nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Don’t forget to vote in today’s critical midterm elections!

This cool poster was created by Missouri artist Mary Engelbreit and is available as a free download from her official website. The image fits on an 11″ x 17″ size sheet.

*

2. Some of you may know that my mother served in the Women’s Army Corps during WWII. She was one of the first 59 women from Hawai’i to enlist (she wrote about her experiences in this short chronology).

Just so happens Maryland author Ann McCallum read my post about Margaret not too long ago and asked to include her in a new book she was writing about women in the U.S. Army. This past summer, I shared more information and photos via email with Ann, who wrote a chapter about Margaret.

Ann recently shared the final cover of the book on social media — what a surprise to see Margaret’s photo right on the front! I know my mother would be thrilled and amazed. Women Heroes of the U.S. Army will be published in July 2019 — can’t wait to see it! Pretty cool, no? 🙂

*

3. Speaking of notable women, check out this cool print by Massachusetts illustrator Karen Hallion. Her first “She Series” collage features these 9 kickass role models:

Wonder Woman
Rey from Star Wars
Mulan
Moana
Princess Leia
Anne of Green Gables
Angelica Schulyer from the musical Hamilton
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Okoye from Black Panther

You can purchase this 11″ x 14″ open edition print at Karen’s Etsy Shop — a great place to browse, especially if you’re a Star Wars, Harry Potter, Buffy or steampunk fan. Each of these female heroes is also available separately as small 8″ x 10″ signed Lustre prints.

*

Continue reading

bob dylan birthday blues

“The land created me. I’m wild and lonesome. Even as I travel the cities, I’m more at home in the vacant lots.” ~ Bob Dylan

Since the man is turning 77 today, we’re gonna sing a little birthday blues by featuring some of Dylan’s “blue paintings” paired with bits of his song lyrics.

Did you know that besides being a 12-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter, poet, author, small-batch whiskey entrepreneur, metal works artist, and Nobel, Pulitzer, Medal of Freedom, Oscar, and Golden Globe winner, Dylan is also an accomplished painter?

We first saw his work gracing the covers of two 70’s albums (Self Portrait and Planet Waves), but he didn’t start seriously exhibiting and selling his paintings until 2007. Like many extraordinarily gifted creatives, his output benefits from the cross-fertilization of art forms.

Dylan is that rare person who can move effortlessly between music, word, ink, paint, as if he’s just futzing around with a few different instruments in the studio. Yet again and again he reflects life back to us with a truth and simplicity that defy words . . . seemingly unworried about how something looks, he’s not after artistic perfection, but something larger, a moment, a feeling. The effect is enthralling.

~ Marisha Pessl, New York Times

I love his frequent use of blues, and of course how often he depicts eateries. It’s fascinating to see the world through Dylan’s (blue) eyes 🙂 — he’s drawn to back streets, alley ways, country roads, bridges, train tracks — landscapes and urban scenes “unpolluted by the ephemera of pop culture.” There’s a noted absence of people in most of these paintings, conveying a sense of loneliness and a nostalgia for simpler times.

“Nowhere and Anywhere” (2017)

Continue reading

nine cool things on a tuesday

“Under the Bridge” (2017)

1. Can you guess who painted the above piece? Let me give you a few clues: he’s a legendary musician, poet, and songwriter who loves to watch “I Love Lucy” reruns, he makes a mean meatball, and he just happened to win the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.

“Lighthouse in Maine”

And yes, my man Bob Dylan is also an accomplished visual artist. His second graphic release from The Beaten Path collection is now available worldwide. There are 15 hand-signed limited edition prints (some are already sold out), depicting the main routes and back roads of America.

New England Depot

Choice of subject is just as interesting as his unique perspective. Of course my faves are the eateries — this time there’s a hamburger stand and a diner. 🙂

Flat Top Mt. Diner, Tennessee

Don’t you love seeing the country via his eyes and imagination? View the entire collection at the Castle Galleries webpage.

*

2. Once again, author/illustrator extraordinaire Julie Paschkis has created a cool wall calendar to benefit the ACLU. The 2018 Hope Calendar celebrates the values of the United States:

By working together we can carry those values into the future, riding on a hopeful horse.

Calendars are 12″ x 18″ and are $12 each, with 100% of the proceeds donated. Get yours at Julie Paprika!

