In Which We Invent a Whole New Internet Thing.

You ask, I giveth. Dear Reader and Commentor Marg-o asked if I could put up drawings for the Triscuit watering cans I’ve painted for the super-duper Triscuit Quartet Give-Away:

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So I enlarged the waterings cans and re-drew their outlines so they’d be nice and clear, and here they are, for your printing and painting pleasure, both the Before. . .

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. . . and the After:

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Before:

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After:

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I couldn’t find the drawings I used for the other two/quarters of the Super Duper Triscuit Quartet,,so here’s another drawing I did that you might like to paint anyway:

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Don’t forget to enter the Super-Duper Triscuit Quartet Give Away!

Did we just invent the latest internet craze????? Probably not, because artists can be stingy giving away their stuff. But not me. Right, Monique?

Last week, Dear Reader and long-time Commentor Monique  mentioned me and the GoAaF in her beautiful  blog  — Merci Monique!, and she also wrote about the  painting lessons I offer here in VivianWorld. Monique thinks my generosity is the sign of a very confident and mature human being. Ha! I have no idea how I’ve pulled that off, giving the impression that I’m a  grown up. Although it is true that, when I bitch and moan at life for making me the Wrong Swift, that is, making me Vivian instead of Taylor Swift, I do use very grown-up curse words, so there’s that in the “mature” column.

Now, you might think a grown-up writer of my, ahem, stature, would wish to be the other famous Swift,  Jonathan Swift, but nope, not me. I don’t want to be remembered for my wit and smarts 269 years and counting after I die: I want to be 25 and in Paris and wander rooftops in a gauzy gown right now, right this damn minute.

Did you watch it? Did you see her in the Square du Vert-Galant?

map of Square du Vert-Galant, Vert-Galant Paris

She even sat under the willow tree I wrote about in Gardens of Awe and Folly!

Paris, Seine River, watercolor of Paris

But getting back to my actual non-Taylor/real Vivian Swift life, and to Monique’s compliment as to my mental state, I want to say that I have no qualms showing you all how I do what I do because, to me, it’s not giving away professional secrets. In my opinion, it’s the same as teaching someone how to write cursive script (not that anybody’s doing that these days). See, I could teach you how to form a cursive A . . .

 

sample. . . or B. . .

letter-b-cursive-wr

. . . but you’d still end up writing your As and Bs in your own, unique, organic, unavoidable you-style anyway:

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Right? So here’s me showing all you crazy individualists everything I know about painting a tea cup Triscuit:

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The rotten part of painting tea cups is getting the perspective right, which means getting the oval right. So, since it’s my No. 1 Rule to always start a picture buy painting the hardest bit first, I began with the oval shadow under the saucer, and the oval “tea” in the tea cup. Notice that I shaded the “tea” lighter around the edges: if you’ve ever looked at your tea, you’ll see that that’s how it is in real life, because of physics, or math, or gravity, or something.

Next, I use acrylic gold paint to outline the decoration on Tea Cup No. 1 in the foreground:

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You have to use acrylic paint here, because watercolor simply cannot do what acrylic does, i.e., shine. See how it shines when I put it in a raking light? (See: below.)

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Oooooooo…pretty!

Anyway, the rest of this tea-cup waiting thing is pretty much an Instagram so here goes:

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And DONE. Or, I should say. . .

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One – Quarter DONE.

Next week there will be three more from where that came from in order to, you guessed it, make a Super-Duper Tea Cup Triscuit Quartet to be given away in May along with the Super Duper etc etc etc (because not everybody likes watering cans). And Thank you, all you Dear Readers and Wonder Ones, for your kind 5-star reviews on Amazon. Your words are like champagne to me, and you all know how seriously I take champagne.

I have to go now and pack for New Orleans, baby! Because of this:

Wed., April 13  2016   6PM

at Octavia Books in New Orleans, cher!

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513 Octavia Street in fabulous Uptown, NOLA

Best of New Orleans 2015

You know what you get when you get three or more New Orleanians in one room? You get a party! Because in New Orleans, every day that you’re alive is worth celebrating!

So if you’re alive on Wednesday, April 13 this year, here’s the deal:

You bring your Go Cup and I’ll bring mine, and we’ll let the good times roll.

Come join the fun and convo about life, gardens, Triscuits, roses, voodoo, cake, hurricane parties, etc. OK?

