Lemon's Tree

Art & Whimsy by Nancy Lemon


I miss Mr. Rogers.

growIDEAS, mr. rogers, digital art

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This is further experimentation with the new Wacom Pro.  It’s liberating and a trial at the same time.  Liberating because mistakes are so easy to correct, a trial because sometimes I just want to reach into the computer to make something look “right.”

For now, this is a work in progress.  I am trying to add pieces to my portfolio that incorporate hand drawn type.

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Bird nest hair and a Store Promotion


Sometimes I feel I have bird nest hair.  “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” they say, but a bunch in your hair may not be beneficial.  Just messy.

I was playing around with Photoshop, seeing if I could recreate my inky/watercolor style digitally.  It’s a starting point, I guess.  Happy Friday!

FREE SHIPPING and $5.00 OFF most items in my store, through midnight, March 9th!

Promotion expires March 9, 2014 at Midnight Pacific Time. *Offer excludes Framed Art Prints, Stretched Canvases and Throw Pillows with insert.



The Quick Red Fox…


Having some fun with some customized Photoshop brushes by Kyle Webster.  I am really enjoying exploring more as a digital painter.  After looking at my previous logo, I realized I didn’t really like yellow all that much, but I love orange…and foxes.  Since my given name is a fun noun, I can’t totally discount it, especially as an artist.  My favorite subjects to paint and draw are animals, so why not incorporate that into my “brand”?  I like painting and getting messy, but cleanup after a drawing/scanning/Photoshop session is as easy as closing a laptop.  And I feel my knowledge has grown a bit over the past year.  This piece shows where I tested some of the brushes before using them on Mr. Fox up there, and includes the original drawing layer.   I thought they added something to this post, but will not be on my final logo.  Now I just need to play with type.


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Lemon Brand

New year, new try for getting illustration and design side jobs.  I’ve really got to work on being more professional, which means working on my “brand.”  Logos for myself are where I usually get stuck.  When doing research, I have found that most illustrators have one of their best pieces or characters over (or beside or under) their name in a unique font.  Designers usually have either a clever, type-based logo or a slick symbol made of their initials; or, if their business has a name outside of their own, they play off of that.  What does a “designistrator” do?  A fun character with excellent type?  Type only?  Since my strength is character design, and my last name is Lemon, I thought I’d take the easy route and create a character specifically for my logo.  At the moment it is still in sketch phase…tonight I will research type faces.

Please feel free to give suggestions, feedback, etc.

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Butterflies for my Rose

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I’ve been infrequently posting, as I have been infrequently creating since the birth of our daughter, now 8 weeks old.  Before she was born I had planned on making a piece of art for her room; as she caught us by surprise (4 weeks early), I am finally creating something.  It will be a Christmas present!  Her room started with owls and ended up more butterflies…there is an owl painting in there, but her bed stuff is butterflies.  So…here are some more butterflies. ;)

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These were done all in gouache on heavy Arches watercolor paper, perched on the end of the guest bed, while listening to the movie White Christmas coming from the den.  Since Rosalee’s arrival, the studio/guest room has become somewhat crowded; I’m setting up makeshift studio areas wherever there is room!  This piece will probably have a few more tweaks before being framed, but I wanted to share something new on this blog.

Happy weekend, and if I don’t get to post next week, Merry Christmahanakwanzikah!



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More “winging it”

Here is a second experiment into ink, gouache and watercolor media.  I often talk about simplification in all things, even in my art.  When I look at this, it seems so detailed, but the approach is quite simple.  At least that is what it seems to me.

redWingI really need to get our scanner working at home.  These iPhone pics aren’t nearly as crisp.  However, they will do for now, with the experimental phase of work.

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Angel wing experiment

I naively thought that while I was on maternity leave, I would have more time to paint.  Just call me “Naive Nancy.”  All you parents out there, have a laugh at the green horn.  However, it’s not all funny.  I do have time while Rosalee is sleeping to play around with my paints and ink.  To preserve what sanity I still possess, I must create art.

