Lemon's Tree

Art & Whimsy by Nancy Lemon Carney


We were made for each other…


Now that Halloween is only about a week away, I thought I would draw some more Halloween-themed things.  Although I am very fond of October and Halloween, I am not a fan of horror or really scary stuff.  (Walking Dead gives me cold sweat night terrors.)  I love Halloween and I love humor, so my movies tend towards Young Frankenstein, The Lost Boys, and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  (Seriously, I am an eternal child–ask my husband.)  Classic horror films are also ok by me.  Here is the original power couple from Bride of Frankenstein.  This is a combo of hand drawn, real watercolor and Photoshop.  It makes me giggle.

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Pizza Monsters




Today I was asked to make a quick card at work, so I grabbed a fine-tipped Sharpie and did a quick coloring in Photoshop.  We threw a small pizza sendoff for a work study student who was leaving our office.  Being October, naturally I needed some monsters.

I have been known to be a pizza monster from time to time…nom nom nom. :)


The Good Witches



Soldiering on through lovely October, I give you some friendly witches.  This was doodled on notebook paper (probably during a meeting).  Ha.  I then cleaned up and colored in good ‘ole Photoshop.  I like these quick, creative briefs I’ve given myself; it fuels the fire for more, “finished” pieces.  The October experiment!


“Owl see you in October”


I am really liking what’s happening here, if I do say so myself…and there, I just did. ;D

Onward and upward with the love of October, and owls…and punkins.  I think I may put these two in the Store, where there is a FREE SHIPPING promotion going on now through October 12, 2014.  I am loving my October experiment–and I’m learning stuff, too.


Harvest Geese


A continuation on my love for October, this piece was inspired by the honking of geese and the appearance of apples in season and on sale.  This is a bit of a departure from my “set style”; I let the watercolor sit and make its own lines.  The actual drawing is a bit child-like.  It’s an October experiment.


Surfer Witch


To continue my love letter to October, here is a “surfer witch”.  I used a picture of a girl surfing as a “model” for this little painting.  Originally I was hoping to post a picture a day for October, but life has a funny habit of getting in the way of best laid plans.  Therefore, I will be posting October-themed art this month, as much as I can on a schedule such as mine!  I hope you enjoy my “love letter to October.”  It’s a great feeling time of year!


Happy October 1st!


The Pumpkin Trio (watercolor, pencil, colored pencil on paper)


Oh, how I love October!  So many good things have happened during this month…2 years ago I got married, and 1 year ago our daughter was born!  Plus there is Halloween, which my parents have told me I always seemed to love even more than Christmas, and autumn starts to really come on, even here in the South.  It’s a wonderful feeling time of year.  The gateway to the holiday season.  Have a beautiful first day of October, friends.


Pillow King Kitten


Pillow King (watercolor, gouache, charcoal, pencil on paper)


This was a quick night time scribble followed by a quick lunch time painting.  I took the advice of TV Kapherr over at Cats at the Bar and borrowed one of the cats’ pictures as a feline model.  I know I can do better…the model was a lot cuter in the picture than in my painting!  Ah well, art is about patience and practice.  Have a great weekend!


Thank you again for your support.

Thank you all for supporting me by voting for the pelican.  Unfortunately, my journey in this particular contest has ended.  I learned a lot, and I am currently taking what I learned in order to solidify my brand and beef up my portfolio with some new concepts.  And I got two new, finished pieces out of this journey.

For those of you who asked, the Pelican is now available as a print and a t-shirt in the Store, and there is a FREE Shipping Special going on until the end of the day.  Lil’ Terrarium will be available soon.  I will, as usual, keep you posted!

I am your forever grateful Lemon.


Bio pic and a story

When I was a kid, around 4-6 years of age, I wore ears and a tail everywhere.  My parents were very understanding of their daughter’s imagination.  For some reason, I told everyone that I was a “boy fox named Kit.”  (I’m guessing it was my love of Disney’s animated Robin Hood and The Fox and the Hound.)  Why I wanted to be a boy…who knows?  I had two brothers and boys always seemed to get to be the hero (in Robin Hood, Maid Marion was pretty helpless and always had to grab the hem of her dress just to run or walk anywhere).

Anyway, foxes have been a favorite animal of mine for many, many years.  I was thrilled with Wes Anderson’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and watched with rapt attention at that stop-animated film.  It was totally cool.  (I have since watched it several times.)

So I thought it only fitting, when updating my bio pic, to include a little fox character of my own:


Kit and Kit

Thank you, again, for everyone who has voted for me in the Lilla Rogers 2014 Global Talent Search.  It means a lot that you follow me here, and even more that you gave me some of your time by voting for my pelican.


In which the semi-finalist gallery is open…

Hello All!  I am sending out a call for help on this rainy Monday we are having here.  The Lilla Rogers Semi-finalist gallery has been opened for voting, so I would REALLY appreciate your time on this.  If you follow the link here: http://lillarogers.com/gts-2014-round-2/ there are instructions on how to vote.   Voting will close this Friday, September 12th, and the finalists will be announced Wednesday, September 17th.

This was such a nerve-wracking 10 days of creation.  We had to create an animal character for a kids’ t-shirt.  (You had the choice to include how to display, or add type to your image.)  For me, the hard part was paring down what animal to represent!  I did at least 4 versions of the pelican once I actually decided on the animal to illustrate.  Then there were the thoughts on how to display this on an 8″x10″ that would be shown as a 72dpi image in a gallery of 50 people.  After looking at the gallery, I do wish I’d done some different things, but the main thing they wanted was to see the animal character.  So I bypassed all the mock up stuff and just showed off my birdy fisherman.  Hope I made the right decision!

Here are some process sketches, to show the beginning to sweating out the end where I had to press the “Submit” button:



In which Nancy jumps into the air…

…because I made it through the first round of the Lilla Rogers 2014 Global Talent Search!  999 people entered and they chose 50 artists from that group.  There was so much awesome work, that I didn’t know how I’d do, but I made it through!  Whoop whoop!  Here is the piece I submitted:


We were given a brief to follow.  All I can tell you about that is the theme was Little Terrariums.  Now I have another brief for a new project in my email this morning, so I best get cracking on some ideas!  In the next round, 50 go in, and 6 (gulp) come out!

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In which we all stop and go to the moon…


Click yon image to ENLARGE the view

This is one pulled from the sketchbook and gussied up in Photoshop.  I am quite fond of my little weird characters.  There is a 1970’s-style, limited palette going on here…nostalgia.  (I’m actually a child who grew up in the ’80s.)  I was trying to get the old, manila paper feel they gave us to draw on in elementary school, so I downloaded some kraft paper for texture.  All in all, I like the rough quality here.  Reminiscent of School House Rock, learning to write in cursive, and crayons on that good old manila paper.


In which Nancy paints a newspaper box for another contest.

So, we are allowed to share “teaser” photos for this West of newspaper contest. I sent art samples and was chosen as one of 33 artists to adorn an old newspaper box with my artistic whims.  It is, at this moment, finished and awaiting transport on the front porch.  Husband was so happy to see me drag this thing home, spray it in primer and spray glue on the front porch, then drag it into the guest room/art & music studio for painting.  In retrospect, this contest required a lot more than I initially planned.  But anyway, if you are in the Charleston area on September 5th and want to view the “gallery” of newspaper boxes, hit up the Avondale area in West Ashely.  It should be fun!



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In which Nancy enters an art contest…

Hello All.  I have been hard at work on several projects, and I did’t mean to neglect the blog here.  I’ve just submitted my entry for Assignment #1 in the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search.  Normally I would say that entering a talent search to score art representation is a very silly way to go about getting art representation, but this challenge is helping me grow creatively, as well as putting my work in front of people who would normally be very difficult to reach out from a pile of other submissions.  (Think one of 1500 versus 1 of 5,000.)  Even if I don’t win, it’s a good exercise.  Hopefully I will learn what art reps look for in an artist.

I thought I would share some of the sketches I did for the first Assignment.  All I am allowed to say is that the theme was “Terrariums” and I can’t show my final piece here until the end of the month.  Anyway, here are some sketches I did:


Wish me luck!  As always, I will keep you posted on what happens next.  Thanks for following here at Lemon’s Tree.  Have a wondrous weekend.


Pisces and the search for style



I found this little ink doodle in my sketchbook.  I keep returning to these fishes because they are so simple, but have funny little expressions, and so I painted them.  Yes, I am a Pisces, but really this is about style rather than zodiac.  I sweat over beautifully crafted artwork, learn more and more software, admire artists who seem to have their “style” figured out.  Often my artwork morphs when I’m really grooving on another artist’s perspective.  An unintentional “sincerest form of flattery” thing takes over, and my work doesn’t look like my work anymore, but instead a shadow of someone else’s great art.  I’d like to be refined, have every angle and line be beautifully perfected, but the truth is…that’s not me.  I’m messy.  The splash of watercolors, the shaky, loose lines…the imperfections…that is who I am (and yes, art imitates life.)  And that’s ok.  If I’m not too full of myself here…there is beauty in mess too.


Train of thought


This is a page from my sketchbook that I colored and played with in Photoshop.  Redolent of summertime and sitting on the porch, this is how you see my mind wander.  I love sitting on my back porch and doodling my thoughts as they float through my head.  I don’t get to go to figure drawing classes anymore, but when I did, I enjoyed exaggerrating features; so, here are my extra large and long feet.


Giant Sebastian


I like the idea of this more than the execution.  My inks just seem…stilted, not free and nice like my pencils.  I’ll get there, though.  One of my teachers told me that when we struggle with “style” or new tools that it means a creative breakthrough is around the corner, if only we keep pushing and practicing.  So…I’m hoping for a breakthrough!

I do like the look of that little penguin running in the front. :)



Head in the Clouds


This was inspired by that sentence, which is in the book The Goldfinch.  It’s funny what will offer a little inspiration now and again…walking aimlessly, savasana (corpse pose in yoga-aka lying on the floor half-asleep: a favorite of mine), and reading usually works for me.

This was created using pencil and my nifty, portable Cotman watercolor set.  I go back and forth about using inks…I’m a little too enamored with my pencil marks but like the permanence of ink.  (Also, I’m better with a pencil.)

If anyone is interested, this is available as a print.


Bizarre interpretation of Mark Twainism


Another quote piece.  I am having more fun with the different brushes in Photoshop; using some roller brushes gives some depth to this work, I believe.  I don’t know what it is about trees growing out of people’s heads, as well as angels…I just feel it and make it.  Developing my own iconography, I suppose, if I want to try and feel oh-so-smart.  This one is a bit of the same as the Mr. Rogers piece I did a little while back.

Available as a print!


Be the Tortoise



Sometimes it is preferable to be the tortoise; slowing down to enjoy the view of life now, rather than dashing through it like a hare.  That is why I draw.  The action of drawing really causes me to slow down, and I am usually calmer after doing so.  Now that I’m really looking at this piece, that fellow looks a bit like E.T., doesn’t he?

From my sketchbook, slowly learning and playing more in Photoshop.  I hope wherever you are, you have time to slow down and enjoy the moment.


Free Shipping in the Store



Yep, FREE SHIPPING on everything in my Society 6 Store and all Society 6 through midnight, April 27th!  There are all kinds of crazy things they use to print upon: clocks, rugs, mugs, and t shirts, just to name a few.  Society 6 provides myriad sundries for artists.

The quick piece above was another exercise in scanning and coloring a sketch in Photoshop.  Still, I just scratch the surface of possibility.  Fun, doodled characters while listening to Herbie Hancock on lunch break.  What could be better?

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Yoo hoo, ChickenBoo


I don’t know what it is about this image that makes me giggle; perhaps the chicken with a uni-brow (does it count as a uni-brow if their eyes are on the sides of their heads?) or maybe it’s the background chicken shooting an egg out of her bottom.  Or maybe it’s the lack of sleep.  Who knows?  As long as we’re laughing, hey?

Chickens were my inspiration after visiting my parents for the Easter holiday.  My mom has become a backyard chicken farmer, and has just replenished her flock of two (down from four: R.I.P. Thelma Lou & Aunt Bea) with four more chicks.  So, Helen Crump and Sweet Juanita will have Laverne, Shirley, Lucy, and Ethel join them in about 4 weeks; for now, the chicks live in cardboard boxes under heat lamps in the Florida room.  This one’s for you, Mam!

This is straight from my sketchbook, which takes watercolor pretty well.  Watercolor and pen.


I miss Mr. Rogers.

growIDEAS, mr. rogers, digital art

Click to ENLARGE


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

photo 2

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. ;)

photo 4 photo 5 photo 3

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.

photo 1(1)


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.

photo 1(1)

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?


Click image to enlarge

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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