Monday, January 24, 2011

Ten ways I procrastinate starting final illustrations to a new book

1. make a "to do" list, as if I don't know what there is "to do"
2. play with the cats
3. warm up coffee
4. go for a walk (this is almost okay, but it still counts)
5. have lunch (the more prep time involved the better)
6. order books I need
7. replenish bird feeder
8. give attention to my cuticles
9. read magazine to get it off of the studio table
10. write a blog post!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Two-cat night

Our cats slept together last night. Now, that wouldn't be extraordinary in itself- it was below zero here in our fair city and warmth was a premium- but these cats aren't fond of each other. During most days, they have had blood-thirsty, fur-flying, screech-scratching battles. Hissing punctuates any slight interaction. They are sisters, but most of the time, they prefer to be alone. So, this was a lovely little scene to behold by full moon light. A ying and yang of comfort. Bea, the orange tabby (aka "Bowling Ball") and Fauve, the spirited tortie, put away their differences on a frigid winter's night and slumbered in peace.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Charley Harper's Bird Art

A couple friends introduced me to Charley Harper's work a few years ago. Harper worked as a commericial artist for many years and is known for his unique, exquisite and completely original renderings of wild life, expecially birds. He died in 2007, but his work has been re-popularized by many efforts. And more and more, I am seeing his images, on children's puzzles, calendars and stationery and new collections in books. I was recently at my favorite landscaping and nursery here in Iowa City (Iowa City Landscaping) and they have a line of birdseed and bird feeders with Harper's birds on every package and lable! The commercial artist in me is thrilled more people will know his pieces through this contact. If you buy these, take a good look- such great birdies.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

LOST: one hand to warm

In winter, in the park where I walk, it's not uncommon to see a lost mitten or glove spiked on a tree branch close to the pathway. Someone, somewhere is just reaching into his pocket muttering "Dang, where IS that other mitten?"

Most of the lost gloves are the cheapie drugstore kind- I have multiple pairs of these myself. But some are unique and colorful, sure to be missed. And then, there are the obviously hand-knit and exquisite variety, created with yarns that you almost want to lick they are so beautiful. When one of these ends up in the informal woodland lost and found, you can bet everyone that goes by roots for the owner to re-discover their lost piece of wearable, functional, warm and cozy art.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tell-tail tracks: BIRD

I am bird on a winter's afternoon.

I hop lightly, leaving foot prints like stitchery in the snow.

My fluffed-out feathers keep me warm as I seek out lunch.

Once the sun goes down, I sit tight and slumber in the evergreens.

Others are with me in the tree limbs- we join dreams of the distant spring.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Board book art now starting

I've been working on a new board book for the Lutheran publishing house in Minneapolis, Augsburg Fortress. It's a baptism book, with a nice visual connection to the symbols of that service; water, candle light, community, family. I'm just finishing up revisions and awaiting an okay from the editor. It's a smaller, shorter book, compared to my others- just 7 spreads- but I managed to get a bird on every page! Here's a sketch of one of my favorite spreads. Lovely text by writer Anne Ylvisaker. Deadline for all art is in late February, so the marathon begins soon. Scratchboard blades are sharpened. Slow and steady. Slow and steady.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tell-tail tracks: MOUSE

I'm Mouse on a winter's eve.
Tiny bursts of energy vault me one leap after another through the powdery snow.
My tail leaves a line that threads my efforts together.
I work my way back home.
I burrow down into my nest in the soft, fallen tree limb.
Content with my small seed dinner, I am glad
Tonight, no owl shadow crossed my path.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year

Ring out the old,
ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells,
across the snow:
The year is going,
let him go;
Ring out the false,
ring in the true.

A few lines from Tennyson to start 2011 off with- I heard them on a Christmas day radio program and was inspired by the words (and the hoare frost we received that morning) to think of how our old year wishes and hopes give way and evolve into new ones. Looking forward to spending time on these blog pages sharing and creating.


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