Bear Carries Sunflowers, or More Children’s Book Illustration Postcards

From the Big Book of Bear and Hedgehog, Ingrid & Dieter Schubert

From the Big Book of Bear and Hedgehog, Ingrid & Dieter Schubert

Should we be concerned that the first thing I noticed about this postcard is the sunflowers that form part of the bouquet Bear is hiding? My obsession with sunflowers has hit an all new high.

The cute card, featuring two animals hiding gifts behind their backs, was sent for the Book Lovers Congregate Children’s Book Illustration Postcards Swap #12.  Sammoning (Netherlands) sent the postcard and admitted that she joined BLC “just to participate” in children’s book illustration swaps! How cool is that?  She’s fortunate enough to live near a bookstore that sells “beautiful illustrated postcards with typical Dutch characters like Miffy and also more unique and current stories.”

The postcard illustration comes from The Big Book of Bear and Hedgehog, which is actually a compilation of four books of the duo’s adventures written by husband and wife team Ingrid and Dieter Schubert.  The bear is described in reviews as “clumsy and rather silly,” and the hedgehog as “cheeky.”  They were introduced to Dutch children’s literature in 1998 and have continued to line the shelves of children all over the world.

For Children’s Book Illustration Postcards Swap #12 (public), Mollypop (USA) sent this sweet postcard of a little girl with her teddy bear (because she knows I like teddy bears). The illustration is by Alice May Cook (1876-1958), a Scottish painter and illustrator.

Alice M. Cook from Blackie's Children's Annual

Alice M. Cook from Blackie’s Children’s Annual

The image is from Blackie’s Children’s Annuals, which were published by Blackie and Son Limited, a publishing house in Glasgow, Scotland (1891-1991). According to the Abe Books website, children’s books were published in periodicals and distributed weekly or monthly.  At the end of the year, the best stories were collected, bound, and released just in time for Christmas gifting.

You can find a selection of Cook images here.  Though limited, the collection demonstrates the range of her art.  Unfortunately, I found very little about the illustrator and even less about this postcard in particular.

Swaps #13 haven’t made their way to me from Israel yet, but good news–both postcards for swap #14 arrived today! Look for those here soon.

Until next time…

Enjoy!

 

Another Round of Love!

We completed the first round of Love Notes 2017 a couple of weeks ago.  Again, I had a beautifully artistic soul with whom to exchange cards and messages.  My partner, Carolyn D. of Garden City, Idaho sent handcrafted cards with elegantly handwritten messages.  It was always such a treat to find one of her notes in my mailbox.

For week 1’s prompt “I can trust the universe because…,” Carolyn sent:

“Create Art” by Carolyn D.

I can trust the universe because of its maker, who shows Himself in the laughter of the children, the beauty of nature, and the kindness of strangers.

Week 2’s prompt, “I invite you to tend to your soul…” provided me with a gorgeous card and much needed advice.  I should have heeded this advice before I was forced to spend four days in bed.

“Feathers and Spools,” by Carolyn D.

I invite you to tend to your soul in a tub of hot water with your favorite bubble bath… Then, donning warm socks and a pair of sweats and reading your favorite book while curled up in your favorite chair.

I’ll be tending my soul and body in this way tomorrow with a hot cup of tea added to the prescription. My soul and body need this.

And for “Love is…,” the dreaded week 3 prompt (dreaded because that means the round has come to an end), Carolyn appropriately sent hearts and love.

“Hearts and Love” by Carolyn D.

Love is…

  • taking time to help someone when you’re in a hurry
  • being kind when someone’s opinion differs from yours
  • God giving you strength when you are overwhelmed by the events in the world and in your country

I’m intrigued by how Carolyn can take torn paper and cut outs and make such visually appealing cards.

We were similar in our approaches to the prompts and I thoroughly enjoyed our exchange.  She ended the swap with a nice lengthy note telling me a bit about herself.  I’m happy to add her to my growing list of postcard pals.

