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Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Year with Beatrix Potter & Friends - January

Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix Potter

Since the beginning of the year I've been going through some of my artists' books and date books trying to decide which one I'd use this year to help me along my learning-to-draw journey.  It soon became "obvious" who it should be.  July 28, 2016 will be the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter's birth.  I've already planned to do a Take Joy Society get-together about her in April.  My story, Gabriel's Tale, devotes a chapter to Gabriel's journey through Near Sawrey where he encounters several of Beatrix Potter's characters, and since I'll need to be able to draw them for my story, my decision was made.  Each month I'll also share a tidbit about Beatrix as I go through my extensive stack of books about her and by her.

The following is the live-action introduction of the animated series, The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends. . . .


                      

Wouldn't it be wonderful if they'd do a totally live-action series on Beatrix Potter!  But we do have "Miss Potter."  I hope you've seen this movie. . . .


                      

Here is the opening scene. . . .

                      
I will use this little video to inspire me to paint as she did.

Following Beatrix's painting above I sketched my drawing with pencil directly onto the watercolor paper. . . .

It was helpful that I found Beatrix's painting on-line.  This allowed me to zoom in on the details in her drawing.  I think this will help my "eye" learn to focus more on the mechanics of drawing and not be overwhelmed by the overall picture.

Then I used watercolor pencils at first, but switched to the paint box watercolor because it gave me better control.  I will be the first to say that my watercolor does not pass for a Beatrix Potter watercolor!  And I still need work on getting proportions right!  But today's attempt has brought me to the point of being ready to take lessons.   I feel confident that a teacher has something to work with now. . . .

Note:  I came back another day when I had natural light instead of artificial light to photograph my watercolor.  Now it looks like what I actually painted. . . .

Each month we will follow Miss Jemima Puddle-Duck on her walk through the Lake District using this book. . . .
You can get a look inside this book HERE.  

Along the way we'll stop and visit with the characters we meet on our walk from Beatrix's books.  But first, let me introduce you to Jemima in The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck. . . .
                        

As you saw, Jemima can be a bit scatterbrained, so I will be providing directions we can follow so that we don't get lost along the way!

Until next month. . . .


.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!


30 comments:

  1. This is delightful!! You are doing so well!!
    Blessings and warmth, XX OO Linnie

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    1. Thank you, Linnie. I figured all my readers would enjoy anything Beatrix Potter!

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  2. Well, Cathy, you have chosen my all time favorite...the one and only Beatrix Potter!!
    She stirs up very emotional feelings in me! ♥

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  3. It's a beautiful watercolor you have done! I love Beatrix Potter too as does my little grandson. He loves to watch the videos and I like to read to him the various adventures of all the characters. I hope you will share more of your story with Beatrix Potter. Pat xx

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    1. Thank you, Pat. I look forward to sharing Beatrix Potter with my granddaughter when she gets a little older. For now, I will share with you all!

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  4. I have so many lovely memories of her books. My children were enchanted with her books and we would look at them on a daily basis. Looking forward to your series.

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  5. Hoorah! I've been a follower of Beatrix Potter for going on 70 years. I've recently been rereading "The Fairy Caravan" which gives Potters personal tour of Near Sawrey and Hilltop Farm. Lears "A life in Nature" and Lindners Journals are must reads too. And of course scholar and author Susan Wittig Albert's "Tales" series is enchanting. Thanks so much for the little videos; I especially enjoyed the close-ups of Jemima Puddleduck. Looking forward to this next year:)

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    1. You know, Erin, I have The Fairy Caravan but have not read it! I will do so today. And I have Lear's book as well and have not read it. I hope to rectify that, too, this year as I focus on all things Beatrix Potter. I have read most of Albert's Cottage Tales, but didn't really care for the animal stories, which is strange because that's what I write! I think what I didn't care for was the switching back and forth. Perhaps I'll give those another try as well and finish out her series.

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  6. I can say ditto to Martha Ellen. A favorite read to my kids; favorite baby gift, and I have quite a collection in a specially made portable book shelf. I look forward to this series and to watch your drawings develop. You are gifted!

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    1. Thank you, Dotsie. I can tell I'm in a different place in that I want to redo that painting and make it better. I already redrew Jemima in my journal this morning and she looks so much herself today. Maybe I can blame yesterday on my cold (and my obsessiveness to give my post posted!)

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  7. I am always so impressed with your drawings, Cathy! This one is adorable, and I can't wait to see more of your Beatrix Potter efforts.

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  8. Cathy, I think you are going to be smack-dab in the middle of YOUR element with Beatrix Potter and am looking forward to these future posts. BP is the best! You know, I think "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" MIGHT just be the first book I ever "read." I can totally remember loving the little pictures and trying to figure out what the story was from them - and then of course having it read to me was heaven. And feeling very bad for Peter who was not able to enjoy bread, milk and blackberries for supper with his brothers and sisters. Boo-hoo! I bet this should make for lots of fun for you and Olivia to share together too! Does she have her own Beatrix Potter collection yet? If not, I bet Grandmommy is starting one for her! PS - LOVE the new font here - so easy to read.

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    1. Thank you for saying that, Janet--that you think I'm in my "element" with Beatrix Potter. It really is where my heart is because "Gabriel's Tale" is my own little "Peter Rabbit" tale in a way. For Christmas I gave Olivia a Peter Rabbit board book--a large one--that she can enjoy until she learns not to rip the pages! I also gave her a small bookcase for her room that I had in her father's playroom so she can hold all the books I've been giving her. So we're set there.

