Ben the Brave Little Beetle Bug

Ben the Brave Little Beetle Bug.

Nestled in a rare and exotic Persian rug,
lived Ben, the very bravest little beetle bug.

Many of his friends preferred to stay snug,
but Ben liked to go out and dance the jitterbug.

To get to the club, that was named Jolly Jug,
Ben had to sneak past a tough, ferocious thug.

Doug was the meanest bug north of the wall plug.
He was known to pinch and swing and punch and slug.

Doug lived in a filthy, fur-covered shag rug
beneath slumbering Brutus, the beloved family pug.

Ben would wait patiently each night for a tiny little tug
from his dance partner and best friend – Lucy the lady bug.

He would carefully inspect Doug’s grumpy ole mug
to assure he was sleeping as snug as a bug.

Then he bravely would venture, without even a shrug,
to go dancing with Lucy and give her a hug.

You may not think dancing is such a brave chug,
but consider the diminutive size of a bug

and how far it would ultimately be just to lug
your teensy-weensy body out of that safe and snug rug.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Ben the Beetle Bug is another in a series of paintings and poems I am working on for a new children’s book.  This new book will be kind of special because it will feature characters that are based on the grandchildren of my best friends.  Ben is the first grandson of my bestie, Jill, and the first son of Jackie, my McHendy daughter, who first inspired me to start this blog.

 Ben also brings to mind and heart a dear boy and his grandma (Gem) who are regular visitors here at TheCreativeLifeInBetween.com blog who were huge encouragers for my first book, Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales.

Prints and greeting cards of all of these paintings are available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop as well, where you can also order a customized painting and poem.

A Caterpillar Named Clara

Clara the Caterpillar Watercolor 11×14

A Caterpillar Named Clara.

There once was a colorful caterpillar named Clara.
She had lashes so long, she did not need mascara.

When playing with Grandma – who called her Clara Beara,
she would often play dress up and wear a tiara.

They pretended she was a princess who lived in the Sahara
or perhaps even on the French Riviera.

Her favorite dinner was spaghetti carbonara,
which she smothered in ladles of rich marinara.

Her Daddy loved to cook, so he would prepara,
and he put a bib on her, so she wouldn’t a weara.

But a bath always followed with Mommy washing her haira
and lathering her skin with soothing aloe vera.

So into bed at night went a fresh clean Clara
to dream of spaghetti and princesses and tiaras.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Abstract Love

Abstract Love – 30×48 on Gallery Canvas


Abstract Love.

Instead of trying to explain the muse that drew me to recently create this huge abstract piece  – the largest, most “abstract” painting I’ve done to date – 4 foot wide (48 inches) x 30 inches tall – I will share this quote from one of my absolute all time favorite books….

A book I have read and listened to the author read several times – Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert:

Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

The first stroke on a huge canvas can be so scary, yet so exciting and liberating at the same time.

The brushes and pallet knives and paints are art themselves!

The finished piece…

which is – for now – hanging above our bed.

Its temporary home?   Or its forever home?  Either way is fine, because I kinda love it!

If it speaks to you, it is available here.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Harper the Happy Hippo

Harper the Happy Hippo.

In a lazy, shallow river just outside of Ethiopia
lived Harper the happy hippo in a heavenly utopia.

The sun was always shining
while Harper was oft reclining.

Flamingos and pelicans and even a rare crane
shared and reveled in the balmy tropical terrain.

Harper loved to sing and play.
She smiled and chuckled and snorted all day.

She started a band
since her voice was in such demand.

She was surely the star of the show,
for who wouldn’t go

to see a purple singing hippo with pink painted toes
smiling and singing to the most beautiful prose.

A zebra was on the drums
while a cheetah’s guitar strings strummed.

Cymbals were clanged and clashed by a lively red-throated gazelle.
She was Harper’s closest girlfriend, and her name was Adele.

There wasn’t a happier hippo across the sea or land
than Harper the happy hippo and her Ethiopian wildlife band.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Harper the Hippo is the second painting for my dear friend Pam (namesake, by the way, for Klaus’ friend Pam the Lamb).  Harper is the baby sister of Lucas – Pam’s two grandchildren.   If you’d like to learn more about my process or sales of paintings, poems, cards, pillows, and books, visit Sunday’s post here.

Harper the Happy Hippo Pillow

R is for Reflecting

R is for Reflecting.

I was recently commissioned through our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop to create a special “R” watercolor for a sweet young lady who wanted one for the center of a family gallery wall she was creating.

She requested the R be in shades of turquoise and blue and entwined with some pink roses.

This painting is 12×16, which she plans to mat and frame to 16×20.

The poignant and provoking thing about it is her last name is Rodgers (the reason for the “R” painting), and that is my birth/family name.

Those who have been following this blog for any length of time may recall me sharing the story of my “reunion” with my “birth” father, which occurred eight years ago, or the story of  the loss of my brother two years ago.  Two “Rodgers” men in my life.  So, for some reason, painting this “R” for a “Rodgers” family caused many reflections as I created it.

We all are who we are as a result of a compilation of our life experiences.  I am proud to be a “Rodgers,” and I was honored to create this special “R” for another young lady who shares a connection with me.  A connection I didn’t even mention to her.  But an experience I am reflecting on as I add it to my collection of events that shapes my life and who I am.

