Monday, July 1, 2019

Catato and Friends

My book CATATO AND FRIENDS is for kids 2 to 109!  It's available directly from me. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.  
                           copyright 2011 Renie B. Adams

Professor Peach's CATATO
"Let's create a Plantanimal breed.   
A mix of parts is what we'll need.
Examine this oddball I call a 'catato'—
Look!  He's part cat and part a potato!
A splendid example—to me so it seems—
The first Plantanimal born in my dreams."

Freddy's Doubt
Professor Peach, the children's teacher,
Inspired them with her curious creature.
"For homework this week, you'll each create
Your own Plantanimal!  Won't that be great?
And remember," she said to skeptical Fred,
"Anything's possible in your own head."

Pat's Apricat and Hippotato
"I'm giving Catato a couple of cousins—
An acrobatic apricat
And a hippotato who juggles hats.
We'll all gather by the dozens
To see their awesome act," said Pat,
"Can't you just imagine that?"

Benny's Rutabeagle
Benny's baby beagle Ada
Chased and caught a rutabaga.
Ada was a naughty pup—
She ate the rutabaga up!
Then she became a rutabeagle,
And that made Benny have to giggle.

Freddy's Mixed Feelings
Freddy stopped at Ben's for a while,
And, in spite of himself, he had to smile.
"Make believe is dopey really, 
Yet I guess I have to confess—
rutabeagle, though certainly silly,
Is still a great success!"


Russell's Brussels Trout
"Oh, dear," wondered Russell, "I really wish
I could make a Plantanimal out of a fish."
Troubled by doubt, his face in a pout,
He thought it would never work out.
Then—suddenly—he heard himself shout,
"HOW ABOUT A brussels TROUT!"

Peggy's PiggleS
When Peggy jiggled her piggy bank,
Out popped two dimes and a nickel—
"Quite enough money to buy me a pickle!"
Tickled pink, she thanked her bank,
Then had a hunch that made her giggle,
"A pig plus a pickle adds up to a piggle!"

Freddy's Decision
Freddy puzzled, "How did Peg think of piggles?
They're not real, but I'd like them to be.
I'd take a pet piggle home with me—
OK!  I'll make up my own Plantanimal!
I'll try very hard to think of one
That's really real and lots of fun."

Mary's Raspbear and Bluebear
A berry is a sweet little fruit,
But a bear is big and scary.
"Could I mix these two?" mused Mary.
"A raspbear would be very cute!
But I truly love the color blue—
So I'd love a wee bluebear, too."

Peter's Bumblepeas
Peter wouldn't eat his peas.
His puppy wouldn't either.
Mama said, "Peter, please!
No sweets until those peas are gone!"
So he wished that they were bumblepeas
And prayed that they would fly from home!

Helen's Ottermelon
Helen watched her otter, Walter,
Flop in the river and float in the sun.
"His tummy's so round and plump," said Helen,
"I could turn it into a watermelon.
Painting it green would really be fun,
And Walter would be an ottermelon."

Paul's CowWiflower
Paul lived on a farm and helped his pop
Care for the cow and the cauliflower crop.
Paul turned the words all around.
"Wow, what about a cowwiflower?
I've got to jot that down!"

Freddy's Worry
"I'm very worried," Fred said to Paul.
"So far I've thought of nothing at all!"
"Don't be worried," Paul said to Freddy,
You're just not totally ready."
A Plantanimal will come to you.
COWWIFLOWER agreed and said, "Moo."

Artie's Artichick
An artichoke leaf looks like a wing,
Which made Artie think about birds.
What idea would his thinking bring?
He started to play with some words.
Witty Artie, very quick,
Changed "-choke" and hatched an "arti-chick"!

Nina's Llama Bean
Nina's mama served her lunch—
Lima bean soup and banana punch.
"Look at this lima bean," Nina said,
"It's got four legs, a tail and a head.
I believe it's turned into a llama bean
The silliest thing I've ever seen!"

Freddy's Regret
Fred wished he'd thought of a llama bean.
He wished he could think of anything!
Parsnips? Foxes? Mangos? Prunes?
Bats? Broccoli? Crabs? Raccoons?
"I think I just can't think," thought Fred.
Nothing's possible in my head!"

Freddy's Flamango
Fred finally stopped thinking and rested instead,
And two fancy FLAMANGOS popped into his head!!
He happily watched as they danced a fandango—
His heaven-sent mix of flamingos and mangos!!
His sister, Sally, who saw his show,
Teased, "Sorry, Freddy, but I don't think so!"

catato's Friends
All the Plantanimals met at school
And found each other uncommonly cool.
Each one so different, yet plain to see
They belonged to a special family. 
All the children were thrilled at the sight,
And Professor Peach swooned with delight!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Digital Collage—2 Mapkins

Essay & Lesson—2 Electronic sketches


A Digital Drawing.  Buy an electronic graphics tablet and pen.  (I have a Wacom.)  Buy a graphics software program.  (I have Adobe Photoshop.)  Read the instructions to open a new file window (in which you will draw) and view your tools.  Without reading further instructions, try out tools in your new file window and see what happens.  Try your mouse and your electronic pen.  Try various commands you find in your menus.  Let an image develop in your file window.  It can be abstract or representational.  It might be a mess.  That's OK.  If it's ugly, that's good!  Good or bad doesn't matter, but meaning is interesting.  What does it mean?  When did meaning come?  

