Can you pinpoint a moment when something crossed your path that would leave a lasting influence on your creative expression for the rest of your life?

For me, that moment happened in a discount bookstore (Northtown Plaza, Buffalo peeps!) sometime around 1986, when I encountered Leonard Lubin’s whimsically illustrated costume history book, The Elegant Beast.

Leonard Lubin - The Elegant Beast - 1981

Leonard Lubin – The Elegant Beast – 1981

Who could resist the cover?

Leonard Lubin - The Elegant Beast 1981 - title page

Leonard Lubin – The Elegant Beast – 1981 – title page

 Not 12 year old me, that’s for sure. The title page nailed it.

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Leonard Lubin – The Elegant Beast -1981 – Afghan Hound Cavalier!

 The text is extensively detailed, but the lush watercolor and pencil illustrations on each facing page are where the real magic is to be found.

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Leonard Lubin – The Elegant Beast – 1981 – Directoire period

 Les Incroyables et Merveilleuses – so glam! so fabulous! My love of zebras and dandies traces its genesis to this exact source.

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Leonard Lubin – The Elegant Beast – 1981
Romantic Era – 1830-1840
Hares

I still think of this gentleman when I draw a jacket with that slope-shouldered silhouette. The hare head is the natural accessory, certainly.

I’ll always be grateful for how Lubin’s work used naturalism, caricature and expression to illustrate an accurately detailed reference work. I had never encountered something that was both scholarly and comical. Reference material was educational, not frivolous. Learning could be playful? More shockingly, teaching could be playful? This changes everything. It changed me for good, and for the better.

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Leonard Lubin – The Elegant Beast – 1981
Baroque – Louis XIV – 1680-1700

What charmed me in particular was what I might today fondly call naturalist geekery: Lubin went the extra mile. The models for the late Baroque entry aren’t just birds – they’re specifically a Eurasian black vulture and a lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo.

I’m sure he just wanted to draw fun stuff in the form of an accurate costume history overview. I wonder if he expected to engage a kid’s imagination and teach her that smart and accurate could play just fine with fun, weird, and unconventional. It was a life-long lesson for which I’m forever grateful.

The book is readily available for purchase online. If you like my work, you ought to get a copy to enjoy. I’m afraid I don’t lend mine out!

The Beauty of Old Dogs  - available as a print on etsy - https://www.etsy.com/listing/175147281/the-beauty-of-old-dogs-signed-print

The Beauty of Old Dogs – available as a print on etsy – https://www.etsy.com/listing/175147281/the-beauty-of-old-dogs-signed-print

christmas 2013

The Houndton Tabby series gets covered in the Daily Mail! With quotes from me, even!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2521859/Downton-Abbey-characters-painted-pets.html

And I’ve finished a new portrait:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson as blue or lilac point Siamese and orange tabby, respectively.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson as blue or lilac point Siamese and orange tabby, respectively.

print on etsy!

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/gallery/2013/dec/03/pets-as-downton-abbey-characters-gallery

And Laughing Squid - http://laughingsquid.com/houndton-tabby-portraits-of-downton-abbey-characters-as-cats-and-dogs/

And Refinery29 - http://www.refinery29.com/2013/12/58368/downton-abbey-cats-and-dogs

Been busy with commissions and autumn art shows! But I snuck in some silly fun..

A Hound Insane – Kim Parkhurst

https://www.etsy.com/listing/164189574/a-hound-insane-bowie-greyhound-portrait

Some sculpture pieces -

Christmas sculptures

Christmas sculptures

Foxy - sold

Foxy – sold

 

We’ve got two shows left this season – if you’re in New England, consider coming out and saying hi!

The second annual Living Local Art Fair is in Peterborough, NH at the UU on Nov 30.

The Winter Craft Fair Benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County is at the Northampton, MA high school on Dec. 7 & 8.

 

acrylic 16x20

acrylic 16×20

 

Come see us at the Deerfield Christmas Sampler in West Springfield, MA on Nov. 15, 16, & 17th!

*broke affordable arts fair is on Nov. 23 in Peterborough, NH – everything at this show is priced at $50 or less.

The second annual Living Local Art Fair is in Peterborough, NH at the UU on Nov 30.

The Winter Craft Fair Benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County is at the Northampton, MA high school on Dec. 7 & 8.

Kitty Prints Weekend!

Kitty Prints Weekend!

 

Starting at Midnight Eastern time Friday night and running until Midnight Sunday night, 50% proceeds from sales of cat prints in the Toadbriar Etsy shop will be donated to It’s All About The Animals, Inc. in Rochester, MA. Please spread the word and shop!

I was happy to get a chance to redraw something I painted ten years ago, but hadn’t scanned. Here’s Mother Goose on her gander.

Mother Goose by Kim Parkhurst 2013

Mother Goose by Kim Parkhurst 2013

Print is available in 8×10 or 11×14″

I also completed three new pieces, headed to the Best In Show exhibition at Practice in Philadelphia.

'Pug Vobiscum' by Kim Parkhurst 2013. Mixed media

‘Pug Vobiscum’ – Kim Parkhurst 2013. Mixed media

Natural Talent - Kim Parkhurst 2013 acrylic over collage

‘Natural Talent’ – Kim Parkhurst 2013 acrylic over collage

Black Magic - Kim Parkhurst 2013. Acrylic on canvas

‘Black Magic’ – Kim Parkhurst 2013. Acrylic on canvas

 

 

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Morning Mug by Kim Parkhurst

Morning Mug by Kim Parkhurst

Available in 8×10″ and 11×14″ in my Etsy shop.