Art for Inspiration: A Stroll in the Park by William James Glackens

“A Stroll in the Park," c1915
by William James Glackens (1870-1938)

“I dressed and went for a walk - determined not to return until I took in what Nature had to offer.”
Raymond Carver, This Morning

“If you seek creative ideas go walking.
Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.”
Raymond I. Myers

“[Walking] is the perfect way of moving if you want to see into the life of things. It is the one way of freedom. If you go to a place on anything but your own feet you are taken there too fast, and miss a thousand delicate joys that were waiting for you by the wayside.”
Elizabeth von Arnim, The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rügen

Free Illustrated Template with Old Paper Texture for Walk / Hiking Journal or Travel Notes - 1

I might walk vast expanses of earth and
always be beginning and I love beginning
or could learn to love it.
S. Jane Sloat

A walk journal (or travel diary) template on old paper texture with an illustration of two Victorian ladies, one of whom is carrying a parasol. You can download the high-res 11" x 8.5" @ 300 ppi JPEG here.

Creative Commons Licence
All digital scans by are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Please cite as your source when using this work and/or provide a link back to this page.

Art Appreciation: A Walk in the Pumpkin Patch with M. Evelyn McCormick

In keeping with the harvest season, I decided to feature a couple of M. Evelyn McCormick's paintings with pumpkins. Evelyn McCormick was an American Impressionist painter who lived and worked around San Francisco and Monterey, California at the turn of the 20th century. This intrepid Bohemian travelled to Paris, France in the 1880s to be with her lover, Guy Rose, also a painter. They both spent much time painting in the village of Giverny where they were influenced by the great Claude Monet.

Mary Evelyn McCormick (December 2, 1862 – May 6, 1948)

This look at a corner of "A Garden in Giverny" made me think of the pumpkins we once tried to grow in our community garden plot - lots of aggressive leaves and vines but not-so-spectacular pumpkins. There is a charming air of country derelict in this overgrown garden with its tumbledown walls, a dying tree, and all sorts of interesting vegetation rooting everywhere. It feels like the kind of spot that a child might think of hiding in when playing hide-and-seek.

"A Garden in Giverny," 1891

Almost 20 years later, back in California, McCormick painted this patch of pumpkins growing on a slope above a pond or stream in the Carmel Valley. The setting under an open sky, wide swaths of greenery and almost-still water feels more expansive than the semi-enclosed, intimate space of the first garden scene. The second image is also a more formal rendering of a landscape, evocative of a prosperous farm, with its lush, neat fields and convenient footpaths. There is almost a sense that perhaps McCormick is trying to convey the idea of an agrarian idyll for her viewers.

"Carmel Valley Pumpkins," c1907

I confess that I'm drawn to the first painting more, despite the rough state of the garden. The atmosphere is relaxed; you don't have to worry about weeding or planning neat borders. You can graze on a berry or a bean should you come across one, and you can pick a couple of pumpkins to tide you over winter. What about you? How do you feel when you look at the paintings? Do they evoke memories for you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

© 2018 All rights reserved.

Digital Ephemera for Crafts, Collage, Scrapbooking or Card Making: The Snake and the Hummingbird (Natural History, Instant Download)

Perhaps it takes courage to raise children..
John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Behind all your stories is always your mother's story. Because hers is where yours begin.
Mitch Albom, For One More Day

Antique engraving originally published in December 1878. This illustration shows a mother hummingbird fiercely defending her nest against a snake who is hoping to feast on her helpless baby. Can this battle end happily for the avian family? You can download this free high-res 8" x 8" @ 300 ppi JPEG without a watermark for crafts, collage, scrapbooking or graphic design projects here.

Creative Commons Licence
All digital scans by are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Where possible, please cite as your source when using this work and/or provide a link back to this page.

Art Appreciation: Celebrating Fall Colour with Franz Bischoff

"Autumn Moods" by Franz Arthur Bischoff (1864 - 1929)

Franz Bischoff was born in Austria but immigrated to the United States in 1882. Trained in ceramic decoration as a boy, he continued to further his career in porcelain painting in his new homeland. He became well-known as a leading teacher of the craft, founding the Bischoff School of Ceramic Art in Detroit and in New York City, and as a master ceramicist who manufactured many of his own glazes.

Vase decorated by Bischoff (acclaimed as "King of the Rose Painters")

He decided to settle in California in 1906, ultimately building and completing a landmark studio home at 320 Pasadena Avenue in 1908. A description of the home says: "The building was poured of solid concrete and was one-and-a half stories high. It was designed in the Renaissance style, with an imposing entry through massive oak doors with stained glass panels. The doorway was set beneath a classical pedimented portico, supported by two columns. The interior was divided between a large gallery, a studio and a complete ceramic workshop in the basement.

The gallery measured 36 feet by 40 feet. It had high, concave ceilings lighted by several half-circle skylights. The floors were of solid oak covered by old Turkish rugs and polar bear skins. All interior doors and paneling were of natural redwood in the Gothic style. The furniture was of massive oak in the Mission style. At the west end of the gallery was a huge tile-covered fireplace. The wall space throughout was covered with paintings of flowers and landscapes, and in one corner were several oak display cases containing examples of Bischoff's painted ceramics.

The painting studio had a large picture window that overlooked the Arroyo Seco, with a wide vista of the distant mountains. The studio furniture consisted of an easel, several easy chairs and low divans, all of Flemish oak."

"The Arroyo Seco, Pasadena," c1918 by Franz Bischoff
- a possible view from his studio window?

