Monday, August 1, 2016

Vacation Sketches

Another thing that kept me busy this summer has been a few trips to some pretty spectacular places.  In late June we went to Glacier National Park in Montana for a family hiking vacation.  While I didn't get a lot of time for art because we were hiking 10+ miles a day, I did get a chance to do a few sketches in my sketch book.

The sketch to the left was of the fireweed and daisys that grew along side the deck of the house that we rented.  They were so beautifully delicate that I just had to try and capture them.  Then, while I was sketching, a little bee came up and decided to buzz around in my scene, so I added him in!  

I also tried to capture little thumbnails from some of my favorite scenes of Montana, like the night time sky, and trails that we hiked.  The top right is the view from the deck of the house that we rented, looking into the park.  The bottom right is from my all time favorite trail Grinnell Glacier.  We were not able to make it to the glacier that day because the path was blocked by snow!  In late June!  But we made it most of the way and I was able to capture the beautiful glacial lake that is formed from the run off from the glacier.  The bottom left is from St. Mary's Lake and a beautiful trail where we walked along side the lake and happened upon a mother moose and her baby! 


After we returned from Glacier National Park my husband and I took a trip to California with our oldest son to visit the college he will attend in the fall.  Cal Poly! It is located in the beautiful coastal town of San Luis Obispo in the central coast of California.  The golden hills of California were in full force in the middle of July and I just had to try and capture them.  There was also a beautiful flowering tree on the campus at Cal Poly that had specular purple flowers...I had to paint that as well!  And we were lucky enough to stay at a hotel by the ocean so I woke every morning to a beautiful ocean view!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Update on Clover

I'm sorry it has been such a long time since I have posted anything.  I have been up to my ears [pun intended!  LOL] in activities for getting Clover and the Shooting Star launched!   Everyone has been helping out and I am so thankful for it. 


My publisher has been working hard to get Clover and the Shooting Star in front of specialists who deal with young children, my friend Maxine has been helping me create beautiful dimensional representations of the characters from Clover, and my son joined in and created a website just for Clover!  

You can go there to check out some of the inside illustrations as well as pre-order a copy of Clover....especially helpful if you are from out of town and won't be able to make the launch party in September. 

I am also working with my niece, Amber, to create a fantastic book launch party.  We are holding it at the star watching rock at our local park, Chestnut Ridge Park, in Orchard Park, New York.  It felt completely appropriate to have it at the place that we as a family go to watch shooting stars:-)

Everything is coming together and I can't wait to share it with you all!  Check out the website and let me know what you think by dropping me a comment below.  

Next week is press check so I'll have more news, and hopefully photos, for you then!  

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Gone Too Soon

I was recently introduced to a couple of songs that were written by musicians to express their feelings about losing someone too soon.  Since Clover and the Shooting Star was written for the same reason I felt a kinship with these artists.  I don't want to give you the background for these songs, since you can just follow the links I provided if you are interested.  I thought I would just let the words speak for themselves.

Gone Too Soon 
By Michael Jackson
Like a comet
Blazing 'cross the evening sky
Gone too soon
Like a rainbow
Fading in the twinkling of an eye
Gone too soon
Shiny and sparkly
And splendidly bright
Here one day
Gone one night
Like the loss of sunlight
On a cloudy afternoon
Gone too soon
Like a castle
Built upon a sandy beach
Gone too soon
Like a perfect flower
That is just beyond your reach
Gone too soon
Born to amuse, to inspire, to delight
Here one day
Gone one night
Like a sunset
Dying with the rising of the moon
Gone too soon
Gone too soon
written and composed by Larry Grossman and Buz Kohan.

Gone Too Soon

By Daughtry
Today could've been the day
That you blow out your candles
Make a wish as you close your eyes
Today could've been the day
Everybody was laughin'
Instead I just sit here and cry
Who would you be?
What would you look like
When you looked at me for the very first time?
Today could've been the next day of the rest of your life

Not a day goes by that I don't think of you
I'm always asking why this crazy world had to lose
Such a ray of light we never knew
Gone too soon, yeah

Would you have been president?
Or a painter, an author or sing like your mother
One thing is evident
Would've given all I had

Would've loved ya like no other
Who would you be?
What would you look like?
Would you have my smile and her eyes?
Today could've been the next day of the rest of your life

Not a day goes by that I don't think of you
I'm always asking why this crazy world had to lose
Such a ray of light we never knew
Gone too soon, yeah

Not a day goes by, oh
I'm always asking why, oh

Not a day goes by that I don't think of you
I'm always asking why this crazy world had to lose
Such a beautiful life we never knew
Gone too soon
You were gone too soon, yeah

And not a day goes by
That I don't think of you
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed by LyricFind

Friday, June 24, 2016

La Grande Fabrique De Mots

I am in love with a new book and illustrator and I wanted to share it with you!  The book is called The Great Word Factory by Agnes de Lestrade and illustrated by Valeria Decampo.  It was originally written in French, however when they translated it to English they changed the title to Phileas's Fortune, a story about self expression.  The English title is really clunky if you ask me, however, the story and the illustrations are just as beautiful! 

