Musical Alphabet

I wanted to create a musical alphabet for Elinoah’s playroom and I was pretty happy with what I came up with. I used Staedtler Lumograph Drawing and Sketching Pencils, micron pens, and inktense pencils with a water wash on 6×4″ matboard.

I would like to run these through photoshop/illustrator and maybe pitch them as alphabet flash cards, an alphabet book, or maybe a fun pattern for something else?


The Bus-y-ness of Art

“I’m busy.” There, I said it. You are probably busy too. What kind of busy is  a better question. Too busy busy? Too tired busy? You may not even know what year it is busy or pretending it is still last weekend busy.

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Wherever you are on the busy scale, there is still time…

I have been busy lately. Busy at work and with house chores, with organization and family relationships, busy with pet maintenance and meal planning, busy with fixing all of the many broken things in my house and car and life! I am also busy with my art and music projects amidst the busyness. What’s that you say? I am actually working on art and music projects while being “life busy” busy?! Yes I am! The deal is, that I just keep the art and music projects on my giant to-do list. And I do mean GIANT – it’s like never ending in my mind…

The bus-y-ness or business of art is that it just keeps going. You keep making it, keep generating ideas and writing them down, keep on keeping on – whether calm or not.

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My friend S recently said he can only paint when he feels secure. He hasn’t painted in almost 7 years. My advice was to just pull out a sketch book and draw something. Not a finished masterpiece something, just his foot or something. It’s never going to be the perfect time to make a painting or write a song. Even retired people don’t get to really retire anymore. So there is never going to be time. Add it to your to-do list, and I guarantee sketching your foot is going to look a lot better than scrubbing the bathtub on a Saturday afternoon. So, I must show that I practice what I preach, so you won’t roll your eyes while hating me.

I will share with you projects I am working on this week – these projects come after work, carpooling, dinner, and daily chores.

Romania paintings

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I have been working in my art studio on the Romania painting series for Livada orphan sponsorship. This one has been difficult to get through – emotionally. Though it feels amazing to be able to be what I think could be called an artist missionary, there has also been a lot of internal pressure on myself to make these paintings excellent. Also, I don’t know how much money they will raise for child sponsorship, and that makes me feel like “will this make a difference for the Livada orphans?” I am most likely over thinking it and psyching myself out – just need to paint!

The Last Baby Angel set design


Then there is the set design for the Last Baby Angel play based on the novel “The Last Baby Angel” by Sam Brown. It’s the first time I have ever done set design, and am still working on the research phase. I was able to call someone in the social work field this week and they were helpful and described some details of what an addicts home looks like.

Banjo Practice


Playing music is just something I have to keep doing. if you don’t use it, you lose it. I try to practice my banjo rolls and songs every day – whether for 15 minutes or an hour. I take one banjo lesson per week with the amazing Bill Nesbitt (who currently plays with the Clark Family Trio).

KUAR Arts & Letters

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M and I are working on recording songs for the KUAR Arts & Letters Arkansas Authors show to be recorded in early October. We are also in the process of writing a Valentines Day song for the KUAR Arts & Letters Valentines Day show (The Damsels in Distress interview) to be aired in February. The cool thing about this is that I have someone to work with (motivation) to complete the projects!

So, I know you are “life busy” too, but what can you add to your giant to-do list to make space to continue functioning as a creative person?




The Great Banjo Expedition

I started taking banjo lessons with Bill Nesbitt in February 2014. He was letting me borrow his banjo during this time.

Because I love playing the banjo so much and we had started using it in recordings and writings songs on it, M and I decided we should get our own banjo. In June we started “The Great Banjo Expedition” – which was basically a search on the internet to see what we wanted for a specific budget. We have a separate “band account” that we deposit any money we get from our digital albums, shows, and the KUAR Arts and Letters radio program. Our “band account” had been earning more than spending for almost a year, so we decided it was time to actually GO on this “The Great Banjo Expedition” to Nashville, Tennessee – known for its love of music.

We would have weeks to plan the expedition, and there were four shops we had in mind to look at and play from their banjo selection: Gruhn Guitars, Carter Vintage Guitar, Corner Music, and Nashville Used Music. That was the extent of our plans. The night before we left we used Hotwire for our hotel, which is a site that gives you a cheaper price than the actual hotel, but you only know the location of the hotel and not the actual hotel until you pay (nonrefundable). As far as food, we just looked up places on Urbanspoon and had some advice from friends.


When we first arrived in Nashville we stopped for lunch at Fido.

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After a delicious burger and key lime pie, we started the banjo shoppin’. We went to Gruhn Guitars first. We bought some finger picks and starting trying out some banjos. There were so many banjos, but around 5 in our price range to choose from. I immediately liked the feel and sound of the Recording King R35.

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M played some guitars – there were so many beautiful instruments to look at!

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Carter Vintage Guitar had a beautiful mural on the outside wall. There was a smaller banjo selection here and there was only one in our price range.


I wanted to take a little break from playing all of those banjo’s at this point, so we went to Crema for coffee.

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Corner Music was rockin’ and they had an acoustic guitar room that I could play banjo’s in – away from the rockin’ overhead music. I didn’t like any of the banjos I played there.


Last stop was the Nashville Used Music, which was basically a music pawn shop. The music was so loud I couldn’t hear what any of the banjo’s sounded like. Also, I couldn’t be certain what condition the banjo’s were in, so we didn’t stay too long.

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We went to the Millennium Maxwell Hotel to check in. We didn’t get any chocolate covered strawberries on our pillows, but they gave us a room with a view for M’s birthday. We talked banjos for a bit and did some research on the Recording King R35. We decided we would go back to Gruhn the next day and purchase the RK.

The plan, which we made up right then, was to go to dinner and a show at the Grand Ole Opry. After discovering that parking was $25, we skipped dinner and had a leisurely walk with free parking. Once there, we got some corn dogs and enjoyed live performances by The Whites, Daryle Singletary, Sarah Darling, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Connie Smith, Jason Crabb, Chris Janson, and Mel Tillis.


The next morning we went to Hermitage Cafe – a local breakfast diner for a $4 greasy delicious breakfast.

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We headed back to Gruhn Guitars to get our banjo!

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We had decided on the Recording King R35 – which we bought from Calvin.

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When we got home, we were so inspired by the music and entertainment in Nashville we wrote a song with a little twang called “Fishing at Midnight” for our new album – “The Umbrellas Here.”