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1. Hoist your flagons!

l_9781585368150_fc

Heave on your futtock-shrouds and don’t leave your swashes unbuckled! ‘Tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Don’t forget: If you are anywhere near Latrobe, Pennsylvania, shape a course for The Art Center (819 Ligonier Street) where I’ll talk about illustrating pirates this evening from 6:30 – 8:30. If you miss it, I’ll be at The Art Center again tomorrow morning 10:00 – 11:00ish (we need to clear the decks before noon—when some poor lubber’s wedding takes place).

MoviePirates

As promised, here are the answers to yesterday’s M is for Movie Pirates Quiz:

First row: Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Carribean (2006). Second row: (left to right) Douglas Fairbanks in The Black Pirate (1926); Robert Newton as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1950); Sherman the parrot; Errol Flynn as Captain Blood (1935). Third row: Charles Laughton as Captain Kidd (1945); (Charlton Heston as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1990); Dustin Hoffman as Hook (1991); Walter Matthau as Captain Red in Pirates (1986). Fourth row: Maureen O’Hara as Prudence ‘Spitfire’ Stevens in Against All Flags (1952); Laird Cregar as Sir Henry Morgan in The Black Swan (1942); Kevin Kline as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance (1983); Graham Chapman as Yellowbeard (1983).


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2. Call for Submissions: Fine Linen

Fine Linen is receiving fiction and art submissions for their quarterly print journal.

We pay professional scale for accepted flash fiction and small-format art. We have an open twelve-month reading window.

Currently, we are reading for inclusion in our winter issue.

See our guidelines and submission links tabbed to our home page.

Fine Linen is the print journal imprint of Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine.

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3. Maggie Vessey: Queen of the homestretch runway

Last week may have been New York Fashion Week, but the 2014 track season was Maggie Vessey’s Fashion statement.
maggie vessey
No need to say more.

Vessey took the opportunity of being a ‘free agent’ to prove she’s got the creative talents to match her performance prowess on the track.

“I do want to draw attention to the sport and maybe give people who aren’t necessarily interested in track and field a reason to be interested,” Vessey told Runner’s World. “But it is a very authentic expression of who I am, and I now have this opportunity to be able to put that out there, be bold, and take a risk.”

To all those eating her fashionably savvy dust, heed the words: look good, feel good. ;)

——-
Related:
Excellent read on Maggie Vessey in New York Magazine

Oiselle was representing runners at New York Fashion Week, I caught up with Founder and CEO, Sally Bergesen

My story on Kate Grace, professional runner for Oiselle.

Runner Fashion is All the Rage: Legs to Crush a Runway

My own (expanding) line of running apparel: Ezzere

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4. Some Wise Words from Kirk Lynn

One of the most thought-provoking plays I've seen this year was Your Mother's Copy of the Kama Sutra, at Playwrights Horizons, by the playwright Kirk Lynn. The theatre distributed a printed Q&A with Mr. Lynn after the show, and I've kept it for several months because there's a lot in the following that really resonates with me about art and life:

Q: You recently started running the UT Austin Playwriting and Directing program. What’s your pedagogy? What’s required reading in your playwriting courses?
A: ... The most controversial thing about me as a teacher, which surprises me, is that I—trained by my wife, who’s a poet—have really come to believe in a catholic taste: you should like everything; you should read everything. And this ties back to the no-experts thing. If you see something and think it’s totally full of shit, then you probably haven’t studied it enough. And you should spend time in its presence. I say this sentence, which I borrow from this classical music scholar Charles Rosen, who’s now dead. He said, “Admirers are never wrong.” For example, I find Shaw to be really stuffy. But people who authentically like Shaw aren’t lying. They’re not idiots. They’re not wrong. And if I place myself in their proximity, I can learn to appreciate—you can learn to appreciate any kind of art. I say this to my students and, more than any other crazy shit I say, that’s the one where people just get outraged. They think the avant-garde is full of shit, or they think the Well-Made-Play is full of shit. They don’t want to task themselves with the possibility that they’re full of shit and they can learn something from all of these. 

When I was first dating my wife, I would wake up and she’d be sitting up in a chair, with a little light on, reading poetry constantly, every morning. I would always ask her, “What are you reading?” She would tell me, and I’d be like, “Do you like it? Is it good?” And she’d be like, “No.” And, just, the discipline of reading everything in the world because you’re an artist, and to be in conversation with it, seemed so radical to me. It has since become a practice of mine, to try and place myself—as much as I want to be in the company of plays that speak to me about my life—to put myself in the company of Shaw because I do not understand what he’s doing or why, and I need to stretch those muscles. 

