Crazy for Books

December 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

I think books are pretty marvelous things, and that anything that encourages reading, inspires creativity and ignites the imagination is also marvelous. And because it’s gift-giving time, just maybe you or someone you know will consider some of my works worth the giving! It’s been a joy to create them, and an even greater joy to watch them being appreciated. I hope they’ll make lots of people happy this holiday season… the little and the tall, the big or the small; there’s something for all to enjoy. 😉

With peace, love and magic – Patricia

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Where?

All books can be found at http://amazon.com/author/patriciasaxton
Or individually:
52 Weeks of Peace: http://a.co/gNCy4sM
A Book of Fairies: http://a.co/0uir8Kg
Book of Dragons: http://a.co/hffGpIh
The Book of Mermaids: http://a.co/aE3IGC9
Magnetic Mermaid Dress-up: http://a.co/aw8h4u1
Related gifts: http://www.cafepress.com/saxtonboutique

Happy Birthday, America!

July 4, 2016 § 2 Comments

Peace is liberty. And today we honor the liberty of the United States of America.

We honor our founders ~ their courage, their foresight and their brave ideals. We honor our collective, indomitable, independent spirit; our community of souls originating from all over the world who have made this the land of the free and home of the brave. And as night skies across America burst with color, rumble and crack with cannon-like blasts, we’re reminded of all those who’ve fought for our freedoms and fought for peace, who have dreamed and toiled for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In that celebratory spirit, here’s a small collection of some designs I’ve created over the years, wishing a Happy Birthday to America!

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Dragons Be Here!

April 10, 2016 § 2 Comments

It takes a long time to make a book. Particularly challenging when your models have very large claws and tend to breathe fire. But the work is done; the wait is over – the restless beasts (and restless author/illustrator) are thrilled that their book is now out into the world.

With great pleasure I bring to you “Book of Dragons” – the third book in what has become my trilogy, of sorts, of mystical creatures. (Mermaids, then Fairies, now Dragons.) Along the way I came to know a few dragons quite well, and learned a lot from them. (They really like classical music, for one thing – who knew?) I hope you and the children you know will enjoy learning about them, too!

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I’ll keep you posted about upcoming book signings and/or events. In the meantime, you can head on over to Amazon and pick up a copy!

“Scary Illustrations” and Other Great Reviews

April 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

Everyone likes a great review. When you’re published by a small independent publisher, you appreciate them even more. And so, I send my heartfelt thanks to all who’ve written reviews for my books over at Amazon.

I love the 5-starred ones best (of course!), but they say “no review is a bad review”, so I appreciate them all – even the one about the fairy book illustrations being scary. (That had to be my favorite “negative” review. Because, really?)

And as I’m soon to launch a new book, I’ve got books on the brain. (Well, sure, I often have books on the brain, between writing them, reading them, and designing covers for others – but today, even more so.) So I wanted to send out a nudge to anyone who’s a fan of any of my 3 current books or my mermaid toy, encouraging you to head over to Amazon and write something sweet.

It really makes a difference, and helps get more books into more hands, especially those young ones whose imaginations are so alive. Thank you dearly!
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What Inspires You

January 24, 2016 § 4 Comments

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We just finished up a big round of snow here in the Northeast. Great buckets of it swirling like a mad dance – not a soft, dreamy snowfall, but an angry, wicked one – piling up a few feet of fluffy white by the end. Today saw lots of digging out and some requisite complaining. But I have to say, I love a good storm. Always have. As long as one is safe and cozy. I find them marvelously inspiring.

Which got me thinking about inspiration in general, and being interviewed a few months back by a delightful young woman for her college art & design thesis. I almost always enjoy an interview, and this was no different. There were, naturally, the expected questions: what you look for when hiring, how you got started, etc. But my favorite question by far was, “What inspires you?” Because what doesn’t? Really, I told her, just about everything. But what exactly?

It’s true I’ve traveled a great deal – I lived in Germany as a child, I’ve leaned on the Great Pyramids and dined atop the Eiffel Tower, slept in hammocks in the Yucatán and picnicked on a sprawling red tablecloth laid out on Kenya’s Maasai Mara. New York City has been a stone’s throw away most of my life, as has the sea, mountains and farms – so, no doubt all of these experiences have piled up an almost gluttonous visual feast in my memory banks – but the other truth is that I can find just as much inspiration stepping out my door onto a freshly shoveled step, or a cracked walkway shaded by an overabundant smoke bush, or a beautifully designed book cover, a great photo, a well-crafted film, a thunderstorm, a child’s drawing, an old barn, the spokes of a bicycle wheel, the human face, gorgeous architecture, great athleticism, excellence in anything, shadows on snow. I can be inspired by a random slant of light, pages of striking prose or what comes in dreams. It can be a conversation, or something overheard on the train, a character in a story, or a character in real life. It can come “out of the blue”. It can be the act of simply looking up at the universe and falling into its wonder. It comes from the sky. The wind. The earth. Fire. Stones. Flowers. Rivers. Mountaintops. Birds. Dragons. All of it. All of life’s endless bigness, beauty and mystery, where there are more textures, tones, colors, moods and designs than one could begin to imagine. It’s a vivid palette from an endless well.

