Winter Cozies (Sketchbook Pages)

Do you know what I love? Kids in snowsuits. They’re so puffy and cumbersome and adorable! I can’t help but smile when I see them.

Ink and watercolor illustration of kids playing in snow by Jacque Oman Clinton

(ink and watercolor)

You’ll find lots of wintery things in my sketchbook, these days. It’s been a rainy month here in MA, but I’m sure it’s snowing SOMEWHERE…right?

ink and watercolor drawing of musk oxen from the sketchbook of Jacque Oman Clinton

ink and watercolor musk oxen

page from the sketchbook of Jacque Oman Clinton

chicken scratch and snowsuit people

ink and watercolor illustration/drawing of slippers by jacque oman clinton

slippers – ink and watercolor

There you are, some happy cozy things. ‘Cause that’s what January is all about, friends!

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“Sarge”: Custom Illustrated Dog Book in PRINT! + A Quote for New Years

And so a new year has begun. Before I get carried away sharing my new projects that are already in full swing, I figured I better show you the things I was working on in December, first.

Perhaps you remember the book I said I was working on — the illustrated story about Sarge the farm dog? Here’s how it turned out!

custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton

cover

custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton

first pages

custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton about a farmer and his dog

random middle pages

custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton about a farmer and his dog

more random middle pages

custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton about a farmer and his dog

more random middle pages

custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton about a farmer and his dog

last pages

I used blurb.com for the printing, and I’m really happy with how it turned out! Their design software is easy to use and the website is informative, helpful, and full of options. (I highly recommend them if you’re ever looking to self-publish or print-on-demand). Best of all, I can order more copies whenever I want (so if you’re interested in buying one (or commissioning your own personalized book), let me know!).

EDIT: Enough people expressed interest in buying the book that I’ve put it up for sale here: http://www.blurb.com/b/7576769-sarge

Then there was this watercolor portrait I was asked to do:Commissioned Wedding portrait painted in watercolor by Jacque Oman Clinton

The above projects, plus a few orders for prints on Etsy, kept me plenty busy right up until Christmas. Then I spent the holiday week celebrating with family, relaxing with my husband, and enjoying the well-earned freedom of not needing to be “productive” (all while trying to recover from a germ that just WON’T go away). There was some re-watching of the Lord of the Rings, and a wee bit of jigsaw puzzle-ing, but mostly, there was the glorious luxury of sitting around in sweatpants, watching birds at the feeder, and doodling freely in my sketchbook for no purpose other than the sheer joy of it. Sigh…it was great.

bird blob doodle from sketchbook of Jacque Oman Clinton

bird blobs from sketchbook

And now I shall conclude with a bit of insight I picked up from author Anne Lamott in her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Though specifically aimed at writers, the following quote is helpful to all of us who are…you know…trying to live a life. May it give you the courage to face a new year and the many unknowns that lie ahead:

“E.L. Doctorow once said that ‘writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice about writing, or life, I have ever heard.”

Nice, right? Whatever you may hope to accomplish in 2017, just remember…you don’t have to have it ALL planned out. Sometimes you just have to point yourself in the right direction and start moving, one day — one step — at a time.

So buckle up! 2017, here we come!custom made illustrated story book by Jacque Oman Clinton about a farmer and his dog

 

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To be an unassuming chronicler of life

Artists — be they writers, photographers, painters, musicians, or other – have different goals and reasons for why they create. Some claim their craft is a way of bringing fantasy to life, or of probing the subconscious.  Others say they make art to express specific ideas, to explore certain topics, or to give a voice to the voiceless. Some want to make the world a more beautiful place. And many don’t know why they create, they just know that “they must”.

I’ve slowly been making my way through the book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In it, I came across some words about the poet Mark Strand that really hit home for me.

“Patiently watching and listening to events unfolding around him, alternating between passionate involvement and sardonic detachment, [Strand] has found the pattern that best fits the predilections of his consciousness: to be an unassuming yet precise chronicler of life.”

“His craft” Mikkahily says “is to express in arresting and accurate language what he has learned from witnessing life”.

“Some artists get so involved in their creations that they lose their appetite for raw experience, but Strand welcomes ordinary life—puttering in the yard, having meals with the family, going on hikes, lecturing, even shopping.”

After all, “…the enterprise of writing makes sense only within the context of a broader, more mundane reality.”

Ah, to be a chronicler of life. Yes. That’s what it is.

Mundane, patterned, repetitive, unpredictable, beautiful, heartbreaking, changing, simple, complex, amazing life. I want to draw it all. Every day, forever.

Fall Walking - Crunching on Leaves

An old fall-y watercolor and ink illustration from my Illustration Friday days. It reminds me of back-to-school. Fall — such a poignant season of life!

In a field

I am the absence

of field.

This is

always the case.

Wherever I am

I am what is missing.

 

When I walk

I part the air

and always

the air moves in

to fill the spaces

where my body’s been.

 

We all have reasons

for moving.

I move

to keep things whole.

