Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nutcracker Book & Figurine

How fun! There one sits hunched over ones' drawing board, often a year in advance, painting Christmas while the rest of the world goes swimming in High Summer.....and suddenly, there it is, the project one worked on, in the stores, as a " real thing"....makes me feel quite Velveteen Rabbit-ish! I never stop getting a thrill when I open the box and finally see the final, end result.
It really is gratifying to see the bits & pieces all come together as a really-o true-lio thing.....most fun is to see the Nutcracker figurine made, dressed, come to life like the one I painted for the book cover.
This was a project that was great fun to work seems the original stories in this book by E.T.A. Hoffmann and Alexandre Dumas haven't been published in years and years and years.....I read them all 20 times before painting and there is SO much more to the Nutcracker story than the one we are all familiar with!
This set includes the book and the 8" Nutcracker figurine and is available at all Barnes & Noble bookstores.

Nutcracker Book & Figurine Set, front

Nutcracker Book & Figurine Set, back


Friday, December 11, 2009

Life Imitating Art.....Wintry Woods

It's cold outside, pretty much everywhere it seems, unless, of course, you're reading this on the beach in St Croix or Mustique.
Lately, late at night, taking Baci the Corgi out for the last time before owl hoots from deep inside a frosty wood. I get shivers, not from the cold, but from listening to the haunting call. Suddenly I am transported to a much older time, to the days of Grimm's fairy-tales, the version of my childhood illustrated by Howard Pyle...where deep dark Wintry Woods stretched for miles, dotted by little  lamplit cottages, and full of wolves and badgers and owls.
I feel like we should leave a trail of breadcrumbs,

Inside, on my drawing board, I've been working on this painting. Maybe, just maybe, this is what has been going on in the Owl's Wood down the road.
I love it when life is like a picture book!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Alphabet In No Particular Order

Here is the newest Animal ABC piece, this time..... W, X, Y & Z !
wallpaper, wolf, white, woolly, warm, yellow, wood, xylophone, zebra, zither, zipper, yo-yo, window, Winter, wainscoting, zig-zag
I love jumping about, in no particular order.......I do this lots of times with picture book illustrations, too.
........ I find sometimes the end looks different ( but it wasn't meant to, designed to ) from the beginning if the project spans a long time & I just plod along in a straight line,  Sometimes one just evolves as the project progresses and ones simply sees a bit differently and sometimes deadlines nip at ones heels like wild animals so one makes choices that one wouldn't make otherwise. Also, I need to keep myself entertained so I mix the sketches up and just do what's on top of the stack.......
   working on K, L, M now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Has it Really Been So Very Long?

  In old  movies, I love the way the passage of time is shown by calender or diary pages flipping in atmospheric, gritty shades of greys.......picture that device here.
 I've been working, working, anything but a moody palette, here is a little of what's been keeping me busy, busy, busy lately ( see sketches a couple of posts ago ):

Animal ABC...P & Q
Queen, quail, question marks, pile of pillows, plaid, polka dots, puppets, panache, pearls, pig, puffy parka, pockets, pair, penguins, quilt!

Animal ABC...... A
Alligator, Autumn, airplane, apples, apple pie, arbor, ascot, argyle, ants

new spread from Pobble's Way/ Simon Van Booy/ Flashlight

& another one

& a little bit of Something Else.......surprise, here before we know it!
    Back to work, chattier next time.
       love, W

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Illustration Friday - Frozen!

  This week's theme for Illustration Friday is "frozen".
I simply cannot resist posting illustrations featuring frosted branches, snow, Wintry themes, rosy cheeked children, woodland animals or colorful scarves and hats.......the kinder, gentler side of frozen, with dreams of hot chocolate waiting in a warm, cozy cabin just outside the picture.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Squirrely Sneak Peeks/Lavori Recenti

Oh I AM buried in drawing and painting between now and the end of the year at least.....I'm really not complaining.....I just keep thinking I should have more diverse interests and get out more. It does seem as though I post here or visit a friend for a few hours and then get back to work, only to look up and find a week, or more, has gone by. I have found some Italian language CDs and am boning up on la bella lingua, I can do that at least, while I paint.......I worked so hard at becoming fluente and seems all my conversational skills, in any language to be honest, have become a bit rusty from lack of use!
I have grand plans to get out more..... licensing shows? Bologna? La Citta Eterna, Rome, again....? surprises!.....
 mi sento come questo: mi dispiace di continuare a chiacchierare incessantemente ma sto lavorando senza sosta tutti questi giorni! Punto e basta.....
lavori work:


Divertiti e ciao, have fun, bye ........

Friday, September 25, 2009

Illustration Friday : Pattern

   I haven't posted an Illustration Friday image in a few months but being that this week's topic is "Pattern" and it's also the first week of Autumn, well I could hardly resist posting this Autumnal, lavishly patterned bit of  bear love.

Must get back to work.........
icing borders, Christmas cookies and cookie jars, the Animal Alphabet.........squirrels, mice, mittens and LOTS of snow........and the always omnipresent tree bark.
   Then there's this, for everything, my new logo , for my brand:

have the best weekend, Wendy

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So Much Fun!

