I think this image is one of my faves. There’s just something nostalgic about it. Who wouldn’t want to go Christmas tree shopping in an old vehicle? And what surfer wouldn’t want a vintage woody to strap their board to?
Narragansett, RI is famous for its seawall. It wraps around 3.5 miles of breathtaking Atlantic coastline. It’s where us locals go to catch our first whiff of spring and where every tourist HAS TO take their selfie.
So, without great detail, my image hints at the seawall. I have a friend who grew up in Newport, RI and said the card reminded her of the seawall there which is great. It’s a universal nod to our entire region.
I’m reminded of the phrase “Salt in my Veins”. I live that. I love that. I have traveled to many regions and encountered many seas, but only in New England do I inhale this distinct smell of rotting seaweed, fish and salt. It is so pungent and so strong. I’ve not smelled it in the south, nor the west, nor any countries abroad. It is a North Atlantic smell.
It’s what brings me to the seawall.
It’s how I know I’m home.
This might sound weird, but I am pretty sure I could devote the rest of my life to painting seagulls and never tire. For one thing, they are fascinating and for another, they are hilarious. I think of them as the con-artists of the bird world.
Funny thing. My whole life I thought the male seagulls were white and the female seagulls were brownish-gray. Guess what? I was wrong! Brownish-gray seagulls are juveniles. They grow into their white feathers when they reach adulthood. Good thing I figured this out before I began illustrating ;)
There’s nothing like a good peck under the mistle toe ;)
They way I brainstorm on card concepts is to pick a theme and then write down the hundred things that come to mind. From there I pick six. Anyways, while I was brainstorming my family was sitting in the kitchen. I yelled out “Quick, what comes to mind when you hear Christmas in Rhode Island?” I got all sorts of blurts, but the funniest one was the exchange between my husband and son. They both looked at me and said “Forget a sleigh of reindeer, we want Lobsters!”
Seriously guys? Yes.
I guess not everyone has Lobster boats miles from their home. It’s a pretty unique and beautiful thing. Not to mention tasty if your into seafood!
Also nearby, is the Narragansett Light house.
Put them together and what do you get?
Christmas in Rhode Island.
Have you heard of a Quohog?
It’s pronounce ko-hog. It’s a Native American word for clams. When the English settlers came to America this was what they were taught and in our region, it has stuck. A quohog is a quohog.
Now can you guess what Rhode Island’s state bird is?
Yep. You guessed it. A chicken. The Rhode Island Red.
Rhode Islanduhs love their chickens!
Don’t even ask what I was thinking, but as the radio was playing the 12 days of Christmas, I kinda got this image in my head… and the rest is history.
Yeah, guess you kind of have to be local ;)
Where I live, there is a famous Victorian era building called The Narragansett Towers.
It’s right along one of our prettiest beaches so every Rhode Islander passes along its way at least once each summer.
I thought it would be fun to convert our landmark into a gingerbread house. If only we could eat it!
I’m wondering your thoughts on a card with a black background. Is it too menacing for the Christmas holiday? I keep flip-flopping on which to print; black, white or go back to the drawing board. ….hmm….. choices….
I’ve had a lot of fun designing Christmas cards that are very unique to where I live. They call Rhode Island “The Quirky State” and this is for so many reasons…
Here is a link to favorite foods, locations and traditions of Rhode Island: 48 Cool, Hidden, and Unusual Things to Do in Rhode Island This way, you will be able to understand why people might find my cards funny.
Some local faves are coffee milk and famous Allies Donuts. So here I have offered them up for Santa instead of those regular old cookies and milk.
In the next few days I will send images of each card in the series. I am also playing with different editing software to try to decide what I want the final cards to look like… Luckily I have plenty of time. I won’t be offering these until next year :)
I hope you are all enjoying the things that make your region special.
Tis’ the Season!
A few years ago I made a series of Christmas cards unique to where I live in Rhode Island.
Well, I’m at it again. Here are my sketches. I traced them with black ink and I’m about to start water coloring them.
Just in time for next years! ;)
Here is another blogger who speaks to my same challenges. I just love reminders that I’m not alone! Read on…. On Being a Full-Time Creative
Did you know that mountains look grayish-purple in the far distance? Do you know why?
I always knew to paint the objects in the far distance lighter and more purple/gray, but I don’t know that I ever invested in finding out the why. For my painting class, I scoured the internet and figured it out.
On a cloudy day, objects far away simply look lighter. This is because of all of the natural gasses and pollution in the atmosphere. However, on a sunny day with blue skies, the objects far away do indeed have a purplish cast. This is because the blue sky is actually reflected in the atmosphere and smog. Who knew?
So as a painter, keep this in mind: If your landscape is cloudy just make the distance lighter in value, but if there are blue skies in your landscape, make the scenery far away purplish and lighter.
Here’s the tutorials I dug up from the web to give to my students:
Here are the two demos from the project we did in class:
When working with watercolor, there is no white paint. You simply do not paint where you want something white. You use the white of the paper. This image with the mountains lighter in the distance as well as fog rolling through the hills is a wonderful opportunity to figure out how to use the white of your paper. The trick is a ton of water. You apply to the paper clean water and then you ever so slightly add some pigment and let it bleed through the area. If you put paint on one side of the water-soaked area it will be dark on that side, but on the opposite side, the plain water side, it will still be mostly white paper and water. This creates an ombre effect. A graduation from dark to light. There are so many instances to use this in watercolor. It’s agreat thing to know how to do.
When your out on the highway looking at a large expanse of land, check it out for yourself. The rule should hold true!