Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Other than pasta and chocolate ... I believe I could happily live on nothing but fruit! Cherries, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi, peaches, blueberries, bananas, grapes, oranges, mangoes, papayas, figs, apples, tangerines and watermelon ... no wonder fruit keeps popping up in my sketchbook!
Oops ... spell check just "got me" ... seems I misspelled cantaloupe on my sketch! Ssssssssssh!
Posted by mary ellen mckenzie at 7:01 PM
Monday, November 7, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
This afternoon I found two tiny flags leftover from July 4th and casually "planted" them in a pot of flowers on the patio table. When our kitty arrived for dinner ... she had brought a guest! The two of them gave me just enough time to grab my camera and aim ... before this happy little moment disappeared!
Posted by mary ellen mckenzie at 8:15 PM
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
After struggling with an uncooperative camera for the last week, I finally have a few pics to share from the current exhibition in Austin. As you can see, July was a good month for this exhibit ... since July 4th is one of my favorite celebrations to paint ... I guess that makes us a perfect match!
Cherish Your Freedom!
Posted by mary ellen mckenzie at 5:56 PM
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Cy Twombly died last week ... he was 83. Born in the United States in 1928 ... he had been living in Italy since 1957 creating his simple, breathtaking paintings and drawings.
In the summer of 2005 I had the pleasure of sitting before one of his enormous paintings ... where I gazed to my hearts content ... it was a lovely afternoon!
If you ever have the opportunity to visit a museum exhibiting some of his work, give yourself a treat ... go see his paintings in person. There is a mesmerizing collection of his room sized paintings in the Cy Twombly Gallery at Houston's Menil Museum. Even if you do not particularly care for Abstract Expression ... his paintings will almost certainly whisper something to your heart ... that will make you smile! As for me, I am absolutely captivated by the total freedom of his scribbles and marks as they dance across an otherwise blank space! He painted exactly what he wanted ... as he wanted ... for 83 years ... he was an artist's artist!
Thank you, Cy Twombly!
Posted by mary ellen mckenzie at 2:01 PM
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
For some reason ... I cannot seem to explain ... drawing the alphabet with my left hand is very soothing to me! This would not be odd at all except that I am right handed which means there is little control over where these marks will lead ... and it is that odd little feeling that has become very, very comforting!
Posted by mary ellen mckenzie at 5:21 PM
Monday, July 4, 2011
Yesterday afternoon we drove back into town after several fun filled days in Austin! The mission for our trip ... to hang the exhibit for Cafe Lago ... and, we did! After a flurry of tape measuring and hammer banging ... we all took a deep breath and agreed it was "just right" ... then, we packed up and left fourteen "little smiles" hanging on the wall!
Now we were free ... for the next two days ... to laugh and explore the endless possibilities of "food" in Austin! My favorite new discovery on this trip ... Mandola's Italian Market ... the thin crusted Margherita pizza was delicioso!!
Thank you Cafe Lago!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Yesterday afternoon, looking for a way to escape the summer heat, I grabbed a book from the shelf for a bit of reading. The book, Henri Matisse by Louis Aragon ... a present for my 20th birthday in 1971! With sketchbook and pen nearby, I had a lovely, cool afternoon reading an old friend and doodling ... with one of my favorite artists!
Posted by mary ellen mckenzie at 6:03 PM
Friday, June 10, 2011
In the Bishop's Garden today ... you could smell roses and mint and honeysuckle in the cool morning breeze
In the Bishop's Garden today ... you could sit quietly on an old stone bench shaded by a Jacaranda tree
Outside the Bishop's Garden today ... you could see one singing blackbird perched on the back of a very curious longhorn ... wishing to come in!
Posted by mary ellen mckenzie at 10:04 AM
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Last month flew by ... somewhere in between celebrating Mother's day ... driving to Austin for my nephew's graduation ... preparing for the Cafe Lago exhibit ... and the very humbling experience of watching Oprah's final show (realizing I was 35 when she started and celebrating my 60th birthday the day she said goodbye) ... the month just disappeared ... vanished!!
While we were in Austin, I started reading this book ... "A Homemade Life" ... it was my little treat to me ... read in 15 minute handfuls ... and it was a treat! A very quick read ... fun stories, fun recipes ... and ... best of all ... her final words went straight to my heart! Thank you, Molly!
"Underneath everything else, all the plans and goals and hopes, that's why we get up in the morning, why we believe, why we try, why we bake chocolate cakes. That's the best we can ever hope to do: to win hearts and minds, to love and be loved."
Posted by mary ellen mckenzie at 12:47 PM
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Not too long ago ... but far, far away (West Texas) ... Lizzie and I headed off on our evening walk. This particular evening we decided to head straight instead of turning left ... that is when we made this magical discovery ... the "flying dragon streetlight" ... it took my breath away ... I love, love, love quirky animal motifs! Bear in mind ... this is West Texas ... our favorite motifs are cowboy boots, cactus, roadrunners, chili peppers, longhorns and such ... so a "flying dragon streetlight" definitely stands out in this crowd! Now this new path has become a regular walk ... at least twice a week we head straight ... instead of left ... just to stare and smile! Serendipity ... I think so!
Posted by mary ellen mckenzie at 6:28 PM
Paint and walk Lizzie ... paint and walk Lizzie ... that is my daily rhythm now as I make my final approach towards Cafe Lago! On our evening walks ... colorful chalk drawings have begun to appear ... scribbled wildly across the park sidewalks! There is a joyful energy in these scribbles ... no editing or erasing ... just the marks of a spirited young artist having fun! My smile is always bigger as we silently stroll across this very charming bit of earth!
Posted by mary ellen mckenzie at 4:17 PM
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Last week we drove to Austin to hear my nephew play a cello solo, (it was amazing), we laughed alot, ate too much, played with family (Lizzie came too) ... and, in the blink of an eye ... it was over and time to turn around and drive home ... tired but happy!
This week I have been recovering! The downside of these happy little trips (if there is one) is being away from my studio for too long! With the Cafe Lago exhibit only two months away I am beginning to feel the pressure ... so, I was wide awake and back in the studio at 4:00 am Monday morning trying to get my creative juices flowing again with this little morning sketch!
Now that Friday is here, I am happy to say ... I feel back on track ... the pressure is still there ... but I am making progress again! My current goal is to finish all CL paintings by the time we climb back in the car next month for a return trip to celebrate my nephew's graduation!
Until then ... there is lots to do in the studio!
Hope you have a happy, fun weekend!
Posted by mary ellen mckenzie at 11:09 AM
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
"I always thought it was wrong to copy ... no ... you learn by copying." Unknown
I am a magazine addict! This mornings sketch is the result of a collision between my desire to read a fabulously fun new magazine ... Where Woman Cook ... and my desire to ramble through a morning sketch! What to do ... sketch and read! So here it is ... one blissful morning sketch done in my studio ... while happily snooping through a tiny New York City kitchen in my new magazine!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
"One word frees us of all the weight, and pain of life ... that word is 'love'. Sophocles
In all honesty ... this is an afternoon sketch! Today was a busy day ... with an agenda all its own ... so I took a deep breath and went along for the ride. It was almost 3:00 when I finally sat down in my studio ... brain tired but needing to create ... so I reached for paper and pen and began to doodle ... just like the morning sketch exercise ... only I forgot to set the timer! That meant I needed to decide when to stop. Found out, I missed the BING of the timer and that last burst of energy that comes moments before it sounds ... but even without the timer and the silent energy it adds to these sketches ... this was a fun sketch to create ... I felt refreshed ... and I do love its quirky personality!
Posted by mary ellen mckenzie at 7:17 PM
Friday, March 11, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
"There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein fascinates me! Last year, I was thrilled to discover a book at Barnes Noble filled with old photos and stories about his life. It has now become my habit to slowly explore the pages of this little treasure chest of Einstein history with a sketchbook and pen. Today ... I enjoyed this little ritual for my morning sketch!
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Look what I discovered at the library ... Animals of the Bible, this is the very first children's book to be awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1938!
For those of you who may not know ... the Caldecott Medal is awarded each year to a freshly published children's book. It was named in honor of Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886) ... a beloved 19th century English illustrator whose work brightened the path for children's literature!
Animals of the Bible was illustrated by Dorothy P. Lathrop (1891-1980), another beloved illustrator in the 1930-40's. Her simple pencil and wash drawings seem tame compared to the brightly colored, graphic illustrations of today ... but as I turned the pages ... I knew that this book has been a special friend to many children! So, after a 40 year love affair with children's books, discovering this delightful little bit of Caldecott history ... (and a new illustrator too) ... has been a thrill for me!
(A few of my favorite children's book illustrators over the past 40 years have been William Steig, Ludwig Bemelman, Tomie de Paola, Alice & Martin Provensen, Eric Carle, Arnold Lobel, Margot Zemach, Laura Cornell, Lucy Cousins and Beatrix Potter. But, hands down, my all time favorite is ... E. H. Sheppard ... whose simple pen and ink illustrations brought Winnie the Pooh and all of his friends to life!)
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
This is one of my very favorite books ... it is the first "real" book I ever bought! Forty years have passed now and it's cover is torn and tattered ... but, even today, when I hold it in my hands ... it can still transport me back to a magical time in my life!
In 1970, when this book was published, I was a 19 year old aspiring artist. The year before, 1969, Gloria Vanderbilt and her wildly colorful collages of Elizabethan ladies ... made out of bits of tinfoil, paper doilies, gingham and pen and ink ... were introduced to the world on The Johnny Carson Show! Somewhere out in West Texas ... I was watching ... in utter amazement ... and became a lifelong admirer of Gloria Vanderbilt and her art!
Over the next decade, her artwork evolved into fabrics, paper products, sheets, china, housewares and more books ... a mini empire! She became a "rock star" of the art/design world! Her artistic journey was well publicized over the years in magazines and newspapers ... and her generous spirit shared it all ... the good, the bad and the ugly ... she was a real person living an artistic life. Today, she might be more recognizable as the mother of CNN's Anderson Cooper ... but for over forty years ... her own artistic star has been blazing across the sky!
Now in her 80's ... it appears that star is still going strong! I recently read online, that she visits her studio daily to create the wildly colorful, spirit lifting collages that she is still known for today ... and much, much more! Her artistic life will always amaze and inspire me! After a lifetime of following her star ... I am so very grateful for this opportunity to finally say ... thank you, Gloria Vanderbilt!