Sarla in the Sky has arrived! The first published children’s picture book I’ve illustrated in my hands. I’m shaking a little bit. Indulge me for a moment while I share something personal….When I was little I used to make little paper and cardboard books- binding and all. I made art books and poetry books & a cardboard version of Penny’s book from Inspector Gadget. I made lots of art and had met picture book artists and wanted to be just like them. I dreamed of making books and art when I was tiny and held onto that dream for a long time. There was a point in my life where I began to let go of it- I heard myself say, “it wasn’t meant for me”, “I’m not good enough”, and “it wasn’t meant to be” I chose other paths and yet….here I am in this moment. In this moment holding my book!! I have dreamed about this moment for as long as I can remember- holding a book I made with a story I really believed in from an author I believed in. I’m so proud and so grateful. Anjali Joshi is a wonderful author and storyteller; I feel so honored that she and the Bharat Babies team believed in my work and art and chose me to bring the visual part of Sarla’s story to life. I am so thankful for this team!
And thank you to everyone who helped me along the way- there are so many of you out there! I’m so grateful for all of the people who have supported me, went to my art shows, sold work on my behalf, bought paintings, bought prints or products, picked me up when I was low, encouraged me when things weren’t certain, cheered me on when things went right, and in general were good to me when I needed it. It’s real! It’s here! Yay!!
You can order a copy of Sarla here: https://bharatbabies.com/products/sarla-in-the-sky?variant=16819772097 and there are still limited editions prints of Sarla available as well (only 50 total- all signed and numbered so get one while you can and support Bharat Babies so they can make more of these beautiful books!)
I know this will be the first of many books I illustrate and eventually I want to both illustrate and write a published book so stay tuned….there is more to come!
I’ve been mulling over a number of projects for this upcoming year and one of the hardest parts for me is to commit to the most personal projects or doing things purely for myself. I have a lot planned this year including writing and illustrating a children’s book, 4 solo shows, an artist residency, and numerous teaching gigs. Just writing that out makes me gulp a little bit and my heart beats a little faster with anticipation, excitement, and some fear. Many of these projects are well under way and I’m building out my schedule which makes me feel a bit more at ease but still…I have a ton of work to do!
Anyway- it’s often my most personal projects that suffer when it comes down to it. I’ve wanted to create a repeatable project for ages and I’ve started some and stopped some and I never really committed to them like they deserve. This year will be different! Because of all the projects I have and my busy schedule- I need to draw a lot. When I paint a lot I tend to drop down on drawing and I can’t let that happen this year- drawing is my comfort and it’s where my new ideas come from- I cannot live without it. So I got a couple new sketchbooks, I have some pretty papers, lots of drawing materials and too many ideas to count. If you want to follow along on this 365 journey, please follow me on Instagram at lisakurt. I am so ready to do this!
Many people know that I had been working on a secret illustration project through June and July, though I couldn’t really share what it was I was working on. Well now I can because it hits news stands today!! I created the cover and inside illustrations for the Reno News and Review’s Annual Best Of Issue, which was so much fun and you can check it out online too. Working with the editors, Brian and Brad, was a real treat; they were excited by my ideas and easy to work with. Together we came up with the theme of Nevada mythological creatures which I couldn’t have been more excited to do! It was a pretty fast paced turn around but I’m pleased with the paintings I created and it was just the right illustration project for me at the right time. Brad also interviewed me for the project as well and it was so nice chatting with him about how much we love Reno. That is also in the Best Of issue.
I’ll also be having my first solo art show through all of September of these paintings for this project at Hub Coffee Roasters at the Riverside location. We’ll be throwing a big reception too with a few surprises so stay tuned for the date- I’ll announce it here, on Instagram, and Facebook so follow me in one of those spots to keep up to date.
Here is a little preview of a couple of the images and I’ll get them all up on the website soon, but please, if you’re in the area, pick up an issue and enjoy as soon as you can! If you can’t wait- here’re the link again.
And one last thing- a big giant thank you to all of you who have supported me and my art and illustration over this past year. August 16th marks my one year anniversary into this new adventure and so many of you have been absolutely instrumental to my success. I wouldn’t have landed here a year later with this cool project, among others, if several people hadn’t prompted me to present about art, share my work, offer me projects, offer volunteer and/or teaching opportunities, and the list goes on. I hope you know who you are- I’m so grateful for you all and to be in such a rad community in real life and online.
Area 51 aliens
Pyramid Lake waterbabies
I thought I’d share this lovely Etsy treasury by Mary Reed that includes my moth + lepus print. Check it out!