May you find time to Reflect and Reminisce about your life,  about the people you love, and about the experiences and events that have shaped your story.  May you Remember to be good to yourself and to be kind to others.  May this message Reassure you of your worth and your Relevance as a human being.

Rejoice in your Reflections.

Cherish the Moments.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Liz the Lizard

Liz the Lizard Watercolor – 11×14

Liz the Lizard.

Have you heard of the lizard whose name is Liz.
Classiest lizard in the desert she is.

With pearls and diamonds and sparkly pink nails
She daydreams often of being in show biz.

She practices rhymes and humorous lines
as if she was preparing for an audition or pop quiz.

Nailing them every time – she surely is a wiz.
She’s a modern-day lizard, so be sure to call her Ms.

Yes indeed, Ms. Liz
that is.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Liz the Lizard was made especially for a friend’s grandaughter, who loves Klaus the Mouse – my very first published illustrated children’s book.  Granpap asked if I could make an Alex the Alligator and a Liz the Lizard for his two special little grandies.  I hope they all enjoy these two characters as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Getting Ready

Bunny’s First Woodland Christmas Watercolor – 11×14

Getting Ready.

My DIL and “biz partner,” Colleen, and I have been busy getting ready for an event this coming weekend for McKinneyX2Designs – the Mars Craft Show.

For those of you not from Mars :), it’s really a bigger event than you can imagine, and we are fortunate to be a part of it!

Colleen is been busy making these adorable little trees and festive holiday signs.

While I’ve been busy painting

Dancing Penguin Watercolor 11×14

and printing

and folding

and boxing.

We are excited to share our joy!  The Mars Craft Show features hundreds of local artisans spread out between the Mars Middle School and Mars High School (where you can find us – in the Auxilliary Gym).  A shuttle bus runs all day between the two buildings between 10am and 4pm on Saturday, November 17, 2018.

In addition to this event, we have two special birthdays coming up for a Pap Pap and granddaughter who share the same birthday.  I also have a short overnight business trip this week, so a lot going on.

I’m going to take a few days off from blogging, so if you don’t hear from me, know I am just busy and having fun and will be back soon.

If you like what you see here and are local, we hope you will visit us at the Mars Craft Show or Christmas in the Woods at Berry Vine Gifts this weekend.  If you are not local, please visit our Etsy shop or our website for more information.

Back to getting ready!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Bright Poinsettia

Bright Poinsettia 11×14 Original Watercolor

A Bright Poinsettia.

I so enjoyed painting this bright and happy poinsettia recently.
(And it’s nice to think bright and happy thoughts with all the dark and sad news of the past few days.)

Using my dagger brush (which I need to use more often),  it was fun to just let this painting evolve and happen on the paper.  The dagger brush is “floppy” and loose, yet also allows for wonderful control changing wide strokes to points.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out!  It actually makes me smile to look at.

I’m also thrilled that my new printer is able to produce gorgeous 11×14 prints that look so much like the original, so this option will be added to my paintings in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop.  I also added this design to the Society6 shop, so it can be made into pillows and mugs and other fun stuff.

Wishing you a bright and happy day!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  Only 55 days until Christmas  😉   and only 2 1/2 weeks until the big Mars Craft Show  (Saturday, 11/17/18) AND Christmas in the Woods at Berry Vine Gifts (11/16-18/18)

Under the Sea

Under the Sea – Dolphin Watercolor 11×14

Under the Sea.

It seems like such a magical place to me.

So when I was trying to decide what I could see

in the splashing I created so free…

A fish… a dolphin… a magical creature came to be.

I recently bought a new printer – A Canon Pixma Pro-100, and I was anxious to see how it worked creating prints and cards.  I am so pleased!  Above is a shot of the original with a mat and frame loosely placed on it to see what it might look like framed, as well as an 8×10 print and cards I printed on my new printer.

If you are looking for me…
under the sea is where I’ll be dreaming to be.

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi

I Spy a Deer

I Spy a Deer.

This past weekend, I pondered a watercolor page I’d done one evening the week prior, where I simply brushed and splashed.

Sometimes that is all I want to do…  just wet a piece of paper, drop in some color, and let the magic happen.  It is a great stress reliever to unwind for me.

Then I carried it around on Saturday – – just having it in within sight in the room with me wherever I was while I went about other things around the house.

Before I could do anything more with it, we had a birthday party to go to, so I just let it simmer in my brain.

On Sunday morning, I couldn’t wait to wake up and paint.  At 6am, I hopped out of bed, poured a cup of coffee, and tip-toed up to my art studio while hubby and Charlie remained in bed.

I knew what I was going to do with it.   In the close-up below, can you see my inspiration?  I had contempleted a bird…..  I considered a lamb…   I almost decided on a giraffe.  Then I saw what I had to paint.  A deer!  A handsome buck was peering at me as clear as day.

Do you see it?  I started with the eye, then the nose, the ears and horns… just adding enough detail to allow the brain to fill in the rest.  It’s a bit inspired by the Jean Haines technique I so adore!

I love how it turned out!

So in addition to adding to our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop, I added it to our Society6 page as well, so I could see what it would look like on pillows and iPhone cases and all the other fun ways they convert art into products!

What will you spy in the things you come across today?  Keep your mind open, and you never know what you might find!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi