Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Have a Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pendants & Pins

We woke up Sunday morning to an inch of new snow - just enough to put you in the spirit. I put the lights up outside around the lamp post and hung the wreath. I even managed to get some decorating done inside. As you can see above I have been busy making Pendants and Pins for Christmas presents this year. I am trying to keep them graphic - each design is painted in oils on a hard board - scanned and then printed on art paper with archival inks. I have to keep this short as we have to go out and put the snow tires on the truck, nothing like waiting till the last minute, but we may get sleet or freezing rain tomorrow.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving - Belated

Happy Thanksgiving, a little belated. This is my favorite holiday, maybe because of the extended weekend and a little time off from work, or the anticipation of the holiday season, I just enjoy it. We had a nice dinner with my brother and his wifes family, with tables extending out of the dinning room into the living room. Plenty of good food and company.
I am working on Christmas gifts and this is a sketch for one of the pins I am currently working on.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Summer Shadows - In Progress

This is one of the paintings I have been working on recently. It's our pantry window with the shade pulled down to keep the summer heat out. Our home is older and small, not alot of closet space, however I do have a pantry and it is wonderful. There is extra counter space in there and all the cabinets for dry and canned goods plus storage for pots and pans. When you have a small house it does not take much to make it look messy. Clutter around our home is our worst enemy.There is a flower box outside the window, in the Spring I have Pansies, however it is also a favorite sitting spot for every cat we have ever had. They get a good view of the bird feeders from up there and they also can get your attention if they want to come in. So it has become a battle to keep flowers in for any length of time.

The red dots are the beginnings of a hanging Geranium plant, and at this point all I have done is located the space in the painting it will occupy.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Back To Work

I had a wonderful morning today - a crisp cold sunny morning with leaves falling outside my window, a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee and the house to myself. Cats were napping, Lily and husband sleeping, time to catch up on everyones blogs and see what happened last week. Seems a little odd not to have been home for Halloween, I enjoy the decorating and always buy way to much candy for the number of Trick or Treaters that we get.

This is the completed painting of Pewter "Just Hang'n Out". Finally got to a point where I feel satisfied with the image. This is the initial sketch and this is the in progress painting. I always find it hard to know the exact time to stop working on a piece, I'm sure many others do too.

So now that I am rested and inspired, I saw some great art work last week along with some beautiful scenery, it's back to work!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Off to Vermont

I will not be able to post this week - So have a spooky Halloween and have a treat or two for your self.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Little Hay Burners

Last weekend was Columbus day - a three day weekend for schools and maybe Government employees ( I'm not sure). Anyway, it was a glorious weekend, perfect shirt sleeve weather, clear blue sky, you just had to get out and enjoy because you know that this weather cannot last much longer. This is also the weekend for the Riverton fair, the last fair of the season around here. It is a small fair that manages to pack in the chickens, bunnies, canned goods and Draft Pony pulls. (my favorites!) I love these little guys, they have such heart, they are so animated, and wide as they are short. I go year after year whether it is cold or hot to sit on those narrow pine bleachers, eat fried dough pizza and enjoy the day. I had my seat, my camera and food and we waited........and waited...... Unfortunatly there was a conflict this year and there was a Horse drawing event up in New Hamshire, so only one team showed up. They did three pulls for us and I took as many photos as I could, but what could they do. The above pen and ink drawing is from a couple of years ago.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Training New Elves

This is the completed image for this years Christmas card. It was fun to paint, my favorite Corgi is the little guy on Santa's boot.
We had a busy weekend, so much to write about, so I will put together another post in the next few days about the Riverton Fair and the Draft Pony pulls.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

For All Creatures

For all creatures,and this includes you, some of them crawling, as some of them flew, these Halloween wishes - for "Spooks" just like you.
October is here, a chill in the air and first frost on the way. I am heading out to pick my Cosmos.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Painting"Just Hanging Out" in progress

This is an update of last weeks post. This is a photograph and not a scan so the color is a little warm. The size of the board is 8" x 10", Pewter has been roughed in along with the outside of his bed. I worked for quite a while on the inside (faux lambs wool) trying to get the texture right along with the shadows. It's funny, last year he lived in this bed, this year I can't get him near it. I figure I am about half way through. As you can see, at this point I do not have any detail on the cat, just the general color and shadows.

Boy, what a week! That is all I can say. I felt a little better after reading other bloggers with their concerns and worries. Actually there have been some great posts, how to regroup, rethink and keep creating.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pewter - Just Hanging Out

This is the starting sketch for an oil painting I am working on this week. This is Pewter, one of the two cats we kept from Mama cat. Pewter looks like a Ragdoll, he has a dark mask around his slightly blue eyes, cream colored body with a tan saddle marking across his back. His brother Fred is completely black. This was last winters bed, you know how it is , each winter the cats stake out a spot in the house that is theirs. If another cat sleeps in their spot there is hell to pay.

My Christmas card is finished, I tried to photograph it tonight but it didn't come out clear enough and it is still too tacky to put in the scanner. Once I have it scanned I will post it.

I have started a second blog - it will have both my Christmas cards and other Illustrations. I've posted 5 images so far - I'm picking out which images I want to add. You can click here to see it or click on Holly Zemak Design Studio in the right hand column.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tis The Season

When it comes to pumpkins I think I border on obsessive. Grocery stores or farm stands, one comes home every time. By Halloween we have amassed quite a collection.

The weather is getting cooler and there is just a hint of color in a few trees, just a tease of things to come. I have really noticed how quickly it gets dark now. Cats are starting to think about staying in at night. Wow, where does the time go.

I'm not finished yet with my card and I have worked on it a little every night. But, I am at the point where I am just wrapping up loose ends which feels good.

The above painting - oil on board - 5" x 7".

Sunday, September 07, 2008

In Process Christmas Card

This is my Christmas card so far, it's not finished yet but I thought a few in process posts might be nice to see. I was gone for part of last week with my girl friend and I tried as hard as I could to finish before I left. But it was just too much. So now it's back at it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Missing Ember

He appeared out of nowhere one day, to become a member of our family for the next 15 years. Back then he was a real "ladies man" and attracted to our female cats at the time.

We never knew where he came from, what his "real" name was - we called him "Ember" - nor where he went during the time he was gone those days during his average week with us.

He was gentle with our new kittens a few years back, though they didn't deserve it most of the time, and he made a great lap cat on those cold winter nights.

He'd eat anything you placed before him, and Oh boy did he like his canned milk!!!!

There were times he spent several weeks straight enjoying the good life with us, then he'd disappear again, only to materialize days later.

When he left us he had two favorite directions he'd wander off in, so he must have had an extended family of loyal milk suppliers. Wish I knew what they called him, what his "other " names were, and what his favorite sleeping nooks looked like.

He cashed in two of his 9 lives during the last decade he was with us, but pulled through thanks to our vet's good care.

During his later years with us , he got thin and bony, lost some teeth, and went blind in one eye - and on one sad lonely unremarkable night he walked out of our lives forever.

Where ever you are Ember, what ever happened to you, we miss you pal. Thanks for all the great memories. You blessed our lives.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Christmas Card 2008 Work in Progress

This is the initial sketch for my Corgi Christmas card this year. Everyone loves Corgi puppies, even Santa. The darker images of the two puppies running with socks are actually sketches on tracing paper that have been taped in place. Alot of times when I am laying something out I will sketch out some of my objects and use this method to find the best placement.

After I finish the sketch, it is traced and tranfered to a gessoed board. I like the flat surface, especially when it comes to illustrations like this where it will be scanned and printed. I've tried canvas images and was just not happy with the results.

The original is painted in oils and I am more than half way complete.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I wanted to pop in for a minute to say that I am alive. I've had a major computer melt down and it seems to be never ending. There may be some good coming out of this as I will probably be purchasing a new scanner and decluttering the space where I work from by getting rid of some of this old equipment. For now I cannot put up any photos of what I have been working on.