(It’s the “etc.” that New Orleans does best.)

And on May 3, Seattle, here I come!

And on May 5, it’s Portland, here I come!

And on May 7, it’s Canon Beach, here I come!

Are you in?

Note:I think we broke the Internet. Several of you Wonder Ones have emailed me about not being able to leave a Comment this week, and I am so sorry about that, being as I love Comments, being as they are the Internet equivalent of sweet little kitties purring in my ear. I will look into the problem and try to curse my way to a solution so we can all “talk” by Friday’s post, in which I exceed all your expectations of what a blog can do. Really.

33 Comments, RSS

  1. Monique April 8, 2016 @ 8:40 am

    I have favorites in your new book:) Already..and next time..different ones may be favorites..because I will be rereading it..so much information..I love your neighbour:)And your book.
    And you will see that you do teach..as I tried a leaf..I need practice ..and a lot of it.
    So glad I still have gold acrylic!
    Considering I have all your books..I should know this about you..you are left handed?
    PS I had never known of the life span of the willow tree.

    Oh on Instagram Vivian..the calligraphers,are plentiful and wonderful..they made me order an oblique pen..
    Going to see Taylor..now.

  2. Leslie April 8, 2016 @ 8:44 am

    Yes! For the Vivian Swift coloring pages and Yes! for Taylor Swift! I think she demonstrates beau coup wit and wisdom…almost as if she was doing a Vivian Swift in the cafe with her demitasse (some people do prefer it) and her notebook and in the garden. There’s a happy thought!

  3. jeanie April 8, 2016 @ 9:17 am

    I see your point perfectly, Vivian, it will all be “us” — it’s “just technique.” But I still will second her words about this being extremely generous because these posts take time and energy and planning and that’s where the generous part comes in — because few of us have unlimited time frames in which to do our lives, whether they involve painting, traveling or cleaning the litter box. So, I send her thanks and add my own. (And also for the watering can “blanks!”)

    I just took a watercolor your pet class and like you, the teacher reminded us to start with the hardest part first (in this case, the eyes). I can’t tell you how much these weekly studio visits both inspire and motivate me. Especially with painting but also to add creativity into my daily world. So thank you! Have fun in NOLA. Wish you were coming to Michigan…

  4. Marg-o April 8, 2016 @ 10:22 am

    YESSSSSSSSS! Thank you for the watering can drawings! I’ve printed all of them out already and now I have something fun to do this weekend (now that of us on the east coast are bracing for SNOW. But the watering cans will remind me of spring and my heart will be gay.

    What we need now is a Vivian Swift video of you walking around that Paris garden, sketching and painting and holding your book upon to the same scenes that you painted. Am I a genius or what?

    So is Monique, for reminding me that these posts are better than any class and you’re here for free. Hope the other people charging money for this stuff don’t run you out of the Artists and Illustrators Gulid.

  5. Leslie April 8, 2016 @ 10:27 am

    P.S. Is your Giverny embroidery the book cover? I’m just sayin’…

  6. Patricia April 8, 2016 @ 10:40 am

    Am.I.In.? Hells yeah! I’ll be trotting (actually driving)down to Wallingford and the Wide World of Books. Can I bring all three books for autographs? Can I bring the books I bought my sister for autographs? (She’ll be off taking classes in weaving or something very necessary to her soul but won’t want to miss this).
    Do you need me to do anything for you while in Seattle? Have dinner together? I’d bring a cat but he’d get really pissed off…

  7. Patricia April 8, 2016 @ 10:40 am

    Am.I.In.? Hells yeah! I’ll be trotting (actually driving)down to Wallingford and the Wide World of Books. Can I bring all three books for autographs? Can I bring the books I bought my sister for autographs? (She’ll be off taking classes in weaving or something very necessary to her soul but won’t want to miss this).
    Do you need me to do anything for you while in Seattle? Have dinner together? I’d bring a cat but he’d get really pissed off…

  8. Marg-o April 8, 2016 @ 11:36 am

    WTF?!?!?! It seems that the moment I left here first thing this morning got ate up by the internet. Because I wanted to say this:

    YESSSSS!!!!! Thank you for the watering can drawings! We here on the east coast are bracing for snow this weekend but now I have something to turn that snow day into magic. I’m going to paint my watering cans and keep spring in my mind with every brush stroke. THANK YOU.

