Brown Bamboo Bears
are very friendly fellows.
Did you know that when you happen to meet them
somewhere in their natural bamboo bushes,
they might step up towards you
just to give you a big hug?
Oh gouache! The refreshing apple green & lemon yellow cheer me up whenever I look at this illustration. And naturally, that charismatic bear makes me smile!
Sweet or shady - what’s her plan?
I asked myself after drawing this girl.
She was supposed to look dark, but not quite!
Yet, there’s certainly some mischief on her mind!
Yee-haw! As a child, I loved watching American western movies together with my grandma, while drawing horses. This one here is so cool, it should be smoking a carrot!
It’s got attitude, but heart at the same time.
There’s always a gentleness in horses’ eyes.
I see a story.
They have such deep thoughtful and wise eyes,
which carry a certain melancholia.
It makes me wonder what they know.
Watercolor illustration created with a lot of fun! The “Isabella” horse with their cream colored coat and white manes have always been one of my favorites. It’s just such an elegant and beautiful color combination.
School of curious fish
and in peace.
Don’t we all need to be reminded of this?
This painting carries a certain energy
reminding me to persevere, keep it up, believe in your endeavors
Just like the steady drop carves the stone
You keep going everyday
to make it happen!
Watercolor illustration in various shades of blue and purple. Created in a wink of intuition and passion. I call it a “motivational piece.”
I kissed a squirrel and I liked it
the taste of it’s nutty muzzle
I kissed a squirrel just to try it
I hope my dog don’t mind it!
(because he hates squirrels :)
This one is just a goofy idea I had while I was doing tedious household stuff,
singing silly songs to pass the time. It made me laugh, so I drew it.
Watercolor illustration with stamping. Made while laughing a lot. Yet the stamping demanded a steady hand, so I had to add that later :)
Square muzzled wolf
has got some edge to it.
No bigger than a thumb,
but quite the attitude!
Sketching some silly animals led me to experimenting with deconstructing shapes, over-accentuating, and distorting them. The wolf stood out somehow, yet I wasn’t even sure what he was until I started to put some shading and color on him.
Now when I look at him,
I see grace and compassion,
confidence and gentleness.
His unadjusted beauty reminds me that we can
keep poise in non-conformity,
and wear it with a natural self-respect.
Watercolor mini portrait in cuddly grey, but beware!
You said you can recognize your kind by their eyes.
Your history, your culture, your strength.
The stories you share without words
are all in there.
Windows of the soul.
Proud velvet muzzle, is that a smirk? Your eyes are kind and warm.
I know you can make dreams come true, and wouldn’t do no harm.
You’re not the rainbow kind,
you do have your own mind!
And you inspire me.
I thought it wanted to be a dinosaur, but then it changed its mind.
With intuitive paintings you never know what wants to come out - it’s like sculpturing. It’s very soothing, like watching a French movie, just that the movie comes from inside of you!
What I see is an “every little thing is gonna be alright” outlook in a Bob Marley kinda spirit (just without the greens).
Watercolor painting in dreamy blues, green and purple forming the rainbow world background from which the unicorn emerges in soft, but confident grey and black.
Love me, she says.
Because I am lovable.
It’s the nature of cats
that they ask for what they need,
because they never question their worth.
They’re even confident when they do something bad,
but I admire that.
Because they don’t know guilt and shame like us.
They’re just themselves, no matter what.
No place like Home
The place where you grew up becomes so magical
when you live so very far away.
A new perspective makes it new and brings appreciation
of what used to be taken for granted.
Medieval castles, Roman remnants, lush green meadows and hills on the horizon, beautiful, blooming nature, and wild apple trees…
Sit and feel the soft grass blades
they tickle my feathers and wings
the gentle breeze flows by my beak
I sit and don’t think of things.
Let thoughts fly by
like a goose in the sky
like that breeze, like clouds, like bees
I sit and feel the soft green blades
tickle my feathers and wings.
Watercolor illustration. Sassy yellow and soft “underwater green” grass against a sky of puffy, baby blue clouds. A moment of stillness.
The setting sun
pours golden liquid
on the earth.
A beautiful sight,
calming like a warm embrace,
The golden sun
reminds us to breathe
to pause and unwind
and be thankful for the day
and let go of all that didn’t work out the way we wanted to
and be happy about right where we are.