Last Sunday we took a ride up to the Berkshire Botanical Gardens in Stockbridge. What a beautiful place, I think what I enjoyed the most where the benches and chairs placed thru out the garden to let you just sit, relax and enjoy the view. Well I've had it for tonight. Hopefully we will be back up and running soon.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Summer Jewels

These Nasturtiums are courtesy of my parents garden. We stopped by last Sunday to pick up some vegetables and at the front of one of the rows was this beautiful mound of flowers. I love these guys, they are happy and vibrant.

I have been working on several projects - but nothing to show for it tonight. One of my goals for this year is to become more fluent with Photoshop so that I'm not asking my husband for help quite as often. It is very important to me that I become as independent as possible -to create the work and than have the necessary skills in place to work on my images whether it be posting to my blog or creating prints or cards. So this was one of those weeks were I was more a student than an artist. But is for a good cause because in the end I will actually be more productive.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cat On Barn Window

This is a pastel done on sanded paper. I love working with the color, oils have always been my first love but the more I learn and work with pastels its becoming a tie as to which I enjoy more.
I may do one of my Christmas cards in pastel this year, I have some blue paper and have tried a few ideas out.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Salt & Pepper Shaker Still Life

This is 4th of July weekend, three days off and no plans! It looks like the weather is not going to cooperate - but it does not matter - I may take a ride up to the Berkshires or Vermont - whatever my heart desires.

The above painting is a small 5" x 7" oil on board. Using this small format is helping me actually finish some pieces. I seem to get bogged down at some point in a painting and it stops and sits for quite a while. I would hate to say that I lose interest but that could be the case. Anyway this is working and I am quite happy with the results. Its nice to look back and see a body of work instead of a pile of half completed paintings.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Who Loves Ya

This is an oil painting done on board that I have made into a card for Etsy. The next piece I have ready to post is a still life. I work back and forth, I love to do this type of work, illustration or folk art, what ever you want to call it. I find it relaxing, allowing your mind to wander and come up with what ever scenario it can.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just Some Thoughts

No art work tonight, a few things in the pipeline, tomorrow I will tie up the lose ends and post. Today I did something a little out of character, I took the afternoon off from work (spur of the moment) and went on a picnic with my brother and niece. We ate grinders by a lake, took a hike up to an old fire tower with a great view, no cell phones, beepers or the like. Just good conversation, nature at her finest and the joy of spending time together. Oh, and we tried to go swimming but the water is a bit chilly for my taste.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Greeting Cards, Wild Weather & Hummingbirds

I have been working on Greeting Cards this past week for Etsy. Several of my recent cat paintings, two new Corgi images and some flowers, all of which had been completed and just needed to have me sit down to proof and print. And so this weekend in between thunder, lightening and minor flooding situations I finally got some work done. But don't feel too sorry for me because on Saturday we went for a lovely ride, a house and garden tour and lunch.

I try to have several different products for my more illustrative pieces. Besides cards, notecards and prints I also have textured art tiles and sometimes gift tags. I have been thinking about opening up a second blog to keep the illustrative work seperate from my oils and pastels. Just thinking out loud at this point.

I am thrilled that we finally have a Hummingbird at our feeder. We started feeding last summer and have been patiently (?) waiting to see if we would be visited again this year. I have been planting Impatients all around the house. Tonight he or she has been back several times.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Excuses Excuses

It has been unusually hot here the last few days. Not the type of weather you want to stay inside and paint in. Guess I could try my hand at plein air painting, or at least sketch outdoors a little. The cats are lying in front of garage door, SPLAT, they don't have the energy to move.

