At left is a new card coming out this spring from Calypso Cards. Shown is front view to the left and back view below. A variety of butterscotch, saffron, and lemony hues. Various fresh flowers were photographed to get the final renderings here - sunflowers and zinnias, mainly.  I create my illustrations with a recipe that I make up as I go along (I cook the same way) but it starts with beautiful flowers that were recently alive, and kissed with sunlight, and lovingly tended. I choose my favorites (often from my sister's farm - you'll find numerous posts throughout this blog about the farm), cut them and style them for their portraits - always in natural light. Next, Ken, sets up his camera and snaps away while I turn the flowers this way and that, sometimes adding fabric or other elements for texture and color.

Then, into the digital darkroom I go to see what magic I might conjure, what new 'recipes' I might experiment with. Once I have done some re-imagining, sketched an idea for an illustration, perhaps, or fleshed out some individual flowers, I'll leave them all to sit for awhile. Later, I'll be working on a grey winter day and rediscover these summer flowers, still glowing and carrying the radiance of their original life in FULL BLOOM. The full power of their original loveliness never dims in my memory, and when I work on an illustration that is what I am trying to share.

I'm completely in love with the idea of FULL BLOOM lately. It's about falling into the embrace of a vibrant, magical world, and loving just about everything the world is offering you. It's about the wisdom and trust that comes from knowing who you are. Living life with your heart wide open.

Knowing what you know now and feeling the confidence that comes with that. 

Feeling your own beauty filling you from the inside out. Yes, it's about the confidence you feel because you're seasoned and wise and know the secrets and mystery and magic of being a woman who loves herself, who is filled and whole. That's FULL BLOOM. Full beauty, full love, full wisdom. FILLED.

Above is another new piece designed as a layout for a card. What you see is the full flat card front and back. The vertical back panel says, "It takes a fierce optimism to blossom your dreams. May the fierce be with you". On the front:

"From fragile seed to splendid bloom