I found a video of the reading of the book in it's original French which you can see below.  It's absolutely lovely and you must click on the link:)   (I tried to embed it but it didn't work, so please click on the link, you'll love it)

I discovered her work through internet searches.  Every time I see artwork that speaks to me it is almost always picture book art.  Lucky me!  That means there is a whole book full of this beautiful artwork!  So of course I quickly research and figure out what titles the artwork belongs to and then I add them to my personal library.  That's how I found Valeria Decampo's work.  Her characters are sweet and whimsical and the world's she creates reminds me of something Sean Tan would imagine.  I also like her selective use of color to add emphasis to the words and the work.   Here are a few more images from Philea's Fortune.

It's a beautiful story about trying to find the right words to express ourselves to those we love.  Sometimes it's difficult to find those words, and in Philea's world it's even harder because you have to buy every word you want to say!  But in the end, the words of the heart shine through even if they aren't spoken out loud.  

This book was so popular it has sold more than 120,000 copies and was translated into over 20 languages!  Now that's a book you need to read.  I'm not sure what took me so long to discover this lovely book and this wonderful illustrator, but now that I have you can bet I will be collecting more of her work.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do:)


Monday, June 13, 2016

Wonderful Weekend at Keuka Arts Festival

I had another wonderful weekend at the Keuka Arts Festival in Penn Yan, New York. I just love this festival!  Every year we seem to get thrown some crazy weather, last year rain, this year wind, but it never dampens the spirit of the festival goers or the artist participants:)

I was able to introduce Clover and the Shooting Star to the festival goers through an early print sample.  My publisher provided me with a postcard with our pre-sale link so people could order the book if they wanted it.  The response I received was wonderful!  So many people loved the book and took the postcard to be able to order it.  I was really glad to see that the story touched others in the same way I had intended it.  

Look at this sweet little baby who was mesmerized by the pictures.

And here is another little fan!  They were so adorable!

Thank you Keuka Arts Festival for another wonderful show and thank you to the people of Penn Yan for coming out to support me:)

Friday, June 3, 2016

Clover and the Shooting Star Pre-Sale

I have great news about Clover!  CrissCross AppleSauce, an imprint of Buffalo Heritage Unlimited, has agreed to publish Clover and the Shooting Star as a beautiful 6" x 6" board book! It's perfect for little hands to hold and love. 

I just reviewed the pre-print proofs and it looks fantastic!  I can't wait for you all to see it.  The book will be going to press in the next few weeks and I am hoping to have books in hand by middle of summer!  To celebrate I am making the book available for Pre-sale.  Simply click on the link below and it will take you to my publisher's website where  you can order your copy of Clover.  When Clover becomes available it will be shipped directly to you!

Clover and the Shooting Star was created out of love for my niece and my family, to help us through a time of terrible sadness and loss.  So many people have told me that it should be shared, so by publishing Clover I am hoping that the book will bring comfort to others who have experienced loss.  

It's so sweet to see little faces smile, and to hear little "awes" when I share the book with friends and family.  I love the stories my family has shared with me about their experience with Clover.  My niece Makayla's little girl requests the book to be read to her every night and afterwards she lines up all her animals to watch the shooting star just like Clover and his friends.  Isn't that precious! 

The official launch of the book will be September 11th, 2016.  We are holding the launch on that date in honor of my niece Nicole.   I will be signing books and we will have an array of kids activities, "star-related" activities, and other surprises:)  I will be updating my Facebook and blog with details on the event so be on the look out for more good news about Clover and the Shooting Star!


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Plein Air Thursday

Yeah!!!!! The weather has finally improved!  And the art society that I belong to has been going out plein air painting.  They have a full schedule of sites for us to go to each Thursday from 9:30am - 12:30pm.   

I went out the last two Thursdays with my friend Sherida who is also part of the art society.  The first Thursday was a bust.  We went to Knox Park in East Aurora, NY.  It was sunny and 50 degrees when we started but by the time we were set up to paint it was 45 degrees, windy and cloudy.  You can call us fair weather painters because it was not fun being out there in the cold, so we packed it in and went to Sherida's house for lunch:)  We did take a little walk behind her house where Casa Novia Creek runs and I found the best photo reference for a tree house.  It was actually a deer stand, but to me it looked like a tree house to me, so I made it into one!  I decided to do a little study of it.  You never know when that little study might come in handy for a picture book!

The next week was much better!  It was 60 degrees and sunny the whole time.  We went to the same spot and this time it was beautiful.  It was full of life with bees buzzing around, birds singing, and dogs coming through with their owners, their tongues flapping out of their mouths in happiness.  So many wonderful things to paint!  Usually plein-air paintings are of landscapes or tree portraits, but there was just too much life around me to paint those things.  So I did a few little paintings of the animals I saw that day!  

There is another plain-air trip today!  Can't wait to see what I will discover!  Enjoy your Thursday, I know I am going to enjoy mine painting:)