I finally got my Etsy Shop up and running again with watercolors and prints. If you decide to pay a visit, thank you just for stopping by!
I love to read, but I don’t always have the time, which means I put other things ahead of said pastime, like painting, or spending time with family.
I used to devour the top ten books on the New York Times Bestseller List back in the 90’s. In 1996, I began working full time in education. You would think that working in academia would allow me the opportunity to read anything and everything, but that’s when my appetite for a wide variety of literature ended.
I began to read computer books, software books, books on design, illustration, and art, as well as material on being a good teacher. I had left my first love of literature.
This list is about the books that have changed my ideas about love and life. I would not be the same person without them.
You must love being taken to another time and place, to meet new people and experience grand adventures. That’s what literature does for me. It changes my way of looking at life, at just the right moment that I needed a change or a new perspective.
The list is in order by topic.
A side note. THE BIBLE continues to be the most influential book in my life. It is the book that pulls me through the dark and toughest times. These other books have helped shaped my view of life. One interesting note; I still own all of these books, except for Dr. Spock’s tome. No need you see, for as a grandmother, I’ve “been there, done that”! Now it’s just about the love.
1. THE BORROWERS by Mary Norton
2. ANGEL ON SKIS by Betty Cavanna
3. NOBODY’S BOY by Hector Malot
These are the books that carried me to someone else’s world and are burned into my memory. I have reread them countless times.
4. SHANE by Jack Schaefer
I read a lot in high school. A lot. Shane is the book, however, that began my love affair with literature, thanks to my freshman English teacher, Janice Lukasik. She loved books and somehow broke through my adolescent brain, to teach me how to love them as well.
5. MIDDLEMARCH by George Eliot
This book, epitomizes my life as an English Major in college. No other book helped to develop my love for British literature, as Middlemarch did. When I read the last line, I felt like I had lost a good friend.
6. ISAAC ASIMOV’s TRILOGY by Isaac Asimov
My love for science fiction was firmly established with this mind boggling trilogy.
7. THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING by T. S. Eliot
Given to me by my college boyfriend who was destined to become my husband, this book shaped my thinking about Arthurian legend in the grand scheme of literature. I have read countless books on Arthur, Lancelot, Merlin, and Guinevere and search for movies and television depicting my favorite romantic characters.
8. THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE by William Shakespeare
Some plays and sonnets were dreary, while others were magical. Twelfth Night is my favorite play of course. A perfect mix of romance, deception, and foolery.
8. MERE CHRISTIANITY by C.S. Lewis
A staple in my walk of faith.
9. THE COMMON SENSE BOOK OF BABY AND CHILDCARE by Dr. Benjamin Spock. I met him in person at Notre Dame University just after my son was born. I think I said something he didn’t find very funny. I thought I was funny.
10. GOODNIGHT MOON by Margaret Wise Brown
A book most children and their parents can recite by heart. I now get to read this to my granddaughter.
ADULT after my husband passed away
11. A GRIEF OBSERVED by C.S. Lewis
This book above all others helped me through the loss of my husband. I am reading it once again, upon the loss of another love. Life is shaped by our hellos and goodbyes.
There you have it. I would love to hear the books that you have loved or that have changed your life. I’m sure your reading adventures have been as life changing.
Lilla Roger’s Make Art That Sells is a wonderful web site that offers courses and events to help illustrators and designers gain experience and develop portfolio pieces. I find her projects to be exciting, on trend, and incredibly helpful. I signed up for Assignment Bootcamp in January and began the course in March. It is a structured five-month program of assignments that helps to build a strong body of work. Her web site can be found when you CLICK HERE. Lots of eye candy, so be prepared to journey down the rabbit hole for a while. Here is what I have so far. I still have to complete April and July is yet to come!
March: Make art for a Badass Backpack! (Lilla’s fun words).
I love cherry blossoms and japanese art, so I designed an abstract print detailing those lovely flowers.
April: A Courage Mind Map for a Magazine (the Editorial Market).
To be completed. Life got in the way.
May: Design a journal cover featuring roses and a quote by Gertrude Jekyll.
I love the quote, “There is always in winter, one day at least, when one smells the yet distant, but surely coming summer”.
June: Hairstyles of Ellis Island for a coffee mug.
I truly loved this assignment and wanted to bring together my love for the ocean and tea time. I wanted to depict two women who came to America, enjoying a better life through love of having tea.
When I hear the word “faces”, I think immediately of a famous person, or an animal’s face. With last week’s Folio Focus assignment, I decided to do a drawing room scene with four faces, including Gertrude Stein, her companion Alice B. Toklas (the woman behind the famous “brownie” recipe), and their pets Basket and Pepe. I wanted to evoke a 1930’s feel, but with color. It’s a fascinating story behind these women. Stein hosted a Paris salon, where Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, and Henri Matisse would meet. Alice B. Toklas was her life partner, and an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde.
What better quote to use than,
“I am I because my little dog knows me.” Gertrude Stein
“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” Lewis Carroll
Like the White Rabbit in “Through the Looking Glass”, I am busy with art and illustration all the time, but never seem to catch up. I am in Week 7 of Folio Focus 2017 by Rise, Shine and Design, and am still enjoying creating portfolio pieces. I am learning more about mocking up products, which I’ll teach to my students in the fall. Here are the recent pieces from weeks 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
Watercolor is a good medium for designing tropical prints for a Key West themed bedroom. As always, I love literary and musical references. They just make everything more fun.
