Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy First Day of Autumn!

I love the fall. Though I've spent my adult life in northern California (where it was 90° today and autumn won't really arrive until closer to Thanksgiving), my Indiana childhood programmed me to feel the spell of fall today. All day, I've been wishfully humming Clint Black's "A Change in the Air."...a musical love letter to autumn.

Falling leaves, wearing sweaters, apple cider, and pumpkins. Last fall, I drew these was originally supposed to be a group of four, but a big orange pumpkin that I had in the back just didn't look right, in the end. In this quick scan I did today, the colors aren't as accurate as those in the original photo I used in my blog banner, but I wanted to get this up before the day was over. It's funny what a difference a year makes. At the time, I was really satisfied with how the drawing turned out. Now, even though I still really like the bumpy green guy, I'm critical of other parts—but it's definitely still saying "Fall is here!" and that's what's important today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Illustration Friday: Mesmerizing

I'm beginning to think that I have the Kenner toy company to thank for my fascination with radial symmetry. In 1966, they introduced the Spirograph, one of the most mesmerizing toys of all time. I drew with mine until its skinny pens dried out and I had to make do with whatever else we had in the house. And when they introduced the Super Spirograph a year later, well, I was one obsessed little, little girl.

I'm sure the seeds of my interest had already been sown: Like most kids, I loved making paper snowflakes, and I still love the expressions on kids' faces when they open up that pie-shaped paper they've been cutting. But if I had to guess, my very first glimpse of the amazing radial symmetry found in nature was probably this one—still one of the most elegant examples, to be sure—the star in the center of an apple.

So, thank you, Kenner Products, for the fact that I once wrote a college term paper on these, have this on my coffee table, and these in my portfolio:

If you're interested, here's a link to a fabulous page by someone who clearly loved his Spirograph as much as I loved mine. Did you have a favorite creative toy growing up? Let the nostalgia begin!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Illustration Friday: Boundaries

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes • Prismacolor Pencils on Strathmore Bristol Vellum

"Now, my dears," said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, "you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor."

The animals around my garden have not been heeding their mothers' admonitions about respecting boundaries.  What started as a tentative nibble on a spaghetti squash, has escalated to bold beheading of sunflowers, and brazen feasting on tomatoes.  Are my nighttime visitors squirrels, raccoons...or maybe even rats?  I'm not sure, but when I see their handiwork in the morning, I can't help but picture them more as Beatrix Potter characters than as garden pests.  Fortunately, there are plenty of vegetables for all of us.
•   •   •
While on the topic of boundaries, I was thinking about how Illustration Friday really transcends all geographic boundaries.  I want to mention two artists and fellow bloggers, well-known to many of you, from distant points on the globe (well, distant from where I live). They're both very generous with their comments, very prolific (I'm convinced that neither one sleeps) and if you haven't visited their blogs, now's the time:

From Hokkaido, Japan: Check out DosankoDebbie's Etegami Notebook. Her artwork is so beautiful and unique. She has multiple blogs (!) and amazing talents, and I learn something from each and every post.

From Newscastle, NSW, Australia, Andrew Finnie. He creates fascinating, beautiful (and sometimes surreal) digital illustrations, and his accompanying text is just as entertaining. And recently, he has blogged about an exhibition of his paintings, which are completely different than his digital work, and are simply sublime. Oh, and he's a surfer and an optometrist in his other life.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Thank you, Kate Pitner!

Well, I'm experiencing an embarrassment of riches in the blogging world this week. The wonderful Kate Pitner has kindly asked me to participate in her "Favorite Things" feature. (You can see it here.) I love this concept: Kate profiles artists and, more to the point, the things that they have in their workspaces that inspire them, or just make them happy. It's a fun idea for a post, because we've all got those special things, and I adore seeing what other artists' workspaces look like.

Interestingly, that's how Kate and I "met" a while back. I'd been thinking about getting a little drafting board/parallel bar to plop onto my desk when needed. I happened to see just the thing in a photo of Kate's desk and sent her a quick email. She sent back the nicest email and we've been blog buddies since.

As blogs go, I have a pretty small following—but in the spirit of all the blog goodness that's come my way, I'm going to make it a point to mention my fellow artists a bit more. As Amy Ng (Pikaland) expressed in a post just last Friday:

"So if you like someone’s work, perhaps give them a shout out on your blog? Never for a moment think that what you do won’t count, because nothing can be further from the truth. All it takes is just one little step."

I hope you enjoy "My Favorite Things" over on Kate's blog. While you're there, check out some of her "Favorite Things" archive, and enjoy her wonderful artwork along the way! Thank you, Kate!

(Please note: If you read Kate's post and my interview on Pikaland  last week, you'll notice some similarities. That fault lies entirely with me: It's hard enough for me to write about myself, let alone come up with original material twice in one week, so I admit to a little self-plagiarism.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pikaland Interview!

I've followed the fabulous Pikaland art and illustration blog for some time. I always find something or someone that's inspiring, visually fresh, thought-provoking, or just plain smile-inducing. And while I don't promise to be any of those things, I was honored to have a little chat with the amazing Proprietress of Pikaland, Amy Ng. (See where leaving a comment on a blog can lead?) You can read it here, and if you're new to her site, stroll around and explore it a bit; there's so much to see and do there!

If you're visiting me for the first time from Pikaland, welcome! Feel free to click on one of my gallery page links over on the right, under the "ART" blocks.  Make yourself at home—browse around, leave a comment, and check out some very talented people on my blog list. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Eye Candy

The Sausalito Art Festival is not your run-of-the-mill street fair.  For starters, there's an admission fee—but it's worth every cent.  You stroll around on grass (not asphalt!) and sip champagne while enjoying the sea breeze and the view of the marina. Oh, and that musician in the background that sounds like a lot like Kenny Loggins? It is Kenny Loggins.  But most importantly, the caliber of the artists is exceptional.  I can visit blogs and websites all day long, but there's nothing like meeting the artists and seeing the work in person, is there?  Here are a few that impressed me with their talent, their humor, or their sheer uniqueness:

Marina Teraud - Etchings. I especially love the nature series and this one in her "ex Libris" bookplate art. Favorite piece: hard to choose, but "Nature Book" is gorgeous.

Cali Hobgood - Hand-colored black-and-white photographs. They're lovely, simple and quiet. (The gallery on her website has no thumbnails, but it's a joy to click through her beautiful work.) Favorite piece (you know me): "Booklist"

Chris Roberts-Antieau - Her website is just as whimsical as her amazing "fabric paintings".

Leif Holland and Brian McGuffey - Two Seattle artists that share a studio, but their art is completely different. Holland does these amazing botanical arrangements in deep shadow boxes (they're gorgeous in person), and McGuffey creates large paintings that combine humans and animals and evoke a sort of childhood nostalgia.

Alberto Toscano -  The sheer ingenuity of these pieces is remarkable. He uses polymer clay to somehow achieve these watercolor-like backgrounds with these tiny, detailed figures on them. The images on his blog don't do his work justice. Somebody needs to design this man a fabulous website!

Diane Komater - Wire sculptures and portraits. Amazingly beautiful seen in person.

Liz Collins - She uses maps and sheet music in her assemblages...take a closer look...

Ron Anderson - I love the paintings of his that incorporate articles of clothing.

Oh, I could go on and on: the food paintings by Cara Brown,  gorgeous pastel pieces that looks like oil paintings by Jody DePew McLeane, the visual humor of Richard Hall's photo-realistic still life paintings.

Check out the artists' websites and their calendars - maybe they'll be exhibiting at an art fair near you!