Friday, August 31, 2012

Zombie Week: Contest Winner

With a whopping 18 correct zombies, the winner is ELSPETH!!!  WOO HOO - you're a zombie-naming maniac!

Here's the image with zombie names:

And I'll name them here from top to bottom:

Rat of Hamelin
Piped Piper of Hamelin
Shirley Temple
Peter Dinklage  - no one got this correct and I never thought they would.  In retrospect, maybe I should have put him in character as Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones.  He's sort of the wild card of the bunch.
David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust
Dana Scully and Fox Mulder from X-Files
Marilyn Monroe
Javier Bardem from No Country For Old Men.  Remember him?  He was the scary dude that called everyone "Friendo."  Elspeth guessed that this was Prof. Severus Snape from Harry Potter and I can totally see where she got that.  He has that annoyed sneer thing going.  So, good guess!
Michael Jackson from his Thriller video
Michael Phelps.  Elspeth guess Ryan Locte b/c of the gold medals.  I feel kinda bad about that b/c Phelps does have a lot more medals, but I couldn't put them all it.  All that gold would have crushed the other zombies!!!
Vincent Van Gogh
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog.  Two people got that one correct.  I was tickled pink!
Edgar Allen Poe and ...
The Raven
Frida Kahlo
Ed Grimely Jr. (a Martin Short character from Saturday Night Live)
Jackie Kennedy Onasis
Jeff Spiccoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  This is also a toughie.  I thought about having him say "Aloha, Mr. Hand!"  but that would be too big of a clue. 
And, finally, Elvis.

Thanks to everyone who played.  It was a lot of fun for me to ready your guesses.  And thanks to all who gave me a shout out of support.  I really appreciate it.

For those of you who are local, this piece will be in the gallery show at Open Studio Hartford, Nov.10 & 11, in Hartford CT.

And Congratulations again to ELSPETH!  I'll contact you via email to talk about your prize!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Zombie Week: Zombie Descending a Staircase

Zombie Descending a Staircase     2012      j. c. phillipps

This is the last entry for zombie week.  I love this piece of art - the original I mean, Nude Descending a Staircase.  Not only is it a fabulous painting, but it has a kick-butt title.  I've used it before in other projects that haven't really taken off, but I do keep coming back to it.

Today is the LAST DAY to enter the zombie contest.  If you've been thinking it over, why not give it a go.  I'll list all the zombies tomorrow and announce the winner.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Day of School: Fourth Grade

Ack!  It's the first day of school!  It was super sunny out so Magoo needed to sport some shades to get the annual "first day of school" pic on the front steps.  I put it next to the one from Kindergarten to compare.  (Look how cute!!!)

As we walked along, I explained the story in the song, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, because it had just been referenced on a TV show we had watched.  Then I noticed his feet.  MAGOO WAS WEARING FLIP-FLOPS.  Flip-flops are not allowed.  No no.

Now I thought to myself, Self, I'm sure they'll let it slide today.  No biggie.  But then I remembered Magoo has gym class.  No flip-flops in gym class.  So we hurried home, changed shoes, and then drove back to school.

We were a tad on the late side, but since it was the morning ceremony, we only missed a little bit of welcoming and line standing.  We found Magoo's classroom, popped him in line, then I stood back to take countless pictures of him while he wasn't looking.

Here he is with his new teacher, Mrs. Sinatro.  They are Sunglasses Twins.

As the classes went into the school, one by one, I snapped this shot of Magoo waiting.  If he's anything like me, he is equally excited and nervous.  There's a lot of energy in a little body on the first day of school.  A lot to take in.  A lot to process.

And then he was off to start Fourth Grade. (Check out those huge sunflowers.  Gorgeous!)

Another year has begun!  We have been so lucky at this school.  Year after year he has had wonderful teachers who really help him blossom.  He has worked on math and writing all summer and is quite a good reader when he finds a book he connects with.  I think he's going to have a great year.

I'll be very excited to hear all about his day, but what he'll probably say to me is "It went fine."

Zombie Week: American Zombie Gothic

American Zombie Gothic      2012       j. c. phillipps

Come on.  I had to do American Gothic!  Had.  To.  In fact, when I googled American Gothic to get a good image to use, someone had already zombified it. (And Lego-ized it.) Their's was a little more graphic than mine, but it did give me the idea to put an eyeball on the pitchfork.

