fanciful beauty: caitlin mcgauley’s watercolor paintings

If you’re a fan of fashion and/or interior design you may have seen some of Caitlin McGauley’s work in the pages of Vogue, Better Homes and Gardens, or Elle Decor.

The bright, bold colors and whimsical details in her watercolors are hard to miss.  Whether she’s painting a pretty interior, a spray of flowers, a lovely table setting, or a pastry shop, there’s a distinctive charm and élan that I find irresistible.

It’s fun to see the interesting characters, city scenes, and everyday objects that bear her cheery, chic and uplifting style. I am reminded of Emma Block and Maira Kalman with a touch of Raoul Dufy.  A breath of fresh air!

Caitlin studied at the Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts, first majoring in illustration before switching to advertising. She experimented with a variety of mediums before discovering her love of watercolor via a “paint every day” project on her blog.

After college, she started working for Ralph Lauren Home as a textile designer, then went on to pursue freelance projects.

As the story goes, years ago Caitlin happened to comment on the Lonny magazine blog, which prompted the editor to visit Caitlin’s illustration blog. The editor liked Caitlin’s watercolors, so she asked her to do a weekly series for Lonny called Watercolor Wednesday. This led to a commission with Kate Spade, New York, and Caitlin hasn’t looked back since.

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“the patience of ordinary things” by pat schneider

“Mountain Blues” by Karen Hollingsworth (2013)

 

THE PATIENCE OF ORDINARY THINGS
by Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

~ from Another River: New and Selected Poems (Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 2005)

“Connected” by Karen Hollingsworth (2010)

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And is it not a kind of love how a poem can hold the words you most need to hear? Vessel of heart, unadorned yet profound, luminous in its simplicity, Schneider’s poem speaks to the sacred in the everyday and is a beautiful paean to patience and gratitude.

If you’re a writer, you know all about waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Every step in the process has a distinct purpose and unfolds in its own time. Every story or poem waits its turn for someone to give it form, shape, and resonance. Just as I appreciate the cup that holds my tea, I marvel at how ideas know how to find just the right people, and how the hundreds of books on my shelves silently wait for me to reach for them. I am most grateful for the patience of stories waiting to be told, and smile at the thought of how happy characters must be when we finally open their books and let them speak.

“Reading Woman by the Open Window” by Asta Norregaard (1889)

This poem gives me an inner sense of calm, making me feel centered and grounded. The outside world is chaotic and full of upheaval and uncertainty. It is good to know there are things we can count on, and that no matter what happens, there is art, the power of the imagination, unique voices and vision. One person’s poem can be another’s prayer.

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A renowned teacher of writing, Pat Schneider is the author of ten works of poetry and nonfiction, including Writing Alone and With Others. Founder of Amherst Writers & Artists, she travels frequently to teach and has been leading workshops in creative writing at the Pacific School of Religion for almost thirty years. Garrison Keillor has read her poems sixteen times on “Writers Almanac.” Her most recent book is How the Light Gets In: Writing as a Spiritual Practice (2013). Find out more about Pat’s books and writing workshops at her Official Website.

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🐶 PET CRAZY GIVEAWAY WINNER! 🐰

Thank you for commenting about your favorite pets last week. Enjoyed reading the rhymes and picturing a white stray cat named Silmarillion lapping milk, a hound who croons at the moon, and a dog who likes to lick his owner’s feet. There was also a Lizzy and a Lizzie, one a salamander, the other a fish . . . or a dragon? 🙂

Mr Cornelius picked the winner with the careful long distance supervision of Monsieur Random Integer Generator, who’s in Provence having his mustache trimmed.

So, with a little trumpet fanfare and a jiggedy jig (drumrolls are passé this season),

we are pleased to announce that the winner of a brand new copy of Pet Crazy is:

🎉 Jan Godown Annino at BookSeedStudio!! 🎈

Congratulations, Jan!!

Please send your snail mail address to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com to receive your book. 🙂

Thanks again to everyone for entering the giveaway!

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The lovely and immensely talented Laura Purdie Salas is hosting the Roundup at Writing the World for Kids. Glide over and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared in the blogosphere this week. I can’t believe September is all but over already! Enjoy your weekend. 🙂


Copyright © 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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[review + recipe] Fanny in France by Alice Waters and Ann Arnold

Bonjour Mes Amis!

