cool and quirky: stephanie birdsong

 

Well of course. How could I not love an artist who paints a 24-hour SOUP restaurant? 🙂

At her blog, California based creative director and illustrator Stephanie Birdsong (cool name, no?) describes her picture this way:

Daisy packs up the kid and the dog and hops in the car to get some extra-delicious soup from Ida’s. It’s just down the lane. I started with a painting in my sketchbook, & added a storefront and, of course, a bear!

You gotta love that she thought to add a bear (Mr Cornelius was especially pleased about that).

Much as I love Ida’s, this wasn’t the first of Stephanie’s gouache and acrylic paintings to catch my eye. It was actually this piece:

 

 

It spoke to my inner Brownie (I still have my beanie from when I was six). I like the freckles, the pigtails with a mind of their own, and the general kookiness of the whole thing. It’s called “Kicked out of the Brownies.” 😀

 

 

 

 

Stephanie’s fun and irreverent style reminds me of Maira Kalman and Jessie Hartland — sophisticated and childlike at the same time. Since there’s usually a surprising detail or two; you can’t help but look closer. Both Maira and Jessie have illustrated children’s books — I hope someday Stephanie will too. Long live the quirky!

 

 

 

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(actually more than) nine cool things on a tuesday

art by Maira Kalman

 

1. Surely there’s no better way to begin a day, a week, a month, a year — or even a roundup — than with a Maira Kalman fix. The above painting is part of an exhibition featuring 100 pieces of her work, “The Pursuit of Everything: Maira Kalman’s Books for Children,” running through September 15, 2019 at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and coming to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (October 13, 2019 – January 19, 2020).

If you can’t make it in person, the next best thing is this paperback exhibit catalog:

 

 

LOVE me some Maira! Anytime, anyplace. And the thing is, whenever I think I can’t adore her even more, she’ll do something new to tickle me pink all over again. Take this short film she made recently in collaboration with her son Alex, for example. Can’t decide what I like most — the talking chicken piano teacher? the naps? or the pink cake? When it comes to Maira, every day is a wonderful day:

 

 

And there’s more: look what’s coming out in March 2020!

 

Cannot. Wait. Available now for pre-order!

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Starting things off with the sumptuous work of Florida-based artist, illustrator, author and teacher Carla Golembe. I love how she describes what she does and why she does it:

We live on an increasingly small planet in dangerous times. The state of our world is impossible to ignore. As humans we straddle the river of our potential with one foot on each bank. Our capacity for love and compassion is equaled by our ability to turn our backs on one another and by the biases and hatreds that people have harbored since the beginning of time.

And yet I continue to paint beauty, joy, connection and harmony. My paintings are human and universal, multicultural and cross cultural. My intention is to create a visual haven that encourages viewers to enter my domain, dwell in beauty, rejoice in color and breathe. The figures emanate wonder and mystery. The work is evocative rather than descriptive. My interest as an artist lies in expressing how something feels rather than what it looks like. As my subject matter expands to include both my inner vision and the outer world. I find myself painting about inclusiveness and caring for the earth. I am painting hope. This is my authentic personal expression and my purpose as a painter. The world of my paintings is not “realism” but perhaps it’s “magic realism”. It’s the reality of what makes my life worth living, what makes us human and what I want to bring into the world.

She so beautifully states why art is more important than ever in a troubled and endangered world. We’re thankful for the haven of beauty and hope Carla creates with her work. Her distinctive style — lush, color-saturated and passionate, also speaks to the power of female spirituality.

For more, visit Carla’s official website and her shop at Fine Art America, where you can purchase prints and posters, as well as totes, t-shirts, pillows, greeting cards, etc.

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2. New Poetry Book Alert! Just released June 4, 2019, is Soccerverse: Poems About Soccer by Elizabeth Steinglass and Edson Ikê (Wordsong, 2019).

The perfect gift for young soccer fans, this picture book features twenty-two imaginative poems that capture all aspects of the world’s most popular sport.

From the coach who inspires players to fly like the wind, to the shin guard that begs to be donned, to soccer dreams that fill the night, Soccerverse celebrates soccer. Featuring a diverse cast of girls and boys, the poems in this collection cover winning, losing, teamwork, friendships, skills, good sportsmanship, and, most of all, love for the game. Elizabeth Steinglass cleverly incorporates thirteen different poetic forms throughout the book, defining each in a note at the end, and Edson Ikê’s bold artwork is as creative as the poems are surprising.

We are thrilled that Poetry Friday friend Elizabeth Steinglass has just published her first poetry picture book. She has certainly scored big with her clever, charming, and positively delightful poems. She once played soccer herself, and has two sons who are obsessed with the game. Suffice to say, soccer is a big part of their lives, so Elizabeth has every reason to celebrate the world’s most popular sport.

Find out more about Elizabeth and Soccerverse in this excellent Today’s Little Ditty Spotlight On Interview, and don’t miss Elizabeth’s TLD Classroom Connections post. Sample poems included in both. 🙂

Congratulations to Elizabeth and Edson!

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amy rice’s mixed media art: wistful, whimsical and nostalgic

Recently stumbled upon the work of Minneapolis-based mixed media artist Amy Rice, and was drawn to her unique style right away. Since she grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest, it’s no surprise that she favors natural and pastoral themes.

Though she took many art history courses in college, she didn’t receive any formal art training, having majored in sociology and women’s studies. Being a self taught artist has worked in her favor, as she has never felt constrained by any hard and fast rules or the need to adhere to convention.

She achieves her trademark style with non-traditional printmaking methods, including hand cut stencils and a Japanese screen printing toy called a Gocco. She uses spray paint, acrylics, gouache, and ink to print on a variety of surfaces, including wood, fabric, and antique papers (handwritten love letters, envelopes, music sheets, maps, journal pages), and “is most satisfied when I can make a tangible or visceral connection between the materials used and the image rendered.”

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. There’s nothing ho-hum about Oregon-based ceramicist Sara Swink’s work. She creates human and animal figures that tease our thinking and beg interpretation. She takes something familiar and gives it a dreamlike, bizarre, or even humorous twist. Her distinctive pieces definitely compel us to take a second or third look.

Her love of clay began when she was eight, with the encouragement of a neighbor who was a potter. She learned to throw on a potter’s wheel, hand build and mix glazes in high school, even buying her own wheel with money earned cleaning houses.

Some twenty years later, she began taking ceramics classes, then studied art history, printmaking, drawing, and foundry work at several universities while teaching. Studying with Coeleen Kiebert (whose approach is to fuse artmaking with the psychology of the individual) was pivotal in shaping Sara’s work. Sara’s pieces can be seen as expressions of her inner psyche; there is a personal narrative that runs through all her art.

Sara opened Clay Circle Studio when she moved to the Portland area in 2006 and continues to offer workshops. Find out more about her classes at her official website, where you can also view a wonderful archive of available and past pieces.

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