Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day Twenty-One and New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year!  Today I completed my twenty-first sketch, yay!  Again, I turned to my albums for a topic, this time I chanced upon an album containing photos of our trip to Ireland about 16 years ago.  One evening we spent the night at a B&B in the city of Cong, County Mayo in Western Ireland.

After we had settled in, we decided to go for a stroll in this charming village noted for its fishing.  We were on the Riverwalk alongside the Cong River and we came upon this charming little duck!  I was lucky enough to capture an image of this little guy in quite an unusual pose.  We sat and watched him for awhile and as we started down the road again we noticed we had company, the little character had joined on us our stroll!  He actually followed us all the way back to our B&B where we turned and waved goodbye as he slowly departed.

Having come across this photo, I knew he was today's subject .....

Meet "Cong Duck"
and here is my Day Twenty-One Ink Sketch of "Cong Duck"

I can see I should have made his head larger, 
I can also see I have a lot learn about drawing animals, 
especially birds!

Happy New Year to One and All!
Karen Anne Brady

Friday, December 30, 2011

"My Girl" Day Twenty Ink Sketch Drawing

Years ago two very special dogs came into our lifes, Suzie aka Yellow Fawn and Dexter aka Moose.  They were anonymously given to my parents who eventually gave them to us and they became dear and precious members of our little family.  As far as we could discern they were in the Rhodesian Ridgeback family.

Thumbing through my albums today, I came across a photo of Suzie and it just called out to me as the subject of my Day Twenty Sketch.  Now, mind you, drawing animals is not something that comes easily to me.  I finally decided to challenge myself further in Brenda Swenson's 75 Day Sketch Challenge and at least attempt this drawing.  So here is

Happy New Year!
Karen Anne

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Soldier Boy" Day Nineteen Ink Sketch

I am so enjoying going through my old albums!  Today I found a photo from 10/4/1993 and decided to sketch what I call "Soldier Boy"....

Try it you'll like it too!

Karen Anne

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day Eighteen ... Brotherly Love ....

I was looking though an old photo album and I came across a picture taken on Halloween in 1995.  It was of my oldest grandson (in his Daniel Boone outfit) helping my oldest granddaughter (in her Minnie Mouse outfit) put on her Mouse Ears.  The expressions on their faces captivated me and I wondered if I could possibly capture that in an ink sketch.  Without the assistance of a pre-drawing in pencil ... well, this was truly a challenge!

I guess you never truly know what you are capable of doing until you try......

Happy Day!
Karen Anne

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 15, 16 and 17 Sketches ....

Were you wondering if I had given up?  .... Nope, just had some scanner problems ...
for Day 15 I used a wood carving of two fish (that are sitting around collecting dust...didn't sketch the dust), for Day 16 I used a carved and painted wooden duck decoy, and finally on Day 16 I found a photo of my oldest granddaughter when she was a mere one year old...

"Day 15   12/25/2011"

"Day Sixteen    12/26/2011"

"Day Seventeen    12/27/2011"
Happy Holiday Season!
Karen Anne

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Days Thirteen and Fourteen Sketches

I barely had time to sketch thirteen and fourteen ... but I did!  Quick sketch time!  Day Thirteen is of a cowbell and Day Fourteen is a carnation bud in a bud vase (my grandson son brought me a bouquet of red and white carnations for my birthday and one of the flowers broke .. so voila!  subject of an ink sketch!).

"Day Thirteen  12/23/2011"
"Day Fourteen 12/24/2011"
"Merry Christmas Everyone!"
Karen Anne

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day Twelve - 12/22/2011 - aka My Birthday!

Day Twelve and what to sketch?  As I looked around the dining room, I spied Sister Celine's old school bell and decided upon today's sketch.  She was Jim's aunt and she used to teach school.  Though she has long since passed, she is brought back to memory every time I see her bell sitting atop my old oak sideboard. 

How many of you remember the days when it seemed every teacher had a bell and yielded it with frequency, especially when she wanted your attention?!

"Sister Celine's School Bell"
I'm really looking forward to when the days are not so filled and I will have more time to work on these sketches.  This challenge is great fun and I look forward to each day's new drawing, but I wish I had a bit more time so I could pay closer attention to details.