Now, I know some may say this artist or that artist inspires them, or this style or that style, or maybe that they’re driven by social causes or a desire to make particular statements. But really, whatever moves you inspires you. And being moved doesn’t always involve epiphany or deep emotion – sometimes, yes – but it’s fundamentally about what makes your mind light up and your heart quicken just a bit, taking you out of the mundane into enthusiasm and possibility. Sometimes, you can’t actually put a name to it.

So, if you keep your ears, eyes and heart open, feeling inspired isn’t that tough. Maybe it’s about what you do with it. Whether you let the flame flicker out or you jot it down, draw a line, pick up a brush, play a note, make a plan. Because inspiration is kind of a two-pronged arrangement – it loves to seed, and it loves to be watered with action. When you can hold onto the inspiration once the work of it begins, there lies some real power.

Blank Canvas

January 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” ~ Neil Gaiman

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Ah yes, the start of a new year. A clean slate, a start-over, a re-assess, an uncharted map. It’s a brand new day. It’s a blank canvas ~ your canvas ~ just waiting for some general direction, a lot of spirit and a splash of color.

Happy New Year ~ paint it well!

The Gratitude Jar

November 22, 2015 § 3 Comments

The other day I was inches away from getting creamed while driving through a green light. Another driver came whizzing through a red light at the exact time I was crossing. (Insert: life flashes before eyes.) Shock and impulse took over as I slammed on the brakes. Had l arrived at that spot just a second earlier, I’d not be writing this. It was way too close a call, and once my heart rate went back down, I was thanking my Angels and feeling overcome with gratitude for both the timing and my car’s brakes. (It also reminded me that we should always be a little more cautious on the road than we might think we need to be.) And I thought, well, this’ll be an easy one for my gratitude jar – which, I then realized, I’d neglected for a while.

It began a few years ago – although I’m sure some of you had the idea before I did – the filling of a jar with slips of paper on which we’d scribble the things we were grateful for. (If you haven’t done it, I’ll tell you that just the act of writing down what you’re grateful for feels good.) It can be a daily exercise or as the spirit moves. Sometimes they pile up in one sitting. Anyway, we’d start on New Year’s Day, then empty the jar and read all our notes the following New Year’s Day – and smile a lot – then start again.

This year I thought I’d start a jar for the holiday season – a time we expect to feel gratitude, but in reality can feel exceptionally stressed. It also feels like a particularly murky time out there in the world; people often pick up on that vibe (consciously or unconsciously), making us feel even more ornery. Actively “being grateful” can do wonders to help. It takes just a few minutes and costs nothing, but the benefits are strong, well-researched and well-documented, including things (you may already know) like improved physical, mental and psychological health, higher self-esteem, better sleep and better relationships. All good stuff. Funny how we so easily forget this simple but powerful tool.

With Thanksgiving this week, the timing seems ideal to start fresh. And this time, I’m inviting you to join me – by doing your own, or by helping to fill a virtual gratitude jar. I’ll be opening it up to the public on my facebook pages*, now through January 1, and who knows, maybe there’ll be a great response and a wave of human gratitude can spread far and wide, rippling farther and wider again and again. And wouldn’t that be something to be grateful for.

What are you grateful for today? There’s always something. Grab it, jot it down, try to make it a habit. Feel free to share. Let’s do this.

Oh, and thank you. 🙂

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Praising Mother Earth

April 22, 2015 § 1 Comment

“I love not man the less, but Nature more.” ~ Lord Byron

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After a month or more of intensely intense (yes, twice for emphasis) deadlines ~ sanity sustained by pure will, innumerable chats with the Universe, bouts of lavender sniffing and heaping doses of hot fudge ~ I look out my window and see a lone tulip in an unexpected spot, happy and proud as can be where it landed; and while admiring this cheerful sprout, I’m reminded that we have arrived at Earth Day.

In my still rattled brain, I can’t recall if there’s something more significant to Earth Day than honoring this amazing planet we call home, but that’s enough for me.

I grew up with woods as my private playground, with lawn and gardens and trees attentively cared for by my farmer-turned-engineer father whose love for the earth was profound ~ all of which found its way into my mother’s poetry and onto my the pages of my sketchbooks (when my presence wasn’t required for the dreaded chore of weeding). It also found its way into my heart.

