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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nine cool things on a tuesday

“Baby Bear Counts 1 Nuthatch” © 2017 Ashley Wolff

1. The perfect way to welcome Fall is with a beautiful giclée archival print by Vermont-based author/illustrator Ashley Wolff. Part of a small series based on the linocut illustrations from her Baby Bear Counts One picture book, this print has hand-applied gold accents, making it look like a gouache original. It’s 13″ x 19″ and comes signed, titled, and numbered (Limited Edition of 100 pieces).

Here’s another charmer from the same series:

“Baby Bear Counts 4 Bees” © 2017 Ashley Wolff

Shop for these and other goodies at Ashley’s Etsy Shop!

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2. New Book Alert!!  Look what’s coming out on September 26! A new middle grade novel by Sara Lewis Holmes! Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

I first “met” Sara between the pages of her prize-winning debut novel, Letters from Rapunzel (HarperCollins, 2007), which revealed her penchant for fairy tales, quests, and happy endings. The Wolf Hour (Arthur A. Levine Books. 2017) sounds positively magical and compelling:

A girl. A wolf. A red cape. And . . . pigs? In the vein of A Tale Dark and Grimm, this gorgeously written, endlessly surprising retelling explores the stories and wildness that define us. Welcome, my little lambs, to the Puszcza. It’s an ancient forest, a keeper of the deepest magic, where even the darkest fairy tales are real. Here, a Girl is not supposed to be a woodcutter. Or be brave enough to walk alone. Here, a Wolf is not supposed to love to read. Or be curious enough to meet a human. And here, a Story is nothing like the ones you read in books, for the Witch can make the most startling tales come alive. All she needs is a Girl from the village, a Wolf from the forest, and a woodcutter with a nice, sharp axe. So take care, little lambs, if you step into these woods. For in the Puszcza, it is always as dark as the hour between night and dawn — the time old folk call the Wolf Hour. If you lose your way here, you will be lost forever, your Story no longer your own. You can bet your bones.

*shivers*

Prepare to be enchanted. I can’t wait! Congratulations, Sara!!

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Another bit of serendipity when I stumbled upon Helen Timbury’s beautiful work. Helen is an Aussie graphic designer, illustrator and printmaker and I’m especially enamored of her linocut prints.

Nature seems to be her primary inspiration. She offers linocut workshops and you can purchase signed limited edition prints and boxed sets of notecards at her website shop. Gorgeous stuff!

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2. New book alert! Today is official pub day for Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing by Leda Schubert and Raúl Colón (Roaring Brook Press, 2017).

Listen.
There was nobody like Pete Seeger.
Wherever he went, he got people singing.
With his head thrown back
and his Adam’s apple bouncing,
picking his long-necked banjo
or strumming his twelve-string guitar,
Pete sang old songs,
new songs,
new words to old songs,
and songs he made up.

In this gorgeously written and illustrated tribute to legendary musician and activist Pete Seeger, author Leda Schubert highlights major musical events in Mr. Seeger’s life as well important moments of his fight against social injustice. From singing sold-out concerts to courageously standing against the McCarthy-era finger-pointing, Pete Seeger’s life is celebrated in this bold book for young readers with gorgeous illustrations by Raúl Colón.

Great to hear of another PB biography about Pete Seeger. This one has received a *starred review* from Kirkus, and I’m very anxious to read it. For more, check out this cool interview with Leda at Cynsations. Congrats to Leda and Raúl!

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of dogs and cats and flowers and birds: the whimsical beauty of vanessa cooper’s paintings

“Next Supper” (2015)

The other day, in my ongoing quest for art that makes my heart sing, I stumbled upon the work of UK-based artist Vanessa Cooper.

Can you see why I instantly fell in love? Why shouldn’t doggies be treated to a variety of scrummy cakes and a homey checked tablecloth?

Dogs aren’t the only ones who receive special treatment at the dining table. Vanessa also includes lots of cats, the odd budgie, goat, or whatever stray she might happen upon. I love her sense of whimsy.

She’s a Hampshire native who studied at Portsmouth University. She started painting in her teens and her style is defined by her bold use of color, striking compositions, and charming details.

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