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Gina Lento is a fine artist, illustrator and visual storyteller from Port St Lucie, Florida. Her cheerful, whimsical style is full of expression and color.

Black Cat Appreciation Day

Today is Black Cat Appreciation Day. Cleopatra is our black kitty that we found, literally, on the street. Or she found us. She ran right up to me and was “no bigger than a bowtruckle.”

Cleo lives with my daughter in a nice house in Orlando. Cleo has been the inspiration for lots of my little vignettes and postcards upstaging Chloe and Mack on many occasions. Cleo thinks she is a Chihuahua and that’s ok. She looks at other cats like they have three heads.

To celebrate Cleo, here are some of my favorites for Black Cat Appreciation Day:

Chasing the elusive Neowise comet

Living in Florida has a lot of pluses. It’s almost always sunny. It’s warm year round. You can eat outside on Christmas Day. Lots of great flora and fauna. The people are nice and friendly. The lizards are insect control so they are always welcome in our screen house.

The down side are the damn fire ants and in my part of Florida, trying to see something in the northern evening sky when there are storms every day. John and I have been trying to spot Neowise and we get wispy glimpses but we haven’t seen it like many others have. We can see Jupiter just fine every night but Neowise is in the North and it seems the north always has cloud cover.

We’ve been driving out to places where there is no light pollution. Then we get bit by mosquitoes…ok, bugs are another minus.

This is pretty much the best that we have seen it. I “winged” the whole scene…..

Oh yeah, there’s a story blurb included, too….

99 Red balloons…..

This song, both the English and German versions, have been a source of inspiration for me. I am taking a class that I actually purchased last year during a “big sale” back in November. Glad it was on sale then because I am not sure I could spare the finances now.

Our assignment is to pick one of 4 texts and create characters, accessories, etc but along the way, and we have also been given daily drawing prompts. I read the text and I had to pull out some things that could be accessories and begin to draw the character. My subjects are a balloon and a little girl. Hence the 99 red balloons….now that song is stuck in my head.

Drawing a ballon may sound easy…hey just draw a circle with a string, right? Uhm, no. The balloon needs personality. The shape, the string and how the face is placed all leads to personality of the character…..I drew many balloons may different ways and narrowed it down to these:

So the red balloon won, as soon as I drew it I knew it was the right one….but then, I had to draw the face…..I drew bunch of eyes, faces, etc….after drawing a bunch of faces, I narrowed it down to these eight:

This is a nice friendly guy

And this guy is the end result….more to come about this guy and his friend….

April Dailies

Here are the daily doodles for the past four weeks. I just that I have three more weeks worth of pages in this sketchbook and I need to decide if I am

1) continuing these dailies (I like them so I probably will),

2) spend money on another 500 series Strathmore mixed media sketchbook (the dailies don’t need mixed media paper)

3) try one of the toned Strathmore paper sketchbooks of the same size which I have on hand (do I really want to do these on toned paper?) or

4) Make a sketchbook like the one I used when I first started doing these

So I have three weeks to figure out what I will be doing with these…..in the meantime here are the ones from the past four weeks….

Another Morning Ritual…

Another of my routines in the morning is my morning pages. I have spoken of this before in previous posts. I have a sketchbook that I use for a daily routine of writing, sketching, writing what I am grateful for and setting an intention.

I start off the day with two sketches. One in my morning pages and one on my doodle page. This way, it is my routine to draw every day. I don’t always get to do it first thing, sometimes we get up and hit the ground running and I end up doing it in an airport or the car. Once in a blue moon I miss a day but that’s rare. I never make excuses, I just do it.

For the last 100 days of 2019, my morning pages have been Chihuahuas. Since I was doing cats on the postcards, I needed a break. Plus in order to get better at drawing something, I need to practice at it so I used Chloe & Mack as models, but I also used Sktchy for reference photos, too.

For the uninitiated: Chihuahuas come in several versions. Long coat (Mack), smooth coat (Chloe), deer head, apple head (Chloe & Mack), short and compact, taller and streamlined, curly tail (Chloe & Mack) and straight tails All versions are “correct” except the compact version seems to show up in dog shows more.

Chloe and Mack’s tails get curled really tight when they are waiting for food and treats or when they are happy.

Here are some of the Chihuahuas from that 100 + day practice….

End of 2019 Doodle Pages

Here are the last two pages of 2019. Doing the creative borders takes more time but I like how they look. I usually spend my Sundays on preparing the page for the week. In the 3rd photo, you can see how the beginning of the week looks before I pop the doodle into it.