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My Favorite Things – Musical Humor in Art

I don’t remember when I first saw Gerard Hoffnung’s musical cartoons, but I know they were an instant hit with me…which was remarkable because, truth be told, I didn’t even really like cartoons that much back then!

Fast forward to the present and I find myself often drawn to creating illustrations and cartoons of my music colleagues, both real and imagined.  A coping mechanism?  Steam valve?  Perhaps, but it’s also my way of paying homage to the art of music and the wonderful personalities that inhabit this noble world.

Happy Violinist at Wicked for IG

The Flautist cartoon illustration for blog

The Trombone cartoon illustration cropped



Bon Voyage!

I’m hoping that wishing oneself Bon Voyage isn’t one of those superstitions – like toasting with a glass of water, or walking under a ladder – that are rumored to bring bad luck.  In any case, as you can see, I’ve covered one of the worst case scenarios in this cartoon illustration, so maybe that will cancel out any negatives as I head off for a week in Denmark.

All superstitions aside, I’ve also learned this year that my worst case scenario fears rarely happen, and that I’m a lot better equipped to handle what comes my way than I usually imagine.  I bet the same is true for you…


Running Late cartoon illustration for blog.jpg

In case you have any doubts, do like I’m doing – smile, take a breath, and be mindful of the present, welcoming each thought, feeling and sensation as an opportunity to learn and grow.  As Eckhart Tolle wisely said…

“Life is an adventure, it’s not a package tour.”

How to Face Your Fears

Face Your Fears cartoon illustration for blog

(P.S. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!)

This past year was a bit of a roller-coaster for me.  The lows included lots of visits to many doctors, unexplained weight loss, and bouts of intense anxiety.  The physical cause of my symptoms is still somewhat mysterious to me, though the most plausible explanation (and the only one that was backed by actual medical results) is changing hormones.  Hello, perimenopause!

Along with lows, inevitably, come highs.  I’m happy to report that my “highs” have been very high indeed.  In fact, they’re the kinds of highs you want – not so much highs from happy times or pleasureful feelings, but ones that make you realize your own self-worth, and that help you to love the world and mankind more.

My journey to facing my fears still continues, but now it feels like more of an exciting challenge than a dreaded test.  In addition to continuing to do daily yoga (I particularly like the variety of classes that Boho Beautiful offers on Youtube) and mindfulness meditation (I use the Insight Timer app to track the length and frequency of my sessions), I’ve continued to keep focused with a steady diet of inspirational and helpful books.

I’m currently reading and really loving Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment by Ezra Bayda, and recently finished A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last by Stephen Levine.  Both of these books contain wonderful wisdom and tools for learning to accept and help redirect the power of the unending chatter that is our thoughts.

I’m also a fan of mrAnxietyfree and innerpeace.quotes on Instagram.

And if you haven’t already noticed, I’m truly dedicated to illustrating the funny and the human in the everyday life around me.   After all, we’re all in this together, or, as Mark Twain humorously put it…

“When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

Back to School?

With the heat we’ve been having, it’s hard to imagine that the leaves will ever fall off the trees, that we’ll want to reach for our coziest sweaters (maybe not given the increase in global warming?), and that the little kiddos will once again be going back to school.

But then again, that’s what imagination is for, and I put mine to good use recently to create this “Back to School” themed illustration for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Draw This! word prompt contest.

JMSC-129 Back to School Final for blog

Obviously, the subject in the illustration is not me.  But I did draw in part from one of my own childhood memories for inspiration.  That memory involved me and a friend straying off school campus during a gym hour Capture the Flag game.   We thought it would be cool to cross a log straddling a small stream in the nearby woods.  She made it; I fell in with my shoes and socks on.

(You’ll notice that I’ve placed the log over dry ground.  No little characters were harmed in the creation of this illustration!)



So You Want to Be a Musician?

Here’s some wisdom from the trenches (+ a ‘toon squeezed in between tunes at my Wicked show last night!)

Musician at Work for blog

“There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn’t give a damn what goes on in between.”

(Thomas Beecham)

A Gathering of Friends

…got together for this photo shoot. There was some jostling and vying for attention in the spotlight, but in the end everyone managed to get along.  If you’d like to see each of these little cartoons in action, check out my Instagram.

My cast of cartoon characters for blog.jpg

In the meantime, I hope you have a very happy Tuesday.  And remember, as Phyllis Diller once wisely said…

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”