"Royally Great Designs"

Category Archives: illustration

As we enter this uncharted territory of life with the COVID-19 virus, I choose to not see it through the eyes of hysteria, but with a sense of calm. Throughout history we as communities have endured worse and have made it through stronger. Lets face it, as a global community we have been pushing the limits; with resources, climate change, the inequalities between those that have and those that have not, healthcare, governments working for some, but not for all and much more. You get the point, the list could go on and on. Things couldn’t continue on the trajectory as it was, I believe that this is the tipping point. A time when the universe has said to us all – STOP, time out. Have you seen the aerial photos of China with clean air or the images of clear waters with fish swimming in the canals of Venice. Now that we’re in this shift, where do we go from here as humanity and global community?

Let’s start with what we all are immediately facing; staying healthy, social distancing, working from home (or being out of work completely), schools closed and not losing our minds. Again its about coming out of this (and we will) better people, stronger communities and a safer world. Right now we need to hit reset on the virus exposure. That’s why it is vital that we follow the precautions set out by the medical/scientific experts. Stay at home if at all possible, avoid crowds larger than 10 and wash your hands, wash your hands, WASH YOUR HANDS. Am I making myself clear? Good old fashion soap and water for 20 secs or 2 Happy Birthdays. This will not only slow the virus spread, but protect you, your friends, loved ones and strangers. Remember what effects one, effects us all. For more precautions visit the World Health Organization’s “Advice for the Public”.

Social distancing doesn’t mean disconnecting, it means staying away from the potential spread of germs. My husband has recently been re-diagnosed with cancer. Although not great timing, but absolutely necessary, started chemo last week. So we are being extra precautions from here. Thank the digital age gods that we have access to social media, FaceTime and more. Keep in contact with your friends and loved ones. You’ll be amazed how much your spirits lift with a little interaction. A good friend of mine and I have decided to do a virtual lunch date. Get creative, have fun with it.

Immune builders, take care of your insides

Next, lets stay healthy and grounded. This could be a bit of a journey, I don’t believe there are any quick fixes. Take care of your immune systems now so that in an event you are exposed to the virus, you are ready for battle. Think of your immune system as your body armor, it will allow your body to have an edge in fighting it off. That also means eating right, healthy foods (I know we all want to stress eat, so an occasional indulgence may be necessary). Stay hydrated, just like our parents told us, 8 glasses of water a day. Take your supplements. We’re big over her on herbs, vitamins and oils. In fact we’ve upped our daily intake of EmergenC and Doterra’s On Guard. Dottera makes some of the best essential oils out there. A few drops a day on your wrist or soles of your feet will help build that defense barrier.  Here’s a link to their site, Doterra On Guard Oils .

Mala made by my friend at Desert Rose Jewelry

Staying grounded means breathing, moving our bodies and shutting off the constant chatter being bombarded at us through the news. Being informed is important, being overwhelmed is not. Allow yourself a few minutes to check in, set a timer if need be, then move on to something more positive. Keep moving, there are lots of programs out there that you can virtually participate in. If you’re home with the kids, include them. Or if you’re home with the kids and mama needs a time out, consider a little yoga or mediation. I’ve personally been using a site call Daily Om. They have lots of programs to choose from and its on a donation basis. I’m using this time to deepen my daily practice. Call it woo-woo, but I believe we are all elemental beings. I use stones to help ground me. Its also a good physical reminder to stay present and breath. The beautiful mala in the picture above was made by a friend of mine, Marissa Newman. Check out here Etsy site at Desert Rose Jewelry , we need to take care of each other and keep commerce going. 

Great online program by friend Dan Santat

How can we emerge from this better people and take advantage of this time of hibernation? We can only watch so much Netflix, personally we’re making our way through “Schitts Creek” over here. Why not brush up on your skills or learn something you’ve always longed to do. Try Free 2 Months of Skillshare , there are lots of fun programs to try out from painting, computer skills, art and crafts, cooking and more. Many artists are offering free downloads to use with the kiddos. My artist/author friend Dan Santat has put together a wonderful daily program called “Dandemic” to educate and entertain us all, young and old.

My current therapy on my painting table

Speaking of the arts, you’ve all seen the posts of Italians singing from their balconies. Use the hashtag #togetherathome over on Instagram to listen to some incredible musicians share their talents. I watched a wonderful hour long concert by John Legend, from his living room yesterday. Or if Broadway is your vice checkout the hashtag #sunshinesong to have a listen to many, who because of the sequestering aren’t able to present what they’ve been working on for months. Isn’t it interesting that the first thing we gravitate to in times of trouble are the arts, but its the programs deemed less important when budget cuts come around in the schools.

Because our pets always make us feel better, my loves Bodhi & Sydney

One more tip I heard someone speak of, start a journal. Not only will it help you clear the clutter, but it will be a record of history. A history that you and I are experiencing together. Feel free to join myself and others around the world at the 12 o’clock hour (AM/PM), in whatever time zone you inhabit. Take a breath, say a pray/mediation/good thoughts and see the world as healed. Many minds make big changes. Lets be vigilant, grounded, friendly and kind. We will make it through to the other side and I believe with all my heart, a better world is ahead after this global shift.

Namaste – Pam










My little piece of art in its humble home

We never realize how simple little actions, can change someone’s day and in some cases maybe their lives. Life has been a little unpredictable for all of us recently since our presidential election. We may not have any control over the election results, but we can choose our attitudes and how we treat each other. Simple acts, a smile, holding a door, letting someone in line, can make a big difference. No Name Art Group’s recent project could be that simple act.

Since 2011 I’ve been fortunate to be part of this fantastic group of artists whose motto is to use art to promote positive changes for ourselves, our local communities and our world. It was started in 1999 by a small group of artists who worked in the corporate world of deadlines and overtime. They had forgotten what it was like to make art, just for art’s sake. By collaborating on art for art’s sake, they began to make art fun again.


Image from No Name Art Group’s recent project

It didn’t take very long for other artists to joined in on the fun, to remember why we truly make art as artists, to answer that call from our souls. They started to hold shows with the art that was created and people wanted to buy the art, but the art was about the act of simply creating. So they decided to use the proceeds to make a difference. We have raised funds by adorning wine bottles, note cards, water bottles and much more. We include the charities that we’re working with to help their causes. Now the group is “Artists Making A Difference”.

No one could have predicted that the world would need some extra loving when our latest art projects were to be released into the wild. But sometimes the universe has a way of taking care of us when we need it most. The current project touches the world from my little corner of the woods in Doylestown, Pennsylvanis to New York City, California and far off places like, Costa Rica and Australia.

We were all given a rock to create our masterpieces on. When finished, our task was to leave the rock in a spot that someone could admire it and carry the love we’ve placed into them. The art of these tiny canvases is wonderful. Our group has set up a web page to track the rocks travel to their forever homes. You can see it here at http://www.nonameartgroup.org/rocks/ .


Close up of the art’s progression

Creating my piece in a pen and ink style with a scattering of a flowers I placed it a spot that was close to my heart. With the hopes that someone in their time of need, hope and encouragement would find it.

I spent many years volunteering as a chaplain at Doylestown Hospital, visiting with patients and families in times of joy and sorrow, in the ER, ICU and patient’s rooms. It always touched me that I was allowed to be a witness to their heart’s joys, sorrows and pain. Those encounters affect all in involved and leave an imprint on our souls. I still carry a part of all those visits on my own soul.


The Chapel at Doylestown Hospital with its George Nakashima furniture

My little piece of art was left humbly in a tiny little corner of the hospital, atop a majestic piece of art created by the infamous master furniture maker George Nakashima. In a room adorned with a beautiful stained glass wall created by local artist Ed Byrne. The Mary and Gerald Santucci Chapel is a place of hope, quiet and solitude. It was my wish that my little rock would bring the same to someone.


 Colorful stained glass by artist Ed Byrne

I’m excited to watch all the little gems created by our group find their ways home and look forward to our next project. It’ll be another chance to make a difference in the world, even if in a small way. Remember its the tiny pebble, that when thrown into the big lake, makes ripples. Choose today to make a difference, share your smile, hold a door or buy a cup of coffee. It will not only make someone’s day, but your own as well.

2016 surtex promo sq x2 copy

My Surtex 2016 promo piece

This post is being written as I make final preparations for 2016’s Surtex show in the big apple that’s set to launch this weekend. I scurry about cleaning up files for my portfolio, look at my to do list for the hundredth time and pack up my suitcase filled with the regular travel items, as well as the essential show stuff.


Close up of the banners that will adorn booth #568

This journey has been a long one, beginning with my dream to be an artist when I was a wee one. For as long as I can remember I have been passionate about being creative, its what makes me happy and truly makes my soul sing. The path has had some detours but with my decision to go back to school a few years ago to finish up a degree started many moons ago and my subsequent graduation in 2014, I’m pretty sure I am following the right road.

I have walked the hallowed floors of Jacob Javits Center in years past, beginning as a returning student in 2013. I went to NYC to see what this giant art licensing show was all about. When I arrived I felt like a kid in a candy store, with all the art and inspiration around me. I took notes, asked questions and made connections. The following year I returned the day after graduating with my degree in graphic design and illustration from Moore College of Art. I walked the floor with a book of art and surface patterns created for my senior thesis. That year I had more contacts and had become friends with many from the show the year before. Some of those friends were from a collective I had joined, the Cultivate Art Collective. So in 2015 I dipped my toe a bit further into the Surtex arena with the collective. My art and its style were accepted and some art directors had interest. That gave me the courage to dive in and fully embrace the Surtex experience this year.

