Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Finding your Path

Once there was a girl who loved to draw, and sketch and color. To her, nothing was better than that.  She doodled, drew, and designed clothes and shoes for untold hours.  Never happier than when she had pencil, or marker, and paper. At 11 years old she received a 48 pack of fine line markers! And practically swooned. (the true beginning of her love of art supplies!)

She studied Fashion Design in college because she was obsessed with drawing clothing and shoes by her teen years.   Ah, but she had a professor who tried, and coaxed, and never let go of the idea that the girl should have been an Illustration major.
One day in class she strolled the room checking progress and speaking to the entire group, then came to stand at the girl's elbow and said, "It is never too late to change what you are doing. Never to late to follow the path you are meant to be on."

The girl knew it was directed at her but held fast to her plan because she was stubborn, and she had fought hard to be in that  program and thought it was where she belonged.

The 19 yr old girl was absolutely convinced that Fashion Design was her calling. But, after graduation she became a textile stylist, and from there many twists and turns on a varied career path.  Some strayed far and wide, but all were tremendous learning experiences. The professor she could never quite forget, the words that hung in her memory for decades turned over and over, like a stone being polished. 
The idea that maybe, maybe that teacher was right all those years ago. Maybe it was time. When she truly realized she needed to change paths - to the right path, her true path... it was those words from college that held her steady on a long and tough road.

Decades later that girl, now a woman, knows she has found her calling, and is never happier than when she is doodling, sketching, illustrating... and bringing ideas to life on paper in ink and paint!  And, she feels profoundly lucky to illustrate for 2 print magazines, Matters and Simply Gluten Free, create commissions for both private clients and businesses, and to sell her illustrations to collectors worldwide.  She looks toward a future of increasing her illustration roster, and a lifetime of bringing ideas to life on paper!
And, whispers a thank you prayer to that college professor that could see her path long before she could.

Monday, November 17, 2014

She hears...

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you are right.”  ~ Henry Ford

Last week we had one of those frantic, rushed, gonna-be-a-miracle-to-catch-the-school-bus kind of a morning. It was getting more and more stressful as the moments ticked away... making the distance between our house and the bus stop seem to loom further and more impossible.

Instead of getting totally crazy I chose to take a breath and calmly said "Relax.. we're not going to make it. Let's slow down and I will drive you to school. Then we have plenty of time."

Ah, but she LOVES the bus, and the social time it affords her with friends before school starts.

"NO!  No, Mom, don't say we won't make it... if you believe it, it will be so. You need to say we can make it! Believe it and we WILL make it!"

OMG! That completely stopped me in my tracks!  I have said this dozens of times to her when I hear declarations like... "I can't do it", "It's too hard", "I will never be able to do this"

I had no idea she was actually hearing me!  And, believing!  It is not falling on deaf ears, as they say.  WOW... what else does she really hear?  Makes a great case to keep repeating all the right things, the things she doesn't seem to hear, the things that will build her up, will help her believe in herself, that will guide her to make good choices as she grows!

PS - She actually did make the bus, just barely and we did have to run full speed sprint the entire way, but she believed we could do it, and she made it happen!!  That is one powerful lesson.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Perfect Fall Boots

Sugar Maple Boot, watercolor & ink, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

The leaves are starting to fall, winds are picking up, the tops of trees are kissed with the first signs of gold, orange & red, and even the heat kicked on this morning!  Autumn is taking over and pushing out the last warm days of Indian Summer.

For me the season changes are all about the shoes, most times it comes down to - "Is it sandal weather or boot weather?"  (sometimes in the-between-the-season times I can be found wearing closed toe shoes, but without socks!)

So today with our morning temperature of 44 I was inspired to get my boots in order - and I am itching to wear them.  But, since we should see 70 by this afternoon I will surely be out and about in sandals. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Learning from a Master, John Singer Sargent

"If you could meet anyone from the past, no matter how long gone, who would you choose to have dinner with?"  A popular, get-to-know-you kind of interview question.

Your answer can be very telling on what is important to you.  If I could pick anyone from the past, it would hands down be my Mom, but if I was to choose an artist specifically, it would be John Singer Sargent or Van Gogh.
Since it is not actually something you can do, I have an advantage, because a visual artist leaves behind an indelible stamp, color images capturing pieces of their imagination, their thoughts, and their feelings.

Singer Sargent's watercolors are so impactful and moving to me, they can  literally bring me to tears.  The man was a true genius with watercolor. His work stuns me - on screen, in print or live, doesn't matter. It quite often moves me to tears.

SO I wondered what if I could crawl inside the mind of this great master, or at least inside a piece of his art? What could I learn?  And how might it effect my own art going forward?  I decided to try my hand at a few of his paintings, to truly contemplate his color palette, his approach, his execution of a building, a landscape, a fountain, a reflection. 

The process was actually very freeing, to paint as someone else and not myself, and I felt his presence in the work as I created mine, since it was really his. And, still his work stuns me. I was copying and love how it came out, but it was his genius that chose to use those colors, those elements and that approach.

As I dared to paint after Sargent, and created these pieces, I remain in awe of his talent!

*both sold to a happy customer who had the perfect spot to hang the pair of paintings!  (updated October 6, 2014)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer Camping

Recently we returned from a beautiful fun-filled camping trip.
It's been a crazy summer with too much going on and I hadn't really felt relaxed since school got out.

But put me in the mountains with...
Chilly mornings
Warm sunny afternoons by the pool
Cold evenings by the campfire toasting marshmallows
Full bodied red wine (yes, red wine even while camping)And I actually started to unwind! 
Because there is nothing quite like being in the mountains. (except maybe being at the beach, but that's a story for another day)

While there I went for an early morning run with breezes in the dense leaves, laughter of kids on bikes in their pajamas, scents of bacon cooking on open fires, coffee brewing in the open air, early campfires lit to chase the morning chill..  and I finally hit my stride. Literally.

Summer Sketchbook, "Leaves", watercolor and ink, Erin Rogers Pickering

Relaxed, calm, happy, totally chill and feeling wonderful.
Summer Sketchbook, "Leaves with Patterns", watercolor and ink, Erin Rogers Pickering

As I was finishing up my run a leaf fell right in my path.
One perfect orange and yellow Autumn leaf.
The first sign of fall - and just as I was hitting my summer stride.

Friday, July 18, 2014

She remembers how to draw

Occasionally I fill in for the art teacher at a Senior Center.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of being there, and I always enjoy seeing what they have been working on since my last visit.
But, it isn't always easy.

There is a woman who is brought to class by her husband. She doesn't know her name, and I am unable to have a conversation with her.  I lay out her drawing and her colored pencils, taking out the colors she is most likely to use, instruct her where to work next and she slowly layers color.  
In small quiet strokes she works - not truly present.
And it breaks my heart.
But, she is creating art. And yesterday I saw something remarkable.

She was working with her slow quiet strokes of color when two men in the class started talking, and I see now that it broke what little concentration she had. She put down the pencil, crossed her arms, and just glazed over.  When it quieted down I went back to her, quietly handed her a pencil and showed her where she could use that color.
She began slowly and tentatively again with the small strokes.

After about 10 minutes her whole body language started to change.  She sat straighter, leaning toward her picture, tilting her head this way and that to view her progress - and most remarkably her pencil strokes became stronger, bolder, swifter. She started changing colors and using the pencils with a bold purposeful hand!  
I kept my distance so not to disturb her, but I couldn't take my eyes off her!
She was clear, determined, focused - and my God, she was present!

This beautiful woman who can't write or tell me her name, that needs moment to moment assistance with her tasks - was fully present with her art, and boldly creating her drawing.  
There was no confusion in her eyes, there was no glaze.  It was a remarkable thing to see.

She has forgotten so very much - but she remembers how to draw!! 
Flowers as I left the class that seemed to express the joy I felt!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lakeside - Summer Sketchbook Project

"Lakeside", watercolor & ink on paper, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

There is nothing quite like a weekend by a lake... so relaxing and restorative!  Quiet mornings of reading, sketching, walking, and canoeing. Sunny afternoons filled with boating, skiing, swimming and corn hole. Fun evenings playing board games and ping-pong, and roasting marshmallows over a blazing campfire.  