Til tomorrow,
Karen Anne

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day Eleven ....

Today we have been rushing all around ... to the post office, get driver license renewed, stop at the vets, across town to pick up special paper, over to the grocery and back home only to remember I still need to get busy on Day Eleven sketch! 

As I was putting away all of our purchases, I pulled out a little Sock Monkey ornament that I had picked up for the tree and thought "Ah Hah!  Day Eleven's subject!" ... who doesn't love a sock monkey!?!  Sock Monkey to the rescue!

Note to self:  A good time NOT to start a challenge is between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's!

If you are interested in Brenda Swenson's Challenge click on the highlighted link and you'll be taken directly over to her blog.....

Merry Christmas!
Karen Anne

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day Ten

I honestly wasn't sure I could work in my Day Ten sketch but I did!  I figured go for something simple so I chose a little Beany Bear that is sitting on my art table.  I'll bet the next few days will result in more quick drawings, at least until after Christmas!

"Merry Christmas!"
Karen Anne

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day Nine .....

For the subject today, I chose a small carved yellow cedar bowl that we picked up on one of our visits to Haida Gwaii (aka Queen Charlotte Islands) in BC many years ago.  I've always been a huge fan of Northwest Coast art.  This bowl has been carved in the design of a Haida Bear, I cherish this bowl and the memories it stirs.

Well, now its time to start gift wrapping, Christmas Eve is drawing ever closer with each passing day.

Merry Christmas All!
Karen Anne

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day Eight!

Well, I wasn't sure I'd get Day Eight completed with the Family Christmas Party and all!  So I started it before the get together and put on the finishing touches once we got back home.  The party was great, 40 members showed up, enjoyed all the good food and had grand fun with the gift exchange game!

Today I picked out another Chinaberry Parasite Wood Carving.  This is one of a fish, I like these carvings, they intrigue me how the carver leaves so much of the natural part of the growth and works the subject into the shape of the piece.  They are each unique and individual because each piece of parasite wood is one of a kind.

FYI:  Chinaberry parasite wood carvings come from a parasitic plant, a mushroom-like growth that imbeds itself into the bark of a Chinaberry tree and gets its nourishment from the tree's sap.  These parasite growths are so hard and dense that they don't decay when the tree is dead and rots away, leaving these parasite growths to be picked up and carved into beautiful objects by talented artists.

"Day Eight Ink Sketch"
If you like to know more about the challenge, just click on this link Brenda Swenson's 75 Day Sketch Challenge.
Happy Day!
Karen Anne

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day Seven and I am still hanging in ....

Today I began the day by putting a 15 pound turkey into the oven, in preparation for a big Family Christmas Party tomorrow with all my brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, our children and grandchildren and of course my Mom!  Mom and Dad had a total of six children who eventually married, had children who eventually got married, who had more children!  From Mom and Dad we have grown into a family that now numbers 66+ (never know when a new little blessing is on the way)!

Anyway, with the smell of roasting turkey wafting through the house I decided I might as well get started on my Day Seven ink sketch.  The subject today is from a card I received from my sister, about ten or so years ago, of a photograph of a little angel holding a basket of fruit (picture must be around circa 1920 or so) that I had framed because it was so charming.  The photograph was in sepia tones so for this rendering I decided to use deep brown ink and it seems those little circles are determined to be in yet another illustration!

"Little Angel"
Merry Christmas All!
Karen Anne

PS  If you would like to learn more about the "75 Day Sketch Challenge" just click on Brenda Swenson's Challenge .

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day Six Is Here And So Is A New Ink Sketch!

This challenge is proving to be quite fun!  Today's subject is a Christmas Gnome that was given to us several years ago from our youngest son and his family.  He is a fun little guy who enjoys living in an eclectic environment ... lucky us!  A couple Christmas' back I knitted Christmas socks for all of our children, their spouses, and all of the grandkids ... well, Christmas Gnome looked a bit left out, so of course I knitted him his own personal Christmas Stocking.  The stocking he is holding is that sock!

"Christmas Gnome"
In this sketch I have also incorporated colored ink pens!   The "75 Day Sketch Challenge" guidelines stipulate the use of pen and ink only ... nothing said it had to be limited to just black ink!  I like him so well I have decided to make Christmas Gift tags using this little fellow.  Fun!

