Nature's Beauty

I snapped this image last summer. Somehow this beautiful creature found its way into my kitchen. If anyone knows what this insect is, please leave me a comment.

I thought the colors were gorgeous and looked like something Rennie Mackintosh or Frank Lloyd Wright would appreciate. Art is all around us. Most days we just need to open our eyes to this wonder.

By the way, I carefully carried my little friend outside so he/she could continue its intended life.

Here's wishing all of you a safe and peaceful day!


Wynken, Blynken and Nod

From my private drawings and paintings. This was actually done for a class study years ago. Since I have three sons I always called them "Wynken, Blynken and Nod" and I adore the poem and read it to my boys often. The work is mixed pen and ink, watercolor inks, and gouache. The poem which inspired this work is written by Eugene Field. More information about the poem may be found on Wikipedia


North River, Tellico Tennessee

From my sketchbook. Colored Pencil.


"Community" An Altered Book Series

Another entry from my "Community" altered book. Jack was a wonderful person. He was kind and walked every day. Every where. He grew up with jazz. And he loved it until the day he died. He played in a jazz band as a young man. He told me he once "went out" with Patricia Neal. He was a avid Kentucky basketball fan and I miss him. I miss seeing him walking to the store with his fast-clipped gate. I miss hearing him reminsce about his youth and his parents. He was a good neighbor when I was a child and later he was always kind to my three sons.

Bees Knees Reads: Interview With the Author Marilyn Kallet

Bees Knees Reads: Interview With the Author Marilyn Kallet


Self Portrait Altered Book Series

Long before Altered Books became vogue I was using cast-off codexes to create art works. Some of my alterations/modifications added to the books' interior landscapes. I would paint over the text and then write a poem or paint a portrait, do a collage or draw a still-life, etc. On other books I would create pieces that were more sculptural. These books would either not open at all or would only open to one interior offering the viewer a new perspective into how books can inform us.

One of the most personally successful alterations was a book on community. In this work I gessoed out all the page text, leaving just small bits of it poking through. Then I took the book around to neighbors, teachers and principals at the neigborhood middle-school, family members living close-by and asked them to write something about their lives. How did they come to this neighborhood? What favorite memory would they like to share within this context of community? How did they see their role within the neighborhood?

Then I would take photographs and do life sketches of them while they talked with me or while they were recording their stories. It was wonderful because it gave me a chance to visit with neighbors I had grown up with and find out interesting tidbits about their lives that I never knew before because I had never asked.

This altered-book remains one of my most cherished possessions. I never thought when I was creating this altered book that it would become so important. Several of my neighbors, who wrote down very dear and personal stories, have now passed on, including my mother.

I have other books and entries that I will share in the coming days and weeks. For now I offer you my self-portait from the "Community" book. I still live in the same neighborhood I grew up in. When I was young I always thought I would leave this town for a better...well anything, but life's circumstances kept me here and now I realize, just as Dorothy did, there is no place like home. We are so fortunate to live in such a temperate climate, with those beautiful mountains. I have been fortunate enough to travel all across our great nation and I have seen some amazing vistas and beautiful cities, but none compare to seeing those misty mountains that are so comforting and protective. And we have such a rich heritage from our ancestors who settled here. Why would we want to live anywhere else?

And speaking of ancestors, I have two fairly famous painters in the family. Their works grace the archives of the Smithsonian, as well as other famous collections. A few of their paintings have even made it to poster prints and can be found on Allposters.com. More about them and their works later.

Investigate your community. Record your life there. Take a few moments to talk with those elderly neighbors and others. Get to know what they feel is important. Their answers will surprise you. Make your own community books. You'll be glad you did.


New Work for January

I just uploaded a new image to my CafePress store (Links: Van Winkle's Art). I have entitled it "I Have Loved Here". The work incorporates paintings and poetry from my altered books series, a couple of photographs from my archives and some of my illustrations.

The title comes from a line of poetry in my altered book, "Community". In the poem I'm reflecting on my neighborhood, my community and my place in it. I have juxtaposed this snippet of poetry with the other elements creating a darker, more mysterious landscape.

It is place where anything is possible. Where love can be found, life can be imbued with magic, and not everything is always as it seems. Love is there, fraught with mystery and maybe a bit of trepidation, but it finds you and wraps you in its amber warmth. The trepidation washes away, the symbolism becomes clear; the shadows (once ominous) are now comforting and offer protection from the outside world.

I have several more pieces currently in various stages of completion including some paintings. Please check back often for updates.

I hope you have found your way into a wonderfully mysterious world. And I hope you experience love's magic. Enjoy!


Illustration of the Day

A commemorative illustration created for the cast and crew of "Fiddler on the Roof" of the Clarence Brown Theatre.


A Christmas Poster: SteamPunk/Vampire Style

In addition to traditional rendering, illustration and painting, I also work as a graphic designer. I love "painting" and creating new worlds within Photoshop and Illustrator. I am mostly self-trained in these programs although I did take quite a few design classes when I was getting my fine art degree, but the technology was changing so rapidly we were still learning manual layouts with amberlith and layers of tracing paper with printers marks. So I learned the computer programs on my own.

The poster above was created for my son as a lagnaippe at Christmas. He asked for his large amount of film from his trip to Amsterdam and Germany to be developed. That was his only wish for a present. So I took the trip photos and a photo of him from a previous shoot and incorporated them into a poster. He loved it.

I am a fan of SteamPunk and really like the feel I've achieved with the images and the creation of frames, books, etc. My son enjoys Bram Stoker's "Dracula" and since some of the text of Jonathan Harker's Journal was fitting with his trip to Germany and the photos he shot of castles, I used that as the poster theme.


Happy New Year!

Photo-Illustration, Sandra Van Winkle 2008 Photoshop