Friday, December 28, 2012

Men with Edwardian Mustaches....

Finally completed the drawings for the page where Beverly dreams about men with fine Edwardian mustaches! While I may make some additional amendments to it (I'm a little sketchy about the mustachioed man on the lower right...he needs more shading and modeling, I think...*pursing lips and thinking* Yeah, we'll work on that....), and I will definitely replace my handwritten block lettering with a Blambot comic font, this is pretty close to being complete. More to come, more to come!  
"Men with Edwardian Mustaches" from The Color of Silence is Radium Green graphic novel (in progress)

What's spinning in the studio now?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sekhmet....she who is powerful

So, while the graphic novel continues (an update on that will come very soon), I'm also working on some additional studio pieces. Back in November, I sold the Geisha Girl necklace I created in late July/early August. And now that I have a little bit of time between wrapping gifts, I've started working on a new series of art necklaces. I realized again, as I was painting "Sekhmet" (below), how much I still look to Trina Schart Hyman's work. The lips and the nose remind me of some of Hyman's heroines. I thank my Mum for this influence, since I grew up reading Cricket Magazine in the early to mid 1980s, when Hyman was their art director and filled their pages (and sometimes their covers) with beautiful work.

"Sekhmet, she who is powerful", now available in my art
store. You can see the listing by clicking here.

Savannah Schroll Guz, "Sekhmet" art necklace
Trina Schart Hyman's illustration for Snow White

My "Geisha Girl" art necklace, made in late July and sold to a lovely lady
in Canada this past November.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Savannah hearts custom orders!

Hi, all! In between working on the graphic novel, I've been working on custom, handpainted jewelry orders. These cuties, which I'm making for a wonderful woman in New Jersey, who bakes red velvet cakes, will ship out tomorrow! I want to make sure their protective sealant is 100% rock hard before I send them off. They are a red velvet variation on my "Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too" art earrings.

A custom variation on my "Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too!" art earrings.
These are "Have Your (Red Velvet) Cake and Eat It, Too!"

These sparkle thanks to glitter and iridescent acrylics.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The process of page inking....

I'm old school. While I do use Photoshop (and will use this for touch-ups and putting in professional fonts inside the narrative squares and thought balloons...'cause let's face it, my handwritten script looks a bit sloppy), I cling to the ever-sharp pencils and ballpoint pen for the actual drafting and inking. All drawing is done by hand.
Here is what I'm working on right now. These were taken with my cell phone, so the picture sharpness is not as stellar as it should be. Proper scans will come later....

Working on a page from _The Color of Silence is Radium Green_ graphic novel.

Detail from page in progress

Friday, November 30, 2012

Beverly, Mistress of the Dark...

(in progress) "Beverly, Mistress of the Dark"
a page being inked from the graphic novel
The Color of Silence is Radium Green
 This one is still in progress, although it should be completed shortly. What's slowed things down is the fact that our dogs' Frontline flea medicine apparently has ceased working, and to combat any fleas that might have had designs on our home, I have been cleaning, vacuuming, and doing laundry like a woman possessed. I can't tell you how many loads of laundry I've done, or the number of times I have wiped the floor with disinfectant, vacuumed, replaced vacuum bags, wiped baseboards, or sprayed flea spray over the last two weeks. Thankfully, Michael does all the shampooing and dog shaving. Last night at 4 p.m., I dosed our young squires with Advantage II. Let's keep our fingers crossed that it works. So far, no scratching. Thank goodness. It was enough to drive me to drink. And actually, I had considered buying a large bottle of bourbon when I got the new flea medicine yesterday, but I wanted to be sober enough to vacuum their sleeping area, their crates, and the basement once more when I got home. Just kidding. Or am I? Anyway, I can reclaim my life and other responsibilities now and that is a wonderful thing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

She Turned Out the Light....and Edward Steichen's Influence

"She Turned Out the Light..." from The Color of Silence is Radium Green graphic novel
(in progress)
Remember that picture of the drawing started in the previous post. Here is the entire inked page, completed!
Onto the next page.
Where did I get at least some of my inspiration for the close up images of a glowing Beverly? Edward Steichen's 1924 portrait of Gloria Swanson behind Venetian lace:
Edward Steichen, "Gloria Swanson" 1924

Friday, November 9, 2012

She sat there glowing....

