05. December 2014 · Comments Off on Cricket Press Has the Best Adventures · Categories: art, fangirl, toadbriar

One of the habits I’ve developed in the age of instant information is to run ideas through Google or Etsy, to ensure that I’m not unwittingly catching a second-hand bolt of inspiration. It’s no fun to find out someone already shouted your Eureka, so it’s always good to check. At worst you’ll evolve your idea into something else. Ideally, you’ll find that you’ve really got something new. Either way, the process of looking nearly always delivers some interesting stuff. Occasionally you even turn up something wonderful.

That’s how I found Cricket Press on Etsy, and I knew I’d have to post about their work.

Bikers Only - Cricket Press

Bikers Only – Cricket Press

Based in Lexington, KY, Sara and Brian Turner have adeptly applied their talents to a diversity of project types – posters, logos, packaging, and not least of all, illustration. Their event posters in particular capture the same spirit that appealed to me in their screenprinted illos. The world they depict is a place of friendly community spirit, where you can pedal your Schwinn past the local movie house to the farmer’s market, spend your weekend at the arts festival, and enjoy the offerings of your hometown craft brewery before taking in the concert at the bandstand in the memorial park downtown.

In their screenprinted illustrations they deliver scenes viewed through the same lens of fond nostalgia, but their subjects spend more time in shadows than in sunshine.

Dead End Trail - Cricket Press

Dead End Trail – Cricket Press

Adult fears are flatly prosaic; they can be photographed under fluorescent light, authenticated with documentation, diagnosed with lab testing. We tiptoe down the cellar stairs not because we’re afraid of skeletal fingers grasping our ankle, but because we don’t have health insurance.

No surprise really that we might regard the bony hand with some degree of fondness by comparison.

Children navigate the edges of the adult world as explorers in a land that’s simultaneously familiar and strange, that continually discloses new mysteries and contradictions. Everything is unverified, and if grownups made up that stuff about Santa to keep you happy, maybe they’re telling you that vampires aren’t real for the same reason.

Night of the Owls

Night of the Owls

Anything is possible. There can still be monsters in the shadows. There is still magic in the moonlight. This is the childhood landscape that Cricket Press captures.

The Gate

The Gate

The actors are intrepid aventurers, cautious and canny. Their world is familiar: woods, meadows, that one house with the ominous atmosphere. It’s a realm of intensity, where good and evil are stark and simple, unmuddied by blurry greys. Relationships are uncomplicated by conflicting obligations. Quests, blood-brother oaths, and steadfast loyalty are the rule. Friendship really means forever because how could it possibly not? The line from Stand By Me comes to mind: “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” Cricket Press gets that, and even pays homage to the film with a print.

RIP Ray Brower

A Dead Body – Cricket Press

The prints manage to evoke a sort of meta-childhood nostalgia: not just by reflecting the viewer’s personal experience, but in their ability to decant the sweetness of the best childhoods from literature. They recall the flavor of Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes…

Fall Nights - Cricket Press

Fall Nights – Cricket Press

Of Jem and Scout and Dill, casting uncertain glances at Boo Radley’s house…

The House

The House

Of the Losers’ Club in 1958 Derry, Maine, or the Three Investigators, or the Hardy Boys, or Nancy, Bess and George, or any number of old friends.

Jack O Lanterns - Cricket Press

Jack O Lanterns – Cricket Press

The artworks’ charm is enhanced by the style of execution. The prints are perfectly respectable vignette illustrations which would be right at home among the pages of juvenile fiction – all they’re missing are page numbers and captions.

Campfire Conversations - Cricket Press

Campfire Conversations – Cricket Press

Each print is like a postcard across time and imagination. But it’s even better than that, because these are new pieces being created by contemporary artists. It’s a delight to be reminded that even in the grown-up world, there is still magic to unearth and treasure to discover.

Thanks Brian and Sara, for making wonderful art and doing it so well.

Visit Cricket Press at http://www.cricket-press.com/. See their Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/cricketpress and follow them on twitter at https://twitter.com/cricketpress.

29. March 2014 · Comments Off on Blame Leonard Lubin · Categories: art, studio, toadbriar · Tags: , , , ,

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.


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.


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.


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

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.


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!

09. January 2014 · Comments Off on New Print · Categories: art, toadbriar
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

12. December 2013 · Comments Off on And the Daily Mail. And a new print · Categories: art, news, toadbriar

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


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!

27. November 2013 · Comments Off on Autumn · Categories: art, events, toadbriar

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

A Hound Insane – Kim Parkhurst


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.


18. October 2013 · Comments Off on Fortune Teller and Upcoming Shows · Categories: art, events, toadbriar
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.

13. September 2013 · Comments Off on Kitty Prints Weekend! · Categories: art, toadbriar
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!

23. August 2013 · Comments Off on Mother Goose and the Three Little Originals · Categories: art, toadbriar

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




19. July 2013 · Comments Off on New Print! · Categories: art, toadbriar
Morning Mug by Kim Parkhurst

Morning Mug by Kim Parkhurst

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

06. July 2013 · Comments Off on New Ties for Early July · Categories: art, grip and word · Tags:



The beastly hot weather of the last few days has chased me into the air-conditioned comfort of my studio, where I finally finished making some new ties from fabric picked up earlier this year – they’re now available for purchase!

New Ties