Sunday, December 31, 2006

Countdown to the New Year!

Click this to Count Down to 2007!
May you all have a fantastic New Year. May your best dreams come true. May you be on the lookout for surprises, and find them, in ways you never expected. May you create images, stories, paintings, music, or moments with friends and loved ones you would have never imagined. May you stay safe, healthy, learn fascinating things, read rich, interesting books, eat delicious food, rest well and deeply, live each moment in that moment, not worrying about the past or future overly. May you love your family, friends, and neighbors fully and be loved more than ever before.
God bless you all in 2007! I'm looking forward to this year with expectation, joy and appreciation for all that has passed in 2006, and eager to see what 2007 has in store.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Yvonne Lyon's Music

I recently found Yvonne Lyon's music and have ordered two CDs. She hails from Scottland. Maybe it's my Scottish ancestry calling to me, or simply the fact I love the thoughtful, haunting, funky style of her music, but as soon as I heard her singing, I bookmarked it for after Christmas.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Jan Richardson's Art

Take a look at Jan Richardson's wonderful art. I found her site through Alice's blog, The Fairfax, where I find so many good things.

A Beautiful Blog....The Glass Doorknob

I found a beautiful blog with gorgeous photographs and a sense of simplicity that is marvelous after the sensory overload of Christmas (which I have enjoyed, but need a break from right now). It is called The Glass Doorknob.
I have some more to add as soon as possible, but the blogger site is somehow blocking me from the ease of the old "blog this" feature...for some reason making me blog blogspot blogs in a more involved way. I'm lazy and a bit pressed for time, since I still have a house full of energetic guests and have to do this in bits and pieces.
More blogs to come.....
I found The Glass Doorknob on Dreams of Genevieve.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Elf'd Myself

I hope you can see me as an Elf Here. I got this from Sherry, who also became a fun elf today.

Christmas scenes in art

Here is a collection of scenes of the Birth of Christ as seen in classical art through the ages. I've been searching for more of a visual/musical production, but so far haven't found one.
There was a beautiful one online last year, but I can't remember where I saw it.
I also found this fun online nativity scene for kids to create interactively.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Illustration Friday-Peace

Here's my entry for this week's Illustration Friday topic- Peace

Claudia Mair Burney's writing and blog

OK. I came across Claudia's regular blog raggamuffin diva, and got hooked. I love this woman's heart and messages. So, since this blog is about children's books, lit and things, I'm posting her writing blog for you to get a peek into her writing and let her shine on you a bit too.
Now I really need to go wrap presents and bake a bit. Fun!

American Artist Mag Online Demonstrations

American Artist Online Mag now offers online demonstrations. I was having such fun watching that I spilled red and green M&Ms all over the laptop keyboard.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Never Enough Tea...a blog about C.S. Lewis

If you're interested in C.S. Lewis, check out this blog Never Enough Tea.

Something for Pantone fanatics

If you're really into using Pantone colors check this out.
Fishs eddy has some pretty funky things.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Art By Ashley..a new blog

Check out Ashley's new blog. I found her work on Illustration Friday and was drawn to her fun style.

Double Tag

Now I'm really playing tag. I've been tagged twice in the past few days and have to catch up. Katie tagged me most recently, so I'll play that one first, since I think I can figure out answers to her tag game easier than the other.
Five things most people do not know about me:
I have a twin sister who is also an artist (better than me, and a much more interesting person)
I lived in La Paz, Bolivia for nearly 5 years where I hiked up Chacaltaya (approximately 15,000 feet in altitude) risking limb and life in an exhilarating fashion just getting there on the bus first..
I had the 500 freestyle ( swim) record in my high school for about 3 years.
I was in a play in the early 70s at The Church on the Green (New Haven, CT) called "Noe's Flood" and played a polar bear. It was some sort of big deal, but at the time I didn't realize it.
I attended two concerts with Leroy Anderson conducting. I met him and have two autographs by him and a personal letter.

I'll deal with the next tag soon. I have no idea who to tag now. Most people that I know have done this one.