"She Sat there Glowing..." from The Color of Silence is Radium Green graphic novel
(in progress)

Working on a new page....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

More Radium Girls...the project continues

"Doreen Challenges Ursula" from The Color of Silence
is Radium Green
graphic novel.

 "Beverly Exhales Radium" cell from The Color of Silence is
Radium Green
graphic novel.
"Her Bones and Cells glow with Radium" three cells from The Color of
Silence is Radium Green
graphic novel.
To be continued....

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Radium Girls Graphic Novel continues....

The graphic novel project continues! The project now has its own page on my website, which you can view here:
"Beverly Under her Quilt" from
The Color of Silence is Radium Greengraphic novel (in progress)
"Doreen challenges Ursula" from The Color of Silence is Radium Greengraphic novel (in progress).

Friday, October 5, 2012

Radium Girls Comic Book Pages....

So the radium girls comic book is moving along. Here are the second and third pages. The pages below are different sizes because I realized that causing myself to go blind when drawing was entirely unnecessary, and I increased the size of page 3 (on the right). I can alter the size of page 2 in Photoshop....

Friday, September 28, 2012

Radium Girls Graphic Novella

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm working on a graphic novel(la) of "The Color of Silence is Radium Green". Of course, finding the right amount of motivation is not so hard, but the right about of confidence? Let's say it's an uphill battle. Over the last two days, working intermittently, I've inked half a page and almost finished two larger image cells. (You'll see that one is not entirely shaded in.)  Here's a glimpse of the progress so far....
Half an inked page from The Color of Silence is Radium Green

Two larger cells from The Color of Silence is Radium Green

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Discoveries

This weekend, Michael and I went with my brother-in-law Glenn (know to the family as 'Bub') to the Mother Earth News Festival, held at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. While Michael and Bub went to a workshop on homestead butchering, I went to workshops on making winter salads and on supplementing homestead and farm incomes by blogging. In the Mother Earth News Bookstore, a temporary area set up to showcase the authors associated with the festival, I picked up food activist Sandor Katz's book The Art of Fermentation. See, Friday a week ago, I went to visit writer Karen Lillis. We ate at the always excellent Red Oak Cafe, in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood. Karen, who had started a special diet, picked up a bottle of Kombucha tea, a fermented beverage with probiotic cultures. I had read about Kombucha some years ago, learning that kids were picking it up because of its alcohol content. Karen said they've since cranked the alcochol content down, as the bottles had been pulled from store shelves because of it.
The morning I went in to see Karen, I had woken up with a terrible headache, not improved by the usual traffic nonsense I encounter coming in via the tunnels. Side Story: I am really fortunate not to have been shoved from my car into someone else's by a garbage truck that couldn't stop outside the Carnegie, PA exit this past Tuesday, when I went in to visit my folks. Someone was looking out for me, and I am very grateful for it. It was raining, and a driver in a silver car cut me off by diving into the two-car length between myself and the car in front of me (having learned back in 2010 on the Veterans Memorial Bridge that wet roads are usually slick roads, I usually leave the extra space, which most people interpret as open room for lane merging). I had to brake because they were suddenly braking and a moment after I did, I heard  brakes squealing behind me...big air brakes. I looked in a my rear view, and I saw a garbage truck coming for me, which I will say scared the living hell out of me. There was nowhere for me to go because everyone in front of me was stopped and there was not enough shoulder or left-hand lane room. Again, someone was definitely looking out for me because the garbage truck did a 270 (not a complete 360, but more than a 180) in the process of trying to stop. For a moment, I was afraid he would tip over, but thankfully, he didn't. I don't know if anyone behind him hit him. I was just fear-fuelled energy at that point. He had stopped both lanes of traffic, and because of this, I got into the left hand lane and got out of there. I was shaking the whole way into the city and had to 'take myself in hand' not to start freaking out from the adrenaline. Experiences like that remind you of what's most important. When I woke up the next morning beside Michael, I remember feeling really happy.  And now, back to main story: Karen and I sat down and started catching up. My head was still throbbing a little, but I could function. I opened the Kombucha and started to drink it,and within 15 minutes, my headache had lifted. By the time we were done with lunch, it was gone. I couldn't believe it. I'd had the headache for two days, and it had waxed and waned in intensity, so I'm not entirely sure if the Kombucha was to credit for its passing or if there were some other factor involved. Yet on my way out of Red Oak, I picked up another bottle. When I found it was something I could make at home, I figured sign me up! And so, I purchased Katz's book. So far, it's a wonderful read, both informative and cautious, as it offers relevant cultural information alongside receipes and descriptions of 'elixir' pros and cons (such as the problems associated with ascribing too significant a healing property to certain fermented products or the dangers of bottling sweet fermented beverages, which can quickly become explosive when capped). I'll be purchasing a 'mother' (SCOBY culture) soon, and I'll track the Kombucha-making process on our farm blog (
File:Blankets cover.jpg