If nothing else, it’s just a more interesting world to live in. 

I believe in this Wittgensteinian philosophy that words don’t correspond to meaning. There’s not a thing called “love” that actually corresponds to the word, there’s a kind of cloud of understanding that is different for each of us. So if I say I love you, you understand it as you understand love, but you don’t understand it as I understand it, and there’s a Venn diagram of how we sort of overlap in understanding. And if every word works like that, then making meaning together as humans is very complicated and we have to agree that there’s some leeway, that there’s not a right understanding of those things. That there’s not a right way to live, even. 

So you got a text from your wife last night after the preview, about how your daughter Olive has a crush—

—I don’t know if we should say his name! It’s Daniel.

We’ll just call him “D---.” And you were so excited about it. Can you talk about why?

Yeah, this’ll probably make me cry more than anything else. Some of it’s just longing, because I miss my daughter and it’s fun to know about her life. It’s also such a great mystery.  It’s interesting to have kids and realize that I’m not the central character in Olive’s life; Olive is the central character in her life. And [my son] Judah is the central character in his life. …I think there’s a little bit of fear in me that it will turn out that something like Christianity’s true, and I’ll become a crazy person who, like, wanders up and down the highway with a cross on my shoulder, shouting like, “Pleeeease repent.” Because if any of that is true, if what Christians believe is true, then everything you do is all wrong. There’s no sense in doing any of this. Making plays, being married. There’s just heaven and hell, and everyone’s fucking up really bad. I’m fucking up really bad. I don’t believe that’s true, thank goodness, but I do think placing yourself in service to people, there is a kind of—

You sort of make up for your narcissism by loving people. Does that make any sense? So knowing that my daughter is having this life, outside me, where she has her own friends at school, and she won’t tell me about any of them, and she has a crush at age three and a half, it just seems like a miracle. It seems like magic. And my job is to serve Olive so that she can have better and better crushes with crazier and crazier three-year-olds, and then four-year-olds, and then five-year-olds. That seems to me to be in the presence of the great mystery. It is insane that there’s a living being that I’m responsible for in some sense, and then that living being will jump ship and go off into the world and have the same experiences, both terribly traumatic and hard. And just the crushing sorrow and depression and, god forbid, addiction, anxiety, abuse, all those things. But then she’ll also have the experiences of friendship, and love—it’s insane. It’s a terrible system that we’re involved with! It seems poorly structured. My daughter’s life is this great thing that’s gonna unfold before me, and I get to watch it, and even participate a little bit. By recommending Daniel over, say, Ethan.


I think what I really appreciate and admire in this are Mr. Lynn's ideas that there is something to be learned from everything, even the things that don't resonate with you at all, about how art is made or how lives are lived. And how he decenters himself repeatedly, first from a universal absoluteness of meaning in language (meaning that all meanings would be dictated by him), and then from his daughter's life -- recognizing that she's her own person, doing her own thing, at age three, and finding that beautiful and sacred. To read the entire Q&A, click here.

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5. Photo





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6. Alphabet Trail & Tales 2014

Thank you Le & Nancy of Citiparks for inviting me to perform in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park once again this year—at the wreck of the old Salty Carrot.

We added some panels to the interior of our dear old barky. Here they are in progress as I painted them at the Farmhouse in Highland Park.

IMGP2407 IMGP2408 IMGP2409 IMGP2410 IMGP2411 IMGP2412 IMGP2413 IMGP2414

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7. going nowhere



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8. Call for Submissions: Watershed Review

Watershed Review has a fall (August 1st through September 30th) and spring (January 15th through March 15th) submission period . We welcome submissions of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and art.

One poem or prose excerpt will be chosen from each issue to be made into a broadside print by the Quoin Letterpress Collective.


No previously published works are accepted.
Simultaneous submissions are permitted, but please alert Watershed Review to a piece's potential publication elsewhere.


Watershed Review acquires one-time rights. All rights subsequently revert to author.


Submit here.

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9. Call for Submissions: The Nassau Review

The Nassau Review: Call For Submissions

Please visit our website for all questions and queries regarding this call for work. 

You can also email:

 nassaureviewATnccDOTedu (Change AT to @ and DOT to . ) 

if you can't find the answer to your question, or you can tweet at us @nassaureview

Submit your work between September 1 and December 10. All literary work submitted during this period will be under consideration for the Writer Awards. You do not have to send any separate submissions for the contest. Submission is FREE.


