Thursday, December 23, 2010
Well, I'm off to wrap some more presents and eat entirely too much!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Friday, December 10, 2010
I mostly just wanted to get the idea down on paper, but I also thought these simple drawings would provide me a good opportunity to play with digital coloring since I am still just barely dipping my toes in the great big digital pond. Something else I did with these drawings that I almost never do was to complete the initial shading in pencil. In my current technique, the painting stage consumes so much time that I never bother to establish lighting in the sketch phase. I'll often work it out in a color study if I can't visualize it well enough to go straight to final. If you notice a difference in texture between the two drawings it's because one I drew on graphics pad paper and the other on bristol paper just to get a feel for how the different media take shaded pencil drawings.
I think this little character is begging for a story. Maybe I'll dream something up for him some day...
Thursday, December 2, 2010
We first climbed (and conquered!) Thumb Butte, so named as from the distance it looks rather like the tip of a thumb:
The trail sort of disappears in a jumble of rocks and brush as one nears the top, so we had to do quite a lot of scrambling to make it to the top. And make it we did, but not without facing some harrowing obstacles on the way.
Less than a five minute drive from the my in-laws new home was Willow Lake and the Willow Dells Slickrock Trail Loops.Probably my favorite of all the hiking we did last weekend, these trails involved a great deal of boulder-hopping with stunning panoramic views of the dells and the lake.We finished off our hiking Sunday at Granite Mountain, taking a trail that wound up a lower hill and offered nice views of the mountain catching some late afternoon sun.We'd been feeling a bit starved for good hikes since our move to Dallas, so this vacation was just what we needed. I'm not sure how many miles we totaled, but it certainly felt like a lot. We came back from our vacation feeling pretty exhausted, but for all that hiking it was definitely worth it!
Monday, November 8, 2010
This illustration is another private commission and installment in the "Little Lost Squirrels" story. Here they are mid-journey taking shelter from the storm. We carried a couple details from previous "Lost Squirrels" illustrations over into this illustration to hint at the continuity - the little green beetle has been observing the unfolding events through several paintings as has the watchful owl. I always think it's fun to find these kinds of extras details in artists' work - kind of like you're in on a little secret!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
What's even better is that many of the originals that were previously listed on my site have been deeply discounted for the holidays! Come visit and check out some of the offerings:
Monday, October 18, 2010
©Phyllis Peacock everywhere else
Monday, October 4, 2010
The trail mostly followed along a high-banked creek with many short off-shoots where one could reach the edge of the bank and catch a glimpse of the water. In only a couple places could we actually climb down to the water. The white rocky banks reminded me of the beautiful hill country we recently left behind in Austin. We're hopeful that the nice weather will continue for a while...
Onto the subject of reference from life and nature's little treasures once again... The management at our apartment complex recently decided to repaint everything, including the covered parking. The thorough cleaning required before painting also meant the removal of all of the bird's nests that had been built in the tight spaces between the support columns and the roof. And there were A LOT of them. I found this one on the ground and couldn't resist bringing it home with me:
I have yet to decide if I will actually keep it or just study it for a while before throwing it away. You can't see it in the photo, but under closer scrutiny you can see small bits of man-made objects wound throughout the nest - a length of red string and a fair amount of what looks to be a fine plastic net, possibly for fishing? I think there's a story here...
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Halloween might possibly be my husband's favorite holiday. Every year he looks forward to checking out the local haunted house offerings and I'm sure this year will be no different. One thing I will always remember about our years spent in LA was the enthusiasm with which some of the locals celebrated Halloween. 'Yard Haunts' were not uncommon and were often incredibly elaborate, frequently rivaling and surpassing some of the more commercial enterprises. The most impressive one I remember was "Hallowed Haunting Grounds" which sadly had its "final manifestation" in 2005 after an amazing 33 year-long run. A list of LA 'yard haunts' can be found here.
I wonder what Halloween goodies our new city will have to offer.....
Thursday, September 9, 2010
As we've been rather hike-starved for months now due to the heat and we lucked out with the beautiful weather in Wisconsin, we made sure to spend a significant amount of time outside. We visited Pewitt's Nest near North Freedom, WI which is a short, but stunning slot canyon in the Baraboo Hills.And for a more rigorous hike we visited Devil's Lake State Park and hiked up the very steep Balanced Rock Trail and back down the equally steep CCC trail.
We had never seen rocks quite so purple on hikes we had done anywhere else. Perhaps this is what "purple mountains majesty" refers to? Although I think our "mountain" would probably be more accurately described as a very grand hill.
We have only to wait a few more weeks before the Texas heat dissipates and we can get outside and explore our new city. I'm looking forward to it and I think our little adventure in the north will tide me over until then.
Friday, August 13, 2010
I wanted to preserve the dragonfly properly, but when I read that the standard method involves using acetone which is "volatile and explosive" I had second thoughts and went with the 'stick him in a shadowbox and cross my fingers that he doesn't rot' method. I took a bunch of pictures of him as back-up in the likelihood that my method doesn't hold out for very long.
He did lose a little bit of his luster after just one day and his iridescent eyes faded to opaque, but I think he is still a little jewel. Dragonflies often work as a nice extra detail in paintings, so it'll be nice to have some first-hand reference.
Friday, August 6, 2010
This piece is actually a re-make of a painting I did back in art school. If I remember correctly, I believe the assignment was to illustrate a cover for Cricket magazine either on the theme of Halloween or possibly for the month of October. I had been fairly pleased with the original composition, but have had it in mind for some time that it would be nice to revisit this image and put more time into the final art than I was able to as a student. I remember back in school I had originally drawn the little mouse to the far right much more plainly and it had been the excellent suggestion by one of my classmates to dress the mouse up for Halloween and have it trick-or-treating. I think that simple suggestion really helped to make the painting.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
For all my previous books I faxed or e-mailed sketches to the publishers, so this will be my first time actually assembling a physical book dummy. It should be quite a learning experience and I'm looking forward to it!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
This piece was another private commission. I had anticipated the blending between the seasons to be very difficult, but as it turned out, so long as I worked with very light washes for the sky in the background and the water in the foreground, the blending went pretty smoothly.
My husband and I decided the little squirrel swimming in the foreground had the right idea as to how to spend the summer months and we spent some time over this past holiday weekend cooling off in the pool. Even though we're only half-way through the summer I am so looking forward to the fall - although I don't think we'll be collecting acorns like the mice in the painting.... Ice-skating in the winter, however, is a possibility...
Wishing a slightly belated Happy 4th of July to my fellow American readers!
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
This is one of those images that just 'popped' into my head one day, but I have no doubt there's some very heavy influence from two of my favorite artists P.A. Lewis and Jean Baptiste Monge in there. The bird is an egret and the bird's saddle is based on a camel saddle - like this one for example. They are beautifully vibrant in their patterning and colors and I'm not quite sure how to approach the color for the saddle in my sketch since I was picturing a rather pastel-y color scheme for this piece. I'd thought I could possibly use this image for a promo card once it's finished, but looking at it I realized it's awfully similar in terms of setting to one of my recent promo cards, so I think this sketch will have to be put aside for the time being while I dream up another image to use as a postcard. Hope that I'll be able to get back to it soon...
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
This piece was another private commission which came together in an interesting way. We started with about five loose thumbnail sketches all quite similar and based on the idea of a winter campfire. My client picked out the characters she liked best and then we arranged them into one cohesive scene. Amazingly, all the chosen characters fit together quite easily and required only minimal adjust to make the scene work.
I really enjoyed painting the snowy background in this painting. One thing I especially like to paint is moonlit clouds. Somewhere along the way I began referring to moonlit clouds, both real-life and painted, as "Buehner clouds" as I think illustrator Mark Buehner is the master of moonlit clouds.
