Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Final: The Waxwing

The Waxwing (Study from Life)

Earlier this week I found a couple birds in our backyard, lying still on the ground. I was walking with our dog and I gasped aloud. The first one I saw looked fake, like those birds you would buy at a craft store, and for a split second I wondered if I or someone else had dropped one outside somehow. It was real, though, and I wondered if it had simply fallen from the sky or a tree, dead. But then I found the second one and realized they must have flown into our sunroom window. They were so beautiful, I'm sure they were waxwings (Cedar?), they each had these bright yellow and shiny red tips on their feathers. I am so softhearted and couldn't stand to leave them be... I picked them up and put them in a box to keep them off the ground. They were so soft, and still limp. I decided to paint them but I could only finish one before it got too dark and cold outside. The one I finished was the first one I found. The sketch of the second one is below.

Waxwing Sketch

David buried them somewhere safe in the backyard, and though I feel guilty over it, I also feel grateful for the chance to have studied such beautiful creatures from life, up close. It's not a chance you get often with animals. 

While on a walk yesterday we saw a small butterfly resting in the road. Assuming it too was dead, I touched its body to pick it up. It fluttered between my fingers and flew up, circling with a twin, leaving me startled and smiling. Excuse me while I get a bit sentimental here... but it was a comfort. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Mix: Inspiration: Curtis's Botanical Magazine

I've always loved botanical illustration. My boyfriend and I own a few books, one chewed to bits around the edges by our dog (maybe she loves it too), because we both find this art form so beautiful and inspiring. Recently his parents bought a new one for me about the history, and upon seeing it, a fellow artist we know told me about how the Smithsonian offers internships in botanical illustration, and about the head illustrator who gets brand new plant species sent to her to paint... and so since yesterday I've been unable to get the idea out of my head. What a dream job! We went to a local nursery today and I felt my heart fluttering seeing everything up close. We took apart and examined some of the flowers in our yard. To get paid to do this would feel almost unreal. It doesn't look like they have anything currently available, but I'm going to keep looking into it. 

Until then, Smithsonian, if you see this: call me! 

To help with my cravings for all things flowery, I've been collecting some images from The Botanical Magazine, first published in 1787 by William Curtis. It's still being published today. Here are some of my favorites of the images I've been able to find. While many talented artists have contributed to The Botanical Magazine, it was not as easy as I'd hoped to find artist credits for each image, but some do feature the artist's name in print. (And if you're interested in further reading, here's the wiki page for starters!)



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What I Wore Today: The Book!!


Just a quick note this Wednesday: Gemma Correll's What I Wore Today book was officially released last week! Do take a look - it's full of lots of cute and stylish doodles from artists around the world (and me too!) *_* I'm watching the mail every day waiting for my copy to arrive...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Mix: Inspiration: Maxfield Parrish

When we were younger, my sister used to write these short, strange little stories that sometimes featured famous people. One in particular involved me receiving a gift (my own rollercoaster) from Maxfield Parrish. At that time we somehow knew the name without knowing anything about who he was; at this time in my life he is one of my very favorite illustrators and biggest inspirations, master of color and story and mood. Here are some examples of his truly incredible work: