Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hecho A Mano Tienda

Not too long ago, I was asked by the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, Texas to create carved designs of Cesar Chavez, Che Guevera, and Emiliano Zapata for the upcoming grand opening of their year-round market, Hecho A Mano Tienda.  Of course, I jumped at the chance to be part of such a great event!  If you happen to be in the San Antonio area on November 23, you should check out the grand opening of the market...and grab a notebook while you're there!  And if you can't make it to the market, you can also find these notebooks over at my Etsy shop

For each design, I prepared a pen/ink illustration based on historical photographs of the men then transferred the images to the rubber blocks for carving.  My hope is that these designs honor the legacy of these great men.

 Cesar Chavez

Che Guevera

Emiliano Zapata


Sunday, May 12, 2013


I am super excited to now be offering prints in the shop now!  I have really enjoyed getting some new work in the shop and I would love to share a little of the excitement with you guys. about a GIVEAWAY!!

The Lookout Fox, which is an original pen illustration that has been digitally colored, is my newest print to add to the shop. I have to admit it: I adore this print (an I hope you do, too)!  As some of you may know already, I really love foxes and am always so excited when I catch a glimpse of one scampering into the woods.  The last sighting I had of a fox was of an adult fox running across the road from our woods to the woods across the road.  The fox took a brief second to look back at me before disappearing into the brush.  It was a "wow moment" for me, to say the least.

The original illustration and the print
To honor my love of foxes and the introduction of prints to my shop, I decided to offer up a free Lookout Fox 5x7 print to you guys!  The giveaway begins at midnight on 5/13/2013 and ends on 5/20/2013 at midnight.  The winner will be randomly chosen and announced on 5/21/2013. 

All you need to do is sign up through Rafflecopter below and follow the instructions.  There are multiple ways to increase your chances of winning, from liking Subtle Acts on Facebook, to following Subtle Acts on Instagram, to adding the Subtle Acts Etsy shop to your favorites. 

So, are you ready to win?  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The fine print:
The contest is for one 5x7 print of the Lookout Fox (  A winner will be chosen randomly and contacted immediately after the contest is over.  If the winner does not claim their prize within 48 hours of notification, another name will be randomly chosen.  Free shipping (domestic and international) is included in the giveaway; however, winners outside of the US will be responsible for any customs fees.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Meet Juniper

A couple of weeks ago, a stray cat showed up on our doorstep, skinny, meowing, and in need of a little love.  We fed her, gave her a comfy little place to sleep, and once we knew she was here to stay, gave her a name.  Juniper.  She's a sweet little cat, always ready for a little love, and such a perfect little model for photos and illustrations.  I mean, look at this face!

I couldn't just let a face like that go unillustrated, right? So I sketched out a drawing, digitized it and added some color, and now she's prowling around the shop now! I think she's pretty darn cute!
The sketch and the print

All framed up!

Little whiskers and big green eyes


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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Of lambs and farm boys and leaps into the unknown

It's Sunday evening here and the sun is sinking below the trees. It's been a good weekend, full of new work and new ideas for the shop.  There are some weekends that, when Sunday evening comes around, I wonder where time went.  This was one of those weekends.  It's not a bad feeling, not at all, but I do wish that weekends could be extended during those times that I am on a roll.  Time doesn't work that way though, so I will just be happy with all that I have done since Friday night and hope that next weekend will be just as productive.

If you have been following along with me lately, you may know that I am starting to offer prints in my shop.  Up until this weekend, the only prints I have listed have been of my handcarved designs, the owl and the fox.  I am very proud of these two prints.  They have been in the works for such a long time and I am happy to finally have them available in my shop.  This weekend I took another leap, a much scarier leap if you want to know the truth.  I am slowly starting to introduce prints of my watercolor and pen illustrations to the shop.  This is all new for me.  And why is this scary?  To be honest, it was scary to offer my handcarved designs so I think it is mainly the unknown that worries me.  Will people like the prints?  How will my work compare to the work of so many talented artists out there?  I could keep going, but mainly it is a matter of confidence. In the end, I decided to just make the leap and see what happens. goes!

Spring Lamb
This little lamb was my first illustration to list this weekend.  Who couldn't love the sweet face of a little lamb?  I kept it simple for this illustration so that it is the tender face of the lamb that hooks you.

Farm Boy
One of my favorite books off all time is The Grapes of Wrath. Following the Joads as they travel from the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression, I couldn't help but feel that the characters were real. Looking back on photos of that time period, I am always captivated by the looks of determination and hope in so many of these brave folks who were forced to leave the land they love in search of a better life. I can't help but wonder about the fate of the people captured in these photos, and always hope that the life they sought was waiting for them. These are the people and the time period that this illustration drew inspiration from.


