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New Art in the Shoppe!

by abby on June 20, 2014 | Comment

Watercolor of Dady bunny reading aloud to rabbit son sitting in lap
{Print now availale in Shoppe}

Happy Friday! Summer is in full swing here in Rochester. I’m happy to say that I’m getting myself into a good rhythm for this new season. I now enjoy a cup of tea on my porch and do a little writing each morning. This simple act helps me to clear my head to keep the creative energy flowing for the rest of the day. I learned about this technique almost 10 years ago now from the book called, THE ARTIST’S WAY. If you are interested in learning how to keep maintain a calmer and more creative life you should read it!

The rest of my morning and afternoons are a swap between book design and creating my own artwork. This past winter and spring it was a difficult to find time and energy to paint (I had other commitments needing attention). I feel a little rusty when it comes to using my gouache again, but I do believe it’s like riding a bike: the more I sit myself with my paints the easier it will be. Right? RIGHT!

I still absolutely love applying paint to paper, so that hasn’t changed. All I have to do it keep going. That being said, this week I’ve finished a set of adorable watercolor and collage small painting featuring one of my favorite animals—rabbits! Each illustration captures a small loving moment between a parent and child.

Watercolor of Mother Rabbit snuggling with baby boy rabbit
{New art!}

These prints are 5.25″ x 5.25″ and they come centered on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of digital watercolor paper. They REALLY do look and feel like real watercolor and collage paintings. They come hand signed by me too. I hope you like them! They would make a wonderful gift to new parents.

Do you have a ritual that helps start your day? I’d love to hear it!

Summer Reading: Picture Books

by abby on June 13, 2014 | Comment

illustration showing Father rabbit is readig aloud to young son

This week I’m working on this little spot illustration of a father rabbit and his young son reading together. It dawned on me today that this would be a great chance to share with you a couple of lists of recommended read aloud picture books—perfect for summer reading!

A good source for a classic list of the 25 best picture books over the years (chosen by teachers) is supplied by SCHOLASTIC. Here is the complete list. A few of my personal favorites are:

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg

You really should see the whole list. There are some real winners mentioned!

For a more modern collection of recommended picture books I recently found this blog: READ ALOUD PICTURE BOOKS: A growing collection of the best. The author is a mother, teacher, and huge supporter of children’s books! Her highlighted books are good examples at what’s being currently published and how they fit into our national conversations. She even tests out the books on her students and will comment on their reactions to the stories and artwork.

Do you have a favorite read aloud book or source where you find books?

My Artist Day-Brandywine Museum

by abby on June 10, 2014 | Comment

andrew wyeth studio
{Brandywine Museum of Art}

My first solo art date was a success! It was a beautiful day to take a road trip down to Chadds Ford, PA. I arrived a little later than I had hoped, but thankfully the Brandywine Museum isn’t a large place and I was able to see all the artwork that I wanted and got a tour of Andrew, “Andy”, Wyeth’s studio!

studio located in Chadds Ford, PA
{The Studio}

The museum is tucked away among trees and sits right along a river. (I’m thinking it might be the Brandywine river?). The museum has 3 floors and each floor greets you with a bank of glass windows over looking the river. It’s glorious!

This museum is so unique in that it showcases 3 generations of artists from 1 family. There were galleries of first generation illustrator: NC Wyeth.

oil painting from treasure island
{NC Wyeth worked mostly in oil paints}

He is most famous for this 18 oil painting for Scribner’s TREASURE ISLAND edition. He then taught his youngest son, Andrew to paint. Andrew preferred to work in tempera paint and watercolor. I’m inclined to prefer his watercolor paintings. They are a little looser and more energetic.

2 watercolor painting of lobster man and green ferns by Andrew Wyeth
{2 of my favorite watercolors hanging on the wall}.

I love peering closely at the layering of color. There were so many unexpected hues— touches of aquamarine and reds in both the large areas of browns and greens. He was so confident in his brushwork too!

Andrew then taught his son, Jamie, to paint. We saw the “classroom” in Andrew’s studio house where Jamie took his lessons, as well as paint the famous JFK portrait. Did you know that Jamie took on this commission at only 18 years of age?! Incredible! The talent was definitely passed down.

Though I have to say, when I think of Jamie Wyeth’s work, I do think of this pig painting first. hehe

oil painting portrait of pig by Jamie Wyeth
{Den-Den, the pig,accidentally ate 22 tubes of oil paint on Jamie’s visit}

This was my first introduction to his work. My family has a story linked to it when visiting the Boston Museum of Art when I was a little girl and my brother was even smaller.

I had the best of intentions of sitting along the river beside the museum and doing a little watercolor painting. However, with my delay in getting down to the museum and my rush to get inside, I sadly neglected to refill my water bottle and hence, no water for the watercolor! Siiiigh. I did sit down and do a few sketches in colored pencil. Not quite as satisfying, but still it felt good to be drawing outside.

brandywine museum river
{river view from a shaded rock}

I stretched out my time at the museum by following a path along the river beside the building. It was such sunny day that I knew I wanted to at least sit outside and take in the natural world for a few moments. While I sat on a rock, I sketch the river view in front of me.

brandywine scuplture

There was a large bronze rabbit sculpture tucked away in a shaded grove. I saw him when the bus drove back from Andrew Wyeth’s studio. He had such personality I couldn’t help but draw him.

It was a happy art day all in all. I feel rejuvenated and inspired! I will certainly be back to the Brandywine Museum next Spring to see a retrospective of Jamie Wyeth’s work. This is a show not to be missed!

How was your weekend?

New Baby Shower Note Cards

by abby on June 5, 2014 | Comment

Summer Office
{My summer office}

Hello! I know it’s been awhile. Life sometimes gets away from me and my posting. I’ve been wrapping up loose ends for my classes at RIT and transitioning into my summer project mode! Like my summer office? I’m going to focus a little bit harder over the summer at sharing what is happening in my life and in my studio.

To start I’m sharing with you a new product available in my Etsy Shoppe. I’ve had these Bee illustrations for awhile, but now I’ve formally created a baby shower themed thank you note—perfect for a first-time mother.

Happy to bee a family of three

bee themed card for baby shower thank you note
{New cards!}

I’ve increased the number of cards available for this set to be more convenient for a party numbers. They are available in sets of 12 cards and envelopes. I think they are ADORABLE and hope you will agree. You can find them right HERE.

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I’m taking myself on my very first solo art trip. Tomorrow I’m heading down to visit Andrew Wyeth’s Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art. I’m bringing along my travel watercolor sketchbook and paints too and hope to find a pleasant spot to paint outside on the grounds. Have you been before? I’m so excited!

Have a great weekend!