Hopalong Hollow....

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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A painting a week... and a full pot o' soup

I am on a mission to finish this book at last. Some of you know that it has been 2 years in the making. already. WHY?? Maybe because I did 26 art events last year. It is difficult to get back into the groove of detailed, intense illustration when I have to leave  town , thus, my art table, for days at a time. 
So now, I have 4 glorious months of solitude and home- sweet- home-ness. My intention: Finish painting the last 12 illustrations AND learn a new soup recipe every week,  (actually, James will be cooking the soups that I choose). WHY SOUP? Sipping soup from a huge pottery mug, with  a pot of tea on the radiator, at the ready, helps me stay focused my work, instead of my stomach. Besides, what is more comforting in the cold months of winter than SOUP! I am hoping you will cheer me on to the finish line with this book.  Each week, I will post the page I am working on, and we shall see where 8-10 hours a day of painting has gotten me by the end of that week.
My process for creating a book is thus: 1.) Write a story.. 2.) Fill sketch books with art ideas, book layout, and rough sketches. 3.) Draw, in detail, each illustration directly upon my watercolor paper. This includes endpaper art, book jacket, and 36 pages of artwork in between the covers. 4.)Paint EVERYTHING!
I had my drawings completed long ago and nearly 3/4 of the paintings. Here is the one I have on my table today.

 The page actually consists of 4 separate illustrations. This will become 2 book pages, but I'm painting it as a full spread.
MY books are rather large in size at 12"x12", and I fill every nook and cranny...in fact, I must remind myself, "LEAVE ROOM FOR THE WORDS!" I have written 8 books for this "Hopalong Hollow" series. This is book 3. 

I started painting this illustration the day after Christmas.
  And as you can see, I still have a long way to go.

These images are rather blurry, and you probably cannot see the tremendous amount of detail that I put into each and every object.

The masking tape along the edges is used to protect my borders, but I also use it as a palette of sorts. I use the following watercolor paints: Sennelier, Windsor Newton, and Schmincke-Horadam

 The Mother bear, as you may observe by the artwork, is quite a Mistress of the Needle. In this illustration she is dismantling a shabby little red jacket, to use as a pattern for a lovely NEW purple jacket. 

Since my dear bear is a Mistress of the Needle, I feel impelled to finish another project, at the same time as I finish this book. Of course, I can only spare a few minutes a day on this:
But I think even a dozen or so stitches per night, will be enough.
I also want to finish this piece as a companion to the gorgeous one you see behind it, a treasured gift from a wonderful friend.

From this great cookbook...

 This weeks TEA...
See you next week... with a completed piece of "BOOK".


  1. Dear Jeri ~ Your lovely post is such an inspiration to me. I'm itching to get back to working with needle and thread and seeing your sketches, painting and needlework has nudged me more in that direction. I thank you.

    The detail in your work is really amazing and one cannot stop looking at your beautiful artwork. There is so much to see and enjoy. I know, because I have your sweet book 'Hopalong Jack and the Blue Bunnies.'

    With wonderful homemade soups made by your dear sweet husband and a cup of tea at the ready I'm sure you'll have a delightful time these next few months working on a project of love from your heart.

    Love and hugs to the both of you and have a wonderful 2013.

    FlowerLady Lorraine

  2. I can certainly see the high level of detail, and it's simply wonderful! I'll be cheering you all the way! I was thinking that I like the idea of a painting a week. I don't know that I can pull that off with my bigger oil and acrylic paintings, but I'm going to have to give it some thought. It's a nice way to set a goal!

  3. Won't keep you long, I don't want to interfere with your work.
    I am looking forward to another great and beautiful book!
    Thanks for sharing the soup recipe, I need to add Lentils to my shopping list.
    Happy 2013!

  4. Wonderful wonderful illustrations...!!!!

  5. Well it sounds like a good plan, especially the part about DH making the soup. LOL! I always love seeing your artwork come alive so I am going to enjoy watching your progress. You can do it!!

  6. Jeri, I look forward to following your progress. I've written (but am not published) lots of stories that I WISH I could illustrate and have made aborted attempts at learning. I feel the ability is buried some where deep and I just need to get out of the way to discover it.....so that is what I'm working on the coming year. Your posts will help to encourage me, I'm sure.

    As for the Soup of the Week. An Excellent idea! My husband loves to cook. I shall find him the recipes and plant the suggestion. Your Lentil & Ham looks good. :-)

  7. Good evening Jeri,
    I hope that Christmas was for you sweet and warm. Your artwork is wonderful. I know how much it is necessary of time for preparation and execution, you work wonders! I like your style, your Art, your work, I say it again : you are a fairy ! Thank you Jeri.
    I wish you an excellent end of year.

  8. Oh Jeri, I know you have been looking forward to some BOOK TIME.. Even with the photo being a bit blurred, I can clearly see where all the details are, in every object on the page.. You just inspire and amaze me with you attention to details. Your illustrations are so beautiful.. I am soooooooo looking forward to seeing this book in completion.

    I knew you had attended alot of shows this past year, but had no idea how many... Good grief Jeri, that is a full time job in itself.

    Soup sounds just wonderful! I am looking forward to watching your progress... I will be in the cheering section!!!!

    1. Soup is the best - the minute it gets cold the first time I start craving it. I'll send you a wonderful recipe that I just love and bet you'll love it too. Your illustrations are just gorgeous and this year on my bucket list is to buy one of your books. Just love the detail. You are soooooooo talented!

    2. Your enthusiasm and goals are so inspiring to the rest of us, perhaps we'll all become more productive. I love your art.
      Mama Bear


  9. I can't wait for your third book. I have your first two on my coffee table and I enjoy them often. Your art is amazing!

    Happy New Year, special friend!

  10. I just love your work. Are your books currently available for sale? I would love to purchase them to enjoy.My email is Marlynerskine@ yahoo.com.

    1. Mitzi, Just scroll down further and look to the right, click on the book covers and you will be taken to my website. That is where you can purchase my books.

  11. how fun that you are in your painting season. i love it when you are. how fab that your husband makes you soup and you focus on art.

    looking forward to each of your posts.
    happy painting to you~

  12. I will drink a cup of Harris tea along with you, dearest Jeri:) and send all the love and encouragement from Rose Water Cottage...across the miles to Hopalong Hollow. I have been camped in front of the fireplace, knitting the lace trim for my mother's long awaited Tasha Tudor Cottage Shawl. I am painting along in my book for spring, as I receive updates and photos from the garden in Florida. I will be ready for trellis', tendrils, and curly-Q's:)
    Much love to you,

  13. Those sumptuous colors just flow over my heart....you always know
    how and when to stop short in vivid subtlety. At last, No. 3 is
    coming to fruition...so long awaited, so intensely prompted...
    Now I can commence to cheer on the completion of that beautiful
    embroidery... a few minutes a day is all that is needed to let
    inspiration do its work.
    Hubby's soup sounds delicious...lucky girl.
    Keep fullfilling your magnificent promise, dear Friend.
    Blessings every ~

  14. My darling friend,

    ART WORK has kept me away from blogland for two days.....you should see what I just finished; well, I will just email you!

    Jeri, you are just an inspiration for many of us. THE FACT THAT you have had all of these art events ALONE is enough to impress anyone. Your artwork and storytelling AND ENERGY required to get this all done, well that is a story in itself. You have been the best in so many ways. I thank you for yet another year of fun, life lessons and friendship. I will email you a pic of what I just finished. Anita

  15. Dear Jeri - this sounds like you are going to be one busy lady for the next four months. I think I will send you some snow so you have to stay indoors and work (LOL) - will be so looking forward to your soup, tea and art work in the coming weeks - will make my winter solitude a joy - take care and have a Happy New Year my friend.

  16. Courage, courage!!! It's the last stretch, la dernière ligne droite. Mais se sera MAGNIFIQUE !!!✿◕ ‿ ◕✿

  17. Yes precious friend, see you NEXT YEAR and like the blogger before you asked, "When is the next reception?" Well if you and the feathered fellows are up to it, come back on Jan. 1 and you are most welcome to enter into my home again...this time, on the west side of the house!!!!! I see FIONA on the sidebar is busy with her bill in the flowers! teehee...

  18. Jeri,
    Each of your books is a treasure of rich illustrations. I loved the first two...bought them both!! And look forward to adding the next to my library. You are truly gifted my friend, and those of us who found you are the lucky ones!!

    Happy New Year to all at Hopalong Hollow from all at Bee Haven Acres!!

  19. Happy New Year Jeri! Wishing you a healthly and joyful new year.
    Love and blessings,

  20. Oh Jeri,

    To see your comment, from YOU, a GREAT artist, it really makes me feel so good. The art community, like LIFE, is comprised of so many types of art. I never really felt like an illustrator, you know that! But there is something about using paper....I guess it goes back to my childhood when all I had was brown paper bags and pencils and scissors. Who knew?

    THANK YOU MY DEAR and have a fabulous day in 2013! Anita

  21. You are so kind Jeri.. Thank you so much for your visit and most encouraging words.. There is much work to do on her, but I will get there in good time.. Your words ring true, yes, there have been many times my pieces have made a ~turn~ and have come out different than expected... Sometimes like you said ~even better~

    I know you must be working away, tea in one hand and soup ready..
    Thanks again for your visit.. You made my day.

  22. Hi Jeri, I received your Hop-Along Gazette and have been enjoying looking back in your Blog to before I discovered it in August. Your videos are always so great--I feel like I'm visiting my Mamaw's farm in 1950's Mississippi! I see you are a cousin of Diane Shepard? Since she's related to Tasha Tudor, does that mean you are too? I follow Diane's Blog, too, since I'm a Tasha Tudor fan as well. I got to visit Tasha's house and garden last June--a real experience.

    I saw, too, that you have a donkey and was wondering what you used her for, then the sheep came running out....I understand donkey's are great watch dogs, right? I have a little bit of farm girl in me :-) I love chickens! But watching your geese waddle about in a line made me fall in love with them, too. If you ever needed to make extra money, you should rent out a room as a B&B. Your guests would love the place.

    I finally located your Archive and look forward to going back to the very beginning to see what all I've missed.

    P.S. I'm really enjoying my Paper Poppy Garden....so Sweet! It sits next to my little silver platter of acorns, small stones, tiny pine cones, and sea glass I've collected.

    1. Cathy, Isn't Diane's blog just perfection?! We are indeed distant cousins who share a love of genealogy, old things, old days and storybooks. I originally got the donkey (Ursula) to be my sheriff,we had a renegade fox who was stealing chickens by the dozens. She had a baby(Jemima) and now her daughter is the deputy. Unfortunately, the fox, outwitted all of us, and decided to go after the ducks, who live on the OTHER side of the barn fencing. Now, we are looking for a Great Pyrenees, to protect all the birds. Geese are absolutely marvelous animals, and too large for a fox to nab, but very noisy. I just love all my critters!

  23. Jeri, I love in progress work as much or more than finished pieces so this post delights me. Beautiful work my dear.

  24. Jeri, I love reading about the process of your creations. Your talent amazes and inspires me. Thank you for your generosity of sharing. I also look forward to your soups and teas....both are my favorites. Hugs and wishes for a Happy and Creative New Year! Bonnie

  25. The process...oh it gives me goosebumps....
    Thank you so much for sharing the process....you are a weaver of magic!
    - Irina


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