An Interweaving of Friends, Faith, and Fantastic Finds

I am having a blast these days with some wonderful connections that have happened since I posted below about Allison and Stacy, and Alice's blog. It's such an intemingled combining of connections that you'll do best to read their blogs to see what happened through the fantastic, quirky combination of faith, blogging, kindred spirits, and friendship. Anyone who thinks that miracles and mysteries do not abound at Christmas time can be assured...they do.

Here is a piece I wrote when thinking of my friend Maureen.
When she rose,
it was as if all of the prayers and wishes from a lifetime
rose with her
and as she passed through the entrance of heaven
she was transformed in a second
and each tear
and prayer
each unspoken wish
hidden in her heart
stored like jewels in a treasure box
held carefully for ages
was released in a silent dazzling burst of light.
Each wish was granted
each prayer heard
and bestowed
on those for whom it was made.
Each yearning filled
and words unspoken were known.

She made a way in her entry
for those below to walk more fully,
healed somehow in the midst of pain
united in the space she left.
Some thought they saw a feather
float to the ground
soft and white
and yet there was no bird.
Some heard a tinkling chime
in the distance.
Others saw a cloud
that looked like a dancer
whirling with a King.
I saw the twinkle of a rainbow in the clouds,
and I could have sworn
I heard her laughter
and a voice saying
"It's going to be Okay Kiddo"

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 new find

I just found out about Shelfari. (love that name) I'm probably way behind most readers in finding it, but it's a dream come true. I am on a neverending quest to find kindred books when I meet someone who has similar reading taste, (or better taste). Shelfari is the place to go to find readers with similar tastes in reading, and get a glimpse into what they read and their opinions on the books. You'll see some of my pics on the side of my blog.
This is dangerous. I could end up spending way too much time online searching it, but I'll try to keep it under control.

Stone Pillars Blog

I had to blog Stone Pillars, because it is another place you'll read rich writing and see inspired folks creating. Allison (the friend from my post below..earlier today) is involved in the some of the process of the Relief Journal mentioned here, although I haven't had time to check exactly how. I'm sure her skill as an artist and writer is seen clearly woven into the Brand New Relief Journal.
(wish I had known about it before it got this close to Christmas, and it would have been on my list, but I'm going to subscribe right after Christmas!)

Beta Blogger for Dummies

..or is that Better blogger for dummies...maybe Beta Blogga....if you're in NJ..
anyway, my friend Ginger told me about this blog.

Divine Connections or Coincidences.........

I'll never cease to be amazed at how coincidentally or divinely I'm connected and re-connected with dear people.
Yesterday while searching Alice's blog for more of her treasures, of which there are many, I found another one, Stacy barton's blog The Art of Story. Not only is it a terrific blog with more surprises and excellent posts, links, writings that merit a deeper look, but that was where I found a long lost friend from years back. Here is Allison's blog, Things that GoBump In My Head.
Wow. I am amazed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mo Willems is blogging on blogspot!

Mo Willems is now blogging. What fun.

Illustration Friday-Help

The topic for this week's Illustration Friday theme is Help.
Help is often received by these unseen agents....I enjoy thinking of them especially during the Christmas season.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Cool Blogspot-Google blogging tip

I just found out that you can use a great item on a google toolbar to blog any site you find, if you blog with blogspot. oooh...I can't wait to try it and see how it works. All you have to do is have a google email account, or blogspot account and it works. You just click the send to button on the toolbar and it gives the option to email the page or blog it. wow.

Sherry's new illustration blog

Here is Sherry Roger's new blogspot blog on children's illustration.

Oh The Weather Outside is.....

The weather here in VA is in the 70s today. I just heard a splash in the back yard, and looked out to see the geese in our neighbor's pond, playing and splashing as though it is Spring. I love this weather, but secretly I'm hoping it cools down by Christmas, and snows.
I braved the post office today to mail a last minute pen and ink rendering to a client. It was mobbed, but the folks in line were friendly. One of the postal workers manning a window had a train whistle to calm or distract a crying child. It worked....or maybe it was his Santa Claus hat. He made it a delight to be there, even waiting in line.
I love seeing people maintain a good sense of humor and a true holiday spirit in the midst of crowds and pressure.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Picture Bookies Blog

Check out the new Picture Bookies Blog. It's just starting, so there aren't many posts yet, but there are sure to be many in the days and weeks to come!

