Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ice Bucket sketch for ALS and a good person lost to this disease

I took on the less chilling Ice Bucket Challenge, to make a drawing, 
from Melissa Iwai.
Here it is, quite sketchy, but I like it.
My father's good friend, Richard Garretson,
 whom he'd known since attending the University of Richmond, 
was struck with ALS almost 7 years ago.
It's a heartbreaking illness.
Richard, also called Pete by his older college friends, 
had lived in NYC since graduating in the late 1960s. 
He was a wonderful, funny, vibrant person 
and an avid bird watcher. 
We got together with him each time my parents came to 
visit me here in New York.
Few people made my dad laugh as much as Pete did.
Once diagnosed, it didn't take long for ALS to take 
Richard's life, which may be a blessing.
He and his girlfriend and another couple made 
one final trip, an African Safari. 
My parents have a few photos from that trip which 
seemed to be a life altering event. 
I have enormous respect for him. Despite being ill,
he had the will to see a bit more of the beauty in life.
I don't know if I would have that kind of courage, but I recognize that it's
important to seek as much as you can from life while you have it.
My dad mentions Richard often. It's still hard to believe he's gone.
I hope there will be a cure, someday soon, for ALS 
and other devastating neurodegenerative diseases.
You don't have to dump a bucket of cold water on your head to give!
I made a donation to the ALS Association
You can read about what they do, here.
Keep in mind- every little bit helps! 
I found a beautiful memorial to Richard by one of his friends 
 on Fantastic Forum - this is one small part,
but it says so much.

"Finally, what I would also like to share with you about Richard's interests, was that he was also a lover of birds. He travelled the world, from Central America, to the Galapagos Islands, and near the end, on the trip of a lifetime to East Africa to observe these magnificent creatures. His love of birds extended to nature and highlighted for me the delicate balance of this world we live in. Birds as I know them are small creatures, with incredibly varied and delicate features. In many ways, his love of birds reflect his gentle soul, and incredible diversity." 

This was written by Scott. I have no idea what his last name is, but Scott -
if you happen upon this post, it was a touching tribute to a lovely person.

Hope you're having a pleasant weekend!
xo, A

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My NEW Website is up!

I have a NEW website - YAY!
I decided to use Squarespace after hearing positive things from other artists, 
plus reading a few build-your-own site comparisons. 
I took advantage of their 2 week free trial to set it up 
and it took about 3 days, working on & off. 
I'm sure it takes less time if you have less images to add. 
Scanning new work and locating older images, slowed me down a bit.
I was drawn to the clean style of their templates and I really wanted
a grid layout, so the viewer can see images clearly at one shot, 
then click to enlarge if interested in seeing it in more detail. 
I had to customize slightly to get that, but it was fairly simple 
once the support team helped me out. I'm currently using Avenue.

A big thank you to Carmen of Carmen Mok Studio also.
We're in an art group on Facebook that was organized after 
taking Lilla Rogers' Mats3A class last spring. It's a great group and 
provides a nice way to ask for advice and share resources with each other.
I like her work and the ease of her site. She answered 
some of my initial questions and I really appreciate it!
Once I heard Marc Maron give a 10% promo code on his Monday wtf podcast,
 I knew it was meant to be, so I went for it :)

My only setback is that the company where my domain is registered 
has not gotten back to me about "mapping/forwarding"
my domain - AllynHoward to squarespace, so for now my site is
It's a temporary issue, but one I must resolve before mailing out 
new promotional cards, obviously.

A refreshed Ruben & Cooper are real happy with their new home.

I wanted to go ahead and share my site with you guys, my friends, 1st anyway!
When you have the time, please take a look. I would love to hear your feedback.
I assume it will all be constructive.
I have a lot of images on there, but I think it's well organized.
There are 7 Gallery pages listed across the top and a link page that brings 
you here, to my blog.
It's pretty easy to navigate.

Melissa Iwai, I entered your name when answering a survey that asked 
who recommended the site. 
I think you were the first to mention Squarespace to me. 
Regardless, I hope you get some kind of credit or prize!! :D

Thanks for stopping by!
Enjoy the rest of your week.
xo, A

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August, you're pretty

"Do what we can, summer will have it's flies." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
On the East Coast, August has been surprisingly dreamy with it's sunny skies and mild temperatures. 

I created these promotional pieces for the CBIG (Children's Book Illustration Group)
digital directory. It's the 1st step in preparing for fall and making another go of it
in the worlds of publishing and art licensing.

The "flies" in my summer tend to be work related, not the cute animals and scenes I choose to
paint, but the interruptions to that, let's just call - my job ;)
These photos were taken at Grumman Studios on LI, where the 
Apollo Lunar Modules were created. Grumman is currently referred to as 
"Hollywood of the East". Fortunately, I never heard anyone actually call it that. 
We were there to work on a pretty ambitious and creative commercial. 
Our work doesn't compare to putting a man on the moon, but it pays the bills. 
I can share the commercial, once it comes out.
I mostly took pictures of the building, my friends and the floor. 
Below, dusty shoe prints on rubber mat covering cables.

