Dog Days of School – Children’s Book Review

Dog Days of School by  Kelly DiPucchio and Brian Biggs

When I think of the Dog Days of Summer I think of my dog “Charlie” lounging around in the backyard and going for long walks of sniffing everything. So when I saw Dog Days of School I wasn’t expecting a DOG in SCHOOL.

DiPucchio has a great way of teaching the days of the week and the ups and downs of going to school. Being a busy person has super fun days where you eat cupcakes, take long drinks from the water fountain and make art. Then sometimes we have boring days or some may call them bad days; you are scolded for chewing on a pencil or have to listen to long boring stories about CATS.

Charlie in this story is a boy who gets a little nervous Sunday evenings thinking about the school week. It would be a lot better to be his dog Norman,

The moral of the story is The Grass is always Greener on the other side.

Biggs’ illustrations, are simple, fun and to the point. How can two dots for eyes and bold black and white drawings of figures be so representative of different characters? Biggs has filled the pages with these bold images with colourful backgrounds and funny facial expressions.

There are no computers or televisions illustrated in this story, there really is more to life than electronics, I like that! Making art and discovering social skills is a nice thing to have in life, keep thinking and creating in your environment and you’ll find your imagination can help you create a great life.

Both author and illustrator of Dog Days of School combined their skills to make a great story about Happy and Grumpy days. 

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Show off your Walls – Making work more interesting

Work Environment

Whether you work in a cubical or an office with four walls, life is much more interesting when you surround yourself with images that have special meaning.

I remember saying to my BNI Business Networking International that if you know of anyone with with bare white walls, or long hallways with nothing to look at please have them give me a call 403-247-3255. I know that even serious institutes have something on their walls, and a few nail holes will not cave the walls in.

Make life worth LOOKING AT!

Business is Global.

Share your worldly experiences by Custom Framing your; art collections, documents and images of your employees at work.

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Bad Bye, Good Bye – Children’s Book Review

Bad Bye, Good Bye

Deborah Underwood Illustrated by Jonathan Bean

How I got to know this book was through Patricia Tilton’s Blog Children’s Book Heal. I understood the purpose of the book right away, with work and home being more global than ever. We as people are always on the move, I remember hearing that “humans are the most adaptable creatures on earth”. Yet we forget how transition and change is still an adjustment and hard to understand for some, especially if you’re a little person just following your leader / family.

Patricia Tilton has great insight on this book please view her blog.

I’d like to investigate the exciting illustrations; pattern and design. Who would have thought, vertical straight lines (blue) spar-radically on a page could easily represent rain or a strong blue hue over an illustration is seen as night time. Well many artists would say yes “I know that” but for a children visual story it is a brilliant illusion and instantly understood.

One of the family members that Bean includes throughout the story is the dog, I like that!

What I’ve learned about Jonathan Bean is that he is a caring artist at work in the community. The bold cut out shaped style of illustration is easy to read, the layering of images and shades creates an interesting story of multiple ideas going on at one time.

I found a few lovely images of Bean’s linocut prints on line, I’m a print maker myself.

Enjoy the art.

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Small Art from Big Resources

It has been many years since I’ve seen this artist, Kari McQueen. Kari McQueenDuring the years that this art was made I had saved every bit a mat board that was left from a job. Like a construction site an artist can see potential for scrapes of materials.

With a pile of foam-core and mat board pieces Kari, I and other artists would sit at a table; draw or paint on these textured surfaces. This one, I saved of Kari’s,

The frame is a brilliant blue metal, the art was done on foam-core and is mounted onto a linen mat board. The art FLOATS inside the frame, using space bars to separate the glass from touching the art. The frame is approximately an 7X9 inch.

metal frame hanging systemsMuseum Glass.

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A Pastime to Tr…

A Pastime to Treasure for a Lifetime.

Taken from a Elizabeth Bradley (English Tapestry kits) advertisement. This quote reminded me of why I Custom Picture Frame for a living, it is to treasure the past and keep good memories alive.

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The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas – Children’s Book Review

Written by Tony Wilson, Illustrated by Sue deGennaro


Ah, so the hockey season is coming to a close, in honour of that lets hear it for Henrik and his “unreal princess” Pippa. Author Wilson has a great sense of humour and takes a classic story “The Princess and the Pea” by Hans Christian Andersen and brings the theory of what a real princess is to date.

Henrik, a prince loves hockey and camping, so while looking for a princess/wife he alters the traditional way of finding a true princess; stacking mattresses and one pea. He uses a camping mattress, an old sleeping bag, and a whole packet of FROZEN PEAS. Henrik discovers quickly what he is looking for in a wife when Pippa came to stay for a night.

Illustrator deGennaro has Henrik, the prince sporting athletic clothes and the ladies in elegant dresses with frills. Henrik and his friend Pippa are represented with equal importance. They wear the same colours with stripes, size and detail values are the same for these two characters.

A typical royal home would have many big and bold paintings and frames on the wall, deGennora’s wall decor are part of the story but minimalist, in comparison to the main characters which are big and beautiful.


DeGennaro’s illustrations are playful and loose, when turning the pages and looking for the visual story, the characters are the focus. Collage? deGennora’s cuts and pastes the images with drawings and collections of pattern and colour. I am so intrigued with the vertical lines, added textures for the background, it reminds me of fabric. In actual fact the patterns come from tissue, drawings and paintings.

Do you know someone who designs patterns for fabric? A textile artist? This children book illustrates the art of design, with mixed medium, a modern and popular art. I would encourage art teachers to read and study this book. Here is a clip of deGennora sharing her process.

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Black Dog – Children’s book review

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

Sometimes when we are unsure of things or NEW events are happening in our lives they can seem sooo BIG. Our mind can exaggerate the situation and make us feel afraid. Have you ever heard of the saying “don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill”? Well, that is what the Hope family is expressing in this book.

The Black Dog is a surprise to the Hopes and they aren’t sure what to do, so Small the youngest and smallest (hence the name) goes outside to meet the creature. As the story goes on, the GIGANTIC black dog becomes smaller and more life size, and Black dog is loyal to Small Hope. Things aren’t so bad after all for the Hope family, and life seems to be looking up for Black Dog.

Levi Pinfold has shared a delightful story, but REALLY these illustrations need no words to go along side of them. Charming and cheerful are these artful pictures, Pinfold has created images filled with detail. Even imagination, like the big golden eye looking through the bathroom window creates AWE for the viewer.

And, the Hope family, well aren’t they the silly family with creative materials for hats and the barricade made of furniture  and house hold items. “Hope” must be significant for the author / illustrator, as the story unveils the truth about the Black Dog it shows the other side of the front door so to speak for the family.

Nice! A charming story and a unique outlook on how we see things that my scar us.

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mothers around the world are Very Special

Mother's Day 2014Let us always celebrate them, but in Canada on May 11th share something special with them.


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Easter Eggs – What to do with the GOOD ones

The Easter Celebration is about the element JOY – REJOICE


Sometimes we see it through COLOUR

If you prepare for Easter through colouring eggs, here is an idea to keep the celebration alive throughout the year.

Frame one or two or three in a special shadowbox frame.

Visit The Art Tree art framing & consulting Ltd. 403-247-3255

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Summer Art Classes at the Art Tree – Calgary

Meet Beer Box Betty.

She is a summer art project made with Papier Mâché,

This is the basic image so much more can be done with this sculpture; linocut stamping on her for pattern and texture, a bow on the tail, a collar like a dog’s or post notes on her side with a magnet.

If you or if you know of someone who would like to be creative this summer please contact the ART TREE or Susan Fae 403-247-3255.

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