    I am glad that out of all the Swifts, you are the Vivian, and what Jeanie said, and Monique, that what you give here is priceless. I hope your generosity doesn’t get you kicked out of the Artists and Illustrationists Bitch and Moan Club.

  9. deb Mattin April 8, 2016 @ 11:46 am

    WHOOPPEE! I am working in Dawn deVries Sokul’s book, Year of the Doodle and coming up is a day to doodle watering cans. I need all the help I can get in the drawing department, so I’m so happy you shared yours.

    I love the teacups – I’m trying to learn to draw what I see, not necessarily what I think I see, so the lighter colored tea around the rim is a perfect example.

    I agree with other commenters who are grateful that you share your techniques with us mere mortals!

    Oh, and in case it matters, I still get a title of “Autodraft”on every blog post . I use a Mac, if that matters. As long as the guts are there, fine with me.

    Have fun IN NOLA!!

  10. Leslie April 8, 2016 @ 2:31 pm

    P.S. Is your Giverny embroidery the book cover? I’m just sayin’…

  11. Patricia April 8, 2016 @ 5:02 pm

    My comment also disappeared into the interweb. I’ll summarize. Yes, i’m coming to your Seattle appearance with all my VS books in hand. Can I also bring along all the ones I bought for my sister (she’ll be out of state)?
    I live a few miles from the bookstore. Do you want company for dinner before the signing? I’d actually cook or meet you at a restaurant….

  12. Monique April 8, 2016 @ 5:13 pm

    Me too Vivian..seems my comments of the past weeks are evaporating:(
    I had a visit w/ you this AM..last week..the week before..when I return to read your readers comments..always fun..my comment is not there..

  13. K. Keith April 8, 2016 @ 5:29 pm

    Hi Ms. Swift,
    Clinton Hill Library, one of the branches of Brooklyn Public Library, would like to book you for an author talk this fall. Are you available and if so, what dates would be good for you for a Saturday author talk? We have a pending grant which would pay the author fee. How much would your author fee be? Thank you very much for your information and hope you are able to do the talk.
    Karen Keith
    Library Information Supervisor – Clinton Hill
    380 Washington Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY 11238
    718-398-8713

  14. K. Keith April 8, 2016 @ 5:38 pm

    Hi Ms. Swift,
    Clinton Hill Library, one of the branches of Brooklyn Public Library, would like to book you for an author talk this fall. Are you available and if so, what dates are good for you for a Saturday author talk? We have a pending grant which would pay the author fee. How much is your author fee? Thank you for your information and hope you are able to do the talk.
    Karen Keith
    Library Information Supervisor – Clinton Hill
    380 Washington Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY 11238
    718-398-8713

  15. SusanA April 8, 2016 @ 7:22 pm

    Oh, wow, the tea cup with the gold is fabulous! I never thought to use a bit of acrylic to highlight a watercolor. Did you use an iridescent gold or just a regular gold?

    I second Monique’s and Jeanie’s take on your generosity in sharing both your techniques and your time. I love these Friday posts!

  16. Megan April 8, 2016 @ 7:32 pm

    What a visual feast, where to start… I love the willow tree, love it… did really like the watering cans but really struck by the beauty of that gold paint on the unpainted cup. Fantastic! Taylor Swift’s clothes are pretty amazing, was the bodice glued to her skin or what? Very diaphanous indeed. Why aren’t they teaching cursive anymore…?

  17. Kirra April 8, 2016 @ 9:46 pm

    Vivian you are obviously THE Swift trendsetter – you went to Square du Vert-Galant first!!! And wrote and painted about it in a book, which takes more effort than one film clip.

    I love the watering cans but I LOVE the teacups. I’m a tea drinker too (no coffee for me) and these teacups are very pretty. Maybe I’ll print the watering can outline’s out and, dare I say it, do some colouring in with pencils. I just have a feeling I’d get paint everywhere if I tried. However I am going to start learning some cross stitch again.