Another new discovery I've made is the work of Craig Thompson, whose book Blankets I found in Barnes and Noble's graphic novels section while Michael and I were waiting to get into a movie. It's nothing short of amazing. More on this soon....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

W is for Wallis....

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor at
the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV
      Michael and I just returned from a trip into Southern West Virginia. We stayed in Lewisburg, voted Coolest Small Town in 2011. There's a small, very official looking sign that says just that along each inward-leading road. The town itself is pretty, artsy, filled with a kind of hipster energy that, a generation ago, would have been attributed to urban pioneers. With Beckley being the closest city, I wondered just where the money to support so many artists was coming from, since there are numerous galleries and artisan shops along the three blocks of Lewisburg's historic district. Neither of us knew. Is this a refuge for politicians and lobbyists seeking to escape Washington, D.C? A psychological haven much like the physical haven offered by the nearby bunker we toured?
     Speaking of the bunker, I got my first glimpse of The Greenbrier Hotel, where that bunker--a carefully guarded secret until a 1992 expose in the The Washington Post Magazine revealed its location and purpose (to assure the safety of members of the House and Senate in the event of a cataclysm during the Cold War)--was located. When I was young and my father and mother were in business, they (I'm grateful to say) took me along to places like The Ritz Calton and the Hay-Adams. I've seen some fairly interesting decor choices, some informed by the era in which the surrounding building was either constructed or refurbished. The Greenbrier Hotel, first built in White Sulphur Springs in the 19-teens and expanded at the end of the 1920s, was renovated in a beautiful, if slightly shocking high style by Dorothy Draper in the late 1950s. There's a "Well, Good Lord!" kind of beauty to the rooms: bold wallpaper and color combinations that (when analyzed) made me think, "Hey wait, that shouldn't go together. For example, the carpet of the Trellis Room, where we met for the Bunker Tour, carried shades of grape purple, magenta, and kelly green,while the chairs and window valances had candy apple reds, peachy corals, and light lavendars in their patterns. But even though this sounds like it might lead to visual discord and the possibility of making room inhabitants green around the gills, there was a surprising airiness to it, an unexpected crazy kind of harmony. I took pictures of an out of the way sitting room and several of one of the bathrooms, although I've included just one bathroom picture here.
A coral-colored sitting room, off the beaten path at the Greenbrier.
Although you cannot see it here, to the left of the door in which I'm standing
is a giant, full body portrait of Princess Grace (Grace Kelly) in a tiara and
white and gold brocade evening gown.  

A conversation and vanity  area in a ladies' bathroom at the Greenbrier.
One of the many amazing ladies' rooms there. This bathroom has a hallway
and individual rooms with individual vanity tables in the place of stalls.This
is serious swankery, no?
But why 'W' is for Wallis as my title? Because Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor spent a great deal of time at the Greenbrier, often as celebrities (I suspect with a complimentary tab in return for their drawing capacity), handing out golfing awards and simply being photographed while similing. It seems that every photograph of Wallis at the Greenbrier features her winning smile. In fact, the photograph above, of the couple dancing, appears as a life-sized poster in the President's House (where U.S. Presidents stayed before the Civil War and certainly before the hotel itself was built...during the era when White Sulphur Springs was the annual meeting place of the South's landed gentry). These photographs of the Duke and Duchess, which reveal so much historically and psychologically speaking, has opened up a new reservoir of interest for me, one which I plan to plumb in the next few weeks. But more on that later.

