More #TreeLove | Live Like the Tree

If I could offer you any advice it would be to live more like the tree. Root yourself deeply in the One who gives you life. Extend your branches outward to aid those in need. Bloom abundantly growing steadily in every season, and be resolute in your calling to breathe life into a starving world. —Chante Marie

I couldn’t resist sharing a little extra tree love this week. My [former] student, singer-songwriter-artist Chante Marie, speaks to the trees too. She shared her ink drawing of a tree and the tree inspired advice above on her revamped Instagram page recently.

For more inspiration, check out Chante Marie Official on IG and her new single, “We Need.” It has nothing to do with trees, but it’s just as beautiful.

Happy Weekend!

12 Days of Christmas Postcards | Day 12

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,

the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.

–Howard Thurman, “Christmas Is Waiting to be Born” in The Mood of Christmas & Other Celebrations 

Our final “12 Days of Christmas” post features a card Michael Lomax, President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and former President of Dillard University (DU) in New Orleans (1997-2004), sent to University employees in 2002.

Of course, this card wasn’t just lying around waiting for this moment. I found it a couple of weeks ago during my latest “I’m going to purge for real” session.

The cover, entitled “A Tribute to Peace,” features the work of Damion Hunter, who was then a sophomore at DU. A native of New Orleans and DU alumnus, Damion now resides in Houston, Texas. Like this piece, much of his work reflects New Orleans themes.

“A Tribute to Peace” pairs well with Theologian Howard Thurman’s “Christmas Is Waiting to Be Born,” and both work well to end our 12 Days of Christmas.

Hoping you will join me as we begin the real work of Christmas…


If you’re in the Houston area, you can see more of Damion’s work up close and personal on January 11 downtown at Kulture Restaurant. If Houston’s too far to travel, see below for links to some of my favorites from his Instagram profile.


12 Days of Christmas Postcards | Day 10

Christmas magic is silent.
You don’t hear it–
You feel it.
You know it.
You believe it.

Today’s postcard was not handmade, but it so thrilled me that I have to share it. It was sent with warm holiday greetings and love by my Love Notes friend, Eileen V.

I love the seeming simplicity of the art and the subtle nod to the magic of Christmas.

The watercolor reindeer is the work of Claudia Brandt, an artist I have fallen in love with. You can see more of her art on her website, A Painting a Day or Two or Longer, or on her Facebook page.

The postcard arrived in pristine condition because Eileen placed it in a bright red envelope and stamped it with a breathtaking Chagall image.

[Enlarged for detail]

I think she was trying to send me over the moon for the holiday season!

The stamp features a small part of one of the nine stained glass windows Marc Chagall (1887-1985) completed for St. Stephan Church in Mainz, Germany. The image depicts Mary cradling Baby Jesus with an angel hovering above them.

Chagall worked on the windows from 1978-1985, completing them shortly before his death. They feature themes common to Christians and Jews and serve as Chagall’s contribution to reconciliation between the two groups.

Here’s an image featuring the full panel: Chagall Window by Tomosang.

For a visual feast of Chagall’s stained glass windows:

For more information about St. Stephan’s windows:

Hang in there with me! We have just two more days of Christmas postcards to go!

So Many Sunflowers…

Designed by Michele Frusciano for Pictura

My penfriend Christine has been my most prolific sunflower supplier. At least seven sunflowers on my wall came from her. This number does not include the gorgeous sunflower notecard sets she sent to be shared with others.

Some cards feature her photography. Some her watercolors like the two below. Some are store-bought like the one above. All of them bring cheer and brightness when days are far from sunny.

The card above, designed by Michele Frusciano, is prettier and more detailed than the scan. It is full of light and texture, not flat as it appears. The accents–lines, dots, diamonds, and squiggles–are a metallic blue and gold. The center of the bloom is navy blue and the bloom is embossed–or double embossed (is that a thing?).

Maybe, these photos give a better picture (no pun intended). [Click an image for a closer look].

The watercolor sunflowers below held a beautiful set of monogrammed sunflower notecards Christine purchased to support another artist.

“Quick Watercolor Sunflowers” by Christine

The sunflower sisters appear to be involved in an animated conversation.

“Inspired by Sheila D.”

For this one, Christine borrowed our mutual artist friend Sheila D’s idea of sunflowers in a vase.  She imitated so well that at first sight I thought it was from Sheila!

Sunflowers in vases always remind me of Van Gogh–whose sunflowers I hope to talk about later this week.

