Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A silly drawing, A contemplative Alpaca.

The Lord of the Manor just doesn't get this drawing....he thinks it's pretty silly.
When I  imagined an illustration of an Alpaca for my Garden book, it was in this manner:
 (notes from sketchbook)
 Lovely female Alpaca with huge straw hat, festooned in ribbons which are flowing in the breeze as she swings with hooves up in air on a wooden swing hung from a rose covered arbor in a walled garden.
It didn't quite work out that way.
As is often the case with art, what you envisioned often turns out to be quite different.
My  Alpaca had all the look of a BOY, not a feminine girl....
 so much for the straw hat with flowing ribbons.

 My boy alpaca just didn't seem the carefree, swinging type... more of a poetry lover.
 so he sits quietly on his swing, contemplating nature.

A rose covered arbor didn't suit my quiet and thoughtful gentleman Alpaca, so I thought he'd look better surrounded by pears and blackberries.
Keeping in mind the colors I will use, this seemed the best decision. Besides, it is nice to munch on a pear whilst reading sonnets.
  The garden wall? I tried, but it just cut the drawing in half so I erased it and  ended up with rolling hills instead.
That left a nice open space to rest the eye upon.
All he needs now is COLOR

So there you have it!
 Silly picture, right?
 In my garden book, all the animals featured are inhabitants of the Hollow, except this one. I wanted to add this fiber animal to the illustrations, because Alpacas have  some of the funniest faces and because I use a lot of Alpaca wool in my needle-felting. Also, I exhibit in Fiber shows where many of the attendees love llamas and alpacas, So this picture is for them. 
I think they will understand my silly Alpaca.
 Next time I will try my best to make that "Female in Roses and Ribbons" come alive, but for today, we have this fellow. I sort of like him.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rooster dude...King of the Squash

I've known many roosters over the last few years, and one thing they all have in common, besides a glorious crow, is
 Therefore it is quite surprising that I had never before drawn or painted any of my  rooster friends; until this week, when I needed a page in my garden book representing Pumpkins and Squash.
All the lumps and bumps and creases in a rooster's face , which give him such character, are also seen in many wonderful gourds and squashes.

Referring to the dozens of pictures I've taken of chicks and chickens, I enjoyed drawing each feather and bit of fluff.
Going through my archives, I found this photo. I had forgotten how much that little hen and rooster enjoyed sitting in the cupboard of the potting shed, cute.
 It made such a perfect photo shoot,  I let them hang out in the cubbyhole.

 These art pieces I have been creating will be used in the garden book, but will also be made available as greeting cards and offset lithographic prints
When I paint this piece, I will use all the wonderful oranges, reds, yellows and deep greens we see in gourds and squashes.
(horrid photo, but you get the idea)

My real model is Charlemagne, below, he is a mix of Rhode Island red and a Buff Orpington.
Still a few pencil strokes to go... and then on to a drawing of an ALPACA....on a swing....in a walled garden.
 Fondly from the Hollow, the chicks and me...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

An ugly truth about blogging

I've experienced an ugly truth this week, it all happened quite innocently. Do you ever go into your blogger dashboard's reading list and notice that it is a mess? So you say to yourself, I think I will clean this up a little, there is just TOO much here. Then, without any malice intended, you go through the blog list, and begin to delete certain blogs that you believe no longer exist OR perhaps, you haven't read the blog in ages, and are pretty certain the blogger doesn't read your posts either. So you touch a button and wallah! blog is gone. Nothing personal, not meant to be an insult to the blogger. Or so I thought.
Well, apparently, this is the cardinal sin of blogging; If numbers matter to you, never un-follow a blog.  You may pay a price. I deleted 7 blogs, (2 by accident... which I immediate re-joined) Within 2 days, I had lost 13 followers, nearly twice the number I deleted. Now that, my friends is a RECORD!
(photo courtesy of Pinterest)
 How weird, I thought. Did a disgruntled, dropped blogger alert her friends of my faux pas and start the ball rolling? Who knows? By the end of the week, I may lose 20 more. It would have taken some effort to discover WHO had stopped following  said blogger in the first place, and then the blogger would have to act: "How dare you stop following me, TAKE THAT!" 
Photo courtesy of Pinterest
 Hey, I occasionally lose readers, at least a few times a year. I don't take it personally, I just figure, my blog is not their cup of  tea, or, like me, they were
clearing their dashboard. No offense meant, no offense taken.
 But an ugly truth about blogging is that some people ARE easily offended and will take their REVENGE. Alas!  
Or so it seemed.....

Could it be, as mentioned by several commenters below, that Google is messing about with us???! If so, that would mean that I have misread this entire issue.....hmmmm.
BUT since I am on the subject, allow me to say that I appreciate every single person who takes the time to read my posts, and if, by accident, I deleted YOU, forgive and forget.  Now, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Don't be shy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Flowers and snow

      Many years ago, when I left Colorado to live in Tennessee,  I had the regretful thought
that I would never again have snow in my life. Snow was a mixed blessing I grew up with. Back then, we actually did walk to school in snow up, past our knees; I think we kids were made of sterner stuff than many children these days.

A lack of snow in Tennessee turned out to be NOT TRUE.
It does snow in Tennessee; just enough to  make you happy, but not enough to drive you crazy.
 It's fine with the farm gals, who have thick coats and a huge barn full of hay and
there is plenty of feed for all the bird-folk.

Snow is great....if you don't have to drive in it.
  For, what is more soothing than watching snowfall from the window of a warm room, as it cloaks the brown earth with soft pillows of pure white?
To have a  vase of fresh flowers in that warm room,
in contrast to the outside chill, is even nicer.

Especially when one needs floral models in the middle of winter,

for festooning Duck millinery.

I am grateful that fresh flowers are sold at the grocers, all year round, aren't you?
 Yahoo! Almost finished with another drawing. I now have 10 drawings thus far, for the garden book and there is a strong possibility that this piece could become the book's cover. I will be painting these after all the drawings are complete.

The ducklings are now 5 weeks old, but they are still sleeping in the mudroom during the evenings and I kept them inside today because they are not fully feathered out.
Below are the grown-ups in the icy stream.

My older ducks and geese don't mind the snow, but they are very subdued in this weather, unlike some dogs that I know.
How are you faring this winter? Are you in the path of the predicted blizzard? If you are, dash to the grocers while you still  have the chance, and purchase lots of tea and an armful of flowers!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Moving along in winters chill..

     but always dreaming of Spring.

      If nothing else, the winter season encourages the pleasant pursuit of drawing. As for myself, I'm spending hours and hours with pencils and paper on my lap.  I've been happy to paint THIS kitty again. You may remember her from awhile back when I introduced her as Peddler Kitty. http://hopalonghollowgazette.blogspot.com/2010/11/peddlar-kitty.html 
She actually has another name, but she IS a Peddler. She is painting seed packets for us in this illustration and will be featured in her own story, but also has one page in the garden book. As with all the illustrations, this will be painted in watercolor, then the details and shadows will emerge and the kitty will come alive.
Fondly from the drawing board in the Hollow, Jeri

Monday, January 11, 2016

And they marched down the shore with a waddle and a quack!

Thank you darling ducklings. Not only have you provided me with the most delightful task of caring for you over the past 4 weeks, as your stand-in mother, but you've been most entertaining throughout.

From the time I rescued you from the drowning rainstorm....

till today!
 I've watched you grow up very quickly, right before my eyes. In the mornings, when I come to fetch you from your straw pen, I wonder, "Are these the same little ducklings I tucked into bed last night?! Why, they have grown at least 2 inches!"

You would have made wonderful artist models, if only you could stay still for one minute. Thank goodness I took dozens of photos,
and did a few pencil studies,
as you grew and grew!

There are only 5 ducklings, but they have lovely little shapes and put themselves in the most interesting positions, I could have filled the page with ducks, if only I'd had more space.
 This piece will be painted in watercolor AFTER I've finished 4 more illustrations for this book.
 I hadn't planned on putting any ducklings in this book, but since they made themselves available, I decided they would be a nice fit in the Gardening Book I am working on.
This book goes hand in hand with 2 others I am working on simultaneously. I will explain later. Suffice it to say, all the books have something to do with a GARDEN
Okay, back to the drawing board,
and I promise this is the last Duckling picture you will have to endure..for a long time.... okay?
My babies!

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Year, new plans, retrieving old ideas off the shelf..

     Okay, here we go again. Another year, another chance to make things right. Another year to do what we've not done, to become a better person, to accomplish a dream that has been sitting on the shelf. To lose that extra 10-20 lbs...for GOOD this time!
      Don't you relish a new beginning? It's a fresh start. I completely believe in New Year's Resolutions, and make my list each year, in earnest. Some resolutions don't survive the year, and many do come to pass.... but only if I work to make it happen. Last year, I made 90 characters from my books using needle-felting and mohair. It had been on my LIST of  TO DO for 2015, so I DID it... and it was fun, but it was also took a lot of effort.

 That is the key: Only WE can make our plans a reality. More often than not, that requires determination, grit, perseverance
knowing that good things come to those who work... yes, I grew up in THAT generation; the generation that believed  you had to work for what you wanted.
 I spent the last 3 days rewriting, editing and compiling the stories I had cocooned in my messy "notebooks" for the last 2 years. ( These are SO messy, I would never show the insides to  anyone!)
Two of these will become completely illustrated books,  by the end of 2016...that's my
 When stories are neatly typed out and feel right, then I find myself excited about working tirelessly on the artwork. So the battle is halfway won.

  In addition, my dear little ducklings have grown  into gangling 3 week olds
It seems everyone wants to adopt them.
from peahens...
 and nearly ever other chicken and goose on the property... strangely enough, their REAL mother pays them no mind at all. But methinks she has a very small brain.

On warmer days, they come outside to play in an enclosed garden, but at night they sleep in the mudroom inside a pen.
ALFIE, Zazu, CYRUS, Daphne and Fezzywig.
They will definitely have a part in one of the books this year, as illustrations.
 I've mixed and carded different shades of wool to make duckling as 3-d sculptures also.
Because ducklings change SO quickly from downy little yellow fuzzballs, to lanky pale yellow youngsters, and then to the fat, white adult Pekins, I am drawing and sculpting them in all their stages of growth.
THAT is another New Years Resolution.
 So, I have started my New Years off with a bang of ideas, plans and action.

 Now, tell me , do YOU make a list of things to accomplish in 2016?
 I would love to hear about it!