mari takabayashi: animal adorableness

Why, hello.

Fancy a little cup of tea and a yummy snack? 

Welcome to Mari Takabayashi’s cozy world, where adorable animals eat, play, and relax together or with their human friends.

I discovered Mari’s work by lucky happenstance one day while browsing the internet. Something about her naive, childlike style caught my eye, and upon further investigation, I learned she was a children’s book author and illustrator (where have I been?). 

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Hello April (come she will)! I see you there on your chaise lounge, totally relaxing with a glass of wine and a bowl of cherries. Who said April is the cruelest month? Doesn’t look that way to Nevada based artist Elaine Cory, whose vibrant, textured paintings transport us to a dream world.

She’s known for her color saturated florals, gorgeous landscapes, and pretty street scenes that make you wish you could be relaxing on a balmy tropical isle or sitting at an outdoor Parisian café right this very minute. Mais, oui!

An Army brat, Elaine lived in Germany and France and traveled to many foreign countries, which opened her eyes to the beauty of the world. Upon returning to the U.S., her family settled in San Francisco, where she frequented museums and art galleries.

She attended San Francisco State College on an art scholarship and worked as an interior designer for about 20 years. All the while, she continued to paint, working in acrylics and mixed media, developing her distinct impressionistic style.

Elaine sells originals at her Etsy Shop, Elaine’s Heartsong. She calls her paintings “jewelry for your walls.”


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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Happy March! We’re looking forward to spring and all things green and floral with Olivia Gibbs’ lovely art. So colorful and joyful!

Born and raised in Spain, Olivia is self taught and currently resides in Augusta, Georgia. She’s been smitten with drawing since childhood, when she’d spend hours creating stories in her sketchbook.

Since art didn’t seem like a viable career option, she studied Business Administration in college and then worked in banking for many years. But when her second daughter was born, she was able to stay at home and renew her interest in art, her true passion.

In addition to drawing and painting, Olivia loves traveling and exploring new places and cultures. She’s also keen on hiking, baking, dancing, finding the beauty in everyday life, and spending time with loved ones. 

Her client list includes American Greetings, Galison/Mudpuppy, Oopsy Daisy, Hallmark, Hobby Lobby, and Jo-Ann Fabric. 

She recently published this book:

For more, visit Olivia’s Official Website, Instagram and Etsy Shop, where you can purchase prints.


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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Happy February! We’re celebrating the month of love with some of Lee White’s Valentine’s Day prints and cards.

You may be familiar with Lee’s work as a children’s book illustrator (Kate, Who Tamed the Wind; The Maine Coon’s Haiku, I Lived on Butterfly Hill). He’s also done commercial projects for clients such as Disney, Verizon, National Geographic and Marks & Spencer, and teaches painting via The Society of Visual Storytelling, an online art school for artists of all skill levels.

Lee works mainly in watercolor, but likes to include other media such as ink, colored pencil and collage.

To see more of his work or to purchase prints and cards, visit Lee’s Official Website and Etsy Shop. 


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Michael Sowa: Master of Comic Surrealism

My ongoing search for bear images online often leads to the discovery of some pretty amazing artists. 

Michael Sowa

Take German surrealist Michael Sowa, for example. Years ago, I ran across his painting of a teddy bear sitting alone at a table with a slice of bread and a glass of milk. When I saw that same bear hanging by his ears from a clothesline, that was it – I became a forever fan.

Little did I realize that the paintings were part of a book called A Bear Called Sunday, written by Axel Hacke (Bloomsbury, 2004).  Sowa has also illustrated two other children’s books: Esterhazy: The Rabbit Prince, by Irene Dische and Hans Magnus Enzensberger (Creative Co., 2000), and The Little King December, another title by Axel Hacke (Bloomsbury, 2002). 

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