20 in 20 in June: the Birthday Bash Giveaway

Do you know about Abbey over at aesthetic outburst? If not, I highly recommend you check out her blog. She’s been doing this amazing project called “20 in 20” where she gives away awesome things that she makes every weekday in the month. She’s done this almost each month (except January) since December! I’ve been following along, and it’s been so much fun seeing all the crafty projects she’s created and given away in that time.

For the past few months the idea has been forming that I’d like to do my own 20 in 20 giveaway.

Back in March, I was intent on improving my fine-line painting skills, so I created a few small paintings.


Very pleased with how they turned out, I painted a couple more and sent them off to two of my mail art buddies, Beverly Ealdama and Christina Norberg. Sending those paintings to their new homes was about the time when the idea of doing a large-scale giveaway started to take shape.


June had always seemed like a good month to do a 20 in 20 giveaway, since it’s my birthday month. I enjoy hosting big parties for my birthday where I give little gifts to the people who attend, so the idea of having a big birthday bash on my blog seemed like a natural choice.

Earlier this week I counted the days in June and realized that there are actually 22 weekdays in the month BUT there are exactly 20 weekdays before my birthday! I love the idea of being able to announce the last winners on my actual birthday!

One thing left to do was to test how long it actually takes me to make one of these paintings to see if it would be realistic to finish one each day.


I timed myself when I painted the above composition and was happy to discover that it’ll be very doable to paint one each weekday.

The last piece of this puzzle was the name. I really love the “20 in 20” project title because it’s short, catchy, and just makes so much sense! I asked Abbey if it’d be ok to use the name, and she said I should, “give it a go!” so I’m going to do just that!

Starting June 1st, I’ll be giving away one painting each weekday until the day before my birthday, with the last winners announced on my birthday (which is on the 29th by the way).

The paintings will all be similar in style and size to those included in this post. You can expect them to be abstract, colorful, and about 6 inches square.

I can’t wait to get started, and I really hope you’ll stop by and join the party!

A New Kaleidoscope Drawing

After hanging up all the work I framed at Metropolitan Cafe, I was 99% satisfied, except for one area where the triptych seemed too small for the prominent space above the fireplace.

Circle Drawings on the Wall

I decided to make a larger drawing to hang in its place, moving the triptych on the wall that’s to the right of the space shown in the image above. I started working on the new drawing the very night I got home from hanging the show.

I started by drawing a grid on some smooth drawing paper with a pencil (and a ruler of course), and then drew the outline of the circle with the help of my trusty compass set.


After drawing the grid I actually erased most of it, leaving only a hint of the lines, just dark enough so I could make out the grid while I was adding the colors. I started with pink.


Unfortunately the pencil lead kept breaking, so before I knew it, the pink pencil was down to a little stub. Luckily the peach color in the set was very similar in tone, so I switched to peach to finish the first layer.

Best Part

With the first color finished, I started the next one: chartreuse green. Adding a new color is the best part of these drawings because that’s when I get to see how the colors will interact as they are layered.

Once the chartreuse was finished, I used true green to start the next layer.

Best Part 2

Ice Cream Cone

I took one more in progress photo when I finished the true green layer, but then got so wrapped up in finishing the drawing that I forgot to take any more in progress pics! Instead I took a photo of all the colored pencils I used for this drawing, which include those I’ve mentioned, plus aquamarine, carmine red, magenta, and violet.

Colored Pencils

Large Kaleidoscope Drawing

When my mom saw the final drawing she said, “it looks like a kaleidoscope”. I think that’s a great observation, so I’ll be calling this series “kaleidoscopes” from now on.

Before I could snap a photo of the finished drawing, I framed it and whisked it away to Baltimore to add it to the show. While I was at Metropolitan, I took a photo of the framed drawing. I wish I’d taken a wide shot of the room so you could see the difference now that the triptych has been moved. I’m sure I’ll visit the cafe again soon, so I’ll update this when I get the shot.

Metropolitan Cafe Art Show, Virtual Tour

For the month of May my art is hanging up in a lovely little restaurant in Baltimore. I’ve been wanting to schedule a show at the Metropolitan Cafe for a while now, but it wasn’t until I had the last minute opportunity to show my artwork there that I got my work together and framed.

There are two levels to Metropolitan. Downstairs, there’s a lovely, big brick wall on which three of my large shadow drawings are hanging.

Art Downstairs

Each drawing is similar in style, but I used a different medium to color each one. The golden drawing is colored with colored pencil, the pink one is a watercolor painting that I finished the night before hanging the show, and the gray was created with Prismacolor markers.

Shadow Drawings

Gray Shadow Drawing

All the smaller pieces of art can be seen upstairs.

Three more shadow drawings hang together on another beautiful brick wall.

Shadow drawings on brick

All three are prints of originals that I colored with watercolor.