    Enjoy your book tour trips! Unfortunately I am too far away here in Australia to make it. I’m sure the other blog followers will enjoy seeing you in person 🙂

  18. Marie from Chester April 9, 2016 @ 10:41 am

    How did I not know you had a blog? I must have been living on another planet until now. I found out from Monique. I have had your books for a while now and your latest one is on my wish list for when it comes out later this year here in the UK. Love, love your work. It’s magical and your words too. I think you are so right about sharing techniques with people. We aren’t given our talents to hide them under a bushel, but to share them with others, and in our generosity we are blessed. Everyone has their own style. Anyone who copied you directly would only ever be a copy and nothing more. You don’t shine until you make it your own by putting your own heart into it.

  19. Elizabeth April 9, 2016 @ 12:37 pm

    Such lovely cups – and yes, Taylor Swift is young and pretty and talented and in PARIS – Jonathan was a bit of an old grouch…. though witty.
    Enjoy New Orleans.
    Have you thought of ‘doing’ Book Revue in Huntington? They usually get a good bookish/gardening crowd.
    Hope to see you when you return in this direction.
    I’m off to London very soon and will revisit the Physic Garden in your honour.
    Note spelling! Buster says hi!

  20. deb Mattin April 9, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing the watering cans. I’m working through Dawn DeVries Sokul’s book, Year of the Doodle, and a watering can day is approaching. I need all the help I can get in the drawing department. I’m trying to draw what I see, not what I think I see, so appreciated your comment about how the tea is lighter along the far rim – so it is! It’s all in the details and why your paintings are so wonderful.

    Agree that it’s generous of you to share your tips and techniques with us mere mortals.

    Have fun in NOLA! I just finished the gorgeous chapter on New Orleans in GoAaF !

  21. Judy Roberts Jennings April 9, 2016 @ 2:40 pm

    Vivian, your wonderful garden book arrived and it is fabulous! My Seattle daughter is here in Indiana looking after me since my stem cell transplant, and she’s reading it now. When I told her you’d be in Seattle on May 3rd, she said, “I’m going!” I guess that means I’ll be losing her, but wow! A chance to meet you will be worth it. Your art talent, your sharing with us, your blogs and “telling it like it is” make the best entertainment on the Internet. Thank you! (You still paint the best cats EVER!)

  22. Beth April 9, 2016 @ 2:45 pm

    Yay! Vivian’s coming to Seattle! I am SO excited. I’ve never been to that bookstore because I live a five-minute walk away from Elliott Bay (where you should also be because it’s a wonderful store). But for YOU, I will take two buses during rush hour. Only for YOU.

  23. Felicia Cass April 9, 2016 @ 6:33 pm

    I wish I was going to be in New Orleans or Portland or Seattle or any of those places that do spring so well and will have Vivian Swift gracing their cities. Any chance that you’ll be coming to the heartland? We don’t do spring as well as those places. Yesterday during the five minutes of sunshine I hung towels out to dry. An hour later I had to run out to take them down whilst being pelted by scud missile like ice pellets.

    But I promise that we do June very well, really super duper well and we’d love to welcome you here then.

    I meant to leave a comment last week about the Markehesh paintings. Yes the details on how you painted the hair and the black band really are helpful as are the details of painting the tea cup….incredibly helpful. I didn’t comment because I hadn’t made it that far. I got stuck on the picture you posted here of the sky over the park. Literally stuck, I’ve spent hours gazing at this picture trying to figure out how you created such a wonderful sense of splendor, awe and place. I’d love a tutorial on sky paintings because it seems to me you really excel at those. The seaside picture of a toast at sunset in Key West has also captivated me. I am slowly, slowly savoring your latest wonderful book.

  24. Megan April 9, 2016 @ 7:49 pm

    Where do all my comments go…? Not here that’s for sure. Mystery. Take two if I remember… Love the willow painting…. love the diaphanous dress on Taylor Swift, I wonder if it is glued on? Love your watering cans but that gold paint on the unfinished cup is just wonderful. I must try that it tools fabulous. As always a great blog post and if only my comments didn’t disappear time after time…

  25. Megan April 9, 2016 @ 7:50 pm

    Why isn’t cursive being taught????

  26. Deborah April 9, 2016 @ 10:34 pm

    Safe travels as you trek to New Orleans, Vivian. Just think … WARM WEATHER!! We had a blizzard last night and lost power just before 1 a.m. So, all your talk about New Orleans and Paris gardens and sweet watering cans fills me with weather envy and intense self-pity. We don’t need to tell you to have a great time, because we’re certain you have that part down pat. May your visit be filled with adoring fans and perfectly sunny days, Vivian.