I've gotten a couple more responses to the Zombie Contest.  There's still today and tomorrow to enter.  Check it out.

In other news:  Today is Magoo's first day at school.  I'll have my usual photo update on that later in the day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Zombie Week: Zombie Ballet Rehearsal on Stage

Zombie Ballet Rehearsal on Stage   2012  j.c. phillipps

This zombie creation is based on one of Degas's paintings, Ballet Rehearsal on Stage.  There are actually five or six ballerinas in that one, but I'm trying to keep things simple.  And funny.  There's something about a one-legged zombie trying to dance on stage that really amuses me.

I've had a few email guesses for the Zombie Contest.  Some correct guesses and some a little off the mark (although most of those I can see where there were coming from.)  Keep the guesses coming.  I'll announce the winner of a yet-to-be-determined winner's-choice award on Friday!

For those of you with kiddos in out school district, maybe I'll see you at Whiting Lane this afternoon.  First day of school tomorrow.  (I might have to do a dual first day/zombie post.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Zombie Week: Zombie Mona Lisa

Mona Zombie           2012             j. c. phillipps

I hadn't originally planned on doing a series of zombie art.  Then I thought if people liked 23 Zombie Pile-Up in the gallery and came upstairs to my space, they might be disappointed not to see any undead art.  So I decided to do a series of four paintings - zombies in famous art.  And I started with the most obvious, Mona Zombie.

These pieces are small.  Each is only about 5" X 7", so they will be affordable, because the people who want to buy original zombie art probably don't want to pay a lot of money for it.  I actually have no idea what kind of person buys original zombie art.  Where would one put this painting?  The bathroom?  I truly don't know.  But I do think the cards will sell because I would buy zombie note cards - for sure.

In other news: Something occurred to me re: the zombie contest.  If Jack writes 10 zombies in his comment, will Jill see those names and use some?  I don't know!  So, if you'd prefer to keep your entry secret, feel free to email your zombie guesses to me at

I'm going to add this little bit into the rules.

More zombies tomorrow!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Zombie Week. 23 Zombie Pile-Up

23 Zombie Pile-Up      2012    j. c. phillipps

The theme for Open Studio Weekend this year is "23."  In order to participate in the group show, the artists have to so something with that theme in their art.  (Just the group piece, not the whole collection.)  I had a nice tall frame just sitting in the basement and I thought I could do a zombie pile-up.

I started the piece as a collage and the zombies were just regular folk.  But after I got 6 zombies into it, I realized that the collage looked kinda busy.  Also, as I was getting ideas for zombies, I thought zombie Elvis would be fun.  Then I thought, Hey, what if they were all famous zombies?  That's WAY MORE FUN!

So I scrapped the collage zombies and started making a list.  My goal was to choose iconic figures that people would recognize.  There are actors, fictional characters, musicians, artists, and writers.  Oh, and two animals.  They kinda go with their person and serve as an extra means of identification but they still count as zombies.

I could tell you who they are, but where's the fun in that?!  Hey, let's have a contest.  Whoever gets the most zombies correct gets a prize.  (Since this is off the cuff I don't know what the prize is just yet.  Maybe some cards or a print or a zombie magnet,  I'll discuss with the winner.)  You can enter your guesses in the comments section, or, if you want to keep your guesses secret, send an email directly to me at

And because the image above is a little smaller,  I'll break them into groups for you.

Here's group one.  Ten zombies.  Can you name any?

Group two.  Six zombies.  Who do you know?

Group three.  Seven zombies in this group.  I think the least recognizable zombie is in this group and if you get it I'll be so impressed I'll burst!  (Here's a clue: he's in a popular TV show that is currently on the air.  By which I mean, it's not running right now, in August, but it's not a cancelled show.  Also, the zombie of which I speak is the actor, not the character.  And I guess I should say this, if you recognize a zombie fictional character as the actor, I'll still give you credit.  For example, let's say I did a Zombie Jack Sheppard from LOST and you said Matthew Fox, I'd give you credit.  FYI, there are not LOST zombies.  Okay, enough rambling.)

