Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Alicia paints a house in sub-zero temps!



     I was commissioned to paint this house-portrait in Dec. '08, for a family moving to California. Although the original photo had no snow on the ground, I added plenty of it to give the house a cozy, "winter-in-Minnesota" feel. 
     Will the family look back upon their Minnesota-winters with a chuckle or with a sense of longing for hours of playing in snow forts and sledding down icy slopes? Winters are long in Minnesota but a long day of playing in the snow is always rewarded with a delicious cup of hot chocolate.
     If you would like to commemorate your abode, please email me at: www.alicia@aliciaschwab-online.com.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Who lives here?





     Here is a photo I took while hiking in the woods. My childhood home is nestled in a forest in southern Wisconsin. I grew up studying the trees. While other children made pictures from the cloud-formations, I spent my time looking up through where the knotty-twisted branches overlap, and visualized animals and shapes in the negative spaces between them.
     The light in a forest is very beautiful. The abundance of leaves in the canopy filters out the scorching hot rays of the summer sun and you are left with a million hues of green . In the cold seasons the branches hush the wind - sheltering our drafty house from the sting of the winter.
     Here is a fantastic tree that I discovered on our hike. You can almost see a secret door in the base of the tree. Who lives here? The possibilities are endless, I'll leave it up for you to decide. -Alicia Schwab (photo by Alicia Schwab, copyright 2008)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rough & Tumble Boys





This is part of a painting of some boys playing on a rather simple piece of playground equipment in the 30's. I was inspired to study the human form as it spins around the pole. I do not normally paint people upside down, so it was both challeging and interesting.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sword Fight

I recently got into a sword-fight with a pineapple.
It was dicey at times but I held my own.
Eventually, I was able to conquer my opponent.
Purée! I won!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Apple-Fest!

Its apple-harvest time here in Minnesota. All of the trees have turned into a bounty of wonderful colors. I have been baking apples every which way I can think of. Here's one way:

Apple Struedel
3-4 sliced Harrilson Apples
1 Tbsp. butter, chopped into small pieces
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. sugar (yep, that's right. The traditional German way for desserts is to use little sugar).
Ready-Made Pie crust
Vanilla pudding mix

Dice the apples; mix in butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Unroll your pie crust onto a buttered cookie sheet and lay the ingredients into the middle. Make the mound small enough so that you can fold up four sides of the crust to envelop the apple mixture. To make sure the sides to stay stuck together in the oven, wet the ajoining pieces of dough together with a little bit of water. Leave a hole at the top, this will allow the steam from the apples to escape. Brush the top of the dough with milk. Put in the oven at 375 degrees for 1/2 hour or until the crust is golden brown.

Make vanilla pudding mix as per dierctions on the box but add extra milk so that the consistency is more like a sauce. Pour on top of the slices of steaming hot apple struedel. YUM!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Alicia's art on display at the Owatonna Arts Center





Starting the 9th of Sept. and running through the 1st of Nov. is a Children's-Book Illustrators Guild of MN exhibition at the Owatonna Arts Center in Owatonna, MN.

Owatonna Arts Ctr.
435 Garden View Ln,
Owatonna, MN

The title of the show is "A Child's Hope" and the theme includes scenes and images from the children who resided at the Owatonna Orphange as wards of the state until the institution was closed in the mid-1940's. Being that the location of the exhibition is housed in part of the former orphanage, it seemed like a logical choice of subject for the show.

Life for the children at the orphage was no better than at any of the other institutions that held children in that era. The children were fed, clothed but not nurtured. During its history, the Owatonna Orphanage housed around 500 children at any one time. There was a constant flow of children coming to stay and leaving. But some children spent their entire childhood there never to have experienced family life.

This piece of art looks at how a child develops a sense of belonging, personal space and privacy in a institutional-setting that may be their home today but not tomorrow. Typically, my color-pallette in my art is of vibrant, happy colors. I chose to use somber colors that suggest a sepia toned photographed from a by-gone era.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Meet Alicia Schwab Illustration




I have been an illustrator for many years now. My goal is to become a published illustrator and write for children's picture books.
I actually started writing and illustrating picture books as a kid. I would go to my Dad's Apple computer printer and swipe a bunch of the accordion folded paper (the only paper you could use with the printer), the kind with the holes punch along the edges to help the printer feed the paper through. It made the perfect, pre-folded 2-page spreads for my little books. It kept me busy for many hours.
My love for picture books is still strong even after all these years. There is something magical about them for me. The way that they are able to engage a child's mind into their fantasy worlds'. Just for a short time, and then spit them out again at the end of the book as a richer, more imaginative person. 'Read it again!', cries the child eager for more. This is the kind of magic I try to create when crafting my stories and illustrations.