Russian Badgers

I’m pleased that the Lenape Chamber Ensemble again requested a fun drawing from me, for their Children’s Concert next spring. This concert will include music by Mozart, Widor and Prokofiev, played by world-class musicians who also teach the young audience about musical themes and the composers. I read a bit about Prokofiev’s life and thought the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow would provide some architectural interest in the background, since my last illustration for a concert was set in Venice for Vivaldi.

lenapech_spr19_sk

I also discovered that Prokofiev was a noted chess player! I decided on badgers for this drawing’s main characters, and so drew a couple playing chess while others serenade them with flute, violin, viola, cello and piano, which are all featured in this concert.

Here is the sketch partially inked in – unfortunately had to change the pelican at right to a small bird, to fit in the word bubble.

lenspr19_sketch

And the final all inked in – below. Should be a delightful March concert!

lenape_chamber_ens_spring2019_childconcert

Venetian Bunnies

The Lenape Chamber Ensemble will again present a delightful concert for children in November, and I was asked to draw up a fun flyer advertising it.  The concert features world-class musicians who talk to the children about patterns and themes in the music, bits about the lives of the composers, and their specific instruments; and then they play snippets of the featured compositions (they play the full versions of these pieces for two adult concerts around the same weekend). Sometimes the musicians invite the children to get up and dance in whatever way the music makes them feel. I love going to these concerts to see the little preschoolers and elementary school children’s reactions to these glorious pieces of music!

This Children’s Concert will feature works by Leclair, Telemann, Couperin, and Vivaldi; I researched the pieces to be played and the composers, and found that Vivaldi (nicknamed the ‘red priest’ because he was indeed a cleric who inherited his family trait of red hair) was born in Venice. I’ve also been listening lately to Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta The Gondoliers, which takes places in Venice, so I decided to use that picturesque city as the backdrop for my illustration for this poster.

I researched pictures of gondolas and some landmarks in Venice, like the Rialto Bridge and the domed basilicas, and roughed out a pencil sketch of a little clutch of musical rabbits floating along in a canal –

lenape_chens_fall2018_sketch

The layout of my flyers for the Lenape Children’s Concerts is always similar, as you can see from this one and this one – they like me to hand-letter the text, so I plan the drawing around where the words will fall. I traced this pencil sketch onto bond paper using my lightbox, and inked in all the details using Faber-Castell Pitt pens.

lenape_chens_fall_2018_flyer

I highly recommend the Lenape Chamber Ensemble concerts – both the children’s and the adult ones – the lovely auditorium at Delaware Valley University is just the perfect intimate size to enjoy these wonderful artists playing gorgeous music.

An Animal Chamber Ensemble

I’ve drew my latest flyer illustration for the Lenape Chamber Ensemble’s spring children’s concert.  I always pick some cute animals to portray the musicians in the concert, although in reality they are world-class instrumentalists who play delightful snippets of classical masterpieces for youngsters, tell stories of the composers and get the children to dance to the music. These are wonderful concerts.

lenchens_beavers_1I had never drawn a colony of beavers before so I chose them; I placed a bunch of them on a dam for their concert, and since there were only four musical instruments to include this time I added a nattily dressed beaver couple as their audience. I started with a very rough pencil sketch, and I typed the wording in on a template I’ve made – the text always follows the same format, and I hand-letter it for the finish. It makes it easier to keep straight and space right if I hand trace the letters from this template.

I scanned the first sketch and made the characters a little bigger, and realized I had mistakenly drawn a harpsichord, but it should be a piano. Then I quickly inked & lenchens_beavers_2pencilled in blacks and gray values to see where I would concentrate the most color and texture in the picture. I added in a duck flying by, announcing refreshments, which they always provide to the kids at the concert. The duck was a little too large, I reduced it for the final art.

Onto a clean sheet of bond paper I traced the lettering using my lightbox, and also lightly traced the scene in pencil. Then I used a Faber-Castell fine felt-point to ink in the characters one by one, and all the little sticks and ripples of the dam and the water. I changed the backdrop from vague rolling hills to a fir-tree forest instead, with some reflections in the water. The finished art is below.

lenape_chamberens_children'sconcert_flyer_spring2018

Again, I heartily recommend these concerts if you want to introduce a young child to the beauty and enjoyment of classical music!