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My Surtex freebies, calendars so people can remember my art everyday

Now mind you this exhibition is not for the faint of heart, as it is a huge undertaking, not to mention expensive. I read that someone had priced out the square footage of a booth for the 3 days the show is open to the public, would be equivalent to renting an apartment at $900,000 for the year. I know real estate in New York City is expensive but that takes the cake. With the support of my family, I choose to invest in myself and my dreams and get a booth on my own at this year’s show in their new “design district”. A place intended for first time show exhibitors, a virtual 5’x5′ box with a table and 2 chairs.

There were moments in the last few months after I made the decision, that I wondered if I would be prepared and if the monies would be there to find this expedition . The amount of work needed was never a problem, as I have continued since graduation building on my portfolio weekly. Taking on challenges given each week through creative groups I belong to. This was to be my investment into my dreams.

I’ve been a busy gal putting together the pieces needed to complete my booth, banners, signs, portfolios, marketing pieces and new art. As well as promoting myself and the show to the industry through emails, postcards and marketing campaigns. All the while continuing the freelance work that helps support our family.

This will be a first for my daughter Kayla too. She has just finished her second year at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. Kayla will be helping me out in my booth, giving me a break when needed. We will also have a few designs that she and I have collaborated on together. Who knows maybe this will help launch her design future too.

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A bonus sign for my booth

As the minutes tick by till I board the train to New York and meet my daughter on Saturday, my stomach does tumbles and my sleep is tossed. I have no doubt that I will learn much, but I also hope that this week is truly the moment that propels my dreams into full blast. If you are attending the show make sure to stop by my booth #568 and say hello. You can also follow along with me on my instagram page at http://www.instagram.com/gracefull_arts as I will be posting pics while there. Make sure to look out for my next blog, when I round up my time in New York and see what the outcome of all this prep is. Until next time; here’s to fingers, knees and toes crossed!



butterflyDream, Believe, Be, Inspire…Repeat

What is in those small quiet moments when we take the time to disconnect from electronics and the crazy world spinning all around us. Many times we are caught up in our jobs, the kids and the to do lists, rushing from one place to the next. Yet somewhere deep inside we sense that there is a calm place that our angels and guides are speaking with us, whispering words of encouragement or nudging us towards or away from something. Recently I listened to those gentle nudgings and signed up for a six month painting course with an artist from Portland Oregon, who I have long since admired, Kelly Rae Roberts. The name of the course is what really spoke to me at first, Spirit Wings-An Angel Painting Course to Inspire and Manifest Your Dreams.

Kelly Rae is one of those people who beams with such joy and happy grace. You sense that in her art work, blogs, books and if you follow her on Instagram, you see it in snap shots of her, wear your joy project. I first learned of her when I picked up and read her book, Taking Flight, the book spoke to me in many ways and made me realize that our paths of listening to that small voice were similar. I have been a believer in spirit, angels and the good of the world for many, many years. Its always nice to hit upon a fellow soul traveler. Since picking up that first book I have had the honor of taking and learning from Kelly Rae often. I watch and study how she runs her business, creates her enlightened art and inspires a community of liked minded soul seekers.pastels One of the things I am loving about this course is the introduction to new materials. Much of my freelance work is digital and has me attached to a screen and keyboard. This course is so freeing and such a great opportunity to just dive in and get my hands dirty. Many of my family and friends know how angels or butterflies have been a constant in my artwork and I have done mixed media pieces for many years. Getting lost in the layering and textured backgrounds that it creates. What I haven’t really experienced up till now was the use of oil pastels into the mix. I have to admit I am in love with their rich buttery textures and how easily they blend together. It is like working with creamy buttery yummy-ness. Since being introduced a few weeks ago I’ve been playing with and trying to incorporate them into other pieces that I’m currently working on.

pink2  pink  pink3

An angel through the process –

“Listen to the notes that whisper on the wind”

What has truly been exciting about this art making process, is quieting my mind and truly just stepping out of the way. For me it has become another form of meditation  as I just play with the materials and allow the piece to unfold. I have always admired great artists and writers who, as you gaze at the work or read their books, you have a sense that they stepped aside and allowed spirit to create through them. This is kind of how I am feeling with this current work. I am not sitting down and composing or planning the piece before I start. Honestly I am surprised when I am finished, its as if I am seeing it for the first time its a gift given to me by spirit. I learned a long time ago that when something is effortless and brings you joy, its what you are meant to be doing.

blue2 blue3 “Trust the Whispers that Flutter in on Wings”

Thank you Kelly Rae for inspiring us all with your work and sharing your talents. I look forward to spending the next five months with you and our fellow “spirit angel seekers”. It is my hope that as I continue to quiet my mind, this new artwork unfolding will not only whisper to my soul, but speak to the spirit of the viewer as well.  Until next time dear friends, grab a moment from your busy day to take a few breaths and listen for your own quiet whispers too.

To learn more about Kelly Rae Roberts check out her link here; www.kellyraeroberts.com


The Illustrations and Blog of Pat Achilles

Gracefull Arts by Pam

"Royally Great Designs"

Ashley Lotecki

Ashley Lotecki - Illustration & Design

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