Scarves and Stories

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How will I reconcile the narrative with the decorative? Fashion and picture books? My heart says 2012 holds the answer!

Thanks for art encouragement today over coffee, goes to my dear art school roommate, trusted critic, fellow fashion (mini) lady, Elizabeth. Though she is fabulously making waves in the retail–visual world, she has no web presence I can link you to! She makes visuals for Madewell look fantastic all over the U.S. and could kern the heck out of your typography class. Tomorrow we bake cookies together from dawn to dusk in her old fashioned farm house! Wishing you sweets and merriness.

I'll leave you with my favorite "Virginia" bit from Francis P. Church:

"...there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."

What In the World?!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'd like to pause in the Christmas action to introduce you to two new studio mates. I saw their weird little faces on Ebay and they had to come home. Standoffish, spotted, great at perching.

Name suggestions?

Glamour In the Square

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Out on Christmas capers yesterday, I spotted an invigorating abundance of fur, spots, print, pattern, textures on the racks and shelves in Harvard Square. Instead of shopping (well, OK, I did a smidge) I came home to paint. More new fashion work up in the portfolio...


*THANK YOU* everyone for your purchases of Hearts In the Dark, the editions are moving so fast! which means the kitties will benefit greatly! If I could only give you all enormous hugs!

There is *a 15% OFF SALE* going on TODAY for my picture book prints with code: BOOKPRINT, the last day for Priority shipping is December 19!

I Think We'll Bake Some Gingerbread

Saturday, December 10, 2011

This week is bustling! There are gifts to get, pictures to paint, letters to write, cookies to bake, candles to light (ooph!) Even when it gets topsy-turvy-twistaround crazy it's good to remember the JOY at the heart of it all. Thank you, friends, for spending time with me here on the blog. Hoping you are all enjoying this busy time, wherever you are!

Black Cat Initiative: Hearts In the Dark

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I'm so thrilled to announce a new series of mini prints:

Hearts In the Dark

For the past few weeks, I've been working with my friend and brilliant local artist, E.B. Goodale, to launch a black cat initiative called Hearts In the Dark. Today, we're both releasing a new series of limited edition prints, to raise awareness and funds for our favorite local animal shelters:

Hearts In the Dark: Set of Three by E.B. Goodale

View and shop mine HERE

View and shop E.B. Goodale prints HERE

Since adopting our cats from local shelters we have learned about the sad plight of the black kitty: they are statistically the most overlooked and un-adopted animal in shelters. Really? Yes.

The name "Hearts In the Dark" came from the first day I visited the shelter and walking by a cat carriers in the shelter, was stopped by one in particular. It held 3-4 adult black cats, their black fur all blurring into one liquid shape, quiet pairs eyes staring back at me, almost peacefully resigned to an understanding they would be overlooked again. 3-4 patient hearts waiting in the dark, while the spotted or striped kittens were picked and carted home...

Hearts In the Dark: III

Many factors play into this: photographs don't capture black cats very well (for online viewing), people are superstitious, folks just come to the shelter hoping for stripes and spots! I was told by shelter staff when I scooped up a purring Seri for the first time, that he "knew he would have to work twice as hard to be noticed and chosen!" Sure enough, when I returned two weeks later, his striped and spotted sisters and brother had left him last of the litter, despite his earnest little cuddles. It broke my heart and home with us he went. I have never met a MORE loving, as Emily says, "absurdly affectionate" cat.

Hearts In the Dark: I

Maybe what makes the black cat issue most tragic is the super-loving black cat temperament. Emily and I (having owned all kinds of cats) have often shared our suspicions that black cats have special magic...something spiritual, innate and inordinate affection, an empathy we can't explain but feel lucky to have in our lives. Other black cat owners discuss this too. It's like a black cat owner's secret! We want to spread the word and encourage adoption!

Hearts In the Dark: II

My series is comprised of black cat studies in pan pastels, scanned and printed on my ultra-archival museum grade paper. Our proceeds go to the great Boston area shelters: Black Cat Rescue of Boston and Pets In Need (Seri's first home as "Ace"!) They make gorgeous gift sets or stand alone prints. Each print fits nicely in a standard 5x7 frame. To help spread the word, you can "like" our little page here, where you can share your black cat stories and pictures too! :

Many thanks!

Boughs of Holly

Ahhh, this is the time of year when we sing songs, cheerily muddling through their "auld" lyrics, strapping nature to the car roof and carting it back into the city, lighting candles in the dark. We got the tree yesterday, but I'd been dreaming about our old-fashioned mantle (transplanted from elsewhere in New England). So, I rushed to decorate it instead as soon as we got home! Time travel.

When you turn the keys and open the cupboards, it smells rich, musty, and years away, like old-fashioned Christmases of another age, with distant french horns, smokey fires, long skirts, ancient carols in ancient tongues, words we don't use anymore whispered over the fire crackle ... (history makes me nerd out).

Can you spot a fawn by Emily?

A feather by Kate?

A holly bough from Jackie? (Carol of the Belles orders getting ready in the background)

A jar from Jess?

