Send Love Letters – Don’t Wait


I am spending glorious time in the studio making mixed media cards and I can’t stop! Consequently I need to get rid of them…don’t I? My little card shelf is full!

I have a new sales site where they are mostly all listed. penzart.square.site

These are a few new ones but as you can see I’ve kind of gotten into it.

Send someone a love you letter! Then tell them to wear a mask so you can continue to love them! Support the USPS before it’s too late!

I Didn’t Write the Book, but…


…I did the illustrations! I worked last year with a constitutional lawyer/teacher/tv pundit. She wrote the ultimate guide to voting that everyone should read today regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. Even as I have voted all my life, I found so much in the book that I didn’t know. I don’t read much non-fiction but this one is a must. It’s a quick, easy read but so informative!

In an article in the Wash.Post the writer added that the illustrations were amusing. (that would be me :)). I’m also going to take credit when another famous pundit said the book was entertaining. I didn’t get cover credit but I did get mentioned on the inside with a copyright. A great first for a lowly unpublished artist – that would be me too.

The only disappointing thing was the size of the drawings, the paper it was printed on, and the drawings had originally been done in color (as directed) but was printed in b&w. Having said that, it was fun job and I learned a lot!

The written content of the book however, once again, is worth it!

Sample illustrations:

Who knew that registration might not stick? We just pre-registered for an absentee ballot for this November. If you’re in the states, do it!

To Group or Not


I’ve never been much of a group person. In fact one time I almost turned and ran in the other direction when I had to take college classes (on-line) with a bunch of other people. If I didn’t have to share my opinion or my work that would be one thing, but they wanted me to be a people person and participate with enthusiasm. Why does everyone want you to be a people person? I swear the world is run by extroverts. They want you to belong to a group and not only contribute but do it with gusto!

Obviously I’m an introvert and that’s just a small part of my introvert/extrovert rant, but thank you for listening. However, now that I’m semi-retired, I have started wondering if there would be a benefit for me to be in a group. Mostly because “they” (the experts who are probably all extroverts)keep saying you live a better, fuller, longer and healthier life if you have friends to engage with. So, I thought I would at least look into it. It would be my anthropological study (that’s’ how I was told to get through life as an introvert). Sit there, study everyone else, speak only when approached but do it with a big friendly smile. No one will know there’s terrified shy person lurking inside.

The New More Odoriferous Me


Can I tell you a thrilling aspect of corona induced isolation that you might not have considered?

Two pieces of background you need to understand the thrill. First, you have to know that for decades I’ve worked as makeup artist in film and television. Second, to understand my perspective you would either have to be a woman, a tv reporter, tv correspondent, an actor, or a television pundit.

Ladies first: Have you ever gotten your makeup done at a department store and your artist smelled like he or she had eaten a pile of Roquefort cheese from the compost pile? No. The answer is no you have not! They are a scrubbed cleaned and polished lot, always hyper aware of their personal hygiene, their appearance, smile, and whether there is any possibility of emitting offensive odors. It’s a thing. This is for obvious reasons especially so we don’t turn off any current or potential clients because of a slight miscalculation from a night of pungent odor producing debauchery. Before work it’s an intense workout of showering, and the heavy lifting all the various personal cleaning products needed for the kind of clean, freshness required to be in close proximity with others.

So imagine this; for the last 40 some years in tv and film I was one of those conscientious stylists. Out of respect for my guests (sometimes called victims – playfully of course) I wouldn’t eat garlic for dinner the night before or heaven forbid at lunch during a shoot! And if I did happen to eat the pungent herb(bulb, vegetable?) during the week, or a Sunday night, I would apologize profusely the next day as I did someone’s makeup at arm’s length (hard to do). I’d lightheartedly say, “I’m sorry, pardon my garlic hang-over.” They would laugh and say: oh I don’t smell a thing, but that would be because I would be holding my breath in between eyelash applications.

Now for the first time in decades because of isolation, I am using far less products, mostly just soap, shampoo, modest amounts of deodorant and…fanfare please…I can freely eat as much garlic as I want!!! I’m so excited for the first time in years I can really reek and I don’t have to apologize!!!  

