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Bird In A Bath, Dog In A Bed

I’ve always loved the kind of illustrations that you find in the Madeline series by Ludwig Bemelmans and The Babar books by Jean de Brunhoff.  Whimsical, pen and ink, color washes.  I went to a library recently that had the equivalent of two rooms full of used books for sale.  Priced to sell.  Like one dollar, or two.  They were organized into categories, fortunately.  I looked through the children’s and adult vintage sections.  I love the look of really old books and the feel of the paper.  I got a small book published in 1896.  Stories by Honore de Balzac.  I had actually read one of the stories from it in my book club.  We have a very eclectic book list.  But I bought it because the cover and pages are just so soft.  It feels like a little treasure.  My favorite is a book published in 1950 called The Paris We Love. Each chapter was contributed by a different writer and tells the history of the different quarters throughout the city, starting with the Middle Ages.  I will glance through the writing, but the reason I bought it was for the pictures.  Lovely illustrations that look like little watercolors.

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And beautiful illustrated maps of each quarter.

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Another book, published in 1942, called Van Loon’s Lives, has stories about a variety of people from Plato to Thomas Jefferson.  Again, I’ll skim through the writing to check it out, but it was the pictures that caught my eye. Some in color, some delicate pen and ink, or etchings.

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I love the one below of Don Quixote.  I got to see hilltops lined with windmills while driving through the Andalusian region of Spain.  It is an awesome place.

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Illustrations like these are not only delightful to look at, but creatively inspirational.

My remaining photos are some observations that caught my eye, in and just outside my house in the last couple weeks.  Hence the title of this post.  A bird in a bath.  (Thinking about it).

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And taking the plunge.

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A dog in a bed. (Sounds Dr. Seuss-ish).

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And lastly, a plant in my neighbor’s yard that adds colors as it grows.

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And then flowers at the tips that include all three colors. The colors make me think of popsicles.

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Enjoy your week.  And be on the lookout for delightful things.

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Circles and Squares

First, a little nature.  The birdbath in my yard draws birds in summer and winter.  I love to watch them dunk their heads, then arch their necks when they come up, so the water runs down their back and through their feathers before shaking it off.

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It’s kind of difficult to see because the ground is the same color as the birds, but there’s three coming in for a landing in this picture.  A lot of sparrows and finches.  Sometimes they’re lined up around the entire edge of the bath.  But when a larger bird comes, they scatter to the trees.

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Next, my winter bulbs have bloomed.  I don’t know the name, but each small flower has a little green DOT on each tiny petal.  The dots look like they were painted on.

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I have been working on a new mixed media piece.  Here is a sample of what I’m using.  Each piece (paper and fabric) will be in a SQUARE shape, and I’ll be hand stitching a lot of CIRCLES.

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I have been very inspired by the creativity on some artist’s blogs I’ve been following.  So many mediums used so beautifully.  Acrylic, textiles, watercolor, hand stitching.  I feel like I’m spinning with ideas and options, trying to decide which direction to go in, because I like working with all of them.  Yesterday I just wanted to paint without having to think too much, and use a lot of color, so I went through some of my art books.  I came to “The Woman with the Hat” by Matisse, and decided to give it a try with acrylics.

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It was a lot of fun.

I like piecing SQUARES together, like in a quilt, but not just with fabric. I enjoy using squares made with paper and creating patterns.  A few years ago my husband and I took a winter trip to Rome.  When I picked up the pictures after getting them developed, an extra copy of each was automatically included.  I didn’t need the extras, so I starting cutting, into squares.  Each square either had people, architecture, or something sculptural.  I put an individual backing under them, and put them in a “floating frame.”  To avoid the glare, I removed the top layer of glass for this photo, but when it’s hanging, you can see through the glass in all the areas where the table is showing.

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CIRCLES, SQUARES, DOTS, LINES.   Choose your fave and create something.