The THEME for the submission period of 2014-2015 is The Post-Human: Our Other Selves. With rapid advances in electronics and technology, and our willingness to accept and follow, human beings have changed in mind and body. Please submit works inspired by your observation or experience with the changing concept of what is self—or how many selves do we have—and what is human in our new realm of hyper-connectivity and convenience.

Visit our website for all submission guidelines and to submit through our online system. We do not accept work outside of our online system.

We welcome submissions of many genres, preferring work that is innovative, captivating, well-crafted, and unique, work that crosses boundaries of genres and tradition. You may be serious. You may be humorous. You may be somewhere in between. We are looking simply for quality. New writers and seasoned writers are both welcome. All work must be in English.

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10. Sing like nothing else matters !

When you are feeling all alone, if you just sing out loud you may be surprised how many others will join in with you …JDMn6Birds62920141


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11. a sweetly shy scarlet haired seamstress...

©the enchanted easel 2014
just about done!

here's a peek at some crops of my painting (in progress) entitled, "moonstruck"...featuring the very beautiful and bashful, sally from tim burton's masterpiece, the nightmare before christmas.

©the enchanted easel 2014



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12. Don’t Forget About Art

Ballerino

Ballerino. Photo from flickr user Scooter Lowrimore via Creative Commons license

The other night I dropped my son off for his first dance class. It was heart warming to see him so fully engaged in something new, a positive activity that will undoubtedly help him build self-confidence and an appreciation of art. I had a fun reminder of his enthusiasm for the performing arts this morning when I saw a post by the Teen Librarian Toolbox about books for dance lovers, and I made a connection between my experience as a parent and what we do as librarians. The TLT blog author points out that we shouldn’t forget the arts in the mix of all the new STEM projects we host at the library. In fact, I have heard many librarians refer to the acronym STEAM which throws art in the mix, right beside the hot topics in science, technology, engineering and math. As you build your programs for this fall and winter, don’t forget about art.

Creating, experiencing and interpreting art helps teens build developmental assets that set the stage for success in the classroom and beyond. The Search Institute lists creative activities as one of the 40 building blocks of healthy adolescence. Teens should participate in visual or performing arts for three or more hours a week. In the mix of homework, sports, and other activities, three hours may seem like a major commitment, but it should be a priority for many reasons. Art, in its various forms, helps teens form deeper connections with the world. It is also a powerful method of communication, rich with emotion and meaning that crosses language barriers.

The research shows that teens that attend arts-based after school programs are four times more likely to participate in a science or math fair, three times more likely to win an award for academic attendance, and 25% more likely to report feeling satisfied with themselves (“Youth Development and the Arts in Nonschool Hours“). This is especially true for teens that score higher on risk assessments. These outcomes might be linked to the fact that art encourages imaginative planning, identity expression, experimentation, and positive peer critique.

Let’s not forget that art goes hand-in-hand with the maker movement too. It’s hard to be an innovator and a confident maker without having a creative vision. Artists, like makers, take something that may have only been previously imagined and turn it into a reality that can be shared with others. Whether that means drawing out a design, sewing a quilt, or making a piece of technology. I am reminded of Drawdio. In a perfect amalgamation of technology and art, Drawdio allows makers to “MacGuyver” any paintbrush or pencil into a musical instrument so that you can draw audio (see the video below).

More interdisciplinary STEAM projects popped up on my Facebook newsfeed this week courtesy PBS LearningMedia. In honor of National Arts in Education week, PBS shared a clip about moveable books–intricate, 3D pop-up creations designed using a mix of art and engineering. With context from librarian Ann Montanaro at Rutgers University and creators Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda, the books in this video could inspire an interesting DIY teen program on paper engineering.

If you are not keen on these ideas, there is always art in the classical sense too. Of all our maker supplies this past summer, acrylic paints were by far the most popular. While good old paint might not sound as catchy as robotics or coding, a well crafted painting program can help connect teens with the skills to succeed in the arts and beyond. According to STEM from DANCE and a 2012 study out of MIT, one of the main factors for low STEM engagement is a lack of confidence. Putting a brush to canvas or choreographing a dance to pop music builds the same discipline and confidence that it takes to succeed in other endeavors like engineering and computer programming.

Even if teens do not exchange their brushes for science instruments, they will have gained many positive skills. At a minimum, a program focused on art will introduce teens to a hobby that can bring many years of enjoyment and self-fulfillment.