      I thought of you when I changed the font. ☺︎ I hoped you'd like this new one since you'd remarked that you liked the old one. I was ready for a change but was concerned that reading in all caps would bother someone. I love the look of it, especially in the sidebar, but Blogger won't let me choose a different one for the posts...so I hope this works for everyone because I intend to leave it this way---at least for a while! I know, though, how I feel when I encounter other Blogs whose type is difficult to read because it's either too small (same goes for photos), or too fussy. It takes away from my enjoyment of reading what they have to say.

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    2. I know what you mean - some all-cap fonts can be quite difficult to read. But this one is very clean and clear. LOVE IT. I'm a bit of a font freak myself. Years ago, I took an intro to design - art foundations type course at my university when I first began working there, just because I wanted to learn what really good design was, and liked it so much I went on to take a few more. This was just when the Internet, new media etc was coming on the scene, so I ended up choosing graphic design classes for the most part. Thoroughly enjoyed them all, and they were incredibly helpful for me with my calligraphy - but since then I've found myself examining every detail I see in print and online. And thinking "Oh, I'd have done this, or this setting is great... or this color is wrong..." Or whatever - "critics corner." LOL! PS - to make matters worse, after that, I took an intro to architecture course. And have never looked at any building with the same unconcerned interest I once did. I'm always critiquing structures of all kinds. Even ancient barns out in the country on my drives. It's like a curse, I can't stop. "This would be better if they'd done X..." etc. I have an architect friend in Dallas who says this is quite normal for architects - they ALL do it all the time. And he identified with my term, "the curse." He can't stop either. He tells me his wife puts up with his comments but he really knows she'd like to be able to go on one vacation without getting his own version of "Critics' Corner." LOL.

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  9. Cathy, I forgot to mention in my comment above a book you might be interested in. It's called The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District. It's written by a present day shepherd who lives in the same area where Beatrix Potter had her home. He mentions her several times in the book, although the references are to do with sheep and not her books and art work. (One word of caution about the book though. If you don't like spicy language you might want to give it a pass.) Also, he's just come out with a new book called The Illustrated Hardwick Shepherd, which is filled with wonderful pictures. And if you want a sampling of him you can check out @herdyshepherd1 on Instagram and Twitter. Here's the link to the first book on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Shepherds-Life-Tale-Lake-District/dp/1846148545/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1452270385&sr=8-2&keywords=the+herdwick+shepherd

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    1. Thanks, Kristie. I'll check in to it.

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  10. Thanks for posting the video links, Cathy, I enjoyed them. It is going to be wonderful watching your gift continue to develop this coming year.

    I don't know if you would enjoy this series but I have read several of The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter books written by Susan Wittig Albert.

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    1. Hi Elaine. I read the first 4 or 5 books in the series (I talk about it in an above comment of why I stopped reading it).

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    2. I did miss that comment. It has been a while since I read any of the books. What I remember most about them was how the author gave the animals identities, rather like Beatrix, I thought. I didn't really need the people!

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  11. I love your choice for this year too and your first painting. When I was a child I loved looking through my Beatrix Potter books. She visited Dorset on holiday see this
    link.http://lymeregismuseum.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/beatrix-potter-in-lyme-regis.html
    Sarah x

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    1. Thank you for the link, Sarah. I'm collecting as much information as I can on her to share with everyone.

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  12. It probably goes without saying that Beatrix Potter has hugely influenced by storybook art, although my work is very different from hers. What I have always loved about her watercolors are the emotion they evoke in me, her work is timeless as is her honest and witty storytelling. One of the best Beatrix Potter biographies was done in the 1980's called "A tale of Beatrix Potter". I just could not accept Renee Z as Beatrix, even though the movie Miss Potter was filmed so beautifully.You are doing well in your interpretation of her work.

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    1. Thank you, Jeri. I'm finally going to take a watercolor class starting in March now that I feel I CAN draw something that people can recognize as an object. ☺︎ I agree with you about Renee Z not being the best choice, but I don't know who would have been of the actresses I'm familiar with. Did you have someone in mind? But I agree the film itself was beautiful. What I really love, though, is the live action clips for the animated series. I'd love it to be a full movie.

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    2. Cathy, i think the actress that plays her in the little film clips would have been the best, she is not well known, she is British, and she feels more like Beatrix Potter to me. That is GREAT that you are taking a watercolor class, it will be of great help to you in choosing the proper tools, paints, paper and learning the basics. From there, you can take off in your own direction and develop you own look and style. I have in front of me today, the large volume "Beatrix Potter, The Complete Tales". I often refer to her work when painting, it inspires me so much. I am painting a cat today and her illustrations of Ribby just make me smile from ear to ear!

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    3. That is exactly what I'm hoping a class will do for me.

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  13. How wonderful to see your beautiful post.
    We finally have a new laptop so I am back online properly, there is only so much you can do on a phone.
    I adore Beatrix Potter and so do the twins.We love to go to her beloved lake District & Hilltop.
    Your painting is beautiful, so glad to be back.
    Fondly Michelle

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. I've lots of books about Beatrix and have been reading them. I've been practicing drawing her characters, so will be eager to paint them each month. I'm glad to hear you have a new laptop so we can once again read your posts.

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