For example, "Animals" was one of the first electronic sketches I made by trial and error, learning a lot with no meaning in mind.  But as the image developed it suggested a scary clash of animals.  So I brought that out.

A Digital Collage—Your Drawing plus a Found Object.  Find a flat object—e.g., a magazine page, a dish, a glove—that relates in some way to your digital drawing.  Buy a scanner or a digital camera.  Read the directions to scan your object or download a photograph of it into your computer and open it up in a file in your graphics program.  This is your collage background.  Open the file containing your digital drawing.  Find your move tool and use it to move (drag) your drawing from its file window to the file window containing your background object.  Now your drawing is a transparent layer on top of your background object.  Edit your drawing to work compositionally with your object.  What does your collage mean to you?  Give it a descriptive title. 
For example, I thought of my sketch "Animals" as an unfortunate stain—a besmirching.  So I found a commercial doily I owned and scanned it into my computer.  I opened "Animals" and dragged it onto the scanned image of my doily.  Then, with my electronic pen, I erased a lot of the grey surrounding the animals and rotated them to fit in the curve of my doily.  I named my collage "Splotch".  My digital collage was my guide for the painted and stitched version of "Splotch".

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Essay—Sketching Better Electronically

Pitching Computers.  I'm often struck dumb by computers and benumbed by computer instructions.  Sometimes I  want to pitch my computer (and me) out my second story window.  On the other hand, sketching in my computer, in a miasma of technological confusion, is so transporting and engrossing (in a love/hate kind of way) that I forget myself and lose all track of time.  So I also want to pitch my computer to you as a great tool for visualizing and getting ideas.

The Computer as Enabler and Muse.  As a student attending an introductory computer workshop years ago, I was sketching banatmospheric images when I accidentally clicked my mouse on what I later learned was a "distort" command, and one of my bananas morphed—right before of my eyes—into a tornado!  That flash of visual transformation sparked a surfeit of silly and serious ideas in me.  This serendipity, born of my computer ignorance, was so inspiring that I ran out and bought my first computer.  It took a while to stop agonizing over my failure to do things right and start registering and embracing what was actually happening, thus turning "failure" into a process of discovery—learning by trial and error in a relatively nonverbal, intuitive, spontaneous, and nonjudgmental state of naivete.

While sketching electronically, you are not distracted by the challenges and limitations of real art tools and materials.  In a "virtual" sketch you can do, undo, and redo your marks, develop your composition in transparent layers that can be rearranged or hidden, and save versions of your sketching in progress.  Digital sketching dispels anxiety, because nothing is really lost or overworked beyond redemption.  Without having to worry about ruining your sketch and wasting your materials, you are free to chase ideas and capture form and contemplate, for as long as it takes, endless permutations of your sketch on your way to satori (or death from old age).

See Renie's embroidery "Stormy Banana"  developed from the digital sketch shown above.
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Monday, October 5, 2009

A Crocheted Poem

The pot in the illustrations is titled "In the Teapot", crocheted and knotless netted, 2-3/4" x 5-1/4" x 4-3/4", 2009.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ro & MeliMation: Drama in 2 Frames

The Cast:
Woman who wonders.................Romayne
Sneaky woman..............................Melinda

Romayne, enrolled in a fiber workshop at
Arrowmont School, so enjoyed the attentions of
her teacher, Melinda Barta, that she enrolled in
another workshop with Melinda at Penland School.
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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Essay & Lesson—Lucky Houndstooth

See my 3-D houndsteeth— "Walking Houndstooth", "Houndstooth Nutcakes" (walnut and pistacchio with raspberry and lemon-butter drizzles), and "Tea on Houndstooth". See houndsteeth in decorative frames, e.g., "Blank Page, Mental Buzz", "Tea Time". Look for them in pictures— "Point of View", "Child's Bib", and hidden among a myriad of crosses, checkers, and Zs in "Kitchen Cloth". There's a teensy yet dynamic one in "Klatsch in a Box Rotating". Can you find it?

Related Articles: "History of the Swastika" and "Houndstooth".
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Essay—I'm an Animal

We don't ordinarily identify ourselves as animals. The word "animal", when referring to humans, is usually not used as a descriptive term, which classifies without judgment, but rather an insult reserved for the morally bankrupt, dumb, big and ugly, impolite if not crude, or simply different. Are animals, other than humans in the grip of their judgmental concepts, any of these things?

Non-human animals in my pictures often stand up and take on a human persona and commingle with humans as a reminder that, in the neutral sense, we are all animals. Like the humans, the other animals in my pictures play roles somewhat removed from the basics of life and perhaps from their truest attributes and inclinations. In "Animal Act" you see three animals in the roles of a visionary, a pretty woman, and a juggler. Reminding myself that I'm an animal (in the neutral sense) is remembering the most basic part of my identity.

See animals as dancers in "Mixed Revue" and "Blue Birds of Happiness", —and guests and diners in "Tea Time", "Call of the Wild", "Swinging at Club Mood", and "Vichysswans!". See a chicken come of age in "Fare Well, Sky Chicken" and "Sky Chicken Sprouts Power Wings".
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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Essay on Crochet—Totally Looped

See Renie's full article "Totally Looped" in Issue No. 6,
April 2008, of Dora Ohrenstein's
informative and inspiring
online magazine, Crochet Insider.
See all Renie's Crochet Works.
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