Monday, September 30, 2013

Busy, busy, busy!

Red & Shorty's Coffee House! A very acoustically live room and a great little stage!
Ever notice how when you are doing something you dislike or feel forced to do, you feel busy or overwhelmed, but when you are doing what you love you can't get enough and being busy doesn't affect you the same way? I could be drawing caricatures for five hours and then at night I when I'm resting I may still feel like drawing!
What a greeeeat weekend I had! I was fortunate to be able to do caricaturing, silhouettes and music all in the same weekend! And yes I was busy but it didn't feel that way! I did caricatures at a wedding reception, Friday night, and then got to sing with my husband Larry at  the wedding on Saturday morning. I performed with Salt River at Red and Shorty's Coffeehouse in Dover, NH, Saturday night and did silhouettes at a music festival in Newberry, Mass on Sunday! Needless to say I was tired Sunday night but happy to be doing what I love!

Photo: Salt River!!
That us playing music at Red and Shorty's in Dover, NH. That's me playing the guitar.

They have different performances each month! Check out Red & Shorty's facebook page! 

This was a lovely lady from Boston who wanted her silhouette done at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm's Harvest Music Fest.
At the Harvest Music Festival at Historic New England's Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newberry, Mass. there were farm animals for the kids to pet, folk and bluegrass music to dance to, lots of food, even gluten-free whoopie pies!

The first thing I discovered when I got set up, was that I had no business cards! I knew already that I had run out of silhouette business cards, but I thought I had brought enough of my caricaturing cards with me, but no! So in between customers I measured out and cut up some paper, and hand-made my own business cards, with tiny silhouettes on them! I had plenty of paper and my trusty and sharp silhouette sissors with me. People seemed to like them and didn't care that they weren't printed!

Another funny thing happened at this festival that's never happened before! A woman came over and wanted her little boys' silhouette done, and then her husband came over and she walked away.

When I was done the husband took the silhouette, thanked me and walked away before I realized that they hadn't paid me. I looked for them but they were lost in the crowd! Oh well! I just kept on cutting silhouettes. What could I do? I couldn't picture myself running after them saying "You didn't pay me, so pay up!"

The next couple that came had me do all three of their children and wanted the extras as well. They then paid me and as I was still finishing up they walked away saying they would pick them up later. Well, they didn't come back, and they didn't come back! I kept watching for them, but didn't see them again. And I thought "oh well. this makes up for the people that didn't pay! Finally at the very end just as I was beginning to pack up they came back and got their silhouettes! I was so glad  they came back.

I did so many silhouettes I was too busy to take many pictures. I did two silhouettes of dogs and they sat not perfectly still, but did better than most dogs! I always do two silhouettes at a time and if no one wants the extra one  I can keep it as a sample! A lot of people bought the extras this time but I do have these two!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What Are These Ladies Waiting For? How do you get things done and find balance in your day?

What are these ladies standing around for? What are they waiting to do? Getting it done seems so impossible sometimes! I did this drawing of Nesting Dolls for a project I was happy to be involved with a few years back! They remind me of how hard it is to get going on something you want to accomplish. Sometimes it feels easier to just "stand around" than to tackle the thing you're putting off.
And sometimes I feel as stationary as these dolls look!
Pen and Ink drawing done for "Sarah Farmer's Dream Activity Book published by Spirit of Children

This image from Time Management Ninja helps me to remember to work towards balance in my day. Check out their article on 5 Secrets of Keeping Your Daily Life in Balance  5 Secrets of Balance

Today is going to be a balancing act! 
In this Ted Talk on The Discipline of Finishing Conor Neill shares different ideas about focusing, and at one point mentions  focusing on just fifteen minutes at a time!
Two Japanese Ladies -pen and ink also from "Sarah Farmer's Dream!

I did these two oil portraits a few years ago. I'll be posting them as sample of  custom oil portraits in my Etsy Shop soon!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Salt River Performs at Red and Shorty's in Dover, NH Sept. 28th at 8pm

Gretchen Rubin says in her insightful book"happiness Project" that determining your passion, if you don't already know what it is, is easier if you think about what you did at the age of ten for fun!