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13. Call for Submissions: Sugar Mule

Sugar Mule, an online literary magazine open to all genres, invites submissions for Issue 47, guest edited by Alyse Knorr. Please send poetry, fiction, non-fiction, art, book reviews, and hybrid works of all forms, themes, and subjects--we look forward to reading your work.
Please e-mail your submission of no more than 5 unpublished poems or no more than 7,000 words of unpublished prose, as one MSWord or RTF document, to:

alyse.knorr.sugarmuleATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

between September 1 and December 1. NOTE: do not send submissions after this date. Art and book reviews will also be considered.  

Please include a short bio and introductory note. Friends and former students of the editor should please refrain from submitting.  

Sugar Mule does not pay for accepted work(s) at this time. You retain all rights to your work; we retain none. 

About Sugar Mule:
Sugar Mule is a long-standing online literary magazine with more than 40 issues and extras like online books and anthology-sized special issues. Sugar Mule is published about three times a year and is open to all forms of poetry and prose. Recent contributors have included Deborah Poe, Ryan Eckes, Molly Gaudry, Travis Macdonald, j/j hastain, Duane Locke, Jessica Dyer, Tyler Mills, Sheila Black, and Laura Madeline Wiseman. Visit our website for more information.
 

About the guest editor:
Alyse Knorr is the author of Copper Mother (Switchback Books, 2015), Annotated Glass (Furniture Press Books, 2013), and the chapbook Alternates (Dancing Girl Press 2014). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Hayden's Ferry Review, Caketrain, Drunken Boat, ZYZZYVA, and The Southern Poetry Anthology, among others. She received her MFA from George Mason University. She is a co-founding editor of Gazing Grain Press and teaches at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

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14. Call for Submissions: Spry Literary Journal

September 30th, deadline

Spry Literary Journal features undiscovered and established writers' concise, experimental, hybrid, modern, vintage or just-plain-vulnerable writing. It's a journal for people who excel at taking risks, who thrive under pressure--for people whose words and rhythms are spry. We are currently open for submissions for our fifth issue.

We accept all short forms of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. We also challenge you to write sparsely (under 750 words) and submit to our Flash category. Submissions are requested in all genres, and simultaneous submissions are welcome—though we ask that you make mention of any simultaneous submissions in your cover letter. We have a strict blind submissions policy, and only accept writing through our submissions manager. 


Our fourth issue is live at our website. Please head over to see what we've published, check out our archives and Briefs sections, and to start conversations with our authors, poets, and staff members. We’re proud to feature interviews from renowned writers such as Erica Dawson, Porochista Khakpour, and Michelle Disler.

Artists, too, are encouraged to submit unpublished pieces. We currently feature a variety of artistic works in our Briefs section. For an example of our art features, we invite you to review Ramiro Davaro-Comas’ interview and corresponding piece, entitled "9."

Please visit our submissions manager to submit your work to us.

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15. “Rose colored glasses”

JDM_G_Flower9720141

 

I was just thinking that it’s not the perfect flower I look for in my photography, it’s the perfect feeling, same with my friends, they all have little flaws just like me but when I close my eyes and think of them I only know the sweet essence of their perfection and see how wonderful life is to let me see them … Love you all !


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16. Sunday Morning Inspiration: Lisa Congdon & Jennifer Orkin Lewis

Art by Lisa Congdon

Art by Lisa Congdon. Image source: lisacongdon.com.

The Basic Line Drawing class at Creativebug led me to the blog of its instructor, illustrator Lisa Congdon. Lisa and her work have galvanized our artistic pursuits around here, especially Rilla’s and mine. Something she said in one of her videos really grabbed me: a while back, she decided she needed to improve her hand-lettering skills and decided to practice lettering every day for a year. Now her illustrated quote prints seem to be among her most popular creations. Her work is quite wonderful, and I love the idea that an already accomplished artist challenged herself to develop new talents by committing to practice every day for a year. This ties in perfectly to the habits posts I’ve been working on. Daily practice, even if some days what you produce falls flat.