I never thought about this before but now I can eat garlic anytime I want because of current mask-wearing-etiquette. My clients will think I’m just being politically correct! Genius, thank you covid 19, you just made a huge change in my life, that is if I ever get my job back.

The Pimple and the Plague


A weird thing has been happening since staying home to avoid the corona virus. In my effort to not angst about the spread, I’ve strangely stopped caring too much about my appearance, maybe just to have one less thing to worry about. This might be partially fueled by the giant pimples I keep getting at the end of my nose. One goes away and another appears. What’s up with that? Who did I wrong in a past life to get end-of-nose-pimples at age 63? Continue reading

Splotch and Sketch


Love splotching paint and then seeing what comes out of it.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?


It all began on a farm hundreds of years ago miles from town. There was the farmer, his barn and workshop, the chicken coop, and his chickens.

One cloudy day in the summer while feeding the chickens, the farmer looked at the sky and said, “Glad it’s going to rain today, the fields are dry.”

One chicken heard the farmer and was taken with the sound of his voice. She cooed and clucked along as the farmer spoke. Indeed, she loved the sounds of the farmer’s voice so much that from then on, she would travel from the hen house each morning to the farmer’s house just to hear the farmer talk about the weather.

The farmer enjoyed the routine too. Each morning he’d go outside, and wait for the chicken to make her way from the hen house. It was quite a distance, but she made it every day. The farmer would then talk about the weather and the chicken would coo and cluck along.  After the weather report the chicken would make her way back to the hen house where she would go about her daily job of pecking and cleaning.

After so many years of this routine, a very clear path was worn from the hen house to the farmer’s house. When the farmer went to get the eggs each morning, he would also use the chicken’s path, and eventually the path became the main trail leading past the barn to the hen house.

Eventually, other families joined the farmer each bringing their own skills. One family rented the farmer’s workshop to fix wagons, and with time, the wagon repair shop became the busiest part of the farm. The wagons would roll up to the workshop just behind the main house. Once repaired, the wagons pulled passed the front of the farmer’s house and went on their way back to town. Eventually, a path even larger than the chicken’s path was created around the farm house by the wagons. That path soon became the main road running through the property. With wagons going this way and that, it was clearly the wagon’s road that crossed right over the chicken’s path, not the other way around!

So you see, the question “Why did the chicken cross the road?” should never have been asked.  After all, it was the road that crossed the chicken’s path. All this time the chicken has been wrongly flagged. It’s a classic example of prejudicial gender targeting and ethnic profiling! If it had been a rooster’s path, there never would have been a road in the first place. The wagons would have been re-directed by the rooster with a toll collected by the hens. The rooster crowing at the top of his lungs, would then declare himself an expert urban planner and get paid double whatever measly sum the chicken gets paid.

Riddle solved!

Art, Books, Art!


Great Falls Va. has a community of artists and crafts people. My table will have hand-painted cards, all my kids books (five now and counting) watercolors and a few mixed-media/embroideries (sounds complicated but it works!) Here is an example:

Love to see you there if you’re in the area. Not sure which building I’ll be in but enjoy it all!!

Kids Book #3


This book is an easy reader. I really don’t know if they are any good or not but I loved doing it! My stories don’t have a lot of conflict and definitely no violence. They are just for fun. I think my excitement at finishing this one is with the illustrations. I’m beginning to feel a little more competent as an illustrator. It doesn’t come easily for me but here we go!

Amazon has them:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=penny+ross+burk&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Looking for Spring


On my daily walks with our dog, I saw some crocuses. Spring is just around the corner. So fun when all the color bursts out of the ground and from the trees! It made me want to do a loose, free painting.

I liked that one so much I did another!

I love just swinging the brush around!! Splash, swipe, sketch, sketch….voila!!

Painful Self Promotion


I am trying to learn self-promotion. First question: how do I know I’m good enough to promote myself? Originally the point was to get rid of art that I call closet stuffers, or insulation. But, silly me, I doing the whole social media thing with digital downloads which doesn’t help get rid of anything! So again, why bother? I hate to say it but maybe I need the acknowledgment, or social acceptance? Would I go as far as to say I need praise? Jeez – pathetic.