"But whatever your passion might be, happiness research predicts that making time for a passion and treating it as a real priority instead of an "extra" to be fitted in at a free moment (which many people practically never have) will bring a tremendous happiness boost."  "...What you enjoyed doing as a ten-year-old, or choose to do on a free Saturday afternoon, is a strong indication of your passion."

I remember when I was ten, I drew all the time. I sang all the time too! I loved putting the poems in the back of my third grade reader to music just for fun. When I was sixteen I asked my folks for a guitar and have been playing ever since!
 One time someone  I didn't know well and haven't seen since, told me that I should choose music or art to pursue and not both! He was well meaning, but I let it bother me for a while. I just love art and music both! Many people do! And I plan to continue with both my arts and music as long as I can! So there!!

One of my passions for the last fifteen years has been playing music with my awesome folk-blues group Salt River!
                     So happy to announce that we are performing at the end of the week!

On Saturday, September 28th at 8 pm, Salt River will be performing at the new Red & Shorty's Coffeehouse, in Dover N.H, 4 Paul Street (2nd left off Henry Law Ave.

This venue is a house concert at the home of Joe and Lorna Simes.  The former owners of Elysium Folk Club have opened their home to a new music series and we are excited to be a part of this.

    Seating is limited to about 30, so we suggest making reservations, by emailing them at:  They also have a Facebook page.  Our next performance will be at First         Night in Portsmouth, NH.  
Salt River at Prescott Park a few years back!

One of our promo pictures!

Playing at Joe's Sime's old venue-Elysium Folk Club at the
Salmon Fall's Mills in Rollingsford, Me a couple of years ago!

This picture was taken back when we were a trio, before Cathy King joined us on Bass.
I think this was at a fundraiser for The School Around Us in Kennebunk, Me.
Happy Music Making!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Cutting Edge of Silhouettes!

Charles Burns, an amazing silhouettist from England talks about the silhouette cameo or  bust-length portrait, originally known as shades that were popular all over England and early American during the Georgian and Regency periods. You can find interesting bits of history mixed in with his wonderful silhouette cutting, including some full length silhouettes at his blog. I've only done a  full length silhouette of a bride so far, but hope to do more in the future!

A silhouette of a baby I cut at The Shaker Village in Alfred, Maine last wekend!

When I start cutting a silhouette I always start with the bottom right hand edge of the profile and work up to the face, forehead and the top of the head, Then I jump back down to the bottom and cut across to the left and then proceed up the back of the head, finishing the hair. I then make any extra cuts for details in the hair or anywhere else! 
I always add eye lashes, even if I can't see them when I'm cutting ! I include eyelashes even on the boys only shorter. It adds interest to the face.

I always cut glasses as a negative shape. Its very effective!
"And just how do I cut glasses ?" you ask!

I've decided to display some silhouettes unmounted in a clear plastic bag so that people can see that I'm working with paper! Sometimes when I'm at a festival and people look at my samples, they ask if it's paper or painted.

Another silhouette of a girl, cut at the Shaker Hill apple Fest. 2013!

A family that finds me at Strawberry Festival each year in South Berwick!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Silhouettes on the shade!"

Whenever I do silhouettes at festivals or other events, people ask me questions about the history of Silhouettes, and love sharing annecdotes about how their teacher in elementary school set up a light and cast their shadow on the wall and traced their silhouette.!  At the festival in Alfred last weekend someone walked by and as soon as he saw my silhouette sign started singing that old song "Silhouettes on the Shade"! I think I'll have to have that song playing in the background at my next gig! What do you think?

What specifically are Silhouettes and how long have silhouettes been around anyway? 
Wikipedia states that  a "silhouette is an image of a person, object or scene represented as a solid shape of a single color, usually black, its edges matching the outline of the subject."
I've heard that Silhouettes could have originated in ancient Greece, but most historical sources mention that that they became particularly popular in the mid-18th century, though they weren't called Silhouettes till the early part of the 19th century. They were often found in the homes of the working class and were less expensive than an oil painting or portrait miniature which were popular in higher society.