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Halloween night


Our Greatest Creation

As you fine readers know, I am a visual artist.  Painting, drawing, cartoons…they are shown here in hopes of drawing people in and sharing a visual dialogue.  My husband is a very talented musician.  He can play guitar, drums, piano, harmonica…he writes music and sings.  Husband is one of those people who can pick up an instument and play it.  We both love our respective arts, but we have never been so proud and unbelievably happy as when we created our child.


Rosalee Saro, b. October 21, 2013 @ 6:02am, 5lbs9oz, 19in

I realize that I have not blogged in almost 2 weeks, but it took the very backseat when RoRo was born 4 weeks early by Caesarean because she was breech!  We had a bit of a scare in the beginning which required a week’s stay in the hospital.  It was a trying time, but now she is home and healthy and hungry and GROWING.  :)

She is the heart of us now (even the dogs are protective of her).  Everything else in life isn’t such a big deal as long as Rosalee is in good health.  We often stare at her in wonderment, because we did not know how capable we were at creation until Rosalee.  It is truly an indescribably feeling, being a parent.  She makes me want to be the best person I can possibly be.


RoRo and MaMa

I will continue to make art and blog about it, but Rosalee Saro will always and forever come first.

She is the prize flower in the garden of our hearts.

Halloween night

Halloween night

As usual, I appreciate all of you who follow me here at Lemon’s Tree.  As soon as we get our routine down, I will be back at quick, artsy posts!  Have a great weekend.



What does the fox say?


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Not much…he’s rather shy.  For some reason, even as a kid I have always had a fascination for foxes.  I used to wear ears and a tail and demand that people call me “Kit.”  I don’t remember why I did this; some say I was a weird kid, but I prefer the term “imaginative.”

This is the third in a series of canidae series.  You can find this handsome fox and others on cards and iPhone cases and such in my Store, if you’re so moved.


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Siberian Husky


This was “inked” and colored and tweaked from the last sketchbook post I made.  I think it’s a pretty good start, but want to adjust the typography.  I really enjoy learning Photoshop, and the Wacom is not as tricky as I thought it’d be.

Available in the Store on myriad sundries…from t-shirts to iPhone skins…and FREE SHIPPING until midnight, October 13th!!


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Happy October


Oh, how I love October!  We haven’t had to use the air conditioner for a while, and instead can leave the windows open.  There is a snap of chill in the air, pumpkins and Halloween decorations begin to appear, and occasionally you can even catch the scent of a fire somewhere in the neighborhood.  Autumn (when it finally arrives in Charleston) is my very favorite time of year.

The cat above is a bit serious-looking, but he is a Halloween cat, and they can be a bit grim.  I painted this in acrylic on a 9″x 12″ canvas pad.  I’m trying to loosen up in my animal portraiture.  You can see more paintings of animals at my website, WWW.NANCYLEMON.COM


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An old, handmade Sketchbook

The other day I decided to go through my collection of old, filled up sketchbooks to mine for ideas.  I forgot that I made this one back in 2008 (?) but I really like it.  Some of the entries made me laugh out loud, because I crack myself up.  The book itself is made from recycled materials:  a scrap of wallpaper from my grandparent’s house, cardboard, some of the pages have been Xeroxed on one side (which means I salvaged it from the office recycle bin), and the binding is dental floss (not used) and tabs made of paper grocery bag.  How Earth-friendly can you get??  The fantastic old picture is from a stack that my teacher, Larry gave me when I was in grad school.

I am also including one of the spreads I found inside; next week I promise to have some new drawings.  I’ve been a bit under the gun this week, and with late meetings, my poor blog and art got neglected.


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The Reader


Some days, I would enjoy very much just reading, and completely ignoring the papers and to-dos which threaten to pile up around me.  I drew this in a tiny sketchbook, then scanned in and colored in Photoshop.  Trying to stick to a limited palette is tricky, but I enjoy a challenge.  Even though it still feels like summer here, I couldn’t resist the autumnal palette.