A clever production assistant put a hammock up in his cube truck once it was empty. 
Above, scenic artist, Gennadi Barbush relaxes in it.

Scenics take a coffee break in the lot, while I rest in hammock :)

Hard to resist taking a pic of rust this good!
Damage the sun does to paint is often the most beautiful to me. Faded reds, pinks, blues ...
always get me.

Great shape and yellow, not sure how it functions, maybe for fire fighters?

We passed this building on the way home every night. I love it. 
Thought I took a pic with the lighted sign, but now I can't locate it.
Below, detail shots of two of my paintings that sit on either side of my bed, 
in my tiny bedroom. Sadly, they're a bit too large to hang in my apt.
I think they relate to the other photos, but I might just be tired.

Great skies to and from the job. My favorite part of the day - catching sight of New York City.
It will always excite me.

 hand-me-down, carpenter's union tee, don't have 829's, do we have one?

Fellow scenic, Michael Taranov took this photo of me "fighting the good fight".
This particular job was quite a beast, in terms of hours, number of set
changes and variety of fumes inhaled. I want to end my post with a
big Thanks to Bryon Finn, who I work with a lot.
He handled everything with grace and as always,
worked his ass off. 

Ok, I have lunch, I mean work to do!
ps- if you like my photos, then follow me on Instagram
I share much more there :)

Have a great week!
xo, A

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

S'mores aren't everything

What's better than roasting marshmallows over a campfire with friends?
Making S'mores and more :) 
Still, they can't solve all your problems, it's just a start!

"It's time to rehearse. Who's the new guy?"
Practice is very important.

Lately, I've been practicing a slightly different way of painting background
scenes by muting the colors or simply keeping that part monochrome. 


I think it's helping the characters to stand out and compete less with the backgrounds.
It's something I'll continue working on.

Bear was trying out his new costume in Central Park when he heard a tiny voice from below.
"Help, my friend needs a hand!"
Gee, I sure hope Bear knows what to do.
Rush Hour, below, is an example of characters getting lost in the mix. 
It's a shame because each animal has personality. I tried to make some pop more
using Photoshop and I think it helped somewhat. 

Subway Series is one of my favorite groups of illustrations. If only things could stay 
as simple as initial sketches

Anyway, I decided to pluck certain characters from Rush Hour, give them some space 
and consider which to use in a story.
I shared Capybara and pals and others taken from this
crowded train in last week's post.

I liked these guys enough to have some postcards printed. 
I used Moo for the 1st time and they look great!

I had some printed using "Classic" paper stock. I was surprised Moo uses the shiny side for the 
backside. I don't mind, just unusual I think. I also had some printed using "Luxe"stock. 
I couldn't be more happy with the quality of both sets. I could be hooked!
I also have some coming from Zazzle who I've depended on for years.
I'll have to see what people think. I've only heard good things about Moo, so had to try them.

May these guys, at least, make it onto the bulletin board of a brilliant art director, 
editor and/or agent out there! for safe keeping and maybe more. 

Kitty reading about birds is also new, although cats reading books
shows up in  a couple of my paintings. 
I was charmed by this simple quote from Garrison Keillor.

In other news, I bought a Karlstad love seat from Ikea that I put together myself.
The price was right, but I can still smell the particle board from which it's built. Oh well.

I styled this photo with my lovely pillows.
Yes, they are available in my Society6 shop - Allyn Howard :)

Lena the cat loves it!

View from Ikea showroom

And now for some random neighborhood pics. 
I've always liked this old building on Clinton Street, looks like it's getting a make-over.
I passed by it on my way to the public library. That's right, the library - been a long time!

I love this summery window display at One Girl Cookies in Cobble Hill.

These cool wood paneled houses are across the street. You may have noticed them in the reflection.

 Cute Italjet in Greenpoint. 

My favorite outfit of the summer, so far, worn by the one and only Michael Taranov.
He's a fellow local 829 scenic painter and I was happy to see that he changed into
paint clothes before we got started. 

This is the giant house we were working in that day. 
Ditmas Park is a fantastic neighborhood in Brooklyn. Mansions abound in a suburban 
setting with city streets within walking distance, kind of a perfect mix.

Back to my neighborhood, I like the way St Mary's Star of the Sea looks
at sunset. It's very close to my home, so I'm always happy to pass by and take notice.

The Gowanus canal is less lovely in summer.

I have to say, G.H. Cretors is my latest addiction (besides ice cream :)
It is sooooooooo tasty! like 2 bags a day, tasty. forget dinner, tasty.

The end. 
xo, Lena and me


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