mr. dog’s christmas at the hollow tree inn… and a GIVE-AWAY!


I don’t know about you, but I am in desperate need of a happy, feel-good story… this is it! All of this started with a decades long holiday family tradition, reading a story that is over 100 years old. This tale, titled “Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn”, was written by Albert Bigelow Paine in 1898. The Cordes family has been reading it on Christmas Eve for generations. Such a shame that it has long been out of print… and so they decided to take it upon themselves to change that! Betsy Cordes, an art director with ideas, business savvy, licensing expertise, and a love of working with artists reached out to American illustrator Adam McCauley {really interesting video here with Adam talking about his traditional “crow quill” ink drawings}. With a lot of love, a truckload of hard work, and a very successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, they brought Mr.Dog and his friends at the Hollow Tree Inn back to life! Take a look at this video of Betsy and her dad, Jim, talking about the sweet story behind this sweet story. ps. This was their Kickstarter video from 2014, which they finished with flying colors… so no need to pledge. Since this video they’ve printed a second, limited edition, run. Ok, now you can watch it…

Ah, Mr. Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn … I just got a copy when I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago, and it’s absolutely gorgeous! Red linen, gold foil, Adam’s illustrations! Want one? Of course you do! Leave a comment below and I will draw one name on Monday November 30, at noon PST…. and if you don’t win this give-away, you can still order one right here. But be quick… Betsy and her family were only able to print a limited number for this holiday season.

rachel levit


I wrote about the gouache-dotted painted heads of Brooklyn based artist Rachel Levit almost two years ago. Today, it’s allllll about these ceramic heads, from a series titled, you guessed it, Heads. This entire series was cast from the same mold. For real. Simple, striking, beautiful, organic, and little bit sad … or is that just me? Sigh.

*Photos by Josefina Santos

charles h. traub


Wednesday work blahs? No problem… these photos, from the 1970’s, of New Yorkers on their lunch breaks might cheer you up! They are the work of Charles H. Traub, from his series quite appropriately titled, Lunch Time. The color, the fashion, the whole “leaving your desk to eat lunch” thing! Ah, I love it all. Who’s with me? Shut down your computer and go outside for lunch today. Thanks Charles… we needed that.

via gothamist

ajean ryan


“Dimensional drawings”… that’s how Colorado based artist/assoc. drawing professor Ajean Ryan refers to these pieces from her very extensive portfolio. There is something so fun, experimental, child-like about them. Bits and pieces from everyday life assembled into delicate, 3D “drawings”… drawings that have me convinced to drop everything and run to my studio so I can start gluing something to something else!

carlos ramirez


Has it started snowing where you are? We got the first sugar dusting so I’m already in desperate need of some dappled sunlight shining through flowers… thank goodness for these gorgeous ink and acrylic abstracts by Florida based artist Carlos Ramirez. Sigh. So lovely. Speaking of lovely, I found this video of Carlos painting in his sun-filled studio. Captivating, and strangely relaxing, to watch him transform a blank canvas, layer by layer, into these nature-inspired beauties {I might also be jealous that he’s wearing flip flops}… take a look:

“what charms you”


Thoughtful, intelligent, and full of great advice. Today I’m talking to Baltimore based artist, educator, and part-time MFA student Sidney Pink. I have loved his weird and whimsical work for years, and, I just recently found out about some really interesting research he’s been doing around “arts entrepreneurship” – standardizing and adding business curriculum to the world of art academia. Clearly I had to ask him about that… and while I had him on the line, might as well ask about the strange characters that make an appearance in most of his drawings. You can listen right up there under that Japanese schoolgirl , or you can subscribe on iTunes. First up, a few of my favorite “Sidney Pink” pieces: some schoolgirls, a business man, and an astronaut… obviously.


Thank goodness for that lightbulb moment when Sidney realized that he loved white space and decided to roll with it! Gorgeous, weird, narrative… perfect combo. Oh, and among other odd bits {like an octopus}, here are the laser guns I mentioned:


… and one of my most favorite pieces from Sidney’s portfolio, two girls and a tiger mask:


Oh, and a girl in a cow mask with laser gun shooting astronaut, of course. I loved his reason for the masks {not giving it away – you have to listen!}. And along those lines, I also really loved his advice for embracing the things around you, objects and experiences that are in your day-to-day life, and incorporating them into your work. Animal masks, for example.

