Friday, December 8, 2017


Time spent with animals is never wasted!!

I've written about the subject of photographing your animals before but it bears repeating. To see my first post on this subject click here. And I'll say it again, I couldn't create great portraits if I didn't have great reference photos! I know it's not easy but it's not impossible either...and can be a really fun time with your pet!!

You don't have to have special equipment but if you have a good camera, pull it out and dust it off! Never use your flash tho, instead get your pet outside in natural morning light. If that's not possible then in the brightest room you have.

Do your best to focus in on their eyes...get at or below their eye level. This adds an intimacy to your portrait and captures the soul of your sweet animal.

Also think about what it is that sets your pet apart from others...or what is unique to their personality. For my cat Shortie, when he sleeps or sees me he tilts his head a certain way.

And don't take just one photo and call it done...I can easily take 50 shots at one time, then whittle it down to 1 or 2 really great shots. Set up a few sessions to catch them in different moods. And above all be patient with both your pet and yourself.

Try these few tips and see if you just can't get that perfect shot off!!

Thursday, September 7, 2017


"Nature goes about her quiet business and brings us greatest pleasure.” 

Hiding in Plain Sight (c)2017 13.5x5.75

Bob Scratchit is my latest colored pencil drawing I created for an upcoming western show.

The photograph I worked from is credited to Corina Roberts, a wonderful photographer that lives higher up in the mountain from my small home. She had posted a few photos on Facebook shortly after my own encounter with a bobcat. 

On our way up the hiking trail that day my dog Josie excitedly ran over to a tall knotty pine tree. I just assumed she was chasing a squirrel up the tree, but to my utter astonishment it was a bobcat not a squirrel in that tree! The first bobcat I had ever seen in the wild!! Josie and I hung there...about 4 feet away for at least 10 minutes or more watching and chatting with him. He just laid there, as he is in my drawing until some other people jabbering obliviously away scared him off his comfy branch. Unfortunately I had left my camera at home that day so I only had my memory of the encounter to remind me of that amazing experience until I saw Corina's photograph, which she so kindly gave me permission to use.

The entire time I was drawing Bob I felt like I was reliving that unforgettable 10 minutes with my sweet pup!!

The pine tree where Josie and I encountered the bobcat.

My beautiful dog Josie farther up the hiking trail

The hiking trail in Angeles Crest National forest

Bob's progress collage, drawn in Polychromos, Pablos and Luminance colored pencils on Stonehenge paper.

I did not get a full stamp of approval from Dakota this time!!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Where there is no struggle, there is no strength. 

~Oprah Winfrey~

Alley Cat (c)2017 Polychromos and Pablo on Stonehenge 8x10

I have to confess that drawing Alley Cat was a struggle. I started her over 3 times! I really don't know what happened, it was a first for me...and made me question myself and my art. All I can think of is I didn't have the right colors to begin with and that super threw me off. But I also couldn't quite see the colors correctly, or decide exactly which colors to use. It was soo weird. I know this summer I was struggling personally with finances... I had a lot of unexpected expenses and little savings to cover them. I'm also very exhausted these past few years from working 70 hour weeks between my full time job and working on my art business...fueled most days only by caffeine! Sometimes the weight of responsibility can weigh very heavily on me...and my to do list is really long!! Most don't see any of this tho as I wear my super woman armor around...but when my water heater went out on the same day as my car was at the mechanics for the third time within 2 months and the plumber messed up the handles in my shower and didn't tell me...all my cracks broke wide open and the flood gates parted!! I was pretty much a hot mess that morning! But that released something deep inside of me that I was clearly holding in. 

Everything has been paid for now, my new drawing of Bob Scratchit is going so easily, the pressure that had built up for months is gone and I am feeling centered-in alignment-again. Phew! I can breathe again. I don't think I'll ever have all my shit together, altho it may look like it on the outside...everything ebbs and flows...that's life. It's how we handle it...I use humor, drawing, my animals and nature to help get me through the hard times. 

When I see certain drawings of mine through the years, memories flood in...Alley Cat will be like that...that I went through a period of struggle, I consciously worked to released it and life went back to normal...actually better than normal. I know I am blessed and VERY grateful for my wonderful life...this portrait will always remind me of that!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hoarding disorder

In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.

Birds Eye View by Kathryn Hansen (c)2017 10x13.5

These red-capped acorn hoarders live in the ancient oaks in my charming little city nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains north of LA. 
I can easily spot them in the winter months perched in bare treetops. 

There's even a granery tree on the hiking path I frequent that is just riddled with acorn-filled holes up and down the trunk.
Besides their parrot like squawks giving them away, the steady drumming on the trees echo through the trails as well.
They are one of my favorite birds to see and hear out in nature!
 This drawing is Dakota approved! 👍

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I'm All Ears

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
~Jane Goodall~
I'm All Ears   (c)2017   10x13.5   Sold

We immediately met this giant fellow when we arrived at the "Elephant Bedroom Camp," which is located on the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro river in Samburu Kenya.  They loved our president at that time, so they named this resident elephant Obama! To the dismay of the establishment, guards and workers we got a little too close for their comfort, so they had to frantically wave fallen palm fronds to keep him back while we snapped a few photos then retreated to the safety of the lodge.

Once common throughout Africa, elephants have been severely depleted due largely to the massive ivory trade as well as habitat destruction. To help, you can contact your local representatives and express your support of the international ban on ivory trading. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Crown

The Crown (c)2017  9.5x7.5  $900 colored pencil

Sometime around 1875  Elias J “Lucky” Baldwin brought over from India a modest number of peafowl for his ranch in Arcadia.  After he passed away his daughter sold off the ranch to the state of California and Los Angeles county, which together bought 111 acres. The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden was then created and is an official wildlife sanctuary with some 250 different species strutting the grounds of the arboretum!

I love seeing these residents every time I visit the arboretum, and no matter how many times I have seen them through the years,  it's still thrilling!!

 Come out to the LA Arboretum and Garden in Arcadia, CA on March 25th for Peacock Day!! The Pasadena Society of Artists Peacock Exhibition is in the library with the reception from 5-7pm


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