Sunday, December 23, 2012

Art Buddies

I have had the recent pleasure of participating in the Twin Cities Art Buddies program. Art Buddies is an art program for inner-city kids where volunteer artists from the community work with kids on a project, once a week, after school, for an 8 week period. Typically volunteers work with a single student but sometimes that changes, like in my case. My Art Buddy whom I'll call K1 has a little sister, K2, whose after-school programming fell through, and so I worked with both of them. Everyone worked in teams on creating costumes that the kids chose for varying reasons, mostly having to do with attributes they saw in themselves. I was fortunate enough to have had help from another adult Art Buddy during two of our sessions which was very helpful in getting both girls costumes done in time for the finale parade and also giving them the one-on-one attention, even during the most chaotic of days, that they deserved.

K1 ended up having many different pieces to her costume and did wardrobe changes between the parade and the professional photography sessions at the end of the program. Below she is in her pantsuit and crown while K2 is in her sparkle butterfly/peacock ensemble. The Art Buddies program coordinators are still working on getting photo releases, until then K1 and K2 will be perpetually happy!

This holiday season think about donating to the Art Buddies program. It's an important and worthy program that sees tangible results from its programs. They would love to expand to other inner-city schools in 2013 and need additional funding to achieve that. Donating your time as an art mentor is also a great way to give back, and they're always looking for new recruits, read more at

Donate today!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Drawing Hodags

I love drawing hodags. I think mainly because hodags are fictional and therefore open to interpretation, which can be a lot of fun. Last week the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce asked me if I could do a quick logo for their new Broom Ball Tourney. They just wanted a hodag with a broom ball stick which was succinct direction for a quick turn around logo.

I've been working within a certain illustration style on some personal projects, some prints and most recently my redo of Goodnight Ranger. I really love the gesture of it and because I'm so comfortable in it it took me no time at all to whip it up.

Go Hodags!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hodag Holiday Shopping

Don't forget that Happy the Hodag books are available at the Book World Rhinelander location AND at the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce!!

Happy Hodag Holidays!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lots and Lots of Rocks (and Snow)

My husband is a geologist and he has accumulated a nice collection of rocks over the years. There are all manners of shape, texture and size of rocks, some more display appropriate than others.

A geologist will, on occasion, argue with a designer about what constitutes a display worthy specimen and so this is a concern that stays pretty top-of-mind for me. For years now I've been brainstorming about different ways to display his expanding collection that does not include 'tucking' them into every free bit of shelf space he can find. I have a folder I have filled with inspirational displays that I've found in magazines and blogs over the years and somewhere, although it's source is not indicated, I found a doozy of an idea. Someone, somewhere is sewing thin slices of geodes onto paper and framing them.

And so my newest home decorating project was born, although I went for the whole rock in all it's multi-faceted beauty. In order to support the weight of the minerals I first identified points by which to securely sew them onto the hard back boards that came with a set of Ikea shadow-box frames. I then drilled out the holes, cut out matching sized watercolor paper, placed it on top with double-stick tape, and punched matching holes through with a thumb tack.

With a simple needle and transparent thread I then sewed the pieces onto the board.

I put the pre-cut matte and frame back on and voila, a dynamic vertical rock display solution!

It's been snowing all day and it's just lovely. It was the perfect setting to shoot the final framed mineral pieces in and a great day to run out and get all of my Christmas shopping taken care of. I've never had such consistent rock-star parking as when I go out in a snow storm - not to mention no checkout lines.

The following images are just a few I shot in the yard in the early afternoon, that's a lot of snow!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cut Paper Art

While color coordinating and organizing my newly inherited thread board organizer and spools of thread this weekend I happened to slice through my middle knuckle on my left hand, to the bone. How can this happen? Well, not all of the spools of thread had the little notches by which to tuck and trim thread ends, and if it's going to hang in my studio, it's going to be done right. Because this board was inherited from my husbands grandmother it's suffice to say these spools are pretty old. While putting a tidy little notch in a wooden spool and exerting far too much pressure, the whole thing cracked and I found my exacto blade buried in my knuckle.


This is very depressing to me (although the cut is doing really well) because I actually consider myself to be an expert Exacto handler. After watching friends slice their fingertips off in college and once working with a girl who was doing some cutting on her couch and got up for a drink...when she returned, and sat down, she learned that her errant Exacto knife had slid into a crack between the cushions and was now lodged in her thigh. Yes, the lessons I learn best are from experience, and not always my own. Always know where the blade is in relation to your body.

Obviously with the infamous Exacto on my mind I started thinking about the true masters of the blade. Paper cutting artists. Take a look at Helen Musselwhite's art below. So talented.

I found her on this site, in the company of other amazing artists.

Chronicle Books has a wonderful blogpost on it here This is an image I pulled off of it, it's by Yulia Brodskaya

Tis the season for this simple Exacto project.

I found this paperback christmas tree tutorial linked off of the Farcountry Press Facebook page. Happy (harmless) cutting!