As usual, I received extra cards from other Love Notes participants turned pen friends.  I shared Martha’s cards here and here.  If you haven’t seen it already, you’ll fall in love with the adorable raccoon watercolor.

  • Jacki sent a multi-paneled postcard, “Driftwood Art” by Martin Wiscombe.  This one was sent from the future, as it was dated February 18, 2017.  I love it!  I’ll make a point of revisiting it on 02-18-17.
  • Lorelei sent a “Did You Know?” postcard about Five Missions of San Antonio, Texas.
  • Sheila, a new Love Notes friend shared a woodblock print by Holly Meade, a Maine artist. Check out Reach Road Gallery for more.
  • Marrianna, another new friend and very talented photographer shared her gorgeous flower, edited in iColorama, one of my favorite editing apps.  You can see more of her work on her blog, Snapshots in Time.
  • Christine, who is a prolific postcard sender, sent her cheerful watercolor tulips.

[Click an image for a closer look]

The next round begins in April. Plan to join in! For more information and to sign up, click here.

Microblog Mondays: Postcards and Shakespeare

I had other plans for today’s microblog, but I’m thinking about the Shakespeare course I teach every spring and the postcards on my desk are waiting to be shared.

[Click image for a closer look and details]

“As You Like It” is from the Postcards from Penguin collection of Penguin classic covers; I received it for a “Book Lover’s Postcard” swap.  The other two are from the Shakespeare’s Plays collection of postcards featuring images from the Library of Congress.  They will be on their way soon to a couple of Shakespeare-loving friends to celebrate the beginning of the semester.

As part of our conversation about Shakespeare’s world, we will discuss Queen Elizabeth I whose portrait was among the postcards on my desk.

Queen Elizabeth in Queenly Glory

The “Ditchley Portrait” of Queen Elizabeth I by Marcus Geeraerts.

I’m looking forward to hearing what students have to say about portraiture and Queen Elizabeth I, particularly after they study a more “truthful” painting: “A Picture of Misery,” Portrait of Queen Elizabeth.  I have a feeling they won’t be fazed by the “enhancing” of portraits.  They live in an age in which they can modify any image with an iPhone and an app.

microblog_mondays

My Mailbox Speaks French: “Les publicités anciennes” (Old Advertisements)

Though my skills in other languages are minimal, my mailbox is multilingual. Just a few days ago I retrieved a happy envelope full of postcard goodies from France.  Louise of Drops of Everything sent me the package thanking me for a kindness.  Of course, this was unnecessary, but I’m learning not to stifle people’s desire to give or my mailbox’s right to be happy. 😉

Louise sent a note via Instagram letting me know that “a little something” was on the way. I had no idea what, but since I love surprises, I didn’t even try to guess. Therefore, I was thoroughly pleased when I opened the envelope and found five glossy vintage French advertisement reproductions.

The postcards are from a collection of vintage postcard reproductions.  I’ve done my best to find out more about the collection, but my French is beyond rusty (an understatement).  No matter. There was a lot of great information on the backs of the postcards.  The collection is called “Les Publicites Anciennes,” roughly translated “old advertisements.”

Reproduction of a beautiful lithographic poster executed about 1900 (anonymous author) for cocoa "Van Houten." Printing works F. Champeois, Paris. Source: private collection

Reproduction of a beautiful lithographic poster executed about 1900 (anonymous author) for “Cocoa Van Houten.” Printing: F. Champeois, Paris. Source: Private collection.

 

Reproduction of a famous and original charm-lithography of 1893 designed by the artist Firmin Bouisset for the "Chocolat Menier." Printer: Offices Camis Paris. Source: Private Collection.

Reproduction of a famous and original chromo-lithograph of 1893 designed by the artist Firmin Bouisset for the “Chocolat Menier.” Printer: Offices Camis Paris. Source: Private Collection.

