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

A Sprinkle of Christmas

Winter Wonderland Christmas Tree Watercolor 10x13

Winter Wonderland Christmas Tree Watercolor 10×13

A Winter Wonderland Christmas Tree.

Because every week needs
a little sprinkle of Christmas.

 

I am having so much fun creating some holiday art.

You see, our little McKinneyX2Designs business is participating in the
Mars Holiday Craft Show that is only one month away!

It is one of the biggest holiday craft shows in the area
with hundreds of crafters and artisans selling their
handmade items in both the Mars Middle School and Mars High School
with a shuttle bus that transports shoppers between both venues.

We will be at the Mars High School on Saturday, November 18th
from 10-4 with Colleen’s beautiful rustic pallet signs and decor
and some of my watercolor art.

If you can’t make it to this fun event, you can always visit our ETSY shop
or stop by Berry Vine Gifts in Bradfordwoods, PA.

Wherever you find us,
we will be sprinkling a little bit of Christmas!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Classic Red Truck with Christmas Tree

Classic Red Truck with Christmas Tree Watercolor - 11x14 - 140lb Fabriano Artistico

Classic Red Truck with Christmas Tree Watercolor – 11×14 – 140lb Fabriano Artistico

Classic Red Truck with Christmas Tree.

Is anybody else starting to think about Christmas?

When my boys were young, I loved getting ready for the Christmas holiday.  I would often start playing Christmas music in October… much to Hubby’s dismay.

We prepared letters to Santa, and I shopped and put carts full of toys on “lay-away” months ahead of winter.

My best friend and I went to craft shows and stores and bought santas and snowmen and other holiday decorations, as well as things to make decorations – often while pushing strollers and carrying diaper bags.

I would prepare for “Sammy” the elf to make his arrival at our house and plan out his adventures each night when the boys went to bed to surprise them in the morning.

I created homemade Christmas cards for the boys to color (and later they drew them) to send to friends and family.

I stocked up on sugar and flour and baking supplies when they were on sale and collected festive tins to make hundreds of cookies and dozens of sweet breads and nut rolls to share with friends and neighbors.

As the boys got older, the excitement of Christmas dimmed a bit.  We still enjoyed it, but the excitement leading up to it was not the same as when they were young and the magic existed.

But now….. I’m a grandma!  And that just makes me absolutely giddy for Christmas again!

And since my daughter-in-law, Colleen, and I have created our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop and have started also selling our art at a local gift shop, Berry Vine Gifts, it is so fun to get excited about preparing for Christmas again.  And it seems there are others like me out there, because holiday cards and paintings have already sold!

So I’m having fun creating Christmas and holiday art… like this classic red truck with a Christmas tree.  Doesn’t it just make you so nostalgic about Christmas?

So even though we are still experiencing 80 degree Autumn days, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.  It’s so fun to dream!

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.

Full Moon Calling

Full Moon Raven Watercolor 8x10

Full Moon Raven Watercolor 8×10

Full Moon Calling.

When I saw a recent painting done by a favorite artist/blogger friend, Sharon Mann at Make Art… Magic Happens, I told her I loved it so much, it made me want to paint it.

Sweet Sharon encouraged me to do it!

And so I did – and here it is….. A painting I did at 4AM one morning last week when I couldn’t sleep.

Be sure to check out Sharon’s absolutely amazing original version of this, which she titled, Call of the Raven.    Sharon has a style very different from mine, but one I absolutely adore and admire.  I love the texture she creates.  I love the whimsy of her style.  I love the range of subjects she chooses to explore and create.  And to top it off, she is simply a lovely person!

Sharon was one of the first to send an absolutely amazing handmade gift when I learned I was to become a grandma over a year ago.  She painted a photo of a batch of my cookies and gifted me with the beautiful piece of art that has graced my kitchen wall for several years now.  She was one of the first few dozen people to purchase my first published children’s book – and then share it to her friends.

About a year ago, Sharon lost her husband and best friend.  It was a life-altering experience for her, and she took a break from blogging until just a few weeks ago.  It is so wonderful to have her back blogging and inspiring so many of us artist wannabees!

