The Dilettante and The Countess Penelope of Arcadia

This weekend I took to sketching the wonder twins. If you’re not familiar with the misadventures of this dynamic duo please go now and begin reading. Seriously read first then come back for the sketch.

I wanted to draw these two as they’ve brought me endless entertainment. Once I completed the artwork I sent it off for review (and praise of course). I was feeling pretty good about it. It went like this.

“This is absolutely fabulous, darling — I think you made me look very sexy. Penny thinks you made me look old, for which I smacked her, and then she said — well, actually, you ARE old, so I suppose that makes sense, for which I smacked her again, and she cried child abuse, and I said, OH, so you’re a CHILD now, are you? and took away her cosmo (she can really only have one or things get messy) and she cried and threw a hissy fit and I had to send her to her room without dinner.

Oh, and Penny (and I quote) “totally wants that Clash t-shirt” “

D&C w-logo

Darlings as she refers to her lovely minions, followers I mean. Our favorite Dilettante deserves to have a pink greyhound in hand and Jimmy Choos on her feet. The Countess I decided needed a little Dickensian flair in keeping with her oft used cockney accent- only one of her many personas.

Now the perfectionist I am already wants the countess’s hair to be darker and her fuchsia highlights to be brighter. I fear I may have toned her down too much and if so she’d be the first to say so.

P.S. If anyone out there can supply the countess with the vintage Clash Amplified t-shirt please let me know. Hell!…….Two please. I want one as well. Yes I realize I’m also old enough to be the countess’s mother but I really don’t know what that has to do with anything. Cool is cool! (except perhaps when you say cool).

Honestly sometimes we have to live vicariously in drawings, try on all sorts of vintage couture, jewels and choos – our own pretty women goes to the opera moment. No not the hooker with a  heart of gold thing.

Though I did get to wear a Golden Nugget showgirl costume once- sequins, plumed tail and all. My friend’s father’s company manufactured them. Already 5’11” I was unusually tall for a twelve year old. I fit the costume perfectly…..okay okay all but the bust line. But it made no matter to me. I felt like a showstopper.

Now please check out the sneak peak of the Dilettante’s upcoming book cover art if you haven’t already. And introduce yourself to these two ladies. And readreadread.

I guess next I’ll have to draw Jessica B. Bell. She is my newest guilty pleasure from the mind of Helena Hann-Basquiat. You can read JBB’s stories from the beginning here.



Now let me introduce you to Helena Hann-Basquait, Tuesday Talent Interview Style.

I’m Scatterbrained, really – if you can believe it. One of the few drawbacks of being a dilettante is that I’m constantly juggling many different projects (oh, and did I ever tell you that I can juggle? Yep. Learned when I was twelve – I wanted to join the circus). If a ball drops now and again, I’ll never admit to it – I’ll just keep on juggling and smiling.

Oh, but you were trying to get me to shamelessly promote myself. Right. Well, I write terribly ironic self-deprecating semi-autobiographical post-modern memoirs (not to put too sharp a point on it) and when I’m not, I write creepy, weird fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell

Who inspires Helena

Musicians with poetic souls. Morrissey. Amanda Palmer. Robert Smith. Eliiot Smith. Patti Smith. Hephestus and the Blacksmiths (I just made that last one up ‘cause I couldn’t think of another Smith). Writers with musical souls. Nick Hornby, Dr. Seuss, Christopher Moore. Neil Gaiman.

What Helena Does

I find I do an awful lot of two things: inhaling and exhaling. I’d like to think I’ve actually become an expert at them. While I’m doing that, I work for a Talent Agency, actually – we hire what you’d call Extras for various television and film productions. I’ve even done some Extra work myself when the occasion calls for it.

What Helena does best

I do this combo thing with my tongue and little finger – when I’m eating an ice cream cone – god, where did you think I was going with that? Perverts.

I’d have to say I do self-deprecating humour best. When one secretly loathes oneself, who better to laugh at? (Oh, and now I’ve made you uncomfortable. Don’t be – I want you to laugh at me, too!)

What other profession Helena would like to attempt

You’ll laugh. But if I had it to do all over again, I would have studied language or linguistics, and gone to work at the UN or something. I have a natural talent for languages that I never truly developed.