Getting back to summer and a brief update on our swallow neighbors (see previous post) - the pair successfully raised five baby birds all of whom have since left the nest. We feel so privileged that we got to watch them grow up:What's really surprising to us is that almost as soon as the babies left the nest, the mating pair started on a new family. The nest is up too high for us to peek into, but with the use of a mirror we could see the new eggs:
Looking forward to watching the new family grow up!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
We discovered just before our moving day that a pair of barn swallows had constructed their nest just above our little kitchen window. They picked a nice sheltered spot out of the wind and rain, but unfortunately for them, they are right next to our front door. Our comings and goings do seem to upset them a bit, but I am hopeful that once they realize that we aren't a threat they'll calm down and no longer feel the need to flit away every time we open the door. The female seems to spend nearly every moment on the nest (except of course when we've disturbed her) and her mate often sits nearby on the railing, almost as though he's guarding the nest. I didn't think I'd be able to snap a picture of them without upsetting them, but last night I managed to shoot a quick one while they were settled in for the night:
You can't tell from this picture, but they have beautiful blue feathers and of course the classic forked tail. This is their usual night time habit - sitting together on the window frame. They are such fun to watch and naturally I've added them to my list of animals to paint some day. I'm looking forward to the day their eggs hatch!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
As with most moves, I both dread and look forward to it at the same time. I love exploring new places as well as the feeling of a fresh start in a new home, but aside from the hassle of moving, there's also the sadness of leaving a familiar place. We've only been in Austin a little over two years, but I am really going to miss it. Ah, well, looking forward...
Friday, March 5, 2010
I just brought in my mail and much to my surprise found a copy of What's Your Angle, Pythagoras? (Charlesbridge Publishing) translated into Arabic! I knew there was a coming translation, but I didn't expect to receive a copy since an overseas company purchased the sub-rights and handled the translation. I can't read a word of it, but from what I can discern the publisher that issued this version appears to be Al-Balsam Publishing. The book opens back to front and all the illustrations have been flipped to read right to left. Very exciting! I guess I can now say I'm internationally published!
Monday, March 1, 2010
It's crazy to think it was warm enough for short sleeves this past weekend after it had just snowed the Tuesday before. I was grateful for the warm weather though. Between work, chilly weather, and allergy season, it seems like forever since we've spent any meaningful time outdoors. So taking advantage of the pleasant weather before it changes again, we got in a long-desired and much-needed hike this past weekend, this time at Good Water Trail in Georgetown.
The trail is apparently a whopping 25 miles long and encircles Lake Georgetown. Being much out of practice with hiking and in far less than tip-top shape, we did only a very short segment of the trail. The trail follows along the edge of the lake, but at enough of a distance that we couldn't see the water during most of the hike which we found a bit disappointing. Even so, the weather could not have been more ideal for a hike. I'm hoping for more of this perfect weekend weather in the coming months...
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The unusual weather seems so strangely appropriate to me since the painting I'm working on at the moment happens to be a snow scene. I'm grateful for the reference and inspiration (and that I didn't have to drive anywhere in it)!
Friday, February 5, 2010
If you have/know any kids learning or struggling with ratios then this is the book for them. Here's a excerpt of a review from the School Library Journal:
"Gr 4–7—This picture-book introduction to ratio and proportion also explains the connection between math and music through a story featuring young Pythagoras and his family......."
".......The story is amusing and offers a glimpse into life in ancient Greece. Acrylic and colored pencil cartoons depict the clothing and lifestyle of the period in a pleasing palette. A historical note and an experiment in which readers are challenged to use Pythagorean ratios to create a musical instrument with six glasses of water in varying amounts are appended.—Barbara Auerbach, PS 217, Brooklyn, NY"
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
As with most gift-giving holidays, I usually receive a good number of children's/art books for my ever-expanding collection, but this year I was also able to add some original illustrations to my collection. My husband gave me two original paintings by Omar Rayyan, of whose work I'm a huge fan. You can see these paintings here and here. I think he is just brilliant with watercolor!
The new year also brings with it a new video game project (to be disclosed in the future) for my husband who spent the last several months of 2009 working long and hard on the environments for Darksiders which just came out in stores today! Tons of video clips here.
As for resolutions for the new year, I think I'm just going to recycle last year's resolutions and give them another shot considering the only one I can say I really succeeded at was gaining some weight. Maybe I should add to that list to try to update here more frequently!