Monday, August 27, 2012


Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. 

A while back, I wrote a post about how Google Image Search can be used to find out whether any of your artwork has been "borrowed" for use by others. Occasionally, when I'm sitting at the computer, I run searches for a few of my images. Last week, I found my humble little pinecone drawing (a personal favorite, mind you) all tarted up and masquerading as someone else's art—right in their banner! And the most offensive part is that the company is a design firm that offers graphic design, branding, and other creative services! Frankly, judging from the quality of their website and their other images, it's not a very successful company. But if they don't understand artwork copyright infringement, who does?

I decided to play nice to begin with, and sent the company this email:

"As a design firm, I would think that you would understand that it is illegal to use an artist's work without permission. The pinecone drawing being used in your banner and elsewhere on your website is my artwork, and was taken from my website,, where it is protected by copyright. If you are interested in purchasing rights to use it, I will be happy to send you a quote. Otherwise, please remove it immediately. I will look forward to your reply letting me know which option you choose."

I received this reply yesterday:

"Thanks for informing, it will be rectified soon.  Designer has been asked to remove it."

No apology, no explanation. And as of this writing, the drawing has not been removed. Grrr. I'll keep you posted.

Update! They removed it today, August 28!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ten-Lined June Beetle

Prismacolor colored pencils on Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper

Some husbands bring their wives flowers, mine knows I'd rather have a cool-looking beetle. He found this little beauty in our pool last week, and knew that I would want it.

I decided to draw it on this paper, because the color and texture of the paper looked exactly like its shell. It's drawn at about 4x actual size, which is about an inch long.

It's been a while since I've drawn insects (see my last one here); I wish I had more specimens available—they're so fascinating to examine under a magnifying glass!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Miss Rosa Bianca Aubergine

Prismacolor colored pencils on Strathmore Bristol, vellum

Here I go, personifying my produce again. I can't help myself—from the moment this beautiful little "Rosa Bianca" eggplant appeared in my garden, it looked just like a little face to me. It even has a human-sounding name, for heaven's sake! (By the way, isn't the French name aubergine far superior to the word eggplant?) This little gem gets its name from the fact that it's basically white, but gets streaked with red-violet as it develops in the sun. 
Maybe I've been watching too much "Masterpiece Theater", but I can't look at the way the green cap curls on the sides without thinking of those Jane Austen heroines' hairstyles:
I was tempted to draw a little face on my eggplant when I sketched it, but my portrait-drawing skills are woefully rusty—besides, I think it's more fun to imagine it, don't you?

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Tomato Family

Prismacolor colored pencils on Strathmore Bristol Vellum, 5" x 8"

When I was setting up this still life, it occurred to me that it looked like a little family portrait. So, the whole time I was drawing these tomatoes, I envisioned them as such: Mom, Dad, the baby next to its mother, and the two older children by the father—one refusing to sit up straight.

These folks were all born and raised in my garden: the "parents" are a wonderful heirloom variety called "Kellogg's Breakfast". They're a beautiful yellow-orange, and are fleshy, very sweet, and have few seeds. You'd almost think you're eating a nectarine—so delicious. The "kids" are "Sugar Sun" cherry tomatoes, also really yummy.

There's nothing quite like a beautiful still life. Here are two of my favorite still life painters:

Janet Rickus paints gorgeous, often whimsical, pieces. (I think that perhaps her sense of humor led me to create a tomato "family" with my own drawing.) Her work is hard to describe in've got to take a peek here.

Abby Ryan creates a daily oil painting, usually an elegantly simple still life, and they're gorgeous. Each painting is then auctioned off on eBay. She collaborates with a potter, Jury Smith, who creates beautiful pieces specifically for use in still life paintings. Isn't that fascinating? And you can even watch videos of Abby painting on her blog and her website. It's a joy to watch.

I hope you'll check them out!