Acrylic Painting featuring lush shades of green grass blades gently waving in the evening breeze in contrast to the unyielding gray mountains. Golden light and calming blue creating symbols of movement in the not yet restful sky of our minds. What will the next day bring? Not now. We’ll find out tomorrow…
There’s no honey in my jar
someone took it out of there!
I wonder if it landed in
the tummy of another bear!
I’ll have to find more honey now
I’ll have to ask my friends, the bees
if they’d be kindly generous
and fill another jar for me.
Watercolor illustration. Vivid brown for upset-bear’s wiry fur, against playful blue and green.
Moms of toddlers
deal with many surprises
throughout the day.
Moms of toddlers know
a life of, or with, a toddler
is never boring.
Moms of toddlers know
that discovering the world anew
together with them
is the most wonderful thing!
Oh merboy, I’m a little bit in love with you.
Where are you from?
You’re an underwater creature in your heart,
free, but too cool to belong to anyone but yourself.
Your hair shows fiery passion, yet distanced is your face,
your thoughts must be deep waters - that much I can tell.
Watercolor painting. Underwater green and fiery blue!
stir spinach soup,
don’t burn your fur!
I drew this picture in my first illustration class. She’s basically me (as a bear) in my kitchen, which has those exact colors (our house is from the 50s, and we kept the kitchen original, including the white metal cabinets). I love wearing aprons with cute prints. Some are as old as I am, and once sewn by my granny who was a professional tailor and lived in Frankfurt. She sewed them for us, her grandchildren. These are the best fitting aprons I own, because they’re small, and I am too. Mrs. Bear is not. She’s quite big, but not scary at all. Read more about how she made a sweet toddler girl so happy here: https://christinahughes.com/mrs-bear-got-sold
Watercolor and colored pencil illustration in bright yellow, endearing red and greens, making Mrs. Bear’s late morning feel ever so joyful!
This dog howls
when he hears sirens or music (but only when it’s live!)
Howling is ancient, it connects us to our roots.
Whenever this dog howls, we listen reverently
and sometimes we chime in.
This is a birthday card I painted for my mom. She lives far away from us, so I drew a picture of us to make her feel a little bit like we were there.
Shy mouse asking for love,
offering their heart in return.
Who can resist those sweet button eyes?
My first illustration with gouache.
says the worm
and wraps itself with it.
says us, too
and better watch for this
tiny guy who shares our taste
for sweetest fruity fun,
’cause we might be, or some of us,
A little fruit drawing practice turned into a summery painting!
Watercolor illustration in juicy read.
These fleeting moments when you simply are,
and are enough just being yourself.
In your center.
Soft colors, eyes relaxed,
nothing to hide, but all embraced.
I wish to capture those moments, hold on to this feeling of balance and bliss.
This painting gently reminds me to try and find this state of peace, acceptance, and serenity.
Aren’t we always working towards it underneath it all?
Watercolor painting. Soft pastels ease the eyes and mind.
Cool and purple
Fairytale in wintertime
Glowing purples and blue chills, icy whites come down from the sky. The forest is still. Waiting. Resting. Calm and peaceful.
Watercolor painting made with salt and magic.
If she feels like blue
why not express that?
Fashion and color is not necessarily a matter of vanity,
but shall rather be an expression of how we feel.
When we dress unaligned to our mental state
we won’t feel fully empowered.
So what’s your uniform for today?
Watercolor illustration in electrifying blue and feminine red tinges with shiny golden greens.
Chilly crystal snowflakes descent from an icy ombre sky.
None but one shooting star,
hot and gleaming,
just like our hopes in the coldest of times.
Wet-on-wet watercolor painting.
Leap and put in all you have,
catch them fluffy dreams one by one,
some are just fun and not worth the hassle,
for others it pays off to jump and be brave.
Whenever I look at this painting, I can feel that boost of energy that’s set in motion when we’re going for our dreams! Movement. A vivid leap of faith.
This was my first play with intuitive painting. I lay down a layer of vibrant colors of an invigorating lemon yellow, cool water blue, and some passionate pinks as well. Wet-on-wet. For the next layer, wet-on-dry, it was a mystery what shape would appear and what or who would arise. Then: here a hand, there a leg, and out comes she with this joyful pose! What an astonishing process this was! Just like catching dreams.
Watercolor painting. Made with awe and wonder.
Aah, the woods
mysterious and full of life.
This painting was my first play with a palette knife.
Wipe here, smear there, and voilá: some trees appear
luring you toward a magical forest!
Do you remember spending time in wild nature as a child?
Beasts and creatures are hiding in the moist, lush green meadow.
Smell the green air, feel the cool breeze,
listen to the cuckoo that sits in one of those trees!
The snow covered mountaintops soften the gaze.
Acrylic palette knife smear & smudge painting. Made with curiosity.
Clouds of soft ocean blue fur,
lively olive green eyes,
on his face a mischievous look,
that wolf is as whimsical as he appears,
and incredibly intrusive, too.
He haunted me, taking on different shapes,
appearing in places he knew I would look.
Until I drew him.
Read the full story here: https://christinahughes.com/haunted-by-a-blue-wolf
He reminds us to play and that it’s ok to say what we need. A certain degree of selfishness can also benefit others.
Watercolor painting in boldest blue.
Wild girl, dreaming
the path before her,
the path behind,
her inner voice
Another painting created at my brother-in-law’s farm, a refuge for the whole family, a place, where everyone can just be, like meditation, just with lots of food!
All kinds of wild animals live there, and nature all around.
I love to just sit in the grass and paint the smallest flowers, trees, or here:
A whole scene at dusk, with fireflies and stars trying to out-sparkle each other
a magical sight.
Just before we left that night, I anchored that scene in my memory in order to draw it later.
The fireflies with their golden light dance before soothing fall tones of yellow ochre and deep greens. Fairytalish and serene, just like our little weekend farm in the middle of nowhere. Watercolor painting.
You are moving, you’re on the go,
but your mind is stern.
What is on your mind?
Is it in the past or future,
are you making plans?
A dynamic pencil doodle on one of my memo pads which are scattered everywhere. Without writing down my chores and ideas, I would probably go coo-coo in the head.
Doodles are playtime for the mind, and they break up the seriousness of any to-do-list.
Daisies at the farm,
hide behind the barn,
don’t you step on them!
because they are so small.
Soft glowing center, like little suns surrounded by white beams that grow from the earth. Unimposing beauty. Watercolor and black ink painting.
Shiny blue, orange, purple, red:
Even leaves can be quite passionate!
They burn much like a spark from a flame
in beautiful colors before they fade.
What started out as a painting practice soon turned into a pattern, because I couldn’t stop! This piece reminds me of fall. One of my four favorite seasons - especially in the US, where people do celebrate their decorating and special holidays!
She’s a dancer from Puerto Rico, but I don’t know her name.
Glowing anticipation she feels before the dance,
merengue’s running through her veins, and she can hardly sit,
watching other dancers until it is her turn.
This was my first attempt at drawing hair realistically, after practicing it with wonderful teacher Jess at our local community art school.
Watercolor portrait in shiny, lush black, contrasting olive green and fervent tan.
“Don’t bring them in the house!” My husband said to me right at the threshold.
I had picked the flowers by the school, where the children play.
“Ants hide in them!”
“I’d like to hide there, too. Those flowers are so soft, their petals form many little rooms, and they smell divine.”
I put the vase in the backyard instead, and painted the flowers there. The splattered paint technique was an experiment, and it also was my first time painting a bouquet of flowers with watercolors.
Watercolor painting in shades of pink and dusky rosé, zesty yellow and lively greens.
Polar bear, polar bear,
what do you see?
I see my own reflection in the ice-covered sea!
I love that little bear.
He enjoys his solitude, wears contentment on his muzzle.
It’s cold there, but he stays warm.
This is where he’s from, and there he feels at home.
Watercolor illustration in cool shades of grey, icy blue, and snugly ivory whites.
There’s a tree at the farm
that’s very special.
It’s my father’s place,
although he never got to see it.
We left the farm that day before I was able to finish this drawing. My husband liked it so much that I left it this way. It’s his favorite, and the original got a special place on his desk. Now I realize that the missing color and its incompletion only makes sense. My father passed away before he could visit my husband and me in our new life in the US. This felt unfinished and colorless as well.
Watercolor and black ink painting in hopeful greens and shiny brown.
In her dreams she was friends with the wild animals.
She was was able to be free and simply be herself with them.
They would protect her, play with her, and keep her warm with their fuzzy fur.
Whenever she was alone and sad, she would get away in her mind,
and leave this place behind.
Lion girl is a strong girl who can communicate with wild forces, because she’s still in touch with her own. Finding an imaginary place to escape empowers her to face her everyday life, which brings so many challenges for a child.
Acrylic illustration in vibrant blue and greens, comforting brown and ochre, and an accent in lifeblood red.