Great times with family! And our daughter now has friends her age at the lake... so the weekend was perfection.  And, hard to say goodbye to.

I finished up my sketch with paint this morning and it brought me right back to the peacefulness.   Looking forward to the next time and holding on to that relaxed feeling until then!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Welcome... The Color of Doors

There is growing trend by us to paint the front door in a bright or unexpected color.  And, I love it.
From the charcoal grey house around the corner with the lemon yellow door.
To the colonial blue beauty with a vibrant orange door.
And, most especially the turquoise and teal gem-tone doors I have seen on a variety of homes.
I LOVE them!  So intriguing and inviting.

The Turquoise Door, watercolor & ink on paper, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering
This is not a trend where you then match all the trim and the shutters to the door - the beauty of it is the bright and compelling front door that invites you in.  Like a secret treasure chest, I would think entering a home greeted with color like that would be a daily treat!  
It would be for me.  

Unfortunately our front door is not a paintable surface or I might be compelled to experiment with a few choices, week to week.
Welcome, watercolor & ink on paper, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering
If our next home does have a paintable door, look out - the color fun begins!

Monday, June 16, 2014

All about Choices - Bridal Note Cards

So the best feedback I received on the Bridal flat note cards, was instead of one or other - offer choices!  Sometimes the answer is a clear as a bell... and yet you don't see  it!
Glad I asked the question.

There are 3 personalized options available:
1. Your name

2. "thank you"
3. Blank
So all bases are covered, I think.  If not these are customizable so I can add whatever the Bride may wish.

They make a great gift for a shoe loving bride to be!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bridal Flat Note Cards

I am all about the flat note cards these days.  Sometimes I get an idea in my head and it won't stop pestering me until I make it come to life!  And, I have learned not to ignore the incessant call of my creative imagination.  If for nothing else but to give me peace!

But, mostly because if I give life to a creative idea it increases the flow of more and more!

So today I am getting my first cards together... Bridal flat note cards. They are 5x7 printed on a creamy, smooth white card stock. Lovely to the touch, and will have matching envelopes.  

But, I am wondering... with or without the "thank you" printed on the top?  Would love any and all input.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Once Upon a Mermaid

Once upon a time there was a toddler who flitted from activity to activity like a bird from flower to flower. 
Focus was something she rarely showed.
Until the day she saw The Little Mermaid movie.  She was captivated, mesmerized, watching it with almost unblinking eyes. The music and story were magic to her and she fell in love with Ariel and all things mermaid! She wanted to watch it over and over until she had every line (and every song!) committed to memory.

It was the beginning of her love of mermaids, but she took all that she saw very literally.  At 2 1/2 she assumed a mermaid had to have red hair because that is what she saw.  And when she started seeing other movies and other princesses she believed that to be a princess (and to be beautiful) you must have peach skin and yellow hair. 
What she was seeing was starting to define her idea of beauty... and that's when we stepped in!

We tripled the amount of books in the house with princesses, heroines and main characters of color. The Happily Ever After series on HBO became (and remains) a favorite for a fairy tale fix.

On a whim I painted a mermaid girl in her likeness. She was enchanted with the idea that SHE could be the mermaid, and that a  mermaid could look like her!

I continued to create more and more art in her likeness, and we watched her beliefs shift and expand.
The power of exposure.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Conversation with my Youngest Art Collector

Last night I met with a collector who was purchasing "Mothers... Past, Present, Future" and my 8 year daughter was along for the meeting. She listened to our conversation about art, Moms, parenting, loss, life and age-old friendships. She also watched me like a hawk when she saw me tear up as we were saying goodbye - to the collector and to the piece.
"Mom, how can you sell a painting you love if it makes you sad to let it leave?"

