unicorn drawing and I kept putting it off. That seems to happen a lot. (Take the Christmas card, for instance…) But this drawing came to me once when I was dinking around and I decided to just go with it ‘as is.’ And even though I know blessed little about unicorns proper, it was especially nice to hear a young customer whisper to her mother that I got it right.
Weeping FairyWeeping Fairy
More telephone art! (I gotta hand it to those phone calls, especially since I absolutely hate the instrument and am not entirely convinced that we enjoy better living through technology. Maybe it'd help if I enjoyed ‘chatting.’) ‘Weeping’ came about when I used a record album to trace a circle on my drawing table and then went about filling it with pencil. When the phone call ended, I was surprised to see her almost-finished form perched at the very bottom of the circle. My partner James stopped by that afternoon, took one look at the unfinished piece, and declared without hesitation that he would buy the original. (My apologies to all the customers who have inquired about her! It's good to be the boyfriend of the artist…) In future, I’d like to do a companion piece that depicts the same fairy as she sits facing the viewer. So watch for it!
WhalesWhalesong Print Note Card Stationery
This has to be one of my favorites. I’d really wanted to do a marine piece and had decided long ago that it would be about whales, but at the same time I wanted the piece to say something ‘celestial.’ I knew I wanted to use a Right Whale, Gray Whale and Humpback for the variety in their appearances, and I eventually chose to draw them ‘swimming’ across the face of the moon. You’d laugh if you saw the original art: I played with all the pieces for days before pasting them into the circle configuration that you see here, but only after painting the background black and speckling the ‘stars’ by running my thumb over a toothbrush that was thick with white ink. The drawing still needed a little ‘something’ even then, so I composed a verse in English, then transposed it into Nordic runes that I found in a book, wrote it all out with a calligraphy nib, cut the words apart and then measured them out along the circumference of the drawing before pasting them down. And if you start at the nose of the Right Whale and read clockwise, this is what it says: “As I follow my guide, the blade of Orion, the moon shall be my beacon and my course, the Sea. —delayne.”
“Wings”“Wings” (Print) Large and Small
I created this picture for my daughters and included them in it by drawing them as the fairies. Each chose the wings that she would ‘wear.’ My eldest daughter Sarah is depicted as the Monarch Fairy and my youngest, Apryl, is the Mourning Cloak. And because I like things in threes and I only have two children, I added my ‘inner child’ in the lower left corner as the Luna Moth Fairy whose back is toward the viewer. (By the way, this print is dynamic hand-colored. I highly recommend it!)
"Wings"“Wings”(Note Card)
I wish I could’ve reduced the original art (see Wings print) for this card design, but it just wouldn’t work – the fine detail clogged and fused together and a lot was lost in the translation. But I was able to save the wonderful verse by Hodding Carter. I love it, I believe it, and I share it whenever I can. If you have kids, this verse probably has a special place in your heart, too.
WolfWolf Print Note Card
All artists need to create a wolf print, apparently. So I did. And I surrounded it with a verse by Grey Cohoe that seemed appropriate – “___.” It was an honor to hear from customers afterwards (who raise wolves and are in a position to know) that it pleased them to see that I hadn't just drawn a dog and lied about it.


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Updated 8/13/2002


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