Just like the actor who yearns to be in a band, I’m a writer who wishes I could draw. Draw really well, I mean. I have so many artist friends whose work knocks my socks off. Watching them at work—oh, that’s the best, witnessing their command of line, the rapid unfolding of story on the page. My own work is so internal. All the color and life it possesses comes from within, from a store of words, ideas, memories, experiences—like Frederick the Mouse in winter, calling up the colors and stories and sun-warmth he stored away during the rich seasons. I love this process, I wouldn’t be me without it; but there are times I yearn to grab those colors and pour them directly onto the page without having to first simmer them in the crucible of my own mind for so long.

frederick-the-mouse

Not that I don’t think visual artists transfigure experience in crucibles of their own—I don’t mean that at all, and perhaps my metaphor is running away from me. What I mean is, there can be an immediacy in drawing and painting—you see it, you sketch it, you have it—that is wholly unlike the way writing happens for me. I suppose the place I find immediacy in writing is right here, on the blog, where, as I’ve said, I try to write more rapidly, in what I’ve come to think of as a kind of mental freehand. And the thing I love about drawing, clumsy as my skills are, is that the words part of my mind is actually silenced for a time. I think drawing may be the only thing I do where that is the case. I think in words, I see them scrolling across the screen of my mind always, always—when you speak to me, I see the transcript of our conversation. While things are happening, I’m searching for the words to recount the experience—it happens automatically, I can’t not do it. I first became aware of it on a plane headed for Germany when I was fourteen years old. I was frustrated that I couldn’t just be IN that moment, living it—I was already writing it up in my head.

I remember once telling another writer friend, as she described a similar experience: Oh, you’re like me, you think in narrative. I don’t know what it’s like to live in a mind that doesn’t work this way—except for those brief flashes of silence that come while I’m sketching. And yet I’ll go years without drawing. My skills are elementary (I can go a bit beyond the stick figures I was joking about the other day, but not far) but I know that, like all skills, regular practice would improve them. And so (to come back to my point at last) I was charmed by Lisa Congdon’s determination to hone an aspect of her work by doggedly doing it every day for a year. It’s a simple and even obvious notion, but how rarely such persistence occurs to us! Or occurs in practice, even after we’ve made the resolution.

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And then a few days ago Lisa interviewed another visual artist on her blog (delightfully named Today Is Going to Be Awesome). Jennifer Orkin Lewis is a freelance illustrator living in New York City, and her work is lovely, lovely. I was instantly smitten. I learned in Lisa’s interview that in April 2013, Jennifer decided to paint in her sketchbook every day for a month—which turned into painting in her sketchbook every day, period.

…I decided to do a painting a day for the month. I didn’t put any restrictions on myself and I ended up spending hours each day on them. I finished out the month, but it was stressful. In May I did it again but my rules were that I would limit it to 1 hour and I would only paint food. I finished that challenge as well but I felt too tied down to that theme and I didn’t experiment enough. I picked up the sketchbook I’m using now last October and I started painting in it. Something clicked and I really liked how the paint went onto the paper, its size, the fact that it wasn’t a gorgeous sketchbook. I kept painting in it so when January came it just flowed that this would be my daily project. I decided to post them all on Instagram to hold myself accountable to painting everyday.

When I went to Jennifer’s Instagram account (@augustwren), I was blown away. I think what I like best is that she posts a snapshot of the day’s painting alongside the paints and brushes she used to make it.

augustwrenhouses

Kotor Montenegro by Jennifer Orkin Lewis. Image source: Instagram.

augustwrenbirds

“I’m in Venice, these are some things I saw in shop windows.” Image source: Instagram.

augustwrensheep

Scottish Sheep by Jennifer Orkin Lewis. Image source: Instagram.

“I’ve never really thought of myself as particularly disciplined, so I have surprised myself. I have loads of 1/2 finished sketchbooks on my shelves.  A great result from the practice is I now have hundreds of pages of personal reference material. I’ve gone into it to look for color combinations for projects, for the shape of a flower,  a technique.”

Please do click through to read the whole interview—it’s fascinating. Jennifer now works on these paintings for 30 minutes each. 30 minutes a day for over a year. She posts the finished pieces on her website, and the range is quite breathtaking.

One of the many sketchbook pictures Jennifer has shared on her blog. Click the image to visit her whole sketchbook.

One of the many spreads Jennifer has shared on her blog. Click the image to visit her whole sketchbook. Image source: augustwren.com/category/sketchbook/

The obvious conclusion to this post is a resolution to work in my art journal every day for a year, but do you know, I’m terrified to make such an avowal? I always feel like announcing a plan on the blog is a surefire way to stall it. :) So no public declarations. Just a tiny, quiet—resolve is too binding a word. A notion. A hope. Last night after the boys were in bed, while Scott and the girls were watching a movie, Rilla and I worked in our journals. We used the Lisa Congdon piece at the top of this page as our inspiration. I’ve got Lisa’s 20 Ways to Draw a Tulip book and right now I’m in the copying stage, just trying to improve my own command of line. Got a long way to go. I added a fern to my sketch, though, figured it out all by myself using photo reference, and I’m pleased as punch with it (while simultaneously nitpicking its flaws). My writerly affection for circular structure demands its inclusion at the end of this post, but you that terrifies me too! Well, I once posted a story I wrote when I was five years old. My mother saved it for me and now I look at the fledging handwriting and nonsensical dialogue (“We will have to take care of it. If we don’t it will die.” “OK. Let’s go to the store and buy a big Ice-Cream.”) with real affection. Maybe in a year or ten I can feel the same way about this.

Art journaling with Rilla, modeling a piece by Lisa Congdon.

A different kind of copywork. Rilla likes to work in miniature and I like to eat up the page.

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17. Saturday Morning Running Motivation: When in doubt

Let’s be honest, running may not solve EVERY single problem, but I’ve yet to find myself in a situation where a good run doesn’t at least help. ;)

running motivation art

With that…

——-
More MORNING MOTIVATION HERE

More TRAINING TIPS HERE

I’ve had quite a few new articles published on RunBlogRun and Competitor as of late so be sure to check out my WRITING PAGE HERE

Follow Cait Chock on Instagram: @caitchock

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18. Stuff that’s working

Okay, then. Blogging first, blogging freehand.

romewasntdrawninadayMy visual aids are world-class.

 Some things we’re having fun with these days:

Famous Men of Rome. Rilla’s first time. Rose and Beanie are listening in—they know these stories well and enjoy them, and it’s amusing to them to watch Rilla encounter them for the first time. She’s doing a lot of narration afterward, mostly at dinner in the guise of “tell Daddy all about Romulus and Remus.” Sometimes during or after a chapter, I use the whiteboard to help her remember names.

Whiteboards in general. You guys, I use them for EVERYTHING. A million years ago I made the brilliant move of buying a whole bunch of scratch-and-dent markerboards for a song. The larger size are perfect as painting boards, underneath our paper—they wipe up easily and can be moved elsewhere while the masterpieces dry. We also use the big ones for things we’re trying to learn by heart. Presidents and their terms, British monarch family trees, and so forth. The smaller ones fit handily beside my chair and are great for our Latin lessons. I’ll write out a sentence and let them parse it. Meanwhile, Huck is keeping himself busy nearby with another markerboard and my best dry-erase pens.

Horrible Histories Kings and Queens of England sing-along. Penny!!! I can’t thank you enough for mentioning this a while back when I wrote about using Memrise to learn British monarchs. This video—all the HH videos—delightful. Hilarious. We’ve been watching this one every morning for two weeks and today we got through the entire song without a hitch. I wish you could hear Huck imitate baby Henry VI. (Wah!) Spot on.


Charles II is my favorite.

Creativebug. The other day I happened upon this rather amazing site. It offers video tutorials in a zillion artsy and crafty pursuits, everything from embroidery to cake decorating. I signed up for a free two-week trial subscription, and if you’re my friend on Facebook you know I’ve been having a whale of a time. Rilla and I have already devoured illustrator Lisa Congdon’s Basic Line Drawing course, and we’re three-quarters of the way through Dawn Devries Sokol’s Art Journaling class. We have Art on our schedule twice a week after lunch, but that’s not been nearly enough to accommodate the creative outpourings inspired by our Creativebug explorations. I’m finding the Lisa Congdon class has been particularly inspirational and instructive, spurring me to do a bit of sketching when I hit a snag in writing. Sometimes my other jobs—raising kids, educating them, managing a household, editing—plant me pretty solidly in my left brain and I need a right-brain pursuit like drawing (even though I’m no visual artist, as the whiteboard above attests*) to exercise my creative muscles. I’m enjoying, too, painting backgrounds in the art journal and returning to them later to practice line drawing. Rose plans to watch all the cake decorating videos. Beanie’s interested in the embroidery. Right now Creativebug is offering a whole MONTH of free trial (use promo code “CRAFT,” good through Sept. 14, and thanks Kortney for the heads up on that!), so if your interest is piqued, now’s the time to give it a try. After the trial, a subscription is $9.95/month for unlimited courses, or $9.95 to buy individual courses that you can access forever.

tulipbook*In my defense, I did draw a lot of it upside down.

