Sunday, February 22, 2015

Christ our hope

The seeds of this post have been waiting for chance to sprout these last few days. And now I sit down with my watering can and grow light (because that's what seeds sprout under in the wintertime), but all I have are pictures and feelings. I have no words. 

Perhaps that is for the best. I share with you meaningful images, arising from my heart and speaking to my heart. 

An old doodle.

Christ Healing the Sick, an etching by Rembrandt also known as the Hundred Guilder Print. From Wikipedia. Click on the image to see it bigger and better.

And, by me, a little angel bearing gifts.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Since last we met

I have used up all my sketching paper. I have used the fronts and backs and have even overlapped sketches. My five-year-old looked at a page filled with cherubs copied from master drawings and laughed. "That baby is sitting on another baby!" she said. He was but he wasn't, not exactly. They were just in overlapping drawings on the same page. I am going to order a couple reams of loose newsprint as soon as ever I can, so I can draw and draw and draw and draw. 

In the meantime, here's another little homemade notecard. For awhile I've wanted to do a fawn sleeping among wild strawberries, and I want to develop it more than this, on better paper, but this is a nice preliminary, I think. 

I'm also working on some simple, nature inspired pendants to cast in silver. I'm not giving up on the Madonna and Child ring (and pendant), but I want to get some more easily accomplished pieces done first while I continue to practice. This leaf is about an inch long and still needs smoothing and polishing.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Some Russian children's book illustrations

I have been fascinated by Russian (and other Eastern European) illustration for awhile. I'm not knowledgeable about it.  I just like it, especially the somewhat primitive, folk-art style of pieces like those I share below.

The first three are by Igor Galanin.


The next is by Nikolay Kochergin.

I don't know who did the next one, but I love how the bright, cozy, domesticity contrasts with the dark, frosty outdoors. I also love the layer of autumn leaves under the snow. 

These can all be found on Library Things, a blog showcasing Russian children's books. The blogger sells Russian children's books on Etsy at HannaRivka.

Friday, February 6, 2015


I've stressed out over most every package I've mailed to my Etsy customers. I felt sad that the packages weren't fancy and didn't express a brand. (That's super important according to the Etsy bloggers.) And the very minor organizational thinking required felt overwhelming. Then, a few orders ago, I decided to use some colorful new markers to address the plain yellow envelope, and I doodled a red poppy in the corner. I felt so happy to send a pretty package, that putting it all together didn't strain my little brain one bit. Since then, mailing orders has been a joy. Today I sent this angel charm far away in a package with this birdie doodle. 

I felt so energized after mailing the package that I decided to doodle up some kraft-paper cards for personal correspondence that I've been neglecting. They ended up a little more involved than doodles, maybe, but I can't wait to send them out. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sketching the Madonna and Child

I have been looking at lots of  Madonna and Child paintings and doing quick sketches of them, trying to capture the gesture and basic proportions. It has been good fun, and I think my eye and understanding are improving.

This watercolor is by Frederico Barocci (1528-1612) and is being sold on Christies. I like the lightness and homeyness of this image, different from the more opulent, idealized and majestic Madonna images of the High Renaissance.


This painting of Mary, baby Jesus and the young John the Baptist is by Carlo Maratta (1625-1713) and can be found at I don't like how the colors seem yellowed and faded, but I like very much the contentment, kindness, trust and good cheer on all the faces. I especially like the bright, confiding look of little John the Baptist.

Here is a very rough and messy sketch for what will most likely be a colored pencil drawing, though I'm daydreaming about paint. It's just that colored pencils are so convenient, so easy to pick up and put down, no waiting for anything to dry. I hope that in the finished piece Mary's face will have some of the sweetness and delicacy that I love in the paintings above.

The oval will be partly bordered by fawn lilies, an early spring wildflower where I live, rising above dead oak leaves. I found this picture of one with oak leaves and everything at the Prairie Research Institute.