I am a lover of the earth. I have, on occasion, been known to hug trees. I find solace in mountains, renewal in the sea, joy in the nightingale’s song and peace while digging in the dirt. I love a cathedral ceiling of deep green hickory leaves as much as the wide open, top-down desert sky watching over red clay carpet and brightly colored lizards and noble cactus families. Grass between my toes. Wind in my hair. Sun on my skin. Rain on my roof. All of it.

The earth is miracle after miracle. Inspiration. Replenishment. It is living, breathing strength, tenderness, wisdom and resilience.

Be good to Mother Earth. She is our lifeblood.

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Making Art & Making Time

May 16, 2014 § 1 Comment

A poster I made based on an Andy Warhol quote recently prompted some lively conversation in a Facebook thread.

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One friend commented that she knew many artists, writers and musicians who seem reticent to follow their artistic passion, for a whole bunch of reasons… and how she’d read something years ago that stayed with her ~ something to the effect that if you don’t let your creativity out it will beat you bloody inside.

I tend to agree. With both Warhol and my friend’s observation.

Actually, make that, I pretty much wholeheartedly agree. It’s something I’ve experienced first hand. Never expected to ~ because art, writing, etc was “just something I did”, I flowed merrily along. I took it for granted. But at a time when I became swallowed up in life’s other demands that didn’t allow room for all that stuff I “just did”, I thought I’d implode.

At first I didn’t realize the source of my misery. I didn’t know how inextricably tied my creativity was to my well-being. I even felt guilty when I sat down at a canvas after many months off ~ there were more responsible things I should, and could, be doing! But my spirit was suffocating; I finally understood what was meant when they say an artist is “driven”, that it’s something they “have to do”. And yet, I wasn’t giving myself permission. That awareness came in the unexpected form of an ex – in a rare, remarkable show of support at the time – who actually put it into words. He happened to stop by during that pivotal moment at the easel and said: “Don’t be stupid. Don’t feel guilty. You’re meant to do this. You have to.” It truly hadn’t dawned on me, in quite that way.

That all said, I’ve been fortunate to be able to incorporate a few forms of my creativity into a living all these years ~ but if it’s not part of your daily experience, I’m a huge advocate of doing what you can when you can! It does you no good, nor anyone else, to let creativity smolder and stew inside you. Ideas and inspirations are there to be used and expressed. So if you’re called to, or just want to – do make more art!

Make time. Find time. Carve it out of stone if you must. Maybe a kick in the rear is called for. According to a (rather wonderful) post by Elizabeth Gilbert, setting a timer for half an hour every day can do wonders for creating discipline. Maybe you set aside a whole day. Evenings. Something that’s “doable”.  Stick to it. 

And one more thing. You have to trust the process.

Maybe you set aside your half hour or half a day and wondrous things flow and you feel great! But, maybe, you stare at a blank page the whole time and feel awful. But guess what? ~ so what! That’s going to happen sometimes, and it’s okay. It really doesn’t mean a thing.

The process you have to trust is that there’s an ebb and flow to creativity just as in all things in nature. We don’t always have control (an understatement, right?!). Best laid plans and all that. The point is to keep going. Exercise the muscle.

You have something to express, and it’ll find its way ~ you just need to give it the time and space to breathe on out, so it doesn’t manifest as tension gone inward. Don’t think ~ “just get it done.” 

Yes, I Love My Planet

April 8, 2014 § 4 Comments

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I can see it now: legislation requiring the use of specific fonts. Reason: to save our planet. Repercussions of misuse: a.) fines and b.) scorn.

Why would I have such a thought? Two new articles have popped into my inbox, both having to do with sustainable fonts. Sustainable fonts. (One needs to see it twice to realize it’s not a typo.) The videos below show how changing fonts can save our planet, and how changing fonts can save us money. Interesting. Ish.

Yes, I love my planet, and yes, we should take care of Mother Earth. But I also love some of life’s cool benefits like art and design. Visual delight. Surprise. Beauty. What kind of world would it be if our creative decisions were delegated by font usage? I cringe at the thought. But I’m letting my imagination get the better of me; it won’t happen. (Right?)

In any event, here you go. So that you, too, can be in the know.

1. Change fonts, save the planet. Very hip. But. Hmmm. How about we just print less, waste less?

2. Change fonts, save money. This kid is very bright, there’s no doubt about it. Of course, there are thousands of ways the government could save money (don’t get me started).

Personally, I’ll continue to do my part by not littering, not being wasteful, turning off the lights when leaving a room, tending my garden, driving efficiently, printing less. Etc. But, yea, don’t be judging my Planet Love by how fat or skinny my font choices may be. One has to draw the line somewhere, and creative expression is one of the last great bastions of freedom.

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