Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Finished Palette

I finally finished!

My senior year I wrote a children's book about the youth of Karol Wojtyla, who came to be Pope John Paul the II. He was my childhood Papa and I loved him. His warmth seemed so effortless I wondered if he was naturally affable or became so as he went along his life. It wasn't until after his death that my admiration for him became personal and passionate, as I researched his life and heard the witness of those that knew him well. He was a man who's heart beat for the Lord and this project is a tribute to him because his life is a testimony of how Jesus works through the most desperate times in our lives if we would only take up our cross and follow him.

'Lolek' was JPII's nickname as a child and this entire story, although for children is meant to evoke the beauty, the pain and new life found in Christ's most merciful passion through the experiences of a boy living during WWII and the communist reign that followed or at least I hope it does! I'm trying to keep it very poetic and natural . You'll let me know if I did a good job once I'm able to get it published... somewhere. I'm working on it.

Presents for the Fam

Admittedly I'm both on cloud 9 and exhausted after a couple of weeks of trying to get his done, shopping, wrapping and still managing to the make the Advent Retreat- amazing!- and preparing to see my extended family in Mexico. I haven't seen them in 2 years and I'm about to pop.

Safe travels!



‎"True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather, it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life..."-jpii

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Blue Project


Every Saturday I get together with a group of young adults called Young Heralds of Pauline Evangelization (yHope) –apparently all the short simple names were taken by the 6th century- to celebrate Jesus and to strengthen each other so we can proclaim the Gospel, particularly through media. We’re going on a day retreat somewhere in Maine to celebrate Advent. Fr. Mike, who helps coordinate this whole thing, asked us for our favorite colors. Why? No one had any idea, but I chose blue. This morning I got an e-mail explaining what my color choice would entail.

The color blue, in this case, represents harmony; order and equilibrium in everything and I’ve been challenged to live out harmony in Christ and his Church this week.

“Whoever receives this color must try to internalize order in all that he/she does: put order in his/her bedroom, study, at work and at meals, as well as order in the personal life, thoughts, attitudes, conscience, way of dressing, cleanliness, etc”

How ironic since last week was so terribly unharmonious for me. I forgot to go to Mass to celebrate the Immaculate Conception on Wednesday, I’ve been putting off finishing a novena, my apartment was rather a mess, I skipped the gym several times, I ran out of clean clothing, I’ve been distracted at work and my mind has been cluttered with anything but God’s incredible love.

I don’t know if Fr. Mike knows I have a soft spot for creative projects involving COLORS and GOD, but The Lord does and it’s very sweet of him to send me this so that getting back on the horse won’t be too painful. What’s more I’m supposed to talk about my experience on the retreat so I think it is especially important for me to recount my successes and blunders this week. It’s going to be interesting.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lolek- Cover Line Art and Color Studies

Hello Friends!

This is so exciting! I can believe I'm actually going back into the children's book I wrote back at RISD my senior year.

This little book is about Lolek or Pope John Paul II when he was a boy. I hope you all enjoy this journey with me as I rehash this project so I can send it out to potential publishers. For now, here is the line art and color studies I am using for the final cover art.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Inferiority Complex, The Devil and God

I have yet to meet somebody whom at some point of his or her life has not tried to compensate for qualities he or she is lacking. For my entire life I have used my facility in the arts to boost the self-esteem that was slowly depleted as I realized I couldn’t compete for praise in other areas. First I realized that I wasn’t society’s ideal of physical beauty, so as I covered up my thighs and looked at my nose in the mirror, I thought at least I can draw. In middle school I was top of my class without even trying, but throughout High school and college excelling in academics became harder and harder, until every so often I felt dumb. I felt awkward at large parties; I had no idea how popular people enraptured an audience. But still I told myself at least I can paint. When all my cousins and friends began to have steady boyfriends and get married, I’d think, I’ve been gifted; I can draw.

So as you can expect the days when I couldn’t quite paint what I wanted and “worse” when the very ideas and worlds I wanted to convey were done more beautifully and effortlessly by close friends of mine, I felt very, very small. I dreaded being compared, I dreaded being glanced over. I dreaded having nothing to offer. At that moment I felt ugly, dumb, unloved, and not good enough. And worse I felt sorry for myself. I had all the comforts in the world, but I felt empty. On top of it all I was ungrateful. I hated myself.