Prof. Bhaer and Jo March in their umbrella moment?

My mom is the best at decorating with nature in vignettes, letting branches fall where they may, a star land somewhere, adding something tiny like a doll's chair to spy on. There are always stories to find. I feel like she was the first one to use old tools, shovels and spades, hanging rusty beauty up sometimes to the detriment of walls, playfully throwing something cut from the garden up on a shelf and not fussing too much. I always think of my mom when I deck the halls.

Still working on the dining "corner"...getting there (we have a light now!)

Wishing you light and love–*SPECIAL* announcement tomorrow!

What do they dream about?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A night in with the cat and Marian McPartland :

Thank you thank you for your orders and good words, friends! Heading into Christmas with a warm heart. Could have something to do with a Seri in my lap.

20% OFF Till Midnight!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Today I'm celebrating Cyber Monday with a 20% discount on everything in The Shop till the stroke of midnight! Use code CHEER20 at checkout. I've also opened a requests page for custom prints here too if you had something else in mind!

Some gift ideas
? hmmm...let's see

For the crafty and stylish little sweetie you might know and love:
An autographed copy of I Had a Favorite Dress+archival print make a pretty pairing!

An autographed copy of Just Being Audrey with a print or boxed card set also make a special gift for a Hepburn fan:

("Audrey on the Silverscreen" is the bestseller)

...and there are two *new* mini prints!
Titled "C├ędille Fille I, II" 5x7 mini prints (started from doodles after french class):

(P.S. There are a few of "Carol of the Belles" card sets still left!)

So have fun cruising around Cyber Monday storefronts (I had fun putting up a little digital garland :) Thanks for shopping handmade!

New Christmas Card: Carol of the Belles!

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'd like to introduce you to a little "belle" who came caroling to my door (painting desk) last week. She wanted to become a Christmas card:

You can order your own 10-card set of "Carol of the Belles" for your holiday letter writing here. They are printed on beautiful white heavyweight matte card stock with a satin finish. Each card comes with a matching shimmery cream envelope. Interiors are blank. Now available for order in The Shop. I had a very small quantity printed, so snap this lady up while you can.
Keep your eyes peeled for new items in The Shop and the upcoming HOLIDAY sale discount code coming soon (but let's please have Thanksgiving first!) If you have a custom print request you can use this request form. Ohh, it's getting cozy 'round here, happiest holidays to you!

Beauty as Duty

Friday, November 18, 2011

When I need rejuvenation, the museum is my magic place. It's thrilling to buy a ticket and wonder how your vision will be changed once the visit's done. I love the straw-teak smell in the rooms holding the oldest artifacts, the layered years behind glass, the quiet power of color on a wall.

(Peter Coffin, Linde Wing)

Last week, I wandered the MFA with my talented friend, Amanda (kindred spirit & accomplished painter) and wanted to share. (See her post here) If you are in Boston, this fall's exhibits are especially worth a visit! Our aim was to see the current exhibit, "Beauty as Duty" which focuses on the inventive relationship between war-time fashion (and the rationing of it during WWII) and politics (think witty propaganda scarves!)...

"Switch off that light!"

"Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who lived in a world of her own, who lived with her wicked stepmother who kept all her clothing coupons for herself..."

"Trot out your whatnots and save shipping!"

War planes in lace!

Then we happened upon a live show in another gallery, of a Greek women's dance troupe performing ancient steps that Theseus supposedly danced after slaying the minotaur. (My "Denos" blood was appeased.)

(El Anatsui, Black River, 2009, Linde Wing)

Wandering on from there, we found ourselves in the stunning new Linde Contemporary Wing where we made gleeful fools of ourselves with unfettered gasps of "Oooo...LOOOKKKKKK"

(Linde Wing)

(A tiny little shirt as social commentary.)

(Amanda, I can't wait to see your take on toile!)

(Linde Wing)

(Giampalo Babetto, Linde Wing: "It is better to use a form that is somehow pure.")

(I'd like to eat this.)

Finally we searched for our favorite, The Art of the Americas Wing.

There, I visited the man who was the second president of the United States, who once lived down the street from where I live today, in the town that bears his son's name (Quincy). It is said that he thought history would forget him! But we haven't, John Adams! Thanks for your letters to Abigail. I think of you whenever I drive by Peace Field.
(John Adams by Gilbert Stuart)

A sketch of a coffee pot Paul Revere's son poured:

We ended the night in two dim and delicious current exhibits:
Aphrodite and the Gods of Love, and another on rare Jewelry...

(Betsey Cushing Whitney’s American Indian tiara, worn visiting Queen Elizabeth II)

Museum trips are terrible in a way! You are tugged by two forces the entire time: absorption and creation, in almost a frenzied cycle: your eyes are feasting, your brain cogs are turning, your heart is sparking, you need to get to your desk and CREATE, but wait, look over there! On the T home, we were BURSTING with new things to paint, trying to recall them in lists for each other, gratefully dazzled by the beauty we'd seen. Museum day success.

What resets your palette?