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Posts tagged ‘inspiration’

Christmas Tree Stump Carvings

tile fish copy

It’s that season again!  Time to showcase my husband’s mini sculptures lovingly carved from our family’s discarded Christmas trees. He’s created over thirty of these sculptures. Each honors the tree, a memory and our family.

I’m picking up where I left off last year, at 1994.  This is Niles The Tile Fish.  I know the year is ’94, because I can easily find a penny of the same date expertly inlaid under the mount of the carving.

The story behind the fish:My family upholds the tradition of eating many varied fishes on Christmas Eve.  The tile fish is a once a year favorite.  The scales are beautifully iridescent.  This carving honors this fish and all of the many fishes that have nourished our family for countless years. It’s also a symbol of our gathering on Christmas Eve;for all of us who will celebrate this year and for all who will be missed at the table.

Posting the images of these carvings and sharing them with you, offers me the opportunity to honor my amazing husband. Happy Christmas T.

Guest Post

Hi Everyone!

A previous post that I’ve polished up a bit, is making a guest appearance over at  Vision and Verb.

Vison and Verb is a wonderful blog, and I’m so glad to have discovered it via a fellow blogger, when I clicked on his link to Vision and Verb.

Sketchbook Magic?

Ya know how you see figures and creatures in marble, wood grains and shadows?  Below is an example of a sketchbook entry where I’m actively pulling out what I see, in an effort to allow others to see the same thing.

I’ll try to clarify:

The first two images are from my new sketchbook.  I’ve pasted in three discarded pieces of a failed monotype print. Before  fastening to the sketchbook,  I turned these discards every which way and discovered this magical scene from an imaginary children’s book.  I inked in some details.  Then with a little digital enhancement, I’ve tried to flesh out the scene, but not too much-trying to retain the magic I saw in the first place. But, I’ve no idea if anyone else sees what I do.

Can ya see it?  What do you see?

Gifts

My wonderful Dad has Alzheimer’s. Like my Dad,  I tend to look back a lot at scattered moments.  One I will never forget is opening my birthday gift this year, from my Dad.  With the help of his caregiver and my Mom, my Dad was able and proud to gather, wash and paint ordinary rocks.  They are not so ordinary any more.  Each is brilliantly colored and  labeled with the name of a family member.

I felt it only fitting to present my gift to a small section of my yard.  It holds many memories of moments. The bird feeder was constructed by my kids and husband and incorporates marbles belonging to my father-in law’s childhood.  The bricks comprising the circle and the rose planting came from my grandparent’s yard.  The violets were lovingly transplanted from my parent’s home one stiflingly hot day by my Dad.  The pig was a gift from my in-laws as a house warming present over twenty years ago.

I remember playing in my grandparent’s yard.  I remember mentioning to my Dad that I coveted his violets.  I remember moving into my home, when my kids were small and were most often involved in making something meaningful.

Petite Flowers

The last in my three-part SPRING uplift;)

Spring Unfurling

The Birds

I forget every year how intoxicating spring really is.  I’m grateful for another one.

Our Owl Mascot

Otis symbolizes many good memories of our kid’s elementary school.  It was then, a small neighborhood school which was warm, diverse and caring, under the leadership of a terrific principal who greeted each child and parent every morning and at dismissal by name.

An owl is still the school mascot.  My husband  carved this one in 1993.  It was a time when our entire family including grandparents, spent many hours with special art projects, art fairs, musical performances, PTA events and a host of exhausting but fun school volunteer activities.  A golden time.

BIG KIDS Magazine:Rachel and Me

My  artist friend Rachel is seventeen years old.  It’s difficult to assign a chronological age to this young woman because she is both wise beyond her years and as uninhibited in her creativity as a pre-schooler.  That’s how I knew she was the perfect candidate to collaborate with me on this illustration for BIG KIDS Magazine.

Tah Dah! Our collaboration is above.  The prompt for the illustration is “Treasure Maps”.  We’re mapping our creative journeys. Rachel created the left side, I worked on the right.  On my side the journey relates to Rachel, as her friend and mentor.  It helps to have an older artist friend, for encouragement and suggestions; that would be me.  I’m  in my skinny yellow house complete with family and cats and plants and that’s where Rachel comes to make art.  Rachel’s is more comprehensive… the journey so far.   Rachel wrote the beautiful poem.  The entire work is about being an artist; from play scribbles through adulthood.  Rachel, moves from scribbles scanned from an actual construction paper masterpiece she created as a very little girl, through growing pains, to near independence.

