The Swan Keeper

 

The Swan Keeper

The Swan Keeper by Cindy Adelle Richard

Yuuma, the swan keeper, is known for breeding swans of an unusual size. She is currently the keeper of a family of swans with a female (Pixie), male (Beau), and two babies (Bobby and Lucky). Yuuma works at the bird sanctuary, and her lake and cottage are attached to it via a bridge. She is good friends with Birdie, the manager of the bird sanctuary. One of their favorite pastimes is taking long, quiet strolls through the sanctuary together while sipping tea and discussing the birds. Yuuma is also a ballerina for the local ballet company. She is obsessed with Swan Lake, and spends countless hours creating variations of it during her spare time. She creates one new interpretation each year and stages one grand performance for the citizens of the Isle of Adelle. They look forward to it all year because her productions are truly spectacular to behold. They all admire her wonderful talent, quiet tenacity, and gentle perfectionism.

This poem was created in Yuuma’s honor:

Stillness

White feathers flow

yoked to a graceful form

drift slowly by.

To bring Yuuma and her swans home with you, please visit my Etsy shop.

Nora’s Stitches

Nora's Stitches

Nora’s Stitches by Cindy Adelle Richard

Nora is an exceptional seamstress that Adelle recruited to join the art colony some years back. Nora said she would come on one condition – her home and shop needed to have an unobstructed view of the sea, and Adelle granted her wish. Unlike the hustle and bustle of Paris, Nora loves hearing the gentle swaying of the waves and seeing the boats headed to wondrous destinations. She likes imagining the places they might be headed, and her imaginings often make their way into her creations in subtle ways. For example, this yellow dress for Marigold, a perky harpist who has a flair for the dramatic, came about because Nora imagined that she was attending a night out at the opera in Venice. The gloves became a necessity because what Diva wears a dress without gloves.

People often say that Nora’s creations fit like a dream. She takes great pleasure in seeing her customers try on their outfits for the first time – when they swing, sway, and sashay in front of the mirror while professing their love for her clothing. Could there be anything better? Nora doesn’t think so.

One of her satisfied customers created this poem to honor her:

Satin Gloves

Shaping a fabric’s fate

her needle mimics the waves

making golden gloves sing.

This painting, Nora’s Stitches, is available as an original and prints via Etsy

Flora and Feathers

Flora and Feathers by Cindy Adelle Richard

Flora and Feathers by Cindy Adelle Richard

Bernadette “Birdie” McGee is the founder of the bird sanctuary and the local bird shop on The Isle of Adelle. Birdie is the resident expert on all species of birds, and she is careful to fill new bird owners in on everything necessary to take excellent care of their bird friends. There are a few rules that every new bird owner must follow when purchasing a bird: 1) they must allow them to be free (the birds cages in her shop are just for decoration because the bottoms are all open) 2) they must bring the birds to her shop for proper grooming and regular check-ups and 3) they must participate in special training sessions to learn about their particular species of bird.

Birdie learned everything she knows from her grandmother, Agatha, a noted ornithologist at the Sorbonne. Birdie decided not to go to school (on account of being painfully shy – the thought of attending a huge university terrified her), but she learned everything intuitively by reading her grandmother’s books and taking lessons from her. She is still painfully shy with a quiet and gentle demeanor; her days are peaceful, well-ordered, and allow plenty of alone time – exactly how she likes it. The only time she becomes unusually vocal and strong is when it comes to speaking up for the health and well-being of her birds.

Birdie’s shop is attached to a vast bird sanctuary that is open to the community (there are well over 300 species of birds at the sanctuary). One of her favorite things to do each morning is to go into the bird sanctuary before everyone else is awake with a cup of tea and listen to the beautiful chorus of birdsong. She wrote a little poem to commemorate her favorite activity:

Morning Birdsong

Alone among trees

sipping cherry blossom tea

a soul-stirring melody

fills the air with harmony.

Birdie’s painting is available on Etsy

Carousel in the Sky

Carousel in the Sky by Cindy Adelle Richard

Carousel in the Sky by Cindy Adelle Richard

This image of miniature carousel horses has been floating around in my head since Christmas, so I am relieved to finally get it down on paper so that I can share it with you. The woman featured in this painting is Cayley, and she has one of the coolest professions I could think of – she creates life-sized and miniature carousel horses. Not only does she craft these beauties out of wood, she has a secret talent for bringing them to life as well. She loves carousels so much that she created a special park full of her creations, and each one performs a little differently so that riders will have a unique experience no matter which one they ride. Once the park closes for the day, she makes a point of riding her favorite carousel, the one with show horses and spinning teacups – it reminds her of the feelings of sheer delight she experienced the first time she rode a carousel as a small child.