20 Ways to Draw a Tulip. Lisa Congdon mentioned this book of hers during her line drawing tutorial. I’m in love with it. It’s tulips and 44 other flowers. Twenty ways to draw each of them, from simple-and-sweet to highly detailed to stylized and folk-arty. Wonderful, wonderful, out of all hooping.

And guess what’s back. ModPo!!! The best Coursera class I’ve taken, and I’ve taken some darn good ones. Modern and Contemporary Poetry with Al Filreis and his MFA students at University of Pennsylvania. Last year I watched about 75% of the videos. This year I’m hoping to tune into the entire course, but listen, even if you only manage a single video all semester, you’ve gained something. The discussions are engaging, thoughtful, and lively. My highest recommendation.

Best of all: Wisteria and Sunshine, Lesley Austin’s lovely membership site, has reopened its doors. There’s nothing else like it on the web. Lesley’s posts and pictures are nourishment for the soul, and I always come away with something to ponder, something to act on, something to cherish—just like in the Charlotte Mason motto about how a child should always have Something to Love, Something to Think About, and Something to Do.

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19. Mix it Up! And let the wonder in

When M was about 9 months old she was sat in a bath and became transfixed by the steady trickle of water coming from the tap. Time and time again she tried to grab the stream of water and was utterly puzzled: Why wasn’t it possible to hold onto the solid-appearing rod of glinting water? I had a moment of delight and clarity as I watched M explore this ‘illusion’. As an adult I of course know a liquid cannot be held onto like a solid can, but when and how had I learned this? Here were M learning it right in front of my eyes and it felt like a moment of brilliant revelation, an instant when one of the secrets of how the world works was revealed.

mix-it-up_9781452137353_350Hervé Tullet‘s Mix it Up! allows us all to experience the same thrill of discovery, the buzz that comes from a lightbulb moment; it takes us back to the very bare bones of colour theory and shows us magic at our own fingertips. That mixing yellow and blue should give us a total different colour… well that’s pretty cool if you think about it.

Listeners and readers are invited into a wide open, imaginative space where their physical interaction with the book (tipping it, tapping it, slamming it shut) has the power to transform the pages. On one level we know it is an illusion, but the way the book addresses us directly and apparently responds to our commands instils a thrilling sense of both powerfulness and playfulness.

mixitup1

This books shows paint as your friend and as such is a fabulous doorway into the world of art.

This book makes scientists of its readers and listeners, asking the to predict what is going to happen and then making it so.

Mix it Up!‘s simplicity is deceptive and will be enjoyed by older children and playful adults, even if they’ve long since learned all they technically need to know about primary and secondary colours. A worthy follow-up to Press Here, this unadorned, uncomplicated book will cast a spell over you and allow you to see again some of the wonder around you.

Inspired by the page in Tullet’s book which shows a hand amongst paint-covered fingerprints we draw around our hands and cut out hand templates. These we temporarily stuck to a sheet of card (using masking tape).

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Next we went wild with finger painting, starting with three bowls of primary colours (soaked into sponges so that the paint stuck to our fingers more evenly)…

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…before mixing the primary colours to make secondary colours.

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When the paper was full of prints I then carefully removed the hand templates to leave white shadows.

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We used the now-covered-in-fingerprints hand templates to stick on a second sheet of white paper, creating an “opposite” image to the hand shadows.
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Both are now up on the walls in the girls’ room. I think they make very effective pieces of art but perhaps more importantly, the process was hugely enjoyable.

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Whilst we painted we listened to:

  • Mix It Up by The Marvelettes
  • This Too Shall Pass by OK Go – for the playfulness and final scenes with paint I think Tullet would approve of.
  • Mixing Up by Yo Gabba Gabba!

  • Other activities which would go well with reading Mix it Up! include:

  • Using sweet wrappers to change the way you view the world (and learn about mixing colours as you go) – using this tutorial from Mylittle3andme.
  • Adding shaving foam into the mix to give mixing colours a different sensory slant – using this tutorial from Nurture Store.
  • Combining science and colour mixing, by getting coloured water to move from two cups to third, all by itself – using this tutorial on All for Kids.

  • What do you take for granted but have recently see with new eyes?

    Disclosure: A free review copy of Mix it Up! was sent to me by the publishers.

    3 Comments on Mix it Up! And let the wonder in, last added: 9/1/2014
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    20. Davy Jones

    More from P is for Pirate as we count down to Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19th! I’ll be presenting a pirate program at Adams Memorial Library in Latrobe, PA, Friday & Saturday September 19th & 20th.