What turns Helena on creatively, spiritually or emotionally

Good music played loudly. Seeing an amazing band – someone truly unique – live. I’ve had a few opportunities like this in the last couple of years, and it’s been phenomenal. The same with excellent films – sadly I can’t say I’ve seen any of those in recent years, but I can always revisit my favourites, like American Beauty, Fight Club, The Game, 12 Monkeys (are you seeing a theme? I like them dark and weird).

Where to find Helena

Oh, you’ll never find me, darling. Oh, unless you mean my social media stuff. Well, there’s the blog of course, and then I occasionally tweet (is that the proper verb? Dear god!) and you can follow me @hhbasquiat

Where Helena got her Talent/Education

I spent several months in isolation in a tiny little town in the Catskills, and buried myself there like a caterpillar in a chrysalis, and when I finally broke free, I emerged as a fledgling version of the dilettante you know and love. From there, it was a long strange memorable trip.

Finally borrowing from Bernard Pivot- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Well, I hope She’ll smile, open Her arms and say: “Darling! What took you so long? It’s been terribly dull here without you!”

Tuesday Talent ~ Sarah S Williams- The Other Side of Up

I met Sarah on the Writer’s Cafe. I fell instantaneously and hard for her poetry.Many times it felt as though she’d crawled inside my head and plucked out a feeling I knew intimately. She graciously read and reviewed my work in exchange and her advice has been invaluable. So of course I wanted to feature her in Tuesday Talent. And thankfully she agreed.

Sarah Williams is an American poet living on the Central Coast of California.  She graduated from the California State University of Fresno’s English Program with a focus on literature and poetry.  Her poetry has been published in various online and print journals, including the Boston Literary Review, The Verse, The Fifth King Press, The Paper Bag Press, Sympathetic Souls Poetry Journal, etc.  Additionally, her first collection of poetry entitled “The Other Side of Up“, printed by Within the Mirror Literary Press, is available in print through all online and brick and mortar retailers.

TT-Sarah low res

Who inspires Sarah

Poetically, I have been inspired by many different writers through the years.  If I had to choose two poets who have most inspired my own work, I would have to say Sylvia Plath and Allen Ginsberg.  Both of these amazing talents were what I consider “before their time”.  They pushed the envelope of modern poetry and paved the way for writers like myself to enjoy the freedom of poetic expression.


What Sarah does

I would say that first and foremost I am a poet.  I live the life of a poet and see the world through the eyes of a poet.  However, as most poets know, it can be difficult to “pay the bills” through poetry alone, so I am also a professional freelance editor and ghostwriter.  I specialize in novels, screenplays and autobiographies, and the majority of my clients have gone on to publication, or in the case of their film work, options on their material.


Additionally, I am also heavily involved in showing horses, and am active in the NRHA and IAHA/USEF circuits in Reining and Reined Cowhorse.


What Sarah Does best

I would like to think that what I do best is write.  I certainly feel most at home when I am indulging my poetic inspirations, whether that is sitting in front of my laptop or on a bench by the ocean scribbling in a notebook.


What other profession Sarah would like to attempt

Writing takes up most of my time and creative energy, but if I had to choose another profession that I would like to pursue it would probably be getting in to the publishing end of the literary world.  I think it would be wonderful to be the person who is able to give a fledgling talent their first break in the industry, because I know how difficult it is to find a press or publishing house that is willing to take a chance on a new writer/poet.


I have also always been extremely interested in photography.  Next to writing out my creative dreams and aspirations, photographing them in the tangible world is probably the next best thing.


What turns Sarah on creatively, spiritually or emotionally

I like to ask and answer questions.  My writing always has a “deeper meaning” that either questions or makes an assertion as to the way that the world works in terms of how we are all connected.  I love mythology, and I find learning about/researching the way that the world used to work helps me to make connections to how things have evolved and work today.  I suppose that learning in general is what keeps me moving forward in this world, because when we stop asking questions and demanding answers we are no longer growing as spiritual beings.


Where to find Sarah

You can learn more about my professional editing and ghostwriting services by visiting my website at .  My poetry collection, “The Other Side of Up“, can easily be found on, and can be ordered through most online and brick and mortar booksellers.


