Category Archives: Drawing

Mother and Child








A couple weeks ago for The Weekly Art Challenge, I posted an unfinished drawing of a mother and child. A portrait of a very close friend’s sister-in-law and young nephew. It was far from completion and something I worked very hard on for about three weeks. Finally I completed it and thought I should share the outcome.

When I started the piece I had all sorts of whimsical ideas from floral backgrounds to, what would be for me, a challenging style and painting application; but in the end I choose a more classic style to capture the motherly tenderness I saw in my friend’s photograph. The color in the background is a reference to her auburn hair and fondness of Japanese Maples. I mixed several warm earthy reddish tones together and applied the wash in multiple layers, often using tissues to gently remove color and create a dreamy intimate space for the figures.

The mother in the image will not receive her portrait until the holiday, and I am eager to know if she likes the piece. I sincerely hope she does, at the moment this is my favorite piece in my portfolio.

You can visit my Etsy site if you are interested in commissioning a similar portrait for your loved ones.






PaleChick Studios Holiday Special

Hello friends, fans, followers, and friendly strangers.

My Etsy shop is up and running and I am currently having a special from now until New Years Eve. Free Shipping and Handling on ALL custom painting and drawing orders.

The holidays are just around the corner and a work of art depicting a beloved child or pet companion would be the perfect and most thoughtful gift for anyone. I offer payment plans and am not limited to the sizes listed. Any questions can be sent to me, Amber, at

If you would like your custom portrait before the start of Chanukah (11/27) please have your orders in by November 10th. All orders for Christmas should be in by December 10th.

Thanks and enjoy this wonderful autumn season!



Ginger (2012) Acrylic on Canvas

Ginger (2012) Acrylic on Canvas

Sammy (2012)


Maddie Walking Through Daisies


Something new I have been working on! A portrait of my niece. It is not completed and there are no other photos except for this one. I had purchased a good sheet of strong watercolor paper ( Arches 300 LB 22×30) and intend to work in watercolors with the tea and graphite. I am wanting to challenge myself with this piece and really hope it turns out as I envision. I will post more when completed.

Portrait of RJ

A very close friend of mine was relocating from the States to the UK this year and as a going away gift I wanted to give him something special! I spent hours scouring photo albums from our trips until I found a photo that inspired me. This image was from a trip to Prague in 2011. We were sitting in the courtyard of one of the many art museums in the city looking through a guidebook. The image seemed fitting considering all the trips that we have traveled together.

Originally I was intending to draw him within the courtyard background but eventually decided on a more graphic styled background that reflected his personality and didn’t place him in one setting. He seemed to like it 🙂

The Dancer

The Dancer (self portrait) 2006

The Dancer (2006) Tea and Graphite on Paper

I drew this self portrait when I needed some pieces to update my portfolio years ago for entrance into graduate school – Art Education. Immediately after graduating college in 2003 I fell into a creative funk. I no longer had steady access to a printshop, wasn’t even sure if I wanted to continue with printmaking, and was suffering from a creative block. I don’t recall creating anything artful for about three years until I decided that I needed a change and thought that returning to school for my masters in Art Education would be the change I needed. In a way it was.  It brought the act of creating art back into my life.  I left school knowing that I wanted to make art.

This self portrait was drawn from a photograph taken of myself by a close friend at one of our social gatherings. We often got together all dressed up in thrift shop finds and dance all night in my friend’s living room. I remember this carefree night clearly and I remember this dress. If I recall, the neighbors hated us! This is one of my favorite drawings and I have often had offers by those close to me for it, but I could never part with it. The piece has meant so much to me. A portrait of myself from one of my happiest memories, my reemergence as an active artist and was one of the first pieces I created after college that I felt proud of.

The photograph of the drawing is not the best. There is a light tea staining in the background allowing the details of the graphite to push forward.

Painting an Alaskan Postcard

I am still not prepared to post about my magnificent trip to Alaska this past Spring. There are so many notes to look through and photos that still to be work on, but I did come across one of the postcards I painted while aboard the Columbia on the Alaskan Marine Highway that I wanted to share.

Alaska by the Ferry

I painted a few postcards while on the ship, but, before I was smart enough to photograph any of them, fellow passengers took a genuine liking to my work and asked if they could buy them. Feeling a bit generous I opt to give them away for free. Originally I had planned to paint my own postcards throughout the trip and mail them home to friends and family, but there was so much going on that I never actually found the time to stop, sit and paint as I had fantasized. It was a lot of work to keep up with my travel journal on a daily basis, let alone paint the landscape. When my fellow passengers sincerely wanted to mail my Alaskan landscape watercolor sketches to their family I was more than happy to just give them the postcard. I did, however, get some good conversation in exchange and a reason beyond my personal enjoyment to paint some more.

One of my recipients was a young girl about the age of 13. She came from a large family of twleve kids and they would travel the country singing bluegrassy hymns at various fairs across the states. Her birthday was our final day on the ferry so I gave her not only a postcard I painted but a book of blank postcards for her to paint as well.

Another recipient was a woman from a group of people who came up to enjoy our 8th deck scenery. She was a bit intoxicated but affable. She and I had a enjoyable conversation about Alaska’s scenery and what we will miss most about the great state. She had forgotten to buy postcards for her family and wanted to mail mine if I would sell it to her. The idea of my artwork traveling through the mail was good enough for me!

The final recipient was a guy that I had a bit of a crush on through out the ferry passage. It took me several days to finally muster up the courage to speak with him and I had the brilliant idea of giving him my favorite postcard with my contact info on it.. too forward?? lol I hope not. no word from him yet, but who knows.

