I've been working on an abstract backpack for Art Bootcamp with Lilla Rogers. The Bootcamp project is designed to help you build your portfolio. I decided to go with a crazy-quilt boho style on a little raccoon.
The gallery of all the backpacks is open to the public if you're curious to see the entries. Here's a link.
What a sweet book.
I'm a big fan of Emily Martin's illustrations. My girls have several of her prints in their rooms. They're whimsical without being too saccharine, and I adore her soft palette and attention to details.
I saw three different types of butterflies this weekend in the woods, so I decided to paint them. If you're a butterfly expert and I identified them incorrectly, let me know!
From the top:
1. Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
2. Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
3. Question Mark Butterfly* ( Polygonia interrogationis)
*This one has a white question marked shaped marking on it's outer wings. When the wings are shut, they look like greyish-brown tree bark. It's a fun, startling burst of orange when it opens up its wings and flies.
I present...Poodles & Pasta!
I've been taking a course through art agent Lilla Rogers. The first assignment focuses on fabric design. We were supposed to create a kitchen fabric with a pasta and vintage Pyrex them. I ran with it and added poodles. Because of COURSE poodles go with those other things.
Here are my coordinating fabrics:
It's the first day of the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac!
I read that New Year's is a big deal in China, and people celebrate for TWO WEEKS. On New Year's Day, families get together to clean their houses to "sweep away bad fortune".
It's traditional to give children red envelopes full of "lucky money", along with notes about how their want their children to grow up to be healthy. Aren't those pretty?
People do LOTS of decorating, similar to how we decorate for Christmas.
These can include red paper cut outs, banners, special red lanterns, and New Year paintings.
You'll see lots of Roosters, or whatever animal represents that year.
I've been reading about their New Year art customs. It's traditional to buy/display art relating to the new mascot of that year.
A common form is "banhua", or any sort of art based on a traditional woodblock print that creates a black and white outline, which is then colored in. The Chinese have been doing coloring books since before it was trendy! :)
There are many types of gods that are portrayed in these pictures, but a popular one is a "door god".
In some Chinese folk religions, these are divine guardians that watch over doors and gates. They keep evil from passing, and allow positive influences to cross.
In modern times, New Years art will also include women, babies, and kitchen gods. Do any of you observe Chinese traditions? If so, I'm curious to hear more about what you do to celebrate.
Fabric design is FUN!!! Why didn't I try this years ago?
The course I'm taking has a section on bolt fabric. Our assignment is to design kitchen fabric based on pasta and vintage Pyrex. That's right up my alley, so this was super fun.
I've been sketching and sketching. I like mid-century modern design, so I'm going for that feel.
Then I cut it out in Photoshop and smoosh everything around until I like the end result. I'll share more of the designs later this week. I'd like to see what you guys think of different color palettes.
I don't know how she manages to keep it so spotless with little twin daughters-count me impressed. Look at those cuties!
She's an artist, so of course it's filled with great pieces. So much light and art. What else do you need?
Maybe throw in Captain the dog for good measure.
What do you think? Yuck or yum?
Here's a detail of a painting from a children's book course I took recently. The book is about Ada Lovelace, and I painted a bunch of her teachers. Her French instructors are teaching her about escargot.
Have any of you tried escargot? I actually bought Adam some, but haven't made them yet. It was a kit (not sure how that works yet) at the store where they give you the empty shells, and the escargot in a can. I think you saute the snails with butter and serve them in the shell.
(Also-I wanted the man & woman to look practically identical except for hair and clothing.)
Wanna hear a snail joke?
A snail goes to a car dealership and buys a new car. But when he buys it he has specific instructions for the dealer. "I want you to give it a paint job" says the snail. "Sure, what color?" says the dealer. "I want you to paint a big red S on the hood, the doors, the roof and the trunk." instructs the snail. "Sure thing," says the dealer, "but can I ask why?" The snail looks at him and explains: " So when I go driving up and down the strip all the people watching me say "Look at that S Car Go!!!! (Escargot!)
I was so happy to see I was featured on the Make Art That Sells blog! In October, I took "Illustrating Children's Books" with art agent Lilla Rogers and children's book art director Zoe Tucker. It was an amazing class.
They asked the alumni to share some of their thoughts on the course, along with a favorite piece of art from the class. Here's mine:
It was so fun to place characters from my story in different rooms of Ada Lovelace’s house. I chose to make Lilla and Zoe teachers for my character. Lilla always says “Give a lot”, so I tried to make this image full of exciting things to look at. When I was a child, I adored books where there were tons of things on every page.
How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
This course helped me really concentrate on characters. By thinking about how to tell the story in the best way possible, Lilla and Zoe showed me how to craft more effective characters.
What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that I CAN create an entire children’s book course if I break it down step by step. Everything seems easier when you’re only focusing on the next step.
How would you describe the course to a friend?
This course is a whirlwind of information about how to illustrate a children’s book. It will teach you everything you need to know. Lilla and Zoe break it down for you step by step. They hold your hand through the process and make it fun! If you want to really challenge yourself and move your work to the next level, you simply have to sign up.
The little doggies are coming along! Actually, they're done, but I wanted to show you the process I go through in a pet portrait.
Meet Charles Dickens "Charlie", Henry Wadsworth Longdog, and Pooh. I think their daddy must have the soul of a poet!
I talk to the client and we figure out what they're looking for. The owner sends me lots of photos, too. I like to know what makes their pets special, and what their personalities are like, favorite toys, beds, etc. Usually, they have seen some of my work before, and are looking for something similar.
Then I start painting. And I paint and paint and paint. That's where I spend most of the time.
And finally...whew! It's done.
This is "Jarrell's Boys". Aren't they cuties? Those dogs are VERY loved. And aren't their beds adorable? Their owner said they're actually cat beds, but the dogs are little bitty, so it works. I especially enjoyed painting the fruity wallpaper and those lacy curtains.
I'm now offering custom portraits here in my Etsy shop.
I can do pets, couples, whole families...whatever you want. These are great holiday gifts, but people like art all year long.
Consider a portrait for a wedding, anniversary, birthday, adoption, save-the-date card, retirement, holiday cards, invitations, and more! You can choose your outfits and details, or I can choose for you.
For the family above, I included some of their hobbies. Clem is into Wing Chun martial arts, Charlotte bakes and decorates cakes, and they enjoy spoiling their dog Moto. In the background, I also painted some of their favorite vacation spots, like Paris, Venice, and La Jolla Cliffs.
I can also create a separate image narrating your personal occasion or story.
You can tell he's totally posing for the camera.
I like to imagine Moto having his own little bedroom and photos of Mama and Daddy on the wall, and a self-portrait he did of himself in crayons. In real life, I bet he'd eat the crayons, but I can pretend, right?
In the children's book illustration class I'm taking, there are 3 texts for us to illustrate. One of them is Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat.
I've always loved Lear's poem, but didn't relate to the song versions of it. I imagined it as a dreamy and romantic waltz...I wanted the music to make you feel like you were floating in that little pea green boat with your love.
So I wrote a song version, and also created a video to share some of the illustrations from the other artists in the group. Thanks to everyone who was kind enough to share their work for me to use in the video.
music written & performed by Laura Irrgang laurairrgang.com
art by the following:
Leah Quinn- www.leahquinndesigns.com
Cata Bass- www.catalinavillegasa.com
Aafke Mertens www.curlysketches.nl
Kelly Kratzing www.kellykratzing.com
Jodi Bogart- www.facebook.com/jodi.anthony.1
Wendy Bauer Piersall- www.wendypiersall.com
Lynn Gaines- www.lynngainesdesign.com
Liz DeJure Wood- www.artdejure.com
Lisa Groome Firke www.facebook.com/LisaFirkeMakes
Brooke Wenstrup Albrecht- www.brookealbrechtstudio.com
Jennifer Geldard- www.jennifergeldard.com
Halloween's blowing in, and it finally feels like autumn is here! Which, in Texas, means that it's finally in the 80s.
We have butterflies all around the pumpkins, and it's finally getting cool enough to open the windows at night. Is there anything better than a soft breeze and the sound of crickets, coyotes, and owls while you sleep?
I'm spending a lot of time in the studio painting and drawing for a children's book illustration class. The Halloween Room is one of my favorite places in October. All those stripes make me happy.
When I start for the day, I'll go in, look up where all the stripes meet, and turn in a circle. It makes me dizzy, and that always makes me giggle a little. Sometimes I'll give the butterly/owl/bat mobile a gentle push and watch it sway. It's like the little creatures are saying hello and swishing some nice ideas towards my brain with their wings.
I usually decorate slowly for seasons...a thing here or there every few days.
Take something down, put something else up. It's a slow progression...kind of a quiet meditation on the seasons.
Trucks show up to pick up load after load of hay. The trees are starting to turn, but it's slow and subtle. I watch the leaves like a hawk, so I notice. It's not the fireworks you get in New England, but I'll take it.
I let the girls choose our costumes. We're the "Amazing Irrgang Bat Circus". They even have a little circus routine where they fly through the hoop and everything! Those kids.
I made that orange pillow last year and still get a little thrill when I see all those orange ruffles. It was the first time I'd tried singe-hemming...you can see how I did it here in this video.
Some recent gnoshing...mussels with garlic, autumn beans over farro, and butternut squash soup with chives and sour cream.
I'm taking a fabulous children's book illustration course right now. It's from mega-agent Lilla Rogers and superstar children's book editor Zoe Tucker. I'm kind of in heaven. It's called MATS (Make Art That Sells), and teaches you pretty much anything you'd ever want to know about kids' books.
Here are some examples of the work we're doing. We receive a weekly "mini"...a small assignment leading up to a weekly "major" assignment. Then, we also get a daily sketchbook prompt. I'm trying to experiment and have fun playing with the sketchbook assignments. For the sketchbook in particular, I'm experimenting with a lot of different styles and mediums.
(Note: I was really excited that Lilla Rogers shared my glasses sketch on her Instagram for Make Art That Sells!)
Sketchbook#5-Skirts & Pants (Or "britches", as I like to call them. Hey-I'm Texan. Pssst...can you find the fish?)
This is a warm-up project for the children's book illustrating course I'm taking. We were asked to draw a pencil in 3 flat colors (counting black as a color). You wouldn't believe how many different ways people can draw a pencil. MATS is the name of the course, so I decided that would be their school name, and Scribblers seemed like a good mascot for the course.
P.S. His last name is Ticonderoga.
I am already loving the "Illustrating Children's Books" course from art agent Lilla Rogers and children's book editor Zoe Tucker, and it hasn't even officially started yet! It sold out, so I'm glad I signed up early.
One of our first warm-up assignments asked us to work with character, illustrate the setting outside our bedroom window, and play with the idea of scale. I combined all of these into a short text I wrote called "Minette and O'Malley", and also recorded voice-overs and music to go along with it.
Minette- Violet Irrgang
Narrator- Laura Irrgang
O'Malley the Snail- Adam Irrgang
When Kirsty Mitchell's mother died, she created the series "Wonderland" as a way to process her grief. Her mother was an English teacher who instilled in her daughter an abiding love of literature. Kirsty used her own talents as a visual storyteller as a tribute to her mother.
Kirsty says, "The moment I came through the door after school she would call me over to where she was sitting with a pile of books and say: “Look at what I’ve found! This is amazing." Then she would start reading aloud. I would put down my bag and sit and listen to her, slowly falling under the spell of the story."
This article goes into depth about her process and history if you'd like to learn more.
The amount of detail she puts into the sets, costumes, and makeup is phenomenal. This is NOT a result of Photoshop...these are meticulously hand-crafted scenes.
Over spring break, some dear old friends and I visited Dallas. We stopped into the Dallas Museum of Art, and this lovely wisteria was in full bloom on an upper patio. The petals drifted down like soft, sweet rain.
One of the things I like best at DMA is the section where you can peek into the restoration rooms. I realize these are horrible, reflecty, non-pro images, but I wanted you to get the idea of how "secret" these rooms seem. Tucked away behind a glass wall.
I'd love to see them working on these pieces. However, the room has always been empty when I'm there. Probably because it was a weekend.
Can you imagine the pressure of working on one of these paintings?
This is where the magic happens.
Seeing these reminds me of that awful "restoration" in Spain a few years ago. An elderly woman decided to sneak into church to repair a fresco, but it went horribly wrong.
My friend Jamie did a photo collage project recently. It looked like fun, so I decided to try one, too. I felt unusually energetic during my daughters' nap time, so while my husband stayed in the house, I gave myself one hour to do this. My goal was to do it fast and complete it. That's it. I made 3 constraints to help me work faster:
1. All vertical formats
2. No post-photo processing, all framing in camera
3. Take photos in order listed
Then, I took about 1 hour to make the collage on the computer.
That was so satisfying-thanks for the idea, Jamie!
-There was only one dang cloud in the sky.
-It wasn't nighttime, so I had to fake the "after dark", and "sunset"
-Inspirational photo...I found a "gift nest" Violet made for the squirrel who moved into our owl box. I'm inspired by the kind impulses of my children.