Where Sarah got her Talent/Education

I’m not sure that I can answer the question “where did I get my talent”, as that would force me to assert that I have talent.  Talent is a relative term, and thus I will leave it up to my readers to decide whether I am talented or not.  I did, however, get my formal education through the California State University of Fresno’s English Program, which provided me with a fabulous education on style, form, function and overall literary foundation.  Additionally, I have attended numerous workshops and symposiums on poetry, poetic style, modern verse and functional/effective writing.


Finally borrowing from Bernard Pivot- If  Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

When the day of my death arrives and I am standing before the One great Creator of my existence, my greatest hope would be to hear that I lived a life of humility and compassion.  I would also love to know that I have touched people emotionally, and that perhaps my name and work will live on beyond my death.



What would I do, if not write?

Who would I be without words?


The sharpness of my pen dissects deeply,

as a scalpel through husk and sinew,

right down to the very crux of it all:

            anima essence,

            cardinal red, as

            oxygenated blood.


Thoughts scatter and reform,

no sense in endeavoring to corral them—

for they are wary rabbits in a viridian glade

who only approach when I am most still. 


I have given up – completely –

trying to navigate the torturous labyrinth

that is me, laid out in hard corners,

            dead ends, and

            forked pathways.


What if I am deranged — afflicted

with some unidentifiable disorder?


For my head is so often lurking

in places that others dare not venture—

you think too much, I have been told,

but not everything is as it seems,


and I cannot be idle when Phanes’ creation

begs for definition and feverish declaration—

even if my lines do not rival the masters

            or offer any lasting



The lacing of my brain must be unusual,

the channels crossed, impulses erratic—

yesterday, I watched a flock of gulls circling,

one flew opposite the others, forging

his own startlingly divergent course.


I suppose every species has its variants,

and every variant chooses an individual path.


Image: (1) Sarah by DCT (I had a little fun with this one.)

***This is  a regular feature on my blog. Tuesday Talent Interviews are designed to introduce you to a myriad of incredible artisans. Make sure to check out the others. Enjoy!

Tuesday Talent ~ Kristin Espinasse

If you read my post on Friday you already know today’s feature is none other then Kristin Espinasse from the blog French Word-A-Day. Her blog is tailor made for the francophile. Trust me I speak from firsthand knowledge. 

When I first found Kristin’s blog I felt a pang for her life. She made her way from Arizona to Aix-en-Provence, met and married her husband, affectionately referred to as Chief Grape,  who began a successful winery in Provence where they have raised their two kids. Sounds like a fairy-tale right?

But for me it’s Kristin’s unabashed honesty that drew me to her posts time and again, besides the French lessons which I also can’t get enough of. I subsequently read both her books. So without further ado I give you Kristin in her own words.

French Word A Day Color1

I am an Arizona native who followed her heart to France. 20 years later and I’m still moved by the beauty of this country — its people, its landscapes and its language.

Who inspires Kristin

Everyone inspires me… when I pay attention.

What Kristin does

I try to take that inspiration and share it via stories. Because words are a source of inspiration, as well as people, I combine the two at my language blog, called French Word-A-Day.

What Kristin Does best

When it comes to following my writing dream, I am disciplined. So far, I’ve managed to send out a regular stream of stories. Lately I’ve slacked off … in favor of a lackadaisically-paced summer. I’m telling myself not to worry–that during the “time-off” my work continues to evolve, if not on paper then on the desk-top of my mind.

What other profession Kristin would like to attempt

That’s a hard one! Currently I am excited about permaculture and forest gardening…. can’t see enough YouTube videos on the topic!

What turns Kristin on creatively, spiritually or emotionally

Acts of kindness to others or to oneself.

Where to find Kristin — and thanks for looking for me!

Or her two books

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Where Kristin got her Talent/Education

If I have talent, I have managed to push aside the self-critic… in time to reach up and catch some of the words streaming through the river of my mind. As for education, I went to Arizona State University, where I majored in French.

Finally borrowing from Bernard Pivot- If  Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

“Relax! Everyone made it in!”


Image: (1) FWD by DCT- Please note I included her husband affectionately referred to as Chief Grape.