This traditional silhouette portrait dates from the late 1800's.

Many silhouettists would cut a side portrait in a matter of minutes out of black paper by just looking and cutting. Others would draw the profile first as an outline and then paint it in. Many would cut the profile or "bust portrait" out of black paper, adhere it to white paper, and then embellish it with added drawn lines to indicate hair or other decorations. Some used some kind of tracing device to help create the image, and yes, some probably set up a candle or some  other light and traced a person's shadow!

At the time Silhouettes were also known as shades. It amazes me that paper can actually last as long as some silhouettes have! There are several good historic silhouettes in display at Jeffer's Tavern in York Village! A month ago I was invited to do Silhouettes at York Village and was happy to join a class in progress of junior docents in training . They were in period costume and let me cut their silhouettes! I will be there again as part of Market Fest. on Oct. 19th doing silhouettes for the public!

These two silhouettes were cut by me a month or so ago at Jeffer's Tavern in York Village, Maine. They are members of the docent program at York Village and were in period costume at the time!

A silhouette of my husband Larry! Mustaches are fun to cut!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Serenity of New England in the Fall and Silhouettes at the Shaker HIll Apple Fest. in ALfred, Maine

This is a watercolor I did a while ago for the inside of one of  Salt River's CD's. Must be Maine!
There was a huge turnout at the Shaker Hill Apple Fest in Alfred, Maine this past weekend. The weather was wonderful, though it rained a bit on Saturday morning early. Luckily the tents worked well to keep the rain off and it didn't last long. I cut many silhouettes and enjoyed talking with people and hearing their stories of how their Grandmother had their silhouettes done when they were kids, or how they had them done at Disney world or at Old Orchard Beach.
People always ask how I cut the silhouettes and are surprised when I tell them I just look and cut! No lights, tracing or pre-drawing!
Isn't it funny how we can recognize a silhouette of a person from the side when we never seem to spend time looking at our friends from the side.

Happy Fall Festival Season!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Drawing Faces at the Fair!

This past weekend I enjoyed cutting silhouettes ,and doing portraits and caricatures of people of all ages, but I especially love drawing and silhouetting the kids! But sometimes, especially at a fair or festival a child just doesn't want to sit still or even smile. Now I work very quickly and don't mind squirming children, but sometimes parents will feel embarrassed if their child is getting close to that tantrum stage.
I try to speak directly to the child and make eye contact when I can, which is what I need do anyway to get a good view of their face when I'm doing a portrait or caricature.

I always have my favorite "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" ready to hand to parents when the wiggles get the better hand of a younger child. This is me cutting Silhouettes at the Strawberry Festival last June. This family has come back for new silhouettes every year for the last few years!

Here are  some pictures I just found in my files from last year at Alfred Festival in Alfred, Maine. This little girl was very patient, and seemed to enjoy sitting while I drew her Caricature and while watching me finish!

More pictures from last weekend at the Franklin County Fair in Greenfield, Mass.
I got to do a pencil portrait of My sister Elaine. (Below) That's her husband Buddy next to her.

My new sign!

This girl definitely did not want to smile! Oh well! Her mom smiled enough for the both of them!

This girl wasn't really feeling like sitting at first....
...but got very interested when I started to draw her as a gymnast in a circus as she requested!

My two sisters and me!

Cutting a silhouette!

Doing a double Caricature!

Tristan and Sarah watching as I did their Caricature.

I had a line waiting for most of the two days at  the fair. People enjoyed watching the process over my shoulder!

Kamal's Day and Babysitter Blues make great Ayyam-i-ha gifts!

Kamal's Day and Babysitter Blues make great gifts!

SO grateful that I have two books that I've written and illustrated available on line NOW!  A picture book for the young ones and a ch...