My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Friday, November 1, 2013

National Novel Writing Month 2013

Wow, it's been a whole year. Today being November 1st, it's NaNo time and I'm just crazy enough to go for it again. Actually, it's a rush and a lot of fun.

If you always wanted to write a story and get your feet wet, this is like jumping into the middle of the Pacific. You'll get wet. It's also great motivation to learn to swim, fast.

Anyone else doing NaNo this year?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts tomorrow.

The goal is to complete a 50,000 word novel in one month, which works out to writing approximately 1666.66 words each day (or a little more if you take weekends off). It's wild, it's crazy, you get to watch your progress - as well as that of your writing buddies, and more people are joining each year.

Here is their website:

If you're interested, check it out.

If you're wondering who in the world would be loco enough to do this, check it out.

If you always wanted to write a book and are feeling a sugar high or Halloween mania, drink some spider cider and sign up. You never know what might happen - maybe you'll get your happy ending . . .

And for everyone who is doing it this month, here's a shout out for you!

Go! Go! Go!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers

Are you a writer or illustrator looking for a great conference to hone your skills? Well, I have one for you!  It's Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers and it's held June 18-22, 2012 in Sandy, Utah.

This will be my third year and I can't say enough good about it! They have fantastic workshops and speakers. They bring in great writers, artists, editors, and agents. Prepare to be blown away with all the good stuff you'll learn. In fact, each day, you'll leave with your head so full of the latest and greatest, you'll be spouting absolute brilliance for the rest of the evening - so brilliant your friends and loved ones will have a hard time understanding you.

So, if you're looking to become the next J.K. Rowling or Mary GrandPre (the artist for Harry Potter books), check out their website and sign up!

Happy writing, drawing, painting, and sculpting! And, hopefully, I'll see you at WIFYR.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Love Is In the Air - Know Anyone Getting Married?

Talk about timing! My awesome son, Zarin, and his awesome business partner, Matt, have created an awesome website for engaged couples. (Yes, it is proper to use the word 'awesome' three times in a sentence - if it's true. And it is.)

If you're married, do you remember all the hard work it took just getting prepared for the wedding? Half the battle is getting the word out (which includes the many details like the date, location, gift registry). Of course  invitations, which are a joy and a treasure, usually take care of this. But sometimes those on the receiving end misplace them, or the invitations end up at a wrong address, or on the way they get blasted to smithereens by space aliens who despise pictures of kissing earthlings.

If you're newly engaged, or thinking about getting engaged, please ignore the previous paragraph. Seriously. Most invitations make it. I have a pile up to my armpit sitting right here.

And getting ready for the wedding is so much fun! To help keep it that way, go quickly to this site:

It makes the road to marriage bliss. Yes. I'm not lying.

And for everyone who knows someone getting hitched, feel free to pass on the link, and feel free to go on the site and 'like' it. You're welcome to browse and find out what it's all about, and what comes out of the minds of two twenty-something geniuses.

I have the right to call them geniuses because I know next to nothing about computers, web-design, and general genius issues that are necessary to launch a work of art like this.

Yup. Art. You'll see what I mean when you check it out.

So there you have it: Proud mother shamelessly promoting her son.

And I can honestly say he deserves it. Oh, and Matt too. : )

Have an awesome Valentines Day!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Award and a Friend's Contest

Woohoo! Julie Daines of gave me an award today - thanks a million, Julie!

Please go visit her site. Now is a great time because she just happens to be running a contest.  (And who can resist an Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card?)

So, onward.  Here are the rules of the award:

  1. In a post on your blog, nominate 15 sister bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award. (Fifteen isn’t mandatory, but it’s a nice gesture. Try and pick at least five.)
  2.  In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
  3.  In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you with a link back to their blog.
  4.  In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
  5.  In the same post, include this set of rules.
  6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs
So, seven random pieces of information?
1. I'm shorter than I used to be.
2. I like sunshine.
3. I'm wearing running shoes.
4. I'm not a 'runner' per se - unless you count doing it in my car. (Then I run A LOT.)
5. I'm participating in a first page contest on (See the January 23rd post: for last weeks entries, and see today's post to vote for the latest round (it's coming after 10:00 a.m).
6. I didn't win in the first round, but I'm doing the home challenge. Be a doll and go vote for your favorites. Don't worry about trying to get mine. We all have pen names and we're not allowed to share them.
7. No, I'm not giving any hints.