-Strangers was difficult since I live in the country, so I rounded up some suspicious-looking characters in my studio
-Only 2 flowers growing on our entire place, and they're smaller than a dime
-The last photo of me has fingers crossed...I didn't have time to set up a tripod, and I was hoping to get a good shot...I don't know why, but I have the hardest time getting myself centered in the frame while hand-holding the camera.
Did any of you ever get the chance to visit the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows before it closed? It was located inside the building complex of the Navy Pier in Chicago.
(photo credit to Chuck Berman from the Chicago Tribune article unless otherwise noted)
Carpenter Liam Stewart works on an installation.
It was amazing. I'm sad I'll never get to take my daughters there. On a hot summer day in Chicago, what better place to escape to than the dark, cool interior of a stained glass museum?
It was such a treat to stroll through these darkened halls, with all the brilliant glass backlit.
Check out this unusual technique by the Tiffany studio in the video below.
The image goes from black outlines to fully lit color. It's beautiful! How magical this must have seemed in a church with the sun beaming through. I wonder where it is now?
(video from Norris Mei on YouTube)
I did a post a few years ago on the museum if you want to see some more of my photos here. Photos simply can't capture the majesty of the dark halls, with radiant shards of light shining out at you.
I hope these works of art find a fitting home some day. It would be a shame for the public to lose them.
How did I miss this video? I think Judith Schaechter's pieces are so intriguing. Most of my experience with stained glass is from either the Tiffany studios or from churches and/or public spaces. It's interesting to see the form used wholly for artistic interpretation.
I'd love to try stained glass in the future. It seems so intricate and kind of intimidating, but I can't wait to give it a go. I've been talking to my husband about it, and we may try to work on it as a collaborative project. Adam is so good with metals, and I'm crazy about the glass and color options.
If any of you work in glass, please share! I'm happy to post links.
Hey, Judith-I also loved Lite Brite as a child! I still have one, and my daughters are carrying on the tradition, too.
La Flor de la Vida, the Frida Kahlo-themed art exhibit, is on display until January 30th at the Bath House Cultural Center in Dallas, Texas. I had a blast at the opening. Great curators, sweet gallery staff, an enthusiastic crowd, and a fun bunch of artists...what more can you ask for? Frida would have been proud! Well, we might not have been rowdy enough for Frida's tastes, but we do what we can, right?
Jacque Forsher and Jose Vargas curated the show. They're both artists, too. Check out Jacque's butterflies and that tie!
I was delighted to discover that artist Brett Dyer and I have a mutual friend...costume designer/ theater and media professor Jenny Saxton. (Also one of my daughter's fairy godmothers.) Brett was honored as the 2015-2016 Presidential Scholar of North Lake College, where he is an instructor. He also won a recent competition to create a mural in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas.
"The Eternal Flower"-encaustic paint and mixed media on panel
"The Fighter Pilot"
Here is the lovely Kristen Penrod of Mixed Media Funhouse with one of her pieces. You can turn on a tiny light that illuminates the interior! I love work with little surprises like that.
"A Night With Frida"- assemblage
A shot in front of my painting, "The Three Fates". You know those people you meet and instantly like? That's Kristen. Warm, funny, smart, talented...people like her are why I occasionally like coming out of my art cave.
Alexa Mason was another highlight. Friendly and articulate, and what a talent!
Her painting graced the postcard for the event. I bet we're going to see a lot of great work out of this artist in the future. Look at that gold leaf! I like shiny things.
I was happy to see my painting on the back of the brochure. Jacque Forsher's curator statement is a great summation of why Frida still appeals to us today. Click on the image to get a larger version that's easier to read.
"Frida and Her Monkey"
by Ellen Rhodes Moore
Photographer Rebecca Navarro and the embroidery on her dress are both gorgeous.
"Frida Entering from Mictlan"
by Rebeca Navarro
by Rebeca Navarro
Rebecca asked if I had ever seen the painting "La calle Gabino Barreda". She said it's in the DOMA collection, and is a reference to the street where Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, and Gunther Gerzso lived in Mexico City. How have I missed this work of art on my many trips? Thank you for the suggestion, Rebecca. I'm going to surprise myself with it like a gift...I won't even look it up on the internet first. Promise.
