Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Note on Supporting the Arts:

Growing up with a fine artist father, I always thought of supporting the arts as some grand endeavor. I thought about it in a Pope/Michelangelo way. If you do too I want to change your mind!
Today we'll look to the kind of gifts you give.
I believe that as adults, birthdays mean more than they did as children. When you get older you get a gift.

On that note, let's turn our eyes to Etsy. Duh!
If you're not yet aware hosts the World's largest craft and arts community.

Today we'll set a budget, less than $20 and $5 shipping (be honest, that extra $5 is what you'd spend in traffic on gas on your way to any department store. Let's do it up right and take a look at some handmade work that you can order online and have delivered to your door. In my experience your purchase is usually accompanied by a happy thank-you note, a clean conscience and a VERY happy birthday girl or boy.

Sea Thrift - Oblong stained glass pendant - $16.00 by: Ling Glass

Organic Beauty- Art Nouveau Antiqued Brass Filigree Ring
- $18.50 by: Beadinbabe
Much like helping the environment by recycling your shampoo bottles and turning off the water while you're busy brushing your teeth, you can support the arts in small ways that really make a difference. Take some time to think about it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Zucchini is a Funny Word

I think it's the "kini" part. Hey! What about zucchini bambini?! Oh man. Genius.
OK I'm going to do some sketching and come back to this post later! Hehe.
Ok. I sketched some bambini so I can show you and continue this post.
My mom gave me this recipe over the phone last Summer. It is deliriously delicious. I am sharing it because she calls me to ask me what it is once a week. Since it's that time of year I thought you lovely blog stalkers might want to try it too. I originally wrote it on post-its and I keep worrying that perhaps I've thrown them out. Now I can! Take that paper clutter!

Amber: 1, Paper Clutter: 2,654,031

Zucchini Bambini Pancakes
(I just christened them that)
  • 3 medium zucchini - grated with a cheese grater
  • 3 eggs - beat
  • 1 small red or yellow onion - chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese - grated
  • 1/4 cup white flour (I say use whole wheat flour but then my mom shakes her head and asks who raised me)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Use a cheese cloth or a berry strainer to squeeze out any zucchini water (it's a technical term)
  2. In a large bowl mix zucchini into the eggs
  3. Add the onion and Parmesan cheese
  4. Stir allup like a pancake batter
  5. add flour and stir allup some more
  6. Heat olive oil in frying pan
  7. Add batter to oil in generous spoonfulls
  8. Flip and fry until perfection
  9. Let cool on paper towels
Serve over sliced Summer tomatoes (fresh from the garden are best) with a lovely Summer salad and homemade lemonade.Listening to right this second: "Just an Old Fashioned Girl" -- Eartha Kitt

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why So Sketchy?

My sketches fuel me. I sketch the way a drummer taps on the furniture - constantly. Sketching happens every day. Even the seemingly insignificant sketch can usually yield exciting end products. I can put a sketch down or pin it on my idea tree. When I pick it up in two months or two years time it will take me somewhere else entirely.

Here's one of the end projects from the retro sketches I posted earlier this week. Fun, huh?
I'd love to see this as a big over-sized pair of late-Fall pajamas
with chubby star buttons and arms that are a little too long.

All in due course my friends, all in due course.
Listening to right this second: "Back to the Start" -- Lily Allen

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hand Me Lemons

I have a hard time not drawing.
It's kind of what I'm meant to do. This lovely Sunday morning found me looking at this strainer of citrus on my kitchen table.
You know what that meant: lemonade.
Half way through squeezing these babies I abandoned them and reached for my watercolors. I know that old adage. I'm the exception. Hand me lemons and I'll make some surface design.
Incidentally, the lemonade was perfection. How anyone drinks this stuff from a carton I'll never know.

Summer+Homemade Lemonade+Sunday+Watercolors = Bliss

Listening to right this second: "Shut Up and Let Me Go!" -- The Ting Tings

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Note on Collecting:

As I watch my little collection of illustrated art grow, I am reminded of the woman who first inspired me to work harder at supporting my fellow illustrators.

