Hopalong Hollow....

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Endeavoring to create a cat's face..

 I have struggled with making cat's faces for over a year in my fiber work.
Cats have a flat face, essentially, with a subtle profile. I find sculpting them much trickier than making a creature with a definite muzzle and nose, like a rabbit or a mouse.
So, in my determination to build a better cat, I started to practice on four faces. 
I really did start with a pretty flat surface. Upon that surface I built up the facial structure, bit by bit.

Fur was added to the face, small tufts at a time.
Kitty #1
   Kitty # 2


Kitty #3

Kitty #4

The Calico in the front

 The Salt and Pepper Kitty looks like a fly has landed on his nose! He is very surprised about it.

Everyone is wide-eyed, except the Tabby... but I find this a frequent expression on all the cats I've known and loved.

 I'm pretty pleased with the way they turned out.
 I do have my favorites. Isn't that always the way it is with cats?

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The unsung artists, contempories of Beatrix Potter... and a "second string"

 No one would argue that Beatrix Potter is one of the most beloved and well-know Storybook creators of all time. However, during the time of her writings there were countless other marvelous artists and writers creating books, board games and greeting cards, people we rarely recognize. To honor these unsung artists, I plan on introducing their wonderful work  in a few posts which I will stagger over the next few weeks. I think it is about time that the works of these illustrators and writers have a revival and receive more credit for their contributions to Children's Literature.
All the illustrations you see on this post are by the artist ERNEST ARIS

 Let me start with an Artist that actually had a connection to Beatrix Potter.  In 1916 when Beatrix Potter, (who by that time wished to be known by her married name of Mrs Hellis) was in her 50's, and suffering from diminished eyesight. She found that her painting skills were marred by this sad fact.  Her niece had written a story and Beatrix  began a search for just the right illustrator to  fulfill the mission of illustrating this story, in a way that Beatrix P. imagined it should be.

By post, she contacted the  Illustrator Ernest Aris. Mr Aris was a prolific artist in his own right.
Submitting  rough sketches, color ideas and the Name of the Book, "The Oakmen", to Mr Aris,  B.Potter kept her identity a secret as well as the PLOT of the book... But she did ask that he use the style of  Beatrix Potter, from the book "Jemima Puddleduck".
 Mr. Aris claimed he was unaware of such a book, to which Beatrix Potter took great offense!

  She did purchase 6 illustrations that he created for her. Although first pleased with his work, she eventually decided to shelf  the paintings he provided thinking them too bold, the colors too bright and not at all in her style.  She decided to illustrate the story herself.
 But she never did

 As an artist myself, I can certainly not imagine being asked to illustrate in someone else's style, so it hardly seems fair that he would be expected to fulfill her wishes to a tee. Not to mention the fact that Beatrix referred to him as a "Second String " artist and said "his animals are not good". I have to disagree with that, I LOVE his animals.

  Tazzletip was an entire series
 So, what do you think? Is this an artist that should have had more recognition? I believe so.

Monday, October 16, 2017


        This is a terribly busy time of year for me, with one show after another.
  I have only one book illustration to complete and it would have been finished if I had not had to make 22 birds for a show this coming weekend.
See here:

  I chose a variety birds out of my Bird Books and made the most appealing.. well, ALL birds are appealing, but I only have so much time.
  From Chickadees to Tanagers and even a Fionna Goosefeathers...

  Many had never visited Hopalong Hollow before, such as this Townsend Warbler.
 And others are frequent guests here in the Hollow..

I do have my favorite birds, Woodpeckers are at the top and wrens are very dear to me.
 All in all, a pretty colorful flock of beauties I think.

  I loved making these birds!
And it all started with wire and a handful of wool. 

 What are YOUR favorite birds of the world? 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Pippity's pantry is simply stuffed!

Pippity TRIMBLE has a Pantry that would be envied by any mouse, or human, for that matter!
  It took an effort to stock the little scullery, but between the two of us  (PIPP and me) we managed to gather together more than enough crocks, cheeses, baskets,jugs and bottles and receptacles to fill the small strip of room.
We started with filling the mustard colored  cupboard.
I couldn't match everything in the illustration exactly, but where I lacked the proper item, I replaced it with something better.
I did the same everywhere in the scullery, and ended up with far more than I expected, even more than is portrayed in the illustration.
The candles were dipped using beeswax, I didn't know how to get tiny candles any other way.
Using "Blank" ceramic crocks and pitchers, I was able to paint them as McCoy-Ware and salt glaze stoneware. Pippity likes to store her food items tightly in crocks with waxed cloth lids.
 It's a tight fit for Pippity to get through her little pantry, but she is very happy to have such a well appointed larder.

If she can't reach an item, she just climbs her little ladder.
 She has promised to bake me a pie for all the help I have given her.... I just hope it is bigger than a quarter.