Sunday, April 29, 2007

Illustration Friday: Remember

This afternoon, I was listening to one of my favorite all-time albums, A Gift From A Flower To A Garden (For The Little Ones). It has a definite renaissance-y feel, and whenever I put it on, I swear my blood pressure goes down. It always reminds me of being in college, when my friend Amanda and I would get up at the crack of dawn to go out and sit at the lake and freeze with our watercolors and cranberry-walnut muffins, being painterly. So this evening I took a break from working and dug out my box portfolio from back in the day, when I had done a calendar based on the songs of this album. This piece is (gulp!) 13 years old, and what amazes me is that I could slide this right into my portfolio today. Apparently I had a definite style even then.

The song this illustrates is called "Epistle to Derroll". It's a Carroll-esque song about a man who is searching for his friend, a banjo-player with a tattoo on his hand. He calls all the starfish out of the sea to ask them if they've seen him anywhere. My favorite line says, "Come ye starry starfish/ I know your ways are caped/ Maybe it's because you're/ astrologically shaped."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Your toastess with the mostest explains it all to you

Three things you may not have known about:

1. You can subscribe to my site feed and get updated whenever I post something new to my blog, just by clicking here:

Subscribe to french toast girl in a reader

2. Want to be notified of all the latest updates to the site or be in the know about upcoming projects and artwork for sale? (Oh yes, there will be much more of that, very soon!) You can sign up for email notices here.

3. This is the mating ritual on the planet Koozebane. :)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

every day in may

Last year, I got this crazy idea that I would paint every day in May. And post the paintings here on my blog. And invite others to do the same. ♥

Here's how it works:
Commit to create something every day in the month of May. (Note: last year I did over 31 paintings. I felt really rushed. So this year, I will spend more than one day on a painting if I want to. You can do the same, or do 31 separate paintings, or take 31 photos, make collages, or write a page of your novel every day.)

They can be tiny.

They can be crap. :)

They can be about anything you want.

At the end of the month, a month that has a solid week of recitals and hours of driving time and packing up the kids to bring to my parents so the house can be perfectly quiet, I will have done 31 days of paintings. I may hate them all! I may have one I love, or I may think all of them are my best work yet. But I do know that I function better painting than when I'm NOT painting. And hopefully after all those paintings I will learn something new.

So...who wants to join me?

. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Graphics to link back and use for your own "Every Day" journey:

Feel free to join the Flickr group here: Every Day In May. Go! Share your stuff!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Illustration Friday: Polar

Edgar Allan Poe/lar Bear.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy earth day to you!

We take Earth Day seriously around our house. Here are some things we do to try to save energy and help the earth:

Skip the drying cycle in the dishwasher and let the dishes air-dry

Use cloth bags at the supermarket. I love these. People stop me all the time and ask where I got them, to the point where the cashier wanted me to go show them to the manager at our ShopRite and tell them to stock them!

Plant something green: Paul planted 12 arbor vitae in our yard Sunday.

Go organic when you can. Read here for list of food that has the highest level of pesticides, so you can make your choices. We always go for organic milk as well, because our kids drink so much of it.

No pullups or disposable diapers. So far, two out of three kiddos are staying dry at night. So far, we haven't gone back to diapers yet! Keep your fingers crossed.

Turn off the lights. I turn off everything, whenever we leave the room. It's a good habit to get into.

Give back. We'll be helping do a park clean-up this weekend. Paul bring his students to help. I'll be leading the little kids to do some chalking.

Teach your children well. Our kids are learning to respect the earth, share their resources, and learn more about the world around them.

What's your favorite earth-friendly tip?

Friday, April 20, 2007

If you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you.

This is a painting in progress comissioned by wonderful long-time reader David. If you like unicorns too, check out the gallery and click on the first square under "stories." I love stories of all sorts (especially classics!), and I'm itching to start painting this one!

NOTE: I thought this was quite obvious, but I guess it's not! This scene is from Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland, in the chapter called "The Lion and the Unicorn." It's in the public domain, so you can read the whole chapter (and actually, the whole book if you like) here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Practicing, part two

A few days ago I posted my sketchbook page full of faces - going through a magazine and drawing face after face after face. They're finally painted! While this was a good exercise, it's brought up something that frustrates me every time: I draw. I love the drawing. I paint. I lose all those delicate outlines and scratchings that the pencil gives me under the watercolor. Foo.

So for my next sketchbook practice page, I'm going to draw more faces, then go over the outlines with an ink wash. Not just the rapidograph pen - I don't want a harsh strong line, but rather a variable line. So I think I might get brown ink instead of black, thin it out a little, do all my detail work with a brush and pen, and then do the watercolor. I think that will give me the results I've been looking for. (The little girl's face here is my favorite from last night's page.)

ps ~ I am the 1000th Blog of Note! What an honor! If you are brand new to the site, welcome!

Monday, April 16, 2007

A reminder

I ripped this out of an old O Magazine last week and have stuck it up above my desk as a reminder to not beat myself up (or those around me). I am currently neck-deep in work, permanently stuck in Week 11 (out of 12) in Walking in This World, and we've moved into the last phase of toilet-training: NO DIAPERS AT NIGHT.

Does that strike terror into your heart? It did mine. And while I was hoping that the kids would catch on quickly to the "ooh, waking up in a puddle of pee is not fun", and they have, what they have not caught onto is the ability to do something about it; ie, wake up, get out of bed, and pee in the toilet. It's been 2 weeks now and they sort of get it and sort of don't. We may have to face the fact that at least the twins are just not physically ready to be dry all night. In which case we will go back to (gulp) pullups, and we will do a LOT less laundry. And Mama and Daddy can get much much much more sleep than we are now. And we'll all try again after recitals are over in June.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Illustration Friday: Green

I only have 43 fantastic ideas for new paintings featuring my favorite color, and the title of my theme song. But I'm swamped with work... so I offer up an old fave in hopes that I'll be able to do this theme later on and post it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


I set myself a challenge one night to fill up my page with faces from the O magazine next to me. The first ones I did looked forced and had way too much detail. I've been studying up on one of my favorite illustrators of all time, Trina Schart Hyman (go look her up at the library, you will fall in love too) and noticed that though her pictures are detailed, she does much of it with color and not with lines (at least not in her faces). I finished the page and went back and reworked the heads I didn't like and simplified the heck out of them. Next step: watercolour!