In 1912, Bischoff went on an extended tour of Europe where he studied the works of the Old Masters and the Impressionists. On his return to California, Bischoff turned to landscape painting and gradually abandoned porcelain decoration (Source: The Irvine Museum).

Although I've categorized Bischoff's works under Impressionism, I think they more accurately fall somewhere in between Impressionism and Fauvism, particularly his later works (c1920s) which show very strong, vivid colours. His background in design comes through his compositions - look how his landscapes follow clearly the rules of linear perspective, and he seems to have retained quite a bit of art nouveau graphical influence in his stylized renderings of landscape elements such as trees, rocks and mountains. This unique treatment, in addition to his use of jewel-like colour blocks, makes me feel like I'm looking st a Tiffany stained glass window.

Autumn landscape window from Tiffany Studios (1902 - 1932),
design attributed to Agnes F. Northrop (1857 - 1953) (Source: The Met)

Finally, I am closing the post with two Bischoff paintings of fall's most popular flowers - the quintessential chrysanthemums!

"Chrysanthemums" by Franz Bischoff

"Spider Mums" by Franz Bischoff

Aren't these warm colours lovely? I hope you have the opportunity of using these golden hues in your fall decorating to stave off the encroaching cooler temperatures. Pretty soon, possibly after Halloween, I'll be filling up the house and front yard with more blue-greens and reds as we head into the Christmas season but it is really nice to savour the yellows, oranges, and golds while summer is still fresh in our minds.

© 2018 All rights reserved.

Antique Printable Illustration for DIY Wall Art, Scrapbooking or Graphic Design: Elegant Lady in the Garden 1

There are times when we stop, we sit still.
We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.
James Carroll

First-generation digital scan of a black and white engraving from August 3, 1873. The illustration shows a fashionable Victorian woman sitting on her terrace, enjoying the fresh air under the protection of her parasol. Surrounding her is lush summer greenery, growing with wild abandon. The outfit was supplied by Mme. Fladry, located at rue Richelieu, 43 in Paris. You can download the 6.25" x 9" @ 300 ppi JPEG for crafts, collage, scrapbooking or card making here.

Creative Commons Licence
All digital scans by are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Where possible, please cite as your source when using this work and/or provide a link back to this page.

Art for Inspiration: She Loves Butter by Arthur Drummond

“She Loves Butter," 1895
by Arthur Drummond (1871 - 1957)

My world was very limited in size and experience. Small things took on extra importance, at least to a child.
Dan Groat, An Enigmatic Escape: A Trilogy

I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.
George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Art for Inspiration: A Rooftop with Flowers by Joaquín Sorolla

"A Rooftop with Flowers," 1906
by Joaquín Sorolla (1863 – 1923)

Every time I imagine a garden in an architectural setting,
it turns into a magical place.
I think of gardens I have seen,
that I believe I have seen, that I long to see,
surrounded by simple walls, columns, arcades or the facades of buildings -
sheltered places of great intimacy where I want to stay for a long time.
Peter Zumthor

Perhaps love is like a resting place, a shelter from the storm.
It exists to give you comfort, it is there to keep you warm,
and in those times of trouble when you are most alone,
the memory of love will bring you home.
John Denver

Preserve that
secret, homey spot
in your heart,
as sanctuary
where dreams may be softly tended,
and revived.
Tara Estacaan

Vintage Flower Illustrations for Art Making, Scrapbooking or Graphic Design: Botanical Forms 1

Sometimes I wish I could photosynthesize so that just by being,
just by shimmering at the meadow's edge or floating lazily on a pond,
I could be doing the work of the world while standing silent in the sun.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom,
Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

Botanical illustrations from an antique encyclopedia. Among the plants shown are Philadelphus coronarius (sweet mock-orange or English dogwood), a stonecrop, sickle-shaped Mesembryanthemum and a New Holland pitcher plant. You could team the entire sheet with an old paper texture (or overlay several textures for an even more interesting effect) and frame as DIY wall art, or use each flower graphic separately to accent scrapbooking or graphic design projects. You can download the high-res 10" x 10.5" @ 300 ppi JPEG without a watermark here.

Creative Commons Licence
All digital scans by are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Where possible, please cite as your source when using this work and/or provide a link back to this page.

Art for Inspiration: Mercie Cutting Flowers by Edmund Charles Tarbell

"Mercie Cutting Flowers," 1912
by Edmund Charles Tarbell (1862 - 1938)

“In joy or sadness flowers are our constant friends.”
Kakuzō Okakura, The Book Of Tea

“I read somewhere once that souls were like flowers,' said Priscilla.
'Then your soul is a golden narcissus,' said Anne, 'and Diana's is like a red, red rose. Jane's is an apple blossom, pink and wholesome and sweet.'
'And our own is a white violet, with purple streaks in its heart,' finished Priscilla.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

Happiness held is the seed; Happiness shared is the flower.
John Harrigan

Free Vintage Flower Clipart for Crafts, Scrapooking or Card Making: Charming Castle by a Lake Surrounded by Wreath of Roses

Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.
Elinor Glyn

A vintage graphic from an early 20th century postcard in my collection. This one shows a pen and ink drawing of a fairytale castle by a lake, enclosed within a wreath of roses. Isn't it such a marvelously romantic picture for a wedding or engagement card? You can download this free illustration as a 6” x 6” @ 300 ppi JPEG (without a watermark) for crafts, scrapbooking and other graphic design projects here.

Creative Commons Licence
All digital scans by are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Where possible, please cite as your source when using this work and/or provide a link back to this page.