Rachel and I  decided to keep the tone or feel of the illustration light and full of kid inspiration.  After all, the inspiration was and is BIG KIDS Magazine-truly a work of collective art.

*The image accompanying the first post is a collaboration of Rachel’s work and mine. The second post, all Rachel and this post is our published collaboration in BIG KIDS Magazine.

BIG KIDS Magazine: Interview

Last post was an introduction to the fabulous Big Kids’s Magazine.  This link connects you to the homepage of the BIG blog.

You might say that BIG KIDS Magazine discovered my blog for young artists called  Portrait of a Girl and Her Art.  Lily (one of the creators),  left a wonderful comment and requested that I take a “peek” at the Big Kids blog.  I was instantly entranced by the vision and esthetic beauty of the project and left several comments on her blog.  A lovely cyber connection grew, and I enthusiastically agreed to make a collaborative illustration with a young artist friend of mine for the upcoming “Treasure Map” issue.

It made sense to me that if my excitement was any indication of the success of the up and coming magazine, you all will be excited and interested as well, so  I requested an interview with creators, Lily and Jo and senior editor Luca, to share with all of you:

December 2011

Elena: How do you (Lilly and Jo) know each other?

Lilly: We met when we were both living in Hobart, Tasmania, about 12 years ago but lost touch once I moved to New York and Jo moved to Perth. I had finished studying at art school and Jo had just left Tasdance and was the co-director of the Hobart Fringe Festival on which I was working. We met through a very brave, imaginative and generous mutual friend and while sharing care of her apartment wrote notes to each other on a large piece of brown paper that revealed an unseen poetic and charged connection between us even then. We last saw each other in 1999 but will finally meet and layout the next edition in the same city in January!

ElenaDid you grow up with unplanned time and an aptitude for daydreaming?

Lilly: I spent much of my childhood climbing trees, and one in particular, a liquidambar in our backyard that was the launching pad to witchland – an imaginary place above the clouds I frequented for much of my childhood. I have memories of collecting sticks and flowers and making elaborate installations on tree branches and in hidden parts of our massive garden. I have three siblings and the television was rarely on. We made up shows almost every day and worked on projects and performances that spanned days and weeks. Jo’s mother was a folk singer and they lived across the road from a travelling circus. I know she spent much of her childhood under the next-door neighbours house in a ‘kids’ world, and was surrounded by song.

 Elena:Do you think that the experiences of childhood have changed since your were children?

Lilly: Yes I think when we were kids there was much more time to just be in the world without structure or guidance or expectations of a particular outcome. It feels like even unstructured play has become a commodity or something to be evaluated and assessed. Though I think there are elements of childhood today that are enormously valuable and can be celebrated as well – the access to information and how that inspires inquisitiveness is wonderful: At least 10 times a day Twyla will ask a question I can’t answer and then say “Let’s look it up mum!”. I think there is a danger in romanticizing the past that can diminish the beautiful opportunities for connection and play with our children today.

Elena: Are you both moms, and if so how does being a parent influence the content of the magazine?

 Lilly: We are both mum’s and cannot imagine that we would have made BIG without this grounding, limiting, uplifting and propelling element in our lives to balance and stretch us beyond what seems possible. I think in giving birth and mothering it becomes clear that seemingly impossible things are actually possible. That you can meet a sun rise having not slept at all and still make it through the day.

Elena:You come from different artistic expressions. How has that enriched your collaboration?

Lilly: BIG is a multidisciplinary arts publication and our immersion in different arts practices broadens our base and provides us with a much wider platform to draw from. We are both connected to extraordinary artists working in varied fields and feel that exposing children to many different art languages provides them with a much wider range of investigative and expressive tools.

Elena: I know of so many children and organizations who would adore enjoying a subscription to BIG magazine in the USA, and I hope many will subscribe today! Do you hope/plan to bring the magazine online so that one may subscribe without the shipping expense in the US and other parts of the world?

Lilly: We are in the process of considering a digital version of BIG Kids Magazine so that it is more accessible to International readers. We have received enormous interest in an online option and while we don’t want to dilute the tangible experience of hand held BIG pages, we also want them to be as accessible as possible to distant readers. We are currently looking at international stockists but in the mean time it is encouraging to have received so many overseas subscriptions.

Elena: How about an ipad version?

