Fishing through the ice

Once the lake “ices in,”a whole new world emerges.

Acres of new real estate, previously accessible only by boat, become available for exploration on foot.

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Fisherman, cell phone photo

Fishing is the winter sport of choice. Whole towns spring up, populated by fun loving, hard drinking fisher-people.

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Fishing village, gouache on brown paper

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Give up the booty, gouache on brown paper

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Four fishing shanties, gouache on brown paper

Up on top there is the bait, and the fish who take it.

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bait fish, cell phone photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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land locked salmon, gouache on brown paper

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Pike and lake salmon carcasses, fillets removed, cell phone photo

But I became fascinated with what was going on UNDER all that ice.

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What’s down below,  gouache on paper

My personal goal for this winter is to walk across my lake and to drink an Irish Coffee in a pub on the other side If this happens I’ll let you know!

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Goodbye Old Year, Hello New!

Father Time and Baby New Year

The old to the new,

The beard to the baby,

the wrinkled to the plump,

The tired to the fresh.

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Father Time and Baby New Year from Frolic & Fun, 1897

What a weird, but wonderful image for the turn of the new year.

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The old is always to the left, the new to the right.

I wanted to make my own version, so I used my own Baby Bear as the New year’s baby and his older self as the old year.

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my quick thumbnail sketch

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pencil on watercolor paper, with 1st wash

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several washes-no line.

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painting with line and some photoshopping

And finally,  two older images of an infant Miss Bindergarten,

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and her grown up self wishing All Y’all

a Happy, Healthy 2016!

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Please share the joy, Y’all!

 

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Painting Fergie’s Portrait


Fergie is a Goldendoodle.

If there is a cuter new “doodle” breed, I can’t imagine it.

She is the fortunate 1st ‘child’ of my beloved cousin, who dotes on her every wiggle and bark.

Now that she has come of age,  I was commissioned to paint her official portrait.

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Fergie and her family visited while the leaves were still falling in October.

After exploring the woods thoroughly, she chose this scene for her backdrop.

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And I caught her sitting still, however briefly, in the driveway.

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To begin this portrait I painted the background landscape before adding the main figure. I am working in gouache and trying to stay loose. A lot gets covered up by the figure, but it still seems to make the whole more cohesive.

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To add the figure of Fergie I did a careful pencil drawing and used simple graphite transfer to position her in the scene.

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Once Fergie was in place I added lots of shadowing to push the landscape behind her and leaves in the foreground to anchor her on the ground.

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I paid the most attention to her face, trying to capture the sweetness and life-not to mention her glorious curls!

 

 

DIY Thanksgiving “Craft”

Consider the Blue Hubbard Squash.

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Do you see a Thanksgiving tradition?

Perhaps a savory side dish?

How about a centerpiece for the table?

How about the Mayflower?

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I scoured the web looking for another example of Blue Hubbard Squash turned Mayflower ship, but this was as close as I could come.

My dad had different ideas. He took a huge squash, hollowed it out and carved it into a ship. He made dowel masts and paper sails.

My mom filled it with tangerines and nuts and the Blue Hubbard Mayflower sailed out on Thanksgiving tables in the early 1960s.

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Thanksgiving in Ripton, VT 1962

And the next year, same sails, different squash!

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Thanksgiving 1963, Ripton, VT

You can see me, smiling, directly to the left of the Mayflower, on my dad’s lap.

Time passed, I grew up, and when I had children I wanted my own Blue Hubbard Mayflower centerpiece.

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San Francisco, 1997

 

Tutorial not included. This is truly DIY!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

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Sleep

It’s late November here in Vermont ~ the time of year for hibernation.

Who hibernates? Bats, Bears,skunks, bees, snakes, and groundhogs to name a few.

Since moving from a mild California climate to the stricter seasonal progression of northern New England, I’ve become much more sympathetic to the concept of hibernation!

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On the last day of Baby Bear Counts One, Mama and Baby Bear are ready to curl up and sleep the winter away.

Showing the process of sleeping is relatively easy, but showing dreaming was a challenge in Only The Cat Saw.  When I was a child I often dreamed of being near the ocean or swimming when I really needed to get up to urinate!

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Enter a caption

Holly Taylor modeled as the sleeping Amy, way back in 1984

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Amy, dreaming in Only The Cat Saw. Acrylic on paper

Of course, we sleep all year long, and humans enjoy it as much as animals. Mostly sleep happens when it is too dark to draw, but sometimes a nap overtakes us, and when it does I seize that moment of daylight stillness to draw.

Since the late 70s I’ve drawn people and creatures I love while they were sleeping.

Here is a selection.

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watercolor sketch of my sister Peregrine, asleep on the couch after wisdom tooth removal..

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watercolor sketch of my sister Peregrine.

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this drawing of Rowan reminds me of Amy’s pose. Colored pencil on brown paper

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Brennan, asleep. Colored pencil on brown paper

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Rowan, asleep. Colored pencil on brown paper.

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Sabin, asleep. Marker on brown paper.

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Tula napping. Watercolor on brown paper

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Nutkin, sleeping. Acrylic on paper.

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Wildridge kitten, sleeping. Gouache on brown paper.

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Making a Homemade Advent Calendar ~ Part 1

A couple of years ago I wrote about creating this advent calendar.

In my recent move I unearthed the original sketches so I thought I’d update with a process post.

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The full size sketch of the front, done in colored pencil.

My first Advent Calendars were completely handmade: cover image printed and hand-colored, window openings cut with a knife, window images printed and colored–all somehow fastened together to make a functioning calendar.

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the original 1983 calendar, given to Charlene Smith, and kept framed and displayed all year round. This one is less colorful a bit more austere.

I made fewer than 10 to give to friends, and I sent one to my editor at E P Dutton Children’s Books. She loved it, and suggested producing it to sell.

She asked me to show her sketches for the window images that had a more holiday feel than the original. Some of her suggestions were “Knitting Christmas Stocking?” and “kitten playing with ornament or pine spring?”
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Following her suggestions, I revised the sketches.

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Finally I carved each tiny scene, colored it and glued it into place

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Once the 2 layers are aligned, the scenes show up in the doors and windows.

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The finished calendar.

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Although this is out of print and no longer sold in stores. I have a stash to sell.

A Tree of Books

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I know–Waaaaay too early for Christmas, but that’s when these things get done. And it’s kinda fun making tree decorations on a blustery November day. And, of course, it’s for a good cause!

My fantastically talented and philanthropic neighbor, Warren Kimble, urged me to join him in creating a tree for the Sheldon Museum Christmas benefit, so of course I said yes.

It took me forever to think of a fun way to decorate my very attractive faux tree, but with the deadline looming, I finally made up my mind.

I make books for a living, so why not a Tree of Books?

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I followed the directions for the no sew, no adhesive book and made a whole bunch of these. I did use a glue stick to paste the letter to the  mini books.

I began with plain copy paper for the pages. I’ll show some of my steps, but follow this tutorial for all the details. I found this video tutorial for a more elaborate book too. It uses a little bit of glue.

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Fold your pages according to the directions.

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Then trim a piece of decorative paper for the book jacket. All it takes is some careful measuring and folding–no glue!

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I added a contrasting strip of washi tape to the spine.

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Finally I glued a letter from a sheet of decorative alphabet letters to the front cover.

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Once I tied on strings the little books spelled out:

M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S and H A P P Y  N E W  Y E A R

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