Thursday, 28 February 2013

Art Companions

(watercolour, approx. 9x6")

    I never quite know where I will find them and I don't go out intentionally looking for them, but when I see one I know immediately!  

    Last June I was having lunch at a beautiful rural tearoom and while perusing the gift shop I stumbled upon a l'il cast-iron rabbit who would become my first art table companion (you can read about Edward here).
 "Strawberries with Edward"
(watercolour, 8x8")

    Edward still enjoys lazing in the sunbeams that stretch across the table, but he enjoys a change of scenery sometimes too.  The kids are more than obliging, moving him into the living room where he can bask in the lamplight on one of the side tables and during the Christmas holidays I found him nestled in amongst the brightly wrapped packages under the tree.

    Sophie was the next art table companion to join the family.  I was perusing a local gift shop just before the Christmas holidays and came across this sweet, simple wrought iron mouse who I knew immediately would be great company for Edward!    

"A Small Study of Sophie"
(pen, approx. 4x4")
    Sophie is so small with such a sweet half-a-nutshell shape that I have a feeling she may yet end up sneaking into a couple of my future drawings!

    As for "Pip" (pictured at top of page) I was out gathering supplies for an upcoming birthday party yesterday and the most beautiful l'il porcelain bird caught my eye. She is hand glazed - her colours, her shape,  her plump l'il cheeks and sparkling black eyes, the sweet smile on her face - I was immediately inspired by her, so home she came!  She simply sparkles in the sunlight - I don't even think Edward minds sharing the sunbeams with her!  The name 'Pip' immediately came to mind when I looked at her - she's just so cheery!
    So this being the last day of February, a month I have dedicated to the theme of Love and Friendship, I finish with these, my cheerful and  inspiring art table companions.  Their friendly faces continue to inspire me and cheer me as I sit at my art table and work on new illustrations!
    ♥ Cath-    


Thursday, 21 February 2013

School Friends...

"School Yard Friends"
(watercolour and ink, approx 11x14")

   A few years ago I was asked to create an image that could be used on the cover of the Kindergarten 'Memory Album' - something that would look pretty and have something to do with school.  I couldn't resist capturing a favourite outdoor play area... Laughter and squeals, patty-cake and leaf collecting, freeze tag and hide-n-seek, the playground is always full of vibrant colours and imagination!

    As I went looking for "friendship" illustrations amongst my portfolio of work I realized I didn't have many that told enough of a story.  Many I had designed to be used on greeting cards, with the illustration telling part of the story and the sentiment in the card telling the rest.... Then I remembered about this one.  

    Friends come and friends go, sometime over a course of the year, sometimes in the course of the day.  Kindergarten is full of transition!  Some may find their best friend for life in kindergarten, while others flit between several classmates.  In kindergarten friendship is emphasized and encouraged!  I was volunteering at the local school this past week and overheard one of the kindergarten teachers joyfully welcome one of her l'il students who had just returned from a long family vacation. The teacher exclaimed,  "Your friends are going to be so-o-o thankful to see you back at school!!"  And they were!  Her statement made that particular student feel so special and it encouraged all the other students in the classroom to show her words to be true!  What a happy afternoon that student must have had!!

    Yeah for all the teachers who go that extra mile in creating a friendly and welcoming environment for all their students!! 

    ♥ Cath-               

Friday, 15 February 2013

A New Favourite Word: "Scherenschnitte"

"Pride & Prejudice: 200th Anniversary"
(My Ode to Scherenschitte, ink, approx. 8x10")

    Who knew a word like Scherenschnitte could be so inspiring?! Well, actually how could a word like Scherenschnitte be anything but inspiring?  This fun-sounding German word, Scherenschnitte (pronounced: 'sharon-sh-nit-ah'), simply means 'scissor cuts' and it represents the intricate art form that I've only just discovered. Scherenschnitte. C'mon say it out loud - it's fun!!

    As I worked these last few weeks on other illustrations my mind kept fixating on what I thought was a Scandinavian art style... I kept thinking of red paper cut to reveal an intricate silhouette...yet I could not find anything on the internet. It wasn't until just this week that I described the style to my friend Lisa (check out her amazing blog/website here - God has blessed her with great talent!) and she said, "Oh, you mean Scherenschnitte, the German paper art."  What??  It just so happened that Lisa had just purchased two framed pieces of Scherenscnitte on a recent trip with her husband.

    I'm still amazed at how things work out like that!  