Lilly: We are very interested in new technology and developing meaningful, interactive, illustrated apps for ipad in the future, though obviously we believe there is enormous value in having an object that can be held, ripped, scribbled on and altered in a very physical and direct way. We are working on some allegorical stories and our Books that Grow series that will most likely be adapted for ipad and other devices.

Do you accept submissions of work from children outside of Australia?

Lilly: Yes we invite and receive contributions from children all over the world. Work that is scanned at 600dpi or high quality photographs can be emailed from anywhere and we are passionate about facilitating both intergenerational and International conversations.

Are there any new projects in the works, together or individually?

Lilly: We have just launched the Mother Artist Network (our new MAN) on our blog to invite discussion and creative response to the challenges of working as a mother-artist.  I have just held an exhibition of new work and Jo is working on a new dance duet. Together we are expanding our collaboration on Books that Grow and we are currently in the middle of making of the next edition of BIG!

Your Facebook page  www.facebook.com/Bigkidsmagazine  is flourishing! How did you get the word out?

Lilly: We honestly just opened the page to our friends and it went from there. We have never pushed or asked for ‘likers’. The magazine has received many wonderful reviews on various blogs and book sites so I think they bring people to us as well.

Economies are suffering worldwide. Why did you decide to launch a new magazine now?

Lilly: Now, more than ever, kids need a place to be able to hone their interest, imagination and the ability to respond to the world in creative and curious ways. We need the next generation to be expansive and out of the box thinkers and see BIG as a way to encourage that leadership and wider view on politics that will feedback back in personal, social and dynamic ways. Yes, it definitely is a risk and nerve-wracking with it, but both Jo and I are seriously committed to engaging kids in best practice and in opening communication lines between artists and kids to foster future thinkers and movers! We are hopeful BIG will attract some best practice creative organizations in the near future and that we will find financial support for our work though contributions from larger voices and structures. We trust the work and each other, somewhat bravely, and believe in generosity as a key stakeholder in future economies.

With each subscription you give away a copy of the magazine. How do you decide where to send it?

Lilly: We are developing partnerships and donating magazines to all kinds of people and organizations that work with children. Sometimes people contact us asking if they can participate in the program, often we will reach out to an organization that we feel might benefit. We love the idea that BIG can be accessible to kids that may not otherwise be able to get hold of it but we are also interested in facilitating relationships and finding mentors who can support children to interact and contribute to the BIG world.

Elena: And now, a word from eight year old senior editor, Luca.

Elena: What do you like to do when youʼve got nothing else you have to do?

Luca: Play with my little sister, play video games, read The Phantom Tollbooth, invent lego and duplo characters and games and stories.

Elena: What is your favorite subject in school?

Luca: Free drawing

Elena: Do other kids know that you are an editor of a magazine?

Luca: Yes, they respect me a lot

Elena: What do you do as an editor?

Luca: Well, make decisions about what goes in the magazine

Elena: Whatʼs your favorite part?

Luca: Being in charge of making decisions

Elena: If you had a magic power, (maybe you already have one) what would you do with it?

Luca: Shift shaping – means you can take the shape of any object, like I could take the shape of a million dollars, I could change into a flower, or massive bumble bee, I would re build the Guilford hotel and save people and stuff like that.

Part 3 tomorrow

BIG KIDS Magazine!

Exciting stuff.  Lots of excitement…where to begin…..Big Kids Magazine.   Go on, have a click on the link, then come on back.

Back?    Did the animation alone take you to the most magical of creative places?    It literally takes me to a place where my creative energies start a-jumping.  Now imagine riding that creative wave with thousands of kids through the pages of BIG KIDS Magazine.  It makes NO difference how old or young you happen to be.

A little back round: B-I-G stand for Bravery, Imagination and Generosity.  Indeed it does. Big Kids Magazine began with a note between two friends, Jo, a dancer and Lilly a visual artist.  In the note, Jo shared with Lilly a dream that was to become a reality; a wildly creative arts based magazine for children.

The senior editor is eight years old.  The magazine is both green and ethically produced.  With every subscription, a copy of the magazine is given to a child who may not otherwise be able to receive the magazine. Children, artists, parents and educators equally share a platform for collaboration, opportunity, discovery and a passion for making art a living breathing presence in everyday life.