It is a terribly thing to be caught in so great a lie. The devil, I am convinced, loves using small insecurities to create obsessions over things that are lies. For in fact I am not the most beautiful, but often people remark that I am pretty. I might not be able to debate with great wit and write with ease, but I’m most certainly not dumb. I might not have a boyfriend, but I feel truly loved by others. And yes, I’m not the best artist, but I’m pretty darn good.

How is it then that every once in a while I found myself in a deep well of insecurity, feeling so small like I had nothing to offer?

Well, there are several ways to get to that awful place and I’m going to tell you my theories. I’m pretty sure I’m right. The lies you believe might be different, but maybe you’ve experienced something similar.

The Devil lost me long ago, but he is still around looking at any moment to get me back. He is not an idiot he knows that I’m no longer (usually) drawn into serious sin when I am weak, so he has to take a few extra steps. He’s crossed off a few choices that he can’t coax me into anymore, because I know they won’t make me happy. I know they’re sugarcoated poison. But I’m still sensitive and often insecure and that’s all he needs to work with.

The key for the evil one’s plan is now even subtler. He will make me believe that by pursuing and fulfilling the ideals of beauty, fame, intelligence, popularity and romance I will become a whole and worthy person. Only then will this insecurity fade. After all, wanting to be attractive, acknowledged, smart and well liked aren’t bad things. The word ‘sin’ doesn’t immediately come to mind…

In retrospect, I realize that I’ve been coaxed and that I’ve listened.

…So go my dear, pursue these things for look at yourself, young men are now used to looking upon perfect women, you wouldn’t want to disappoint. Nobody will every take you seriously if you can’t match their knowledge of history, and look how alone you felt during all those parties, better work on that too. It is wise for you to worry about the future; you don’t want to come home to an empty house every night, do you? Now, don’t look so sad my dear, at least you are doing well with your art, but isn’t it too bad that you are still second-rate. Oh I know you get plenty of praise, but you’re still just not there. Just compare yourself. Compare yourself.

Now where is My Lord and My God in all of this?
He is waiting for my ear and heart to turn His Way and ask two very important questions. “Who am I?” and then, “What do you want of me?”.

But until I ask those questions, I find myself trying to get out of that spiral by devising plans to achieve all those goals. And the Devil is gleeful, because I have forgotten who I am and the God who loves me. These goals will never be achieved because there is always something more to covet. His lie is alive.

I know this sounds silly. But I have many friends who start tearing up because they think they don’t look good in a bathing suit, or because they are not talented enough, or smart enough. As the outsider and the friend you think they’re crazy! They’re so valuable and kind and creative. What are they talking about? You might think it’s a good idea to slap them out of such on obvious falsehood. It’s always obvious when it’s someone else.

The longer you persist in conversation with the evil one the harder it is to stop. But STOP, and turn your eyes to the heavens and call out to Jesus and ask Him, “Who am I?”And He’ll say quick and loud as thunder, “ You are my beloved daughter”, “You are my beloved son”. Then ask, “What is it you want of me?” And He’ll say, in some way or another, “Your heart; all that you are. Be perfect as my Father in heaven is perfect.”

Stay with Him there.

In that quiet I’ve seen my true self as God’s beloved daughter called to true goodness, to true perfection. Perfect looks so different in God’s eyes, and is so much more exciting!

Do not be afraid to ask! Ask often, I forget all the time.

Most people think that if they give their hearts to God they will have to forget about everything else, but the truth is once you put your confidence in God and not in yourself and what others say you must be going about your life becomes joyful, because your are no longer on an anxious pursuit to become worthy of love. Living with God is living in reality; a land of truth where all the smallest lies are brought into the light.


The pursuit of SELF-esteem is a distorted, winding journey, because truly we are looking for confidence in something perfect that can’t be ourselves because we are flawed. We inevitably fall into either arrogance: believing we are more than we are or self-loathing: believing we are less than we are. No wonder humility is so hard to come by and so highly prized. The humble man is so calm, so unshaken by the affairs of the world and the whispers he might hear. The humble man knows who he is and what is expected of him. He only weeps when God weeps.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Find The Light

Another little thumbnail to keep me going while I do bigger projects. I like the color, but the composition... meh. Anytime I draw something on a wacom I give up too early.