Name those zombies!

Last day of the contest will be Thursday, Aug 30th.  So I'll announce the winner on Friday.

(Heather can't play because we've discussed the zombies.  Sorry.)

Good luck.  Have fun!  And I'll feature more zombie art this week.  The week of the zombie!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Those pesky squirrels are always stealing my red tomatoes, so we brought a few inside to ripen in the window.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Green River

Behind a corn field in Great Barrington, MA, there is a lovely little swimming hole that we visit occasionally with our friends.  It's usually a chilly swim, but the water is so clear.  This time there was a small raft made out of two by four's that the boys had a grand ol' time on.

 Magoo was the only one who went in often.  He's a water boy through and through, so he served as the ferryman, taking the other boys back and forth from rock to land.  At one point a bright white caterpillar got on the raft.  Magoo was in the middle of the river (which is very calm at this point, FYI, with only the slightest current) and the other boys were telling him it was poison.  At first Magoo tried to splash the bugger off the raft.  When that didn't work, he panicked and abandoned ship.  The problem was, Curly and Mo were then stranded on a far rock and neither one of them wanted to swim back to shore.

We assured the boys that the caterpillar may be poison, therefore they shouldn't eat it.  But it was unlikely to be an aggressive poisonous attack caterpillar, so it was OK to go get the raft.  Ferryman Magoo was back on the job.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Making of...The Monkey Ono Book Trailer

If you're interested in stop motion animation or just wondered what I did to make my little book trailer, you can check out a 6-minute video I did that shows you the basics.

I'm not going to post it here because it takes FOREVER to upload long videos here.
But follow this link to YouTube.

Hope you like it!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monkey Ono Book Trailer

Hi everyone.

Welcome to the world premiere of the Monkey Ono book trailer!  (I'm going to post it on Facebook in March, which is about as media saavy as I get.)  But you guys can see it here now.

You may notice the voice on Monkey Ono saying, "Oh no!"  That'd be Magoo.  We worked pretty hard to get that one just right.  ;)

Monkey Ono is now available for pre-order on Amazon.  (Just saying.  In case you wanted to, I dunno, buy it or something.)

I also shot a "Making of..." video, which I will post next.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cityscape with Clouds

I'm trying to do a bunch of tiny abstract paintings to get back into the swing of things.  Some (most) are kind of cruddy - but that's OK.  That's part of the process and really I'm just playing and trying all kinds of different things.

But this one started taking an interesting shape and before I knew it, it started looking like a city to me.  So I played up on it.

I added the clouds to the sky, then I thought they looked like blimbs, but now I'm back to clouds.  (You can call them blimps if you want.)   But now I'm kinda loving the idea of a sky full of blimps so I might have to do another one.

In other news:  I went out and bought a USB cable mic yesterday and was able to record my voice over into the stop-motion book trailer via Garbageband.  So that works much better.  I'm even making a little "making of a book trailer" movie, so I'll show that to you when it's done.  I'll probably try to keep the book trailer under wraps until March.  Oh, I'll show you guys.  But I won't put it on Facebook until closer to the book opening.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lots of Animals

I'll wrap up the vacation shots with a bunch o' animal pics I snapped at the Toledo Zoo.   Teh Toledo Zoo is the zoo I grew up around and they have made some wonderful additions and renovations throughout the years.  I remember when the lions were in small cement cages, because in the 70's we thought that was OK.  That building has been transformed into the cafeteria, so now the people can sit in the cages.  Seems about right.  :)

I took a TON of photographs.  Here are my best shots.

The lions look much happier here.


We were lucky to get into the aquarium when we did.  In September it goes under renovations for 2 1/2 years.  And I would have missed it, because I love that place.  I took a bunch of shots of goldfish, so I may have a few more fish paintings in me yet.

It's a lovely, lovely zoo.  If you're in the upper Northeast corner of Ohio, make sure to check it out.

