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The Art of REALLY, REALLY Great Illustration

Our  daughter illustrates the most wonderful pictures you could possibly imagine (NO she is not 5 years old and NO I’m not exaggerating. The proof is in the post!) The fantastic creativity that comes of this kid is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen! She is truly gifted and I wanted to share her story and show you some of her art illustrations because everything she creates is just ridiculously great!

I usually refrain from blogging about my children. Aside from the occasional mention now and then, you don’t hear too much about them. For one, I feel that if I’m going to make them an object of a post then I probably should consult them to see if they really want to be written about by their mother (you know how sensitive offspring are). Secondly, three out of the four kiddies are adults and are in the United States and therefore aren’t apart of the everyday activities Dude, Tinki and I are experiencing.

But……on this occasion I have broken my rule (the one about making a kid the direct object of a post not about the consulting part).

As I was looking through my daughter’s illustration work, I had the sudden urge to share it with you all. She is more talented than anyone I personally know and I’m not just saying that cuz she’s my kid. You’ll see for yourself, it’s true.

The kido I am referring to is our oldest and she graduated from college last year with a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts in Illustration. Now we all know what that means; long, painstaking hours of intense creativity flowing from the body all for the sheer passion and pleasure of doing it. History continuously shows how unkind the world is to artists and in the modern world it’s much the same. Tell someone you’re an artist and what kind of a look do they give you? Yup-that’s right, you all know the look.

It’s tough to be an artist, and that’s putting it very mildly. The passion must be so intense for the work. It must always be for the work because the monetary rewards are so few for the majority out there. It’s not too say that you can’t make a living at being an artist, it’s just that it happens to be one of those professions where it’s a bit tougher to come by.

Most artists revert to doing something else on the side to be able to eat, put a roof over their head and clothes on their back. They all know, especially in the beginning, that no matter how great they really are, their work isn’t going to do that for them. Starving and artist has become synonymous with each other, but what can you do when you love it more than life itself?! (By the way, she doesn’t get the talent from me. I’m lucky if I can color inside the lines in a coloring book!). Her gift was passed to her by the way of Dude’s two older brothers who happen to be wonderful at any and all kinds of artsy stuff.

From the time our oldest was about 2 she displayed a talent for drawing that I hadn’t seen before. We would give her crayons and a coloring book and she wouldn’t want the book. She only wanted plain paper so she could draw whatever she wanted on it. Coloring books didn’t allow her creativity to flow. She saw the lines as roadblocks. As she grew, she had paper and pens or crayons with her at all times.

We made sure in her early years to put her in any and all art classes that we could find, whether it be at school or through extra-curricular classes in town. Art supplies aren’t cheap and neither were the classes so we told the rest of our three children that since their sister was busy making beautiful art they couldn’t have any extras. They would have to just get their pay back from her when she was rich and famous. This is why I don’t post any photos of them when they were younger. Seeing them in rags just isn’t pretty. 🙂 You’re not really buying that one are you?

In her preteen years she would paint using watercolors and oils and draw with pen and pencil. She entered any contest she could and she won some kind of ribbon or award in nearly all of them.

When we lived in Aix-en-Provence, we were lucky enough to find a couple of art classes that she could attend during the day each Wednesday and in the evening each Thursday. Boy did she eat those classes up. I never saw more of a happy camper than when she was heading out the door to art class in France.

Upon our return to the United States, we enrolled her in the Orange County High School of the Arts, otherwise known as OCHSA (pronounced OSHA). This is undoubtedly one of the best places to go for a teenager who lives, eats and breathes anything that has anything to do with art. Those few years at this school she excelled and was introduced to jewelry making, sculpting and fashion design as well feeding her illustration-minded knish.

After high school graduation she was accepted to The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, New York. She spent the next several years there before graduating last May.

During the last year she has done two book covers, has had her art work appear in gallery shows and has even been lucky enough to sell some of her stuff. That’s not bad right out of college. She of course has a side job and maintains that artist can’t make enough to live on but one day she hopes to.

Her specialty is fantasy illustration and children’s books. The mediums she works the most with are oil and watercolors.

