chihiro iwasaki’s charming and lively watercolors

 

Chihiro Iwasaki (1918-1974) is one of the most celebrated Japanese artists/illustrators in the world. She’s as popular and beloved in her home country as Maurice Sendak, Eric Carle, or Garth Williams is in America.

 

 

She’s known for her soft, delicate, flowing watercolors of children and flowers, centering around the theme of “peace and happiness for children.” Her artistic style is a distinctive blend of Western watercolor strokes and traditional Eastern painting techniques. She sometimes incorporated Japanese calligraphy in her work.

 

 

 

 

 

I only discovered Iwasaki’s work recently; her pictures called out to me just when I needed them most. They’re certainly a welcome balm for difficult times. I love the gentleness and innocence, the rich beauty and wistfulness in her paintings, and how brilliantly she captures the emotions and posturings of babies, toddlers, and grade school kids.

 

 

 

 

She published about 40 books and made over 8000 drawings in her lifetime. She was a Hans Christian Andersen fan, and illustrated several of his tales which were published in English.

 

 

 

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good advice for creative types from Marge Piercy

“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ~ Ray Bradbury

“Young Woman Writing” by Pierre Bonnard (1908)

I have always believed writing chooses you, rather than the other way around.

You are either compelled to write, or not.

No sane person would willingly choose the loneliness, rejection, crippling self doubt and relative poverty that are part and parcel of the writing life. The rewards must come from the creative act itself, from having made sense out of chaos if even for a fleeting moment.

Given that you absolutely cannot help yourself — that you must write to feel alive  — you simply go about setting down one word after another after another every single day, while battling your inner demons and that pesky inner editor.

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hotTEAs of Children’s Literature: Jane Dyer

I began my career as a kindergarten teacher and my students’ parents said I should be illustrating children’s books. My first book was GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS in 1984, and I have illustrated over sixty books since then. (Pictured here with my lamb Blossom in our summer playhouse in Western Massachusetts.)

 

☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: My newest favorite tea is Peppermint Bark from The Republic of Tea, which is made with organic green rooibos, peppermint, vanilla, and cocoa. But I begin each morning with their Double Dark Chocolate Maté. As you can see, there is a theme here.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: The House That’s Your Home, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones (Schwartz & Wade, February 2015). Forthcoming: All We Know, written by Linda Ashman (HarperCollins, March 2016).

 

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK(s): Thundercake by Patricia Polacco (Philomel, 1990); Fanny at Chez Panisse by Alice Waters and Ann Arnold (HarperCollins, 1992)Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (HarperCollins, 2006) and Blue Moon Soup: A Family Cookbook, written by Gary Goss (Sky Pony Press, 2013).

☕ Visit Jane Dyer’s Official Website and blog.

☕ ☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Read aloud of Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons:

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☕ ☕ ☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love:

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Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

a purrfect visual feast

Just in case you’re feeling a tad winter weary and color starved, thought I’d share some gorgeous paintings by award-winning artist, illustrator, author and teacher Carla Golembe, who currently lives in Delray Beach, Florida.

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One of Carla’s children’s book illustrations.

Carla is a particular favorite because she illustrated my third picture book, The Woman in the Moon (Little, Brown), and her rich, color drenched, dreamy acrylic paintings always lift me up and transport me to a place far away from the troubles and uncertainty of this world.

Recently, Carla has been painting mermaids for the Mermaid Expo to be held at the Gallery Galleon in Puerto Rico on March 8, 2013. A devoted cat lover, Carla also painted some beautiful tributes to her beloved Zippy (who passed away last summer), as well as several whimsical pieces featuring her new cat Vinny.

This is how Carla describes her work:

My paintings are the product of my dreams and experiences. They speak of hope and love, of mystery and delight. My work expresses the harmony between individuals, between people and animals, people and nature, within a person’s soul.

They are colorful and sensual, reflecting the tropical beauty of my home and travels. The full spectrum of positive emotion echoes through my work.

Although the pieces express an optimistic attitude they are not naive, rather they come from an understanding that pain and anxiety are part of life but joy is a more desirable place to dwell. Although my compositions are designed and defined there is no gravity in my visual world. The figures often inhabit ambiguous spaces, places where sky and water flow into one  another and where light and darkness merge. They are frequently caught in a moment of being or becoming, for it is in that moment that all dreams are possible.

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