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Results 1 - 25 of 3,855
1. Comix Creatrix: the blockbuster art show is now a free 200 page book about the history of women in comics

The timing was fortuitous with Angoulême-gate, but Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics an art show co-curated by Olivia Ahmad and Paul Gravett has now opened in London and the opening, as captured in this slideshow of photos by artist Alison Sampson was a triumph. Extra points to Gravett’s outfit. 646 377 9682   Just […]

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2. Veronica Fish named ongoing artist for new-look Archie series

With the shock of the lipstick incident behind us, it's time for the well-received realistic Archie comic to get a "permanent" ongoing artist, and it's Veronica Fish. Fiona Staples launched the title in high style, Annie Wu drew issue #4 with more style, and Fish has been on starting with last month's issue #5. She joins writer Mark Waid, colorists Andre Szymanowicz and Jen Vaughn, and letterer Jack Morelli. Issue #6 goes on sale next week, 2/17 and the cover is shown above.

2 Comments on Veronica Fish named ongoing artist for new-look Archie series, last added: 2/9/2016
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3. Joe Mclean

joe Mclean  Joe Mclean  Joe McleanJoe Mclean Joe Mclean  

Joe Mclean is an Illustrator from Norwich, who creates illustrations using a combination of hand drawn lines, scanned textures and Adobe Illustrator. His inspirations include traditional printing processes, hand drawn type and graphic illustration. His speciality is editorial illustration and greeting cards. His clients include; Computer Arts, Spindle Magazine and Loud and Quiet to name a few.

See more of Joes work on his website and Behance.

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4. Tiny Valentine-y

Haven't you always wanted mini flashcards?
I thought they might be a fun Valentine-y gift. 
I like to carry around pocket-sized art decks, don't you? 
Because don't we all carry words on the go?
Who doesn't like a little
fun on a ring?
Or words on a string?

They're up in my shop
perfect word surprises
for your small people - 
or your pocket card collectors.

Local buyers can enter the code: LOCALPICKUP
on my shop to waive shipping fees 
and arrange a delivery option.
Here's to the small, the tiny, the mini,
the little bits of love and beauty in this big world
that make life sweet and good.


Tiny book favorites:



Enormous Smallness by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Eric DiGiacomo
The Tiny King by Taro Miura
Tiny's Big Adventure by Martin Waddell, illustrated by John Lawrence
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes - by Mem Fox, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter








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5. Mystery

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6. Poetry Friday: Response to Picasso's Sculpture of a Cat







Response to Picasso’s sculpture of a Cat

She’s pregnant, this cat
or just given birth. She’s muddy;
her tail's been broken.
Look at her neck, stiff

as a stanchion. Look at her compact
head; so ill-made for big thoughts
you fear her tail is pulling
her backwards. She isn’t curled

by contentment, or preying
with merciless grace, or cagily
sinuous. Still—
she is Cat. She disdains

opinion. You can tell
by the vainglorious shine
of her ears, as if she is listening to
an undivided convent

of cats chanting her name
lapping up her blessing
as she passes them. She has lived
fully; they have been holy.

Picasso stretched time between
sculptures; using his brush to pry apart
skulls, turning to his hands only when the Muse
purred to him. He was never trained

to mold clay or pour bronze but
what he made, he kept
close. They fattened
his household. Did he speak

to Cat? Attempt to straighten
her tail, even as she hissed? How do
you feed a Muse who doesn’t need
you? She’s given birth; he stirs mud.

                        ----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)


Thanks to Liz Garton Scanlon for discovering the intriguing Picasso sculptures, which provided the inspiration for this month's ekphrastic poetry challenge. (The Poetry Seven plans to respond to an image or piece of art every other month in 2016.  I'm already researching which artist to choose when it's my turn...)

Here are the links to my Poetry Sisters' poems (each of us chose a Picasso sculpture from a select group, so there's some overlap in the inspiration images, but glorious uniqueness in the response!)

