24 April 2012

a visit with anna

Last autumn I started a traveling sketchbook on the theme of self-portraits and home landscapes called portrait:landscape. Seventeen female artists that I met via twitter joined in and although the book's first stop was just a few cities away from mine, it soon traveled to the Pacific Northwest, the Rocky Mountains, the South and the East Coast before sailing across the Atlantic to the U.K.

Anna Jane Searle was the first artist outside the U.S. to receive the book and she has made a clever, personal and beautiful contribution! I wanted to post these on the proper portrait:landscape page, but have run into a boring technical difficulty that is really cramping my style. But! I did not want to let a silly glitch delay enjoyment of Anna's clean and elegant illustrations and besides ~ I figure that the first works from across the pond deserve their own post. Enjoy!

Anna's portrait page features herself as a bear in her trademark glasses and cute illustrations of her favorite things. Her blog, Annarack, is always fun to read and full of actual objects of a similar nature to these drawings, plus her ace artwork ~ amazing dioramas and three-dimensional papercrafts, very detailed and incredibly textured embroidery, fashion, handmade buttons, book arts and much more. Do follow her if you don't already have the pleasure!

I really love her landscape pages. She turned a local landmark into a piece of the British flag, effectively combining her region and country in one eloquent drawing of her location. She also drew Hadrian's wall, which somehow really makes me want to go there and walk along it on a sunny day.

She has already sent the sketchbook on to Valeria Poropat in bellissima Roma, Italia! I am sooo looking forward to seeing the Eternal City through her eyes. Valeria paints and draws at her blog Valeria Draws and her style is quite distinctive. From looking at her many female portraits, each a bit magical and a bit mysterious, I am coming up with a guess in my mind of how her she may go about her own self-portrait. Very curious to see if she keeps her signature painting style or heads in a totally different direction.

After Valeria, the book will travel to nine more artists before arriving back to me. At that point... we shall see ~ the book is becoming so tremendously precious as its pages are so beautifully filled that I feel I should think of something really marvelous to do with it. Thank you, my artistic friends, for your heartfelt drawings and paintings in our round-the-world collaboration! You are inspiring me with every page!

07 April 2012


We were surprised after dinner the other night to find a bee on the floor in the dining room. She looked weak and parched, so I put her outside with some sugar water that she seemed to appreciate. When I checked on her later, she was gone and I hoped she'd recovered her strength and found her way back home.

I began thinking about bees and their mysterious disappearances lately. When we visited my uncle in Illinois last summer, he commented that 2/3 of his hives had collapsed without warning. Only three were still carrying on.

I had been bouncing a variety of ideas around in my head for a theme on my Limited Edition Sketchbook Project without being able to settle on one, but the little visitor helped me decide to focus on the little creatures that keep our plants pollinated and our garden humming.

This morning I spent some time with them in our back yard, near the rosemary bush that they favor. I've only a few weeks to start and complete my LE Sketchbook, but with these little fellows for inspiration, I hope to meet the deadline.

Will begin to work this weekend and hope to have some art to share with you soon!