    Thanks for the watering can patterns. I love to draw, but I know many painters do not enjoy it. I think it’s wonderful when professional people willingly offer help to those of us who hope to improve their skills. And you are so right about starting with the hardest task first – such excellent advice. I’m no expert (Ha, FAR from it!), but I always start so the the trickiest parts, then if I majorly mess up, I won’t be ruining my entire painting.

    Happy Trails, Book Tour Trekker!

  27. Deborah April 9, 2016 @ 10:35 pm

    Safe travels as you trek to New Orleans, Vivian. Just think … WARM WEATHER!! We had a blizzard last night and lost power just before 1 a.m. So, all your talk about New Orleans and Paris gardens and sweet watering cans fills me with weather envy and intense self-pity. We don’t need to tell you to have a great time, because we’re certain you have that part down pat. May your visit be filled with adoring fans and perfectly sunny days, Vivian.

    Thanks for the watering can patterns. I love to draw, but I know many painters do not enjoy it. I think it’s wonderful when professional people willingly offer help to those of us who hope to improve their skills. And you are so right about starting with the hardest task first – such excellent advice. I’m no expert (Ha, FAR from it!), but I always start so the the trickiest parts, then if I majorly mess up, I won’t be ruining my entire painting.

    Happy Trails, Book Tour Trekker!

  28. Diane from Denver April 10, 2016 @ 11:01 am

    Oh Vivian,
    The DGB is so wonderful! I’m savoring every page, both illustrations and your charming, witty text. As a native Long Islander, of course, I love the two chapters on Long Island, remembering many happy days spent in Roslyn near the Sound and Sea Cliff, Cold Spring Harbor. I wasn’t aware of the connection to William Cullen Bryant & was happy to see that at least some of the original land was donated to the County. The Paris chapter totally captivated my heart; think I’ll never look at another willow tree quite the same again. I must thank Carol Gillott for introducing me to your Blog, wonderful watercolors, charming text and now, to GoAaF. Thank you for being out there for us, Vivian.
    Appreciatively, Diane in Denver

  29. Ariane April 10, 2016 @ 4:38 pm

    Dear Vivian, for God’s sake you are not Miss Taylor Swift. Think of all this make-up she needs, all this posing, changing outfits, and what for? To believe that she is not funny and that love is a tragedy. By the way, it is dangerous to walk on the roof of the Opera, and it is raining on the Square du Vert-Galant. Meeting your readers at New Orleans, that is true fun! We hope you’ll be back with new ideas of paintings!

  30. Megan April 10, 2016 @ 5:10 pm

    Where do all my comments go…? Not here that’s for sure. Mystery. Take two if I remember… Love the willow painting…. love the diaphanous dress on Taylor Swift, I wonder if it is glued on? Love your watering cans but that gold paint on the unfinished cup is just wonderful. I must try that it looks fabulous. As always a great blog post and if only my comments didn’t disappear time after time…

  31. Nancy S April 10, 2016 @ 6:56 pm

    Vivian, thanks so much for your generosity! You are making things very difficult. I love those watering cans, but now you do teacups! Are you going to share the drawings for the teacups? Please!

  32. Tessa Fontaine April 11, 2016 @ 1:40 pm

    Dear Vivian,

    I am interesting on painting lessons. Hoping you will contact me. I have thoroughly enjoyed your books and your dear paintings.

    Thank you, Tessa

  33. Deborah Hatt April 11, 2016 @ 4:23 pm

    I so admire your tea cups … started that when reading “When Wanderers …” for the first time. All those minutely detailed little tea cups … all those found mittens … all those various types of mud (in March), and your adorable snow people caught in the act of synchronized swimming. Simply wonderful! And may I say, that bit of acrylic gold in this blog’s example is perfect!

    Taylor Swift is just another pretty face, and they are a dime a million, right? It’s so much better to “be” the unique, one-of-a-kind,”dabbler & doodler” you are, dear Vivian. We all love you, just as you are.

    Like others who commented above, I wrote a comment last Friday, and when I clicked to “Submit Comment” it was whisked away into oblivion, never to be seen again. Grrr! And I had been so clever and pithy too! Now the world will never know.

    Happy Trails, Vivian, as you trek closer to the equator a bit, to enjoy the warm breezes of New Orleans. I am trying hard not to be filled with weather-envy and great self-pity.

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