Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting for SANDY

Perhaps you know that I live in Connecticut and perhaps you've heard of a little storm called SANDY that is winding its way up around these parts.

It is nearly noon on Monday and so far things are OK.  The wind isn't crazy yet.  There's been some sprinkles, but no hard rain.  No schools.  No public transportation.  The highways close down at 1:00. We're all basically just settling down and preparing for whatever Mother Nature throws at us.

It could be bad.  Winds and tides could screw up all kinds of power stations.  For days.  Or weeks.

Or we could get off easy because we are not in SANDY's direct path.

Time will tell.

But until then we are really enjoying the electricity in the house right now.  I mean, it's a Wii, TV, computer, heat, microwave party up in here!

So knock on wood for us that things blow over with little damage and that the kiddos get a good Halloween this year.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Illustration Friday: Sky

Orange Blimps           2012             J. C. Phillipps

The topic for Illustration Friday this week is SKY.  I am cheating a little bit because this is a watercolor I did for my upcoming art show entitled, Orange Blimps.  I'm sneaking it in here because I haven't shown it on the blog and because I think it fits the sky theme. 

I would LOVE to be working on more things simply for Illustration Friday, but I have been SO BUSY.  Getting ready for the art show, working on stories for my agent, exploring new illustration styles, and a new secret endeavor that may or may not go forward.  (I'll let you know if it does.)

In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy Orange Blimps. (Partly inspired by the alternate universe in FRINGE.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ninjas Everywhere

Ninjas Everywhere            2012            j. c. phillipps

Last week all the artists who are participating in Open Studio Hartford were invited in to see their spaces.  I'm in the same area as I was last year (tucked back in the 3rd floor hallway) but this year I get both sides of the wall.  So people will walk through a little Julie Gallery so-to-speak.

This is awesome for two reasons:
1. It's weird to cram people looking at my wall and then people looking at another artist's wall all in the same 2 feet of hall.  Too crowded.

2. More space!

But more space means more space to fill.  So I decided to add another collage to the mix and I thought I would bring back some ninjas.

I don't want to go CRAZY BUSY with the space I have.  Like this:

No offense to this kid's art (Google image) but this much wall activity is overwhelming for the art buyer at this kind of gig.  They are seeing WALLS of different art - so one of my goals is to make my space calm and easy on the eye.
I think I have enough stuff, but there's always a little piece of me that wants to whip out a koi painting or something.  We'll see.
So right now, my immediate goals are:  mat prints, wire framed artwork, make signs, put unframed artwork in plastic, price everything, inventory.
That should keep me busy, yes?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rose's Berry Farm: A 4-Year Tradition

 This is our fourth year of going to Rose's Berry Farm and picking pumpkins with the Brudz family and BOY did we pick a beautiful day for it.  Just gorgeous.  (It looks like Magoo and I are sad about it, but, really, we're just mad about all the chores we have to do around the farm. ;)

Magoo's getting pretty big now - he can pick his own jumbo pumpkin out and carry it himself. 

 The nice thing about Rose's is that it's not just about picking pumpkins, though.  The boys can all run around in the corn maze ...

 ... and rise the see-saw, and pull each other in wagons....

... and punch inflatable black cats.

They also have warm apple fritters, but Magoo can't have those so I made him pumpkin-carob chip muffins.  Mmmmmm, muffins.

Here's an example of the colors.  It was mid-sixties, slight breeze, reds and yellows popping!  A perfect autumn day.

Hope the colors are popping wherever you are!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Autumn Colors

Every so often I get an eNewsletter from a photographer named Kat Sloma that gives little tips and ideas for improving ones photography.

This time the letter was entitled, Creating with Intention, and the tip was to understand what caught your eye in a certain scene so that you can try to capture it with the camera.  So simple.  But so right.  And, for me, so often forgotten.   Sure, something will spark my interest, but by the time I get the camera to my face and start fiddling with the focus and composition and whatnot, I've completely let go of what the original inspiration for picking the camera up.

Yesterday, I noticed how the sun hit a beautiful tree in the backyard.  The oranges just POPPED against the clear blue sky.  So I grabbed my camera and rushed out in the wind - brrrr - and tried to get it.  But I remembered that the blue was just as important as the orange and I wanted a bit of the dark shadows and the greens in there too b/c the darks make the colors even brighter.

I don't know if it's a stellar photograph, but I did capture on film what appealed to me eye - and that was the point.  So good job, me!

Then, to continue with the theme of autumn colors, I wanted to try to get the ripening tomatoes on the window sill.  What really works for me in this shot is the yellow bush in the background.

Hope the colors are popping where you are!

If you're into photography, check out Kat Eye Studio.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Harry Potter Costume Contest

Saturday afternoon, the boys were over.  Curly wanted to go to a Harry Potter costume contest at Barnes & Noble that evening, but the boys hadn't gotten this year's costumes together yet so they weren't planning on going.  I was talking to Heather about it and she commented on how Magoo's phoenix costume would fit the theme.  I thought, "Yeah it would."  So we dug the costume out of the closet, Curly and Moe put together costumes from years past and viola - Harry Potter costumes!

It wasn't just a costume contest, though.  It was also a "scavenger hunt."  (But not really, truly a scavenger hunt - more like an assortment of activities.) Magoo was partnered with a lovely young teenager (who I'll call Alice) who had read the whole Harry Potter series eight times.  So when the time came to answer Harry Potter trivia questions - she was a ringer. 

The kids also had to unscramble Potter words, name correct flavors of jellybeans, and find the headmasters of the four Hogwarts houses hidden in the store.

At the end of it all, Mo won second prize: Dumbledore's wand!

And first prize for best costume went to Magoo the Phoenix!  He won a Nook! 

Magoo is one proud pup.  On the drive home he clutched that Nook to his chest like it was a baby and he keeps saying, "I can't believe I won that Nook!"

This morning we registered it, got a Nook holder, and bought Magoo's first eBook, A Tale Dark and Grimm.

Congratulations Magoo!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Mish-Mash

Sorry I haven't blogged much this week.  I guess some weeks are super bloggy and others just aren't.

That's not to say things haven't been hoppin'.

Yesterday was picture day.  The boys showed me how they planned to pose.

Apparently faux nose picking is all the rage these days.

I've been making this yummy dish.

I made a garlic, rosemary, red pepper rub for the chicken, brown it in the skillet, then add potatoes, lemon juice, the lemon skins and fresh rosemary from the garden.  I pop that whole thing in the oven and OH SO GOOD!

Magoo doesn't like the potatoes though.  Honestly, it's like the child isn't even mine.

I've been working on VARIOUS writing projects.  One project is with my very busy editor.  One project is being fiddled with between my agent and myself.  And one project I've just started developing on my own  - but I LOVE it!  Then I have the graphic novel project which I'm letting sit awhile so I can come back to it with fresh eyes.

None of these projects are under contract just yet.  Hopefully soon.  I'm always a little more relaxed when I have a project under contract.  But the art show is just around the corner and Monkey Ono comes out in March - so all is well.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Late 70's Fashion by ME!

I was digging through my old files this morning, when I came across some artwork I remember vividly from my childhood. (I'm dating this late 1970's b/c I was probably around 8 or 9 when I made it.)  THE GREENWOOD CATALOG!

Do you remember the JCPenny catalogs that came in the mail?  I LOVED those.  So I decided to make my own.  I called the store GREENWOOD and filled it with all the wonderful things a fashionable lady might need.  Like party dresses...

I love how I have a little detail photo showing what the top dress looks like under the capelet.  Oh yes, I knew my catalog layouts well.

I love this pose...

It's so very casual and fun-loving!  Hey, we're just hanging out in our matching red wool long johns.
That poor guy looks like he has some serious crotch problems.

What's that you say?  You want something for your nights at the disco?  Well, you're in luck.  I happen to have a page of Disco Outfits just for you...

And to prove that I was the girliest girl in Girltown, I even included a page of dresses for Queens and Princesses - because you know the royals love to shop at GREENWOODS!

Hey Julie, do you have a bathing suit that's inappropriately sexy and a tad racist?  Why, yes I do!

"This bathing suit will make the braves come a running!"

When I first saw this page I thought it was a costume (because I did have costume pages as well) but nope - this sexy little number deserved a full spread with a couple of extra models.  Must be a designer suit!

I certainly had a good laugh flipping through the pages.  I hope you did too.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Open Studio Hartford 2012: Cyber Tour

Hi all!  Open Studio Hartford is only a month away, so I thought I give you a little cyber tour.  (A.K.A. a sneak peak for locals who might stop by and check out the event.)

I've been do a lot of abstracts this year.  I've really enjoyed the practice and I've had some great positive feedback.  Here are a few pieces that will be on the wall:

Unraveled (in Blue)       2012           j.c.phillipps
Cityscape with Clouds               2012                 j.c.phillipps
Cadenza              2012              j.c.phillipps

What's that you say?  You don't like abstracts.  Worry not!  I have some representational watercolors in the collection as well:

The Village of Oia     2012     j.c.phillipps
White-Naped Crane       2012    j.c.phillipps

The theme for the group show in the gallery is "23" this year, so my entry is called 23 Zombie Pile-Up.  But I didn't feel I could make just one zombie painting.  What if the people want more?
Can't disappoint the people!  So I did a small series of "Zombies in Art."  Here's a taste:

Mona Zombie      2012        j.c.phillipps
And I always like to have some fun, bright collages for the youngest art collectors:

Book Monkeys        2012        j.c.phillipps
Juggle           2012            j.c.phillipps
Alley Cats             2012             j.c.phillipps
As always, I'll have some more affordable items like prints, notecards, t-shirts and copies of the two WINK books.

If you're in the Hartford are on Nov 10 & 11th, stop on by.

I'll be on the THIRD FLOOR!

555 Asylum Rd
Hartford, CT

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Village of Oia

It's hard for me to believe that Open Studio Weekend is only about a month away.  (Geez - I guess I'd better make some postcards!)  But it is, so when I haven't been writing, I've been painting.

This watercolor is from an image I've had for yeeeeeeears.  I loved the almost abstract nature of the shapes.  Crisp shadows.  Angles galore.  And just a few pops of color here and there.

One of my challenges was to control the textures.  Painting texture can be kinda fun, so it's easy to go overboard.  But if I worked on a wall and it was drawing my focus too much, then I knew I needed to tone it down.  Also, I didn't want it to be too crazy, so I had to find areas to group together.  Like, this area will be pure white - no paint.  This area will all have warm grey tones.  This area will have a wash of cooler Payne's Grey to unify it.  That sort of thing.

It took awhile to paint, because it's really like a little puzzle - painting one piece at a time.  But I'm pleased.

And Java likes it too.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Open Studio Weekend
Nov. 10 & 11th
555 Asylum Ave
Hartford, CT

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Yarn Along: Honey Cowl

It's Wednesday and I've finished a knitting project so I'm joining the gang at Ginny's Yarn Along.

This is called the Honey Cowl.  The pattern is available on Ravelry.  I knit it was Tosh DK in Moss and I love it.

The pattern was PERFECTO for sitting and knitting and watching TV or chatting.  Easy to learn.  No counting.  Fabulous.  The yarn is very drapey and soft.  I made the long version so I could wrap it around twice.  So far, I think this is my favorite cowl.  Love it.

Currently I am reading The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.  I'm a big Stiefvater fan.  (She writes Young Adult and did the popular Shiver Series and The Scorpio Races.)  I will admit that it took me a little while to get into The Raven Boys.  I've counted 4 shifting Point-of-views so far, and I'm finding, more and more, that the more POVs one adds to the pot, the harder it is for me to get invested int eh characters.  But I'm in the thick of it now and it's really quite good, if you like mystical themes and souls walk corpse roads and things like that.  I do!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Illustration Friday: Book

The topic this week for Illustration Friday is BOOK.

I have to admit, I was pretty psyched when I saw it.  I'd been wanting to do a group of people/something reading books, but I hadn't gotten around to it. 

I needed a prod and I got one.

I decided to go with monkeys because WHY NOT?!   I considered going with crazy multi-colored monkeys, but then I thought I'd keep their palette somewhat realistic and let the colors come from the books.  I also wanted to keep the tree very background and minimal, so all you get there are some branches and leaves.

The most fun was cutting up the collages for the book titles.  I think my favorites are:
The Astonishing Chicken and Library Cowboy.

Happy Monday, everyone!