- Heavy-headed Roses
- One of These Days, I'll Sail in a Sea Monster Carriage
- The Sound of the Sea
- Out of the Woods Postcards
- Make a Swan Lamp
- Out of the Woods Prints
- Happy Easter
- Out of the Woods Originals Posted
- Boy Beekeeper
- Dream Animals
- Out of the Woods, or How We Quit The Forest
- Boris Plays the Mandolin
- Masked Evaline with Floral Wallpaper
- The Death of Cock Robin
- Flying By Night
- A Boxing Match
- Fill-in-the-Banner Valentines
- Tattooed Lady, Flora
- Tattooed Lady, Rara Avis
- Common Black Squirrel with Ribbon
- Bess, Maude, Frances, Matilda & Maryanne
- In the Spring, She Married a Bear
- Portrait with Pet Bat
- Bear Disguise
Right now, it's barely an exaggeration to say that my flowers and my drawings and paintings are my whole life. They run my days and rule my mind. I think that's just the month of May, for me. These roses were so heavy, they were threatening to snap off a whole cane of my best and most favorite rosebush. (I'm resisting, with everything, saying: mo roses/mo problems. But now I guess I've said it.) The best problem to have! They're budding and blooming like gangbusters, almost all of my flowers are. Enough to fill all my bottles and jars for days. I finally feel like I finally have a little foothold as a gardener. It makes the Mays (and Aprils and Junes) so much nicer. For the first few years, I was scrabbling and scrambling just to get a little start, with no understanding of how things grow, gauging shade & sun, finding the plants themselves, tending them. So I've been building them (the garden and my understanding) a bit at a time. It's a lot. But as Josiah always reminds me/reassures me: "You can't figure out everything at once." Some things have to wait their turn, and even when it comes, it takes a while. Then, days go by and months go by and years go by, and you find yourself with a foothold. A tiny one, but all your own. More flowers, more of everything soon!
(A detail of a painting) I've realized that an awful lot of my work is about improved & more spectacular modes of transportation (Dream Animals is about this, in a big way.) And I've been thinking about what my impetus is to make pictures and stories, and I never come to anything more elaborate than the simplest reason: "I just wish this (person/place/thing/Sea Monster Carriage) was real." But that's why we make anything, right? Besides necessity, it might be the _only_ reason. And even if it doesn't conjure up the wished-for thing, it's the next best consolation prize to have a picture of it, or a story about it. The souvenir, rather than the visit. I wish we could travel by bear rather than bus. I wish we could sail in a sea monster carriage instead of putter down the street in a station wagon. Until we can, I'll keep stealing snapshots from the better place.
Ahoy there, One of the things I am working on right now are paintings and things for a Seafaring show in October with my friends at Land gallery. I wanted to scan a few pencil sketches, something I hardly ever think to share (because I generally consider them a preporatory step and hardly ever think to scan or photograph them.) I've been drawing wistful girls and tearful mermaids and even with a nice dose of sea monsters, it's shaping up to be a most melancholy series of work. The ocean is like that, isn't it? It thrills us so much to be close to its endlessness & mystery, but it's the same vastness that feels so lonely. I hope you have a nice week ahead! I plan to spend mine tangled up in coral branches and handsome sailors and swimming monsters and nudie mermaids. (There are worse things.)
The new postcards sets are back from the printers & in the shop. I *love* this set, with all its bats and bears and whatnot, and I'm so happy it's here! The variety of the images really struck me as we were putting these together. I think that's one of the things I like most about them. New postcard excitement aside, I know it's been a bit sleepy around these parts lately. It's one of those odd "I'm-doing- things-but-they're-not-things-I can-immediately-share" times. For example, this last week (in addition to putting together the new postcard sets!) I was sketching for my next picture book, painting for a still far-off show, and illustrating the cover for Oddfellow's paperback. It's coming to paperback early next year! There are bits and pieces here and there that I certainly can share (and want to share) and I will try my best to scan or snap those things so they can find their way to this little corner. I hope the Spring (or Fall) is treating you well, whever you are. Happy Wednesday!