I’ve so much to say about the philosophy of this Australian magazine, the creators, how/why they began this creative journey, and a little about my experience with  Big Kids that this is only the first post of three about this phenomenon of pure joy,  “..A world class artistic exchange”.*

*http://blog.bigkidsmagazine.com/p/about-creators-of-big.html

Two New

Two new posts spotlighting creativity on  Portrait of a Girl.  Exciting artists from age seven to young adult.  Plus new young art on the ART SHARE page.

Young Artist Sites

This is part of a repost from my blog for young artists.  I thought it might be exciting to share with you some excellent examples of  exemplary online presence and some terrific work by very young artists. Their ages span from pre-teen to young adult.

The sites below are three brilliant examples of what very young visual artists are doing.  The first is Isabella’s beautiful blog.

http://isabellart.wordpress.com

Isabella has created three separate sections for her work. There’s the poetry section, fine art section, and fashion (her own designs).  Isabella regularly posts wonderful works in progress.  You must have a look.

http://eleanorleonnebennett.zenfolio.com  will bring you to Eleanor Leonne Bennett’s website that is full of her fantastic photography.  It is worth every minute you’ll spend on her website, enjoying her work.  I urge you to investigate every photograph.

Kellie See, at kelliesee.wordpress.com  beautifully chronicles her coursework as an art student studying illustration.  On her terrific blog, you’ll find very specific and instructive posts about what she is thinking and working through. This is what Kellie has to say about her blogging experience:

“I think blogging is fantastic. Its such a great opportunity for people to meet others that share similar interests. Since I started blogging I’ve seen some great pieces of work and read the most amazing posts by other bloggers. They are truly an inspiration for me. Blogging has opened up a whole new world to me where I can share my work and get real opinions and comments back. This is so useful and is a great way to find out what others think and to also help you decide which direction to take next. The blogging community have been fabulous and they are so friendly which makes my blogging experience all the better. I really wouldn’t be without it. Kellie :) “

Book Trailer!

Apart from the cringing ache of hearing my voice in the voiceover, the trailer for Portrait of a Girl and Her Art was a joy to make. Many thanks to the artists for their vibrant contributions and thanks to my son Julian for his music.

If you don’t already know about my book and are not already acquainted with my blog for young artists, they are both called Portrait of a Girl and Her Art.  The blog is devoted to young artists and their work.  The book celebrates young female artists. The trailer provides a teaser of the amazing art created by these very young artists.

If you haven’t already visited the blog, please have a look around by clicking here.   If you have visited, I can promise more about the book, and additions to nearly every page on the blog.  If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, students, or young neighbors who have an interest in art, please direct them to the blog. It is my hope to keep the blog growing with more projects, ideas, and interviews so it may become a place of true artistic community.

All of you readers inspire me through your blogs, comments and support.   Through the book and attention to the blog, I hope to pay it forward to the next generation of artists.

*Flowers, pastel by Elizabeth

Mini Me

One of the great gifts I received this Christmas is a portrait, of me.   A tiny little gem of a portrait by Scott Hamilton, known around the world as artboy68.  Scott’s mission is to create 100 portraits in 20 weeks. He’s more than halfway to his goal now, and moving forward admirably.

Click on the link to see me.  (You must also check out the previous 54;)

Scott will be honoring the 100th portrait subject with an acrylic painting. Yes, it could be you, another reason to click the link because you’ll find the details under my portrait.  Thanks Scott!

A Hope Wish for the Holidays

Wishing every one of you kind, interesting and creative friends a holiday wish.. The one wish that is dearest to you.  The one that you scarcely allow yourself to acknowledge.  The truest most beautiful hope you can conjure.  I’m hoping it comes true for you.

Christmas Tree Stump Carving

This is Robin the seahorse from our 1985 Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree Carvings

Marina is our 1984 Christmas tree stump carving.

Christmas Tree Penguin

                                  This is Magellan, our Christmas tree stump carving from 1983.

The Shadow Knows..

                                                                                                                                                                    Shadows-from the MORE IDEAS page –

There are many new posts up on Portrait of a Girl.  Parents, artists and art teachers, wander on over.  I’d love your comments and ideas.

Click the new page tabs–MORE IDEAS, INTERVIEWS, GREAT LINKS, ART SHARE, PROJECTS and PRACTICAL INSPIRATION.

Potatoes LOVE me!

My potatoes do love me.  The reverse has always been true, but today as I reached down into a bag of especially fine tubers (organic of course), my secret message tumbled forth.

I adore my potatoes and now I am assured that the feeling is mutual.

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