Merry Christmas Cachibachi

My brother sent this to me in an email. Have fun listening.

The Comfort of Books

As I've been living out the past few days since my friend Maureen left this earth, and have felt a variety of emotions from loss, deep grief, and yet wonder and peace and gratitude that she is in her heavenly home and free to dance and live joyfully amazed in heaven. I've once more come to the conclusion that one great comfort during times of loss can be found in books.
My first comfort always comes from God, and yet I know that He has given us a great gift in the availability of good books to read.
I've been surrounding myself with books that Maureen loved as though they are blankets, or as some clothe themselves with the garments their loved ones wore.
Here is a list of some of the ones I found at the library today, as well as some others that are a delight.
Several books by C.S. Lewis, one of which I've been reading for awhile, slowly, is A Horse and His Boy. Another is Surprised by Joy. I'm also reading a book about G.K. Chesterton called Common Sense 101. What a delight. How I would have loved to meet him and have a chance to listen to him speak, or just spend time with him. There is a chapter in the book about wonder, and another chapter about art that every artist should read. He was a cheerful, witty genius. I adore his writing and insights.
I've got these books scattered around the house and I bring several in the car with me wherever I go. Each one of them has gems that are well worth reading many times.
Today I got several of Wendall Berry's books out because my friend loved his writing. One of them is Hannah Coulter, another is The Hidden Wound, and another is Fidelity-(Five Stories). Can you tell I'm stuffing myself on books? Some people over-eat, I guess I tend to do that with books, even if I can't finish them all, it gives me comfort to have them around and start them, waiting to see which one calls to me. Sometimes I read interspersed, and the writing somehow becomes a stew of inspiration.
Now for the children's books. My absolute favorite is by Shel Silverstein....Runny Babbit...oh my..if you have not read it, RUN and get it out, especially if you have a young child, or anyone with a good sense of humor. It MUST be read out loud. I'm going to buy it for myself..oops...I mean my daughter. She loves it, and I'm hooked on it too. We roared with laughter in the car on the way home from the library when she read it.
Since Christmas is only days away, I also got out Dylan Thomas's book A Child's Christmas in Wales, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. (you've got to have Trina's illustrated version of the book, since her illustrations are unlike anyone else's and have such charm and warmth.
Then there is The Bird's Christmas Carol, by Kate Douglas Wiggin, complete with the lovliest pen and ink illustrations. What a gem it is.
I also found a book called The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder, illustrated by Rosemary Wells. Last, but not least, a YA novel that looks fascinating, called Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher. I think I've got plenty to keep me for the next few days.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Higglety Pigglety blogged again

I can't help it..I've got to blog Higglety-pigglety again. It's a treat. I love her work, her sense of style and the beautiful images she posts. I get a sense of peace from her blog somehow. It comes straight through the internet.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Review of an Ebook I Illustrated Awhile ago

I just happened upon a cheerful review of a book written by Margot Finke that I illustrated awhile ago. It was fun to find.

Posting from My Laptop

Finally! I've got my internet/router connection fixed and can access the internet from my laptop. What a joy.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Good Bye Dear Friend!

Early this morning my dear friend Maureen went to be with the Lord. She fought an amazing battle with cancer, but more than that, lived life to the full all the way to the end. She has been an inspiration and a source of grace and joy to everyone who ever met her. That sounds trite, and typical when remembering people who have gone on before us, in her case it is so very true.
She was gracious, almost queenly, yet with a wonderful sense of humor. She was kind, gentle and wise beyond her years. She has been a friend I will miss daily, yet I'm relieved to know she is beyond suffering now, and in the place she has dreamed to be for so long, with her King.
I'll miss you Maureen! Thank you for the priviledge of allowing me to be your friend. We'll see each other again, before we know it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Who Are you Illustrating For?