Gray & Teal on Brick

Blue on Brick

The set of six pattern drawings were all hung near each other on a bright yellow wall.

Framed Patterns

Each is a print of an original drawing or watercolor.

The final group of my recent geometric circle drawing were hung by the upstairs fireplace.

Circle Drawings on the Wall

Admittedly, they look a little small for the space, but I love them anyway! Look how nice the triptych turned out:

Circle Triptych

If you are in the Baltimore area, I’d love if you stopped by to see the show for yourself, but if you can’t make it, or aren’t in the area, I hope you enjoyed this mini-virtual tour of my show at Metropolitan Cafe. I love the way the art looks on the brick walls especially, but even the yellow walls look great as a backdrop for my brightly colored drawings.

If you want to see more, I posted a few extra photos on flickr that are not shown here, as well as close-ups of most of the work in the show.

Metropolitan Cafe Art Show, The Story

Last Saturday, April 30th, I got a call from my friend Jessica wondering if I’d like to show my art at the cafe where she works for the month of May. I paused for a second before asking, “May. As in, tomorrow?” She laughed and admitted that yes, it was kind of short notice. Apparently the artist scheduled for May had backed out, and they were looking for someone to fill in. Not one to back away from a challenge, I decided to go for it. Luckily there was no major rush, so I was able to take a few days to gather my artwork together and figure out the framing.

I decided Thursday May 5th would be the day to hang my work and started working toward the deadline. On Tuesday I woke up with a sore neck, which made everything that much more difficult. I admit that at one point I considered calling the whole thing off because I was in so much pain. However, I really wanted to do the show, so I went to the chiropractor and then adopted an easier pace, taking frequent breaks from working when I needed to.

Somewhere in between all that drama I was concerned that I wouldn’t have a cohesive looking collection of artworks to show. I tend to be all over the place when it comes to art, trying this and that, but not usually focusing on one style or subject for any length of time. After sifting through many drawings and paintings, certain styles did become apparent. Ultimately I decided to have 3 distinct groups of art. One would be shadow drawings, of which I had several large pieces, as well as a few smaller ones, another would be a set of pattern-y drawings, and the third would be a selection of my most recent geometric circle drawings.


Slowly but surely everything started to fall into place. As with other projects in the past, I worked until the last minute, but also like the past, I got everything done. I even made pricing labels to affix to the side of the frames.

I drove to Baltimore yesterday with my trunk full of framed art, and with the help of Justin Wainio, the coordinator of the artshows at Metropolitan Cafe, I got everything hung up within an hour and a half.

Art Downstairs

One of my main goals has been to show my work in public, and while I didn’t expect for a show to come together so precipitously, it feels really great to have accomplished something significant in such a short amount of time.

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

I tried out the Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils on a piece of Arches hot press paper.

Prismacolor pencils!

I decided to use the Arches paper instead of the grid paper I’ve been using for previous drawings to see how the thicker paper would hold up, and to see how the image would look without the underlying grid. I’m still working at a small size at this point (about 5.5 inches square).

I took a few in-progress shots with my iphone while I was working so you can see how the image changes with each added color.

yellow & orange
I started with a layer of yellow ochre, followed by pale vermillion.

yellow, orange & mulberry
The next was a layer of mulberry.

yellow, orange, mulberry & process red
I filled in more of the circle with Process Red.

yellow, orange, mulberry, process red, & true blue
True Blue was the first cool color added, followed by a layer of ultramarine blue to finish up the drawing.


I like the final drawing, but I also like a lot of the in between stages as well. I’m thinking about making a few drawings that are more like “incomplete” circles.

The Prismacolor Premier colored pencils were very nice to work with on the thick paper. The color came off onto the paper very easily, so there was no warping of the paper at all. The biggest challenge was keeping a sharp point. I had to sharpen the Premier pencils a lot more than the Verithins, but also didn’t have to press as hard, so I guess it’s a trade off.

The lines appear a lot more wobbly without the underlying grid to anchor them, but I like the look anyway, and I’ll probably get better at drawing straight lines with a little more practice & patience.

Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils

I finished up my first colored pencil drawing, using the Prismacolor Verithins.

Prismacolor Verithin colored pencils

These drawings take a really long time to make. There’s a lot of detail and a lot of overlap, so it’s just a process that takes a while. The results are well worth it, and overall they’re a lot of fun to create because they change so much as I develop the pattern and add new colors.

Drawing in progress

The leads of the Verithins are rather hard, so I found myself pressing very firmly on the paper to get the color to show up, especially with the lightest pink and green. Because of that, I ended up embossing the paper so much that it’s rippled and doesn’t lay quite flat. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get a good scan, but the shadows are very slight.

colored pencil

I’m going to do another drawing using the Prismacolor Premier colored pencils to check out the difference, but ultimately I plan to do a series of these on larger plain paper.

Suffice it to say, I’m very happy with my new colored pencils so far!