Thank you for allowing me to paint your art Sharon.  I enjoyed it immensely!  Thank you for your inspiration, encouragement, but most of all  your friendship.

Be sure to check out Sharon’s blog.  You are in for a real treat and a wonderful new friend!

Cheers &  Hugs,
Jodi

 

Learning to Respect the White Space

Cobalt Teal Blue, Lunar Black and Iridescent Gold Abstract Watercolor 11x14

Cobalt Teal Blue, Lunar Black and Iridescent Gold Abstract Watercolor 11×14

Learning to Respect the White Space.

Often times the hardest thing in art
is learning to respect the white space.

As artists, we love color, and we love paint,
and we want to fill the entire space.

But if we do,
there’s nowhere to focus

or to rest our eyes
or our minds.

It’s much like life.

We need to respect that empty “white” space
amongst the busyness

to allow our mind and body,
our heart and soul

to rest
and replenish.

Respect that “white” space.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Autumn Art Sonnet

Autumn Art Sonnet.

I recently took my very first online art course at the gentle urging of my blogging friend Jill at Jill’s Art Journal.  Actually it is my first-ever any kind of art course.

The class was hosted on Carla Sonheim’s website and presented by the amazing Lendon Noe.  The short 2-week, 6-session class was on Meaning Making:  Inspired by Poetry.   They were short 20-minute recorded sessions that you could watch at your own pace and at a convenient time for you.

I LOVED it!  I learned so much from Lendon – about art, mixed media, poetry, and even about myself.

My first art love is watercolor, but I loved dabbling into the mixed media world.  And what fun it was to combine my love of words, writing, poetry, watercolor, and stamping.

In my art piece here, the lines are actually an artistic version of a Shakespearean sonnet, where verse is written in a pattern of AB AB CD CD EF EF GG.  You might notice that the lines are repeating in the same pattern.  I used a combination of Sumi Ink, Walnut ink, watercolor, water soluble pencil, and a splash of Dr. Ph Martin’s Iridescent Gold Ink.

I photocopied (directly on my photocopier) a sprig of burning bush leaves and berries from my front yard and gesso‘d it right on top of the “sonnet.”  I drew a trio of leaves directly onto the piece, stamped some patterns and words, and then “scribbled” a collection of autumn words on top with a Pilot Parallel Calligraphy pen.

I woke up early yesterday and created this piece after considering all the things I learned in the class.  It is my little mixed-media sonnet about Autumn.

The air is finally a bit crisp and cooler than it’s been in a long time this weekend. It is really feeling like Autumn.

And Autumn is quickly becoming one of my favorite times of year.  I wonder if it is because I am in the Autumn stage of life too…

Have a wonderful day – whatever season you are in or love.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Yellow Canary Named Terry

A Yellow Canary Named Terry.

Today’s post is a collaboration with my friend, Gary, from Spearfruit, in honor of our beloved Terry.

Gary wrote this lovely little poem late one night and shared it with me, so I knew I had to create a Terry canary as beautiful as I could, so we could share this little story and our love for a great man named Terry.

———

There once was a yellow canary named Terry
who had a good friend named Gary.

Terry lived in a birdhouse high in a tree in the city of Tampa
close to his good friend’s camper.

Terry was so full of life with vigor and glee
as he continued to blog in his house in the tree.

Then early one day, Terry became very sick
and from that point forward his health went down quick.

No matter the pain, no matter the grief
Terry always felt better and a little relief

when he blogged to his friends who provided him love
no matter his struggles or thoughts from above.

Then one day when Terry was perched in his tree,
he got a sweet gift from his good friend Jodi.

The gift was a yellow flower that was painted with love
to remind Terry that things are much better above.

From that point forward Terry raised his head high
and did his very best to hold back his cry.

Terry knew it would soon be time to let out his last chirp
so he got himself ready to depart this dear earth.

Although Terry is no longer here perched in his tree
his friends all know that his spirit is with me

always…
Love his best friend, Gary.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

—–

If you would like a 5×7 or 8×10 print of this painting or a box of greeting cards, you can order at McKinneyX2Designs on ETSY by clicking here or by stopping by Berry Vine Gifts in BradfordWoods, PA.