Well, here are some of the Animal ABC sketches that I have been working on.......I'm allowed to post these but I can't say who or what they're for.......but I CAN say that I am loving drawing these.  I have 3 more to go and then I can start painting them, even MORE fun!
There will be 12 of these.
 The letters will be on the drawings, of course, and the words that begin with the letters will go all around the outside of the pictures , not at the bottom.
Working on these makes me really REALLY happy!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Thank You Fanny Wherever You Are!

It's such a lovely thing to be sought and found periodically....because of the fruits of ones' higher and best self. Mostly we live our lives well enough and sometimes we have memories of things we've done that, if given the chance, we'd do over differently, better, we decide. Other things, when we remember them, or they revisit us, we're pleased we did what we did, that we listened to that inner voice of goodness and inspiration and we feel we did something good.
  That's how I feel about a piece of art that became a poster and a sign for the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. It has come to have a life of its' own.
  Years ago the Woodland Park Zoo built an expanded Alaska habitat and the Taiga Viewing Shelter,  A pond comes halfway up a glass wall so the view of kicking and swimming otters and bears as they play and fish in the water is wonderful.
 An old Brown Bear  walked back and forth, back and forth, wearing down a bare path in the grass. I could see that the worn patch was getting larger and larger, that the bear was widening her pacing by a few steps, a little more everyday. This bear's name was Fanny and she had spent her whole life living in a concrete grotto. The path that she was pacing, back and forth was exactly the amount of room that she had in the grotto. It was amazing to imagine that this was the first time her bear feet had felt the grass and the earth beneath them. I was so moved and happy for her, and so grateful to the Zoo for giving her a better life; a pond, otters, fish, trees and room to walk more than a few feet in any direction. I called the Zoo and offered to donate a painting. This idea took on a life of its' turns out there was going to be an International Zoo Conference and it was decided that the painting, that would be printed as a poster would be done and printed in time for the Conference and the attendees from zoos all over the world would receive one and it would be sold at the Zoo Shop , as well. The Printer decided to donate the printing as well and a sign company donated the sign made from the painting. It still hangs at the entrance to the Zoo:
Time passed, the Zoo Shop sold all the posters and I sold the original painting and sent most of the posters I'd been given to clients and perspective clients, The Printer somehow misplaced the scans of the art and several years later,  went out of business. Fanny had long since passed away and the project was a sweet memory. I've created another four images for the Zoo since, Mammals, Reptiles, Bugs and Birds.
    Once in a while, every couple of months, someone finds me, I receive an email from someone whose child or grandchild loves that sign and they ask, "do you have a poster you could part with?"
My stack of posters is dwindling, there are perhaps only 10 left and then there are no more.
    Tomorrow I am meeting someone to give them a poster for their grandson.......this makes me so happy, that this beautiful bear with the sunshine on her fur inspired an idea that became a painting that became a sign that years later still captivates the hearts of small children and inspires loving adults to seek me out and surprise their sons and grandsons, daughters and grand daughters.
     All the creatures in the posters were residents of the Zoo and, of course, Fanny is there front and center!
Soon I'll post some sketches for a wonderfully fun and silly Animal ABC I'm working on. I love drawing and painting animals, The animals in this upcoming alphabet are doing things the animals above never dreamed of  like sailing, making origami and painting.
Either way, it's all great fun and I'm just so tickled that I get to do this! Thank you!
 Lastly,  for something totally different, see the new Day of the Dead Cupcake at The Occasional Cupcake!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Finally, a new post AND a new blog

Rosebud Cupcake Number One

I simply can't believe it, I just realized that it's been nearly 2 MONTHS since my last blog post!
I knew it had been a while but truly, really, I had no idea it had been that long!
The Summer has simply slipped by like syrup sliding off a studio is piled with finished paintings, and drawings for something hugely exciting that I've wanted to do for absolute ever...even though I have, as always, that feeling that I'm simply not getting enough accomplished.

The light is thinning just a bit... some afternoons, like today, the light, the air looks/feels as though it's whole milk rather than cream, on it's journey to the thin, blue skim milk light of Winter....the occasional yellowed leaf, even a crimson one tucked amidst the others like a rare and precious's coming.
More raccoons at dusk, and lately when I'm still up at 3 am, I see them out and about. They're hungry and I've been putting out free, just past the sell by date, donuts! And this afternoon, a pie! Raccoons are mad for pie! Who knew? Watching their elegant slender fingered hands...paws? search about, seeking out the best bits....while gazing about, ever vigilant, is great entertainment.
This evening the Mamma Raccoon and her three children, a male who shows up frequently and several new black masked visitors feasted on cherry pie.There's an apple pie for tomorrow!