The process to me is so far from the artistic process that it becomes cumbersome. Like the sizing and editing of prints in photoshop – pixels, inches, resolution etc. Yet here I am putting my silly little paintings (cartoon-ish looking animals) on Etsy, and Pinterest while promoting them on Instagram. Nauseating somehow, but necessary. Wait, why is it necessary? I can’t imagine that I can make a living off my goofy little digital downloads. This all must be in the hopes that people (publishers) might explore further and buy (want to publish) a book or two? Yes, I do write fiction.

Well, here’s a glimpse of the goofiness:

Weird, jelly fish looking monster having a bad hair day.
Bad Hair Day https://www.etsy.com/listing/686075793/digital-watercolor-crazy-hair-person?ref=shop_home_active_3

Illustrations for my book


I’ve been working on and off on this book for months. Maybe it’s been a year or more, I’ve lost track. In any case, I have the bulk of it done but can’t help but add and subtract pictures. My husband, desperately trying to learn In-design, cringes every time I want to make a change. I’m so sorry, really I am.

The book is an easy reader, for ages 7 to 9. Most of the time publishers don’t want illustrations for that age or if they do, drawings are simple. Since I haven’t found an agent or publisher, I’m doing this on my own and not paying attention to publishing guidelines (standard me behavior).

Here is the problem. I started with a picture like the one below. At first making a simple magnifying glass, then deciding I could make it a little more interesting. And so it goes…one picture after the other.

What that means is that, if nothing else I’m enjoying the process.

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Lessons From the Art Studio Tour


I’m so honored when friends stop in to support me at the art show and say hello. But boy am I uncomfortable selling my art to them. Don’t you give stuff to friends? I love my friends and want to give to them, not take their money. . It’s the way I give gifts, which I don’t otherwise give. I really suck at gift giving. So this is really perfect…isn’t it? They pick out what they like, I give it to them – everyone’s happy!! When I explain that, the thought and sentiment behind it, is brushed off.

Then to top it off I had one young lady fall in love with a painting. When she asked how much I wanted for it she lost it. “That’s too low!” she gasped “It should be at least double what you have marked here!” …and then proceeded to pay the lower price. ( -.- shrugg). oh well.

Okay big lesson – add ten dollars to each tag. ok, $20. but that’s as high as I’ll go!

The top picture and at the bottom of the other pic, is a new little kids book I’m working on. It’s about an Ant and an Elephant. Before it’s even done I’ve gotten some interest. Actually someone wanted to buy that unfinished little sketch book. Wohoo! They also like the one about the seagull that gets kicked out of Bologna cartel. He then gets a kid to help flood the market with bolgna to ruin his former comrades. Once that’s done, he starts a new gang that seeks out and hords peanut butter….something like that.

To Art


I’m gearing up to do the annual Spring Art Show in Great Falls. May 5th and 6th. I was reluctant at first but with some encouragement and incentives I’ve decided to go for it. They want to set up a time for me to read my children’s book. I’m not sure which one, maybe both? If enough kids show up, that makes it more of a community event rather than a sales event. I also have a dozen or so watercolors to hang up. I’ve been matching the paintings up with fabric and scraps of paper, like this:

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Some are more elaborate than this one but they’re already under glass making it harder to photograph. All but one out of the dozen or so, are in an 11 x 14 black frame with the same off white mat-board. Hopefully it will look professional and enticing. Of course there’s always insecurities but I guess I just have to suck it up.

 

Mixed Up


Mostly watercolors but also some acrylic ink and granulation medium. So fun!! Now I want to go buys all the acrylic ink colors.

Along the way – burnt sienna and dark greens.


Thinking about thistles


Not sure these are done but the colors are fun.

My Pass at Potty Humor


Do you have a building pass? The kind you have carry with you at all times. It either clips to your belt or hangs from your neck so everyone can see just how un-photogenic you are. Well, if you have one, don’t do what I did!

Continue reading


I’ve had a busy few weeks. First was a studio tour last weekend. The kind of event where artists open their studio for people to visit and drive from one artist’s studio to another. They came to my house; mostly older women dragging their husbands. Continue reading

Turkey Tail


I don’t know mushrooms or fungi but I love them. The shapes and color are fascinating to me. In fact I just bought a blouse with tiny mushrooms all over it. It works.

