Monday, February 28, 2011

The West Coast

We are on our way to our new home in Western Canada. Coming up to this day we have been doing a lot of talking about the West Coast. Who is there, what it looks like, what's in our neighbourhood, what activities we can do as a family. The more pictures I see, the more excited I become for life out there.

While it is cold in Ontario and there is a lot of snow on the ground I am reminded of the kind of winters we will now have in BC. I may become nostalgic for snow and icicles, sledding and snowshoeing but after 30+ years of it I am ready to embrace a wet and green winter.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Love: Rediscovering Photography

I take a lot of photos of my kids. Actually, no, more like a MOTHER LOAD of pictures of my kids. My reasoning, if I need any, is that they are adorable, only this young and cute once and I want to preserve these moments. Now that these little stinkers are taking up loads and loads of memory card space I find myself ignoring other photography. One of my 'to-dos' is to take my camera with me on walks or just take a few minutes out of my day to take photos at different angles or of different textures around my house.

I was recently going through my photo collection before archiving and found a few that I really love and which inspire me to push myself further with composition, colour and subject matter.

The slight golden light that only Autumn has with a late afternoon hazy sky.

Large and small footprints in the first snow of the season.

Imperfect pumpkins with odd growths has such an interesting texture.

Our neighbour's cat, who I like to call stalker-cat, sits in the window and gives me crazy eyes.

Of course I threw in a picture of one of my kids, but at a different angle.


Monday, February 21, 2011


Before I created my sketchbook Valentine I was doodling a bunch of anatomical hearts. Thought I would share a few of my experiments.

There's my version of a 3-D heart with red and blue marker.

Cool tone heart with a little yellow for highlights.

And lastly,  a close-up of a strictly playful page where I draw quickly and test marker colour combinations.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Love: The Chinese Bug

Many of the books that I had when I was young are now in the my daughter's bookshelf. One of the books I remember being enchanted by was a book called The Chinese Bug written by Byrd Baylor Schweitzer. Now that I'm reading it to my daughter I have a new appreciation for the illustrations as well as the story.

The story follows a little boy named Joey who, on the first day of summer decided he had to dig a hole to China.

The dust jacket, if there was one, is long since gone. There is a small gold debossed illustration on the orange linen cover.

You get the feel that the location is in New York because Joey has no backyard, sandbox or square of earth of his own to dig in, although it could be any major metropolitan area.

Three of the four colours used on this spread. I'm really in love with this illustration style.

Luckily for Joey a kind grocery store clerk gives him permission to use a small piece of dirt near his store. With a kitchen spoon and a broken hoe, Joey digs and digs, ignoring all the naysayers around him. In the end he uncovers a bug with glistening yellow silk wings which Joey knows was digging up from China to find him.

Layered colour without exact registration feels loose and expressive. With only four colours you still get a sense of the twinkling of the butterfly.

Through the entire book Joey is running around in his bare feet and I get the impression that he is nearly always covered in dirt and loving every minute of it. The imagination of this little boy and the penchant for being dirty and shoeless in the summer reminds me of myself how I spent most of my days when I was little.

The illustration style is what brought me back to this book, 25 years later. The illustrator, Beatrice Darwin, uses only 4 colours, red, yellow, black and brown. The colours are layered so it feels like a linocut print, or, perhaps, a silkscreen. Coloured areas are done in a quick and block like manner and the registration doesn't appear perfect, but it works very well.

If I can keep this book from being over-loved with my two daughters, I'd love to pass on this 1968, first run book for their kids. It may seem ancient by then, but I hope the idea of imagination and perseverance carries through.


Monday, February 14, 2011


For my Valentine who is supportive, kind and caring. I said yes on Valentine's Day many years ago and I'm so happy I did.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Love: A Treasury of Hearts

So I'm cheating just a tiny bit and combining my monthly Etsy Treasury List with one of my Friday Love posts. Putting these two posts together is completely appropriate because I am enjoying compiling these treasuries of beautiful handmade goods and becoming increasingly obsessed by medical illustrations -- the older the better.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Butterflies Under Oatmeal

I already mentioned here that there are some really interesting things coming out of my child's mouth. At lunch the other day she said "there are butterflies under the oatmeal." I did a double take because a) we weren't eating oatmeal and b) what's up with the butterflies being under your breakfast? Of course I had to jot that one down and then create a little illustration. I think I'll tap into this gushing fountain of imagery as long as she will supply them. Currently she's better in the imagination department than I am.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Downpour of Red and Pink

The reason for this image popping into my head might be that February has always been a hard month for me. I usually feel as though winter will never end and the lack of sunshine and gardening wears me out. My energy level and thus my mood is usually at an all time low. 

I was doing something mundane, like washing dishes or making a meal when the imagery of raining red and pink hearts popped into my head. The best remedy being to deflect them with a large umbrella while wearing a gray sweater and a sturdy pair of galoshes.

I wouldn't call it depressing, but I would call it sulky.

Pen and Crayola (because all the rest is packed).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Love: Gray Sweaters

If my love for gray sweaters were a marriage it would be a very long and passionate one. I have been married to (read: obsessed with or hoarding) gray sweaters for as long as I can remember. It may be a little boring, predictable and safe but it is the perfect middle road for me.

Oh gray sweaters, how I love thee! Allow me to explain the ways.

- I can wear them with almost any other colour and it will match.
- The colour is never out of style like the magenta and royal blue items that are languishing in my closet.
- If I were to buy white it would be stained in a millisecond, I'm just that clumsy.
- After a couple of washes black sweaters are never the intense black they used to be and then I just end up looking sloppy.

From left to right.
Top: Generra via Bluefly, linQ via Bluefly, Topshop
Middle: Forever21
Bottom: Tilly Boutique, Moschino via Bluefly, From Italy with Love via Bluefly, Forever21

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