***This is  a regular feature on my blog. Tuesday Talent Interviews are designed to introduce you to a myriad of incredible artisans. Make sure to check out the others. Enjoy!

Tuesday Talent ~ Ray Ferrer-Emotion on Canvas

I had been plugging away with my Exacto blade late into the night creating black and white images on paper. Then I came across this artist Ray Ferrer and was hooked. The soulful expression of his images grabbed me. I realized I wanted  had to feature him on my blog but that meant I needed to draw him; which seemed way more daunting. Until now… all my Tuesday talent sketches have featured female artists.

So without further ado I want to introduce you to my portrait and the raw, honest, simple splendor of the artwork and words of Ray Ferrer.

TT-Ray Ferrer

I am an East Coast based artist who, through my work, seeks to utilize various harmonies and ideas to visually engage the audience.  I also use my art as an opportunity to experiment with the range of possibilities allowed through my choice of materials, spray paint and hand cut stencils.

My work captures spaces of partial or full illumination between the perfect shadows on all sides of a person or an object.  The artwork conveys the real beauty of the subject.  The viewer is able to appreciate the simplicity, splendor and  exquisiteness  of my work and the subject.  The work is raw, it’s stripped back, it’s honest.

I am vehemently opposed to using art as a means to rely on overly-complex theories or ideas to prop up mediocre images. I believe that the quality of the actual work is what is paramount.

Ferrer - Intuition

Who inspires Ray

My wife is my biggest inspiration.  She is also my largest supporter and biggest source of motivation.

What Ray does

I create emotional works of art on canvas

What Ray Does best

I think I am best at being a loving husband and father to my 12 year old daughter

Ferrer - Introspect

What other profession Ray would like to attempt

There is nothing I would rather being doing with my time.  I have an MBA from a top business school and was a strategist and consultant for some top Fortune 500 companies.  I hated every minute of it.  So, I traded in my MBA for a can of spray paint.

What turns Ray on creatively, spiritually or emotionally

Memories and feelings turn me on creatively.  Real life is my biggest creative turn on.  I love seeing people with the truth written on their faces, or children being children.  I love seeing things as they should be seen and not “cleaned up” for societal viewing.

Ferrer - Closure

Where to find Ray

I can be found online or at any of my exhibitions nationwide (USA currently).  My online presence is at the following sites (All my own and monitored and managed, edited and updated by me and me alone)


Blog (18,000+ followers):

See Me Portfolio:


Where Ray got his Talent/Education

My talent with art is not something I knew I had.  Just kind of happened.  My education is in business and engineering.  I have my MBA and don’t use it anymore.

Finally borrowing from Bernard Pivot- If  Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

I would like to hear him say “This place is dull, boring and way to white… and has been forever… can you PLEASE spray paint the heck out of it for me!”

A little Something Extra~A video of Ray’s process

Image: (1) Ray  by DCT, (2)Young Girl , Intuition and Closure by Ray Ferrer

***This is  a regular feature on my blog. Tuesday Talent Interviews are designed to introduce you to a myriad of incredible artisans. Make sure to check out the others. Enjoy!

Tuesday Talent ~ Heather Kraft


So when I sat down to sketch this very talented lady I wanted something that encapsulated Material + Movement, her company name. As an artist and dancer Heather Kraft embodies both. Even her Art captures the essense of fluidity.

Heather explains ,”Being of this generation as an artist, I’m driven to re-invent our idea of the heirloom. To take disregarded objects and re invent them in a contemporary and dynamic form, makes them once again accessible; to help people regain a consciousness of the objects in their lives.

I have created a line of simple and elegant jewelry composed of vintage and contemporary porcelain tableware. Using the composition on the plate, elements are cut out and carved into simple shapes. These shapes are then arranged into compositions informed not only by each element but the imagery on their surface. The pieces are fabricated using gold and silver findings.”


Who inspires Heather

Innovative designers such as Ram Dieter, and Bruce Mau, and anyone who strives for excellence in all that they do and encourages others to do so.


What Heather does

I blow glass, teach dance, drink scotch, listen to blues, practice yoga, ride my bike, and make jewelry!


What Heather Does best

I look at ways to make things better, or rather make more sense. Also I think I’m pretty good at dancing in my living room when nobody is looking.


What other profession Heather would like to attempt

I’d love to be a human rights lobbyist and fight “the man”.


What turns Heather on creatively, spiritually or emotionally

I love to study the way the human body moves, and its interaction with other bodies. Dance is huge for me, I’d love to get a dance history degree someday. I’m also attracted to compositions of similar objects, like the work of sculptors Tom Friedman and Tara Donovan.


Where to find Heather

Most nights I’m practicing dance at various venues around Seattle, or in my new art studio in the Salty Dog Building in the Ballard neighborhood. You can find more of me at


Where Heather got her Talent/Education

I think my talent found me before I could walk; I’ve always been an artist. I received my BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta.


Finally borrowing from Bernard Pivot- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

I’m not sure exactly but I think he’d have some explaining to do.



Image: (1) Portrait by DCTdesigns (2) Necklace-Material + Movement

***This is  a regular feature on my blog. Tuesday Talent Interviews are designed to introduce you to a myriad of incredible artisans. Make sure to check out the others. Enjoy!

Tuesday Talent-Shannon Ables of the Simply Luxurious Life

A little over a year ago I found my way to the Simply Luxurious Life written by Shannon Ables. I was hooked. It quickly became one of my daily reads.

I was so excited when Shannon agreed to be featured in Tuesday Talent. When sketching her I thought it fitting to feature her in my design idea for a simply luxurious embroidered coat inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Without further ado I bring you Shannon Ables of The Simply Luxurious Life in her own words.


The Simply Luxurious Life blog is an extension of how I genuinely feel about living life.  No matter where one lives, living our best life is possible and by living in both metropolitan and rural areas, I have come realize that it is simply a matter how one approaches each day with regards to the decisions they make, the attitude the incorporate into each interaction and the people and things they surround themselves with that determines how fulfilled they will be.

By sharing my thoughts, ideas and experiences on the blog I hope to inspire other people and especially women to live a life that is beyond their expectations and is by their design, not society’s. Whether it be found in wine, food, fashion, home decor, gardening, or entertainment, contentment, pleasure and a stylishly fulfilling life can be cultivated with careful attention. Here’s to the good life!


Who inspires Shannon

I am continually inspired by women (and men) who think for themselves, have an insatiable curiosity and love for life and who refused to be told how to live if it doesn’t feel right.


What Shannon does

I am a writer who contributes to three different online magazines, a blogger and founder of The Simply Luxurious Life, a stylist and lover of fashion, and an English high school teacher.


What Shannon Does best

I am an optimist that as of yet is incapable of accepting no.  I have an eye for beauty in all different facets and appreciate the simple things in life.  Oh, and I also can mix it up in the kitchen and throw a fabulous dinner party without too many hiccups.


What other profession Shannon would like to attempt

Being a journalist and having to on a daily basis learn more about a certain subject or topic would be a dream come true. Being required to sit and watch runway show after runway show as each new collection was revealed would be bliss.


What turns Shannon on creatively, spiritually or emotionally

Anything that exudes thoughtfulness, insightfulness, creativity, beauty, or something that begs me to ask the question, why?  I consider myself a detective of life and I love to learn constantly.  It is in always being curious that opens up opportunities to be inspired.


Where to find Shannon

Sitting behind my laptop, walking my dogs, traveling to any destination that presents itself as an opportunity, laughing at my boyfriend’s intoxicating sense of humor, teaching AP and honors English courses at public high school in rural Oregon, or losing all track of time while shopping in my favorite shops and boutiques.


Where Shannon got her Talent/Education

From the love of all things beautiful.  If something is beautiful, it speaks to me and since beauty is subjective to the beholder, beauty can be found everywhere if only we choose to look for it.  So I look for it in magazines, books, newspapers, the news, dramas, comedies, documentaries, interactions with people throughout the day, nature, animals and simply anything that captures my attention.


Finally borrowing from Bernard Pivot- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

“You finally now have the opportunity to converse with the many historical greats you’ve admired – Chanel, Amelia Earhart, Jane Austen, etc. Enjoy!”



Image: (1) Portrait by DCTdesigns

***This is  a regular feature on my blog. Tuesday Talent Interviews are designed to introduce you to a myriad of incredible artisans. Make sure to check out the others. Enjoy!