In other news: I have spent the week working on the stop-motion book trailer for Monkey Ono, but I'm having difficulty with the voice over part.  The microphone on my computer just sounds too far away, like I'm doing my voice over on the telephone.  Hmmm.  I either have to solve the problem or reshoot the trailer to have no voice over at all.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Cabin

During our Michigan adventure, we stopped at our family's cabin in Thompsonville, MI. (Near Crystal Mountain if you're familiar with the area.)  I love the cabin.  My grandparents built it on land that my great-grandparents bought and I've been going up there my whole life.  Except for about a 15 year break in my 20's and early 30's.  You see, it's not super close to where the rest of my family is so when I moved to New England and I'd return to Ohio to visit my family, it's not like I could just bop up to the cabin.  But now that Magoo is around, it's something I want to share with him, so we try to get over there every couple of years.

I used to sleep up in the loft.  Now, since I'm an adult and the ceilings are low up there, I get to sleep downstairs in the normal sized bedrooms.  But Magoo can camp up there now, and when I was putting his stuff away I noticed one of my old paintings (from the teenage years) on the shelf.

There's LOTS'O'FUN stuff to do up at the cabin.  One day we went canoeing/kayaking.  (The men took the kayak, my step-mother and I took the canoe.)  Man, is it nerve wracking taking photos with your digital camera in a canoe!  I bought a nice water tight camera case just in case I went in the drink.  And you know what?  I totally did.  (This was because there are tubers and canoers on the same river.  This should not be.  Tubers want to linger and float and be right in the middle and go slow.  People in canoes and kayaks are padeling and moving much quicker.  When we share a river,  it forces us to navigate far more than we should have to.  Don't get my step-mother started on it!)

But all was well.  My camera was packed away and the water was pleasant.  And it's not really a good canoe trip if I don't fall off the boat anyway.

Remember how I mentioned Crystal Mountain?  Back in my day, you skied there.  There was a building for rentals, a clubhouse for chillaxin', and lifts.  That's pretty much it. 

Now it's a huge resort!  There's a golf course, there's a pool, there's a million little cabins, and there's the Crystal Coaster...

... which is SOOOO MUCH FUUUN!  And there's a rock climbing wall.

What?  You can't see me in the first shot?  Well, that's because I'm all the way at the top, baby!

We also hit the beach, walked around Frankfort, played mini golf, watched Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (which was good) and went to Gwen Frostics (which I mentioned in my last post.)  All in two days!!!  Good times.

Here's a final shot from the deck.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A SHOUT OUT to Gwen Frostics

There's a place in Benzonia, MI that I have visited since I was little girl.  It's called Gwen Frostics.

What it is, simply put, is a stationary store with a printing press on site.  It's very cool to be able to watch the presses at work.

But really, it's just this really cool place where this lady, Gwen Frostic, lived and worked, loved nature, and drew nature.  The building reflects all that.  It's kinda hard to describe the vibe, but it's a place that grew out of love, not a business that was about making money.

As a child I enjoyed the fish pond that is right in the front foyer.  I think there used to be a frog in it that I would search for.  There's also a room with a huge picture window out back where you can watch the wildlife, and trails back there too.

Inside, there are walls of prints, books, t-shirt, and stationary.  All lovely block prints made fromt he sketches of the late Gwen Frostic.

I could have lingered there for hours, but we were on our way to a canoe trip, so I only had time to snap a couple shots and but some stationary.

Here's the website, if you want to check it out.  And if you're ever in Benzonia, MI, make sure to stop by.  It's a wonderful place.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gone Fishin'

Forgive me.  I've been away on vacation and I'm not big on announcing such things because it's kinda like, "Hey, come rob my house!"

But I'm back now and ready to share.

Magoo, Mike, and I did a whirlwind tour of relatives in Michigan and Ohio.  The first stop was in Michigan at Magoo's grandfather's house and the highlight for Magoo was definitely fishing.

Before he started, I gave him a little talk about how fishing is a sport of patience, how you might not catch a fish right away and not to be discouraged.  Magoo walked out onto the dock and dipped his corn-bated hook into the water and seconds later whipped it up into the air.

I was just about to scold Magoo about being careful with a fish hook when I realized he had already caught his first fish.

I kid you not, it took seconds.

Well, that did it.  Magoo was hooked!  He LOVED fishing.  And he caught three more fish that afternoon and two more the following day.

Looks like we got a natural born fisherman here.