Merry Christmas Friends!
Karen Anne

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12/15/2011 is Day Five!

These last two ink sketches seem to reflect the fact that I am finding the Christmas spirit!

Day Five's subject is a beaded ornament.  For about 4 years running I made a beaded ornament (cover) for each of my children, their spouses, each grandchild, and many friends.  Each year I would use a different pattern and base the beads used upon the recipient's favorite colors for that year.  The color combinations were sometimes unusual but always unique and individual to that person.

The ornament I used for day five was one of my least complicated patterns ....

"A Beaded Christmas Ornament"

I have still not resorted to use of a pencil and eraser, but I have been sorely tempted!  There was nothing in the rules about using a template, so I did resort to using a circle template in the sketch.  A plain background was just too "plain" so I added different size circles and I think it rather looks like snowflakes or various sized Christmas lights.  What do you think?

Remember, if you want to check out this challenge just go to

Brenda Swenson's Blog "The 75 Day Sketch Challenge".

Merry Christmas!
Karen Anne

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day Four ....

I'm still in the challenge - Yes!  Yesterday I was looking through a Family Christmas album and found a picture of my youngest granddaughter back in 2007 where she had just handed Santa her Christmas letter to him; it was so sweet I decided to tackle sketching the picture of Santa as he was looking down at her and opening her letter.  So here is today's sketch ....

"Letter To Santa"

Merry Christmas!
Karen Anne

If you want to take on this challenge just go to Brenda Swenson's "75 Day Sketch Challenge" for the information. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day Three

Today I chose a Chinaberry carving we have to use as the subject of today's ink sketch.

FYI:  Chinaberry parasite wood carvings come from a parasitic plant, a mushroom-like growth that imbeds itself into the bark of a Chinaberry tree and gets its nourishment from the tree's sap.  These parasite growths are so hard and dense that they don't decay when the tree is dead and rots away, leaving these parasite growths to be picked up and carved into beautiful objects by talented artists.

Day Three   12/13/2011

I now have Day Three completed ... only 72 sketches more to do!  I hope I can, I hope I can, I hope I can ....

Happy Day!
Karen Anne

Brenda Swenson's "75 Day Sketch Challenge" 

Monday, December 12, 2011

The 75 Day Sketch Challenge

After many days of pondering over the wisdom of taking on Brenda Swenson's "75 Day Sketch Challenge"  I finally decided to make the plunge and take it on!  The challenge being to complete one drawing per day for a period of 75 days .... the goal is to build observation and drawing skills.  The drawings are to be done only in ink ... no pencil or erasers allowed! 

No pencil or eraser and putting pen directly to paper was, to say the least, very daunting to me!  On Day One I decided to try my hand at a bowl and pitcher set on the side board that sits in front of our dinning room window.  I can honestly tell you, this rendition does not even come close to the original; I wasn't able to capture the unique design on the pitcher and just went with the flow; the actual subject is much nicer. 

As an additional challenge I also decided to share my attempts here on my blog ... goof ups and all!  This may just prove to be a very humbling challenge ....

Day One  12/11/2011
I am using a 6"x8" spiral drawing pad for this challenge ... the top of this drawing was cut off because I didn't want to remove the page from the book.  I want to keep all the drawings in tack and watch my progress.

Day Two    12/12/2011
My husband has a collection of curious sea shells residing on top of the built in buffet in our dinning room, so I grabbed one of the shells to use as the subject for my Day 2 attempt.    Drawing without a pencil sketch first is still daunting but, after all, this is a challenge journey!

If you would like to read about the challenge and perhaps try it yourself, just pop over to Brenda Swenson's Blog!

Til tomorrow ....
Karen Anne

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Third and Final ACEO Challenge ACEO

Outside of our kitchen garden window we have an arborvitae that stands at the east end of the window.  We also have a family of squirrels that nest in the tall blue spruce in our front yard.  The squirrels gather and bury nuts all over our yard, later they will dig up their little treasures and many a time I have been working in the kitchen and a motion will capture my attention outside of the window, I look up and I'll see a little squirrel happily munching on a tender nut morsel. 