I've always really, _really_ wanted one of those little blow-mold plastic lamps - a rabbit, maybe, or a pair of glowing red mushrooms. These lamps, sold here, and here (and often spotted in beautiful French children's rooms) are a little bit pricey and also hard to come by in the U.S., so I'm still without one. But when I spotted this swan at the antique mall last week (with a very small price tag) a little flash went off in my brain. I _could_ have my own blow-mold lamp. A big one! A swan! And you can have one, too! These swans are just planters, and they are still being manufactured by Union Products. You only really need two things to make it: - The planter, which you can order via Amazon or elsewhere online (you might also check your local home and garden store - they might carry this kind of novelty planter.) There is also a goose, a penguin, and other things, if one of those is more your speed. Or maybe search Ebay for old blow-mold curiosities? - A cord kit, the kind used for those hanging paper lanterns. There are lots of them here (again) or maybe you have one already? Just pay attention to what kind of light bulb it takes - some take candelabra bulbs, some take 40 w bulbs. Since these are planters, they will probably have a hole (for drainage) somewhere near the backside. If the hole isn't large enough to pass the pronged end of the cord through, I found it was easy to enlarge it with a long lighter and a screwdriver. I warmed up the plastic, and it was easy to make the hole as large as necessary (although I did feel a little bit horrible brutalizing the poor swan with the screwdriver.) I nestled the light in a glass jam jar, so the bulb wouldn't rest against (and likely melt) the plastic. You could also just pile a string of white fairy lights in there. That's what I did at first, and it looked lovely - I just wanted a bit more light. So happy to finally have a little glowing animal for company in my studio. A swan is not a rabbit, but I love them just as much! _*** Updated: There was some concern raised in the comments about my ramshackle lamp-making, and I want to encourage everyone to tinker with their own lighting particulars (for instance, in V.2 of my own lamp, I think I'll use a wooden block secured to the light's base to suspend the bulb in mid-air.) _ Most importantly, whatever route you go - never use one of these (totally unapproved-by-safety-commissions) lamps unattended!
_ theblackapple said in reply to Kathy P... _
_An important thing to consider, definitely._ _If one decides to make this little experimental project, there are many items you might use to shield the plastic mold from the light, ie: you might build a simple base for the bulb so that it doesn't come in contact with the surrounding plastic._ _As glass is a relatively poor conductor of heat, it seemed like a good place to start in my tinkering._ _Regardless, I will never use it unattended, and I certainly suggest everyone else do the same!_
Just a little note to let you know that the new prints are now available in the shop! There are two originals yet-to-be spoken for mingling with all the new print images. Oh! People have been asking about Out of the Woods postcard sets, and they should be available in 2-3 weeks. Happy Tuesday!
_(Excellent postcard found here)_ I'm wishing I had an egg hunt or a surprise basket in my future, but (cruelly) grownups usually have to make their own magic & treats. Maybe, at the very least, a coconut cake is in the cards for me? Or a reading of _The Country Bunny_? However you spend it, wishing you a lovely Sunday/bunny-day/Eastertide!
I just listed all 15 paintings for sale in my shop! Hop over for a look.
I've set a date & time! On MONDAY, MARCH 25TH (AT 3 PM EASTERN/12 PM WEST COAST) ALL FIFTEEN OF THE NEW ORIGINAL PAINTINGS WILL BE POSTED FOR SALE in my shop! Each is framed in one of my very favorite golden frames. And they're all so at home together it'll be hard to split them up. The way my updates work is this: I'll post all the new paintings at the time above (here's a time zone converter, if you want to check what time that works out to be for you.) My original work often sells within hours or days - sometimes minutes! I can't reserve original work, so if there's one you have your eye on, it's best to come at the time of the update. I hope this is helpful! And please feel free to email with any questions. Hooray! Thanks for all the kind words about this work. And thank you (always) for visiting here.
_Boy & Bee _8"x10" Acrylic on wood This is the last little painting to sneak into this collection of pieces. A dapper little beekeper! I'm nearly done framing all the paintings, and nearly ready to announce a time & date for the update (when all of the originals will be posted for sale.) I've been getting so many inquiries about this new work (thank you!) so watch right here for the update announcement in the next day or so. If you're not familiar with how I post my original work for sale, I'll let you know exactly how it works. And thank you also for the awfully kind comments about Dream Animals! It's so nice to start talking about the book and to see excitement start building beyond the small team of us who worked on it.