 

Reproduction of an original chromo-lithograph of 1897 designed by the artist Firmin Bouisset for "biscuits Lu" (Lefevre Utile). Printer: Offices Camis Paris. Source: Private collection.

Reproduction of an original chromo-lithograph of 1897 designed by the artist Firmin Bouisset for “Biscuits Lu” (Lefevre Utile). Printer: Offices Camis Paris. Source: Private collection.

 

Reproduction of a beautiful chromo-lithograph produced at the beginning of the 20th century for Ets Vendors which at that time made "Calais" biscuits. Printer: F. Champenois, Paris. Source: Private collection.

Reproduction of a beautiful chromo-lithograph produced at the beginning of the 20th century for Ets Vendors which at that time made “Calais” biscuits. Printer: F. Champenois, Paris. Source: Private collection.

 

Reproduction of a famous illustration (first half of 20th century) produced by the artist Germaine Bouret (1907-1953) for the Paitissiers de face collective, found on pastry packaging and cake boxes. Source: Private collection.

Reproduction of a famous illustration (first half of 20th century) produced by the artist Germaine Bouret (1907-1953) for the Pâtisserie de face collective, found on pastry packaging and cake boxes. Source: Private collection.

Aren’t these delicious? And they arrived in time for the holidays. 🙂

It seems the postcards come from a collection “Les Authentiques et les Imaginares.” In my search for more information about the postcards, I discovered that there are a number of counterfeits of Germaine Bouret’s work and some vendors continue to sell the postcards even though it is illegal to do so.  I’m baffled by the lengths people will go to profit off someone else’s creative and intellectual property, but I’m curious about the Bouret counterfeits.  In my curiosity, I was led to an original sketch of the illustration above: Bouret Advertisement Illustrations.  In fact, on this site the particular collection from which this postcard comes was listed as an offender (but not this particular postcard).  Interesting, right? When time permits, I’m going to uncover as much as I can about this collection.

So…Louise, thanks for sending me a bundle of gorgeous postcards AND the unplanned intrigue!

 

Pretty Purple Postcard!

Squeals! Look at what was in my mailbox:

"Creativity, Light, and Love," by Tiare Smith Designs

“Creativity, Light, and Love,” by Tiare Smith Designs

Neither my hubby nor I checked our mailbox Thursday, so this bit of awesomeness was retrieved Friday morning as I was heading out to work. Why the squeals?  My friend Cy and I “discovered” Tiare Smith Designs moments apart.  I actually shared her Etsy link with Cy when I saw some AKA sorority-inspired art.  As usual, I was multitasking while shopping, so the “Tia Collection,” one of the sets of postcards I placed in my cart, sold out before I could place the order.  I lamented missing out on Tia, but who didn’t miss out? And who sent me this postcard?  Cy!

Pause for the “happy mail” dance.

According to her creator, “Tia is here to bring light and love into the world.  She has many stories to share.”  Besides her “purpleness,” I love the innocence, sweetness, and light Tia projects.  She makes me want to skip through a field of flowers with nary a care in the world.

I initially went to Tiare’s shop to purchase a birthday gift for myself–a print the artist posted in “Black Women Who Plan and Create,” a community of black women planners, crafters, and artists on Facebook and Instagram.

"Fearless Girl" by Tiare Smith Designs

“Fearless Girl” by Tiare Smith Designs

This print captured everything I was feeling in the few days after my birthday. Focused. Determined. Fearless.

There was so much eye candy in the shop that I couldn’t resist purchasing other prints. Besides, I had gift cards to spend. 🙂 I purchased a total of 16 postcards, and Tiare included four extras, including three abstract still life prints and a multi-paneled print with tips for including it in planner layouts.  Here’s a peek at the order:

A collection of prints by Tiare Smith Designs

A collection of prints by Tiare Smith Designs

Tiare is a mixed media artist and instructor who obviously has fun with her work, but she also takes her work and her customers seriously.  She has great customer service–ships quickly, responds to questions, and customizes orders.  If you want to see more of Tiare’s art, check her out at Tiare Smith Designs or at her Etsy Shop. She’s also on Instagram and Twitter as @iamclassygirl and on Facebook: Tiare Smith Designs.