This happened again today and inspired my third and final entry in The ACEO Challenge which I have titled "Garden Window Visitor"....
Happy Day all!
Karen Anne

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Another ACEO Challenge ACEO!

This is good!  Two ACEO's completed!  What better view from your front door window could greet you than a surprise visit from someone you love!

I've titled this little piece "Christmas Time Visitor" .....
Merry Christmas everyone!

Big Hugs,
Karen Anne

PS  If you make ACEO's, why not pop over to The ACEO Challenge  Blog and challenge yourself and enter this month's Challenge of  ".....Out Your Window"!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The ACEO Challenge for December 2011

I think I have been in an artistic slump these past several weeks and, as I was visiting The ACEO Challenge Blog  yesterday, decided the December Challenge was just what I needed to get my creative juices again flowing.  The challenge this month is ".....Out your window"; I looked out my front room window and saw my little Humming Bird friends hovering around the humming bird feeders and decided to begin with them in mind.

Christmas decorations are coming out of their year long storage and had been added to the porch and, together with the humming birds, created a charming view.  So here is the Christmas view from my front room window.....

So now I am off to enter it in the December ACEO Challenge .... and begin work on another little ACEO!

Merry Christmas!

Karen Anne

Friday, October 21, 2011

The "Humming Belles" are holding a Give Away!

As most of you know, I have two Etsy Shops and two blogs ... From our "Humming Belles Etsy Shop" and on our "Humming Belles" blog we are hosting a "Give Away" of one "Humming Belles" starter kit, of the winner's choice!

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment at "Humming Belles" Blog under the"New Boy in the neighborhood and a Give Away!"'s as easy as that!

So pop on over to the "Humming Belles" Blog and post your comment!  On November 15th, 2011 we will put all the names in a hat and drawing the lucky winner.  Maybe it will be you???  Won't know unless you try! 

Once a winning name has been drawn, we will contact that person for their address.

Good luck to all!

Karen Anne

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Twin Horned Toad Lizards"

I have illustrated zentangle inspired salmon, flounder, crawdads, and geckos ... last week my husband asked me to create a zentangle inspired drawing featuring Horned Toad Lizards, when he was a young lad he had one as a pet and he really likes them! Well, I will tell you, this was one of the hardest drawings I have ever done! It took over two days of sketching before I finally came up with a shape that he was happy with and wow, was he ever particular! I am happy to say, we are still married!

So here you go .... Jim's "Twin Horned Toad Lizards"

Happy Day!
Karen Anne

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Surprise Came In The Mail!

Earlier this week I was having an ordinary day, sitting at my table and working on an illustration.  Danny Boy spotted the mailman, which set him off flying across the room and landing on top of the couch perch which affords him a grand view from the front room window, and he let go with his "Mailman Alarm"!  

Jim went out and gathered up the collection, and came back in with the usual amount of "Snail Mail" advertising, catalogs, sales promotions and a letter for me?!  In this day and age it is a rarity to actually receive a personal letter, it's like a surprise gift in the mail!  And it was!  It was addressed to me from my dear friend to the North, MagicLoveCrow!

I carefully opened up the letter which held one of Stacy's adorable Baby Crow cards, snugly enclosed inside where two beautiful ACEO's that she had picked out for us and sent "to make you smile!".   Well, she did just that - made us smile and turned an ordinary day into an extra special day!

Her gift was so special that I just had to share them with all of you (she said it was OK for me to do so)!   I hope these pictures make you smile too!

"Laugh" by MagicLoveCrow

"Just Married" by MagicLoveCrow

Thank you so very much special friend!
And, in Stacy's own words, "Keep On Smiling!".

Take care and may your day be happy!
Karen Anne

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Dance Of The Gecko's"

I have had numerous requests to illustrate a gecko design and this past week I finally did just that!  Here is my latest piece of art titled "Dance Of The Gecko's", hope you like it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pisces aka Two Salmon - a new zentangle inspired illustration

I have been having fun creating illustrations using zentangle inspired patterns; in this illustration I had drawn the border first, because my inspiration GPS just wasn't working. As the border was coming to completion I kept thinking of salmon (why salmon? I don't know!) so I went with this theme and the result is the drawing you see in this listing. I like the way it turned out and hope you do as well! The original drawing was done on an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper, but I have reduced it down to be able to offer it in ACEO format.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Camping Adventures With The "Humming Belles"!

