A Grandma’s Love

Grandma Susan reading Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales to her grandchildren

A Grandma’s Love.

Grandma Susan (as her grandchildren fondly refer to her) is the kind of Grandma I aspire to be.

In fact…  she’s the kind of human being I aspire to be.

I met Susan through her oldest grandson, who was my youngest son’s “roomer” in college.

To know Susan is to love Susan.  Her joy for life, her positive attitude, her love for her family, her smile, the undeniable glow that radiates from her and touches everyone she encounters….  There is something very special about Susan, and I am so fortunate to call her my friend.

Without my even knowing, Susan purchased a copy of the book I announced authoring and illustrating about a month ago, Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales.  When she received it, she gathered her grandchildren – now aged 13-27 (and even the spouses of those that are married now!), for a fun reading.  They happened to be gathering together for a bridal shower for one of her granddaughters, but they all took some time to sit down with Grandma Susan to listen to a few “silly stories.”

Can you believe how sweet this is?

You see, Susan is a retired school librarian and long-time lover of books and reading to children (and especially her grandchildren!).

I guess it really is true that Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales is a book for children of all ages, and it’s been so fun hearing stories from folks who have purchased the book.

Susan’s granddaughter, Charrie, told me Adele the Gazelle was her favorite character.

Thank you, Susan, for sharing your love, and for all your beautiful grands who gave permission for us to share.

I’m a new grandma, whose first granddaughter is not even a year old, but I hope I will be as loved and adored as Grandma Susan when my grand(s) are teenagers and married!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

It’s All My Friends!

“It’s All My Friends!”

People author and illustrate and publish books for many reasons I’m sure.

Dreams of fame and fortune…
Checking off a bucket list item…
Creating a legacy…
Fulfilling a life-long dream…
Sharing an important story…

For many – it’s a passion.
Writing is like breathing.
It is something they just have to do.

I love to read.
I admire writers.
I admire artists and illustrators.

I never, however, really aspired to be an author…

Well – maybe it fleetingly crossed my mind from time to time…
Maybe a cookbook…
or an autobiography of sorts.

I definitely never considered I’d be an illustrator.
Heck – until about two years ago, I would have never
even dreamed I would share a stick figure I drew.

But then I discovered the joy of blogging
through the encouragement one of my sweet McHendy “daughters.”

And then I discovered watercolor art
through this wonderful blogging community.

With the encouragement of so many,
I shared my watercolor paintings.

I created some fun little animal characters
with silly rhyming stories to go with them.

One very special friend here at TheCreativeLifeInBetween.com
began sharing my little animal characters and their stories with her grandson.

Three and a half year old Benjamin
became one of my greatest supporters and fans.

Benjamin would ask daily to hear stories from his grandma “Gem’s” computer,
along with those of his favorite books.

He even started asking for special characters,
which is how “Earl the Squirrel” came to be.

So with full permission from “Gem” and his Mom,
I am sharing this joyful photo of Benjamin with his copy of my first-ever
authored and illustrated book, “Klaus the Mouse – and other Silly Animal Tales.”

Per Gem, when Benjamin received his book,
he squealed with delight and laughter,
“My friends!  It’s all my friends!”

Could there be any greater joy…
any greater reason or purpose…
to author and illustrate a book?

The joy in those words…
The twinkle in those eyes…
The delight in that smile…
Those beautiful little hands holding the book.

Thank you Benjamin!
Thank you Ellen (aka “Gem'”)
for fulfilling a dream
I didn’t even know I had.

Because of you…
I visited the dentist yesterday,
and the receptionist said,
“I just saw your book!”

Because of you…
a friend told me he purchased my book for his 4-year old niece’s birthday.

Because of you…
my book is being shipped all the way to Ireland.

Because of you…
so many sweet friends have bought “Klaus the Mouse
for their children and grandchildren.

What a joy it is to share a little piece of me...
A little bit of my art…
A little bit of my writing.

Thank you Benjamin!
I can only imagine the impact you will have on the world in 20 or 30 years!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

If you would like to order a copy of “Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales,”
you can do so by clicking here.

Klaus the Mouse and his friends have become a Book!

Klaus the Mouse and his friends have become a Book!

Some of you who have been hanging around here for a while at TheCreativeLifeinBetween may remember Klaus the Mouse, who lived in a teeny tiny house.

