Fisher Price Supa Dupa: Original Art from $49

Hi all. Jonathan looooves to sketch and draw. This week, in between children's book stuff and painting commissions, he sat down and sketched some of his favorite vintage Fisher-Price toys and other playthings. I asked if we could put them on our Etsy store, and he was cool with that. So....drumroll...here are four new drawings that are perfect for the beginning art collector (priced at $49-$59, unframed). An original sketch by Jonathan Fenske of a bear from Goldilocks Fisher Price playset

Denver artist Jonathan Fenske's drawing of a bear from the Fisher Price Goldilocks playset

Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske's sketch of the black Fisher Price dog

A drawing of the Fisher Price knight by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Jonathan Fenske's sketch of a 1950's deer figurine

A graphite drawing of the knight from the Fisher Price Castle playset by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

A detail of a Little People Fisher Price drawing by Jonathan Fenske

You can find these one-of-a-kind drawings at our new Fat and Appy Etsy store. We're planning on using the Etsy shop as a place to experiment with new products, so if you have any ideas or suggestions, leave them in the comments! Thanks for stopping by, as always. We love ya'll.

Playskool + Fisher-Price Painting: Lakeside Fun

Jonathan just shipped out another commission to a favorite client (oops, can I say that?). She has commissioned two other paintings,  "The Things We Leave Behind" and "Working Well Together." The latest painting is definitely one of my favorites. "Life Is Built of Memories" suggests the client's beloved Minnesota summer cabin with Lincoln Logs, vintage Playskool figures and a Fisher-Price kayak.

Fisher-Price-painting-by-Denver-artist-Jonathan-Fenske

Thanks for stopping by! If you would like more information on painting commissions, please contact Jennifer AT fatandappy DOT com. We also sell beautiful Giclee prints on canvas of Jonathan's work at fatandappy.com. Prices start at $99. 

Art for Sale: Original Fenske Drawings

It's time to move art! (You know we love doing this...) Jonathan and I are making room for some new pieces on our walls, and we have a few drawings we're going to sell. As a side note: it's sometimes hard to part with favorite art. But as we tell the girls all of the time (when they want to hoard things like paper wrappers from straws): "We can't save everything."

If you are interested, please shoot me a note (jennifer AT fatandappy DOT com). Shipping is additional to the prices below.

The Little Woman,  graphite on illustration board. Image is 11"x14"; total board size is 16"x20"; 2008. $99.

Fisher Price cowboys

A drawing of a Barbie by Jonathan Fenske

An image of a vintage bear

The drawings will need a frame with glass. (We like frames at Dick Blick.) If you would like Jonathan to paint something just for you, please contact me as well for commission information. And we feature a fun line of Giclee prints of Jonathan's work (on well-made, gallery-quality canvas) at www.fatandappy.com. Prices for prints start at $99.

We also just uncrated four paintings from storage. Fun to see these beauties from a few years ago.

A painting of a red tricycle
Ride Free, 30"x24", acrylic on board, 2008.
A painting of a spring horse from a playground
Spring Chicken, acrylic on board, 18"x24, 2008.
A spring horse from a playground
Buck-A-Duck, 24x18, acrylic on board, 2008.
A painting of Legos by Jonathan Fenske
Building An Empire, 16x20, acrylic on board, 2008.

Fat and Appy Is Open on Etsy!

We opened Fat and Appy Modern Art at FatandAppy.com a few months ago, using the Shopify platform (which we love). But a lot of people we respect (and have successful Etsy shops themselves) nudged us to "get on Etsy." I've been shopping on Etsy forever, so it wasn't a hard sell. I just knew it would take a lot of work to load in the store, set up tags, photos and pull it all together in the "About" section. And then last week, we finally decided to take the plunge. Jonathan and I both worked hours rewriting copy, enlarging jpegs and brainstorming tags. We also launched a new design, called "Identity Crisis." It's available in four sizes, starting at $99.

Rody bouncing horse by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Our new Etsy store can be found at FatandAppyModernArt. I think it's so exciting to be in the company of thousands of creatives who are making things. I hope we can debut new products on the Etsy store or maybe even original drawings to get feedback. I've even been cooking up a 3D printer project. I have endless ideas...but I just try to take them one at a time and decide what to pursue. My notebook is full of ideas; Jonathan has a similar notebook and his is crammed with project ideas, too.

And now we can check off Etsy. Hurray!

