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24526. Your Favorite Art Magazines

The poll results are finalized for your favorite art magazine, and here are the results:

#1: International Artist. (55 votes) This bimonthly Australia-based magazine features artists from around the world. It usually allows the artists themselves to explain their thinking and their process. There's a competition in every 160 page issue, with winners from previous rounds highlighted. Most kinds of traditional media are shown, sometimes with step-by-steps. Special features on portrait painting, wildlife art, and illustration extend its range. (Full disclosure-- I do a regular column called "Station Points" on a variety of topics).

#2. ImagineFX. (50 votes) Published in England, and available in many other countries, this magazine concentrates on fantasy and science fiction (or "imaginative realism" as many are calling it now), as well as concept art. The majority of artists working digitally, but there are some who use paints and brushes. There's always a feature for new talent. The DVD included, with demos of the techniques by each of the workshop leaders.

#3. The Artist's magazine (33 votes) This Ohio-based magazine covers a variety of painting media with lots of pragmatic information about technique with lots of how-to examples. It has features on drawing, Q&A, "Ask the Experts," and workshop listings. It's website has videos and other features. Other magazines from the same publisher include Pastel Journal and Watercolor Artist. The magazine is associated most strongly with North Light books, and it has inherited American Artist's former subscribers.

#4 Plein Air magazine. (29 votes). Launched, changed to Fine Art Connoisseur, and then relaunched by popular demand, this quarterly magazine features techniques and profiles of prominent outdoor painters and collectors, as well as information about contests and conventions. The emphasis is on oil painters, especially in the Edgar Payne thick-paint mode. The editor is M. Stephen Doherty and the publisher is Eric Rhoads.

#5 Southwest Art (23 votes).  The emphasis is on Southwestern USA Art and Native American Art and artists. There are features on artists, art galleries, show listings, plein air events, new artists and art towns.

Other strong vote-getters:
#6 Watercolor Artist (20 votes)
#7 Hi Fructose (18 votes)
#8 American Art Collector (16 votes)
#9, 10, and 11. A three-way tie for Pastel Journal, Fine Art Connoisseur, and Artists and Illustrators (13 votes each)

11 Comments on Your Favorite Art Magazines, last added: 12/18/2012
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24527. Week-end Book Review: The Oldest House in the USA by Kat Aragon and Mary Jo Madrid

Kat Aragon, illustrated by Mary Jo Madrid,
The Oldest House in the USA/La casa mas antigua de los Estados Unidos
Lectura Books, 2012.

Ages: 6-8

Perhaps the best thing about The Oldest House in the USA, in my admittedly biased opinion, is that the author got it right: the oldest house in the USA is in Santa Fe, New Mexico (not far from where I grew up), and nowhere in New England.

There is a tendency in the United States to propagate the myth of European “discovery” which would suggest that this land was all but uninhabited before the Mayflower arrived in Massachusetts in 1620.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  In fact, the oldest house in the USA was already 400 years old by then and had already endured its first serious remodeling project!

It was built, as the angels Teresa and Annie who protect it in Kat Aragon’s charming bilingual picture book, tell us, in 1200 by the original inhabitants of what is now Santa Fe: the ancestral Puebloans.  They lived in the house for more than 200 years before something mysteriously drove them away.  It remained vacant until the Spaniards came in 1598 and has been continuously inhabited ever since.

The angels provide the narrative, and Mary Jo Madrid’s lovely watercolor illustrations help us realize that the house has been many things to many people over its 800 year history.  The Pueblo people were living in the house again, for instance, in 1680 during the Pueblo Revolt when they managed to drive out the Spanish for a brief time.  When the Spaniards came back, however, in 1692 under the leadership of General DeVargas, they recaptured the house and installed the Spanish governor there.  DeVargas gave his name to the street the house sits on, and so it remains to this day.

The Oldest House in the USA offers readers a glimpse of a part of US history that is very different from the one that is usually packaged up for school children, one that is no less rich or interesting.  Most children will see architecture and customs completely unfamiliar to them depicted in the illustrations, which will open their eyes to the many possibilities contained in the history of the Americas when we take the time to look a little more deeply.

Abigail Sawyer
December 2012

0 Comments on Week-end Book Review: The Oldest House in the USA by Kat Aragon and Mary Jo Madrid as of 12/17/2012 6:22:00 AM
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24528. What Children (and Everyone Else) Need to Read

Famed children's book author Donna Jo Napoli recently gave a TEDxSwarthmore talk called What Children (and Everyone Else) Need to Read. It's worth your time...