Liz
Tanita
Tricia
Laura
Andi (taking a breather this month)
Kelly

More about Picasso's sculptures.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by one of the Poetry Seven's own, Tricia, at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

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7. 8 Ways to Draw an Elephant

8-Ways-to-Draw-an-Elephant_cover_LRContinuing our search for colouring-in books with a twist, 8 Ways to Draw an Elephant by Paola Ferrarotti (@pferrarotti) caught our eye. Featuring the work of Karunakara Sahu, Sunita, Joydeb Chitrakar, Harsingh Hamir, Jason Imam, Jagdish Chitara and Mudrika Devi – Indian artists from different regions across the country each working in their own folk or tribal style – this is a book which encourages us to explore how we can all see the same thing but interpret it in different ways.

Every double page spread offers the opportunity to explore a new artistic style, giving readers the wings to experiment with finding their own approach to decoration and pattern. Whether tracing, copying, colouring or simply free-wheeling with a nice pencil in your hand, this book is all about opening readers’ eyes to variety and possibilities.

Some people don’t like colouring-in books because they can feel quite trammelled, colouring only inside lines, filling in other people’s designs. But this book is quite different – not only widening our experience of different artistic styles, but specifically encouraging its readers and colourer-ins (or should that be colourers-in?) to take the tools it offers to enjoy their own way of expressing themselves with pen and paper.

8-Ways-to-Draw-an-Elephant_spread_LR2

Information about elephants is interspersed with prompts to draw and be creative on each double page spread. Spot use of colour and gorgeously thick paper make this a beautiful book to look at and hold.

8-Ways-to-Draw-an-Elephant_spread_LR3

A lovely mixture of facts and fun, I think this book is also important as it shows (Western readers) a different form of artistic beauty. Diversity and inclusivity are (rightly) big themes in the book world at the moment, and extending this discussion to cultural representations and art forms only enriches all our lives.

elephants0

My girls loved the idea of taking an elephant and seeing how many different ways we could “see” it. Spotting some cardboard elephants at a craft shop they seized upon them and asked if they could turn some of the designs in 8 Ways to Draw an Elephant into 3D objects and of course I couldn’t say no…

elephants1

elephants2

elephants3

Whilst decorating our elephants both on paper and in 3D we listened to:

  • The Elephant Song by Eric Herman
  • Mumma by Kailash Kher. You can listen here, but we found it via the Putumayo Kids Asian Playground CD
  • and everything by one of our favourite (Neo-Trad) bands The Elephant Sessions. Not much to do with elephants, but we do love their music.

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading 8 Ways to Draw an Elephant include:

  • Making your own 3-D elephant by cutting and folding one from card, with this tutorial from My Creative Life
  • Finding out what Indian art is held in museums and art galleries near you and then going for some chai and jalebi afterwards. If your local museum/art gallery doesn’t hold any Indian art, you could instead go on an elephant hunt, looking for images and sculptures in other forms of art
  • Exploring more Tara Books‘ publications on Indian Art for kids, including Following My Paintbrush (click here for our review)

  • If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:

  • An interview with David Barrow, author of the very funny Have You Seen Elephant?
  • A day trip to India
  • Bubble and Squeak by James Mayhew and Clara Vulliamy
  • moreelephants

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    3 Comments on 8 Ways to Draw an Elephant, last added: 2/4/2016
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    8. Author/Illustrator Lulu Delacre Take Us Behind the Art of ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito, from A to Z! : Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Unveiling the Cloud Forest

    Alto, allá arriba en los Andes brilla un bosque bordado de bromelias…
    High up in the Andes blooms a brilliant forest embroidered with bromeliads . . .

    Set to be released this spring, ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito, from A to Z! : Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Unveiling the Cloud Forest takes readers into the magical world of a cloud forest in the Andes of Ecuador. We discover the bounty of plants, animals, and other organisms that live there as we help a zoologist look for the elusive olinguito, the first new mammal species identified in the Americas since 1978. It has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews, which called it “a breath of fresh air in the too-often-contrived world of bilingual books.”

    olinguito, from A to Z

    We asked Lulu to take us behind the scenes of her exquisite art process to make the cloud forest come alive:

    I spent an average of ten days working from eight to ten hours per day creating each spread.

    sketch 1
    Click for larger image

    The first thing I did was to transfer the sketch to the Arches watercolor paper. Then I decided which areas would be collaged printed patterns and which would be painted in flat acrylic colors.