You might also recall Hedy the Hedgehog who didn’t like to go to bedy.

Hedy the Hedgehog

Then there’s Chuck the Duck and Pam the Lamb.  There’s an Otter named Potter and Mig the Pig.

Adele the Gazelle has a smell that casts a magic spell, and what a phenomenon is a Fawn named John!

Chippy the Chipmunk, Rooty the Rooster, Hal the Colorful Cow, a Bumble Bee Named Buzz, and Gail the Snail.

They all joined together in this sweet little collection of watercolors and silly rhyming tales.

Thanks to so many of you who encouraged me along the way.  You helped make it happen!

My first published book!  A collection of silly tales for children 3-103.

If you would like to purchase, here is a link:  KLAUS THE MOUSE.

Happy Reading, Happy Sharing, Happy Laughing.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Just Do it Anyway

Elvis the Penguin at the National Aviary, Pittsburgh, PA - September, 2017

Elvis the Penguin at the National Aviary, Pittsburgh, PA – September, 2017

Just Do it Anyway!

It might be scary.
It is probably risky.

What if someone is watching,
and it turns out to be a flop?

What if people laugh?
What if they say, “I told you so.”

There’s a pretty huge chance it won’t work out.
But guess what?  That’s the point!

Be brave!
Just Do it Anyway!

 

This is a mantra I am trying to reiterate to myself.  I am taking on new experiences, new challenges, new risks – with my art, writing, self-development….

It might turn out to be a great big flop, but I’ll never know if I don’t just do it anyway!

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do?  Pick up a paint brush?  Write a book?  Travel to a faraway place?  Learn a new skill?  Begin a new relationship?  Record a song?  Learn to fly?  Heck – maybe it’s even just a new hairdo?

It might not turn out……..

But then it might?

If you don’t just do it anyway, how will you ever know?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Power and Strength

"Power" in Perylene Scarlet - Watercolor 8x10 140lb Artistico Fabriano Cold Press

“Power” in Perylene Scarlet – Watercolor 8×10 140lb Artistico Fabriano Cold Press

Power and Strength.

“Power isn’t
doing something
terrible
to someone
who is
weaker
than you…
It’s having
the strength
to do something
terrible,
and choosing
not to.”

– Franz to Reiner in The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

When I came upon this statement made by one brother to another in the book I am reading, I knew I wanted to paint something that represented Power and Strength, and this painting was born.  It is done using Daniel Smith Perylene Scarlet as I wanted an intense red.  Then the real drama (I hope) is created with a unique rich color made by Daniel Smith called Piemontite Genuine.  It is a shadowy red violet ground from a scarlet-streaked mineral from the hills of Italy that produces lovely violet-brown granulation with a carmine tone.

The color red is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, and determination as well as passion, desire, and love.

Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. It has very high visibility, which is why stop signs, stoplights, and fire equipment are usually painted red.  It is a color found in many national flags.

Other colors used:  Daniel Smith Yellow Ochre, and Cerulean Blue.

I hope you feel the power and strength and intensity I wished to express in this painting, and I also hope the quote resonates with you about the true meaning of power.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Let’s Face It

Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona - July, 2017 - Do you see the face?

Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona – July, 2017 – Do you see the face?

Let’s Face It…

We must
all face the choice
between
what is
Right
and
what is
Easy.

– Professor Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Do you see the face in the rock?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Seems Professor Dumbledore has some pretty profound things to say….  After all these years of my boys telling me I really should read the Harry Potter series, maybe I should……..

The “Man-Servant” of Moonbeam Farm

The “Man-Servant” of Moonbeam Farm.

Another character from Moonbeam Farm has come to life!

Please allow me to introduce you to the “Man-Servant” who lives with his animal friends Odessa, Dewey, and Jaxon.

You may recall me introducing you to his friends this past week, beginning with a “just for fun” stab I took at painting Odessa the owl in watercolor at the urging of my blogging friend Carolyn at Nuggets of Gold, who is collaborating with Colin at A Dog’s Life on a children’s book.

Carolyn and Colin were so pleased with the painting of Odessa, they asked if it could be used as the cover photo for their first book, “The Odessa Chronicles.”  I am honored to do so, and I must admit quite flattered and thrilled!  I was then encouraged to paint Dewey and Jaxon, which they ended up loving too.