"Nuestra Senora de las Sombras"-mosaic
by Katrina Doran
"Frida, Queen of the Selfies"
by Ann Rowley
Miss Irving Texas Latina, Gabriella Robledo, attended in full regalia! She was the model for Jorge Martinez's photographs in the show. Miss Robledo is standing in front of:
"Frida's Hands;Frida's World"
by Rebecca Guy
"Crossed Heart"-Fujiflex crystal archive print
by Jorge Martinez
"Portrait of Frida in Red"-oil with collage
This was interesting. The screen scrolled through a series of facial photographs.
"Frida, Every Woman/ Todos Somos Fridas"-mixed media sculpture with digital picture frame
by Liliana Ramirez
"Shadow Fragments"-pen and ink
by Laurie Mahoney
I thought it was fun that so many people attending (including these 2 artists) got into the Frida spirit and dressed the part. Great flowers, Margot!
"Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera Just Married"-papier mache
by Juliet Rivera-Schwabe
There was even a face painter on hand.
Colorful banners and a sweet Frida-fan in the lobby.
by Diane Torres
Musician Johnny Sequenzia played guitar and mandolin at the opening. He also teaches children ages 8-14 at the Bath House Cultural Center's after-school programs during the school year.
Here is Monique Jannette looking festive. She's an artist, and also was the model for Sharon Neel-Bagley's photographs.
"At the End of the Day"
by Sharon Neel-Bagley
Artists-if I've attributed any of the following pieces incorrectly, let me know and I'll fix them ASAP. I'm missing a few artists' names. It was tricky to sort out the titles this year since almost all of them were Frida-something-or-other.
I'm sad I didn't get a shot of the cake before people starting snacking. And last but not least, a special thanks to Visual Arts Coordinator Enrique Cervantes. Working with you is a pleasure!
What a vibrant show. Go catch it before it closes.
Like Frida? Stop by the Bath House Cultural Center to see Frida Kahlo: La Flor de Vida from Dec.5-Jan.30.
Here's the painting I have in the show:
"The Three Fates"-oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
It's free to the public-visit the website for hours and directions.
Here's a press clip:
Over sixty years after her death, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo continues to garner praise and devoted loyalty from an ever-growing legion of admirers all over the world. As iconic as her artwork, the story of the artist’s life has inspired many artists of all disciplines to create works that reflect on the transcendental and influential views, ideas, and fortitude of the artist, as well as her approach to life and art-making.
The curators of this exhibition, Jacque Forsher and Jose Vargas, selected works of art in a variety of media that were created by over 50 local and regional artists who drew inspiration from the life and art of this highly celebrated and enigmatic artist.
This exhibition pays tribute to an extraordinarily complex and talented artist who has gained a massive number of devoted supporters not only in the community of artists and art lovers, but also in a segment of society that is receptive to her views on gender equality, politics, cultural pride, and firmness of mind and purpose in the face of personal uncertainty and devastation.
I'm trying to get in the Halloween mood so I can fire up my sewing machine and start making costumes.
Here's a playlist of spooky jazz and big band tunes on Youtube. That first song is crazy. My fave is number 3..."This October". You can't go wrong with Julie London.
"Shine on Harvest Moon" by The Dinning Sisters is pretty great, too. Those twins were so gorgeous, weren't they? I miss that old glamour.
Give it a click and grab some cider or a pumpkin spice latte and meet me back here. Go ahead...I'll wait.
I used to make a LOT of holiday decorations/toys/paintings. Then I had my two little ghouls and my production levels have dropped off considerably. When they're back in school full time I'll get to crackin' again, I'm sure.
Here's a little recipe box I painted. I'm addicted to recycling stuff. What would I do without thrift stores?
There's a "secret" candy corn in the bottom.
Here's a small stand for a pumpkin or an extra-large cupcake.
Some silly appetizer pics.
A little cat doll on a swing.
This is a set of wooden salad bowls.
I liked their little metal pedestals. It makes your salads....fancier, I suppose. Because we all need fancier salads, right?
I took a fitted top and embroidered an orange owl with "Hoot hoot!" across the front.
Okay...now I'm in a Halloween mood.
I bought a vintage book a few years ago that was in a foreign language because I loved the illustrations. Some friends that speak Danish translated it for me recently. It's called something like, "The Tale of the Teeny Tiny Old Woman".
As an art exercise, I sometimes make sketches/paintings "in the style of" an artist I like. This artist had such a nice use of line, and I liked the circular composition.
Today, I made a quick sketch and watercolor that reflects the style in this charming vintage children's book from Scandinavia. Next time, I think I'd rather use ink instead of pencil. That way, your eye would be more drawn to the line work.