It’s always a treat to find a random postcard from Cy in my mailbox, partly because the writing side is always handled with simplicity and elegance.  Her message included a quote sticker:  “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” A “truth” to live by! 😉

Thank you, Cy, for always having my “postcard” back.

 

 

Tardy for the Party: Liberate Your Art 2016

Imagine my chagrin when I checked my email the morning of April 18th and realized that I’d completely missed the Liberate Your Art 2016 Blog Hop! I was sick for days about it. I blamed Tax Day and the madness of April for my missing out. Oh well. I eventually dusted myself off, and now LYA is my first blog post for May.

Again, I participated in Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap, a swap she founded to encourage artists of any medium to share their art with the world. The postcard party just completed its sixth year.

This year there were:

  • 1050 pieces of art liberated
  • 175 artists participating
  • 12 countries represented

I received all six of the postcards that were sent to me this year. Here they are:

"Innocence" by Amy Irwen

“Innocence” by Amy Irwen, November 2015

Amy hails from Rosemount, Minnesota. She created a handcut collage made of paper, ink, paint, and gel medium transfer.  The attacks on Paris in November 2015 led her to create this piece, a commemorative of lives lost.

LYA 2016-4

Art Journal Painting by Linda Richards

Linda sent greetings from Sunny California.  She shared a reproduction of a painting she had done in her art journal while visiting her son in Missouri.  This image with earth tones and splashes of reds, yellows, and blues is calming and exciting at the same time.

"Journal of My Soul," Rosanna Pogaun

“Journal of My Soul,” Rosanna Pogaun

Mabuhay from the Philippines!  Rosanna sent her beautiful flower with God’s blessings of love and a reminder that the good news is written on God’s handiwork as well as in the Good Book.

"Twilight Eagle," by Diana Brady

“Twilight Eagle,” by Diana Brady

Diana also hailed from California.  She shared her “twilight eagle” with a gorgeous purple sky and the silhouette of trees in the background.  On the back of the card, she penned a poem by an anonymous Native American poet:

What is Life?

It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and
loses itself in the sunset

Light and Bird Mosaic

Light and Bird Mosaic

While we’re on the subject of birds…The artist who created this gorgeous mosaic did not sign a name, but wrote a brief poem on the back of the postcard:

Light and Bird
fused
in the
transparent
morning
sky…….

If you’ve been following my blog over the last year or two or three, then, you’d know that the last postcard sent for the “official” LYA swap, comes from Kat, the swap’s founder, coordinator, and all-around awesome person. She sends her card as a “thank you” to participants.

LYA 2016-5

“Gatekeeper” by Kat Sloma

Trees are among Kat’s favorite thing to photograph, so I wasn’t the least bit surprised to see the trees. I love the way she “stacked” this photo allowing the trees to serve as primary frame for the moon but still hold their place as focus of the photo.  You can find more about how Kat crafted this photo here: Masking in Stackables (Mobile Tutorial).

She typically includes the a LYA motivational thought on the back. This year:

LYA 2016-6

And Kat’s last word of the swap–

[Kat Sloma] I created this year’s final celebration art piece to remind each and every one of us that we are on a journey. We may start on the path of liberating our art timidly, fearful of the response we are going to get. Art is such a personal thing, it can feel like we are putting a piece of our heart and soul out there, where others may reject it. But you know what? The more you liberate your art, the easier it gets. The more confident you get. You just have to keep taking small steps.