     On a related note, David Almond, author of SKELLIG and other famous books, recently wrote an article for The Telegraph (UK) called Children's Books Shouldn't Sit Still and Behave. To give you a taste:

"Children's literature...tells tales of rabbits and ducks, of vampires and zombies, of ordinary kids in ordinary homes, of love and death, and explores the most profound, joyful and troubling aspects of human experience."
     People wonder why I read children's books, not adult books. Personally I find a story much more interesting when a character is still forming in their own lives, when even they don't know how they will react because they have no behavioral patterns defined in their lives yet. The questions of good or bad, right or wrong are still on the table, waiting to be decided. It's the stage of formation and we get to join in for a while. What an awesome thing.

Update: I wrote this post before the school shooting and believe, in retrospect, Ms. Napoli's points are even more relevant when you consider the tragedy.

2 Comments on What Children (and Everyone Else) Need to Read, last added: 12/17/2012
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24529. Music Monday - Christmas Flashmob

This is probably my favorite flashmob performance that I've seen. Very touching actually -

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24530. Thanks Mark! Sometimes a good kick in the pants is all you need!

Inspiration~ It doesn't always come in the form of a little creative muse sitting on your shoulder whispering sweet encouragement and filling you with an abundance of energy. No, sometimes it comes from a fellow co-worker that gives you the push you need! He stands there, looking at you like you're kinda nuts and saying "What do you mean you don't have enough time, you have 10 days!" Then he goes over to the schedule on the wall and points out all the gaps in the schedule that you aren't working and should be doing art! Encouragement comes in many forms; I can be a rather insecure artist with perfectionist tendencies, which adds up to-- I can get in my own way. So thanks Mark for the figurative "kick in the pants."
When I went on the SCBWI site at the end of November and saw the deadline for the Tomi dePaola Award for Dec.14th, I was kicking myself for not going on sooner. Yet I still figured I could pull it off. I knew that I needed to have everything complete by the 9th of December, since my schedule at work was going to be pretty full the week of the deadline. By December 2nd, I had just come up with the passage I liked, and only a quick rough to show for it. But I kept hearing Mark's voice in my head and that seemed to give me the edge I needed. When you don't always have an art director or a client that you know you must come through for, then you have to rely on your own resources, and that's not always an easy route. All and all I'm pleased with the outcome. Mark on the other hand keeps looking for the fawn..."Where's the FAWN?"..."The whole story is about the FAWN!" Oh well, you can't please everyone :)
The Unoffical Gallery of the Tomie dePaola Award

2 Comments on Thanks Mark! Sometimes a good kick in the pants is all you need!, last added: 12/31/2012
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24531. HoHoDooDa Day 16

elf esteem 450


A redraw from last year.

Trying to get back to some sort of normal after the great loss suffered last week.

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24532. I know where the Snow Queen lives...

...right behind the waterfall.

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24533. the workstation

On occasions I need to go digital

4 Comments on the workstation, last added: 1/7/2013
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24534. Illustration Friday: “Snow”

A very apt Illustration Friday prompt for this week, as the snow begins to fall. Below if my contribution. Check out the others by clicking on the link above!

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24535. XMAS 2012 - fenwick's

this year fenwick's have lots of cards from cardmix and caroline gardner (previously posted here). i snapped these at their store on bond street in london but fenwick have several department stores throughout england.  

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24536. Bach, Contrapunctus 7, Chromadepth 3D, Art of Fugue

0 Comments on Bach, Contrapunctus 7, Chromadepth 3D, Art of Fugue as of 12/17/2012 8:26:00 AM
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24537. Bach, Contrapunctus 7, Chromadepth 3D, Art of Fugue

0 Comments on Bach, Contrapunctus 7, Chromadepth 3D, Art of Fugue as of 12/17/2012 8:26:00 AM
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24538. Tragedy


I think most of us are still in shock over what happened in Newtown, CT on Friday. I'm having trouble thinking of an appropriate post about children's books, and so I'll leave you with a few posts relating to the tragedy that I found helpful/moving/informative.

"Dealing With Grief: Five Things NOT to Say and Five Things to Say In a Trauma Invovling Children"
This post is by a reverend and is Christianity-based, but people of all faiths or non-faiths will find this helpful, I think, especially since most of the things TO say are not necessarily based in religion--they're based in kindness and support.

"I am Adam Lanza's Mother: It's time to talk about mental illness"
A powerful, frightening, and heartbreaking essay by a mother dealing with a child dealing with mental illness.

No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”
I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.
Saturday Night Live's Cold Open:

This is off topic, but I think now is a good time to be reminded that there is a lot of good in the world. Here are "26 Moments That Restored Our Faith in Humanity This Year". I found the love story of Taylor and Danielle to be especially moving.