I don't know if many of you know about the life work of Betsy Beinecke Shirley, but she was a phenomenal supporter of the arts. When I was in college I slowly started noticing her name as it popped here and there, once at the Field Museum in Chicago, At the Illustrator's Guild, Here and there at Children's Museums. After a lot of research I found that she had bequeathed her entire collection to Yale University. In all my She Sure is Sketchy nerdiness, nothing has ever said "road trip" so strongly. I can chart my art on a timeline pretty well and I have to tell you that after visiting Connecticut I hit a major run of prolific sketchiness. The pencils rarely hit my drafting table for a good month after I got back to Brooklyn. The collection is vast, awe inspiring and goosebump inducing.

Recently I stumbled on a book documenting her dedication to the arts.

Here's an excellent preview: Drawn to Enchant

It showcases artist's studies and original works spanning centuries of time. Among them are many of my influences, namely:

Hardie Gramatky
Maurice Sendak

Ludwig Bemelmans
among many, many more of the most prolific illustrators we've had the privilege to learn from.

The book is available from Amazon and it's a cheapy, considering what a wealth of inspiration it is.
You can buy it here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Amber Alvarez' Rules of Caution

Things I have learned, so you don't have to:
ROC#1: Don't kiss library books. It isn't sanitary.ROC#2: If you're going to wear pantyhose you're really going to have to shave.

ROC#3: If your date asks if you want some Coke, don't assume he's talking Cola. ROC#4: There are certain inappropriate things you shouldn't discuss with coworkers.You know the drill: No one's going to appreciate DUNE the way you appreciat DUNE.

ROC#5: If somebody asks you for a favor,
find out what it is before you say 'sure'.
ROC#6: Trix are for kids. I used to think those commercials were so mean! In the second grade I felt worse for the Trix rabbit than I did for my spelling tutor (pour kid) --I crack me up. Now I realize those commercials were a public service announcement for the over 19 set.

ROC#7: If you're a fish and he's a bird... best to swim away now, little fish, before someone gets hurt.**
**Exception: You're a girl and he's a vampire...
If that's the case,
throw all caution to the wind.

(please revisit ROC#1)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Retro Moment

Sometimes late at night, when my eyes water and I fight sleep I like to pull out old stuff.
My watery eyes make it look glam-fab and I have ideas about it I didn't have when I originally penned it.Tonight while streamlining my office I unearthed this old everything book - Circa 2007
These designs were all tossed aside as 'meh.' Something about them make me happy now though, two years later. So I'll develop them and use them to wow my clients.I also like going through my old everything books because they help me ready my answer when people ask me "Have you always been so cool?" After looking back at past me with future me eyes I can quickly answer,
--"Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!"
Now I'll turn these old sketches into current, hip, sassy, sexy, sweet bits of sought after design.But first to bed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009


It's my job to paint this big ol' lion
It's kind of tough but so satisfyin'I pulled out ink and watercolor
I hemmed and hawed
I made him yeller

and now his color
Is much less duller
His little trainer needs some work
She's got her hands full with the Cirque
She needs all the help she can get
Afterall, she works without a net
My artsy escapades are fun
But while I am close I am not yet done
Check back later in the week
When it is time for another peek

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Way I Roll...

So today was supposed to be serious Saturday:
I started off sober with some
bound-and-determined graphite and ink...I dug my heels in and moved into bitter tea-face portraits
done a block away at the BoCoCa Tea Lounge. Oops.... Little flower bud barnacles.... No. Serious. Be serious! Graphite. Ink. Sedate.
Ooh...colors! Colors can be serious! I'll just use some of this trusty Winsor ink in my paintbox...
Oops. That was a little deviation. Serious Saturday... I'll just refocus on faces. No biggie.

Four butterflies, one rabbit bum, and several barnacle buds later... all hell broke loose and I went back to my roots. Oh yeah, we're talking boats and daisies and fish and frogs and sugar and spice.

What can I say?
That's just the way I roll.


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