I was thinking I'd wait a bit before I posted the cover here, but lately the book keeps popping up here and there (the Publisher's Weekly Fall Previews, plus it's pre-orderable at Amazon & B&N!) These little hints decided it was time. Remember these snippets? They come from this book, my very first picture book. _Dream Animals_ is, as the subtitle suggests, a bedtime journey (or series of journeys, really.) In it, a new dream-myth is born, and animals as old as time (and dreams themselves) carry each small dreamer to their own particular (and spectacular) dream. You can catch a glimpse of one interior illustration by following the Publisher's Weekly link, but I wish I could share it all! Waiting to share more of the insides (and waiting for people to be able to hold the real, bound books) is so hard. This is my third time at this particular kind of rodeo, and I feel more impatient than ever. I think it's because I'm so terribly excited about the October release of _Dream Animals_ and it makes me quite rabbity and twitchy to wait. I can't wait to share more, more, more as October draws closer! * Furred, or finned, or feathered...your dream animal is waiting. *
_Out of the Woods, or How We Quit The Forest_ 11"x14"x1" Acrylic on wood There are many reasons for the girl and the creatures to pack their bags and go, but I can't imagine any reason good enough to leave the woods unless under you were in serious danger or distress. _How We Quit The Forest_ is the name of a favorite album of mine, and I'd been thinking of a loosely related painting for years and years (though what happens in the song is mostly between an ostrich & an egret and doesn't have too much to do with this picture at all.) Of course, this painting will be part of the big update of original work happening in the next few weeks. And it's the title piece - I think _Out of the Woods_ is a good title for a collection of paintings like these, about the wild & the ordinary intertwining. Be assured, I'll let you know the exact time & date as soon as I'm able! ♥
An earnest bear musician before the weekend. _Boris Plays the Mandolin_ 8"x10" Acrylic on wood Is there a more endearing instrument than the mandolin? In college, my friend picked up a hitchhiker and I wasn't sure it was really such a good idea. Then I saw his mandolin, and thought - well, how bad can he be? It wasn't my decision anyway, so I also thought: lemons/lemonade. (It all turned out fine, by the way, but I do strongly advise against young girls picking up stray, rambling men, regardless of what instrument they play.) Happy weekend - I hope yours is a nice one! PS: The new work will be available very soon - thank you for all your emails & questions about them. I need to finish up a few things & frame the paintings, but I'll post a time & date for the update soon!
_Masked Evaline with Floral Wallpaper_ 11"x14" Acrylic on wood Never enough bears, never enough bandits. And that wallpaper! The wallpaper is based on a beautiful & real design (despite the fact that it seems too pretty to be real.) It papers a room in the little house of someone I know. I've had such a nice time painting wallpapers that I think I might do a set of cards with wallpaper-ish patterns sometime this year. In all my free time. Two (maybe three) more paintings, and then this series will be finished with (for now, anyway.) I'm thinking of naming it _Out Of The Woods._
_Who killed Cock Robin?_ _ "I," said the Sparrow, _ _ "With my bow and arrow, _ _ I killed Cock Robin."_ The Death of Cock Robin 14"x11"x1" Acrylic on wood I love the famous (and excellently macabre) nursery rhyme _Who Killed Cock Robin_. There are a lot of variations and expansions on it, too, and many illustrated little books of the story from the 19th and early 20th century from dozens of different illustrators. No matter how many exist, I think (because I'm crazy for Mr. Potter) that the most grand and beautiful illustration of the poem is the Walter Potter tableau. I'd really like to do an expanded Cock Robin series some day, but for now, this is my imagining of the last lines (my favorite part): _All the birds of the air_ _ Fell sighing and sobbing,_ _ When the heard the bell toll_ _ For poor Cock Robin._ Thank you for all of your kind words about the new paintings! See you soon with a few more before this series draws to a close. Happy weekend!
There are lots of nighttime travels via various animals in my next picture book, but except in a tiny cameo (much to my chagrin) we didn't manage to include a bat. So this is me, setting things right. _Flying By Night_ 11"x14"x1" Acrylic on wood Bats are getting their day in this new series of paintings! Over fir forests, with the faintest pink of dawn creeping in. Just the most lovely dream (or thing to do while everyone else is dreaming.)
Fisticuffs! _A Boxing Match_ 14"x11"x1" Acrylic on wood (as always, you can click to enlarge a bit) First, I have to confess to a hopeless crush on old-fashioned boxers (ie: Ron Swanson's steakhouse poster is one of my favorite things about Parks & Recreation.) Secondly, I am a known bear-fan, so there we have it: two loves in battle. The last week has been very wonderful and very busy and otherworldly: I had a pie-party, left my twenties behind, and visited Snow White. Now I'm setting back to work at finishing the handful of paintings left to complete this series. When they're ready, I'll be having an enormous update with over a dozen new paintings and possibly/probably some other treasures. More pictures & further dispatches soon!