Blue is a cold color,
but the African sun is hot.
Her eyes emit this heat and life,
a wild dog by her side.
Doodling while listening to an interview with writer Esi Edugyan. She was the juror of a writing contest in which I took part. In this conference call I got the chance to talk to her and ask her questions about writing. It was an opportunity to learn and grow.
Ballpoint pen doodle.
“Baum-Frau” is a play on words: In German “Traum-Frau” means “dream woman,” and “Baum” means “tree” (i.e. “tree woman”).
The image came to me after a feeling. This woman is grounded, draws her strength from being deeply rooted (within herself), yet at the same time connected to the sky above (spiritual). I drew that picture as a reminder to stay in balance. Being aware of one’s strength. Finding guidance within ourselves, with no need to look for the answers outside of ourselves. She stands strong, all by herself. She can handle any difficult situation by drawing wisdom, strength & courage from herself.
Watercolor painting in soft and grounding wood browns and leaf greens before a vivid blue sky.
Her name is also “Pippi”,
I saw her play with friends.
She sat down on a tree stump
and howled just like a wolf!
I took a mental picture
because that scene was truly wild.
Stunning how these kids can play
when left with themselves and their mind.
Watercolor illustration. Electric yellow lightnings unload their elemental energy through clouds of violet into the dark grey sky. Calm grey mountains stand proud behind moist green grass in which delicate yellow blossoms hide. The streaked brown, solid tree stump supports the girl, who is dressed in playful red, green and blue - like flowers, grass, and the sky when the sun shines.
Fly away with the wind,
but don’t forget to take me with you
to foreign lands and over the sea.
There’s so much to discover outside of me!
On our way to the farm, this image popped into in my mind and it made me laugh. As soon as we arrived, I found myself a dandelion, sat down with it and drew.
The ants wouldn’t pause and pose for me,
because they’re always busy.
But I managed to draw them anyways,
although they weren’t really flying that day.
Watercolor illustration of airy blues, dreamy greens and puffy blowball whites.
Howdy, I’m a friendly bear, though my claws are huge.
Come along and I’ll show you my beautiful world!
Right behind the meadows,
in the woods, see that lake on the right?
I’ve built my home, right in a cave,
I live there with my wife.
Follow me through these moist slushy swamps,
it’ll squash under our paws.
There’s so much life here in this place:
birds, toads, wild animals!
Watercolor illustration in lush, vibrant greens, and friendly, furry brown.
Tail feathers blowing
Where are you in your thoughts, little bird?
You look so concerned and filled with spleen,
and yes I was as well
as I drew you in January 2017
Watercolor illustration of a scattered bird in dusky purple and blue before a tumultuous blue, yet cloudy sky. Sparse green leaves of hope ahead.
Puppy, you look funny,
your head is much too big,
that muzzle sticks out way too much,
four paws are huge and clumsy,
but soon you’ll be proportional!
Raising a German Shepherd has been a true challenge, and incredibly educational. I believe that we each get the dog (or cat or horse) that brings the traits perfect for us to learn the lessons most important for our growth. This dog is one of my spiritual teachers, and I love him to pieces.
Scribbly pencil drawing made with love.
Puppy became a teenager,
more aware of his own strength.
His mind is shaping,
and he’s exploring life.
Every time we’d give our dog a bath, he would look more grown up. He must have lost some puppy fur each time. And then one day, we toweled him dry and he was a young adult. Metamorphosis!
Pensive pencil drawing.
Oh, those days when everything hurts,
and behind each thing there’s sadness and pain,
and the world just doesn’t make sense.
The feeling is big and can be overpowering.
This drawing is tiny, no bigger than a thumbnail.
No color, just black and white,
soft colors, they mirror the fragile mood,
but behind this is strength, between it is hope,
and ahead is a brand new day.
Pencil and watercolor mini portrait in tender tinges of tan and blue.
This tree is dead,
but this girl is alive.
She’s reading, and dreaming,
and all by herself.
The past might be over,
but backing her still,
so she can go forward from there.
Gentle, warm sunshine feels good in the face.
The river flows like our dreams, like the blood in our veins.
The green, green hills, the moss and the grass,
silver lined horizon and clouds rolling past.
This was my first watercolor landscape painting. I was full of fascination and in awe with those lush and intense colors. Many of those colors are ground minerals, and they seem to effortlessly return back into organic structures and shapes. It was pure magic for me to see what they did. Circles closing.