So....the new blog, it's called The Occasional Cupcake.......
I am not a cupcake connoisseur, hardly, nor an expert baker or eater of pies, cakes or cookies but I love painting them.....the fanciful decoration, the luscious swirl and curve of frosting, the sweet and indulgent promise of pleasure and / or comfort.
I am painting a collection of small sweet indulgences, there are great plans for them and I am offering them, as well, for sale or license. Please inquire.
Right now there is one, Rosebud Cupcake Number One.
Hopefully there will be another soon. very soon.......I wanted to call the blog The Daily Cupcake and like those admirable artists, paint a pretty cupcake, or a shimmering slice of pie, everyday. I knew however that immediately I'd miss my self imposed deadline as other deadlines clamor and cajole, so I opted for "occasional".

Please visit The Occasional Cupcake, and once there, you can even subscribe to see new posts and new paintings as they come!
Thank you so very much, your support and kind attention are well and truly appreciated!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Snow in Summer

Oh! Summer! I adore Summer!
Between now and September ( which is a whole other Wonder ) the world is so very alive and full of flowers and sunshine and shady spots and rain and thunder and lightening and perfume and glorious vegetables growing while you watch and fireflies and porches and that particular color of a slightly hazy blue sky...High Summer Blue and curtains dancing lazily at open windows and lilies and tomatoes and cherries and tanned feet and playing in the hose and happy dogs and the smell of the grill and long evenings and pasta al limone eaten al fresco as the sun dips behind the trees and the jasmine fills the air and just so much wonderfulness packed into such a short time....
AND what am I doing?
I am inside the studio painting snowy woods, woolly hats and mittens and tracks in the snow and a cold, cold pond.
Here are 3 finished paintings for Pobble's Way by Simon Van Booy to be published by Flashlight Press ,Fall 2010.
Next come the animals in the wintry wood. Fun!
Next Summer I will have a summery Summer, this Summer is snowy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Reference Photos....aka Scrap

I am painting trees right that means painting some of my favorites......tree bark and snaky, gnarly tree roots.......there is also lots of snow and a bunny, a duck, an owl, a doe, a red squirrel, a mouse and a little girl and her daddy involved but for now, everything is trees....the lines that tree branches trace against the sky, the larger branches flung out wide embracing the sky..... the grays and browns and purples and russets and umbers of tree bark, the glorious undulation of roots like a basket of snakes......I'm loving painting trees!
Lucky for me, I live on a tree covered island so I can take a million perfect photos of trees for reference to use in painting. It's wonderful to take reference photos oneself and not be a slave to someone else's photos online or in a book....luckily I am not painting Baobob trees,

as, unfortunately, they don't grow here. One of Baci the Corgi's and my favorite places to walk is a nearby property where a house was torn down so it's like a secret park.....accessible down a long, tree lined driveway, then opening up into a large grassy area where the house once stood and a huge and glorious Maple Tree.
There are some oddities there that have caught my old, no longer seaworthy, wooden boat sitting askew in a sea of lawn.......and four chairs, ceremoniously arranged by someone, that appear to be waiting for their occupants. curiously formal as though in preparation for the audience who will be watching.......something mysterious and unknown. I find these quirky leftovers of someone's life enormously appealing and touching.

Back to painting now...well maybe I'll go workout for an hour.......then paint.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Peonies and Snowmen

I can hardly believe it's been nearly a month since my last appears I've been even more reclusive and swallowed up by the quotidian routine of painting a seemingly endless vista of picture-book illustrations than I had thought...sometimes I worry that one day I'll look up and find a year has passed.
Outside, a new season has arrived and amazingly, although there hasn't been a drop of rain for over two weeks, flowers are blooming their little hearts out. I adore peonies, they remind me of the girliest, most full blown prom dresses and rather like heads of butter lettuce in glorious shades of pink. Here are some perfumed pink beauties and some rather lovely and incredibly scented lavender roses found blooming on a rather sad and forlorn bush hidden away below some towering cedars......and a partially finished painting........

and then, some happy new pieces from my "let it snowman" licensing line, in progress. I'm learning how to do all sorts of things in PhotoShop and Illustrator that amaze moving lots of individual illustrations about until they become border designs and repeat patterns and just today, making type go around in a circle!
Anyone interested in learning how to make repeat borders and "toss" patterns in repeat from "icons" should go visit Tara Reed's website and order her one who knew virtually nothing about creating anything digitally, I have found her instructions incredibly easy to follow and wonderfully clear. Thank you again, Tara!
Maybe a plate........?

Maybe wrapping paper?

More to come, but enough of a start to begin feeling excited!

Back to what seems to be an infinity of feathers, tiny strokes of raw umber, shading angel wings. Back soon.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Illustration Friday - Contagious

This week's word is contagious.
Seems as though this word has been in the media a lot lately....mostly connected to negative things and events like Fear and the Flu Du Jour.......which is/was, I guess, more fear, really.
As a perennial Optimist and a "glass half full" cheerful is my contribution.
While this tender moment might be illustrating the possible swapping of germs, I'd rather think that the sweetness and warmth of Young Love, any love, is, indeed, contagious!

Back to painting secret picture book spreads......soon, soon!