nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Get in the car – we’re off for a December ride! ‘Tis the season for bundling up, picking out that perfect tree, shopping for gifts and making sure our animal friends are happy.

British artist Stephanie Lambourne’s colorful and quirky pictures are just the thing we need to get us into the holiday spirit. 

Based in Suffolk, England, she earned a BA in Fine Art and a post graduate degree in Art and Education from the Hornsey School of Art (now Middlesex University). After teaching at schools and colleges for a few years, she transitioned to painting full time in 2003.

Inspired by walks along the beach, she featured coastal landscapes, cottages, beach huts, boats, and seagulls in her earlier paintings. In recent years, her main focus has been people and humor (“unreal characters in sometimes strange pursuits”).  

She works in acrylic, rarely doing preliminary sketches, preferring to draw ideas straight onto the canvas to create a sense of freshness to her work. 

Though I’m sharing mostly holiday/winter themed pieces today, her pictures are set in all seasons. Her objective is to make people smile, to immerse the viewer in a lighthearted and slightly offbeat narrative from a bygone era. It’s fun to imagine just what the people in her pictures are really up to. 🙂

For more, visit Stephanie’s Instagram and FB Page. Her fine art greeting cards may be purchased via Green Pebble and The Blank Card Company. Original acrylics are available at Southwold Gallery and Bircham Gallery. DM her directly for any inquiries or commissions.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Hello, October! How about some of Janet Hill’s Halloweeny oil paintings?

Janet is based in Ontario, Canada, and has been painting since her senior year of high school. Her work is elegant and nostalgic with charming touches of whimsy. 

Her many interests include tornadoes, haunted houses, quicksand, pirates, witches, lady villains (preferably ones that wear monocles), doll houses, dogs and cats, fashion and interior design (1920-1979), Laurel Canyon, historic hotels, ESP, sea monsters, vintage cars, Old Hollywood, the Manson family, Wes Anderson movies, and understanding why her husband owns over thirty books about Bob Dylan.

To purchase any of these prints, visit Janet’s Official Website. While you’re there, browse all her other wonderful offerings. In addition to prints, she sells cards, puzzles, games, stationery, and her latest book, Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House (for ages 12+). More goodness at her Instagram and Etsy Shop.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Hippity hop, it’s bunny time! What better way to celebrate April and mark the run-up to Easter than with Allyn Howard’s charming rabbits?

If her name is familiar, it’s because we featured her work back in 2020, and in last month’s Cool Things Roundup we mentioned her debut picture book, Spring Parade, written by Camelia Kay (Abrams, 2022).

Interior spread from Spring Parade (can you spot the gray bunny?).

You may remember that Brooklyn-based Allyn is a master of whimsy with her lovely florals, winsome animals, and colorful I-want-to-live-there interiors – all part of a comforting, lovingly created, feel-good world.

Yes, she draws adorable puppies, bears, birds and kitties, but this month, let’s embrace her wonderful bunnies. 🙂

For lots more, visit her Official Website, FB Page, and Instagram. You can purchase prints, notebooks, bags and scarves at her Etsy Shop.

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[tuneful review] Sister, Brother, Family: An American Childhood in Music by Willie Nelson & Bobbie Nelson

“We had so little money but so much love.” ~ Bobbie Nelson

As a longtime Willie Nelson fan, I was especially pleased to learn that he and his older sister Bobbie had published their first ever children’s book last fall. 

Co-written by Texas children’s author Chris Barton and illustrated by Kyung Eun Han, Sister, Brother, Family: An American Childhood in Music (Doubleday BFYR, 2021), is a picture book adaptation based on the Nelsons’ joint memoir, Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band (Random House, 2020).

Though much had already been written by and about Willie, the memoir was essentially the first time folks got to hear from and learn about Bobbie, who officially became Willie’s bandmate in 1973. Now, with this new picture book, Willie and Bobbie tell the moving story of their childhood, as they forged an unbreakable bond through their shared love of music.

With alternating perspectives, brother and sister have seamlessly woven a narrative of two distinct voices in lyrical and spiritual harmony.

As Bobbie says, “Family and music have been one and the same ever since Mama Nelson placed my hands on the keys of a piano, and Daddy Nelson put a guitar in Brother’s arms. Music has been our way of feeling, giving, and receiving love. It sustains us to this day.”

Willie and Bobbie’s grandparents, Mama and Daddy Nelson, taught music in Arkansas before moving to Texas.

Willie and Bobbie were raised by their grandparents during the hardscrabble Depression years in the small town of Abbott, Texas. Daddy Nelson was a blacksmith, and Mama Nelson tended the home and worked in the fields picking cotton and corn. 

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[livre délicieux] Alice Waters Cooks Up a Food Revolution by Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland

I first learned about chef, author, restaurateur and food activist Alice Waters back in the mid 90s, when I read her mouthwatering children’s book, Fanny at Chez Panisse (HarperCollins, 1992).

I’d never encountered anything like it before – wonderful restaurant stories + delectable, doable recipes. It totally charmed my socks off, set me on a quest to read as many food-related children’s books as possible, and most importantly, made me think differently about food.

Alice Waters at Chez Panisse.

Thanks to Alice’s dedicated efforts– spanning at least five decades – we’ve become more conscious about what and how we eat. We may be more inclined to choose fresh, healthy foods, as opposed to that which is convenient, processed and mass produced. We’ve also learned that eating with a conscience affects not only our personal well being, but the health of our planet.

In their brand new picture book biography, Alice Waters Cooks Up a Food Revolution (Paula Wiseman Books, 2022), Diane Stanley and Jessie Hartland introduce young readers to the culinary visionary who popularized organic foods, local sustainable agriculture, and the slow food and farm-to-table movements. She is often called the Mother of American Food. 

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