 

Viola da Gambas and Frogs’ Legs

Once again I was asked to draw a fun illustration for the Lenape Chamber Ensemble’s Children’s Concert, which will be performed November 4th at Delaware Valley University here in Doylestown.

frogs1This musical programme features a lesser-known instrument, the viola da gamba, which means ‘viol of the legs’ which is in contrast to the traditional violin, or viola da bracchia (viol  of the arms). To play up the importance of ‘da gamba’ for the instrument, I chose to sketch a frog playing it. The viola da gamba has a few differences from the rest of the string family – it has ‘C’ shaped holes to the left and right of the bridge, instead of  the ‘f’ shape of other strings, and the bow is held underhanded, instead of the overhand grip for other bows.

I sketched the other instruments – violin, viola, cello, bass and harpsichord – being played by happy salamanders.

frogs5frogs4frogs3frogs2

 

 

frogs6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– and situated them all in a little swamp, as you can see below. I’ve said it before, I highly  recommend these concerts for young children – the musicians are world-class and they all teach, so they are very generous and personable in talking to their young audience between playing snippets of classics.  It’s a wonderful experience for kids, and parents can attend the performance for free.

lenapechamberensemble_childrensconcert_fall17rev

Alpacas, Coatis and Mozart

1lenapechens_spring2017_1Twice a year the Lenape Chamber Ensemble creates a delightful concert for children age 4-12 at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, featuring world-class musicians performing short sections of the classical masterpieces that they play in their adult concerts.  The musicians explain their instruments and themes in the music in simple terms for the children in a casual, interactive concert. At the end the kids are invited to dance to the music – so fun to watch! I am asked to create a fun poster for each concert and over the years, I always love drawing animals performing the classical music and sometimes dancing to it. I try to tie the animal scene to a theme in the music program, but there was no unifying theme this time so I just chose some South American animals – alpacas and coatis – because they are animals I have not drawn before. I think the graceful Mozart piece in this concert – Piano Trio in C Major – would prompt even coatis up in the Andes Mountains to dance a minuet!

Featured in the coming spring concert on March 4 are also works by Prokofiev and Brahms for flute, violins, viola, cello, and piano. The concert is in Delaware Valley University’s beautiful new Life Sciences Auditorium, simple refreshments are provided and children can meet the musicians and see their instruments up close afterwards.  Admission for children is only $2, adults are free.  info (610) 294-9362.  The Lenape Chamber Ensemble is a non-profit organization supported by the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

Below is a photo I snapped at one concert, with a garland of tots danced round and round the stage.

lenapechphoto1

Illustration for a Fall Children’s Concert

lenapechamberensfall16detailtwOnce again the Lenape Chamber Ensemble has asked me to create a fun illustration to advertise their semi annual concert for children. This ensemble has been performing outstanding classical chamber music since 1975, and its musicians are among the best that the New York/ Philadelphia area have to offer, and have come from as far away as California and Europe. My friend Mary Eleanor Pitcairn has supported and produced these concerts since their inception, and she and her daughter Elizabeth Pitcairn are remarkable musicians themselves, as well as devoted patrons of musical art.

The program for this concert includes Handel’s Water Music, which he wrote in response to King George I of England’s request for a concert on the River Thames. It features movements related to dances of the era, such as minuets, bourrees and hornpipes. You’ll recognize the hornpipe if you listen to it here. I thought about the hornpipe that is a traditional sailors’ dance, and chose to draw cats for my illustration of sailors performing the music, while two break out into a hornpipe on the deck.

lenapechamberensfall16flyer

 

I heartily recommend taking your children or grandchildren to these Lenape concerts, they are formatted especially for young children – the musicians talk about the music and composers in simple terms, demonstrate their instruments, play short snippets of the elegant music and explain how the instruments speak to each other, and take questions from the children. It often ends with all the children dancing to the final musical piece, and it’s a delightful experience for everyone!

 

A Painting a Day: Animal Orchestra

animalorchestra_wp2

Day 5 of posting a Painting a Day: Animal Orchestra. For over 20 years I have drawn animals playing instruments on posters for the Lenape Chamber Ensemble’s children’s concerts, and so one year I decided to paint a full color version to use on a Christmas card. (I sell them on my Store page.) As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I really enjoy drawing musical instruments, not only because they are functional in producing beautiful music, but also because I find them beautifully designed objects of art.