I know, it seems so basic and obvious, but lately I've had to reformat my brain to remember who my children's illustrations are for! Although they must pass through a bevy of art directors, agents, publishers and other adults, and of course my own critical eyes and mind, they are for KIDS!
What a wonderful thing to remember and keep in the forefront of my mind when illustrating.
Recently I went through a discouraging time when posting online to a group of highly qualified, top-notch fine artists, and having a resounding silence when posting any of my work. (it's fine..I've gotten over it, but it was not fun)
I knew I could post more "fine art drawings and paintings" that could have gotten a response, but didn't, and don't have the time to be focusing on creating still life paintings and portraits right now.
The whole experience made me realize how silly it is to be posting things with an expectation for responses from fine artists who are focusing on still life paintings and portraits, when it's not my goal. Although I'd love to build my portrait skills, and am on the lookout for a class in the area, it's just not the time.
This all brought me back to my small group of amazing online children's illustrator friends who lovingly got me back on track and reminded me of WHO I am Illustrating for....the KIDS.
Keep it in mind when you sit to do your illustrations, if you've gotten bogged down as I had.
I'm ready to go now, with a child's perspective, hoping to create the best quality work I can, for them.

Check out My Google Co-op Search Engine

Here is my new Google Co-op Search engine about Children's Illustration. You can contribute by adding sites to it as well.


I've blogged JAGO ILLUSTRATION before, but get such a kick out of his work and blog, I'm blogging it again.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Bible illustration blog: Pictures of the Nativity

A blog fitting the season is Graham Kennedy's blog: The Bible illustration blog: Pictures of the Nativity take some time to read Graham's posts and look at his website link to see some of the marvelous Bible illustrations he has created, and many children's illustrations. It looks like he did The Doughnut Man illos! (I remember them from awhile back.)

Blogging From the Library

What better place for a children's illustrator to blog from than from the library. I finally have my laptop running online. I've got a wireless router at home, but have yet to figure out how to connect it correctly, thus the delay in being able to connect my laptop to the internet at home....grrrrr. I've tried various ways and connections, asked several experts at the appropriate companies, and have yet to have it running properly. I finally brought the laptop to the library to connect...libraries are a little bit of heaven on earth in my mind anyway, peace, quiet and uninterrupted access to books, internet, magazines and helpful librarians. Sheer bliss.

Art of Roland Mechael

Take a look at Roland Mechael's wonderful artwork on his blog: Art of Roland Mechael

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Send a Thank You Note to the Troops for Free

Xerox has made it possible to send a thank you postcard to the troops for free. Take a look. There are various heartfelt messages to choose from, and the artwork on the postcards is created by children.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Congratulations Ginger Nielson!

Take a look at the Flax site and you'll see Ginger Nielson's art among the runners up of the Flax cover art contest . It's the adorable one with the elephant in it. Congratulations Ginger on being nominated as one of the finalists!

Illustrators....Check out Thumbtack Press

I just found out about Thumbtack still reading info on it, but it looks like another place to sell your art, as prints. (another option like Cafepress, but this one as prints)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas Pen and Ink Rendering

Here's a pen and ink rendering I finished in time for Christmas.

Church Christmas Party

We attended one of the best church Christmas parties I've ever been a part of. The preparation was immense, resulting in live vignettes of The Road to Bethlehem, and the Stable Scene. I'll post more pics later. Here are a few. The photos don't do justice to what it looked like in person...although I'm grateful that they didn't turn out too dark, due to the dimly lit scenes, I wish the atmosphere of the lighting would have translated in the photos...the flash ruined that aspect of it.... The characters held the poses for over 1/2 hour with very little movement. ("Mary" is really pregnant too...)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Today's Inspiration

Today's Inspiration...Leif Peng's blog about illustrations from the 40s and 50s. There are many riches in these posts...links, info about famous and not so famous topnotch illustrators. I love the illo on the top of the page right ad for zippo lighters.

Ice-Cream Monster Toon Cafe

Ice-Cream Monster Toon Cafe shows Alina Chau's sketches and cartoons. cool stuff there.