I don’t remember where the ship exactly was when I sketched this scene. I am suspecting, judging by the bright yellowing sunset, that we were between Juneau and Ketchikan when the days were still incredibly long. I sat on the 8th deck of the Columbia, admiring the passing mountains and islands covered with evergreens, felt inspired by the brilliant colors and jovial mood of the deck. It was a challenge to sit and paint with the wind whipping around. A few times I had to chase after my little paper cup of water before it blew into the water.

Part of my trip was to meet people and these little postcards did wonders in that category! Next time I make it to Alaska I will def make the time to stop, sit and paint. 🙂

Current work in Progress!

Hey there!

Its been two months since I posted anything and I have a ton of photos and adventures to sort through, but for now I want to share some of my more recent art pieces that I am currently working on this month. Please forgive the blurred images I took the photos quickly with my iPhone just a few moments ago. Better photos will be taken when the pieces are finished and ready for posting. 😀



This is a portrait of a young girl, my niece Valarie. I need to fix her eyes, they are looking a bit Gollum-ish. LOL sadly I have a tendency to make Valarie’s eyes look massive and gollum-ish every time I draw her. Its the eye on the left that bugs me the most. its not shaped right and needs to be a tad bit smaller. I am also trying to decide if I should stick with pencil or add some ink washes. i am not a fan of the paper. I find that the pencil markings are a bit sloppy compared to other sheets of paper that I have sketched on. I do like how the hair is coming out.

An early stage of Nadia’s Portrait. I bought a wonderful sheet of watercolor paper 300lb for $20! I have some big plans for this piece and will go into more detail about it at a later date when it is finished. For now I am slowly working some of the details and figuring out the color scheme. I am thinking charcoal grays, lilacs and cream, but might change my mind before I even hit “publish” on this post.

Memphis Canvas Sketch. My roommates sweet pup, Memphis. I took this photo about a month ago when I was sleeping in bed. Memphis decided to jump up and lay on me like a pillow. This will eventually become a more detailed acrylic painting and part of a Trio of pet portraits for my roommate. Her birthday is coming up soon and I want to give her something special for being such a wonderful friend for all these years.

Currently Untitled

I started this drawing in 2010 and two years later I still feel that it is unfinished. What I still need to do is to push the darks further toward a more darker velvety texture and bring in some additional mid-tones in the face so that it’s not too pale and washed out. From past experience of painting with Tea, I know I need to compare how the tea staining has changed since I first began the piece and then make some corrective decisions so that it won’t look awkward and unintended. The combination of  paper, type of tea and possibly even the brew strength and temperature of the tea itself will determine how well the tea holds up over time after application. Some staining will fade away while others lose the warm brilliant undertones that is immediately noticed and become a duller shade of amber.

Currently the drawing is sitting in my bedroom behind my dresser waiting for me to return from work. I am sure it would have been finished long time ago if it wasn’t for my job keeping me away from home for months at a time. At the moment there is no permanent title. I know I had a few ideas, I wrote some notes on the back and in a few sketchbooks and random pieces of paper, but still nothing concrete.

The idea behind the piece is the loss of youthful innocence and hard kept ideals through harrowing adult experiences and the desperate attempt to hold onto the withering stems of that former identity.

I choose to represent the youthful ideals through childlike drawings of flowers, the very same that I myself remember drawing in art class as a young child, their wilting embodies the loss of innocence. The figure – based on a photograph I took of myself years earlier when I was crying and feeling at my most distraught – will not look at the viewer or at the flowers instead she casts her eyes to the side and downward, feeling alone in her struggles and sense of loss. The colors are muted to reiterate her sense of loss. I left the figure herself black and white. It’s a bit of a preference of mine to appreciate the graphite marks, both subtle and dramatic, in a drawing and not cover them up with another medium. The figure itself is, in my opinion, the best subject to appreciate those drawing qualities that I love so much.

Most of my more serious work, the pieces on paper, tends to be strongly autobiographical. Like many other artists I use my own experiences as a well from which I draw inspiration from. This piece in particular reflected an emotional turning point in my life when I felt that I was no longer the same person and could never go back to who I was before. A moment that I am fairly certain every adult has experienced, its apart of life. I think the key is to not lose all of your previous self, to be able to still tap into that piece of you that  is still curious and wanting to see the possibilities of what stands before you, but balance our ideals and innocence with experience and wisdom.

Materials are Paper from a cheap roll that I bought in NYC, not sure of the makers, Tea bags, Teas, graphite and some graphite washes.

Portrait of Baby K

The unfinished portrait of Baby K.

Many years ago a former boyfriend had asked me to draw this for his friend, but when our relationship came to a sudden end I was left with an unfinished portrait of a baby that I never met. Naturally I had lost interest in completing the portrait and eventually moved my attentions onto other projects.  I have, on a few occasions, thought about finishing the piece for the sake of having it finished. But, I have learned that it is best to work on a piece with a consistent “feeling”. I am a very different person now, and my style and artistic eye is not quite the same as it was in 2007. I think at this point the piece would look awkward and unnaturally forced if I were to rework it now.

The additional work needed was on the hands and some further definition of the daffodils. The Daffodils was my personal favorite part of this piece. I had this vision of beautiful slender daffodil stems emerging from the tea staining. I wanted to build up a transition between the warm staining and green acrylic washes.

Baby K, 2007 (unfinished)

Baby K (unfinished), 2007 – Detail of Daffodil

Baby K (unfinished), 2007 – Detail of Baby

Mike and Andrew

Last October I was commissioned by a close friend to draw a portrait of her husband and young son. She wanted something special and personal to give her husband for the holidays.

Large scale graphite drawing in a sketchy style with black tea staining in the background to bring forward the subject. Completed in December of 2011.

Mike and Andrew 2011, Graphite and black tea staining on paper.