Sunday Sillies


I love splotching paint on paper and then seeing what shapes and figures emerge. Not accurate or a great piece of art, but silly and don’t we all need a good dose of silly?

sundaysillies

 

 

Actively Trying To Do Nothing


Its been really hard to not do stuff while on vacation. I’m really trying to not think about stuff like making the the reservation for the ferry to get off island, or making painting for the next book, or anticipating the long ride home. So little outside paintings, walks, watching the tides roll in and out and so on. Why is it so hard to relax? Anyway, actively trying.

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Crow Bar


My cousin saw a soft sculpture I did of three crows on a stick that I named the Crowbar….she wanted more. So here it is:

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Always With The Trees


My older sister once said, in her most snide voice “Why are you always drawing trees?” I was stunned and didn’t know how to answer. I love the trees, I thought to myself but she, being the big sister must right. So, I stopped drawing trees or at least was very aware of all my seven year old obsessive tree drawing.  Continue reading

It’s Lush Out There


Just a little summer offering. It clouds, it rains, it suns, it winds. I can’t tell when to walk the dog. The path next to the creek is way too muddy. The clouds are bouncy thick…will it rain now? Now? Maybe I just have to get wet and muddy.

I bought grey ink and wanted to see what it would look like on watercolor and pastel. This is it but it doesn’t look very grey….However, the paper was white. Not sure why it looks pink.

Summeroffering

 

The Blue Moon Series


 

…or as my very adult daughter says about the first one it’s Fairy Cotton Puffs.

Global Warming Weather Selfie


73 degrees so far in the DC area – it’s February 24th – this can’t be right…..but it feels so good.

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Maybe Tomorrow


Thinking about a summer walk with my dog.

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Walking With Them


Walking with those in Standing Rock. Water Is Life. I’ve signed every petition, prayed every prayer…now what? Water Is Life.waterislife

A Light Snow


Today’s weather selfie. Snow.

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Aprons, yes or no?


Do you wear an apron when you cook? I don’t. I have one, but I have never bothered to take the time the put the damn thing on. Why? Why bother? I run into the kitchen after work and begin. There is no dawdling; no pondering the situation, no gazing into the depths of the deep, dark, refrigerator. And no measuring devices will ever taint one of my dishes. Let’s just get the job done! First you open the freezer and check out the meats, and if no meats are being sacrificed, then move on to the vegetable drawer. Easy, sauces, pots, pans, a little of this and that and, voilá, we have a meal!

I’ve been told that I cook the way I paint – with no patience. When I got married, my husband was aghast at how dirty the kitchen became when I cooked. I’m still not sure what he was complaining about. I mean, I always put my ingredients away after I use them. But preparation is like conducting an orchestra. Things splatter, pop, sizzle and fly across the room. I have stopped throwing the spaghetti against the wall to see if it’s done, mostly because our ceilings are really high in the kitchen.

Continue reading

The Swim


Just a thought….

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The Swamp Has Its Virtues


I was going to title this Why Drain the Swamp. But then I thought wait a second I wouldn’t mind draining the stinky, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, rotting parts of the swamp. Otherwise, what’s wrong with the swamp?whydraintheswamp

Feeling A Little Abstract Today


Fun to let go, smear, spray, drip and drizzle paint…

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Meet Clever!


I used to make up bedtime stories for my kids.  One story that we all loved was about a a very smart Macaw who adopted a family and then takes them on an adventure to find his home. “Clever” was one of those stories that  survived the test of time (about 25 years since my kids were little). My eldest requested an illustrate version of the story so that she could share it with her children.

Clever is available on Amazon as a softcover real book (remember those?) or as a Digital Download. I hope you enjoy!

Written and illustrated by me!!

 

Earlier Last Night


I don’t know,  it was the color of the sky, the silhouetted shapes, the setting sun…the picture just had to be taken. It’s not great or anything but there was something whimsical about the berries and the stems they hung on and the rhythm of the leaves.

earlier

Chillin’


I had this in mind for today…or any day.

chillin

Blue Fun


Watercolor and ink…blue monster fun just for Max (3.5yrs old).

MonsterforMax