Each of Christine’s cards deserves its own blog post. So many sunflowers, so few posts. . .

Sunflower Humans: If I Were a Flower

If I were a flower..I would be a sunflower.

Pam Stewart

My penfriends have been showering me with sunny blooms and sending beautiful reminders to “face the sun,” so my sunflower wall is growing beautifully wild. I’ll have to share an updated photo soon. Until then, I’ll continue to share the individual postcards on the blog.

About a week ago, I received a postcard from Geraldine (Nannydino on swap-bot) that offers a unique interpretation on the sunflower theme. Instead of growing in a field or sitting in a vase, the sunflowers appear to be growing out of a human.

“Sunflower Humans” by Priyanka Parul

Pretty interesting. Right?

“Sunflower Humans” is the work of Priyanka Parul, a young artist from Mumbai, India. I love how the human face is replaced with or masked by sunflowers. Are they human? Are the sunflowers a gift? Symbolic of a sunny disposition? A reminder to “radiate sunshine” from the inside out?  I’d love to know what Priyanka was thinking when she conceived this piece.

In my search for information on the piece, I ran across a post written in 2016, “Are You a Human or a Sunflower.” There are some conceptual similarities, so I wonder if the artist was inspired by the post.

I hope you have your shades nearby. You’ll need them for our final week of sunflower posts for the year.

May you have a week filled with sunshine and good things.

Circle Art: Let’s Make a Mess!

All good things are circular.  —Kiersten White, Now I Rise

Shortly after my focus on photographing lines last year, I transitioned to finding circles in ordinary places. I’ve seen the art installation above [or ones similar to it] at least three times within the last year–at work, in a dentist’s office, and in a hotel.

As I was scrolling through my Flickr albums–trying to decide if Flickr is worth the new price tag–I ran across a few circle art pieces the now seventh graders completed while in sixth grade. Their work reminded me of the art installation, so of course, I have to share.

My son is not crazy about his, but he’s allowing me to post it. Why? Because “there are no mistakes in art,” as his fourth grade teacher says. [Insert my shock that he’s okay with my including it].

Circle Art by Vaughan

Sadly, I didn’t have time to photograph all the students’ circle art, but here are the few I captured. [Click an image for a closer look].

 

Various tools can be used to make circle art, but the goal is to allow the process to evolve naturally–without overthinking it. It is definitely my kind of art, so I’m grabbing some art paper, colored pencils, markers, a compass, and (maybe) paint to make my own circle art this weekend. Maybe, I’ll find the courage to share here on the blog.

Why don’t you join me?

This is an excellent weekend activity for kids too, so get them to join the fun. If you need more information or inspiration on circle art, check out the Artful Parent’s Circle Art post.

Let’s make a mess!

Eric Carle’s Bears: What Do Bears See?

It’s been several months since I last shared children’s book illustration [CBI] postcards, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I assigned partners for the public and group swaps #44 [on swap-bot] a few days ago, but with the exception of the special posting of the sunflower from one of the #30 swaps, I’m only up to #24 on the blog. So much for not falling behind.

Instead of picking up where I left off chronologically, I decided to share the four “bear” cards from the Brown Bear collaboration of writer Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrator Eric Carle.

All were sent to me by Geraldine [Nannydino on swap-bot], one of the swappers who faithfully joins the CBI swaps. The postcards she selects for me always, always, always result from a careful reading of my profile, but it was [still] so thoughtful of her to send me every one of the bear book covers for four separate swaps. It freed me to send these blank Carle cards in my own collection to someone else. After all, postcards filled with ink, stamps, and postal markings are way more interesting than blank postcards.

Here are Carle’s bear illustrations–sent for swaps #33, 36, 38, 41.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is the first book in the Brown Bear series; it was originally published in 1967. The cover above is from the 1992 edition.

The duo came together again more than two decades after Brown Bear to collaborate on Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? The book, published in 1991, was designed to help toddlers identify animals and their sounds.

Published in 2003, Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? focuses on the world of endangered animals.

Published in 2007 Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? is the final book in the Brown Bear collaboration. In this one Baby Bear learns about North American animals while on his quest to find Mama.

Baby Bear holds a special place in my heart because I have a wonderful recording of my son “reading” it when he was about 18 months old. My mommy heart swoons each time I hear his tiny toddler voice rhythmically repeating the lines from the book. The Carle illustrations were among his favorites. And they are still among mine.

If you’re interested in the unique way Carle creates his illustrations, follow the link in my sunflower post. 

Until tomorrow…