I have been working on my blog, learning how to add an image to my banner and "jazz" it up a bit. Looked into switching over to Typepad since I have seen so many bloggers with professional looking sites using that company. But on the other hand there are also just as many blogs in Blogger that are just as well formatted with interesting banners and graphics. So my education has begun. I'm sure there will be more changes coming, a little knowledge is a scary thing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Florence Griswold Museum

Over the Memorial Day weekend we visited the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT. Miss Florence Griswold ran a boarding house in the early 1900's that became extremely popular with a group of well known artists (men & women) who painted almost exclusively in the new art form known as Impressionism. Her boarding house, which was really a beautiful mansion, eventually became "The Home of Ameican Impressionism" on this side of the Atlantic, and better known simply as the Lyme Art colony.

The original home has been preserved as a museum along with a few of the out buildings and beautiful gardens. In the main house the down stairs portion is a self guided tour, with one room set up as an artist's bed room. There is the main hallway with paintings from the many artists who stayed there over the years and the main parlor. The upstairs now houses paintings done in that time period by many of the famous artists, such as Childe Hassam and Henry Ward Ranger, along with many others. The last room in the house that you see is the famous Dining Room, which is lined with wall panels that were painted by resident artists. This was done by invitation only, and considered a great honor.

There is also The Kreble Art Gallery on the grounds that houses temporary exhibitions. Currently there is an exhibit of Impressionist paintings by artists from Giverny, France which became "The Home of French Impressionism" on the other side of the Atlantic. Many of the American artists at "Miss Florence's boarding house" spent much of their time, when away from Lyme, in Giverny France, and that famous art colony.

From the Kreble Art Gallery, the lawn slopes down to a salt marsh & the Lieutenant River, where we sat and watched a pair of Osprey feed their young. As the day wore on I noticed more people bringing their own chairs down to river's edge to just sit and relax, while some even sketched with their children.

It was a great day and worth a trip to check it out - but watch for ticks - as my husband brought one back with him.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pewter - Kitten on Back - Sketch for Oil Painting

This is a sketch of Pewter sleeping on the couch as a kitten. I will post updates on this piece as I work. This is going to be an oil painting on board

I am going to take some artist license with the couch and background. What I do is use tracing paper on top of the original sketch to layout a new drawing. This way I can keep moving elements around until I find something that works. I do work from photos, and now with the digital camera it is so easy to collect reference material. When the final sketch is complete I'll post it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Guido's - Scallions & Radishes

I live fairly close to the Bershires in MA., it is a great getaway drive for a day and one I take as often as I can. One of my favorite stores is Guido's Marketplace in Great Barrington which has the most beautiful displays of produce around, you can just drink in the color. I am not a gourmet cook by any means but we always manage to come home with a shopping bag full and the inspiration to try and eat a little better.

Scallions and Radishes on White Plate is an oil painting on 5" x 7" hardboard.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Twist Tied

This title may change, I could not come up with anything creative last night when I finally got to the point of putting this print onto Etsy. However, this morning I see a note on my drawing table with a possible title from my husband. I will give it some time today and see which way to go.

I did want to mention that the color of the sanded paper I used on this piece was peach. I work with pastel pencils and hard pastel sticks to sketch out my image and to achieve detail, along with soft pastels for color. My pastel pencils are Derwent and the hard sticks are Faber Castell but on the soft pastels I have several different brands. When I go to the store to pick up some new supplies I just love to look at all the pastel sticks out for display, so many colors and I am still experimenting learning what works for me. This could get a little expensive.

From NPR, May 2, 2008 Storycorps. This was the last line from the interview with Lyle Link.
"Live with courage"

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cat on Pink Blanket

Today was spent on this image, working in Photoshop getting it ready to produce a print. I have not even named it yet, hopefully something a little better than Cat on Pink Blanket. I have a soft spot for Calico's. The original is a pastel on Sennelier La Carte sanded paper.

Since Saturday was devoted to yard work, today I indulged myself. This morning I worked on an oil painting and this afternoon the above image. By mid week I should have the print ready for Etsy.