    Here is D is for Davy Jones from sketch to final painting. Sorry about the color in my progress shots—must’ve been at night and I forgot to switch the flash on. You can see I based my version of Davy Jones on an 1892 ink drawing by John Tenniel from the British humor magazine, Punch. Tenniel is the guy who drew the famous illustrations for Alice In Wonderland.

    Tight pencil sketch Ink drawing of Davy Jones from the British magazine Punch color sketch painting in progress… IMGP1680 IMGP1681 IMGP1682 Finished painting

    1 Comments on Davy Jones, last added: 9/2/2014
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    21. Call for Submissions: The Four Quarters Magazine

    The Four Quarters Magazine 
    CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS : December, 2014.
    Theme : NO MAN’S LAND
    Deadline: 20th October, 2014
    Guest Editor for the Issue : Dave Besseling

    More than an excellent, absurdist 2001 film set during the Bosnian War, “No Man’s Land” is an idiom overused to in utility. It was a cliché long before I was born and learned what it meant or what a cliché was.
    It’s one thing to dress-up a cliché, it’s another to reclaim it. So wax your mind clean, Mr. Miyagi-clean, and what does “No Man’s Land” come to reflect?

    Is it that piece of geography where two gubernatorial borders don’t quite meet, or where they overlap?
    The Age of Discovery was 400 years ago. You can barely outrun googlemaps lens these days. Is No Man’s Land somewhere unfound? A tribe brandishing spears on the beach as the motorboat approaches?

    How rare and valuable are then these last pockets of “undiscovery”? And what does “discovery” mean in this digital age anyway?
    Is it a “No Man’s Land”, that which lies outside the current boundaries of science?
    Are we talking about a lesbian commune living off the grid somewhere in the mountains?
    Is this void a philosophical concept to be appropriated by some kind of post-scientology or gone cult?
    Something else entirely?
    You tell us. In writing. And if we like your pitch we can all have fun with all the mindgames that result.
    Eat a peach,

    - Dave.

    The deadline for submissions is 20th October, 2014. For submission guidelines, please refer to our submissions page.

    contact email:
    Only queries :

    fourquartersmagazineATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )


    Only submissions:

    submissionsFQMATgmailDOTcom  (Change AT to @ and DOT to . )

    Website
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    22. Time for a New School Year of Author Visits

    I’m excited to start a new year of school author visits, returning to some I’ve visited before and many new schools and aftercare programs. In anticipation of this season, I’ve spent a great deal of time updating my author visit materials and presentation. I’ve got a pile of new posters I’ve hand-painted too. Check them out!

    © Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

    © Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

    © Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

    © Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

    © Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

    © Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

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    23. 17, ART and Paying it Forward

    In honor of my baby girl’s 17th birthday today, I am giving YOU, my friends and readers, the gift of HER ART. (isn’t it interesting how close “her art” sounds like “her heart?) Seriously, this girl is hard worker – and gifted with many gifts, including the gift of tenacity. Just months ago, she sat…

    6 Comments on 17, ART and Paying it Forward, last added: 9/5/2014
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    24. these sweet faces....

    ©the enchanted easel 2014
    on the easel this week!

    yes, that is a cat. for those who know me, well nothing more needs to be said except "deep breaths". i thought if i made *it* cute, i'd be able to overcome my fear....well, for as long as it takes me to complete the painting anyway.

    feeling brave...;)
    ©the enchanted easel 2014

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    25. Party Mixtape Gallery Show


    Joni Mitchell - A Case of You
    8 x 10 inch, watercolor and gouache on paper

    Dear all, 

    I would love to invite you to Party Mixtape Group Show, organize by Beehive Society.

    Asterisk San Francisco
    3156 24th St, San Francisco, California 94110

    Reception party!!
    Friday, Sep 19, 2014
    6pm – 10pm

    This is one of the most challenging paintings, I have to come up with.  The way the show works, is each artist pick their favorite song and submit the song to the organizer.  Then, Beehive Society will shuffle the song, and assign each artist with other's song selection.  I get assign on Joni Mitchell's A Case of You.  I am not familiar with both singer and the song ... it takes me quite a lot of head scratching to figure out how to interpret the song visually.  Somehow, I can't "see" the song in a visually narrative form ... so I end up decision to approach it with a more abstract interpretation ... which is very different from my usual style.

    It's a fun challenge!!
    Many wonderful artists will be in the show.
    Please come and join the fun!!

    Happy day,

    Alina

    0 Comments on Party Mixtape Gallery Show as of 9/4/2014 10:16:00 PM
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