~ My Reading List ~


Graceling by Kristin Cashore

A fantasy novel about a young girl and prince with very special talents. The writing was fair, but the author lost me when the female character decided that simply having relations with her prince and never marrying him was ok and never changed her mind. Not that I ever expect protagonists to be perfect or to emulate my own faith or morality, but I usually want to rally for my princess's hopes and needs. However, despite this there was an amazing set of chapters where Kasta, the main character, keeps a little girl alive while taking her across a mountain passage. That was thrilling and courageous and lovely.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

I listened to this retelling of a fairytale on It was a fantastic experience. I've read several other similar stories but I enjoyed this one abundantly. It needed a few more jokes, but other than that I liked it.

In the middle of:

Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila

This book was written to help Teresa's fellow sisters persevere in prayer and in the spiritual life. She gives very vivid descriptions of a person's journey into the depths of the soul in search of the Beloved. She uses the visual of aid of a castle and its many rooms to describe a person's progress, trials and joys. It is very good and not only because there is a castle involved.

Catholic Christianity by Peter Kreeft

I started this book ages ago. Kreeft helps explain the basic premises of the Catholic faith in a logical and lively manner. This is the kind of book where you can read a chapter here and there depending on your interest but I find that reading it all the way through is the most enriching. Kreeft has a particular talent in breaking down seemingly difficult ideas in to clear concepts.

Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

A cute little fairytale book, obviously geared to a slightly younger audience that Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. The language is a little simpler and a bit too 'cool' for my taste, but again I have soft spot for these kinds of books and I've been carrying it with me everywhere.

Friday, November 12, 2010

All The Reasons Why I'd Make a Terrible Nun

The other day during a Non-Harassment Seminar at work I was doodling (and listening at the same time!) and I began to think, wow, sisters and nuns with habits wear the same thing their entire lives! I asked myself if I could ever manage to do such a thing. Blue is my favorite color, I could probably stand to wear blue everyday for a very long time, I thought. So I began to sketch out a habit I could potentially see myself wearing forever until the day I died. The sketch that came out is the one on the left. Of course, I'd need a work day outfit with fewer layers so I fashioned another one right after in brighter colors. I'd be out in the sun, I imagined, so yellow would be perfect, and you know patterns are so cheerful I'll add some on the hem, as long as they hold some meaning to the Christian life I'm sure it would be ok.

Almost immediately, I came out of my silly daydream and laughed. I wanted to be a pretty, well-dressed nun! I have this immediate desire to want to beautify everything, which is not a bad thing, but habits are modest and practical for a reason. My little daydream was pure fantasy although it wasn't just composed of me having an awesome habit. Some of my core desires would have to change if I ever was called to the religious life, which I've always been ok with. I don't feel guilty that my desires haven't changed. These silly little day dreams are however a testament at how beautifully some of these sisters and brothers I've met live out their lives. Their testimonies do tempt me in a small ways to force my desires to change so I can live as they do, but I know it's not necessary because the Lord will call me to my own path and that path will be laid out especially for me because He knows best how to lead me on the road of sanctification.

More reasons I'd make a terrible nun:

a) Often, unfortunately, I think, ‘Ok, after I pray and meditate the Rosary, I can finish reading the end of my fantasy novel!!... Crap, I'm more excited about this silly novel than I am about spending some time with the Lord, man I suck...'
b) Bad circulation... too much kneeling makes me cry. Often I have to spend my prayer time with my legs propped up on some pillows so I'm not distracted by my legs complaining.
c) To my personal disdain, I'm more romantic than most, hence the love of fairytale based novels. I'm sure I'd forget myself if I saw a cute boy. I'd check to see if my hair looked ok and then I'd remember that I'm wearing a veil and that I'm a nun and that no you can't go to the ball with him.
d) I'd get kicked out like Maria Von Trapp for sneaking an afternoon in the mountains. Once in a while I get this spontaneous desire to disappear and go on an adventure.

And this is where my post crazy-day ramble ends.

Have a lovely day. For real.


20 Free Minutes

There has been no personal artwork of late so here is a quick sketch I did before leaving work the other day.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quick Link To LIFETEEN

Hey Peeps! Ever wonder about all the saint stuff Catholics believe in and practice? Take a trip to LIFETEEN to learn about it :D

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where Do I Walk?