    I prepared the patterned backgrounds pressing leaves gathered in the cloud forest dipped in ink and stamped onto rice paper.

    sketch 2
    Click for larger image

    With an X-Acto knife I cut out the shapes of texturized paper and pasted them into the background. I used archival glue and micro tweezers to affix the collage elements in their precise positions.

    sketch3
    Click for larger image

    Next I prepared all the shades of acrylics that I would need for the spread and stored them in small clear jars. Each section of a color required several thin coats to achieve the rich look I was looking for. 

    sketch 4
    Click for larger image

    Once the spread was entirely painted I had fun selecting pressed ferns from the forest to affix to the art. This was a delicate process as some of the pressed leaves and ferns are paper thin.

    sketch 5
    Click for larger image

    The last thing was to create the letters for the spread. I wanted a layered look, recreating the natural layers of flora in the forest, so I drew the letters on vellum paper and cut out them out. I taped the letters onto a vellum square and with careful precision affixed the letter in the spot it was intended to be. 

    final illustration
    Click for larger image

    Check out the final spread!

    Lulu Delacre has worked with LEE & LOW BOOKS on several award-winning titles, including the Pura Belpré award-winning titles The Storyteller’s Candle/La velita de los cuentos and Arrorró, mi niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle GamesHow Far Do You Love Me? (English and Spanish), and Jay and Ben. Delacre has been named a Maryland Woman in the Arts and served as a juror for the 2003 National Book Awards. A native of Puerto Rico, Delacre lives with her husband in Silver Spring, Maryland. For more information about Lulu Delacre visit luludelacre.com.

    You can purchase a copy of ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito, from A to Z! : Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Unveiling the Cloud Forest on our website here.

    1 Comments on Author/Illustrator Lulu Delacre Take Us Behind the Art of ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito, from A to Z! : Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Unveiling the Cloud Forest, last added: 2/3/2016
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    9. Horse Blue

              This is a redo of a sketch I did quite some time ago. I loved the sketch: The piece was created entirely in PhotoShop using a Wacom Intuos Tablet.

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    10. Deep Blue Birthday

    My little buddy turns seven tomorrow.
    He's kind of smitten with the ocean lately,
    especially the big guys, the scary guys, 
    and the whales.
    I love discovering new beauties in the creative process.
    Coloring is something I'm both awed and fascinated by,
    so I decided this would be a great opportunity
    to experiment with how I color my sketches.

    I sketched in buttery soft oil pencils,

    and layered colored pencils on top.
    No paint this time.


    After that, I scanned my colored sketches on to the computer
    and played with laying in textures with Photoshop.

    Now I get to take my sketches 
    and turn them into the party - 
    cupcake toppers, 
    fishy "paper dolls,"
    sharks on a stick, perhaps.
    More to come...


    Whale-y wonderful books:



    Whale Song - Tony Johnston, illustrated by Ed Young
    The Storm Whale - Benji Davies
    The Blue Whale - Jenni Desmond
    Big Blue Whale - Nicola Davies, illustrated by Nick Maland

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    11. Cutting, colouring and creating layered landscapes

    cut--colour-playbook-1-9781782403159-976x976

    Colouring books are slowly taking over the world, and with their ubiquity it’s interesting to find ones which take an innovative, unusual approach to the pastime. Cut and Colour Playbook: Seasons by Anouck Boisrobert is just such an eye-opener.

    In fact, this book turns people into little magicians, for with just a few pencils or crayons and a pair of scissors, it allows you and your kids to conjure into being 3-D landscapes across the seasons. The process is simple but hugely effective – as this short video shows:

    The explanation and design is very clear and the illustrations are clean and uncluttered with just a sprinkling of detail and pre-printed colour. Young children may need some support with the cutting, not least because the pages are all bound tightly into the book, rather than with perforated edged for easy removal.

    Boisrobert’s pop-up books are among the most treasured books-as-objects in our home, with their crisp lines and clever paper engineering never failing to delight. It’s such fun that with Cut and Colour Playbook: Seasons a little of their beauty has been packaged up in such a way as to enable children to create something a little similar.

    cut--colour-playbook-2-9781782403159part1x-976x976

    cut--colour-playbook-3-9781782403159part1-976x976

    Whilst colouring and cutting out the scenes in this activity book it occurred to me that we could adapt the basic idea of Boisrobert’s book to create our own layered landscapes. First I gathered together examples of paintings where layering, in terms of shades and colours, plays a big role. You can see what I found (with much appreciated help from blog/twitter followers Anamaria Andersen and Fiona Barker amongst others) on this Pinterest board.

    layerspinterestboard

    With these beautiful pieces of art in mind, M put watercolour washes in several shades of blue on separate sheets of paper, basically making each sheet lighter than the last by using more water on her brush.

    When dry, she draw mountain ranges on the reverse of each sheet…

    layers1

    …before cutting them out and layering them up.

    layers2

    We noted how when hills or mountains are “layered” in a picture, they tend to “fade” the further they are away. M also noticed how in many of the pieces of art we looked at the sky’s colouring typically went from darker up above, to lighter near the horizon. She decided her “mountains” were beneath a stormy sky and so painted a final sheet with a graded black-grey watercolour wash.

    layers3

    Finally everything came together and I framed it:

    framedlayers

    For such a simple art project, I think it is remarkably effective, and M is definitely delighted with the results.

    layersonwall

    Whilst making our cut-out layered landscapes and colouring in Cut and Colour Playbook: Seasons we listened to:

  • The Colored Pencil Factory by Astrograss (which comes with its own colouring in page!)
  • Rock Paper Scissors by Dean Jones
  • Colour In by Kenny Miller. Oooh listen to that “cockney” accent!

  • Other activities which might work well alongside getting crafty with Cut and Colour Playbook: Seasons include:

  • Using your scissor skills to create decorations out of old books. If your kids are comfortable with the cutting out in Boisrobert’s book, they’ll definitely be able to make the baubles described here
  • Enjoying these book sculptures, many of which make use of a layering technique in their creation
  • Reading Why I like Colouring In Books by Sarah McIntyre

  • If you liked this post, you might like these other posts by me:

  • Tree by Britta Teckentrup, which explores the life of a tree across the span of a single year, along with a tree collage
  • Nature’s Day written by Kay Maguire, illustrated by Danielle Kroll, along with a spinning Mother’s Day card
  • Lots of free activity sheets from a wide variety of authors and illustrators – including many colouring in pages
  • cutcolourextra

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    3 Comments on Cutting, colouring and creating layered landscapes, last added: 2/1/2016
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    12. On The Scene: Our Comics,Ourselves Illuminates The History of Comics Diversity

    20160121_204212Interference Archive's Our Comics, Ourselves ongoing art exhibit is a powerful reminder of how comics have always been an expression of personal issues from many viewpoints.

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    13. Make Every Day a Vacation


    2015 was so travel-filled for me that I'm actually looking forward to staying home as much as possible this year. There are dozens of fun things to do in here in Albuquerque and never enough hours in the day (or night) to fit them all in. But as much as I love seeking out new museum displays, creative groups, or shops and restaurants, it can also be too easy to to become complacent and take them for granted. This year I want to change that.

    One of the things I was most aware of while I was traveling was how different everything felt to me--from the air I breathed to the way the light struck a windowpane, and how quickly I stopped noticing those little nuances once I was back home. Around Christmas-time I was desperate to know why that was. 

    Beyond the obvious answers such as, "Well, you don't have to wash the windows when you're on vacation," or, "Each day abroad is a chance to re-invent yourself," I realized that when I travel I put a lot more effort into what I can only call mindfulness, probably because I know it might be my only chance to experience that particular travel destination ever again.

    So my major question for the year is: How can I cultivate that same travel mindset here at home and not just when I'm riding a tour bus? How can I make every day a vacation day? To get the ball rolling, I made a list while I was writing out some morning pages and here's what I came up with.

    Have afternoon tea. One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to have afternoon tea either in a tea shop or right in my hotel room. I especially like trying out different flavors and brands that are foreign to me. Lesson learned: relax, savor, and enjoy some new tea brands (yay, oolong . . .).

    Get up early, even when I don't have to. When I travel, I can't wait to get up and get out the door. All those places to see! Here at home, struggling to wake up before it's entirely necessary can be torture, especially in the winter. Then I remembered how much I love those fancy little shampoos and body washes the hotels provide. Stocking my bathroom shelves with spa toiletries has made my mornings a lot easier to face and far more luxurious--just like when I'm on vacation.

    Sketch, sketch, sketch. Take photos. Of anything and everything. Sketching and photographing my surroundings lets me to see the world with new eyes--even the places I already know. Having a sketch plan or goal before I leave the house each day reminds me to take the time to look.

    It's okay to draw like a little kid. When I sketch in my travel journal, I don't care how it turns out. I'm just going for first impressions and ways to capture the memories. The same applies to my daily journal entries. It's a viewpoint that cuts out the angst and makes creativity a joy to pursue and express.

    Love the day without expectations. It's impossible to know in advance what you'll encounter in another country outside your own, yet, somehow, that never seems to matter. As far as I'm concerned, if it's a vacation, it's all good--exactly how I want to experience my day wherever I am.

    Trust I am being taken care of. Goal: Give up daily worry, anxiety, everything negative that keeps me fretting and wastes my energy. The bus driver knows where we're going--so let him drive. My one and only job is to enjoy the view.

    Eat well, eat small. Thanks to my vegetarian lifestyle, it isn't as easy as it should be to find a wide array of food choices when I'm on the road. And that is probably a good thing--less chance of stomach upsets, less chance of over-eating, and less chance to spend/waste money on not-so-great meals. This year I want to stay more conscious of only eating when I truly need to, rather than because "it's so yummy I can't resist and I don't care about stupid old calories." 

    Walk more. Walking in Albuquerque (at least for me) isn't always a great idea: lots of traffic (and drivers who run red lights), broken and uneven sidewalks and streets with potholes, and the neighborhood shops aren't close enough to home to bring back groceries, etc. on foot. What we do have to counter that, though, are beautiful parks, open-air shopping malls, and a number of museums worth visiting throughout the year. It's no problem to drive to these places and then go for a good long walk once I'm there--with my sketchbook in hand. A wonderful way to stay in a holiday mood.

    Travel light. I've always been a big fan of down-sizing, minimizing, and de-cluttering, but even when I think I've done my best, sure enough I find something more to give away, toss out altogether, or purchase yet another storage bin for. This year I am going to put a lot of thought into what I buy, asking myself: will it fit into my suitcase (i.e., my house/life) and how heavy will it be? And do I really need it? The answer, just like when I dithered over purchasing an entire set of Portuguese tiles last year, will probably be "no." And that's fine with me.

    Tip of the Day: Whenever I travel I like to immerse myself in learning about the history, the food, the art, the entertainment, and of course, the people of each new place. One way to make every day a vacation is to do the same in my own backyard. A concentrated "course of study" about subjects as diverse as New Mexico's santos or native plants will go a long way to make being at home more interesting to me. I'm sure you'll find just as many fascinating topics in your own home town!

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    14. SNOW, multitasking...and SUPER BOWL BOUND!!!

    crazy couple of weeks (hence the lack of blogging-*hangs head in shame*) but i've been busy and that's a very good thing!





    another good thing? i FINALLY got my SNOW!!! over 30"....not too shabby! 


    and what's the greatest thing that's happened to me in the last 2 weeks? wait for it, wait for it....PEYTON MANNING IS SUPER BOWL BOUND!!! (should have just done a whole separate post for this one....LOVE THIS MAN) i cried like a baby. EVERYONE who knows me personally knows how much respect and love i have for this man...and have (loyally) for almost TWO DECADES. never wavered once. knowing this may be his last rodeo, well i want him to go out BIG! no one is more deserving. prayers and fingers crossed for a SB WIN on 2/7/16....although this man will ALWAYS be a WINNER to me! love you, Peyton Manning.





    0 Comments on SNOW, multitasking...and SUPER BOWL BOUND!!! as of 1/26/2016 11:36:00 AM
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    15. The action packed first few weeks of a New Year

     My family and I went to New Orleans for a family vacation Jan 2-9. It was fun. Not a place on my "go back to" list, but a great family adventure which was the whole point.


    For my artistic curiosities in New Orleans, I looked up and visited a few pottery joints and the Ogden Museum of Southern Artists and the Scuplture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art. I went into quite a few galleries and an artists co-op in the French Quarter. I'm sorry, I don;t usually like to be unkind about other art makers but my daughter Jo and I about gagged at how much truly bad art there was for sale on the street however, I did manage to find one talented young man and bought a print of his charcoal drawing of a parade on Royal Street.

    We walked 30 miles around the city that week so we were pretty tuckered out when we got back to Pa. so we came home, layed on the couch and watched almost every previous episode of Downton Abbey with my daughter each night, drank a lot of wine and lamented that she would be going back to school within days.


    My awesome niece Suzi came to visit and she and I and my daughter visited Isaiah's Magic Garden in Philadelphia. (ok, they call it Philadelphia's Magic Garden now because it became a non profit to save it from the bulldozer, but the city didn't build it, Isaiah did, so I'm still going to call it that!)



    I bought clay while I was in Philly and a new glaze at The Ceramic Shop that I have never used  called "Magic Glaze" (how fitting) and that allegedly produces different results with almost every firing. Hmmm, can't wait to use it. I bought a gallon. $49 bucks! Hope I like it!


    We spent the rest of the weekend binge watching more Downton Abbey with my daughter and niece drinking a lot of wine (did I say that already?) in our pajamas and  only surfaced into the world to take my neice to the movies for her first Dine-in Theatre experience, where we ate food and drank martini's and wine.

    You may be wondering, since this is a blog about my artistic life, where does the art part come into this post?  Well, sadly for me, my daughter went back to school, my niece went back home to North Carolina, my husband went back to work after his long vacation and I have been at home again alone just  starting to rekindle the momentum of producing art and letting ya all know what I'm up to through the cyber world.

    Now that all is quiet and I have returned into the studio, I have:

     *begun work on a new painting for that show in March which  I mentioned in my previous post.
    Cat at Cafe du Monde in progress


     *spent a couple of afternoons making some cute little miniature houses which I intend to add to my wholesale catalog
    These are not fired yet. I will post next week with the WIP

    *Designed and printed postcards for upcoming March show

    *Designed and printed new business cards.

    * I've also begun a new relationship with Mala Galleria in Kennett Square where my pottery will be available for sale.

     
    We got snowed in for a day during the great northeast Snowmageddon, so I did some baking and cleaning and purging of some closets and rooms.

    My studio after round one still looking like springtime
    My burnt pumpkin cheesecake. It still tasted good.

    So there. See. It was action packed and I did do a lot despite the languishing around in pajamas watching television. (Sometimes a body just has to take time to rejuvenate) !

    Today, as I work around the studio on my current painting , I am going to start another one as soon as I figure out what it will be. 

    Next week, I will post some works in progress in painting or clay or both. Gotta keep it going!






    0 Comments on The action packed first few weeks of a New Year as of 1/26/2016 9:50:00 AM
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    16. Illustration Inspiration: Kim Krans, “ABC Dream”

    This gem comes to us from Kim Krans, the creator of The Wild Unknown—a lifestyle website offering prints, calendars, and more.

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    17. Review: 750 Years In Paris offers details within the broad stroke of history

    Given the recent tragic events in Paris, Vincent Mahé’s absolutely stunning 750 Years In Paris is a sprawling reminder that this is not the first time darkness has been cast over that city, and it’s likely not the last. Paris has been home to bloodshed and destruction, as well as a site of rebuilding and […]

    0 Comments on Review: 750 Years In Paris offers details within the broad stroke of history as of 1/25/2016 7:40:00 PM
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    18. Happy Mermaid Monday

    Even a cold couldn't keep me away from creating a lovely mermaid for the upcoming book. ♥︎ Feeling the love in the air as Valentine's Day approaches next month.


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    19. ...and Chico was his name, oh.....

    sharon lane holm
    www.sharonholm.com

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    20. Happy 2016 Goal-Setting


    Every year I like to set my goals--not so much to make the year into a non-stop homework assignment, but more to clarify where I want to go and how I want to get there. This year I have five:

    1. Keep submitting the novel (The Abyssal Plain) I finished editing last year. Which means: making serious submission lists, staying tuned-in to what's happening in the publishing world, not being defeated by rejection, and just going for it. Yes.

    2. Finish the edits on my new novel, Ghazal, and have it submission-ready by the end of the year. I'm really looking forward to this particular task because I particularly love this manuscript. It's based on the theme of "Thirty Doors, Thirty Stories" and one of the things I'm planning to do as a spin-off goal is to create thirty mixed-media illustrations to go with the manuscript. (People with long memories might recall that one of my 2015 goals was to paint and draw scenes of doorways, something that fits my current WIP perfectly and still maintains my interest.)

