About a year ago I had an inspiring meeting with the wonderful editors at Skyhorse Publishing. It was so refreshing to meet with people in the publishing industry who are so enthusiastic about what they do. We discussed enthusiastically our favorite children's books and illustrators from classics to contemporary. This experience made me think a lot about my own favorite stories, how they affected me and also how I would approach illustrating a book; a task that I admit seemed overwhelming at the time. One book that I have recently discovered is Pinocchio. My most recent visit to Florence coincided with the anniversary of the publication of the book by Collodi and I picked up a copy in italian. I had previously only been familiar with the Disney version and was surprised to find not only how dark the original story was but also how many colorful animal characters it involved. From the Rabbit Undertakers to the Poodle Footman not to mention the Cricket Ghost plus a menagerie of dogs, cats, a snail, squirrel, owl. I realized it presented the perfect challenge for my first series of book illustrations. Here are the first finished drawings and painting, I'll be adding more as I go along.


First I had to work out what Pinocchio would look like. I thought he should be simple since he was a puppet carved out of a piece of wood. Even though he is quite mischievous in the story I also wanted to portray his innocent and trusting nature.


This is a drawing of the piece of wood Geppetto finds that originally inspires him to create a puppet. I wanted to create a number of the images in black and white since most books require both black and white and color illustrations. It was a challenge for me but I wanted the drawings to look purposeful and not simply black and white versions of otherwise color images. I have always loved using Kohinoor Negro leads and pencils which are unfortunately no longer made. They create such a rich, velvety black when I use them on Stonehenge printmaking paper!


The scene where Pinocchio is sick in bed is one of my favorites as it is filled with interesting characters. These are the Rabbit Undertakers that appear carrying a small coffin to frighten Pinocchio into taking his medicine. It was only after I had finished it that in reading over the Italian text I realized there were supposed to be four rabbits, black as ink! Well I suppose I could get away with dressing them is black but if I ever put this into print I'm afraid I will have to re-do this one!

The Writer's Chronicle

I am so pleased with the new issue of The Writer's Chronicle which features an illustration by yours truly. It was such a pleasure to work on and I couldn't be happier with the layout and the beautiful script they chose for the cover story title.


The title essay explores all the ways the image of the window has been used in nonfiction beginning with Forster's Room With a View, one of my favorites up to the present. It was a challenge to illustrate and initially I thought using an actual window would be too predictable. My love of repeating patterns however kept drawing me back to the possibilities presented by a curtain and wallpaper if a window was viewed from the inside out.  As I sketched out different ideas  I kept coming back to my original thought of using a lace curtain as a sort of veil between the inside and the outside. The essay mentions captivity vs. freedom as one of the concepts a window could represent and I thought incorporating the motif of keys and locks into the lace could be a subtle and graceful way of portraying that.


The second essay was even more abstract. It explored all the different elements a writer must consider in creating a character's identity in a story. I decided to continue the theme of a repeating pattern that I had used for the cover and incorporate some of those elements including location, religion, home life, occupation etc. This was an engaging project and the art directors were a dream to work with. I am so excited to be part of this issue of the magazine!


New ACEO Prints at Curious Portraits For awhile now I have been hearing about and running across the acronym ACEO regarding artwork and prints. After some investigation I discovered that it stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals and has become a hugely popular way for people to collect and trade miniature artwork and prints. The only criterion seems to be that they must adhere to a standard size of 2.5" x 3.5" ; the original size of baseball trading cards. Being extremely fond of anything miniature myself, I thought it would be the perfect way for me to offer less expensive editions of my artwork in my Curious Portraits shop on Etsy!  I spent last weekend experimenting with different ways of photographing the prints in a way that would show their unique, petite size. In the end I propped them up in my bookcase with some vintage books and a vintage camera which I thought would also convey the old fashioned, vintage feel of the prints and photographed them in natural light. So far I have only listed the most popular prints in this format but I'll be adding more every day. Meanwhile I have added a listing to the shop through which you can order just about any image in the shop as an ACEO.

The sudden cooler weather here in NY inspired me to begin listing some of my Christmas Portraits too!

I also decided to finally list some MINI prints in the shop that are slightly larger than the ACEO prints . They are 3.5" x 4.5"  and printed on 5" x 7" paper ready to pop right into a standard frame. I always get requests for framed prints so I will soon be offering this size print already framed and ready for gift giving. I got to use some of my favorite mini dog statues and my mantle clock for these photos.  I have also added a general listing for this size print to use until I get all the separate listings up.

WIN a free 8" x 10" Print from The Curious Kitchen!

As a special promotion for my new Etsy shop The Curious Kitchen, I am offering a free 8" x 10" print of It's Breakfast Time to three lucky winners. To participate simply share the post on Facebook, re-pin on Pinterest or re-tweet on Twitter. Triple your chances by doing all three by midnight, Sunday March 10, 2013! I will choose one winner randomly from each category at noon on Monday, March 11. Thank-you to all my loyal followers and customers from  Curious Portraits and The Curious Kitchen! Breakfast-Time-Border

The Singing Squirrels


This year for my official Christmas portrait (and Christmas card which hopefully all of you have received by now) I went back to one of my favorite subjects. These cheerful squirrels live in the courtyard of my apartment building and are a constant source of inspiration. This year I have at least 3 squirrels ( I suspect a mysterious fourth) who come regularly to my studio window for their daily meal of peanuts and/or acorns and who are not in the least bit shy in front of the camera. I sit out there on the fire escape and photograph them while they eat and they don't mind at all. Of course it was tricky getting them to put on the hats and sweaters but in the end they all cooperated...

A very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Happy New Year to everyone who reads this blog and a very sincere thank-you for your support this past year!