Are you in need of an eleventh-hour Valentine? I made these to use as my own personal cards this year, and I thought it would be nice to share them here! You can use them as-is with vermilion hearts, or you can go a little glitter-crazy on the hearts like I did (I used five different kinds from the big Martha set.) My favorite thing about these is the little bit of room for personalization. Within the name banners, of course, but also re: glitter choice. The warm silver glitter had a lovely old-timey effect, while classic red was so exuberant and, well, classic. And even if you don't glitterize them, I think they're sweet just as they are (as seen in the first photo.) I printed mine on 4"x6" cream-colored postcard stock. *Download the Lovebird Valentine file here* _Please note: these are for personal use only, and are not to be sold or used for commercial purposes by any person or business, little or big._ Happy Valentine's Day, sweet peas!
_Tattooed Lady, Flora_ 11"x14"x1" Acrylic on wood A companion of sorts to the illustrated lady featured in the last portrait! What could be nicer than to carry a garden with you, always in bloom, even in the darkest Winter? I've gotten a few emails about when these new paintings will be available, and I'm hoping for early March! In the meantime, I still have a few tricks up my sleeve, framing to do, etc. Oh! And Stay tuned for some personalizable Valentines in a day or two. Happy Monday!
Since this group of paintings seems to be about the intertwining of the wild world and the ordinary one, I thought there should be portraits with skin inked in beautiful tattoos of natural things. _Tattooed Lady, Rara Avis_ 11x14x1 Acrylic on wood I've actually had this rare bird in my mind for a long time, and now she is here. There is another of these portraits already finished - a companion of sorts. She'll be up here soon! Right now I am off to make and send some valentines...I am woefully behind this year, but I have faith in my stores of glitter and red envelopes. Happy weekend!
_Common Black Squirrel with Ribbon_ 8"x10" Acrylic on wood A dapper little squirrel (I love black squirrels, they seem so otherworldly) and a couple of portraits I'm really excited about coming up! I'm in such a work-mode that it's hard for me to tear myself away for anything, even scanning & sharing the paintings. See you soon!
_Bess, Maude, Frances, Matilda & Maryanne_ 14"x11"1" Acrylic on wood Another new painting - five little friends masqurading in five different disguises. I have just had a really nice couple of days! My children's book editor (who I love) came to visit, and we went to a few of my favorite haunts and talked endlessly about books and not-books. It was so lovely & a nice excuse to take a work break/painting break (I need an excuse, or I will squirrel myself away for days and days.) I'm more excited than ever about my first picture book's release, and about beginning work on the next one. I cannot wait to share more of everything - more news and (most importantly!) more pictures! And thank you for all the kind words about these new paintings! I love how this strange little collection is coming along.
I feel like I could ramble for a long time about this painting, so I'll leave it alone and just say: I am fond of it & here it is. _In the Spring, She Married a Bear_ 11"x14"x1" Acrylic on wood I thought you might get portrait hypnosis, so I thought I'd share something more scenic. Thank you for all your kind words about the new work! It's been a really nice rabbit hole to fall down, and I don't plan on coming out of it for a good little while. Happy Weekend to you!
_Portrait with Pet Bat_ 11"x14"x1" Acrylic on wood There's a nursery/nonsense rhyme that turns up in several of my old children's books (_Mother Goose_ & elsewhere) which goes: _Bat, bat,_ _ Come under my hat,_ _ And I'll give you a slice of bacon;_ _ And when I bake_ _ I'll give you a cake,_ _ If I am not mistaken._ I'm not sure if she lured him with bacon, or how exactly they got to know each other, but whatever treats she promised him aside: How nice to have a docile little bat to perch on your hand! I wonder what his name is? Morris? ...or Mervyn? ...or Melvin? More new pictures for your viewing amusement very soon. Illustrated ladies...forest weddings...beasts wild & tame.
_Bear Disguise_ 8"x10"x1" Acrylic on wood I love how simple and still this ursine girl portrait is. This is another new painting from this series of wild things and mild-mannered things masquerading and creatures who might not be what they seem. I've been hard at work on this new work for a little while now, and there's a not-unsizeable stack of pictures ready to be shared. More portraits, but scenes, too. I promise it's not all bears. (But there are a lot of bears.) Stay tuned!