I didn't ask her to, but my daughter Violet decided to try it, too. I like her version a lot...it features our deceased cat, Clyde, asking for some hot cocoa. In the mirror above the mantle, there is a reflection of our ceiling fan.
Once upon a time there was a little little old woman who had a little little cottage.
Day 20-I started making a collection of my favorite children's lullabies. When I'm done, I'm going to burn a CD for my girls.
What were your favorite lullabies as a child? Would you share them with me? I'm trying to put together a CD collection for my girls, and wondered what you guys grew up hearing. They seem to be really regional-even the lyrics are different for friends who lived in different parts of the country. I'd love to hear what your family sang to you!
Here's a sweet one:
I mentioned this friends on Facebook, but wanted to tell you guys, too. Piper's favorite song is "Jolene" by Dolly Parton (she calls her Dolly Barbie), but she totally gets the lyrics wrong. "Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Joleeeeeen...I tell you please don't take my macaroni."
Make it in May, Day 21-I made more mermaid baskets for teacher gifts. We have the best teachers at Wesley Pdo N Prek...we'll miss you guys this summer!
And I made chocolate shells. I'm usually happy with milk/dark chocolates, but I find it harder to melt the white chocolates consistently. I mixed in some fresh strawberries to give them a pinkish shell color. I thought they were fun on brown sugar...looks sort of like sand.
Day 22-Not much today, but I straightened up the fairies hanging above the reading nook. This is the view if you're lying on your back looking up. I hung them from clear filament and they'd gotten tangled up a little. It was rainy...we were lazy...it was nice.
Day 23-We made a day of it in the studio. Piper learned to make "tracks" with her toys in Playdoh, also playing with my Pee Wee Herman doll with the super sped-up voice box (that's not creepy or anything!). It cracks me up when she calls it Daddy Doll.
Violet learned to parry a little more efficiently in her fencing lesson with Adam.
I made breakfast for dinner, and I hope we won't be "making" a trip to the storm cellar tonight since a front is blowing in and the sky is kind of green. I'm also working on a decoupage suitcase, and I'm starting by clipping images from a vintage children's book.
Day 27-I made a start on my mailings to people I admire. This is the project where I'm asking people for advice on happiness and creativity in their forties.
Day 28-I'm taking a look at the grisaille technique again. That's where you do an underpainting in neutrals (usually black & white), then you paint the colored layers in with translucent glazes. I made a stab at learning how to do it a few years back, but never entirely finished my painting. I'm not crazy about the photos I worked from, but it was more of an exercise in technique than anything. I don't do a lot of self-portraits, but I use myself since it's hard to find models out here. I'm glad I tried it, but I'm not entirely pleased with it. It's okay in details, but the overall painting is a little stiff.
Day 30-It was just me and the girls for the past 3 days, so we made it a "Woodland Weekend". Violet loves to pretend we're deer from the forest...she calls me "Mother Deer" and she is my young fawn, Honeysuckle. Piper is, as Violet says, "A plump rabbit we bring around with us."
They wanted me to have "Mother Deer's Restaurant", and we decorated the table with forest stuff and had waffles with berries. We pretend the field mice are in charge of picking berries early in the morning, and the fairies bring the whipped cream.
Day 31-I made Mermaid Accessories!
Make it in May, Day #1-I wrote a quick song on xylophone to get started.
I'm a big fan of Mister Rogers, and I wrote a song that sounded like something cheerful you might hear in Trolley Land.
Day 3- Honeysuckle smells GREAT! I wear this in the spring and summer. Well, I switch perfumes a lot, but this stays in the rotation.
Day 6-Over forty ladies, many of you are on my list! Share them pearls of wisdom, yee haw!
Day #7-We made soap "scrimshaw" carvings with my daughter's group in kindergarten. We carved the soap with toothpicks, then ground up burned wood to make charcoal dust, then smushed it in the carved areas. Mine above, Violet's below-I love Mama Daughter projects!
Day 8-It may be too small by the time fall rolls around, but I'm glad to be close to done. And that yarn makes me look forward to autumn.
Day 11-I made another storytime video to add to my YouTube series. This is Piper's favorite story lately.
Day 12-We made photos at Violet's school's Spring Fling.
They had an open house and set up photo booths outside every class. Great job, LOISD teachers!
Make it in May, Day 16...I finished the poster for my daughter's kindergarten class. It's not perfect because I'm far from a Photoshop expert, but I did the best I could.
Then I cropped all the photos in Photoshop and stacked them together, Brady Bunch-style.