My thoughts are with the families and community of Newtown, and with those who have lost loved ones.

Wishing everyone peace and joy this holiday season. Stay safe.

1 Comments on Tragedy, last added: 12/17/2012
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24539. Flying Boat Lessons

Another Maddy Kettle panel from about a week or so ago, but today it's all commissions. I'm doing my best to get all the Christmas commissions done on time. To complicate matters Henry decided not to sleep last night, so I decided to keep him home rather than subject his poor teachers to an over tired 4 year old. If you don't know the species they're hard to contain.

3 Comments on Flying Boat Lessons, last added: 12/18/2012
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24540. Experimental Demo

I painted this as a demo in my media techniques class a few weeks ago. I'm not very proficient with watercolors so I decided to combine it with photoshop for a hybrid traditional/digital piece. I really like some of the accidental textures watercolors (or watercolours for those across the pond) provide. The pooling water and pigment dry in some unique patterns that are nearly impossible to generate digitally (unless you have a smoking machine).

You can see that the texture is a little heavy in the original but I was able to "tame" it using opaque layers of digital paint in the final.

What I really wanted to accomplish was the texture in the larger areas...hmmm...I might want to do a few more this way.

16 Comments on Experimental Demo, last added: 12/22/2012
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24541. Third Book Out with iTunes

Author Donna Sheperd just let me know Bradybug has been released with iTunes. The illustrations were a hoot to draw since she has a gift for words and used some unusual animals.
This is my second illustrated book released with iTunes. They have been out in print a short while.

So check out Bradybug, but also take a look at Sister Exchange by Kevin McNamee.
Along with my book,  Mollie the Merbaby, by Meegenius, that puts the count to three. Thanks iTunes!

1 Comments on Third Book Out with iTunes, last added: 12/17/2012
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24542. XMAS 2012 - emma bridgewater

finally today a quick snap of a new christmas mug by emma bridgewater which is exclusive to branches of the uk based 'garden centre group'. the design features folk style birds and hearts and is sure to be a collectors item. below are more items from the main bridgewater christmas collection including tins, pottery and textiles which are available worldwide. today (17th) is the last day to

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24543. Make Magic, Preserve Wonder

Like all of you, I have been searching for something to grasp on to since the horrific events that occurred in Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. When the news flashes first appeared, I instantly recognized the school. Not because I had ever been to that school—I have visited schools in Newtown, CT, even schools called Sandy Hook in other states. But I recognized the school because it looked incredibly familiar, like so many of the elementary schools that I am welcomed into every year. I thought of the librarians I have visited with over the years, every single person who has ever buzzed me in at the front door, had me sign in at the front office and asked to scan my driver's license. I thought of the principals who take time out of their busy schedules to welcome me to their school. I thought of all of the teachers that I have met, all of the teachers that I know. And of course, thought of all of the young faces in my audiences over the years. Every single school that I have ever visited has taken great pride in their community and I have always been so thankful that they have granted me the distinct honor to speak at their schools.

As the weekend went on, my heart ached to do something. But the community in Newtown, CT doesn't need boxes of stuff and they don't need to reconstruct buildings. They need to rebuild their lives, which are unfathomably changed. Like all parents, I hugged my children more tightly and focused on the small moments like never before. On Sunday evening, Gina and I were scheduled to play the role of Elf and Conductor at Santa's Trains at Look Park here in Northampton. It's a marvelous display of miniature trains and a holiday display that is the stuff of Norman Rockwell paintings. And of course, Santa is there to listen to the children's greatest hopes for Christmas morning. My job was to punch every child's "magical ticket" as they entered. As each child approached, I got down on one knee so that I could be on their level and asked for their ticket. I then asked their age and would punch a hole for each of their years. And I always looked directly into their eyes. In each set of those eyes, be the kids three or thirteen, I saw the same two things—magic and wonder.

We as a people need to make magic for our children. We need to preserve their wonder. We of course need to put pressures on our legislatures to ensure that such a tragedy never again occurs in our schools, but on a daily basis—it's magic and wonder that we need to foster.

I salute the faculty, staff and administrators of our nation's schools today more than ever. It is surely a challenging morning to be returning to school. But I know that this group of people are what keeps our nation moving forward. They are creating life long learners and will stop at nothing for our children.

They are making magic, they are preserving wonder.

2 Comments on Make Magic, Preserve Wonder, last added: 12/17/2012
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24544. XMAS 2012 - asda

bright colours and family fun on cards from UK supermarket 'asda' with a selection of christmas cards snapped in my local store.