Kat Sloma’s Final Piece for LYA 206

Kat typically ends the celebration with a piece she creates. Notice how she weaves the postcards sent for the swap into her “final” creations. She writes:

I created this year’s final celebration art piece to remind each and every one of us that we are on a journey. We may start on the path of liberating our art timidly, fearful of the response we are going to get. Art is such a personal thing, it can feel like we are putting a piece of our heart and soul out there, where others may reject it. But you know what? The more you liberate your art, the easier it gets. The more confident you get. You just have to keep taking small steps.

Thanks, ladies, for all your beautiful work!

Now, of course, we can’t “participate” in the swap by simply receiving postcards. We have to create something and share it with the world, so tune in tomorrow–or maybe, the next day–when I’ll share the postcards I sent for LYA 2016 as well as postcards I received in “side swaps.”  I still have many left, by the way, so if you’re interested in a “side swap,” let me know.

Want more artistic inspiration?  Check out the LYA 2016 Blog Hop.  Hop to it!

 

 

The Indigo Buntings of Academia

I stole a moment yesterday from all the “things to do” to “thin out” the stationery and planner pouches I carry to work with me. All the pretty things were spread out on the coffee table. Among them were at least seven letters to which I must respond soon. In that stack of letters was a gorgeous notecard from Omi, an adjunct English professor and one of my “Professors United” pals on swap-bot.

"Indigo Bunting" by Christy Lemp

“Indigo Bunting” by Christy Lemp

Lemp’s watercolor was one of the winners of the AAUW’s 2015 Art contest.  From the back of the card:

Christy Lemp always loved to draw and paint but only starred devoting more time to it after years of working other jobs and raising her family.  Spurred by the passage of a milestone birthday, Lemp quit her job and dove into her passion: watercolor painting.  After much hard work and persistence, Lemp’s dream of making artwork for people has come true. Indigo Bunting was inspired by a Mother’s Day visit of the beautiful bird to Lemp’s bird feeder.

I often think about adjunct professors like Omi who toil day in and day out with inadequate pay and benefits.  In this letter, Omi wrote about how the university that employs her changed the adjunct pay schedule from biweekly to monthly and were (or are) discussing eliminating adjuncts in her discipline altogether! I am sympathetic to the plight of adjuncts and disturbed by how some universities take advantage of them, but I know that many adjuncts appreciate having a paycheck and a job in academia, hoping that “a foot in the door” will lead to a full-time position.

According to the Chipper Woods Bird Observatory:

Indigo Buntings perform a valuable service as they consume grasshoppers, beetles, cankerworms, flies, mosquitoes, cicadas, weevils and aphids. Diet also consists of seeds of raspberries, grasses, thistle, goldenrod, dandelions and other weed seeds. It is well worth the effort to provide suitable brushy habitat and shrubby forest edges to assure a healthy population of these attractive little songsters.

I’m not in the habit of comparing people to animals, but it’s fitting that Omi wrote her letter on this card. It’s a reminder that adjuncts, too, provide an invaluable service to colleges and universities. They, often, perform in ways that other professors refuse, taking on the grunt work of service courses that leave them little time to pursue their own research and dreams.

Despite the challenges, Omi seems upbeat and optimistic. She’s writing, reading, crafting, sharing beauty, and loving her life–and her cats who “own [her] soul because she can’t resist their cute faces.”  =^..^=

Collage Art: The Little Matisses

“In the Style of Matisse” by Vaughan

[Art] is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence.  –Henri Matisse

By now, you know that there’s a special place in my heart for children’s art and art created for children, so as promised, I’m back with another dose of fourth grade goodness.

About a month ago, Mrs. Johnson, my son’s fourth grade teacher, introduced the students to the art of French artist Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse.  Matisse, whose work spanned many decades, worked with various styles and media.  Mrs. Johnson’s art lesson focused on a technique Matisse mastered late in his career after illness and surgery left him physically unable to paint and sculpt–collages made from brightly colored paper cut in various shapes and sizes. I’m sure the students loved playing with construction paper, glue, and scissors to create their own masterpieces à la Matisse!

