Dolly's Drive

"Dolly's Drive".

This week, the incomparable DOLLY PARTON celebrates her 50th year being a member of the Grand Old Opry. I like to imagine her driving through the Smokey Mountains, singing with the windows rolled down.
Long live Dolly!

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I'm joining Folktale Week 2019!

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I'm joining Folktale Week 2019 - here's my badge! Folktales, myths, fairy tales and legends are near and dear to my heart. This year I'm going to create my own folktales at a piece of art to accompany each story.

(This painting is “Rose & Buckeye”…I’ll show you more later. )
How it works:⠀
The Folktale Week subjects (prompts) will be released via the hosts Instagram accounts on Oct 7th. Follow them all (below) to find them. Then, on Nov 4th, follow the prompts and share a piece of the art you made in response to them each day. Interpret the prompts however you like. Everyone is encouraged to join in the fun.
Folktale Week 2019 was developed by a group of talented artists from all around the world. Be sure to check out their profiles for inspiration and follow them to find the Folktale Week subjects on October 7th and their take on Folktale Week. Follow #folktaleweek2019 on Instagram to find everyone. Let me know if you’re going to participate!

Autumn is finally here!

Autumn is my absolute favorite time of the year. Although it doesn’t really feel like it yet here in Texas, something about the slow slide into shorter days and cooler temperatures and changing leaves makes me feel like everything is right with the world. I’ve been poking around the studio and adding fall things here and there. The girls love decorating their own rooms and are always bringing in acorns and pretty leaves from the woods. It seems strange that little things would make such a difference, but if I stick a velvet pumpkin in a corner somewhere, I smile every time I walk by it.
--->What do you guys to do around your home to make it feel like fall?

These are Piper's 3 favorite horses. We decided to give them velvet ribbons for autumn. They are L to R...Zeke, Starfire, and Lily. Starfire is Piper's favorite. She says Zeke and Lily are older and won't let Starfire play with them. Poor Starfire.

These are Piper's 3 favorite horses. We decided to give them velvet ribbons for autumn. They are L to R...Zeke, Starfire, and Lily. Starfire is Piper's favorite. She says Zeke and Lily are older and won't let Starfire play with them. Poor Starfire.

AUTUMN in the studio!

AUTUMN in the studio!

Starting the day with a little Yoga with Adrienne. She's great. Do any of you watch her videos?

Starting the day with a little Yoga with Adrienne. She's great. Do any of you watch her videos?

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Piper likes hand shadow games so I found these prints in an old educational book and framed them

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My sweet Violet. I love taking walks with her out in the woods. She's my little nature nut.

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Ukelele time at the treehouse platform. They finished the treehouse! I'll have to show you completed photos soon.


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She embroidered a fox for one of her teachers. We sure are lucky to have such great teachers at the school. Mwah, to all the teachers out there!


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Orange stuff everywhere. That's one of my favorite colors.


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A huge herd of deer visited the meadow this week. I played penny whistle for them. I swear they really listen...see their ears?


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Reading reading always reading.


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Late afternoon light was made just for autumn.


Texas Cartoonists Summer 2019

It was great to see all of the Texas Cartoonists this weekend. An extra big congratulations to Bill Hinds...he's celebrating 45 years of Tank McNamara and 30 years of Buzz Beamer. Woohoo!
I wish I’d gotten photos of everyone..there are more cartoonists running around but they were in the pool or gnoshing.
People who write and draw cartoons and comics are pretty awesome folks. :)

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Wonderful Words Wednesday

Whoops! (May I add that word ALSO starts with a “W”???) I got behind on my WWWs. I’ve been sharing them on FB and IG, but I don’t always upload my website in real time. I’ll catch up today.

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I forgot Periwinkle!

I forgot to show y’all Periwinkle!
This is Pumpernickle Pickle Periwinkle Chukwu Okorafor-
Space cat. Lives with Dr. Nnedi Okorafor 
I was inspired to paint him with nsibidi symbols on ukara cloth. It says-Beautiful woman hunter sets the table with meat for Chukwu out of love. Or at least that's what I was trying to write.
I was thrilled to hear Dr. Okorafor give the keynote address last night at the Highland Park Literary Festival. I'm grateful she's in Dallas, but I bet Periwinkle misses her. 
I'm honored to be teaching workshops with her and many other creative people today. It was a thrill to hear her talk about everything from nsibidi symbols to her library browsing habits to her love of bugs.
What a fascinating woman!

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I won the 2019 Hunt County Public Art award!

I'm excited to announce that I'm the 2019 recipient of the Hunt County Public Art award. The group's mission is to beautify and energize Hunt County with public art. The HCPA will provide funding for me to create a mural in Greenville, Texas, later this spring. I will be documenting my progress on social media, so stay tuned for more details!

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Leftover paint into blob monsters

I like to take whatever paint I have left on my palette after I'm done with a project and smush it all over one of my sketchbook pages. Later, I come back and let my imagination do what it wants with the blobs of color. Today, little furry anxiety creatures are swimming across the page.

Playing flute for deer

I like to sing or play music for the deer in the meadow sometimes. These two have been resting together since dawn. Not the best video, but I didn’t want to get closer and scare them. Also…not enough hands.

Let's play "I Spy" with my blackboard art!

You can look at this list while you're seeing the blackboard in person at Lark on the Park in Dallas, or you can play along from your screen.