For now I am going to continue my indulgent Sunday and go watch Monk on TV.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nodding Off

Nodding Off as a print as been added to my Etsy store. The original oil painting measures 8" x 10" on hardboard, I have been working on this piece off and on all winter. I am a slow painter, its seems that I need time to evaluate each piece as I work on it. Or it could be that my comfort zone is just pokey. In any case, it is something I am working on, trying to speed things up a bit.

The painting is of Ember, our older male cat, who is the alpha of our herd. He has done well with each new addition, just letting them know his limits.

Monday, April 07, 2008

New Britain Museum of American Art

On Saturday morning after the usual errands were run my husband and I took a ride over to the New Britain Museum of American Art. We had been there, maybe 10 years ago, and I had seen ads in the Hartford Courant for them lately. What a great day we had. What a gem the state of CT. has in this museum. We spent the better part of the day there enjoying the art and the new building it is now housed in.

It is located on 55 Lexington St., and looks out over Walnut Hill Park. The museum has a great collection of Impressionist paintings in one room with ample space to stand back and admire each piece. One feature I did enjoy, they have a table with books on Impressionists for you to read in this gallery and in the gallery for the special exhibitions. Currently they have California Impressionist Paintings on display there.

All of the work is American Art, they have a display of Illustration, that includes N.C.Wyeth and Norman Rockwell.

We treated ourselves to lunch in the cafe and recharged our batteries. So if you live in CT. or are in the area please keep this art museum in mind.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Archival Prints

I am adding archival prints to my Etsy shop. They will be printed on Velvet fine art paper which is producing a rich colorful print. I love the texture of this paper. For now there will be two sizes, first the larger, on a 8 1/2" x 11" sheet with an image of 7 1/2" x 10"and the smaller mini print 5 1/2" x 4 1/4" with an image of 4 1/2" x 3 1/4". As I add the images to my Etsy store I will post them to my blog.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sunflower in Blue Vase

This is the second small painting that I have done using this blue glass vase. And, with each new painting there are a different set of issures to be worked out.

I have already started to buy my flower seeds for this year. I probably should order them in one shot from Burpee, but it is more fun to pick up a few at a time from the grocery store, big box store or where ever I happen to be. Each week my little collection starts to grow. Today I brought home Cosmos in orange and white. It will be a while yet before we can plant, snow, sleet and freezing rain for Friday.

This painting is oil on a 5" x 7" board.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Slumber Party

Two years ago at Easter we came home to find a stray cat on our back porch. She hung around the house for a few weeks allowing us to talk to her and feed her but you could not touch her. Of course she was pregnant and finally moved in with us to have her three tiny kittens in our bathroom.

We were very fortunate that one of the girls who works with my friend found a home for Mama and one of the kittens leaving us with two, "Pewter" and "Fred" (formerly known as Fredrika). Even though we really didn’t have the room those kittens just stole our hearts and it was hard to finally let go.

However, Mama did not like our dog - perhaps she was even abused by one and we did not have the room in our house to make it work. And yes, we were just as bad as new parents with the photographs and videos of the adorable kittens.

The above painting is of "Pewter" and the 3rd kitten my husband named "Cookie" (because he was black & white like an Oreo). While I really do not need any more cats, it was really a great experience even as we were wondering what we were going to do with them and how we were going to feed them all. And as a side note - Mama and her boys have all been to the vet so this won’t happen again.

The above painting is a 5" x 7" oil on board.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Nasturtium in Blue Vase

Nasturtiums are one of my favorite flowers. They are easy to grow with bright colorful blooms and great foliage. I have a small yard where space is at a premium so I grow these guys in pots and flower boxes as well as in my front garden. This painting is 5" x 7" oil on hardboard. I have been working on small paintings lately, and it really has been helping with a size that allows you to finish a painting in about a week. ( for me that is ). Here's how we use Nasturtium in Blue Vase as a greeting card.

My eBay store has prints & greeting cards of this image & others.
My Cafepress store has more samples on my 2nd new website.
My Etsy Store has more samples on my 3rd new website.