Babies! Cows! Patterns! All things I love. Because of my granddaughter, I have become obsessed with baby items, toys, designs, and play. Since, she makes everything so much fun, I decided to design something for her. The assignment was “mosaics”, so here is my interpretation.
Folio Focus partnered with They Draw and Cook on a brief to illustrate a recipe. I’ve done two others, but wanted to take a different twist on a recipe for Peace Pie. Love me some Woodstock! My page at They Draw and Cook is HERE! CLICK PLEASE!
More juice please! This was a hand lettering project, which I finally took some time to focus on. I always wanted to play guitar, but alas, my piano fingers couldn’t get used to the strings. Maybe my next bucket list item! Rock and Roll Grandma, here I come!
“I got the fever, Oh, I got the fever”… Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Of course, I’m going to design dresses inspired by one of Jersey’s own! This was supposed to be an abstract pattern assignment, but I’m such a flower addict, so I did my best abstracting a variety of Japanese Cherry Blossoms and Roses. The colors represent dresses I’d like to wear. Fun and bright, don’t you agree! As Southside Johnny says, “We’re havin’ a party!”
Here I go again, on my own… Well, not exactly, but I love Whitesnake and wanted to use the lyrics somehow! I’m taking another class, this time with riseandshinedesign.com, through their Folio Focus 2017 Portfolio Builder. Each week, a new brief is presented, with trend reports, helpful hints, incentives, and mock-up materials. The first week, we worked on “Sweet Greetings”, or Valentine Cards. Here’s what I came up with:
I love classic rock and English literature, so any chance I get to come up with a design solution using poems, lyrics, or quotes, I feel I create an interesting piece.
The second week was all about creating lovable characters to put onto pajamas. Here are my designs:
And the finished presentation:
I had a lot of fun with these. Onto week 3 and 4 and I’ll be caught up! Always a day late, and a dollar short should be my motto!
I love Christmas and the whole season surrounding the holidays. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been sad or depressed during this time. I can identify with the “holiday blues”, since my life didn’t quite turn out as I had anticipated after the passing of my husband ten years ago. That being said, I believe in the magic that comes at holiday times. Everyone has a different way to celebrate and I welcome them all. I attend church festivities and sing carols about the Wonderful Counselor that my faith turns to. I also love the magic of Santa Claus and how this season brings out the best in people who give to charities, deliver toys to children who might not have a Christmas, work in soup kitchens, bring warm clothes to those in need, and those who visit the elderly or sick in homes and hospitals. It is also an excellent time to volunteer at an animal shelter or donate to a rescue. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the season and have a desire to help someone else. This is a wonderful time of year to focus on bringing some Holiday Cheer to others. May you find the peace that this season can bring either in helping someone else or letting someone care for you.
How many of you thought this was a political post : ) ?
Cast has been off for a few weeks and I’ve been able to go to PT and get back into action. The two best exercises for me are painting and playing piano!
I was unable to complete the Lilla Roger’s Make Art That Sells Illustrating Children’s Book course due to the cast, and the frustration of my left hand not being able to do what my brain was telling it to do!
I completed the first assignment for a story about Ada Lovelace, written by Zoe Tucker, but was not happy with the wiggly character my left hand seemed to paint on it’s own. Here was my character submission:
I read all of the material in the course and enjoyed everyone else’s submission, but still felt so frustrated at not being able to draw and paint what was in my head. After the cast was removed, I switched gears and illustrated a double page spread for Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat. I was happy with the outcome.
Fast forward to the present. Lilla held a contest to design a book cover for The Sugar Plum Fairy’s Adventure. The winner will secure a place in her Make Art That Sells January 2017 Illustrating Children’s Book course. There were many incredible submissions, so I’m not holding my breath, but I am grateful to be able to paint my way again. Thanks to my doctor, Ghengis Niver of Florham Park, New Jersey, for doing an outstanding job on surgically repairing my broken wrist. PT is going well and I look forward to new painting adventures! May everyone have a peaceful holiday season. New Christmas work to come.
In anticipation of getting my cast off, I’m painting a few pieces just for fun. Since I can’t paint in my regular style until next week, I’m finishing up a few lefties.
Interesting Left Handed Trivia (courtesy of leftyfretz.com)
- Left handed pens are a thing! Who knew!?
- Make especially good baseball players, tennis players, swimmers, boxers and fencers (almost 40% of the top tennis players are lefties)
- Celebrate left handed day once a year – August 13th – International Left Handers Day
- Draw figures facing to the right
- Recover from strokes faster
- More likely to pursue creative careers
- Of the seven most recent U.S Presidents, 4 have been left handed
- Left handed college graduates go on to become 26% richer than right handed graduates
- On a QWERTY keyboard there are 1447 English words typed solely with the left hand, whilst only 187 are typed with the right hand.
Have a great weekend!
Well, fingers crossed, prayers sent to heaven, I may be in my last week as a lefty, as the cast might be off next week. It has been challenging, but a good experience, especially in gratitude for what I DO have. I made a list of my top 5 reasons to wake up each morning with a grateful heart:
- My family. Especially an adorable granddaughter that I see on a regular basis.
- My health. In spite of my wrist injury, I am in good health and can exercise, and enjoy feeling good.
- My job. I feel fortunate to have a job that I love (most of the time ha!).
- My home. I live simply after downsizing, but it is comfortable and works for me.
- My friends. I am fortunate to have good friends that keep in touch.
I give credit to God for these good things, and usually wake up with Psalm 23 on my mind.
To make up for not posting in a while, here are recent paintings as a lefty. In spite of the challenge, I still love being able to create, even if they all lean to the left and are wiggly! Be grateful for something good in your life today.