CAN YOU FIND...???
-7 balloons
-1 dinosaur
-2 people playing croquet
-someone wearing headphones
-1 cat
-a picnic basket
-a mohawk
-people playing petanque
-someone sewing
-someone ladder golf
-someone on a scooter
-a Willie Nelson fan
-Eunice the unicorn from Glitterville Comic
-2 bunnies
-5 people with beards
-someone putting
-3 ½ hearts
-someone in a taekwondo uniform
-3 people doing yoga
-6 food trucks
-19 balls
-2 people playing table tennis
-a Girl Scout
-10 people wearing glasses
-3 seashells (For Laurie-thank you for helping me find a practice blackboard!)
-a chicken
-parking meter
-Batman symbol
-2 Trekkies
-a mail lady
-19 dogs
-someone eating ice cream
-13 pigeons
There's also a self-portrait of me with my family. (Hint...I'm in the Glitterville shirt.) 
I drew 26 people I know in this blackboard...I hope they have fun spotting themselves!

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It's so fun to eat there and watch people looking at the blackboards. It makes me happy to see people enjoying the art and pointing out little bits they like.

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Lark on the Park has the prettiest flowers. Next time I'm in, I'll have to ask who does their arrangements.
 

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Here's a rough draft for my piece. Sometimes I work very close to my initial draft, and sometimes I don't. 

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The one below is an even earlier draft. However, I ended up getting chosen for a board that would be up starting in July. So, I decided to re-imagine it for warmer weather. 
 

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Another early idea in black and white. 
Below are the other blackboards that are up right now. It was fun to work with the other artists on installation day.  (Artists below: Jackson Henry, Miguel Bonilla, Brent Hale, Gabriela Marisol, Dace Lucia Kidd, Jingchun Quan)

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The food is amazing at Lark---I bet you'll be thrilled with anything you choose. Chef Ryan Barnett has a changing seasonal menu.
 

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(Above photo credit: Lark on the Park, all others photos by Laura Irrgang)

My entry for the Global Talent Search-"The Snailmaid"

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I'm entering the Global Talent Search held by the Lilla Rogers Agency. There are three rounds of the contest, and the winner gets representation by her agency....dreamy. The competition is pretty steep-there are over a thousand entrants, and many of these people are already fabulous working artists. It's a long shot, but it's my dream, so here we go!

I've been taking Lilla's courses for a few years. They are hands-down the best classes in the industry on creating illustration work that will actually get you work. I'd recommend them to anyone who wants to pursue a career in illustration.

This is my entry for the 1st round, and I also wrote a story to accompany my garden journal. I'd love to write and illustrate a collection of classic-but-new fairy tales for children. I'd love to fill libraries everywhere with mysterious tales and beautiful images. Stories like that were the highlight of my childhood and I'd love to be able to give that back some day.

The Snailmaid
Once upon a time, deep in the woods, lived a snailmaid who couldn’t have children of her own. She was kind and fair to look upon, and had a voice like a lark, but her shell spiraled the wrong way, making it impossible to find a partner.

More than anything, she wanted children of her own. Daily, the snailmaid wept bitter tears under the oldest walnut tree in the woods. A staghorn fern grew in the branches of the old walnut, and everyone knew the fern had a wisdom that could be tapped only by the deepest longing. After a year of tears, the staghorn fern took pity on the snailmaid and directed her to look into the hollow at the base of the tree. There she found two small anemone root cuttings. The fern told her to take them to her garden, plant them under the full moon, and care for them as she would her own children. Confused but determined, the snailmaid followed the fern’s instructions.

Day and night, through the blazing heat of August and the bitter frost of January, she cared for the tender plants the best way she knew how. One morning in early April, the snailmaid sensed a change in the air that could only mean the arrival of spring. She trailed through the garden and gave the anemones a drink from her copper watering can. She closed her eyes to the warmth of the sun and hummed a soft lullaby. The foliage rustled gently below. The snail maid stopped, but the air was still.

The second day, the two anemones had grown enormous buds overnight. They were a deep purple and a delicate pink. The snailmaid watered them, sang to them once more, and a tiny coo drifted up from below. The snail maid peered carefully into the garden, but all was silent and still.

On the third day, she watered them from the copper can, and started her lullaby once again. The leaves of the anemones shook, as though they were tiny arms reaching up impatiently for her. The snail maid ceased her song, and all was silent. Brushing the leaves gently, the snailmaid began to sing again. The leaves grasped onto her fingertip, like the hands of a newborn babe. To her astonishment, the anemone buds began to rapidly unfurl. Soft petals opened to reveal a pair of babies’ faces staring back at her.

“Oh!” Startled, she dropped the watering can and their petals snapped shut. She apologized and made shushing sounds. She petted and cajoled and begged, but the only thing that could coax them back out was the lullaby, so she sang until she was hoarse. She was overjoyed with her new green babies, and spent the night on the ground, curled up next to them in her snug shell.

The snailmaid moved into the garden for good to care for the wee flower babies. The larger one with the velvety purple petals and blond hair she named Abercrombie. He had a quick laugh and a grin full of mischief. The little girl with dark curls and warm pink petals she called Hallie. The girl had the softest voice, and was always on the verge of a yawn.

And there they stayed, the happy family in the garden in the woods, until the end of their days.

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