IFJM: Otherwise known as International Fake Journal Month is here.

International Fake Journal Month.

It’s here—the month when I challenge myself, along with many others, to create a new fake  identity through a journal. As usual, I cannot change my thinking so much so that I paint from an entirely different perspective, yet I will try to venture out into a different style. Usually, I have few words to add to my art, so I would expect the same in the coming month from my fake persona.

In my last blog I asked for suggestions on style, content and medium. I got zero. Friends, if you want to see something special from me you may need to respond. So, after much deliberation, I have decided not to paint anything. Wait, hold on, really I am still participating in IFJM. I have created a new character, her name is Abbie and she only paints abstract pictures. So for the next month I will be painting as “Abbie Abstract.”

Here is Abbie’s first journal entry:

Abstract # 1

If you are interested in seeing some more IFJs, click on the link in the right column,
“the dog” will take you to the official IFJM blog. Thanks and keep posted for more from
“Abbie Abstract.”

April means International Fake Journal Month

Last year for the first time I joined a blog challenge at International Fake Journal Month.

You can check out my first post as “Mimi” as woman who only used primary colors to paint from 2010 here. This year I need to come up with a new persona. My temptation is paint what I like—pets. If you want me to put a new twist on it, or if you have a subject or style you want me to try, please leave a note below. And if you would like to participate with me, follow the link in my right column to the International Fake Journal Month.

Here are a few of Mimi’s posts from 2010:

Dogs for the Deaf dog portraits available soon.

© Holly Herick Design

"Jigsaw" © Holly Herick Design

"Scooter" © Holly Herick Design

"Topher" © Holly Herick Design
























Check out Dogs for the Deaf. It is a great non-profit that trains dogs for the people with hearing disabilities and rescues dogs from around the Northwest and California. Dogs for the Deaf (DFD) resides in Central Point, Oregon. Central Point, Oregon is about 5 miles away from Jacksonville where I live. Dogs for the Deaf is one of my favorite local charities.

Recently, I answered a call for local artists to donate artwork to their cause. Today I was blessed to deliver three dog portraits to Kristine at DFD. Soon the portraits will be available as a set of cards—and possibly more—through DFD. Hopefully my pet portraits will help raise money for a cause I believe in—nothing gives me more joy than to help others.  You may also purchase prints of these three dogs on my Zazzle website: http://www.zazzle.com/hollyherick. (prints coming soon)

If you have never visited Dogs for the Deaf, I urge you to drive on out the the base of the Table Rock Mountains and take a tour. visit the Dogs for the Deaf web page for more information.

If you are interested in having your own pet painted in this style head to Holly Herick Design and contact me. Or send me an email for more details hollyherick@charter.net

Experimenting with Art

A common theme among many of my blog posts is experimenting-trying new techniques, subjects or mediums. I have not come across an artist yet that does not get bored with things fairly quickly. Recently I tried a tool called Scribbler. To say the least, I had some pretty scary drawings using Scribbler. Most artists create way more artwork than the public ever sees. In one of my recent posts, I displayed some of my bad artwork. It was torture for me. I want to be hide my failures from public view. Most of us do. Being creative is not about pure success. Being creative is about searching, practicing and not giving up. I don’t believe artists start out creating successful work, it is the result of much practice. Every artist I have met merely enjoys the creative process and is willing to do it over and over again. Art takes practice just like sports or math or woodworking. Be willing to experiment is part of that process. My goal is to encourage people to be creative, make mistakes and try new techniques. Here is what I tried recently, minus the really bad attempts (too painful to share). Portraits of my kids:

Creative friends, what have you experimented with lately? Send me a note about what inspires you. Creative challenge: google Scribbler and try it yourself.

Start your Holiday shopping now.

If you are looking for a custom portrait of your dog, cat, horse, or any pet, you need to plan ahead. An original custom portrait takes about a month to create. From the first contact about the portrait, through planning, sketching, painting, drying, framing and shipping, it takes time. If you want to give a Pet Portrait for Christmas you need to contact me now. Prices start at $225. Sample pet portraits below:




If you can’t afford giving a custom portrait as a gift, consider ordering a print, poster, or set of cards to give as a gift. As I create, I am added my art to my own shop at Zazzle.com. Check it out. Products include, pet portraits, watercolor illustrations of flowers, photography, paintings and more. Items can be ordered in a variety of forms such as, cards, prints, posters, coffee mugs, hats, mouse pads and t-shirts. If there is an image you like and it is not offered in the product line you are looking for just drop me a note and I will create it for you. Fine art prints and posters will be created with archival quality inks and you have the option to have it framed at a reasonable price. Below are samples of some of my card and poster images.





