Cat tails - ink and watercolor by Serena Fento

Hunting for Cat Tails

October 12, 2017

Happens every year – along about mid-October, I get hungry for paint and color. Inktober is just too dark.   I caved a bit early this year. The weather has been hot and muggy outside, the remnants of a tropical storm.  It feels like July, not cool and crisp, the way I like it.  Clearly the […]

Dog Night 6" x 9" watercolor by Serena Fenton

The Pain & the Glory of Grant Writing

September 21, 2017

I have just submitted my first grant request.  It is for funds to attend the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCWBI)  winter conference in NY. I’ve been dreaming of going to the conference for a few years.  Awhile back I began to look at the costs to get there and realized that it […]

The Rabbit's Wedding 5" x 7" watercolor and watercolor pencils by Serena Fenton

Published for Banned Books Week

September 18, 2017

Published as a trading card for Banned Books Week at the Chapel Hill Library. If you’re in town, come join the opening Friday, Sept 22 7-8pm I depicted the Rabbit’s Wedding by Garth Williams. In 1958, it was banned for promoting interracial marriage. Official library invite:” Banned Books Trading Card Project http://chapelhillpubliclibrary.org/…/banned-books-trading-…/ and they will all […]

Any Questions? - watercolor with ink by Serena Fenton
Soccer Score - 6" x 8" watercolor and ink by Serena Fenton

More Motion

September 8, 2017

More motion in everything.  I have launched my illustration focused instagram feed: https://www.instagram.com/serena.fenton.art/ I can only say that it was painful to get art from my computer onto a platform that is dedicated to mobile apps. Now that it’s there, I have linked up my fave illustrators and children’s book publishers – and wow! It is […]

Welcome! - ink and watermedia 9" x 12" by Serena Fenton

Welcome!

August 31, 2017

Getting into the groove of drawing groups of children, I tried my hand at a Welcome Back illustration. The original was done in watercolor with watercolor pencils and ink.  Then the scanned version was touched up in PhotoShop.  I am loving my digital tablet!

National Dog Day 2017 - digital ink and digital water color by Serena Fenton

National Dog Day 2017

August 26, 2017

Today is national dog day.  How did I not figure that out until 5 pm?? Oh wait, I know.  I bought a new graphics tablet and have been working to get it to behave with WIndows 10. (Ahem – Wacom – not all artists use Macs).  I finally won, but it involved doing a lot […]

School's Back! watercolor - 6" x 8" by Serena Fenton

School’s Back!

August 22, 2017

In North Carolina, school is back in session again. Is it cruel or kind to keep kids indoors when the temperature and humidity are in the mid-90s? There is the distraction factor of math and spelling.

Playing Dead - 4" x 6" watercolor by Serena Fenton
Kids - watercolor - 8" x 12" - by Serena Fenton

Kids are Still Kids

August 17, 2017

Some watercolor exercises of kids being kids.  Possible book spot illustrations. These were done as two separate pieces, but they seem to get along well.

It's Raining - Watercolor - 9" x 12" by Serena Fenton

It’s Raining!

August 15, 2017

It’s raining and Allison has bright new red rubber boots, which are perfect for puddle splashing and  explorations. My exploration in this piece was how to paint rain. From the back of my desk, I unearthed a rather motley looking brush that I bought years ago at a hobby store.  It’s labelled Filbert Wisp. I […]

Pictures at an Exhibition - watercolor - 6" x 9" by Serena Fenton

Pictures at an Exhibition

August 14, 2017

Seems like it would be impossible to be a children’s book illustrator without being able to draw and paint a decent mouse.  This one is out for a Sunday gallery tour.

Get Fuzzing - water media - 7" x 10" by Serena Fenton
Caturday - Get Outside 5.5" x 7" mixed media by Serena Fenton
Dropping-In - water media 9"x12" by Serena Fenton

Following Advice

August 3, 2017

Last night I went to a grants funding workshop.  They pounded home one thing over and over: the artist must have a consistent body of work. If you have work in multiple categories, even if you have very good work in multiple categories, you will not be taken seriously by a group of reviewers. “Find […]

The Milleau - 9" x 12" mixed media by Serena Fenton

Caturday in the Milleau

July 29, 2017

Milleau (synonyms): environment, sphere, background, backdrop, setting, context, atmosphere Sometimes the wallpaper is your milleau. Another celebration of the weekly holiday, #Caturday

Let's Walk - Mixed Media - 9" x 12" - Serena Fenton

Let’s Walk

July 27, 2017

Midsummer in the south is unbearably hot for most of the day, but fabulous in the early morning hours. It’s a magical time. Walking in the nearby woods, you can hear crickets and frogs; birds are singing their walkup soliloquies and baby birds are shrieking for breakfast.  If you look hard, and are lucky, you […]

Wolf on the Hill - mixed media 9" x 12" by Serena Fenton

Wolf on the Hill

July 25, 2017

Years ago, when I first began painting, I was obsessed with paintings of the early Renaissance.  I had a huge admiration for the artists of that era and for the whole notion of rebirth.  I had been attending art classes at the University of Oklahoma, where abstract expressionism was the password to success. Realism was […]

Eat Cake - mixed media 9"x 12" by Serena Fenton

Gimme That Cake!

July 24, 2017

Breaking away from the experimental book format, I have stepped up slightly to 140 pound cold-press watercolor paper with collage, acrylic paint, colored pencils and neocolor crayons. The cake just snuck in there.  Probably too much Wayne Thiebauld in my youth.  Besides, as we all know. everything goes better with cake.

Al the party cat - 9" x 12" mixed media by Serena Fenton

Caturday – Al the Party Cat

July 22, 2017

Mixed media party with cat in hat.  Lots of layers here- some glazing with pthalo blue in the final steps to make the background recede. Al, the party cat is an older, wiser cat. Sometimes all this fun just stuns him a bit. He might rather just be taking a nap.

Ay! Chihuahua - mixed media 10" x 14" by Serena Fenton

Ay! Chihuahua

July 18, 2017

This blog has gone to the dogs again. Mixed media experimentation with a wide-eyed, innocent chihuahua.  This may be one of my last book experiments for a while.  The seam in the middle is beginning to irritate. This picture began as a collage: magazine page close-ups of precious stones provided the deep reds and blues. The […]

Dog and Flower - Mixed Media 10" x 14" by Serena Fenton

Dog and Flower

July 17, 2017

Experimental goal for this exercise was to use a rubber stamp.  In a lonely drawer in my studio, I located a chrysanthemum rubber stamp.  I loaded the stamp with acrylic paint and deliberately printed only part of the flower.  Hindsight, I should have used the entire stamp.  It gets a bit too abstract to really […]

C.A.T Cheerful Art Thing - Mixed media 10" x 14" by Serena Fenton

Tuxedo Caturday

July 15, 2017

Happy Caturday! Inspired by my own kitty, this is (C.A.T. or Cheerful Art Thing) . C.A.T. is another page in my art experimentation booklet; acrylic, colored pencil, and neocolor crayons.  

page1 - bunnies at the art museum - before and after -creative reuse -by Serena Fenton

Creation Process: Alternative Surfaces

July 11, 2017

In trying to paint loose, one of my hesitations is the cost and storage of the painting surface. I typically have been using water based media on watercolor paper.  Not expensive watercolor paper. But I can get a bit OCD about any material.  This winter, a group on the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle area put out […]

Caturday Abstraction - Mixed media 10"x13" by Serena Fenton

Caturday Abstraction

July 8, 2017

No real explanation here, just experimentation; possibly not a total success. Bruce Mau once said in his Incomplete Manifesto for Growth: Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view […]