*

Continue reading

9 cool things on a tuesday

1. Been enamored of Phoebe Wahl’s art ever since reading her debut picture book Sonya’s Chickens (2015). Love the timeless, old-fashioned, folk art feel of her watercolor, collage and colored pencil illustrations. There’s a good reason she won the 2016 Ezra Jack Keats Award for New Illustrators. 🙂

Besides her picture book illustrations, I like her 2017 Slow Food Calendar. The four color letterpress prints are gorgeous and distinctive. Can’t get enough of the intimate scenes of people working together in the kitchen or enjoying the outdoors. Though the 2017 calendar is sold out, Phoebe will be making one for 2018 — can’t wait!

She’s also done some wonderful pieces for Taproot Magazine and the Taproot Calendar.

Can’t beat that delightful handmade look. And don’t you love seeing men working in the kitchen? 🙂

See more of Phoebe’s work at her official website, that contains a link to her online shop which features prints, cards, t-shirts and accessories. She just started taking pre-orders for these new Fruit and Flower enamel mugs yesterday (love!).

 

*

2. Have you been to the Post Office lately? Love these new Delicioso Forever Stamps, just released on April 20. These spicy beauties were designed by none other than children’s book author/illustrator John Parra!

You may remember we featured John as a hotTEA of Children’s Literature not too long ago. Pretty cool to think of him whenever I send a piece of snail mail out into the world.

John at the dedication ceremony ( National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico)

He’s got a new book coming out on September 5: Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, written by Monica Brown (NorthSouth Books, 2017). While we’re waiting for that, we can enjoy a little Delicioso every day. Congrats to John!

*

3. It’s been awhile since we’ve checked on Christopher Boffoli, the ingenious Big Appetites photographer known for his scenes featuring tiny people posed in captivating food environments.

I always wish I could shrink myself and enter his world of giant macarons, cupcakes, and pies. Check out his website for prints and notecard sets.

Macaron Notecard Set

*

4. Speaking of checking up on people, I recently visited Handmade by Mia’s Etsy Shop and she’s having a Spring Sale on some of her wool felted items (up to 40% off).

Look for her trademark big-eyed birdies as well as elephants, flowers and foxes. If you’re a Moomin fan, you’ll like her Moomin pouches, buntings and key fobs. 🙂

Mia was one of the first people I interviewed for my Indie Artist Spotlight series. She’s one of the nicest Etsy sellers I’ve encountered — great, personalized service and I like how she recycles vintage materials (100% Finnish wool) for her bags and pouches.

*

5. Remember last time when I mentioned ashley wolff’s cool Resistance to the Regime of 45 prints? Lucky for us, she’s also offering her complete collection of resistance posters as free downloadable high resolution PDFs at her blog! She’s encouraging everyone to download, share, and enjoy. Thank you, ashley!!

Love them!

*

6. New Book Alert! Excited to hear that Aussie Poetry Friday friend Kathryn Apel just published her third verse novel for younger readers, Too Many Friends (University of Queensland Press, 2017)!!

Tahnee wants everyone in her Year 2 class to get along and be happy. But what happens when all of Tahnee’s friends want her attention at the same time? And how can Tahnee be friends with Lucy, when Lucy doesn’t seem to want any friends?

A novel about friendship and school life, and the balance we all need to find to be the best friend we can be.

Sounds delightful. 🙂 I do enjoy reading Kathryn’s posts at Kat’s Whiskers — they’re cheery, upbeat, and fun, and display her fondness for wordplay and flexing her poetry muscles. Too Many Friends follows her two other verse novels, Bully on the Bus (2014) and On Track (2015). Order any or all three via the publisher. Congratulations, Kat!

*

7. Part of being a diehard Bob Dylan fan is not only keeping up with his musical projects, but with his painting career as well. He’s had several solo exhibitions in England over the years, the most recent of which was “The Beaten Path” at the Halcyon Gallery in London.

This collection features scenes from the American landscape; we get to see parts of the country through Dylan’s eyes — what does he notice, what does he consider worthy of interpretation? It did not escape me that he chose to paint a Donut Shop (even more reason to love him). 🙂

Vanity Fair recently featured an explanation in his own words about what he hoped to accomplish with this project:

For this series of paintings, the idea was to create pictures that would not be misinterpreted or misunderstood by me or anybody else. When the Halcyon Gallery brought the idea of me doing American landscapes for an exhibition, all they had to do was say it once. And after a bit of clarification, I took it to heart and ran with it. The common theme of these works having something to do with the American landscape—how you see it while crisscrossing the land and seeing it for what it’s worth. Staying out of the mainstream and traveling the back roads, free-born style. I believe that the key to the future is in the remnants of the past. That you have to master the idioms of your own time before you can have any identity in the present tense. Your past begins the day you were born and to disregard it is cheating yourself of who you really are.

The entire article is worth a read, as it provides a nice insight into his creative process.

It’s interesting to learn about people who became famous for one particular art form, but who also excel in others (E.E. Cummings, Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney, Red Skelton, and Tony Bennett were/are also painters). With multi-talented individuals, I imagine there’s a lot of valuable cross-fertilization of inspiration and ideas.

Signed limited edition giclée prints from “The Beaten Path” are available online via Castle Galleries.

Enjoy this short EuroNews video:

*

8. You’ve no doubt seen Molly Hatch’s work while you’ve been out and about, here, there or everywhere, maybe sometimes not realizing who the artist was behind that cool mug, kitchen accessory or tote bag.

I first noticed Molly’s ceramic pieces at Anthropologie. While I’m partial to her tableware, I’m just as happy to enjoy her wonderful, quirky drawings on stationery and notecards.

There’s something about her work that’s old fashioned but fresh and contemporary at the same time. In addition to highly collectible merchandise, she’s done some cool museum installations. How much do I love that she creates wall paintings with ceramic plates? I appreciate the intersection of functional and fine art and will devote more time to researching Molly’s many creative avenues.

Covet Project, 2012 (inspired by historic imagery found in the collections at the MFA Boston and the Met in NYC)
An 11-piece painting consisting of hand-thrown and hand-painted ceramic plates inspired by the historic textile collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
“Deconstructed Lace” (2015), inspired by historic patterns of Royal Copenhagen Porcelain.

Read this short article about how Molly started working with Anthropologie. Visit Molly’s online shop to purchase kitchen goods, stationery, etc.

*

9. Finally, I’ve been following the very cool Heads Together Campaign spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to help end the stigma around mental health.

In this video, they discuss the importance of initiating conversation as a first step in healing. Prince William and Prince Harry speak candidly about trying to cope with the death of their mother Princess Diana. I also appreciated Prince Harry’s mention of how social media can distort one’s perception of well being. Heads Together is doing good work!

*

Alright chickies, I wish you a Happy Tuesday and a Good Week.

Be Kind.

Eat Good Food.

Smile.

Resist.

Persist.


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

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free

“He’s a poet. Basically he’s a poet. He does not trust his voice. He doesn’t trust his guitar playing. He doesn’t think he’s good at anything, except writing—and even then he has self-doubts. Have you heard that thing he wrote about Woody Guthrie? That to me is the sum of his life’s work so far. Whatever happens, that is it. That sums it up.” ~ Eric Clapton on Bob Dylan

Glory Be! The man has gone and done it!

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature is such a crowning achievement for our favorite song and dance man. Bob turned 75 this year and is still breaking boundaries as the only singer-songwriter to have ever been awarded this coveted prize.

Aside from my inner fangirl whooping for joy and turning cartwheels at the sheer awesomeness of the whole thing, what I’m most happy about is that perhaps this distinction will inspire the average person to broaden his/her view of what constitutes “poetry.”

A rare smile!

Poetry doesn’t have to be esoteric, elitist, abstract or inaccessible. It doesn’t have to live in slim volumes with boring covers. It can be the well crafted lyrics of anthemic compositions that capture the heartbeat of personal and social history through time.

After all, poetry began as an oral tradition, much of it meant to be performed with music. To those who find Dylan undeserving, I would ask that they throw off their cloaks of intellectual snobbery and abandon preconceptions about conventional “Literature.”

Bob with his son Jesse

“Literature” is not limited to printed novels, plays, or short stories. Talk to me about more than five decades of enormous cultural influence, words of searing truth, crackling inventiveness. Talk to me about enlarging the possibilities of American popular music.

Take the average Joe in a grocery store check-out line. Chances are he’s never read any of the Nobel Prize winning novels, but he’s heard a Dylan song or two.

A song is a poem for everyman.

I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet.

Eight years ago, the very first time I hosted Poetry Friday, I asked participants to post their favorite Dylan lyrics. I shared the 8th of Dylan’s “11 Outlined Epigraphs.” He was 22 when he wrote this in 1963:

Continue reading