I plan on creating a line of cards with historic buildings of Jacksonville. The Pink Church is the first of one.PINK CHURCH, JACKSONVILLE

If you like my style please pass my store link along to a friend. You can also find a link to my Zazzle store on the top right of my blog: PURCHASE MY ART.

New Wedding Invitation

Ray and Jennifer are getting married! The bride contacted me asking for a design for their destination wedding in Newport Beach, California. Because they are getting married on a private cruise ship called “Destiny”—we decided that the invitations would reflect the idea of an actual cruise ticket. Jennifer sent me a photo of her bridesmaid in a  beautiful burnt orange silk dress, thus the color inspiration. The soft sea-foam aqua color comes from the ocean. She also requested that I use a seahorse on the invitation, what a great way incorporate her personality. I created an insignia for them by facing two seahorses toward each other; if you look closely you will see the seahorses in the damask pattern.




Five color values: study of a rose

I have some very wonderful artist friends—willing to share their knowledge with me, what a blessing.  Molly Murrah said to “study all five values” in a painting. Patricia Osborne said to “save the whites”. I am learning. In between all the chaos that is life, I find time to paint and learn. Uncontrollable watercolor paints challenge my mind. I want to tell the paint what to do. The paint says “be free.” Watercolor paints are a constant battle for control—verses letting loose. My paintings are merely an impression of what is real. Sometimes reality is boring, sometimes I see more—or less—than what is there. What do you see? Have you tried watercolor? Let loose, let your creative mind take over.

I came back from the weekend and I realized there were some water spots on my painting. I had to make them work so water droplets they became. I laid a few more washes in areas also.

Flowers Around the House

Have you ever enjoyed flowers around the house? Has anyone ever surprised you with flowers when you wake up?  Whether they are from the yard or from the store, they are a wonder to wake up to.

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If you have never done this for someone, now is your time. Flowers at the bed-side is a blessing to anyone you love.

Cut flowers for someone you love today. Place them by their bedside to surprise them them they wake up. Daughter, Son, Husband Wife and Friend. It is worth it to see the results!

Yellow Tulip

Working on watercolor study of my garden again. It seems to be what I like to paint the most.

First, I print out my inspiration photograph and draw a grid on it.

Then I transfer the grid and drawing to scale onto the paper.

The painting begins.

Final watercolor: yellow tulip from my yard.

Have sketch book, will travel

So I took my sketch book along on my trip this time. Can’t believe I have left it behind in the past years. What a joy to draw and paint at the beach. I can’t say I loved everything I painted on the trip, but what a fun way to experience the travels. The first day I sketched West Cliff in Santa Cruz—where the surfers hang out—when there are actually waves. There were none. No waves, no surfers. But there was a Jr. Life Guard camp going on…that was entertaining.


Watercolor. As you can see, I have a long way to go, but at least I spent the time and enjoyed the memory. Landscapes are not my favorite.


Watercolor. These were both quick watercolor pencil sketches based on my perspective at the time.

I also painted a picture for my new niece Marlo—whom I unfortunately did not get to meet yet. I forgot to take a photo of it, but it is a very special moment when I paint for a specific person. Love you Kayla and Marlo.

Part of the goal to keep on observing and creating. Will you take your sketch book with you on vacation this summer?

Summer Goals

Summer is finally here and after a very busy Spring it is time to set some summer goals.

Although I am a graphic designer, I had to take many fine art classes to get to this point in my life. When I was younger I considered those classes as a “means to an end”—becoming a graphic designer. Now, I am beginning to realize how much I enjoyed those drawing and painting classes. I can’t just create a paying job whenever I want, but I can create a drawing, painting or mixed media project whenever I want. My goal is to keep my brain exercised. So this Summer I am challenging myself to paint two finished works of art each week. Some may be simple, some complex. Just get it done.

I am starting with a watercolor painting my favorite hotel, The Moana Surfrider in Waikiki Hawaii. This historical hotel is the birthplace of international surfing and has a charming plantation feel. plus it’s  right on the beach. Duke Kahahamoku, the father of  surfing and olympic swimming medalist grew up on this beach. The hotel is filled with memorabilia of the early days of Waikiki. The center court faces the ocean and is shaded by the biggest Banyan tree I have ever encountered.  Facing the street, the front porch has giant rocking chairs to lounge in and allows for  fantastic people watching and plenty of street artist performances. Within a few steps you can find shopping, fine dining, sculpture, an aquarium and a zoo. Oh yeah, and of course the beach. Did I mention the beach?