Day 17-Violet and I made cards and small treat bags for her kindergarten's end-of-the-year picnic.
Day 18-I wrote a song to sing and play on harp to accompany Edward Lear's poem "The Owl and the Pussycat". (I'll record it one of these days and share it.) I visited my daughter's kindergarten, and their lovely teacher turned the pages of Jan Brett's book while I played. I came at snack time, so I made blueberry muffins and brought clementines. It was fun to sing some songs, and teach the kids a few that they could sing along with. They're such a happy group!
Day 19-We made supply boxes for some of the victims of the tornado in Van, Texas. It felt disrespectful to take photos while we were there, so I'll share some images of the destruction and clean-up effort I found on Van Texas Tornado Recovery. The community still needs aid and volunteers.
Day 21-Didn't make much, but it was my daughter's kindergarten graduation, then she got out of school all day and we had a Mama-Daughter Day. It was Date Night, so Adam and I are picking blackberries on our country road. I could eat ALL the blackberries...blackberry ice cream, blackberry cobbler, blackberry port, blackberry jam, blackberry smoothies, blackberry EVERYTHING!
I'll share the rest the rest soon!
Make it small if you want (think...the outfit your put together, your yummy breakfast, you spruced up your bathroom-anything!), but let's make it.
I finished my entry for Women and Creativity's art card trade. I gave myself about two and a half hours to complete ten small portraits in acrylic.
Here they are all in a row. Oops...looks like I missed one.
Here's the post I wrote on it a while back, and here's a link to the WAC website. They sent out cards to paint/draw on, but they were just slightly crooked, so I decided to use my own paper. 'Cause I'm kind of OCD like that. I used a heavy piece of art paper and primed it all black.
As with all projects, I like some of them more than others.
These were super quick painting-sketches. I tried not to get too hung up on making them great. Instead, I focused on getting them done.
I can't wait to see the ten cards I'll receive in a few weeks!
My friend Stacy shared these ring box dioramas. They're so unusual. Kind of disturbing, but packed with details.
I'd like to try something similar with Altoid tins.
Tawlst, the artist, hails from Toronto. He says:
The idea for this series of miniature dioramas came about when a street vendor in Paris handed him an antique ring box and told him “I want to see what you make with this.” Talwst created a scene of a figure emerging from the sea and has been creating tiny scenes ever since.
The antique nature of the ring boxes he uses, as well as subtle details used in his tiny dioramas, help drive home his focus on history; “I want the viewer to open the box and feel they have been transported to another world,” he told the Guardian.
Click here to see all of them.
Women & Creativity is a women's art group that celebrates their 10th anniversary in 2015. To commemorate a remarkable decade, they are offering a fun project for the public-an art card exchange! The deadline to sign up is March 15th.
(image from Favim.com)
Tête-à-Tête Trading Cards asks you to beautify 10 trading cards (they’ll provide them) with poems, paintings, prints, whatever you see fit, and return them by April 15, 2015. You will then receive a set of 10 cards back, each made by a different person who played along. It's a great way to share some of your work, and collect small pieces from other artists.
Here are some examples of art trading cards from Opus Arts Supplies. They're usually 2 1/2" x 3", and can be ANYTHING...typically, they're drawings, painting, collages, or photos. Your imagination is the limit. Some people have collections of, say-all rabbits, or all fairies. I've seen neat collections based on landscapes, a certain state, or a hobby, like ballet. I was thinking of starting a collection of art in a certain color palette...like cards featuring red as a predominate color.
I'm going to play-it sounds like a neat project. I hope you'll play along, too! I look forward to seeing the cards I get back. I plan on framing them all together. Please join us. You can make a voluntary donation of $5-15 to help pay for the shipping fees, but if you can't provide that, you're still welcome to participate for free.
For complete rules, see the Women and Creativity Play Along link here.
I have no words for the senseless violence at Charlie Hebdo in Paris this week.
I wanted to share these visual responses from cartoonists around the globe:
Je sui Charlie/I am Charlie (click the link to view the complete list of images)
Anyone else addicted to Pinterest? I thought so.
(Thanks to the Bad Joke Eel from Quickmeme.com)
I'm putting together some links to my autumn and Halloween-themed Pinterest boards here. Grab a pumpkin spice latte or some apple cider, and sit down for some serious pinning!
(Click on the titles to go to the Pinterest Board.)
I've been torturing my family with music by Veljo Tormis. "What in heck is this?" asks Violet.