I really need to go through my posts and “gussy up” some of these illustrations for submissions.  Maybe I could actually get some work if I showed them to art directors?  We shall see.


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Bandito with Stogie


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Here is a portrait of one of my own.  He actually posed like this after I handed him a biscuit one day…it was such a great picture that I decided to paint him.  As usual, I tried to stay simple and get the “essence of Bandito” rather than dwelling too much on details. This is a mixed media piece on wood.

A friend told me all Bandito needed was a fedora to complete his 1920s gangster style.  “M’yeh, see?”  (I bet dog gangsters make toilet bowl gin rather than the bathtub variety…)


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Sergeant Fashion


Apparently, military “style” is one of those lasting fashions.  (According to Real Simple magazine, anyway.)  I liked the photo of the model, so I drew a very simple-shapes oriented piece.  I really like playing with the paring down of my style, as I seem to want to pare down everything these days.  Maybe it’s an effect of the “nesting syndrome” during the 3rd trimester.  Anyway, I like simplifying, and am constantly trying to derive maximum artistic impact with as simple a way I can create.  Simple drawing, simple palette.  The trick is to not be so restrictive that the art loses too much.  I’m not use to being subtle in any area of life, so this is a constant struggle…one that I quite like.

Available as a print in the STORE.


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Trigger’s Portrait


Trigger is a Black Labrador Retriever who is the 4-legged child of my very good friend, Uncle Sam.  (An actual person…not referring to the USA here.)  The actual size is about 2′x3′, painted acrylic on canvas.  I have really enjoyed painting these portraits lately, especially as the weather gets nicer, because my painting “studio” is on our screened in back porch.

You can find more of my work at http://nancylemon.com, as well as pricing and contact information.



Quiet night tights


So we’ll end this week of posts on an inspirational note.  Practicing your art can only help you.  Luckily I find time to do a little practice each day, whether it be drawing, painting, or learning something in the digital realm.  What is your art?  Whatever it is, I hope you can fine time to practice a little.


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Augusta in August heat


WoW, playing with gradients will really add a bit of dimension to a work!  I should have had Rainy Janey for today’s post, as we’ve had flash flood warnings due to two days of torrential downpours and live at sea level.  It has really cut the heat and humidity, thank you Lord.  The picture above better illustrates what our Augusts are usually like in the muggy, buggy South.

Have a wonderful rest of your summer, wherever that might be, and whatever it feels like where you are.

This is now available as a print in the store.



I’m digital AND analog…the girl can paint.

Sometimes I am approached by friends or family to make pet portraits.  I’ve also been commissioned to create favorite animals (that are not pets) such as a group of sea creatures for a child’s nursery.  My work is not limited to pets.

  I’ve finally buckled down and figured out a set price list for these paintings, which are made in acrylic on canvas.  With the pet portraits, people usually send me a photo of their pet and I create a piece from that.  With other animals, I usually find my own photo references and then create sketches from which to work.

Eventually, I’d like to offer prints of different animals in a personal online store if I can ever afford to buy a nice printer!   in the meantime.  For now, please check out CUSTOM Art, or prints of various art work can be found at my SOCIETY6 store.

The holidays are right around the corner…


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Rainy day Jane


I saw a lady walking by one day who had these giant purple glasses on, so she (and the copious amounts of rain we’ve had this summer) inspired this little work.  To be honest, I miss the rainy days, as now it is like walking into hot soup outside.  A good, stormy day would ease the humidity and maybe cool this place off a bit.

In all honesty, the idea of heaven to me is an eternal autumn.  It’s truly my favorite season of the year, from the colors to the smell.  The smell of the first fire in someone’s chimney or backyard and the smell of cold on the horizon.  Oranges and reds and rusts and yellows, against the backdrop of a crisp, blue sky…it’s all just the best.  Maybe it wouldn’t be my favorite if it was year-round though.  Who’s to say?

As usual, this is hand drawn and colored digitally.



I do so love books.