Below: the Westin Moana Surfrider

Here is a link to the google maps street view I am using to paint from. did you know you can drag that little person onto the map and look around as if you are there? If you haven’t ever tried it your should—virtual travel is the next best to being there. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=hawaii+usa&sll=42.052611,-124.283982&sspn=0.22561,0.503311&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Hawaii&layer=c&cbll=21.276899,-157.826464&panoid=R6ohlag071WckQiCjL4FTA&cbp=12,212.27,,0,-10.1&ll=21.27683,-157.826387&spn=0.002212,0.003932&z=19

My sketch of the hotel is light because it will show through the paint if it is too dark. The blue border is painter’s tape, it holds down the edges of the watercolor paper.

Below: laying in washes of color


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This is my final painting. It is much brighter than the actual hotel, I guess I just don’t know how else to paint. Sometimes I get caught up in the details and don’t like how I am painting. I want to encourage others to keep going. In the end, the little details do not seem to matter so much. I have to force myself to complete paintings sometimes. It is hard to allow mistakes, but do it anyway. It is so worth it! You will learn in the process.

Follow along with me, or if you are really interested you can paint with me. If you are not an artist, you can challenge your creative brain with cooking, gardening, or something else. What will your summer goal be?

Every Once in a While

Ever feel like your stagnant? Nothing new going on, looking for inspiration? I go out in the garden and look for beautiful things—flowers, bugs, sky, colors. this time of year I am lucky to have things growing and blooming. If we have one week of hot weather, things will burst open. I can’t wait to share with you. Today, I found these wonderful flowers—and a few bugs. The Bleeding Hearts interest me the most. Maybe I will get a chance to paint them soon.

Bleeding Hearts: There is something special about a flower close up. The ultimate “art” of our Creator.

Cream colored tulip. Black bug exploring petals.

Climbing Clematis, “Sunset”


Spanish Lavender. Happy Bees.


Flowers on steps. Anyone know what this one is called?

I love to look at flowers and bugs, anything close up. What’s your favorite? What makes you wonder—what makes stop to look and admire creation? If you would like to paint with me, I wold love it, contact me below.

Flowering Quince Art: Artist are painting from my photo. See them all here.

A photo I took on Easter of flowering Quince is being used for Monthly Sketch Project on Ning. MSJ is just a group of artist looking for inspiration and support. Anyone is welcome to join, but you don’t even have to join to participate in my blog. I hope to add links to any participants blog’s. One of my favorite things to do in art is find how many different ways artist will interpret the same thing. Artists styles vary be the medium they use, the style they have developed, and the mood they are in at the time they created the art. Watch with me over the month to see how many people will chose to draw, sketch or paint from this photo. My goal today, among others, is to get started on a watercolor from this inspirational photo today. I will post when I am done.

If you would like to participate you can send me an email with your art image attached (please keep .jpg file size small) and I will post it on my blog. Also, you can post it to your blog and link up to mine. I am working on figuring out how that works so stay tuned for a “McLinky button”

Any level of work is acceptable. Hope to see your work.

Here is my first attempt. It still needs some detail work, shadows and washes. I might just start over, but l like to see the transformation take place. Check back later to see my reworking of the quince flowers.

This morning a worked on shading the flowers and creating more depth. It was hard to decide what approach to take. More practice and experience will definitely help. Helpful critique is always welcome, so if you have any please leave a comment. Below is after I added shading to the flowers and depth to the background.

I sure like this one by Neon Fog, nice composition and sense of light.

This one is by Eva @ To Be Determined.

Were you creative today?

Creative Adventures is all about challenging yourself each and every day to create something new. Today instead of painting, making jewelry, designing a logo,  or teaching kids, I helped a friend. We reconnected and talked about the current market. e commerce has changed things and we are forging ahead. There is so much joy in helping others. Here is a sample of  Karen’s work.


Check it out at “Little Bridget Jewelry” on facebook or ETSY. I would totally wear her designs, how about you?

What’s blooming in your garden?

Sandy of Reluctant Entertainer asked today, “what’s blooming in your garden?”

What is growing in your backyard right now?

Inspired by friend Sandy of Reluctant Entertainer, I thought I would post some of my current garden photos. Most of my creative inspiration comes from the outdoors, specifically my garden. The other half of my inspiration comes from people. I love to create paintings with family and friends in mind.

This watercolor was painted for Sandy, thanks for the coffee date Sandy.

Photos from my Yard:

File formats and acronyms: .jpg .gif .png .pdf

Many of my clients get confused about which file format to use when uploading items to their web site or when using files for print. It is hard to explain, but I am going to try my best in order to help out any non-techies out there. These are not the only formats available, but these are the most widely used.

JPG or “Joint Photographic Experts Group” is commonly used for digital photography. This format has been around since about 1992. Maybe you use the format when uploading photos to your social networking site such a facebook. This format compresses the file size to manageable size for web transfer; however, it is a “lossy” format. Meaning, each time the file is saved as a .jpg, info is lost by compression. Do not save original source files from design programs to .jpg for this reason.

GIF or ” Graphic Interchange Format” has been around since about 1987. It is an 8 bit format, meaning it uses only 256 colors. It is a “lossless” format and supports transparency. You say ” what does that mean, supports tranpsency?” Well, for example, when you try to place your business logo on a colored background or predesigned web template with a cool background and you get that white box behind it—that is totally distracting—from the page layout, and makes your logo look like a brick… that file is not supporting transparency. Therefore, because it supports transparency, GIF is often the best file type to use for logos and icons. GIF even supports some minor animation.

PNG or ” Portable Network Graphics” is a “lossless” (no compression, no data lost) format that supports transparency and millions of colors. So it seems like this would be the best format hands down, why not just use PNG all the time? PNGs creates a large file size and are not supported by some of the older web browsers. As web standards progress, this will probably be the best choice for logos and icons.

PDF or “Portable Document Format” is used for printable files. It is used universally by MAC and Windows based computers. PDFs are what you would supply to your printer for business cards, flyers, brochures, etc. PDFs are exported from many different computer software programs like the Adobe Create Suite 5, also known as CS5. There are many different ways to save a PDFs from these programs. I would encourage you to find and build a relationship with a printer in your area. From my experience, a good relationship with a printer is invaluable. I like to use Arnie at Pronto Print in the Medford area. You can find more info about Pronto Print at www.gopronto.com or www.pronto.colorforbusiness.com or email Arnie at prontoprint@gopronto.com for personal service. If all of this seems a little daunting and you would rather have someone who understands the design process to handle your printing needs, then call me at 541.899.7093. To view my portfolio check out the link on the left, or go to Holly Herick Design, or Holly Herick Illustration.

If you have any more questions about these file formats, give me a call or drop me a note at hollyherick@charter.net and I will try to answer them.

One last acronym for today,

Mother’s Day means veggie garden at my house

I am a very happy mother this Mother’s day. I got dirt. I also got raised vegetable beds built by my favorite handyman, my very own husband, David.

First raised bed, view from deck.

Mantis tiller helps break up our clay soil. Rogue Premium from the Grange Co-op was added—smells good.

Planning the arrangement in the first bed. Baby lettuce in foreground.

Gotta love him.

David building the second veggie bed. It helps to have your very own handyman.

Tilling in the good soil. We have red clay and veggies don’t care for the it much.

This year’s garden includes:

Eight types of tomatoes:

Mr. Stripey
Sweet Millions (a standard in my garden)
Sweet 100’s
Burpee Burger
Cherokee Purple
Tangerine tomato
Lemon tomato
4th of July (Early tomato)

Three kinds of cucumbers:

Lemon (a standard for us)
forgot ????

Two kinds of strawberries

Cheddar Cauliflower. Can’t wait to taste this.

Chives and Basil—not pictured.

Cilantro and carrots—not yet sprouted.

Baby lettuce, love the speckles.

Patty Pan Squash.

Have you ever gardened with your kids? It is amazing to watch children grow food and then eat it. It makes the food extra special. What’s your favorite to grow? “Create Adventures” in your own garden.

April Showers, bring May Flowers, and Prom

Old gardens are extra special.

Today I went with a friend to her mother’s garden which was abundant with Lilacs and Snowballs. It is not the fact that her mother is older than us that made the garden glorious, but the fact that the garden is mature. What a treat to have to climb a ladder to fetch these beautiful Lilacs. We have a special project in mind for these flowers, soon they will become a wrist corsage for his Prom date.

This week Dillon and I went to the store to purchase crystals for Kayla’s corsage. We used elastic cord and made a three strand bracelet—two of the stands were tight so they would hold the flowers to her wrist. Above is the bracelet we designed. It has one large teardrop crystal at the bottom.

Dillon wrapping the flower stems with florist tape. Lilacs and Snowballs.

The flowers were attached to the crystals with florist tape.

Kayla wearing the corsage. For me, part of having a creative home is sharing with my children. The time I spent with Dillon working on this bracelet corsage will be forever in my mind.

Flowers are my favorite inspiration throughout the year. I loose track of time when I am in the garden. Every flower, to me, is like a intricate painting from God—a glorious creation, right in front of me. What a wonderful way to enjoy flowers, by sharing them with Kayla. How can I NOT get excited? Happy May Day!