I explained that is was my job to create art and release it to the world. And, that I wasn't truly sad, since I was thrilled it was being purchased, but that is never easy to let a favorite go. But, if my art has deep meaning to me, then it probably will to others. So the more emotional or connected I feel to a piece, the more others will be too. The bottom line really is if I can sell my art, then I can keep painting.  

This morning she was in my studio studying the Vintage Lavender Dress painting, yet again.

"Mom, if I had enough money would you sell me this one? I love it, but I do not want to make you sad."  
As my heart swelled with love, so did my eyes with tears.

I am hanging it in her room today - and the original is hers forever! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Custom Dress Painting

 My wedding gown has been in a box, in the back of a closet for the last 10 years. Maybe someday my daughter will wear it, but not sure how many times that actually works.  I have tons of lovely photos of our wedding but I still want to create a special painted keepsake. Something I could have on the wall in my bedroom or studio to see - and appreciate.  This dress below is not actually my gown, but it is one I designed based on vintage dresses.  I still need to get to my gown!
Just like I need to get going on my daughter's communion dress - her date is coming up fast.  It will be her surprise gift (a hint of it was greeted by screeches of joy!)  So I am guessing it will be a hit.
I did this pair of paintings for a family with twin and I can't wait to hear what the girls think. So while I am in the flow, I will get hers started today! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day, 3 Generations

Vintage dress forms, elegant in their faded beauty holding the spirit and the story of all the women they helped dress.

Wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day... past, present and future mothers!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Art Opening Reception "Shadows of the Past"

I am so happy to announce my one woman show at Gallery 103 - opening reception on Friday, April 4th, 6:30 - 8:30pm. 103 Baker Street, Maplewood, NJ, 07040.  

I have been in a painting frenzy with ideas coming fast and furious for the last few months... and now it is coming together and coming to life!

Here is a brief description of the show to fill you in on the thought behind the art...

From early childhood I was fascinated with old movies and period piece costuming.  One of the highlights while studying Fashion Design at FIT was going behind the closed doors of their costume museum for an up-close presentation of 80-100+ year old lingerie and sleepwear.  Creating this series “Shadows of the Past” gave me the chance to re-visit that love and dwell in a world of antique clothing, past memories, and my own creative process.
I started with the dress and corset pieces, which opened the door for all the dress mannequin paintings - which arrived fully painted in my imagination. It was a matter of sitting down and allowing them to come through me.  These pieces asked (demanded) to be painted.  Like a crowd of people waiting, jostling, pushing to get through a narrow doorway – the images needed me to let them through, using my hand to come to life. The best I can describe the process... it was as if I was painting my ghosts, my ancestors, the spirits of my past.
Many of the paintings are lighter and softer in color than I am used to working, adding to the sense that they are a memory which passed through leaving an imprint on the paper.
Through this collection I am not only exposing the “unmentionables” and the ghosts in my own attic, but have also 'exposed' my artistic process.  Included are pieces taken right out of my sketchbook, and in many paintings the underlying drawings are in charcoal showing the bones of the work. 
The mannequins stand silently telling their story, a reminder of our link to the past.

Hope you can join us at the opening reception!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Finding What Makes You Happy

My sketchbook makes me happy.
to work on it
to flip through it
and to catch glimpses of it... all makes me happy!

So I put this practice tile by the kitchen sink with my "possibility' stone.  An uplifting daily reminder.

and I leave my sketchbook out in different locations each day so I can see it when I am not expecting to.  And that peek can turn my day around.

The coasters that I hand draw, paint, letter and stamp are like an extension of my sketchbook, lovely 4" squares of sketchbook stone possibility - and I am loving the process of working on them!
As I dig to discover what about my sketches brings me joy I realize...
it represents freedom, acceptance, fun, courage, exploration, comfort, confidence, abundance, satisfaction, contentment.

All that with a little paper, ink and paint.

I've learned that my sketchbook packs a powerful punch.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Gentle Reminders

I have this collection on the windowsill at my kitchen sink.
A shell from my favorite place, the beach
A rock printed with my favorite quote
And a tile coaster I hand sketched

sweet, small collection that I see daily, no matter what craziness is going on - seeing this bring me joy, peace and hope!