    I quickly scrawled down that strange name on a piece of paper and ran home to look it up on the internet - having the proper name and country of origin really helps, let me tell ya! - a few moments later - Bing! Bang! Pow! - hundreds of images popped up displaying intricate silhouettes, each piece telling it's own beautiful story!  

    I love the inspiration that comes from discovering a new-to-me art form! This one in particular has been around since the 16th century!! Wow! I looked over several pages of Scherenschnitte pieces and the idea I had when I first thought of this style grew clearer and I left the computer and snatched up my sketchbook to set to work on my own version of Scherenschnitte.

    I knew from the beginning that I wanted to create a piece to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of one of my favourite books: Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice (published, January 28, 1813).  I filled my sketchbook page with ideas and then built a final design in the Scherenschnitte-style using my fine ink pens!

    I hope one day to re-create this properly - I may have to ask for a nice paper cutting scissors for my birthday! - but for now I'm happy with how this design turned out! 

    Inspiration is so energizing!  LOVE!!

    ♥ Cath-



Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Thoughts of Love From The Past....

"Just a L'il Note to Remind You of How Much You Are Loved!"
(watercolour, approx. 7x7")

    These sweet l'il grasshoppers were among the first of my "regular" critters to draw when I thought up a new greeting card idea... I love the colour green and I found that I drew/painted grasshoppers mostly in February and March when the desire for fresh emerald green is at its highest for me!  Winters seems to drag on a little in those months!

 "Enjoying Happy Thoughts of You"
(watercolour, approx. 5x5")

    This l'il fuzzy kitten was just an idea that had to be drawn to make room in my mind for other ideas plus it was a l'il challenge to force myself to work all the furry brushstrokes - repetitive brushstrokes have always been a bit of a challenge because I get impatient to finish the piece... 

 "Lots of Time to Think About You... I Consider It Time Well Spent!"
(watercolour, approx. 8x10")

    This was my first favourite design in my Love & Appreciation greeting card series - I gave this card to many people and many people wanted this design when they ordered cards from me.  Again this was simply an idea in my mind I needed to get on paper, but I love how it turned out!  It is the first time I had drawn a mouse - so this design really was the beginning of a new adventure in my illustrations! 

"My Day Was Filled With Happy Thoughts About You!"
(watercolour, approx. 8x10")

    I love this piece! I knew exactly how I wanted it to look as soon as I thought up this idea and so I just kept focusing and re-focusing on the image in my mind to get it all down on paper, just right!  I especially like how the 'metallic' parts came across!

"It's How I Feel When I Think About U"
(watercolour, approx. 8x10")

    Sometimes it's a bad thing when people look at a card front, then open the card to read the written sentiment and then look back at the card front to 'get the joke' but with this card it always ends with the same reaction: the surprised 'Oh, I didn't even notice that bunny until now!' followed by an appreciative laugh and smile!  I love this design!  It was a challenge to come up with 26 different expressions and eye/ear angles - but another piece that I'm happy to send to others for their birthday, Valentines, or just a general happy day!

    Hope you all enjoy a day full of smiles, love, and laughter!  It never hurts to send a "just because" card to someone to brighten their day!  Discovering a 'love note' in a mailbox would brighten anyone's day!

    ♥ Cath-

Monday, 11 February 2013

Two Ends of the Spectrum

 "My Shy Valentine"
(pen and ink, approx. 5x10")

    Ollie and Olivia's eyes met across the crowded watering hole and not just because they were the only two ostriches standing amongst a herd of pygmy hippos... Quickly both looked away, unsure of what to do next... They had known of each other for quite some time but neither knew how to strike up a sensible conversation.  'Maybe I should say something?' they each thought, but that was a terrifying thought!  Talk?!  What would I say??     

"Unabashed Appreciation"
(pen and ink, approx. 8x10")

    Bella never had any trouble finding words when Brody was around.  When Bella is happy she simply can't be quiet about it!  She always makes sure Brody knows how much she appreciates every l'il gesture of sweetness he exhibits!   

    Some days I just can't resist the urge to find a comfy chair and just draw with my fine liner pens - today was one of those days!  I was inspired by some pen work I had done several years ago when my brother and I developed a comic strip called "Weekly Pews".  Lotsa fun was had with that project! I think I'm going to pull out my pens a little more often!

    ♥ Cath-  

Friday, 8 February 2013

Snuggle Up, Up, Up!

"Snuggle Up, Up, Up"
(watercolour, approx. 8x10")

    Snuggle up, waaay up!!  Reminds me of the CBC's 'The Friendly Giant' show - I loved that show when I was a kid!  Every time I look at this illustration, my eyes are immediately drawn to the feet and then my eyes journey up, up, up the legs, gaze over their 'coats', follow their twisting necks up, up, up, pause to take in the peaceful contented look on their faces, pop up to the heart, and then back down to the feet to begin all over again!  Is that a good thing?  I don't know for sure but I find myself following that pattern over and over again for minutes at a time! 

