Ella the Elephant

Ella the Elephant.

Even as a baby, Ella was an exceptional elephant.
Her charm and her wisdom were immediately evident.

Not only was she stunning and delightfully elegant,
she was also most exceedingly well-spoken and eloquent.

As Ella grew she organized an annual innovator’s event
where she spoke about the things she was going to invent.

Carrying a book wherever she traveled and went,
Ella could easily recite the most informative content.

She understood the principles of what democracy meant,
and she cared very deeply about the environment.

Ella had a backbone that simply couldn’t be bent.
She clearly was destined to be the President.

Cheers & Hugs,

Ella the Elephant is another in a series of paintings and poems I am working on for a new children’s book.  This new book will be special because it is going to feature characters that are based on the grandchildren of my best friends.  Ella is the granddaughter of Joyce and daughter of Nikole, and they are three very special ladies in my life, as are their guys.

I have one more special character to create before I begin putting this book together.  The poem for Mason the Monkey is already written, and I can’t wait to paint him.  Mason is Ella’s brother, and I’m looking forward to sharing him with you.

Prints and greeting cards of all of these paintings are available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop, where you can also order a customized painting and poem of or for someone dear to you.

Ellie the Elephant


I’m not much of a seamstress,
but I have always admired those who excel at this craft.

When I learned I was to become a grandma to a sweet baby girl,
I had to make her something special….

Something soft…
Something pink…

Something to love…
Something to show my love.

So I went to Jo-Ann’s and bought a pattern,
and I gave it my best shot.

And while I pinned and cut and stitched…
I dreamed of being the Grandma my Grandma was to me.

I dreamed of our little girl falling asleep in my arms,
and I dreamed of her falling asleep with this little lovie in her arms.

and while I dreamed,
Ellie the Elephant was born.

Cheers & Hugs,

Momma and Baby Elephant in Watercolor

Elephant Mom and Baby Watercolor 10x12 Fabriano Artistico 300lb

Mom and Baby Elephant Watercolor 10×12 Fabriano Artistico 300lb

I think I must have an African Safari on the brain…

Oh how I would LOVE to do that!  Maybe some day.

But for now, I’m just painting my Safari.

I had so much fun doing Genevieve the Giraffe in watercolor last week, that it gave me a desire to try elephants.

I wanted to try a different technique, so I followed some techniques that Lian Quan Zhen masterfully executes and I feebly attempted here.

For this painting, I drew my elephants from a reference photo, used a bit of frisket to save some white, and I then actually poured and splashed some watercolor paint on, blowing it and pushing and smooshing it around with my finger to form a colorful abstract background.  After that dried, I detailed in the elephants.

I used only three colors in the entire painting:  Prussian Blue, Pyrrol Scarlet, and Hansa Yellow Light.  Purples and greens and shades of black and gray and brown and pink and orange are all achieved by the blending of these three colors.

It was fun, and I’ll have to enjoy the elephants this way until I get to go on the safari in real life some day.

Cheers & Hugs,

Eva’s First Birthday

Eva Birthday 1 Card

Some of you might remember little Eva from some photos I shared several months ago.

Well – time sure does fly, and Eva just turned ONE!

Eva’s Aunt Liz asked if I would make a special card for her sweet little niece’s first birthday.  The request included incorporating an elephant, so Eva’s baby elephant is glammed up a bit with a purple velvet bow and a tiny pearl.

I had so much fun drawing and painting this card for an exceptional little princess.

Wishing you a day and year ahead as special as you little Eva!

Cheers & Hugs,


Sunday at the (Pittsburgh) ZOO!


I’ve been hinting… maybe begging… alright – PLEADING with Marty for months now to go to the Zoo.

leopardIt’s been FOREVER since we’ve gone.  Probably 15 years or so since going on field trips to the zoo when the boys were young.

tiger 2So you can only imagine my surprise and excitement

tiger yawnwhen Marty woke up Sunday morning, and I asked him what he was thinking about for the day…

tigerand he said, “Well – You’ve been wanting to go to the zoo….”

monkey 2

Ya – ahem – I’ve mentioned it maybe a few… (hundred) times….

elephantSo guess where we went?!


You got it!  Woohoo!  The ZOO!!

red pandaIt was cool to see the new Red Panda (which looks more like a raccoon) – eh?

galapagos turtleand the giant Galapagos tortoises (that moved way faster than I would have expected!)

komodo dragonThere are even DRAGONS at the Zoo!  Komodo that is.

sharkThe sharks were EERY!

marty sharks

And Marty was enthralled.

But the very BEST of all was the Polar Bear!

polar bearThis 1,700 pound ball of fluffy white fur was worth the price of admission.  He danced for us (I’m hoping that’s what it was – either that or he was completed disturbed!)

polar bear 4and – oh – to walk under the tunnel and watch him swim……

polar bear 2and play – was absolutely magical!

flamingosNot sure what these Pink Flamingos were up to, but they got awful rowdy!

penguinsThe penguins were so comical.  I think they thought it was “5 O’clock Somewhere” the way they teetered around on those rocks near the water’s edge.

ostrichWhat a great day!

Though it did make me realize I desperately need a telephoto zoom lens for my camera (and a class or some lessons to boot!).

Sounds like an excuse to go back to the zoo – sometime in the next 15 years or so.

Cheers and Hugs,