– Mark Strand (Keeping Things Whole)

 

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Portrait of the Mind in Winter

In an attempt to make light of my tiredness in winter, I illustrated some of the mundane thoughts that play on repeat through my half-hibernating mind each day.Portrait of the Mind in WinterMostly, though, I think this speaks for itself.

 

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Commissioned Painting: An Afternoon at the Lake…with Dog.

This is what I spent most of November and December on (when I wasn’t baking or eating cookies…)Luna at Lake George It was a commissioned piece based off of a photograph taken at Lake George. I painted it in acrylic. (This photo isn’t the best, but you get the idea.)

January has been off to a good start — I’m pretty excited about a watercolor and ink project I started this week. Wont you be surprised to know it involves more twigs and berries. Stay tuned.

Ok, bye.

 

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The Halloween Post

For the last few weeks, I’ve been busy working on several new commissions (Christmas is coming before you know it – this time of year starts to get BUSY!) but I’ve still got a few Halloween-y doodles to share with you. Scribbling out pictures like these helps me stay balanced and awake while I’m working on projects for other people. The change of pace keeps me from turning into a robot and keeps my mind flexible. And it gives me a few minutes to take a break from the “serious” stuff to play! (Don’t get me wrong – I’m having a blast working on the commissioned projects! But it’s still nice to take a few minutes, each day, and make something spontaneous).

You may have seen these earlier this week on Tumblr, Twitter, or Instagram.
Cat, Quilt, Spider

Sketchbook Therapy: Fall DoodleFall Tree DoodleFall Town DoodleFall Playing Cards

In addition, I feel the need to re-post these 3 gems from previous Halloweens. I mean, watching kids having fun is really what makes Halloween special, right? Who doesn’t love a good dose of nostalgia? Thank goodness we still live in a world where, once a year, it’s perfectly acceptable to fill an entire pillowcase with candy from strangers 🙂

James the DragonCreatureNaomi Butterfly

 

Hope you have a Happy Halloween!

 

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Pumpkin Patch Illustration

I haven’t had a chance to go pumpkin picking this year. But that’s okay, because I have this, which I made a while back…Pumpkin Patch Illustration

Looking at it makes me FEEL like I’m at the pumpkin patch. Until I get out there to do it for real, escaping into this picture does the trick.

After all, one of the reasons I got into illustrating in the first place was for the fantasy fulfillment it provides. Illustrating is a way of making life the way I want it to be and to explore the things I’m curious about. I can draw the world however I want it! Go wherever I please! Try whatever activities I might not actually be able to do in real life (like ride a gondola in the Alps with a hedgehog wearing a sweater)! I may not have the time to sew an entire quilt, or buy a chameleon and carry him around on my shoulder, or make enough pickles to fill an entire root cellar (shall I continue?) — but I can draw these things, and that makes life feel unlimited, in a way. Illustration gives me the power to create whatever dream world I want to visit and to have the adventures I can’t have in real life. Oculus rift? Ha! I already have access to virtual reality: I can draw! (*not bashing the Rift or anything…it’ll probably be amazing, as long as it doesn’t give me motion sickness…)

This pumpkin patch, with the crows and the kid in the blue sweater, is one of my favorite illustrations that I’ve made. It just…makes me feel good. Sometimes, that’s what art should be for.

(Prints are available at both Etsy and Society 6).

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Commissioned Watercolor Painting: In Honor of Dad and Dog

Recently, I was approached by a client with a particularly heart-felt request. Her husband had just lost his father and his beloved dog within a short time frame. She asked if I would create a piece that featured the two loved ones in an atmosphere suggestive of heaven, to remind her husband that his Dad and dear dog, Lillie, were there waiting for him, peaceful and together.

I was honored to be given such a commission. It’s projects like this that are the most rewarding: projects where I am given the opportunity to make things that touch people in meaningful and personal ways — ways that go beyond words and speak straight to the heart. It felt so uniting, so wonderfully human, to be able to reach out to someone in this way. It was also a very powerful experience to be entrusted to pay homage to two clearly respected and beloved individuals. Even though I did not know them, I inevitably felt like I was connected to them. Working on this piece, I was filled with gratitude for the positive influence they clearly had on their family, and how that influence had spread to me as well, giving me the chance to do meaningful work. It was another one of those awe inspiring experiences that shows how much one life affects many others. Here we all are, moving through life, creating ripples and currents along the way, whether we know it or not, and (I know, I know, I conclude with this all the time): that is a beautiful thing.

Lil&Dad_Blog

And here it is, matted and framed:

Lil&Dad_Framed_Blog

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Illustration Friday: Spark

The theme for Illustration Friday this week is “Spark.”

First I thought I’d draw the sparks that (I imagine) will one day explode out of the tangles of electrical cords that fill our apartment. But then I decided not to tempt fate and ended up making something a little less ominous.

So instead of exploding homes, here’s an illustration of an exploding heart. You know, like sparks flying during love at first sight!

IllustrationFriday_Spark

 

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