Her goal is to be in one of SPECTRUM’s volumes, and work either at Random House publishing doing the illustrations for children’s books or at Wizards of the Coast illustrating their fantasy playing cards.

I wanted to share this with you all because I am so proud of her. She is an exceptional child (now an adult) in every way possible. She is loyal, trustworthy, conscientious and hardworking. Her work is beyond wonderful and I would like others to know how truly gifted she is and since I have a blog, I might as well use it every once in awhile for plugging something, right? Why not my oldest kido?

If any of you out there reading this knows someone or is someone who is looking for an illustrator, please don’t hesitate to let me know and I will pass on the information to my daughter. She is always looking for free lance work (as well as steady work).

I know you all are just dying to see if I’m telling you the truth, so here you go, the proof:

Here are some examples of her fantasy illustrations using oil paints.

Here are some examples of her illustrations using watercolor.

Here is an example of her work with Prisma Colored Pencils

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Gifts Bestowed

Thank you Meredith AND Jacqui for my Versatile Blogger Award! Both these wonderful ladies nominated me this week for the award and I want to give them a big shout out and thank you.

Meredith is a fellow American who lives in Provence like me (only she lives closer to chic Aix-en-Provence than I do). She is married to a Frenchman and has two daughters. Her blog, entitled Talking Story in Provence, chronicles the daily happenings over in her neck of the woods.

She always shares the best secrets and photos of open market shopping, tours of Aix-en-Provence (and her favorite shopping places there), her life with her husband and children and her crazy dog, Duffy and all the random stuff that happens to her while venturing out to enjoy this wonderful region.

The little snippets of insight into her daily life almost always put a smile on my face. I nod my head in agreement when she and I have had the same experiences and I ohh and ahhh over her photos of the delicious fruits and veggies she’s found while shopping. There have been many times when I have just laughed out loud at some of the stuff she writes about.

Aside from us both being American and loving Provence, Meredith and I also have something else in common; she used to live many years ago in the village that I now live in! She also happens to be the one who let me in on the secret that my village is cursed. After all the mishaps and downright terrible things that have happened with the renovation of our house, I totally believe her!

So all of you out there who just can’t get enough of Provence, head on over and see what Meredith has been up to. I’m sure you’ll enjoy her stories as much as I do.

Jacqui lives in northern France with her husband and son. Jacqui originates from the UK, but just like me, she got bit by the French bug and now has a little piece of earth here, too.  Jacqui shares her stories at The French Village Diaries. She has her own garden where she grows some of the most delicious veggies and she is also the proud owner of some ducks, chickens, a couple of ol’ cats and the cutest mini cooper ever! Jacqui and I became blogging friends thanks to sharing her love of Cantal cheese with me. See, both Jacqui and I are ardent gourmands of that oh so delicious cheddar cheese which happens to be difficult to find in my region. I was grumpy and complaining one day how life just sucks without cheddar and Jacqui chimed in and introduced me to Cantal (I have mentioned this story before, but what the hey, it was life altering for me!). Now she is my Cantal-Cheddar bestie!

Her blog tells of life in her very tiny village, trips she’s taken (she just spent a week road tripping in her mini with her hubby), the delicious things she grows in her garden and her family life ( aka living in France with a preteen boy who happens to have a blog of his own).

Stop on by Jacqui’s blog and say hi. You’re bound to find some delicious food you’d like to try (or grow) and some wonderful places to put on your “to visit” list.

I’ve been told that in accepting this award, I must supply some random information about myself. I guess that shouldn’t be too hard since I consider myself a random kind of person. So, here goes:

  1. I have four children of my own, 3 girls and 1 boy, but I also had a baby for my brother-in-law and his wife because they couldn’t have children of their own. Yes folks, back in the summer of 1999 I was busy giving birth to my niece. Not many people can say that, now can they?
  1. I have the biggest crush ever on Anthony Hopkins and I’ve had that crush since I was a little girl when I first saw him in the movie, “Audrey Rose”. Heaven help me, if I could go back in time and write him a letter from my nine year old self and tell him to wait for me, I would so do that. Just as an extra, I also have the hots for Hugh Jackman, in a really big way.
  1. I absolutely LOVE popcorn and orange juice together. There is no way in heck this girl is eating popcorn without having a glass of OJ sitting right there to accompany it, no way Jose. It’s the best EVER and I think you all should try it.
  1. I have an extreme phobia of needles and dolls. I’m not kidding, it’s really bad. A doll holding a needle would put me in the grave in .01 seconds, no kidding. I break out in a cold sweat, my heart starts pounding in my chest and I get clammy hands and feet if I even see a picture of either one. This has been a phobia of mine since I was a kid. I gave birth to all my children without any medication whatsoever cuz there was no way the doctors were ever gonna stick a needle in my back for the epidural. The pain of child birth was a piece of cake compared to that. It’s also the reason why I didn’t become a spy. If I was ever caught by the enemy all they would have to do is show me a photo of either a doll or a needle and I would tell them everything they wanted to know and then some.
  1. It’s a little known fact in my family that my great grandma on my mom’s side (my mom’s mom’s mom-did you get that?) was of Cherokee Indian decent. She was a stout little thing and always wore her hair in a long, black braid down her back. I am also, Italian, Irish, Spanish, Black Dutch, and German. Dude calls me a mutt. Mutts are cute so I will forgive him for that.
  1. When I was 17 I got the chicken pox and because of my advanced age, I missed two weeks of school, one of which was Spring break (thanks stupid new kid who had the pox and came to my school for only one week just to give them to me and then left and never came back!) and I had the worst case possible. I mean those pox were EVERY WHERE.  I hold no grudges, but I tell you, I will kick his old behind if I ever see him again.
  1.  I hate fish. I don’t like the way it looks and I don’t like the way it smells and I will never, ever eat it! Nothing that comes out of the sea will ever touch these lips.

Well, now that you know that I birth nieces, like men with sexy accents, love strange food combinations, have heart stopping phobias, am a mutt, catches disfiguring sicknesses, and would rather have an aquarium of fish that a plate full, I think it’s time to bestow the gift of the Versatile Blogger award to some people whom I really enjoy reading their blogs. Although I read a bazillion blogs (it’s sort of addicting) and love a ton of you guyzes to pieces, some of you just hog up all the awards to I gotta spread the love!!!!!……..

Provence In Ann Arbor

Travel Photo Media

annwebsterblog

the Walk & TALK

Traveling Sardine Class

Visions of Provence

Hotel L’Orangeraie in La Croix-Valmer

La Rotonde in Aix en Provence

Window Decor in the village of Rougiers

Villeneuve-les-Avignon

Rougiers

Les Calanques near Cassis

Aqueduc-de-Roquefavour

Near the town of Aix-en-Provence, rising out of the landscape, you will find the Aqueduc-de-Roquefavour. While on an outing to see the town of Ventabren, we happened upon it.

Even though I lived in Aix-en-Provence for two years and the aqueduct is situated only about 15 kilometers from there, I never knew of its existence.

It was built between the years of 1840-1847 by a young engineer named Franz Mayor de Montricher. The reason for its construction was that the surrounding area (mostly Marseille) which was continuing to grow at a rapid rate was having trouble getting access to fresh, clean water. They needed some way to bring the fresh waters of the Durance to the town. An epidemic of cholera a few years before construction began was a major pushing point in getting the aqueduct built.

It measures 393 meters long and 82 meters high and is comprised of 3 layers of arches. There were around 5000 workers who contributed to its construction. Today it is classified as an historical monument.

To see the aqueduct up close, you can park your car just under the railroad bridge and there you will find access to some steep and narrow steps. Once at the top of the stone steps there is a path just up to the left of the aqueduct. The climb up this rocky path is pretty steep but it gives you access to the next level on which you can stand and see a wonderful view of the surrounding area. Unfortunately, the entrances to go under the arches are now gated and you can’t pass through to walk across, but you can still walk around the area to see different views of it. If you’re like me, you will love getting up close to be able to touch it.

It is in near perfect condition and looks as if it were built recently (except for the architectural style). It is definitely worth a stop if you are on your way to one of the surrounding villages.

We enjoyed a lovely afternoon there and were blessed with great weather, as well.

 

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