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Back to School Blues…

September 1st, 2014

saftyPtrlBird

 

It is hard for me to believe that we are back to school, having completed two and a half weeks already!  Sports are in full swing, as is homework and the packing of lunches. Ugh!  With my youngest moving into Middle School this year, I am missing the morning routine of walking him to school, greeting friends and neighbors at the corner, as the Safety Patrol crew helps us cross! This was actually the first year we had the “first-day-of-school” photo with just the two boys, since they depart earlier…I was still in my pjs (and no one needs documentation of that)!  Where are the days where we anxiously waited outside at 3 o’clock for the children to come bounding out of the doors squealing, with papers flying and lunch boxes and backpacks dragging along?!  I miss that!

Additionally, my heart truly goes out to all the mothers of last year’s graduating class.  Their babies are leaving the nest for college this year and that is a hard one to take as a Mom.  Having invested so much physical and emotional energy into our children, in the raising and continued support of them, it is no wonder that the “letting go” is a challenge.  I will be in their shoes next year! But have faith friends, you all have given each of your kids a solid foundation, a sturdy platform for them to fly from, and now it is all up from here!  They can do this and so can you!  Don’t second guess it…know it- all will be fine!

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I’m Anxiously Awaiting…

July 15th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.31.45 AMI am anxiously awaiting the opening of  Imagine! The Art of the Children’s Picture Book, running at the Columbus Museum of Art from June 20-Nov.9th, 2014!!

I have been a longtime fan of Will Hillenbrand’s illustrations. I had the pleasure of meeting Will at an SCBWI Conference years ago, at Hoftstra University in NY.  He is a very nice guy, and very generous in sharing his infectious love of children’s book art!  At the time, he was signing his Counting Crocodiles book, written by Judy Sierra, and he wrote the sweetest inscription to my then-infant son, Jackson!  Today, it is a joy to pull the book off the shelf and read the inscription and the wonderful rhyming story!  Brings back great memories!

Fast forward to when Jackson was a Freshman in High School and the Delaware Arts Castle held an exhibit opening with several illustrators, including Will, among others.  It was great to introduce him to Jackson, a budding illustrator himself.  Will, again was so kind and encouraging, lending the advice that artists often do, “always carry a sketchbook!”  Needless to say, we both walked away from that event, completely inspired, with our shared love of children’s books and their art, reinforced and cemented.

I encourage you to take a moment, take your kids, take the grandparents, and go see the exhibit, while it is here… also check out Will Hillenbrand’s website!  It is a treat to be on his email list as well, for he sends out an illustration at every holiday!  Very fun!  You are never too old for a children’s book!

http://www.willhillenbrand.com

One Wish on Mother’s Day…

May 11th, 2014

SprgChikOmmm

SERENITY!!!

At a crossroad?

May 3rd, 2014

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How are you today? This very moment? Are you happy? How do you define HAPPY? How do YOU define HAPPY?

Are you sitting on the fence about something? Are you sitting at a crossroad? Are you simply frozen, afraid to move forward out of fear of imperfection or failure?

I am. I can’t put my finger on it…burnout? Sheer exhaustion? Why can’t I come into my studio and accomplish something?  Why am I so easily distracted and not able to find that next project or opportunity that excites me, inspiring me to forge ahead? Why am I questioning myself?

Ok Mr. Hawthorne, maybe it is fear. All I do know at the moment is that I am not Happy, but rather cranky! Longing for inspiration…But what kind?

When it comes to sewing inspiration I consult a few of my faves…

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UK artist Janet Bolton and her handiwork, with her sweet, simple vignettes, always reminds me to get back to the basics. Needle, thread, and linen! Her folk art style of hand sewn appliqué work is comforting because it is NOT PERFECT…precisely what gives it character and proves lovely and encouraging to the onlooker!

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Another UK artist, more current and contemporary, and just plain fun is Poppy Treffrey! There is an honesty to her cute designs. She’s the real deal (not that the other artists I admire are not), she is putting out products that are true to her daily life, not what she thinks is the latest hot trend (seriously, how many birds on top of poorly painted collages, with generic “inspirational” messages can one tolerate?) Not Poppy…the sailboats and the seagulls, she is passing on her way to her studio, which is located in a little fishing village. Her adorable designs include sandpipers, wellies and teacups…why? Not because they are cute things that potential buyers associate with the UK, no…she is wearing wellies and drinking tea because her weather requires it and she is lucky enough to be near a coast to watch the cute little long-legged sandpipers darting around! Now that is inspiration! (Calgon take me away!)

When I am seeking inspiration through color…I always turn to Edna Boies Hopkins. Talk about subtle beauty via the simplicity of carved wood and ink! Wow!

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ednaB HopkinsSo in Mr. Hawthorne’s (summarized) words…happiness is in the courage to release…so comrades at the crossroad…go forth and put it out there! Be the Real Deal!

 

 

 

 

Hello Spring!

April 29th, 2014

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I’m going out on a limb (no visual pun intended), but I think it is safe to welcome Spring!