Michael and me in a train car on the Cass Railroad in Cass, WV
A new collection of short stories, some of which have not been published anywhere before, is now available for your Amazon Kindle. In the Aftermath: Stories is just out today. You can learn more about the book by clicking here.  
My new short story collection, available on
Kindle. You can download it here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A shorty for now...

My ad on
Just a quickie for right now....I've been so busy with the prospect of a festival coming up. Each day, I head into the studio and work for about 5 hours, trying to produce at least two sets of earrings. It's been a productive week, with (happily) several sales! Here is a quick view of two new earring sets (i.e. wearable art). You can check out my shop ( to see the entire range of what's available now. I actually list things nearly every day. I'll be back here soon to expatiate (now there's a word I memorized for the GRE that I never get to use in everday conversation!) on some other Etsy artisans whose work has gotten my attention.

"White Morning Glories on Pink"
(check them out at

"Red Poppies on Yellow"
(check them out at

Friday, August 10, 2012

PCA Emerging Artist of the Year

Tonight, Michael and I will be headed to the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts to see the "Artist of the Year and the Emerging Artist of the Year 2012" exhibitions. I'm especially excited to see Emerging Artist of the Year Vanessa German's work, which I first saw in Shadyside's Gallerie Chiz (on Ellsworth Avenue) back in March 2011 when I was working on a review of Peter Calaboyias's retrospective. In the two vimeo videos below, German describes the personal value of her work, that she views it as a kind of visual and spiritual language. The second video describes her process, which involves excavation and layering. More on her work after we see the show tonight. In the meantime, the videos:
Sneak Peek #3: 2012 Emerging Artist of the Year, Vanessa German: Love from PFPCA on Vimeo.
Sneak Peek #5: Emerging Artist of the Year, Vanessa German on Process from PFPCA on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

In the kitchen with me....

Hot pepper jam is a tradition in this house, dating
back to the "Pre-marital XXX Hot Pepper Jam" of
August 2006, which we gave away (with just that name
label) right before Michael and I got married. Today, kids,
is hot pepper jam least the first of several batches.

Here is the frothy goodness that is warming vinegar, sugar, and
pureed peppers. You can't see it here, but I have a dog at my feet who
has absolutely no idea what to do with the chewie I've given him to keep
busy. No idea. He is walking to and fro and crying very softly. It is, I suppose
an embarrassment of riches for him. I'm not exactly sure.  

And I'm filling jars here....

Loading the canner....

And out come seven lovely visions of hotness. They all sealed.

Pretty. Now, dishes washed and into the studio!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Some experimentation...and other good things

The under-sketch for the necklace prototype I'm
working on.

One part of the painted necklace prototype before sealing.

"Raining Cloud II" earrings (up close); now available in the shop!

"Raining Cloud II" earrings on me!
The sweet little chickadee family growing on our front porch in the $8
decorative cabin we got at Cabella's in May.
This is the mother's second nest-full of peeping little ones.
And wow are they loud!

Fred in the outer garden area.

The many generations of chickadees on the cables outside our
bedroom window.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Glasses, Lulu, and Apple Pie

Just made yesterday, like a newborn babe:
"Louise 'Lulu' Brooks" (Art Pin)
Now available in my store!
....along with a few other new goodies.
I'm still carefully embroidering the fabric for The Dream Chair. It's an involved process, and I've found (sadly) that I need to begin wearing reading glasses to see what I'm working on and especially to thread the needle. Holy crap, I realized I was spending a good five minutes trying to get the thread through the eye and then I was holding it so far away I'd fairly buried the whole operation in my lap. And yet, it is very tiresome, since my new specs seem to go missing all the time, although with the level of bling on them, you'd think I wouldn't have difficulty locating them. Like they'd throw up a bat signal with the rhinestones when I began asking where they were. Here's me, with a goofy smile and my new Elton-John worthy specs. (Nope, I did not cut my hair. It's all still there. It's just that it's pony tail season.)

Goofy smile: check.
Reading glasses crazier than they look in person: check.
Getting old: check (aww crap).

Thanks to a fantastic receipe on Etsy, I've made a truly excellent
new kind of pie crust. You can check out the pastry recipe here.
Here, she's egg'd and sugared, ready to slide into the oven
And...the finished awesomeness that follows
making that pastry receipe. YUM!!
(Mine has apples rather than peaches. I know...totally
out of season, but still so good!)