I also created a brief poem – I hope you enjoy it:

Carousel in the Sky

Floating horses

swirling in splendid circles

the height of bliss.

This painting is available in my Etsy shop (an original and prints) Click Here

Hats of the Horoscope Calendar

Fancy hats showcasing the personality and color for each sign of the zodiac

Hats of the Horoscope Calendar by Cindy Adelle Richard

I finished my 2019 Hats of the Horoscope calendar just before Christmas, but I am just getting around to sharing the news.  I also wanted to provide a little background about the inspiration behind the calendar. In case you had not noticed, I have a thing for hats. I have been collecting images of hats for years on Pinterest and I am known to regularly sport hats whenever I get the chance. I am also fascinated by natal astrology (the one that based on calculating our exact birth dates, times, and locations to provide us with snapshots of our whole life). I combined the two in order to create something unique, and I am thrilled with the results! To keep things manageable, I decided to pick out hats that match one particular personality trait from each of the signs and to depict it in the color denoted for each sign. I included the interpretations below so you will be able to see what each one means.

Hats of the Horoscope Explanations

Hats of the Horoscope Explanations

I hope you enjoy reviewing each month. These calendars are also available for purchase on my Etsy shop.

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Thinking About Why You Create

The Blank Page by Cindy Adelle Richard

I recently read a book called “What’s Your Creative Type: Harness the Power of Your Creative Personality” by Meta Wagner, and the content was intriguing enough to share. The reason that Wagner wrote the book was to help artist know why they create so that they can maximize their creative potential. The most accomplished and prolific artists know why they create and use it as the driving force behind their work. I am going to provide a summary of each of the types and one example of an a well-known artist who embodies that type. My goal is to introduce you to the creative types and hopefully pique your interest so you will seek out more information.

The A-Lister: Seeking Applause, Adoration, Fame, and Immortality

  • thrive off of adoration and attention from others
  • have a strong need to have people see what you see, feel what you feel, think what you think
  • feel alive when performing for others
  • want to be remembered after you die
  • more interested in the finished product because that is where the glory comes from
  • compete against past and present artists you admire
  • Example of an A-Lister Artist: Pablo Picasso was not only content to make art, he did everything in his power to also ensure he was famous and made money from his art.

The Artisan: Truly, Madly, Deeply Devoted to Creativity

  • just being creative provides its own satisfaction
  • lose all sense of time when deeply engaged in the creative process
  • the thrill of making something from nothing keeps you enthralled
  • love the process even more than the product
  • would keep making art even if no one paid attention to it or paid money for it
  • often look to artists who came before you for inspiration and information
  • Example of The Artisan: Vincent Van Gogh spent years learning to paint and he was quite prolific, yet he really didn’t sell much work when he was alive. He was completely driven by the creative process and making paintings.

The Game Changer: Creating Something Entirely New

  • make new, revolutionary, visionary art – originality crucial to you
  • want to expand the limits of art and get people to see the world differently
  • become restless and bored with following conventions so constantly experimenting with new approaches and techniques to keep yourself engaged
  • may have to wait years, even decades, for your ideas to be accepted
  • Example of The Game Changer: Jackson Pollock created an entirely new way of painting and changed how people looked at abstract art, and the world noticed.

The Sensitive Soul: Expressing Yourself and Helping Others

  • feel things deeply and use creative outlets to channel them
  • lots of things stir your emotions
  • can be thin-skinned, but have a great ability to empathize with the feelings of others
  • when they use art to bring themselves relief from suffering, they also help others to escape their pain
  • always seeking ways to cope with and make meaning out of life
  • often use their personal experiences as the catalyst for their art
  • Example of The Sensitive Soul: Frida Kahlo used her painful past and raw emotions to give her paintings power, and her work has emotionally affected art lovers for generations.

The Activist: Changing the World Through Art

  • desire to create art that has an impact – changes the course of people’s lives or even the course of history
  • tend to see injustices everywhere you look, and you refuse to stand idly by – you must do something
  • there is often a sense of urgency to your work
  • tendency to follow politics and world events on a consistent basis
  • art is often created for shock value and/or to send a message
  • Example of The Activist: Banksy uses street art/murals to spotlight political or moral injustices in our current world. His message is usually anti-war, anti-capitalist, or anti-establishment.