    3. Write short stories. Initially my goal was to "write one short story a week." My goodness, only one? Not . . . three? I don't know who thinks up these things, but after failing to write any short stories during the first two weeks of the year, I thought this imperative was somewhat draconian. To save my sanity and accomplish my other goals, I just plan to write short stories--when I can--rather than embark upon another novel this year. (Whew, that feels better.)

    4. Go for the A-Z Blogging Challenge again. This will be my second year participating and another good reason to not fill up my calendar with "must write" short stories. The challenge involves blogging every day except for Sundays during the month of April, each blog post based on a topic starting with A and working through to Z. I enjoyed my first outing with the A-Z'ers and can't wait to see what kinds of new blogs I'll discover this year.

    5. Work through my art instruction books one exercise at a time as if I were in a class. After my last bookshelf purge, I was interested to see that the majority of books I kept in any single subject were all my art instruction books. I love them, but I have to admit to not always using them. Too often I just look at the pictures and/or do only the intermediate lessons. I read the beginner's lesson and think, "Oh, that's boring. I don't need to learn about color mixing or how to make pages and pages of pencil marks for practice." This is always followed by then going to the advanced lesson and reeling when I see how complicated it is, my usual thoughts being, "I could never do that!"

    This year that's all gonna change. I'm going to tackle one book at a time rather than diving into all of them at once (another bad habit), and do the exercises in order: beginner, intermediate, advanced. If I have to be bored painting circles, or do the advanced lesson on how to draw the perfect sleigh horse with shiny little bells in its mane (yes, this is a real lesson in one of my books) twenty times to get it right, so be it. I might end up having to stay with just one book for the entire year, but it's the only way I'm going to progress with my art skills and justify why I'm keeping those books.

    So that's me. How about you?

    Tip of the Day: Find a group of supportive listeners and goal-setters to help you brainstorm and solidify ideas for 2016. Before writing this post, I met with my writer's group specifically to discuss our goals for the year. It was a wonderful and inspiring meeting that encouraged me to a) have some goals, and, b) go gentle on myself. I was also able to pick up some fresh approaches on how to tackle the various projects, things such as adding more meditation and "quiet time" to my day, or venturing out into new selling opportunities. Best of all, I didn't feel alone in my quest to make my year something special. Thanks, group, and good luck with your own goals!

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    21. It took Bill Sienkiewicz 45 minutes to make this tribute to Alan Rickman

    rickmanlgRIP Alan Rickman – more Hans than Snape to me. But always great, no matter the role. watercolor 17×24 lanaquarelle cp Posted by Bill Sienkiewicz on Thursday, January 14, 2016 We lost another great today.     Bill Sienkiewicz post his tribute on FB and I wondered how he could have done one so fast. I […]

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    22. Spin


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    23. Zim & Zou

    15dd6936506591.560155b20bead ca6a8a17739289.562be63c6fdb6

    f9558f18014465.562c2573b2ebd 7f8d3a26046307.56350681c71f0 eaa29224580603.5604a67c24fd8 f09c5e1787758.560101fdae55c 

    Zim & Zou are Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann, they are two french artists based in Nancy. They use handcrafted objects to make beautiful colourful installations. They studied graphic design for three years whilst at art school, but their studio works in a variety of multidisciplinary ways incorporating illustration, graphic design and paper sculptures. There favourite material to use is paper, making everything by hand.

    To find out more visit their website and Behance.

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    24. Fantasy Sports #1 by Sam Bosma

    This is a book preview for FANTASY SPORTS #1 by Sam Bosma.  In Sam Bosma’s debut graphic novel, a young explorer and her musclebound friend…

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    25. From the Backlist: An Eye for Color

    An Eye for Color: the Story of Josef Albers by Natasha Wing; Art by Julia Breckenreid Henry Holt. 2009 ISBN: 9780805080728 Grades 2-12 The reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from her local public library. A few weeks ago, back in December 2015, I came up with an idea for an art program for the teen summer reading program: an exercise in color from the book, Local Color by Mimi

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