Are you in the mood for a little trip to France?

I was so excited last Fall when I learned that renowned chef and restaurateur Alice Waters had written another children’s book about her daughter Fanny. I remember well when I first saw Fanny at Chez Panisse in a bookstore back in the mid 90’s.

You know that feeling when you see a book that looks interesting, and you casually pick it up, and as you’re fanning through the pages, your pulse starts to quicken and your senses go on high alert because, because — oh my, what’s this? wow! LOVE, yes! it’s love at first sight!?

I had not seen a book like that before — a children’s story with illustrated recipes! Usually stories were stories and recipes lived in cookbooks. But to combine the two? Brilliant!

So began my obsession newfound interest in food-related children’s books and illustrated cookbooks. I also wanted to move to Berkeley, California, immediately so I could dine regularly at Chez Panisse.

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Barking About Pet Crazy by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong (+ a giveaway!)

Jump, roll over, sit, and stay . . . it’s time to sniff out Pet Crazy, the third title in the popular Poetry Friday Power Book series created by poetry goddesses Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. Yip!

Just for this post, you may bark, meow, cluck, or tweet your approval at any time. Perfectly acceptable. After all, it’s hard to curb your enthusiasm for this fun and frisky interactive story-in-verse and writing journal rolled into one, just purrrrfect for kids in grades K-3 (or bears of any age).

Pet Crazy includes 36 poems in all, with three poems featured in each of 12 PowerPacks.

PowerPacks include:

  1. Powerplay Activity
  2. Anchor Poem
  3. Response Poem
  4. Mentor Poem
  5. Power2You Writing Prompt

The anchor poems in Pet Crazy were written by Kristy Dempsey, Janice Harrington, Carole Boston Weatherford, Eric Ode, Helen Frost, Tamera Will Wissinger, Elizabeth Steinglass, Laura Shovan, Padma Venkatraman, Eileen Spinelli, April Halprin Wayland and Don Tate. Five poems culled from the Poetry Friday Anthology series take their place alongside seven newly penned verses.

Janet Wong has written original response and mentor poems, cleverly weaving all into a charming story about young Ben, who yearns for a dog of his own, friend and cat lover Kristy, and Daniel, Ben’s best friend, who gives Ben an unusual pet for his birthday.

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ooh la-la giveaway winners!

Monsieur Random Integer Generator has just handed me the names of three lucky Alphabet Soup readers who have won picture books in our recent giveaways. 🙂

M. Generator is in top form this week, having just returned from a three month cruise around the world. He had a whopping good fine time being his usual ever reliable, erudite, dapper, connoisseur self, stopping in the Land of Fairy Tales, South Korea, and Egypt, where he devoured 542 pumpkin pies, 1,254 kimchi pancakes, and 384 bowls of kushari. He was especially enamored with the fresh kraken sushi he was served during a side trip to Oslo.

He was happy to be picking three winners this time around, and wanted me to remind everyone that he is always open to bribes (mostly notably cases of champagne, free yoga classes, and a complete set of Jacques Pépin cookbooks).

Without further doodle-ee-doo, the winners are:

for NO KIMCHI FOR ME! by Aram Kim:

⇒ 🇰🇷 Sylvia Dodge 🍚 ⇐

for A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE by Penny Parker Klostermann and Ben Mantle:

⇒ 🍎 Tina Hoggatt 👠 ⇐

and for FLASHLIGHT NIGHT by Matt Forrest Esenwine and Fred Koehler:

⇒ 🔦 Linda Mitchell!! 🔦⇐

WooHoo!!

 👏 🎉 CONGRATULATIONS SYLVIA, TINA, AND LINDA!! 🎉 👏

Please contact me (readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com) with your snail mail addresses so we can get your books out to you lickety split.

Thanks to everyone for entering. Have no fear, we will have more giveaways soon. 🙂

Meanwhile, you’d be wise to follow M. Generator’s advice:

Never go anywhere without your flashlight, eat more spicy foods, and keep believing in magic (and pie)!

*mic drop*


Copyright © 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.