by robin gayle howard

Category Archives: Process

“And, where are you from?” is the catch-all question no matter what type of event you attend, be it professional or casual. Well, I’m originally from Chicago. But I’m also from molest, abuse, alcoholism, abandonment . . . insert whatever trauma you may have experienced. I have come a long way from FROM and I am oh so thankful that FROM is far behind. Some days, FROM sneaks up on me and whispers ugliness in my ear. FROM can be taunting, tempting, and degrading. Sometimes I can ignore it. This morning FROM was standing right in front of me, baring its ugly teeth. I took a deep breath, looked it square in the eyes and said, “FROM, you don’t belong in front of me. You belong far behind. I’m a child of the King who died and rose again for me, and I am a new creation.” I shook my head, almost in sympathy. “FROM, you don’t have power anymore. You can go away now. Go back where you belong.” FROM is now, again, far behind. It may be back, but I think I just knocked it’s teeth out!

Happy Resurrection Day!

sun bear

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The long awaited day finally arrived. Yesterday I spent several hours with the fabulous and talented Mira Reisberg, “The Picture Book Whisperer,” in a review of  my portfolio in preparation for the Northern/Central California Spring Spirit Conference on April 6 (check out the link which just happens to have my logo as the masthead-grin).

Bee oh honeyMira went through each piece, showed me where improvements could be made, helped me learn more photoshop tools to make the revision task much easier, and checked through my sketchbook for pieces with possibility to add.  She also gave me advice on the order of my work and how to enhance the look of the portfolio.  Then she designed two business cards for me.  She really achieved a tremendous amount of work in three hours.  Thank you thank you thank you, Mira!  I will be ready for April 6.

So you’d like amp up your portfolio, but you don’t live in the Sacramento area?  No problemo!  Mira will work with you over Skype. Check the link on her name above.  Yay! 

I have been in many different classes and an on-line course with Mira and would highly recommend her courses to anyone who is willing to be challenged to grow.

I’m so glad I took the week off of work.  Revisions, here I come!


Barn DanceI know I am moving forward because I am getting things done.  But just getting something done to cross it off of your list, my list, is not the objective.  My objective is to complete a piece that is the best I can do.  This is not it.  There are many things about this piece that I just love.  The cow and the duck are my favorites.  The barn wall does look kinda cool.  But the rest, hmm.  The rabbits are not having any fun at all.  The stage is way too bright.  The pig is too dark.  Time for a redo.  I think with my target to complete two pieces a month so I have a completed portfolio by April is pushing me to not take my time and look at the piece as a whole, to make the best choices, to do my best.  But I am moving forward.  One piece is complete and I am happy with it.  So on to making more rainbows.

Bird1And, just to include one more art  journal page.  Just fun.  No limits.  No expectations.  Just me.  Have a fantabulous week!


My neck hurts, my eyes are blurry, and my fingers are discolored.  No, it is not contagious . . . but it could be if you enjoy experimenting in COLOR. 

So here is my first test with Big Red.  I was going for a dominant red.  I may try at least one more combination before I finally decide.  I am attempting to follow Mark Mitchell’s Power Color theory as taught in his online  illustration course, Make Your Splashes  – Make Your Marks.  It is a great way to decide what colors to use to make your artwork pop!  And have fun with color too.

Speaking of fun with color, here is an art journal page I also made this weekend.  I guess I need more long weekends to get more work done.  Have a blessed week!


Latest revision of Barn Dance. I think it is almost there.

When you are in the stream of momentum, you don’t want to stop.  A little revision here, a little revision there, and it all begins to come together.  The key is to keep it going, but way too often you hit a brick wall.  Well,  I should change that “you” to “I.”  Way to often I hit a brick wall.  Most of the time it may feel like a brick wall, but it is really only a speed bump.  Brick walls are obstacles.  Speed bumps just slow you down, but are not hard to get over.  So how do you change that perception so that you can regain your momentum?  Just do something different.  Simple, but be patient with yourself because it can sometimes be a slow process.  Kind of like the way you should go over a speed bump so that you don’t rip out the underside of your car.  Trying to plow through a brick wall can get you a broken nose.  Trying to go over a speed bump too quickly causes damage too.  The key is to take it slow.   I was nose deep in a brick wall a few weeks ago, then started doing Zentangles.  If you have not yet tried them, you should.  It is a great exercise to bring on relaxation and focus.  Or you can pull out a medium you haven’t worked with in a while and just play.   Play with no final product in mind.  Play with different color combos.  Play with collage.  Play with different paper.  Just play and enjoy and get lost in the play.  Or write instead.  Write about anything.  Write about your dreams.  Write about your first childhood memory.  Write along with some artwork and create an art journal.  Find a favorite quote and decorate it.    The key is to just change things up and do something differently.  The brick wall will begin to melt away and then, lo and behold, you are on the down side of the speed bump and back in the race.  This week, I am running!

I think this one is ready for painting!