Marcella Cooper: Beauty in Simple Things

What could be more relaxing than sitting in your back garden with a steamy pot of tea, a good book, and a snuggly feline friend?

British artist Marcella Cooper captures the joy of simple pleasures in her lovely paintings, each an invitation to live in the moment.

photo of Marcella by Sarah Lane

Based in rural Suffolk, Marcella lives with her family in a 16th century thatched cottage. Interested in art since childhood, she had always been drawn to British flora and fauna. 

While living in a quiet village and homeschooling her two children, she was inspired by her picturesque surroundings and began to dabble in drawing and painting. She sold these early pieces to family and friends. 

Continue reading

dreamy delights: the french canvas studio

love those cups!

 

Bonjour Mes Amis!

Fancy a leisurely drive along the French Riviera, perhaps stopping at a friend’s apartment for coffee and pastries? If her piano’s in tune, she’ll regale you with an exquisite rendition of Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” her flamingos, peacock and toucan in attendance.

 

 

 

 

Later, if you’re in the mood for a swim, the two of you can head for the beach, where you can stretch out under a fringed umbrella with a bottle of champagne. Ah, this is the life!

 

 

Canadian artist Lisa Finch loves to create scenes like these, painting stories with a unique vintage voice. Her pictures are perfect for those who appreciate old world nostalgia with a touch of whimsy.

 

 

 

She welcomes visitors to her French Canvas Studio like this:

Imagine you’re stepping into a little studio filled with paints, jars of brushes and lots of canvases, Some with works started, others drying, some just blank, waiting patiently. In the corner you’ll find an old easel, my father’s, given to me years ago when I was just a young woman.

Along the only solid wall in this studio, is a great French armoire with a large mirror on the centre door that I try to avoid looking at when I enter in the morning. It has its purpose, but my reflection is not the one I need. If you open the doors on this antique cabinet, they protest with a moan as they reveal rolls of wrapping paper and packaging for items waiting to be shipped.

Behind my desk, there is a large window that fills this little room with natural light and on rainy days, I turn on an old lamp that I rescued from the side of the road and a makeshift spotlight that holds onto my easel for dear life. It’s through this window that I often catch myself dreaming as I watch the towering maple trees in the yard sway and the squirrels maneuver through their branches like acrobats and where the birds, hidden somewhere in the foliage, let out a song that makes me wish I could sing.

This is where you’ll find me.

This is where I pursue an artful life…

Continue reading

[review + giveaway] World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins

 

On this, his 80th birthday, we are honored to feature Lee Bennett Hopkins’s most recent poetry book for young readers. Everyone in the world, make way for this stellar author, poet, educator, editor, and master anthologist!

 

 

We are first introduced to this beautiful collection of ekphrastic poetry with this perceptive quote and sketch by Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci:

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.

“A Bear Walking” by Leonardo da Vinci (ca. 1482-85)

 

In his Foreword, Hopkins explains that the book’s title was inspired by da Vinci’s drawing:

Though rough, the sketch reveals sharp details of the animal’s strong facial features, powerful muscles, and grasping claws — a stance as if the bear forewarns: World make way!

In World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Abrams BYR, 2018), we are treated to 18 original poems written by contemporary poets in response to 18 visual masterpieces from the Met’s vast collection. The art represents a diverse world view, spotlighting different time periods, artists, and cultures, and it is rendered in a variety of media (oil, tempera, pencil, ink, watercolor, silver, gold, acrylic) on different bases (canvas, paper, wood, silk, PVC panels). The poets (who were specially commissioned for this project), are among the finest writing for children today. In short, an exquisite book — a heartful, soul nourishing feast for the eyes and ear.

Here are the poets (*swoon*):

Alma Flor Ada
Cynthia Cotten
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Julie Fogliano
Charles Ghigna
Joan Bransfield Graham
Lee Bennett Hopkins
Irene Latham
J. Patrick Lewis
Elaine Magliaro
Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Marilyn Nelson
Naomi Shihab Nye
Ann Whitford Paul
Marilyn Singer
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Carole Boston Weatherford
Janet Wong

Art begetting art — what could be more life affirming or gratifying?

Continue reading