Tiki Time!

Check out this guy! I bought him (oh, yes, it’s a HIM- you can tell) at a local antique shop. Whatta deal!

The tag said it was from New Zealand. I don’t know if that’s true- but I LOVE HIM. He will have a Very Special Place in my spare room, aka “The Tiki Room”. There are lots of other tribal and indigenous art pals for him to hang out with up there, because that’s an interest of mine. I love anything that has been hand-hewn of locally available materials. I also like to occasionally hand-hew things myself out of locally available materials around the house and yard.

Sooooo, if you ever happen to stay over at our house, THIS is what will be watching you. Sweet dreams!

Something new

Here’s a piece from a new project I am working on. This is a book for very young kids (which I am sure you could have guessed)!

I use real (digitally scanned) fabrics in my illustrations, and I have about 50 more new fabrics waiting to be scanned so I’ll have more texture/pattern options to work with. Before I can do that, though, I have to re-iron them, because my REAL cat Georgia keeps crumpling them up. She has decided that my previously very neat stack of fabric squares makes an ideal bed. I had to throw away about 10 fabric swatches the other day- you don’t even want to know what she did to those!

Oz Box!

I recently made this Wizard of Oz-themed box out of a raw wood box my mother was getting rid of. I decoupaged images scanned from some of the books I have, and painted it Oz-appropriate colors. It’s pertinent now, I guess, that it is the 150th anniversary of L. Frank Baum’s birth. I noticed in the paper today that the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Mass. has original Oz art on display- and so I MUST GO! I was a little annoyed by the review in the paper, though- the reviewer was going on and on about W. W. Denslow’s art from the FIRST book (granted, the most popular still), but then practically blew off John R. Neill’s illustrations! C’mon, now- Denslow’s art was swell, but he only did the ONE BOOK. John R. Neill did 35 OZ VOLUMES, and is the definitive illustrator of Oz, and a genius. All I have to say is- when I get to the Eric Carle museum- there better be tons of John R. Neill art!!

Studio progress

Well, for those of you following along, we have made some significant progress on our studio overhaul. This once barren storage room is now “almost” livable! We agreed on a color (light greeny blue), and managed to paint the whole darn thing without killing ourselves (there were more than a few awkward ladder moments). Not shown here is the floor treatment, which we just finished today- a nice, flecked epoxy finish, usually found in garages. The good thing about that is that our floor can withstand the equivalent abuse of cars being parked on it- should be able to withstand anything Eric and I and the kids can dish out! Maybe the next pictures will actually show us working in here- I can’t wait, it’s been nuts with our supplies scattered around the house!

Frogs in the Kitchen!

We have had a couple of odd visitors in the kitchen the last few nights…tiny little frogs! We are at a bit of a loss as to HOW they are getting in, but let me tell you- even if you like ’em, seeing them where they ought not to be (like, in the kitchen, for instance) is a scream-provoking event. Well, it was for me, anyhow! Of course, I am GLAD to see them, too- I am happy to know their sensitive little amphibious skins are surviving on our land. The picture here is a verrrrry old colored pencil piece that did for an abandoned book project. I thought it was appropriate for the theme. Just for the record, the frogs found in my kitchen were NOT eating ice cream.

Vacation…a new perspective

I just got back from traveling through New Hampshire, Canada, and Vermont. It was a welcome change of pace, and for the most part, a slower one than we’ve had lately. Construction of the studio is still underway, but we just packed up and left once the plaster went up. Hey, it had to dry for a week, anyway- so what better time! We were able to enjoy the slower pace, allowing the road to take us where it wanted. The kids certainly picked up all kinds of creative ideas from traveling, and so did I! I really want to carve my own totem pole for the house now! OK, I have wanted to do that for a while, but now I REALLY want to! All along the way, we met artists of all kinds, and got to see a lot of works, both “old” ones (like the Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe and Tasha Tudor exhibits at the Shelburne), and new (freshly made teddy bears at the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory!) Sometimes you really do have to drop everything and GO somewhere different.