The weather has been wonderful these past several weeks in the great Pacific Northwest, we have finally been blessed with summer!  Since late August we have gotten in some good camping times starting off with White River, then  to Trask River, onto Kilchis River, and ending up at Whalen Island.

On our latest excursion to Kilchis River the "Humming Belles" asked if they could tag along on our adventure.  Of course we were delighted to have their charming company and they happily made themselves all comfy in our mini-motorhome and off we all went!

When we finally arrived at our destination the little darlings took off and began exploring and found some delightful spots just perfect for having some fairy fun!

This was a magical little spot they found where two trees roots were intertwined forming a delightful area for the wee ones to climb over, under and discover wonderful hiding niches!

This was an area they chanced upon that was like a miniature forest, made just for the spirits of fun seeking little fairies.

After a day of exploring and new adventures the "Humming Belles" came trooping out of their newly found "Fairy World Forest" filled with tales of new discoveries and hidden little treasures.

Several of them wanted to help me set up my portable art studio and help me along with my latest illustration.  We had caught three cute little crawdads earlier in the day and they thought I should capture them in a drawing before returning them to their river home.

So here we are, starting a new drawing and wondering how it will progress.

We've gotten off to a nice beginning.  We have our images drawn, shaded in just a bit with colored pencils and beginning to add details.  We all agreed that zentangle inspired designs would work well in this illustration.

They drawing is beginning to take shape, the crawdads are completed and the background design and border are needing to be added.

  Here we are about half way finished with the background and border designs; we are pleased with the direction this piece has taken and are looking forward to it completion.

Finally!  The completed illustration!  We like it!
We titled this piece "Kilchis Krawdads"

We all had loads of fun on this expedition and hope you liked our sharing this time with all of you.

Happy day!
Karen Anne and the "Humming Belles"

Saturday, September 3, 2011

25% Discount in both Etsy Shops!

I'm currently offering a new 25% discount on your entire purchase (doesn't apply to shipping and handling) in both of my Etsy Shops, just use the code SALE4U in the coupon box of your order form when checking out.....
IrelandBrady Etsy Shop:
HummingBelles Etsy Shop:

Happy Day!
Karen Anne

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Great times camping result in latest drawing!

This latest drawing is titled "Rosa's Flounder". We were down at the Pacific Coast in a campsite on Whalen Island the past few days and had great weather and a wonderful time. On Monday morning the camp host, Rosa, came by and showed me her catch of the day, a beautiful flounder, which inspired this drawing. The best part, however, was when she offered to filet the fish and give it to us for dinner! Cooked up in butter with pepper, season salt and garlic powder it proved to be the best tasting fish I have ever eaten! I remarked that it tasted a bit like delicate shrimp and Rosa said it was probably because flounder feed on sand shrimp. Guess I'll have to get a fishing license for my next trip to Whalen Island!

 We spent time in the Trask River Campground in Tillamook County on Friday and Saturday and actually caught three crawdads!  We gave them back to the river the next day because three wasn't enough to cook up, boy were they happy to get back into the river!  Here are a few photos from the Trask River Campsite ....

After two days at Trask River we headed on over to Whalen Island, another Tillamook County Campground, where I set up my portable art studio and began work on "Rosa's Flounder".  Here are some of those photos ...

Another great discovery was an easy way to get hot water for washing dishes!  I took along an old roaster, filled it with water and dish soap, heated it up on the campstove and had hot water for washing!  Yes!  An added benefit is the lid keeps out bugs and pine needles.  Then I use a 5 gallon water dispenser to rinse the dishes, really makes cleaning up a breeze!

And, if you ever want the BEST camp stove that heats up water in a jiffy ... get yourself a Stansport!  It is almost as good as my domesticated restaurant gas stove at home!

We have found another Tillamook County camp ground we want to check out, it is called Kilchis River Campground.  If the weather holds up, maybe we can get over there sometime in early September, who knows, maybe we'll catch some crawdads over there???
Would be nice to catch enough for a small spiced crawdad feast with melted garlic butter!

Happy camping!
Karen Anne