Book Smile

I feel this is self-explanatory.  Books and reading and libraries always make me feel peaceful and happy.  It’s always fun drawing these little spines, but goodness, I need to learn to draw bigger and then shrink them down!  I will ruin my fingers and wrists if I don’t remind myself to do so.  Happy Thursday already?  Good grief.  See you all next week!  Happy weekend.  Hope I made you smile.



Tree Angel


This feels like a page out of a story book.  A lot of my sketchbooks are little one page glimpses of story.  I’ve never written a whole children’s book, as I much prefer making art, but maybe if I scour through the sketchbooks, a story will one day form.  That will be later down the line, as I have a large project (or two) in the works at the moment.  I’m glad to take time from my day to attempt a connection with you, my dear readers.  What do you think of the minimalist palette?


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Mixed Feelings about Technology


I have a feeling I am not alone with this sentiment.  When cell phones became “necessary” among my peers, I was a year or two out of college.  Now they’ve nearly become appendages, and one feels weird leaving home without them.  I finally made the jump to a “Smartphone” several months ago and now sometimes wish I hadn’t made that gigantic leap of technology.  Everything is in this ubiquitous little device…and it fits in a pocket!  Literally, all the information in the world at your finger tips, and it fits in your pocket.  It’s mind boggling.  And at the same time, I feel dumber.

Recently, as I was looking to streamline finances, the thought flitted through my mind that the data plan could be thrown out and maybe my iPhone could be sold.  As I thought this, my hands clutched my device and I actually felt myself get a little…panicky?  A little fomo crept in there too…yes, it’s shameful to admit, but that was the general feeling.  Fear of Missing Out strikes again!  And I HATE that I’ve been tricked into this.  Before the Smart Phone, I got by fine with my old slide open, qwerty keyboard, free upgrade phone.  Before that, a succession of cheap, free-with-plan phones, and before that…a phone that stayed at home with all my other stuff.  A phone that I thought little about unless it rang.  WHAT HAPPENED??

Of course, after checking my contract, it turns out I’m locked in until January 2015.  This I accepted…with a little sigh of relief.



Dogs I have loved


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I was going through an old folder of drawings last night and found this, which I’d never finished.  It still had some inking that needed doing, and no color.  So, I got out the gouache and watercolors and went to town.  That’s right–a little departure from Photoshop.  There is definitely the “mark of the hand” in this one.

Growing up we had a lot of dogs, and then I put in a few that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.  There are several new ones since I started this drawing, so maybe a second page needs to be created.


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Wishing for Wellingtons


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It has been a very wet summer for us here in the Southeastern US, and I have been longing for a nice pair of rain boots as I now have soggy sandals.  To me, the British term “Wellingtons” or “Wellies” sounds much more fun than the boring old “rain boot.”  So, as I usually do, I started drawing and making puns and came up with the above little drawing.  It makes me smile, and I actually like rainy days.  I just would like some Wellies so I can splash around in puddles as I take the journey to my parking lot here at work.  (I have about a 10 minute trek to my allotted space.  Parking is a premium in Charleston.)  The walk is fairly enjoyable to me, as it provides a nice little meditation to begin and end the day, however: the soggy sandals problem.  So I will save my pennies for a pair of (dark green) Hunters or Kamiks.  Or…Mr. Carney, or Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this…Christmas is in a couple of months.  haha

liventhenow copy


Live in the Now

liventhenow copy

I love the idea of “living in the now” so I wanted to make something clever.  This is the first hack at it, and I think I have a few bugs to work out, but all in all, not so bad.  Maybe Adobe Illustrator is called for here.  We shall see.

Living in the now…this is something I struggle with everyday.  I will catch myself starting one task and getting easily waylaid by other things.  Technology has increased my propensity for short attention span; I was actually better at paying attention when I was in grade school!  However, we have the power to turn off distracting devices such as the computer and phones.  (For now…)  The hardest thing is turning off one’s mind.  Meditation is something I’m attempting to get better at, in an effort to retrain my attention span and thus “Live in the Now.”  Try sitting just for two minutes, and pay attention to your breath, or focus on a fixed point with your eyes half closed.  We can then bring our attention to all the actions and thus learn to appreciate where we are now rather than rehashing of the mistakes of the past or the pining for hopes of the future.  Love, and live, life now.  That is my wish for you (and selfishly, me) on this Tuesday afternoon.  Be well.