Whether you identify with one, more than one, or none of these types, I hope they will get you thinking about why you create. I do believe that it is helpful to know why you create so that you can return to it when times get tough or when you need to refocus your work. It also helps to know so that you can find the inspiration you need to keep going. I would also recommend checking out Meta Wagner’s book in its entirety – in addition to in-depth descriptions of these types, she also goes into subcategories of the types and helpful hints on how to work best with your creative personality.

My NaNoWriMo Project 2018

Adelle by Cindy Adelle Richard

November is one of my favorite times of year because 1) I get to take a week off for Thanksgiving, and I use it to watch lots of T.V., read lots of books, and take lots of naps and 2) it is National Novel Writing Month. I attend meetups to write with the NaNo North Shore group, a wonderful group of people who encourage each other and have fun together. We always hold an event one day each November where we write all day and night (24 hours), eat lots of food, and talk in between writing (another November favorite). I never actually do what I am supposed to do during NaNoWriMo (write a novel that is at least 50,000 words); I usually use the time to work on whatever project has been brewing in my head for a while. This year I have decided to spend the month fleshing out this fictional art colony that has been taking shape in my mind since January. The paintings I have been creating this year have come about because of this fictional place which I have named The Isle of Adelle. I imagine that Adelle, the woman pictured above, founded this special art colony on an island off of the coast of France circa 1920. You will hear more about this special place after I have a chance to fully imagine what it is all about – who the people are, what they do each day, the climate, and so on. I am excited by the idea of building my own world and letting it take shape on paper. If you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, happy writing!

The Milliner

The Milliner by Cindy Adelle Richard a woman dressed in vintage clothes and a hat with a hat shop as a backdrop

The Milliner by Cindy Adelle Richard

Sayuri has always loved hats. She had the good fortune to be born to an exceptional milliner and his wife in a small Japanese village during the early part of the 20th century. Her father learned his craft from his grandparents and he passed along everything he knew to Sayuri, his only child. Her mother functioned as his assistant, helping the customers and managing the hat shop with the utmost care.

Even as a young child, Sayuri wore the finest hats with confidence and finesse. Because of her confidence, she was never teased for wearing hats – instead, they became her signature. Sayuri worked in her parents’ shop when she was not at school, and nothing made her happier. She enjoyed every part of hat making – picking the materials, stitching the hats, displaying them just so to appeal to customers.

Once Sayuri grew up, moved away, and established her own shop, she truly realized the power of her sartorial gifts. For you see, she can take one look at a customer, and know exactly what hat will suit them – the style, colors, and lifestyle. She is able to intuit their personality and preferences without them saying a word. For this reason, she tends to make custom hats. She has some hats on display just for show, but the real magic happens when she creates a hat just for the person who orders it. Each time she sees one of her hats out and about and perched just so on top of her clients’ heads, she smiles to herself and feels satisfied.

This illustration is available on Etsy

Molly’s Miracle Garden

Woman sitting on patio looking at flowers

Molly’s Miracle Garden by Cindy Adelle Richard

I am always inspired by beautiful gardens with impossibly large blooms, and that was my inspiration for this week’s painting. I hope you enjoy this little story about Molly.

As a young girl growing up on a farm, Molly discovered early on that she had a special gift with flowers. Better than a green thumb – more like a golden thumb. See, as soon as Molly places seeds in the ground, flowers begin to grow. Not as fast as what you see in time-lapse videos when everything is moving fast, but within 24 hours, they are in full bloom. It doesn’t matter what the soil is like or the weather, or even if they have received water. They spring up perfect and as a big as they can possibly grow in vibrant colors like cotton candy pink, indigo, and corncob yellow. Molly’s favorite flower is the dahlia – she never gets tired of gazing at its perfection. The townsfolk all know about Molly’s talent, and they flock to her floral shop to buy choice blooms for all sorts of occasions.

Molly has taken up the violin to balance out the ease with which she grows flowers. She really has to work at the violin to get it to sound decent. She squeaks and sqwacks along, breaking bow strings and assaulting the ears of her patient music instructor. It surprises her how happy it makes her to work at something that challenges her. One day, she hopes that playing the violin will come as naturally as growing flowers, and she’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing she worked hard to learn how to play.

Painting available on Etsy