nine cool things on a tuesday

Emperor Penguin Chick” by Ashley Wolff

1. Ho Ho Ho and Happy Almost December! So, are you feeling festive this week? If, by chance, you need a little holiday lift, please enjoy some of Ashley Wolff’s gorgeous art. 

Isn’t this penguin chick adorable? Ashley’s handpainted one-of-a-kind mini bird ornaments would make the perfect gift for a special someone — or maybe it’s just the thing to give your tree an added touch of beauty. 🙂

These 3” by 3” ornaments are painted with acrylic gouache and mounted on a painted 4.5” easel. These can either be hung or set on a table or shelf for display. Nice way to own an original piece of art!

Many of you know Ashley from her wonderful picture books — the beloved Miss Bindergarten series, Baby Bear, Compost Stew, etc., but did you know she’s also an accomplished landscape painter? I’m blown away by her versatility as an artist, and love her Vermont landscapes as much as I do her book illustrations.

Check out her Etsy Shop for limited edition prints, original paintings, and of course, lots of bird and keepsake ornaments. For even more, check out my recent interviews with Ashley for How to Help a Pumpkin Grow, and Only the Cat Saw.

And don’t forget Ashley’s latest picture book, WILDFIRE! (Beach Lane Books, 2021), just released last month. 🙂

**ETA: Ashley’s running a holiday special: 20% off a combined purchase of $75 or more, plus free shipping!

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sara pulver’s quirky animals and pet people

Maira Kalman once said, “There’s a good reason to love dogs more than people because they don’t talk.”

I wholly agree, and would even go so far as to say that if dogs were in charge, the world would be a lot more fun. 

Sara with one of her larger paintings.

That seems to be Sara Pulver’s feeling too. In her colorful, offbeat paintings, animals and humans play a rollicking game of role reversal. Dogs and cats do very humanlike things with people as their pets.

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mary fedden: beauty in finessed simplicity

I actually came to know Mary Fedden’s work in a round about sort of way. Truth is, her name was so frequently mentioned as an inspiration or influence by so many of my favorite British creators that I simply had to learn more.

Turns out she’s one of Britain’s finest and best-loved contemporary artists, one who painted daily right up until her passing in 2012 at age 96. She’s most well known for her distinctive still lifes, characterized by a bold use of color, odd and inventive perspectives, and flat picture planes. 

Artist, printmaker and illustrator Mary Fedden in her Durham Wharf Studio

She made the ordinary extraordinary with her signature näive yet sophisticated style, elevating the beauty of favorite subjects such as fruits, feathers and plants. Her extensive body of work spanned over seven decades.

Born in Bristol, England in 1915, Mary hated and dropped out of Badminton girls’ school to attend the Slade School of Fine Arts in London at age 16. While there, she studied under Russian scene painter Vladimir Polunin, who had worked with the Ballets Russes and with Pablo Picasso.

After completing her studies, she briefly designed sets for Sadler’s Wells before returning to Bristol to work as a teacher and portrait painter. Polunin’s influence was evident in her opulent palette, reminiscent of the sumptuous colors of the ballet’s sets and costumes. 

With the outbreak of WWII in 1939, Fedden served in the Women’s Land Army and Women’s Voluntary Service, where she was commissioned to create murals for the war effort. She later worked as a driver for the NAAFI in Europe.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Hello, November! Enjoying Katie Daisy’s art is the perfect way to celebrate this month of gratitude. As a longtime fan, I can’t get enough of her beautiful illustrations and hand lettering. Wildflowers, forest animals, sea creatures, celestial bodies, and inspirational quotes grace everything from greeting cards and prints to sweatshirts and mugs. 

Her style is unmistakable; you might have seen her work without knowing her name. Uplifting, lovely, nature-rich, joyous, life-affirming, feminine, always a pleasure. It’s feel good stuff.

So, what’s new? She just published her latest book, How to Be a Moonflower: A Field Guide (Chronicle Books, 2021), in August.

I also like that she’s doing tea towels now (just ordered this one). 🙂

There’s never a shortage of wonderful prints — she always chooses the best quotes to illustrate. 

Wild Beauty, her 2021-2022 17-month weekly planner, is gorgeous. It’s overflowing with her beautiful art, and contains pages for notes and gratitudes to keep you moving forward day to day. (It also includes the November quote by Lucy Maud Montgomery shown at the top of this post.)

For lots more, visit Katie’s Official Website and Etsy Shop, The Wheatfield. If you’re in holiday gift shopping mode, this is the place!

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karen hoepting’s whimsical world

Go ahead. Reach for a pretty cuppa. I’m sure the butterflies won’t mind. Which one is your favorite? 

What a treat to be able to drink in Canadian artist Karen Hoepting’s rich, vibrant colors and inventive compositions!

Karen was born on a farm in rural Ontario, where, from a young age, she and her siblings wiled away the hours drawing and painting. Living in the country, it’s no surprise that Karen’s favorite subjects were animals, which she tried to draw as realistically as possible.

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