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24545. Doodle Day: Flowers Squared


Just another quick, messy, doodle ... flowers in a square-ish sized box. A bit too rigid in style to be made into patterns, perhaps. Will just leave it be as it is, in the Moleskine journal.


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24546. A Merry Christmas Manger Pancake

Luke 2:11
For unto you is born this day in the 
city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

I'm sharing with you today a tutorial that I began writing last Christmas, but it's been waiting all year for me to finish up...so here it is now, finished and ready for you to make!

You could cook up the pancakes on Christmas Day or ahead of time and freeze them or you could make them for a fun snack (like I typically do). Any way you choose, I hope you have fun!

-Griddle or large skillet
-Pam Cooking Spray
-Large mixing bowl
-Electric mixer
-Four Condiment Squirt Bottles
-Yellow, Brown, Green Food Coloring
-Paper Towels
-Spoon for mixing
-4 clear drinking cups
-Candy (mini chocolate chips, mini M&Ms)

2 Cups + 2-4 Tbsp Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix (the just add water mix)
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 ½ Cups Water
½ tsp Vanilla Extract

In a large bowl, stir the pancake mix and sugar together with a spoon. Add the water and vanilla extract and stir until moistened. Take your electric mixer and beat the batter until it's well blended. If you have too many lumps, they will clog up your squirt bottle. At this point, you may need to add a little more pancake mix (one Tablespoon at a time) depending on your batter's consistency. You want the batter thick enough to “draw” with but not too much where it wont squeeze out of the squirt bottle. Divide your batter into 4 clear drinking cups. Color your batter yellow, brown, and green using your food colorings (use the graphic above to get an idea of how much batter each color will need).  The 4th cup doesn't have any color. Carefully add each cup of batter into separate squirt bottles.

Spray your griddle with cooking spray but do not turn it on yet. Take your brown batter and draw the main part of the manger.

Now draw the legs for the manger.

Switch to your green batter and draw a half circle and a shape that looks almost like a triangle to represent the baby blanket.

Grab your white batter and draw the round head and a dot for a nose.

Take your yellow batter and draw straw. It's best to draw the straw above the manger so that you can visually "measure" the width of the straw based off the size of the manger.

Now it's finally time to turn on your griddle to 200 degrees. Let the outlines cook for a minute or two and then take your brown batter and fill in the manger.

Fill in the blanket with the green batter.

Fill in straw with the yellow batter.

Finally, fill in the head with the white batter.  Now wait until the batter starts to loose it's shine and bubbles before flipping it.

Decorate your pancake with mini chocolate chips and mini M&Ms.

Merry Christmas!

6 Comments on A Merry Christmas Manger Pancake, last added: 1/3/2013
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24547. Project For Awesome: Debs & Errol talk about supporting literacy nonprofit The Office Of Letters and Light

The Office Of Letters and Light not only organizes NaNoWriMo but also the Young Writers Program, Script Frenzy and the Script Frenzy Young Writers Program, among other events. The goal: to help kids and adults find the inspiration, encouragement and structure they need to reach their creative potential. 

Here's a video from my friends Debs & Errol about why donating to OLL is a good thing:

If you support this cause, please do Vote for them on the Project For Awesome site, and comment/Like the video. Here's why:

If you've never heard of The Office Of Letters and Light, here's an overview:

If you're short on cash, there are other ways to help out OLL.

0 Comments on Project For Awesome: Debs & Errol talk about supporting literacy nonprofit The Office Of Letters and Light as of 12/17/2012 2:28:00 PM
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24548. XMAS 2012 - tiger tiger

these lovely bright cards are by liz & pip and were spotted in tiger tiger in newbury alongside gorgeous caroline gardner wrap. and from liz & pip's own website a small selection of their 2012 christmas card designs.

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24549. coldwater creek

I've been meaning to blog about these super fun products, made from my designs, that were licensed by Formations and sold at Coldwater Creek this holiday season. I got these samples and they are stunning! There's a big glass plate, samll ceramic bowls and small plates, 2 cutting boards and 3 felt stuffie ornaments. My favorite is the bird ornament. He's so adorable!

Thanks to my rep, Mary Beth, Formations and Coldwater Creek! Happy Holidays!

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24550. XMAS 2012 - selfridges

its christmas week on print & pattern and i'll be posting wall to wall shots of cards, wrap etc mainly spotted on the UK high street. the tour starts in selfridges where i loved the fluoro paper selection from pedlars (above) and ben javens and woodland from 1973 below. they also stocked meri meri papergoods, including cake cases and boxes.

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