Tag Archives: art

Happy National Coloring Book Day

2 Aug

National Coloring Book Day has me reflecting on myself as an artist.


In first grade, I drew a picture of horse.

It was the best picture I’d ever drawn and I knew it. It LOOKED like a horse. I was  so proud of it that I took it up to my teacher, whom I loved.

She looked at it and said, “Oh Adrienne, you always rush our work.”  I was crushed.

I was never much of an artist and struggled with coloring in the lines. I joke now that I can’t draw a flower, but I can write a really great poem about one. I pulled out my first grade report cards to see if I was misremembering things and I laughed out loud.

Fall: “Adrienne has good ideas in art but has trouble expressing them.”  and “She is able to use a primary dictionary and enjoys writing one and two sentence stories using her dictionary.”

Winter: “Adrienne tends to be in too much of a hurry to complete her pictures.”  But also, “She enjoys writing short stories especially about her family and friends.”

Spring:” Adrienne’s pictures are still not complete as she does not take enough time. She would much rather write a story than draw.”

The Jesuit saying, “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man” was the basis for the Up series of movies. I guess it is applicable to me as writer and artist, too.


Mixed Media

28 Sep

I love finding really good books about art. Herve Tullet is back with fantastic follow-up to Press Here called


Just as the title suggests, readers are asked to mix up colors, sometimes in very fun ways, such as closing the book and pressing two colors together


or placing your hand on the page and making colors disappear.


Although intended for young readers, not so young readers will also find the book just as fun.

On a more serious note, Emily’s Blue Period, by Cathleen Daly, is about Pablo Picasso and changing family dynamics.


Emily is very crafty and interested in art, especially Pablo Picasso, but when her dad moves out, her life is as mixed up as some of Picasso’s cubist paintings.


“When Picasso was sad for a while,” says Emily, “he only painted in blue. And now I am in my blue period.”

 The book is written in short chapters and  addresses the different stages Emily goes through. When her art teachers assigns a project in which students have to collage what “home” means to them, Emily breaks free of her blues.

Lisa Brown’s illustrations for this book is light and friendly, despite the heaviness of the topics.  An excellent book all around.

The Art of Kadir Nelson

13 Oct


I kind of know now what it is like to meet me for the first time. When Kadir Nelson walked up to the registration table yesterday I gave him my usual cheery greeting. He was very nice, but quiet and reserves. Just like I am in new situations with strangers.  People who know me don’t often remember how quiet I was when they first met me. I was an extremely shy child and it had taken me years to become more outgoing. The desire to change came from within, and that was a lot of what Kadir talked about last night.

He told us about his beginnings as a 3-year-old artist. He took us through his middle and high school years. And he talked about the people who really taught him and influenced him, like the English teacher that wasn’t going to give him a B just because he played basketball. But do you know what Kadir did? He took the initiative to g up tho that teach rand ask her to help him get better.

He talked a lot about perseverance, about doing the work so that, when an opportunity presents itself, you are ready to take it. He talked about finding your way home and the power of beauty to overcome negativity.

It was a great way to end a great conference!

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