And there you are.  More work will be coming soon.  And I hope that you all like what is listed so far, of course!  :)

Subtle Acts © All rights reserved

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A walk in the woods

Today we took a stroll through our woods to see how Spring is treating our little part of the world.  We have a little over 10 acres of land, about 9 of which are fully wooded.  When a lot of people think of Texas, the images that come to mind are of cacti and deserts and oil wells. And while Texas does have these features, our part of Texas is in the Piney Woods.  We do have oil wells and a few cacti here and there (as well as yucca), but this part of Texas is full of trees.  And our little piece of the land is full of pines, oaks, hickory, holly, buckeye, and cedar (to name just a few) with a creek and some drainage features that criss-cross behind our house.

Moss and clover
 Lately I have become infatuated with the mosses that grow along the creek and drainages.  These small worlds stay green all year long.  In the above photos, moss and clover grow side by side and throughout.  Aren't the colors spectacular?

Sporophytes extend from the moss
I love the feel of moss and would gladly trade a grass yard for moss.  When we lived in Seattle, one of my favorite parts of the tiny postage stamp-size yard was the large space given to moss.  It felt so good under bare feet, and I never understood why so many people fought off such lusciousness.

Exposed sweetgum roots in the creekbed
When we bought our house, I came to the top of the ledge of the creek here and fell in love with the beauty of the land we were fortunate to find.  At the moment I reached the ledge, a couple of butterflies flew into the area and began to flutter and dance as if they knew I was their audience. It was almost magical.

Fallen tree over the creek
The drought has wiped out so many of our large trees.  It's heartbreaking to see so many large trees felled by something out of our control. We are hoping that no more trees will fall in our woods.  This tree fell not too very long ago, providing a little bridge for animals to cross the creek.  Based on the scat we found along the tree, raccoons are especially fond of visiting this felled giant.

This year we are seeing more mayapples than ever before.  Perhaps this is due to the drought that has knocked out some of the canopy above that would have shaded the ground where we are finding them in full force now.  The forest animals always find the fruit long before we do, but maybe this year we will stand a chance since there are just so many more plants.

Greenbrier vines tangled up
You can't go very far in any woods in the Piney Woods without getting tangled up in vines.  Soon, the greenbrier here will have little berries that my husband has told me are edible though I have never tried them.

While I look forward to Spring each year, I can do without the heat that will come all too soon afterwards.  For now, I will just enjoy the respite of cool temperatures Spring provides and hope that Summer will treat us and our woods kindly. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Introducing: The Evening Owl

Hello everyone!

I hope that all is well in your part of the world.  Here, the trees are beginning to burst with leaves, the grass is greening up, pollen is coating our cars, and the hummingbirds are back at the feeder.

It seems fitting that, with the change in seasons, I am also adding some new work to my shop.  For quite some time, I have wanted to offer prints of my designs as well as expand toward offering illustrations.  After lots of consideration, I am happy to announce that I have made the leap!

And this beautiful Evening Owl, based on my hand-carved linocut block design, is the first of many prints to be available in the shop!  Check it out!

I am so happy with the way the colors pop in this print!  The bright yellow, the creamy white, the dark navy...all so beautiful.

This print would be perfect in a little one's nursery!

My fingers are crossed that you guys like this new work and the work that will be coming very soon.  Expanding into new areas can be scary.  When I started my shop in late 2010, I never dreamed that anyone would find my work interesting, let alone something worth buying.  Now, in my third year on Etsy, I am happy to say that I still going strong at almost 600 sales, which is 600 more than I thought would ever happen, all thanks to wonderful people like you who decide to support handmade. Thank you all so much! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Look WHO is new in the shop!

Before I get to the new stuff in the shop, I have to tell you - it snowed on Christmas day here!  I don't think that this has ever happened!  While we were without power for most of the day (which means no water for us since we are hooked up to a well), it was such a beautiful day!


So...back to the WHO is new in the shop.  Let's look at the photos!

 It all starts with a sketch.

Design transferred.

Carving begins.

All carved out.

Ready for the ink!

And he's ready!

From sketch to carving to stamp!

 And there he is in the shop - the Great Horned Owl Notebook!


In addition to this fine little guy, I also carved one of the most interesting North American mammals I have ever seen - the pronghorn.  We lived outside of Amarillo during college and we saw pronghorn quite often.  Most of the time, the herds were off in the distance, grazing among the tall high plains grasses.  But on more than one occasion, we witnessed the amazing sight of watching the herd sprint across the plains.  Wow!  What a sight!  

The sketch. 
I have to add that, as a biology major, I took mammology. One of the things that drove my professor nuts was to call the pronghorn an antelope.  Many people (and nature shows) refer to the pronghorn as the "pronghorn antelope".  While it is related to antelope, pronghorn are a separate species.  
See Dr. Sullivan - I was listening!  :)

Look at this gorgeous guy! Who couldn't love him?

I must admit - I love this carving!


And here's one more for you, one that I am really excited about - the fox!  Take a look at this handsome fellow!

The sketch.  Look at that distinguished face!

The carving!  What a beauty!

From sketch, to carving to stamp to a color test!

And in the shop - both plain and in color!