Any comments or thoughts on this design or any words of wisdom are appreciated and welcomed.



A Woman’s Glory and a Favor


They say a woman’s glory is her hair…

…but here in the Southeastern US in the middle of July, “glory” is not what it seems to be after walking outside for half a minute.  However, the phrases “Chia Pet” or “collection of dust bunnies on my head” spring immediately to mind!

How is everyone this week?  Good, I hope.  I haven’t continued many of my “Fashionistas” so here is one now.  She’s been languishing in my tiny sketchbook, waiting for her debut.  It’s fun, playing with the combination of pencil and Photoshop.  I can’t believe I was such a skeptic for so long.  Now I see that masks are my friend, if only I can continue figuring out how they work.

In other news, Threadless.com approved one of my designs, so I come to you with a favor to ask.  Please click here: “Turn on Your Love Light” and vote for me to have my design published.  And then please please share with friends!  There are 17 days remaining in the contest; if I get picked, my design will be published and printed on myriad sundries.  I will be eternally, forever grateful!


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Positive Vibes

Run on Happy

I seem to be on a light bulb kick, eh?  It’s such fun, scribbling in a tiny sketchbook, these little ideas that trickle in and make me smile.  This is more my “style” than yesterday’s post.  Doodling really relaxes me and makes me calm and happy.  If you set out to just jot and scribble whatever comes into your head, and not fret over how something will look or if ideas might be dumb, you find a little wealth of possibilities for further projects.  Maybe this can be applied to idea generation for any kind of project, not just art?

Have a happy Thursday, and I will see you on Tuesday for a little more art, design, and whimsy.  ;-)


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Turn on your Love Light…

loveBulbWPI have had such fun playing with little happy ideas and seemingly small, everyday items.  If only love could power all the lights and everything in our house…we might get a power surge, though!

There was a time when my art was very dark (content-wise) and a bit scary…but that’s been a long while.  Now I hope to use my art and cartoons and what have you to bring a little love and light into people’s lives.  That is my mission, in a nutshell.  Promoting the happy, cozy, simple pleasures of life in order to give you pause and a smile, hopefully!

This piece is a bit different from what I usually do…I got out of my comfort zone a little and looks as if I’m drawing with neon chalk.  Instead, it was experimenting with coloring my lines in Photoshop, rather than letting the lines hold the color inside.  One of those little happy accidents while learning and experimenting…I believe that’s called growing.  haha


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I am so beary punny…



Wouldn’t everyone adore a palm-size Baloo??
I know I would.

“Look for the Bare Necessities…”  (yes, I just went and watched that part of The Jungle Book on Youtube.)  It’s a good philosophy.

Hello all, Happy new week.  I often think about paring down my belongings, and wonder where my “bear minimum” should be.  Even though I’m an avid reader, I have pared down books.  This was easy, as I’ve had a long love affair of libraries.  The hardest thing has been art supplies.  As I’ve embraced more digital means, I’ve sworn off buying anything unless I’m hired to do a piece and absolutely need something for that.

This was drawn and used as a personal exercise in understanding Photoshop layer masks…trickier to my head than I thought.

In other news, I’ve had two pieces selected to go up in Society 6′s main print store:

What Can an Ampersand Be Used For? and Treble Clef Cat.

I’m guessing this will give me a bit more exposure and eventually become a little supplemental income!  Fingers crossed, as I currently pay the “bear minimum” on my student loans each month!  har har har



Punctuation Station Fun


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I love playing with words, and punctuation.  Don’t you love the word “ampersand”?  It almost sounds like a shore bird.  And as you can see, there is an ampersand bird right at the beginning!  An “Ampersand-piper”?  Orville Reddenbocker better watch out, because I am downright corny!  (O.K., I’ll stop now.)

Ink and Photoshop.


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