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Today I’m pleased to welcome Kansas City-based artist, illustrator, and hand letterer Sarah Walsh to Alphabet Soup!

Pictured above is a collage she created this past summer called “Aqua Daydreams.” I loved it the moment I saw it — mermaids, jellyfish, the different shapes, lines, colors, and overall composition of the piece with its touches of whimsy and playfulness. It feels childlike and sophisticated at the same time, definitely invites a closer look, and much like the rest of her work, elicits unabashed joy and happiness.

“Horsie Love”

A graphic design major, Sarah worked at Hallmark for 12 years, has also illustrated for other card lines, helped Crayola create a character-based tween girl brand (Pop Art Pixies), and has designed typefaces and surface patterns (client list includes Usborne, Peaceable Kingdom, Land of Nod, Perseus, Red Rooster Fabrics). She and her artist husband Colin (love that name!) share a basement studio in their home and sell prints and other goodies via their Etsy shop Petit Reve.

Artists and illustrators Colin and Sarah Walsh of Petit Reve

Most recently, Sarah published three awesome coloring books for Rockport’s Just Add Color Series: Day of the Dead, Carnival, and Circus. (Have you read the recent HuffPo article about how coloring books help adults combat stress? I think we should all order Sarah’s coloring books ASAP! ):)

I know you’ll enjoy learning more about Sarah and feasting your eyes on her charmingly quirky, fun and vibrant creations. She counts among her major influences 50’s and 60’s illustration, family, friends and love in general. It’s so easy to see the ♥ in her work. :)

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Just about now you’re probably craving a little something sweet — perhaps a donut, cupcake or macaron? Or maybe PIE! YES!

So here’s a sampler platter of goodies created by London-based artist Nathalie Amber. She was kind enough to allow me to feature several of her luscious watercolors in my blog header this month, and I thought since you were probably drooling over those you’d want to see more. I threw in a few veggies and botanicals to balance our diet. :) In a word, YUM.

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On this brisk and beautiful autumn day, a little feast for the eyes. Ladies, brace yourselves.

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THE LOOK
by Sara Teasdale

Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon’s kiss was lost in jest,
Robin’s lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin’s eyes
Haunts me night and day.

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I love this little gem by Sara Teasdale. It’s light, lyrical, flirty, and touches on the essence of romance. I am reminded of Charlotte Brontë, whose primary literary theme was unrequited love. The “what might have been’s” and the fantasies surrounding an idealized love often make for a better story with its inherent longing and suspense, setting the stage for a good old-fashioned chase.

The question now is, has anyone ever given you “the look”?

While you’re pondering that, let’s look some more at Mr. Firth looking at us. Put your bibs on to catch all the drool. :)

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The furry helpers in the Alphabet Soup kitchen are just counting down the days till the new Paddington movie premieres in the U.S. on Christmas Day, which just happens to be Paddington’s winter birthday (he also celebrates June 25).

Though we’re disappointed Colin Firth decided to leave the project, and that the bear in the first movie trailer didn’t quite feel like the same character from the books, we’re still very pleased that Paddington will likely win over millions of new fans.

HarperCollins is re-releasing some of the Paddington novels and picture books, Michael Bond has written a new novel, Love From Paddington (hitting shelves in December), and there’s the wonderful Paddington Trail with 50 bear statues scattered around London. And what about all the coolio movie tie-in merchandise? Yes, please!

New PB Finger Puppets are faboo!

The set comes with Paddington and Aunt Lucy finger puppets, a two-sided backdrop and 24 stickers.

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“I would like to paint the way a bird sings.” ~ Claude Monet

Bonjour!

Today, a mini feast celebrating Claude Monet. There are very few of us who are not enamored with Impressionist art, and as writers, artists, and poets, we know only too well the great joy and frustration that can define the creative process.

You probably know that Monet developed cataracts late in life that severely impaired his acute perception of colors and light, the very hallmarks of his work. His world took on a yellowish tinge, and his paintings gradually became more reddish and muddied, the familiar scenes he so luminously depicted before appearing almost unrecognizable.

Japanese Footbridge (1897)

In a letter to a friend he said, ” . . . my poor eyesight makes me see everything in a complete fog. It’s all very beautiful just the same and it’s this which I’d loved to have been able to convey.” When he could no longer trust his eyes, he carefully read the labels on paint tubes, kept a regular order of colors on his palette, and painted from memory.

Japanese Footbridge (1920-1922)

Lisel Mueller’s poignant “Monet Refuses the Operation” is a beautiful testament to the mind’s eye, an inspiring philosophy, an artist’s credo, a passionate affirmation for all creatives: there’s more than one way of seeing.

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