In particular, my children seemed baffled by around 4:45 or so. It certainly doesn't stop them from imitating it or flapping their wings. They seem to get it on some level. Even if they seem miserable and keep putting their hands over their poor little ears. Here's more if that wasn't enough to last you a lifetime.
Many people consider Tormis the greatest living choral composer. I'm fascinated by his music. And somewhat confused by his beard. I do not understand that facial hair. Maybe it's practical.
His music puts me in mind of angry merfolk.
Or things going horribly wrong at sea.
The Wrath of Neptune by Charles Lebrun
Some gifts from the woods...giant leaves. This one's from a sassafras tree. The leaves are used in Cajun cooking to make file powder. That's made by drying the leaves, then grinding them. It's also a key ingredient in sarsaparilla and some root beers. The verdict is out on how harmful the plant is, so we leave it alone.
Here's another poisonous (but pretty) plant out in our woods-silverleaf nightshade. All parts of it are toxic, but the highest concentration is found in the berries. It's a member of the potato family.
I'm awfully enamoured of these wee mushrooms that spring up after a good rain. These are in our Oak Grove, leading up to the spot where we said our vows. I think of them as a carpet of love mushrooms. Like fairies spent all night conjuring them in our special place. Because, obviously, fairies have nothing better to do.
It's so been humid and hot I feel like these ice sculptures by Nele Azevedo. Aren't they curious? It would be surreal to be on your way to work, walking up your everyday stairs, to see these guys. I know she meant them as a statement about global warming, but I think they're just plain old fun.
Hey, fellow art lovers-have you had your art fix today? If not, click on over to Artsy. It's a great site...comprehensive, fabulous detailed images, lots of artist info. Their contemporary galleries are extensive, but their historical information is also impressive. I'm not affiliated with them in any way, but I really like their site.
One feature I like is their "zoom" capability. Take a look at this example:
Portraits of Giuliano and Francesco Giamberti da Sangallo, by Piero di Cosimo. (Click title for link.)
If you follow the link and click on it within Artsy's site, you'll get a great glimpse into all those intricate details. Once you're there, click on any image and it will give you a sliding "zoom bar" below it.
Violet and I spent a lot of time examining the details in the background. I'd ask what she thought was going on in, she'd tell me, then we'd zoom in and see if she was right. Violet got so excited to see the tiny things we'd missed on our first glance.
In most reproductions online or in books, you just don't get enough resolution to see into the distance. With Artsy, you can zoom to your heart's content.
Self Portrait as a Catastrophic Failure by Julie Heffernan. (Click title for link.)
We visited Charlotte! You can visit her at Seahorse Ranch Life blog.
We stopped by after Grandfather's 100th birthday party. Charlotte's home is as elegant and interesting as she is. (Which is hard to do.) There was something in every corner that caught my eye and made me want to linger.
We're not related, but Violet actually reminds me of her fairy godmother a bit. Thanks for letting us pick you for our tribe, Charlotte. Some of my favorite people out there are my "chosen family members".
Back on the road, heading to Allyn, Washington.
Ever just have a good feeling about a place? Hans and Dorothy's guest cabin had a good vibes. They were lovely-he's originally from the Netherlands (Amsterdam) and she is an artist and teacher. Their own two girls have grown up and gone off to lead their own lives, but they were wonderful with my babies. Here is a link to their cabin on Air BnB if you're ever in Washington. Great hosts!
Check out that tree!
It's like something out of a fairy tale. And the cabin came with its own cat!
Makes me miss Clyde.
Hans and Dorothy let the girls play dress up, and the cabin had a nice selection of well-loved teddy bears.
This is Sol. Or maybe it was Saul. We weren't sure. He had his own perch/porch outside our window. Piper identified that he was a cat, and told us over and over to look at the picture in the frame.
Isn't that cute?
He politely let us know when he wanted in.
What a well-behaved little friend.
Saul/Sol the cat would disappear occasionally into this magical little door. The girls weren't allowed to follow him in there. I just noticed Adam and Piper are dressed alike. That wasn't on purpose.
Quirky stuff everywhere.
I liked the decoupaged bathroom door.
lsn't that neat?
This is pretty lit up at night-a bottle wall.
VWs and bears.
A charming chicken coop.
Poor sick little girls. They wanted to sleep in the closet, so we let them. It was the very first time they'd slept together.
Dorothy's intriguing array of sculpture and ceramics tucked into every nook and cranny. I love a place with art and books, don't you?