Then I needed to create the Man-Servant.  Unlike the others, which I created on a first-try, Man-Servant took four iterations before we all decided he was the one.  At first, I was a bit frustrated, but I grew to love creating this character.   The Man-Servant is a human in the senior years of his life, who actually believes he runs Moonbeam Farm.

It’s been fun bringing these characters to life.  I’m now going to venture into creating more to be included in the book.  It’s a fun journey, and I hope you’ll enjoy it with us.

 

 

 

 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Child Gift-Giving: WANT, NEED, WEAR, READ

Becoming a first-time grandma recently, along with several of my besties, has caused me pause to consider child gift-giving.

It is sooooooo easy to get carried away and spoil – especially these first ones.

So I was thinking it is time to establish the “trend” for hopefully lots more grandie gifts.

I have read several places a good rule of thumb to simplify child gift-giving is to consider four categories:

  1. Want
  2. Need
  3. Wear
  4. Read

Consider gifts in the four categories – buying one of each:  One thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear, and one thing to read.

Well – let’s see if I can stick with this…

In the meantime, my bestie’s first grandchild turned one, so going with a fish theme (just because I thought it was fun), I made the above little T-shirt for him (to WEAR), bought him some bathtub fishing toys (I think he would WANT to play with), some socks (I’m sure his mama could say he NEEDs), and the Dr. Seuss Book “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” (to READ).

Happy Birthday Ben!  I hope the years don’t continue to go as fast as this first one did!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Big Magic & Intracranial Jewelry-Making

abstract pink floral watercolor 10 x 14 Arches 300 lb cold press

abstract pink floral watercolor 10 x 14 Arches 300 lb cold press

I have been so inspired lately by a book I am listening to on Audible during those precious 30 minutes a day I spend on the elliptical or treadmill early in the morning at the gym.  Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) was recommended to me by Dawn, a blogging friend who shares her own beautiful creativity at Petals. Paper, Simple Thymes.  I am so glad I took her advice and got it!  And it is such a joy to listen to it read by author Elizabeth herself with all the passion and inflection she adds throughout.

I want to share an excerpt with you that hit a chord with me the other morning (and there are many of these!)  During this excerpt, Gilbert is sharing about a time she interviewed musician Tom Waits for GQ Magazine.  I loved everything he had to say to her and she wrote about him, but I want to share this little piece in particular:

“Over the years, Tom Waits finally found his sense of permission to deal with his creativity more lightly – without so much drama – without so much fear.  A lot of this lightness, Waits said, came from watching his children grow up and seeing their total freedom of creative expression.  He noticed that his children felt fully entitled to make up songs all the time, and when they were done with them, they would toss them out ‘like little origami things, or paper airplanes.’  Then they would sing the next song that came through the channel.  They never seemed to worry that the flow of ideas would dry up.   They never stressed about their creativity, and they never competed against themselves; they merely lived within their inspiration, comfortable and unquestioning.

Waits had once been the opposite of that as a creator.  He told me that he’d struggled deeply with his creativity in his youth because – like many serious young men – he wanted his work to be better than other people’s work.  He wanted to be complex and intense.  There was anguish, there was torment, there was drinking, there were dark nights of the soul.  He was lost in the cult of artistic suffering, but he called that suffering by another name: dedication.

But through watching his children create so freely, Waits had an epiphany: it wasn’t actually that big a deal.  He told me, ‘I realized as a songwriter, the only thing I really do is make jewelry for the inside of other people’s minds.’  Music is nothing more than decoration for the imagination.  That’s all it is.  That realization, Waits said, seemed to open things up for him.  Songwriting became less painful after that.

Intracranial jewelry-making!  What a cool job!”

Does that strike you like it does me?  So with this newfound creative freedom floating through my cranium, I splashed some paint around this weekend that resulted in this.  Here is some of my “intracranial jewelry” to share.

abstract pink floral watercolor 10 x 14 Arches 300 lb cold press matted and framed

abstract pink floral watercolor 10 x 14 Arches 300 lb cold press matted and framed to 19 x 23

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

And the Mountains Echoed

mountains echo

I have begun reading a beautiful book….

It is called “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini.

It is a tale exploring the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.

The cover of the book is so beautiful, I decided to try a quick watercolor of it, so this is today’s #WorldWatercolorMonth Painting.

Has anyone else read it?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi