Hopalong Hollow....

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

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mamsey Bear sews the Purple Waistcoat

It took 9 days.
 But she  finished it.

My goal in storybook illustration is a combination of realism and unreality... does that make sense?
    . I don't want a cartoonish work, OR a realistic work. I like things a bit crooked, a bit skewed , slightly off kilter and yet, with a hint of reality......suspension of disbelief.( Mamsey bear just wants to get this jacket dismantled so that she can use it as her pattern.)

The candles have burnt down to molten nubs.

In some instances I will use proper perspective, and then in other places, I will deliberately abuse it.
 But Mamsey prefers perfection in her needlework 


I love old, crooked and ancient stairways... Mamsey's  house is full of these! Painting beat up wood, cracked plaster and   items that seem to breathe of old age, is a fun challenge for me in my books.  It is the world of Hopalong Hollow....aged rusticity.

Mamsey finally lays out her "pattern" on the rich purple fabric... it is the color the night sky.

 at least, it is supposed to be.

There is just enough of it for a fox sized waistcoat.

,None of these colors are accurate on my blog, some were photographs, others were scans .Ah, the trials of an artist trying to "MATCH" her real colors is disheartening.  This room actually has a nice golden glow and the background below, is not the orange color that you see... it is a nice mellow yellow ochre.
  I think most artists will agree, that the one of the biggest headaches we have is in achieving a good reproduction from our artwork.

   This still has some clean up to do... but you can see where the text will go and although you do not know what on earth this book is about, I think you can get an idea of what this PAGE is about.
 Before I begin an illustration, I record myself reading the words. I listen to this over and over again and become immersed in the purpose of the page.

 It is probably foolish of me to think I can finish a page in a week, I don't like to rush things or I will become sloppy.  9-10 days is more accurate. Quality over quantity.


 This weeks soup Is Golden Squash Soup.  This is delicious!
 Here is how James made it:  Using a large Butternut Squash peeled and cut into cubes, 2 garlic cloves, one chopped onion, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp thyme, 2 Tb butter or olive oil, 1/4 cup brown sugar. Roast in oven at 375 till soft. Remove from oven and puree. Add this mixture to 4 cups chicken broth and 1/4 cup CREAM.  Heat to simmer and EAT IT UP!

Here is the drawing I must paint this week...

  We'll be back  in 9 days!  Or, maybe 10....

 We bid you Adieu, tell we meet again.


  1. I am so proud of you and your "gumption" to get this thing finished. You aren't rushing and you're not procrastinating...you are steadily working your way through, with perfection, I might add;))
    I was up at 3:30 this morning, researching Champion of England Pea flowers....sketching ...and Sugar Snaps... and thinking how much I love what I do...What WE do!
    Wishing you a productive 9 days, my dear and much love...(and a hello to James:)

  2. Thank you for taking us along on this wonderful artistic journey. I understand what you mean about getting the colors right. This is why I love Tasha Tudor's books from the 1940's and early 50's when Oxford University Press was still doing her books. The colors were exceptional! Then by the late 50's when Henry Walck republished some of the same books (and kept the original published dates by the way) you could see the difference in quality. Publishers were not nearly as careful to color match the artist's colors.

    1. It is very tricky to find a printer who really, really knows how to accurately reproduce the correct colors. I am rarely satisfied with the end product, whether it's a greeting card or a lithograph. No one else would ever notice it, but I have the originals, so I can see the differences. I almost always cry when I see my first round of proofs!

  3. Your illustrations are so very rich with detail. And yes, I get your point about realism and non. You do a great job of staying somewhere in the middle....in a fantasy world with creatures who are completely believable! Happy souping! I think I will go have a cup of tea, myself as I return to my sewing machine.

  4. I love to watch the progress. Mamsey working on her patterns is the cutest.

  5. Sending warmest wishes for a wonderful and happy new year from "the old brown cape in New Hampshire"~
    Lovely, lovely drawings---A feast for the eyes!

  6. simply delightful Jeri u are amazing xxx

  7. I can identify with those burnt-out candles. Now you know how my Christmas sewing projects went! Doesn't it feel won-der-ful when you can cross something off the to-do list?

  8. Gooed evening Jeri,
    A combination of realism and unreality? Yep, makes sense to me.
    You truly have accomplished that, and so much more.. I think that is what I love so much about your books... and Mamsey just melts my heart.

    Details, details everywhere, right down to the painting on the teacup..
    I love that there are so many texture affects.. I can feel my toes on that braided rug, and I love the carving at the end of the banister at the bottom of the stairs..
    Something that really baffles and amazes me is how you manage to make steam with watercolors… I can see it rising from the teacup and out the teapot… You are really something, you know it? Exquisite work Jeri.

    I am looking forward to your next illustration.. I can see dear Mamsey is sharing her tea with someone.. Would that be Dimity Doormouse? Is she in this book?

    See you here soon Jeri... I must try this butternut squash that James made... It looks great..
    Take care,

    1. Penny, I have a secret recipe for "steam"! And yes, that is our dear Dimity Doormouse, she plays an important role.

    2. Hi Jeri,
      You certainly do! The steam looks great.. I thought that was Dimity Doormouse! Oh I can't wait till this book is available.

      Thanks so much for your visit this evening and your encouraging words.. I am so touched.. The relief work on my side bar.. Wings of hope is my personal favorite also...

      Oh I have some good news about music! I was visiting Marcia at The shop around the corner, and she had MUSIC playing! I have not gone to check it out yet, but it is free and is with tumblrplayer.com I will look into that tomorrow. Just thought I would pass it on..

  9. Hi Jeri,

    I love the attention to detail in Mama bear making the jacket - so lovely.
    Wishing you all the best with getting your sweet illustrations finished.


  10. Dear Sweet Jeri ~ It is fascinating seeing one of your lovely books coming together with your beautiful artwork. I love your style and there is so much to see and enjoy in your books. You just can't see it all in one sitting. They are treasures to enjoy over and over no matter what our age. I know as I have two of them. I want to thank you so much for my latest about Bushky. I read it yesterday while we were having rain. Such a delightful tale that ended happily. Really sweet.

    Thank you for thinking of me.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  11. HEY WAIT A MINUTE! WHAT HAPPENED? I never saw this come up !! OH WAIT...I know what happened; when you first listed the post, I did see the new title on my blog roll, but when I came here, the post was NOT UP YET. So I made a mental note to come back but then forgot!

    As usual my dear one, your illustrations are proof of a dedication to detail and persistence. The result? A world of not only magic, but of true artistry filled with compassion and insight. AND YOU should have seen the HUGE squirrel in my yard yesterday and today. Yesterday, he had a HUGE baguette in his mouth. TOday? A hunk of Pita bread! Wooooo those rascals are living large and ARE LARGE!

    Thank you Jeri for visiting! The delivery was successful and with no tears! It is now in the window, and from what I hear, drawing a lot of attention. Ahhh.....the far and few between glories of being an artist, right?

    MUCH LOVE! Anita

  12. Jeri love ~
    James' soup a winner! Won't ask for calorie count....who's counting? Overjoyed that No.3 is wending its way to your awaiting
    fan club. Our Grands are poised on the brink of anticipation-
    realized and their Baba (moi)will be first on line to get HER copy
    at the little shop around the corner....then theirs.....Just over-joyed to see the progress being made....you are a wonder....Make
    it 9 instead of 10....
    Love and Blessings ~
    Our Mary

  13. Querida Jery que ilustrações linda!

    É incrível a riqueza dos detalhes. Deve ser maravilho colocar no papel isso tudo que está em sua imaginação, é maravilhoso!
    Vocé é demais! Além das ilustrações, dar vida através das cores a todos os detalhes.



    1. ¡Gracias! Es muy satisfactorio para imaginar una cosa, traducirla al papel, y luego permitir que otros lo ven .... para que ellos también pueda imaginar.

  14. Dear Cousin Jeri,

    Love your newly painted pages! We appreciate the time, effort and detail that your work shows! Your soup sounds delicious! We love Dimity taking tea with Mamsey Bear!

    Your cousins,
    Diane and daughter Sarah and Tillie Tinkham the seamstress mouse at the Corgyncombe Courant

  15. Dear Jeri - catching up on your art and enjoying every scene. You are dynamic - loving all those wonderful details. No wonder a page takes 9-10 days - cannot wait to see the finish. Take care my friend.

  16. Oh goodness, those drawings are wonderful. I haven't seen anything this pretty since Brambly Hedge. The fox's waistcoat is gorgeous. Now I want to sew a fox in a purple velveteen waistcoat! Thank you for your visit and thank you for including us in your work. It's always fascinating to see wht other people are doing.

  17. Your illustrations are amazingly detailed! I paint and draw..but I can't even imagine trying to do the detailed drawings you do. With last weeks weather, I imagine you completed a lot of work. Rain, rain, rain, rain and thunder snow! Enjoy visiting here so much and love your garden pics!

  18. I am so late here, dear Jeri...but I love to really take my time and SAVOR your posts, your words, your art...
    I have got to order your books, for my family as well as gifts....I don't know what has taken me so long. Your artistic style is one I would come back to time and time again...finding a new detail with every new viewing...
    Your work is what I would consider "classic"...timeless...genius.
    Bless you, talented friend!
    - Irina


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