In the speed round I asked one question I knew the answer to. The origin, or inspiration, for his name… current name is more accurate, I suppose. Here’s where it all started:


Reptilicus by Sid Pink. Such a good story… again, you have to listen! Ah, good old speed round comes through again. Thanks so much to Sidney for all of his great advice and wonderful perspective on life as an artist; to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode; and as always, to you for listening. I’ve already got the next episode ready to go … it will be up next weekend!

Other links from our discussion:

AKIMBO Dance & Movement Art Festival, Baltimore 

The Critical Response Process by Liz Lermon

Society for Arts Entrepreneurship Education

larissa eremeeva


Polka-dots, stripes, and a bunch of moody girls… yep, I love them all! These oil painting portraits are the work of Russian-Dutch, now New Jersey based, painter Larissa Eremeeva. So simple, yet so rich at the same time. Sigh. Gorgeous.

{via Saatchi Art}

christina t. carrozza


The softness of fabric and thread, face to face with the harsh devastation of natural disasters. This is the work of American artist Christina T. Carrozza, and these are her words about this series:

“The disaster quilt series … was born from my experience of living through hurricane Sandy, in my new home in Staten Island … I began exploring the theme of natural disasters, using aerial photography as my primary resource. I am currently working on several pieces in this series depicting the earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan, the earthquake in Haiti, as well as hurricane Katrina. On the surface the quilts appeal to the senses with abstract beauty but when examined more closely, the viewer is made to recognize these devastating events as well as question the way in which they have been represented. I hope the viewer will experience a quiet realization as they peel back layers of signification and process.”

So good. And because I have always had a soft spot for artists who use traditional “craft” techniques to create fine art, I also have to include this bit from her artist statement: “I intend to break boundaries between fine art and craft by using embroidery, quilting and painting as an expression of the contemporary experience of women. I am exploring my relationship to craft, gender, style and authenticity.” Love.

helen, lourdes, and liz


Oh. My. I love this so much. The work of Brooklyn based artist Lourdes Sanchez {who I just wrote about a few weeks ago}, hand-in-hand with the best-selling book, “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is the creative brainchild of art director Helen Yentus {fyi – she has designed so many beautiful books, including the now very famous cover for Eat, Pray, Love}. For this project Helen dug through Lourdes’ extensive painting archives and chose 250 pieces. She then made 250 totally unique covers for “Big Magic”. Sigh. Magical, indeed. Lourdes emailed to tell me about this fantastic collaboration, but instead of blowing her own horn, she wrote this:

“I just want to really stress that it was Helen Yentus’ vision – then rolling up her sleeves and figuring out how to make it happen – that brought this to life. My artwork being on the covers was one section of a much larger circle, {it was all work that I had done over the years, that Helen dug up from my archives} and I feel the star of  this particular story is Helen. But, it’s also interesting to me that the work of three people: a writer, an art director, and a painter – who have all been honing their craft for awhile – came together for a moment in time.

Wonderful. On every level. These special one-of-a-kind pieces can be found here.

megan foldenauer


Bachelor of Fine Arts – The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Bachelor of Science – Eastern Michigan University; Master of Arts – The Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Dept. of Art as Applied to Medicine; Doctor of Philosophy – Wayne State University, School of Medicine, Dept. of Anatomy & Cell Biology. Yep. All of that is hanging on the wall of Michigan based artist Megan Foldenauer. She draws all sorts of things {portraits, bio-medical illustrations, songs that she makes into quizzes}, but it was her very simple and very sweet series, titled “Morsels” that got me. Nostalgic, delicious, and beautifully drawn. Thank you Dr.Foldenauer… now I want coke bottle gummies, with a side of chocolate peanut butter cups, and one little candy-cane to help kick off the holiday season! Yum.