    This illustration is the third in a safari themed "love & friendship" series!  I love giraffes almost as much as I love elephants... As I worked on this illustration, I remembered a mental note I had made last summer while photographing some giraffes at a local zoo.  I checked out my photos, knowing it had something to do with their feet. You see, I had always assumed giraffes had camel-like feet - soft, pillowy, cleft feet - but they have hooves! Cleft hooves!  

    I also did some online research to find out if there were any differences between a male and female giraffe (colouring, features, etc) before I started inking/painting. This is what I found: The only difference (in a reticulated giraffe - my favourite!) is that the female has tufts on their ossicones (horns), whereas the male does not - his ossicones are bare from fighting and rubbing them against trees - similar to a young male deer.

    Well, it's an official Snow Day in this l'il patch of Earth - and we actually have snow!!  It's supposed to be quite a storm with lots of snow falling this morning...  I'm glad that the whole family can stay home and snuggle up, up, up!  

   ♥ Cath-


Tuesday, 5 February 2013


"Daydreaming About You"
(watercolour, original approx. 5x5")

      This happily occupied elephant was one of the very first watercolours I painted, almost 6 years ago.  I painted this in my Curry's brand hardcover sketchbook (plain regular sketchbook paper!) and continued to fill the sketchbook page with doodles and some other paintings, which may show up later this month on my blog.

    I've always been a "see-what-you-can-accomplish-with-what-you-have" kinda girl, especially when it comes to art and art supplies.  So when I wanted to make some greeting card designs I used what I had: my sketchbook and some old tubes of watercolours!  I've since 'upgraded' to some hand-me-down pan paints and the least expensive watercolour blocks I can find but I still love looking through my sketchbook from 2007 and seeing all the little paintings that now reside with its covers!

    I hope you can be inspired to just pick up a scrap of paper, grab a pen, pencil, marker, crayon, whatever you have nearby and just draw, doodle, create!!  Anyone can be creative!  You don't need expensive supplies - you just need to begin!

    ♥ Cath- 


Monday, 4 February 2013

Lost in Each Other

"Lost in Each Other"
(ink & watercolour, approx. 8x10")

    Inspired by the friendly elephants I illustrated last year (and posted here on my blog February 1st) I wanted to explore a safari animal theme and one of the first animals to come to mind were, as my Dad calls them, "horses in striped pyjamas".

    Soon after these two zebras 'fell outta my pencil' their sweet serene smiles appeared and I couldn't help but fall for them - they're so cute! Oblivious to anyone else around them...  simply lost in each other!

    ♥ Cath-



Sunday, 3 February 2013

Let us love one another...

    ♥ Cath-

P.S. This is a watercolour I made for an anniversary card in 2012... 
I added the Scripture for my post today.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Happy Groundhog Day!!

    Well, it's official!  We have reached the mid-point of winter and the trusty groundhog for our area of  the world did not see his shadow and has therefore predicted an early Spring!  Happy Groundhog Day!!

    I completely understand why folks have made this into a day of celebration.  I think we all need a sense that Spring weather will soon be here - it helps us endure the last 6 weeks of Winter much better!  It gives us that "light at the end of the tunnel" feeling - always a welcome sense of hope when you're finding the grey-ness of Winter oppressive!

   So let's peruse our seed catalogues,  make plans for our gardens, and hold tight to the hope that, the Lord willing, Winter will soon give way to Spring and nature will again begin it's journey of growth and development, sprouting vibrant colours everywhere around us!!

    ♥ Cath-


Friday, 1 February 2013

Happy February 1st!!

 "So Happy You're My Friend!"
(watercolour, approx. 7x7")
    I was inspired to make this illustration after seeing a sweet photo of elephants in a sanctuary who had been separated from each other for many years and then reunited.  They remembered each other immediately and became inseparable, nuzzling each other with their trunks.  Here's the photo:

 (no photo source available)

    I just love elephants!  They have such a calm, contentment about them. I can stand and watch them for hours!!  I love their faces and all their wrinkles too!  Simply beautiful creatures!

    My blog this month (for the most part) will be dedicated to posting several new illustrations, plus a few older ones not yet seen on Inspiring Felicity, to celebrate in a simple way the feeling of love and contentment, friendship and joy.  I'm excited to share them with you!! 

    ♥ Cath-