I love 'The Thin Line of Sanctity'. It is very thin. Pray for prudence; pray to be a good listener because often time we can’t quite see where that line is. It’s hard to walk on an invisible tight rope without someone leading you. And when you think you can do it all by yourself you're blind without even knowing it, which means it's time to pray. Ask for His Hand always and forever.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

While I start something new...

Here are a couple of my more recent illustrations. They are both meant to be Faux Bookcovers to show clients my art style and design capabilities. I drew them both in pencil and finished them off in watercolor. I did add in a few elements like the snow digitally.

'The Goose Girl' and 'The Twelve Months' are two of my favorite fairytales.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Catholic Geek: Linda Russo

Here's my friend Linda's list of geeky catholic moments. My comments are in purple.

You would be more excited and star-struck to meet Lino Rulli over Howard Stern.
Seeing as I had to look up who Howard Stern was in the first place I have to say I would be more excited to meet Lino too. He has kept me company several times when I drive in to work in the mornings.

You look at a full moon and think of the Eucharist.
Love it.

You read the abbreviation "St" and think of "saint", not "street".

When you see a CD with the letters "DRE" written on it, and instead of the hip-hop artist, you think "Director of Religious Education".
Hahahaha, Linda, I think you have just stepped over into nerd territory.

Fridays in Lent are challenging. (As they should be.)
Ash Wednesday is absolutely my favorite, some how I relish the dread/joy I get when I know somebody is about to ask me what the heck is up with my forehead. At work we get free donuts on Wednesdays, so I have to explain while they are chewing on a delicious donut as well.

You're appalled when friends have birthday parties on Good Friday (though, admittedly, it's tough being a Lent baby).

When traveling, it's exciting trying to find the local Catholic church to attend.
This is hands down one of my favorite things about planning a trip. I also like to go in to every church I see if I am exploring a new town or city.

It's annoying, when text messaging, if your phone's predictive text feature takes FOREVER to supply the ackronyms "Fr" or "Sr" when typing the name of a priest or nun.

- Thanks Linda for your contribution!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Walking for Lives

This Sunday I participated in my first walk for any cause whatever. For most of my adult life I’ve understood intellectually the tragedy of abortion, but it wasn’t until recently that my heart began to ache for the women and babies that cry out for help every single day in this country.

Jennifer Fulwiler* speaks very beautifully about her conversion from being a pro-choice activist to being a pro-life advocate. I appreciate her sensitivity and love towards young women. She gives several insights that I hadn’t thought of before and for anybody wrestling with these issues this is a very good place to begin unravel the true nature of what we call ‘abortion’. To listen to what she has to say go to

Jennifer Fulwiler writes @ and is a smart, funny, Christian writer who always brightens my day when she has a new entry.

The Catholic Geek

You know you’re a Catholic GEEK when:

1) You get home at 3am on a Friday night because you went to Mass and decided to stay and chat with a girlfriend about God, chastity, and how Cardinal Sean’s* voice is so deep he sounds like Santa Claus.

2) 4th of July Fireworks make you think of Pentecost.

3) You know where the ‘religious’ section is in every Barnes and Nobles in your area.

4) You have Pope John Paul II as your desktop background.

5) You look for a “Which kind of religious sister or nun would you be?” Quiz on the Internet and upon finding none, get exasperated because the Internet isn’t meeting your entertainment needs. *


*P.S. Cardinal Sean O'Malley is a blogger. Visit his site @

*In response to my no response on the interwebs I will make a quiz shortly.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

★ Movie, Music & Game Review ★

Legend of Ga’Hoole: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

★ 1/2

A.K.A The Owl Movie. This film feels exactly like living your favorite fantasy novel you read as a kid; it might not win the Pulitzer but it makes you happy. The visual aspect of the movie is breathtaking, but I feel the film could have used six more months of polish time. A clearer direction and better pacing would have helped, as well as a more restrained use of slow motion. However, if you enjoy adventure, brave animals going into serious battle and a movie with a big heart (and OWLS!!) The Legend of Ga’Hoole is worth your pennies at the box office.

Hmm... and I can quite decide if an Owl City pop song can live alongside a Lord of the Rings wannabe score...

Florence and the Machine

Amazing. Beautiful. Fantastic.

Listen to these and judge for yourself!

Disney Fairies @

Disney Fairies online now offers a new gaming experience. You create your fairy character and explore the world of Pixie Hollow where the fairies live. Although it is obviously geared to kids 13 and under, I am “proud” to announce that I’m experiencing my first gaming “addiction”. I work in the gaming industry so this is monumental. I never quite understood how people would want to spend hours a day gaining achievements in an imaginary world. Scratch that, I never understood how on earth it could become an addiction. Now, I have to make sure that I stay in the ‘I play only an hour a day at most’ zone.

I love the Bubble Bounce Game!

The graphics are extremely beautiful, and as an artist I am grateful for that. I personally have trouble investing myself in a world that I don’t find aesthetically pleasing in some way. All the little assets in the game are well considered, sometimes even above the visual bar that is standard for kids’ games. I highly recommend this!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Late Night

I never went to Catholic School, except for that brief period in first grade before my parents began dragging me around the world, but I have had the privilege of being fed by a number sisters and nuns in the past few years.

St. Therese of Lisieux was a French Carmelite nun who died at only 24. She wrote a beautiful book called, 'The Story of a Soul'. It was her autobiography and it spoke of her thirst and desire to be completely poured out for the love of Jesus. Pope John Paul the Second declared her a Doctor of the Universal Church. One in three women have been given that honor. She called her life with Jesus her little way because there was nothing grand or prestigious about her approach to a life of sanctity.

This color sketch I did the other night did not necessarily spring from deep reflection about the lives of religious sisters, however I find their lives to be a bold statement and it makes me excited to depict them!

... And their habits have a great graphic quality, which makes them wonderful to paint.


Fun Fact

A 'nun' is different from a 'religious sister'. A 'nun' is a type of 'religious sister'. What someone is is dependent on the vows she takes and the type of community life she enters into. But don't worry about offending anyone, any religious sister will be happy to let you know if she is a nun and why or why not.


Monday, September 20, 2010

St. Joseph and The Little Lamb

This St. Joseph painting was a late night personal project that I did after work in about three days. Fr. John Gerth* was quick to point out that Joseph would never wear this, but I just shouted back indignantly at him, "It's symbolic!" And then he pointed out that he was a little huge... "It's symbolic!" I said my face red with frustration... (This memory is really funny if I pretend to be mad in it, but I wasn't very, alas.)

I'll take you through a short version of my step by step process to getting this kind of effect, but there are no fancy secrets. (You have to know basic Photoshop to understand this, but if you have a question feel free to ask me.)

1) I made a pencil drawing in my sketch book, keeping in mind my main the simple concept of St. Joseph being a protector of Little Jesus.

2) I scanned it and imported into Photoshop and put the drawing on MULTIPLY.

3) I colored in all the different sections of the drawing with a 100% opacity basic brush. The colors aren't the exact ones I used but enough so I had an idea of what color everything was.

4)Then I went to town and just played with lighting so I knew what I'd be working with. Again, the colors didn't have to be perfect but quick so I could get many different variations in a short period of time to pick from.

5) After that I began my "finish" mode. I gave the ground colors texture with a gritty brush and varying colors, all the while refining my color decisions.

6) I then built up the light from the different directions I had chosen. It's best to vary the color of different light sources (warmer or cooler).

I don't follow exact step by step methods very well, I like jumping around as I see things that need to be addressed. Don't be afraid to play around and mess up (I hate messing up, it hurts my fat pride), but it's the best way to learn new skills.

Hope this was even slightly helpful!


*Fr. J is a cool priest better known through

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The First

Hey Peeps,

Welcome to my new blog project! I hope you have fun browsing and looking at whatever interests you most. You can expect posts related to my faith and art life, but many other random things as well.
The joys and sorrows along the path of Jesus Christ are many and funny things happen sometimes. The other day a co-worker came up to me and said, "So you're like hard-core Catholic right?" and I said, "Well, I suppose." (I think we had different definitions of what hard-core means, I think "super-saintly" like Mother Theresa and I think he really just meant, "you believe in all that stuff.") Anyways, we talked about that for a while and then he said with eyes lit up with fascination, "You're like an anomaly, you know that?" To which I responded, "I suppose." Again, I think of people who are way more Christ-like than me, but I think he meant I was an alien from mars. I couldn't help but laugh to myself the rest of the day. Being Catholic is colorful to say the least.

Now get off the internet and do something awesome!