This guy–I think it’s a guy–is meant to hold sewing items. The felt shirt flips up for needles to be stored in a piece of flannel, there are little skeins of thread around the ankles, and his tote holds thimbles. The right tote is missing but maybe it had tiny scissors in it or a wee pin cushion. I love stuff like this, sweet and charming. Maybe these things were little projects for learning sewing and embroidery techniques or just useful if you didn’t want to lug your sewing basket with you. I used a micron pen and watercolor on pastel paper. Had a little trouble with the shadows but it was still fun to draw and paint. It was also fun searching for these online when I was trying to figure out what to call it. Sewing “caddy” brought up wooden holders and vintage “etuis” are beautiful little ornamental cases which I especially enjoyed perusing. “Needle holders” was the most commonly used for these but I liked the British version–“needle minders.” I squandered some serious time in the name of research. Just for you.
This was supposed to be a Valentine’s post but…I don’t know what happened. So now it’s a happy snowy March post. It snowed 5 inches last night and today, so pretty coating all the branches. We’ve had a lot of juncos in our yard this winter, at the feeders and hopping around on the ground and under the hedges. They are in the sparrow family I only recently found out. Such cute little plump birds–so neat and tidy looking with their soft charcoal-gray feathers, white bellies and small pale beaks. Makes me think of gray flannel suits. They seem so fearless. I think the little black cat I’ve seen lately in our yard likes them too! Danger! Danger!
I’m going to get back on track, I swear! Because life is more fun when I’m always working on art. And I get so disappointed in myself when I’m not. Here is a drawing I worked on, off-and-on, for a while. Watercolor and pen on paper. Lots of time-consuming detail and I’m not sure if it’s finished. This is one of my favorite necklaces. Love the color and how chunky and exotic it looks. Yes, it’s a bit heavy and a few strands of hair usually get caught in it but so worth it. It makes me feel like I’m an interesting person when I wear it. I guess I should be rocking that thing every day!
One of my favorite things in the weekend Wall Street Journal ‘Off Duty’ section is a monthly column called Flower School. In it, Lindsey Taylor puts together a floral arrangement based on a work of art. The flowers and arrangement are always gorgeous as is the photograph of it. She really does capture the mood, colors and composition of a piece. Her write-up is delightful too. It’s perfect in every way. Sometimes the art work is well known but often it’s an artist I’ve not heard of or a piece I’ve not seen. I end up looking up that artist to learn more so it’s educational in addition to being visually pleasing. A nice break from the news. Check it out: https://lindseytaylorgardens.squarespace.com/writing-1-1/ Scroll down to WSJ Off Duty to see her arrangements. For my arrangement above, I cut leaves, flowers and a bowl shape from white card stock and glued them to Canson dark gray pastel paper using YES! paste. Cutting and pasting–one of life’s simple joys.
Such a delightful bird! Playful and bold. They seem to enjoy their birdness, you know? The way they dip and swoop as they fly. Anyway, I always felt it would be too hard to draw or paint birds since they are so precise–their markings and smooth feathers. But then I remembered that it doesn’t have to be perfect, just give it a try. I’m not illustrating a bird book. Don’t be afraid. All that stuff. This card was drawn with a micron pen and watercolor. Sam said if he had to pick a favorite non-human creature, it would be a chickadee. Good choice. Happy Birthday, Sam!
Happy Anniversary to us! Yep, it’s 36 years today–hard to believe. Well, not that hard. I think it’s funny when people say things like “Seems like just yesterday we were walking down the aisle.” No it doesn’t. It seems like thirty-some years ago. But it’s been great! I love my husband and we are happy. Aren’t we, honey? I know I often sound like a curmudgeon but maybe I’m just a realist. Although not so much with my art. This is the card I made for Rich. I used pen, watercolor and crayon here. I haven’t ever seen a winter wren but whenever I’m flipping through the bird book and see it, I always think–what a cute bird. The book says they hang out in forests and near woodland streams. They forage on the ground and their nests are also near the ground so they wouldn’t survive in our neighborhood with all the cats. Nature is cruel, gotta be tough. I hate that. See, more realism.
Here’s a belated Mother’s Day post. I drew this piece from a photo I took of a clay sculpture at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in D.C. It’s in the glass cases that serve as their visible art storage system. Louis Naranjo is the sculptor and he was from Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico. He did a whole series of storyteller bears and this was his first. You can google him and see lots of photos of his wonderful clay bear sculptures. It’s smallish–about six by nine inches as I recall. Very sweet. I used watercolor pencils and am not happy with how the black bear body turned out, flat and streaky. Probably regular watercolors would have worked better for me–which is what I used for the background. Wanted to share it anyway. She looks a little dazed. Kids.