Spring is here…Check out my article in the Spring issue of online Verite Magazine! Visit www.veritemag.com!

April 17th, 2014

Lost Artists

February 6th, 2014

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I recently came across this book about the illustrator George Barbier (1882-1932), who was a leading Art Deco artist in not only book illustration, but also fashion illustration and theatrical design.  Honestly, I had never heard of him, but I was drawn to his illustrative style. While he was followed by several art collectors,  Barbier lived out his artistic life mostly forgotten and undocumented.  Not until an Art Deco revival in 2008, did he have the first exhibition of his work since his death in 1932.  Thus the question, how was there no other documentation or book written on his behalf in the previous 75 years?  It saddened me, as I pored over each page, taking in the endless illustrations and paintings in the book, each a phenomenal work of art on their own.

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Another artist, whose work I have long admired is Margaret Evans Price.  Probably not bringing a visual to your mind just from her name.  Ironically she is co founder (Price) of Fisher Price toys, but few recognize her beautiful illustrations.  I cherish this book which compiles much of her work…

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and this is why…

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MEPricereaderHow many other artists, like silent birds in a bush, are out there, but whose beautiful work goes unnoticed, has been lost to time, and needs appreciated?  Seek them out! Send me your findings!

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Glitter=Happy!

January 28th, 2014

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Ever watch kids working on an art project?  Tongues sticking out, little chubby hands driving stubby scissors around construction paper shapes.  Then the Art Teacher brings out the glitter…well, enough said, that’s when the happiness kicks in!  Kids LOVE glitter!  Sparkly stuff has power!  This is probably why women love jewelry so much and “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”!

Given our recent sub-zero temperatures and wind chill torture, I have been staying indoors more than usual this winter.  In an attempt to be productive one day I was determined to purge and clean my studio.  ”No more unwanted, unused art supplies or junk clogging up my space and killing my creativity!”,  I vowed!

So I purged, and pitched and pulled things from the deepest drawers and corners of my studio. Some things went into a donation bag, some into a recycling bag and some into the garbage.  Taking a break for lunch, I returned to study my progress. I was pleased. I went on to other things.

The next morning, back in my studio I felt lighter, clear table tops enticed me and I could feel my creativity coming back. Then I spotted it. The old bottle of Acrylic Glitter Glaze that had landed in the garbage.  I couldn’t recall why I had even purchased it years before, probably for a Halloween costume.  I felt a tug on my conscience.  ”C’mon, glitter’s for kids, let it go! You’ll never use it and it will just take up space!”, the adult in me, chided.  I moved on and started my day.  Two hours later I spotted it again and then found I could not take my mind off the stuff.  ”Ok, I will let you and ONLY YOU back in!”, I scolded, pulling it from the garbage.  I opened the bottle to make sure it wasn’t dried up and would actually prove useful if saved. It was in perfect condition, just waiting to make something sparkly!

I pulled out a collage I had made to recycle old papers and I painted some Glitter Glaze onto the surface. “Hmmm, whatever!  I am not going to get excited over this, it is only glitter!”, I told myself.  Setting the scrap aside to dry, I went about answering emails and tending to daily business.  Again, I broke for lunch and when I came back into the studio, the sun (my long lost friend) was peeking in the window and had caught the surface of the collage.

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Wow! It gave it a whole new life.  Subtle in sparkle, I fell in love with the stuff.  I painted it on more things: cast off watercolors created long ago, fabric scraps, I even considered painting the dogs’ nails!

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I don’t know if it just provided the sparkle I needed after a long winter or if it transported me back to childhood!  Nevertheless, the bottle of Glitter Glaze has earned a place back on my shelf and as long as it brings the happiness, it shall remain!  Now what makes you happy?

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Moving into 2014…

January 3rd, 2014

It is time to say goodbye to the gluttony of the holidays, bid 2013 adieu, and move into the new year!  I appreciate our recent snowfall because to me, it seems like Mother Nature is giving us a clean slate, from which to begin.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions anymore…they nag at me and seem overtly critical. Therefore, I prefer to make a fresh list of goals for the year.  My list of goals always includes one that is focused on self-improvement (“back away from the chocolate, Abby!”) and the rest are all family, work and art-related!

I think it is time to dust off the many book manuscripts I have had, but not submitted for publication…so I am dusting off and diving in this year!  The month of May will find me walking the Surtex show in NYC and 2014 overall, will see me balancing more writing and illustration work.  I will also treat myself to some new creative undertaking in the new year…perhaps an out-of-town artist retreat? Workshop? Class? I’m searching…

How about you? What’s on your list of goals/resolutions?

Happy 2014! May it prove productive!

Currently exhibiting…

December 22nd, 2013

I’m very excited to have three fabric collages in the current exhibition, Altered Reclaimed Textiles, running Dec. 2, 2013 — Jan. 17, 2014 at the Delaware Arts Castle, in Delaware, Ohio!  Check it out if you have time this holiday season!

Happy Holidays!