Last month I wrote about learning new things and an experience that maybe wasn’t the most successful, but where I still learned some good lessons from doing it, including to laugh at myself a little more. This time I want to share another story about learning something new where it was very positive and though I still made some mistakes- I was still able to produce some respectable results and still not take myself too seriously.
In February I took a class at the Nevada Museum of Art in Linocut Printmaking. I’ve taken printmaking classes before but it’s been years and I’ve never tried linocut before. I went in excited and ready to learn- ready to implement some things at home and experiment with this new-to-me art form.
The class ran once a week for four weeks which was great because it gave us a lot of time to try a few techniques and work with a nice press which is hard to come by!
The teacher was Elizabeth Ferrill, she is in town for a limited time while she teaches at UNR and St. Mary’s Art Center in addition to the NMA. I highly recommend taking a class with her, as she explains the process well and lets people really try different things and offers great feedback. She was very encouraging and made the class fun.
The class was a mix of experienced printmakers and students totally new to printmaking which also made it great. Everyone had really interesting images and brought a variety of ideas which I think always gets me more engaged in the process of art making.
The class overall was a busy but relaxed atmosphere- everyone really got into the zone making prints and carving images into the plates. It was nice to take little breaks to walk around and look at what others were producing; I wish I had taken some photos because there were so many really nice prints. My favorite part of the process was carving- it’s almost meditative as you carve lines and shapes into the material and build your image.
I played with different color inks and the way that I applied them to the plate to see what textures would come out when run through the press. I’m not going to lie, operating that press was super fun too and so satisfying to see that print come off with a new image. Even the same image will yield many different results depending on how you apply the ink and what kind of paper or fabric you print on.
This class was just what I needed to get out of my comfort zone, learn some new things, and see things in new ways. This way of printmaking got me to really think and plan a bit ahead for what I was going to make, allow for some surprises, and embrace mistakes as positives. I also got lots of new ideas from the whole experience which is exactly what I love most about learning.
One of the things about me is that I really enjoy learning new things. I think that because I tend to be someone who gets super focused on something- it’s nice to pull back now and then and do something fresh just for fun. It helps me lighten up and reminds me why I’m an artist in the first place. Don’t get me wrong- I struggle and sometimes get really frustrated when I’m trying a new thing but there is something really satisfying when or maybe if I start to get the hang of it.
There was one time when I had taken a crochet class. I was totally excited because I had never crocheted before and I really wanted to make some cute stuffed animals. I had dreams of making a cute little lobster and I thought little bunnies would be fun. The bar was set high in my mind and I thought I was going to pump a whole bunch of new things out and have a blast! When I arrived, the class was pretty full but there were two instructors so I was pumped! People in the class were really friendly and everyone was excited. I think I might have been the only one without any experience in crocheting but I was ready to learn. Anyway- we each had our materials and the teachers gave a demo and then we all jumped right in. At first I thought- “yeah, I’m crocheting!! It’s happening!” After a bit of time though- I realized something wasn’t right. I ended up taking it all apart and starting again. I was more careful and asked for clarification to get started and thought- “okay- shaky start but we got this now.” Well….that happened about 6 more times until the end of my 3 hour class. As everyone else was finishing their cute little animals, stuffing them full with batting and securing eyes and details on, here I was still just trying to get anything that resembled crochet. I was frustrated and it was the first time in a very long time that I had been the VERY WORST in the class. I was a little embarrassed and bummed but as I walked home from the class I started laughing to myself- how funny was that?! I mean- yes I walked away not learning how to really crochet and with nothing to show for the time and money spent on the class but I learned some things about myself for sure. When I got home my husband asked me how class was and I told him “it didn’t work out so well.” He felt bad and asked what happened. I told him and then said…”do you want to see what I made?” He said yes and this is what I showed him….BEHOLD the THUMB HAT!
And then we laughed for about 10 minutes straight. I haven’t tried crochet again since but it doesn’t mean I won’t! I still carry those dreams of creating cute little forest animals and sea creatures. And what a fun story to tell…because sometimes what I need is to laugh at myself more and take myself seriously less.
Having an Etsy store means that there is a whole big community that I get to be part of. There are so many artists, crafters, illustrators, jewelry makers, and more making and selling work in this great marketplace. There are also a lot of curators who gather together items from various shops to create Treasuries. I’ve been lucky enough to be featured in two!
Take a look at What Does the Fox Say which includes my Surprised Fox print.
And then take a look at Things That begin with Y to see my Yeti featured in that Treasury!
It’s fun to see how people react to my work in various ways and I’m excited to have been featured in two very distinct and fun Treasuries!