My little one created the one above. These (below) were created by the other students in the class. [Click on an image for a closer look].

Sixteen little Matisses. The bold colors and unique shapes are mesmerizing.  It is obvious that the children enjoyed creating the collages. I wonder if they felt as “mysterious” and “adventurous” as some of these pieces feel.

I’m no art expert, but as far as I’m concerned, children’s art–even when it is imitative–is always fresh and always bears a stroke of originality and innocence.

To find out more about Matisse’s life and career, check him out here: Matisse: Life and Painting.

The weekend is here:  Why not take some time to create something with construction paper, scissors, and a little glue?

Postcards from Dr. Seuss

"Speak for the Trees," Mail Art by Nancylee on swap-bot

“Speak for the Trees,” Mail Art by Nancylee on swap-bot

Wouldn’t pulling this envelope out of your mailbox make you grin from ear to ear?  Maybe, that’s just me?  Swap-bot’s Nancylee so cheerfully decorated the envelope she sent to me in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday (in March) that I almost forgot to open the envelope!  The front was inspired by The Lorax; the back was inspired by none other than the Cat in the Hat.

Dr Seuss Bday Swap-1

Yes, she adorned the front and back with her imitations of Dr. Seuss characters.

Now, what was inside the envelope?  Two postcards from the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield, Massachusetts, Theodor Geisel’s (aka Dr. Seuss) hometown.  Although she has yet to visit the sculpture garden, Nancylee’s mom visited and sent her a bunch of postcards.

The first postcard features Horton of Horton Hears a Who and Horton Hatches the Egg fame standing inside the pages of a book.

"Horton Court,"

“Horton Court,” Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, Sculptor

A couple of my favorite Horton quotes:

from Horton Hears a Who–

Please don’t harm all my little folks, who
have as much right to live as us bigger folks do!

from Horton Hatches the Egg–

I meant what I said and I said what I meant.
An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent.

The second postcard features Yertle from Yertle the Turtle standing loftily on top of all the turtles of the pond.  Yertle is probably the favorite Seuss tale in our home.  We applaud the moxie of a “plain little” turtle named Mack who stands up for turtles everywhere.

"Yertle the Turtle,"

“Yertle the Turtle,” Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, Sculptor

My favorite quotes from the book:

I know up there on top, you are seeing great sights
but down here on the bottom, we, too, should have rights.

and of course,

And the turtles, of course… all the turtles are free
As turtles, and, maybe, all creatures should be.

The sculptures were created by Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, Geisel’s stepdaughter.  What a precious way to pay tribute to his memory and imagination!  If you’d like to find out more about the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, click the link.

 

Illuminations, or “Check out My Big Bro!”

"Green Belt" by Dennis Tyler Photography

“Green Belt” by Dennis Tyler Photography

This is less a blog post and more a shout out to my older brother, Dennis, whose work is now on exhibit at Agora Gallery in the Big Apple.  Dennis is an amazing photographer who has, for my entire life at least, always had a camera in his hand.

Illuminations: an Exhibition of Fine Art demonstrates “the thoughtful beauty of Dennis Tyler’s photography” which “emerges with an ethereal clarity, capturing fragments of eternity in an exquisite visual meditation” (from Agora Gallery Press Release).

If you’re in New York anytime between November 4 and November 25, drop by and take a gander at his work. Agora Gallery is located at 530 West 25th Street, New York, NY (212.226.4151).

Click the image to go to Agora Gallery and for more information about Dennis Tyler’s exhibit

If you can’t get to New York this month, check out his work here: Dennis Tyler Photography.

He also has a Facebook page you can “like”: Dennis Tyler Photography on Facebook.

I am so proud of my “big” brother.  He’s the reason I quickly remind people that photography for me is a hobby not a profession.  Many can pick up a camera and craft a few good shots.  The artists, however, consistently move us with their work.