Next, I'm passing this award on to these wonderful and amazing bloggers:

Leisha Maw:
Lydia Kang:
Kyra, Chris, Ann Dee and Carol:
Elizabeth Mueller:
Chersti Nieveen:
And all the fantastic writers at Scribblers Cove:
 which are: Elizabeth, Emily, Susan, Rachel, Elizabeth, Chersti, Amber, Leisha and Rebecca

Congratulations, all and thanks again, Julie!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Watercolor Portrait of Sweethearts

Recently, I had the honor of painting a portrait for a newlywed couple. If you're up for a time lapse, here is the finished painting and the steps it took to finish it.

(Disclaimer: please forgive the inconsistencies in the coloring of the photographs. They were taken at different times of day, and it affected the lighting.)

 First I sketched in the portrait with a grey watercolor pencil. Then I applied liquid frisket (the orange you see) over the areas I wanted untouched while I painted the background.
 The forest in the far background came next.
 Now I added green lawn, deep shadows, roughed in the leaves in the background and began detail work on the leaves in the foreground.
 I deepened the shadows in the leaves and added more detail. But it needs some deeper coloring.
 So I went back and added in a lot of reds.
 Now it's time to work on the trees. I remove the frisket.
 I paint in the trees in the midground.
 I begin the faces. For the most part in watercolors, you add your light colors first and your darks last.
 I'm deepening the skin colors and bringing in more reds.
 Now I'm adding deeper browns.
 This is a close up, so you can see what it looks like without the darks.
 Adding more reds and some deep tones.
 Now the faces are taking shape.
 They bring life to the painting.
 At last, eyelashes on the bride and a goatee for the groom.
I need to deepen the skin tones and add more detail to the faces.
 It still needs more.
 Hair helps a lot.
 And blue jeans.
 And shirts.

 They're still a bit washed out. It's time to really hit the reds, shadows and details of the faces.

 It's done!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gifts of the Magi

For the last ten years of so, I've made a special piece of artwork each Christmas to help me catch the Christmas spirit. 

This year, I chose the most famous of gifts, those presented to the Christ Child by the Wise Men.

The King James Bible version reads: 

Matthew 2: 1, 2, 11

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, 

Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother and fell down and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.”

There is a lot of significance and symbolism in each of these three gifts. After a little research, here is a brief overview:

Gold – the symbol of Kingship on earth, and an item of great worth to all countries and peoples. This gift recognized Jesus Christ as Lord, King of the Earth.

Frankincense – is a milky white resin derived from tree sap that is prized for its sweet, warm, balsamic fragrance, as well as its medicinal qualities. It’s been found to benefit those with asthma, arthritis, Crohn’s diseas and collagenous colitis. Anciently, it was known to cure hemlock poisoning, leprosy, worms, snakebites, diarrhea, plague, scurvy and even baldness, as well as a treatment for depression. The finest frankincense comes from a small Boswellia Sacra tree that grows in the cool, arid areas of Somalia, Oman, Yemen and India – all lands east of Israel. Frankincense was used as part of the temple rites in the Old Testament. Judaic, Christian and Islamic faiths have used frankincense mixed with oil to anoint newborns and those moving into a new phase in their spiritual lives. The aroma is said to represent life. This was a gift worthy of a Messiah, one whose life had been long awaited.

Myrrh – is a resin that comes from the Commiphora tree. Its color can be anywhere from pale yellow to a reddish hue. It is found in the shallow, rocky soils of Ethiopia, Somalia and Oman. It has a warm, slightly musty smell and is a pale yellow to amber color. Myrrh cures many of the same maladies as frankincense as well as gastric ulcers, tumors and parasites. It is also one of the most effective disinfectants and was used to anoint loved ones who had died. It’s interesting that myrrh was used when Jesus was placed in the tomb.

The gifts of the Magi were practical, valuable, and highly symbolic. There's no doubt the Wise Men put a lot of thought into them and wanted to give the very best of gifts, as do we all - for those we truly love and care about.

Have a wonderful holiday season. I wish the best for you - good health, happiness, and prosperity in the New Year. 

Merry Christmas! 
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