Tomato painting by Jonathan Fenske

A fox print by illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Yeehaw Colorado painting by Jonathan Fenske

A fried egg print by Fat and Appy, designed by Jonathan Fenske

Banksy's College Scholarship #banksyny

By now you may have heard that superstar British graffiti artist Banksy set up a stall in Central Park yesterday and sold original, signed work for $60 each. (His work can fetch in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.) It took four hours to make the first sale, and at the end of the day, the nice older gentleman running the stall had made $420. I had to laugh when I heard about this and immediately watched the video on Banksy's website about his month-long NY "residency." I loved it all, the pop-up stall, the people strolling by, oblivious to the stunt, and the naturally effortless way Banksy stirs things up.

And then it hit me: College scholarship! If I had been one of those lucky people who bought a Banksy for $60 (or less...one woman bargained and got two for $60. Shrewd!) I would be on the phone with an auction house, selling the canvas for college money for the girls.

Sigh. How did we get here? I can practically hear my younger, more "pure" artistic self mocking me. Disappointed in me, a little. "But it would be cool to have a Banksy hanging in the living room," my younger self shrieks. "How did you get so OLD?!!

All I can tell my younger, hipster-loving art connoisseur self is to go to the Vanguard website, type in that your youngest child will be in college in ELEVEN years and then hit "Return." Watch the numbers dance. And then cry yourself to sleep in a corner.

And that, younger version of me, is why I would sell my pop-up Banksy in a split second. And I have a feeling that Banksy would probably say: you gotta do what you gotta do. But he would say it in a British accent and then go spray paint something. And we definitely wouldn't see his face. But you get the idea.

Have a great time in New York, Banksy! It's fun to watch what you're doing from here. 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zX54DIpacNE&w=420&h=315]

In Sketching Our Children I Find a Fleeting Freedom

It seems a fruitless task, the sketching of our children, for how can I in anyway capture adequately the beauty of the child that sits or sleeps in front of me? A sketch of a sleeping child by Jonathan Fenske

So interesting, and against my perfectionist nature, to know that my attempts will be subpar at best. But in this realization there is a release of sorts: the usual pressure to perform subsides, for these sketches will not be masterpieces, but moments thrown down to revisit at a later date, tangible proof of a special point in time after so many other points are lost to life’s too-quick passing.

A drawing of Jonathan Fenske's middle daughter

This need to capture these moments is my challenge and motivation. There are the technical aspects of course. Twenty minutes, tops, is not really much time before the daughter in front of you asks once too often “Daddy, how much longer do I have to sit still?” and you realize creation is crossing into torture for both sitter and artist.

A drawing of a child by Jonathan Fenske

The sleep sketches are even freer of predictability: five, perhaps ten minutes, the knowledge of a coming change pushing my pencil rapidly along. And then, the change made manifest with a snuffle and a roll, and deep sleep recovered in a different pose.

An infant sleeping by Jonathan Fenske

But for these small swatches of time I get to look unabashedly at my children’s faces, studying, remembering, tucking away the geometry of their features. Features I now recall when they are at school, or I am on the road. Features I hope to still recall when they leave their mother and me and stretch toward the horizon of adulthood.

Sleeping child drawing by Jonathan Fenske

As you who are parents well know, at the end of a hard day, full of sassiness and scuffles, whining and tantrums, there is a voice of despair that tells us we are underappreciated, that our failures outweigh the successes of our parenthood. Sketching my daughters is one of my releases from this voice, for as I study the peacefulness that attends their slack mouths and soft faces, I find in their letting go I am able to let go myself. Today’s slate is wiped clean. Tomorrow’s is as smooth and unlined as the calm brows of my lovely children.

Wet headed daughter sketch by Jonathan Fenske

 

A quick sketch of a sleeping baby by Jonathan Fenske

A sketch of a surprised baby by Jonathan Fenske

More Emma Klingbeil

I wrote about Emma Klingbeil, my new favorite artist, a while ago. I also told you in that post that I thought I had a "fox" thing. Turns out, I do have a thing for the woodland fox.

Today's post is about two more Klingbeil paintings I purchased from her Etsy shop. I just love her creation of these woodsy, clever creatures. I can almost smell the toadstools! They also make me happy, and I always say, "Buy art because it makes you happy." I am happy, happy, happy.

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This next one hangs in our hallway upstairs. I took it down to get a good shot which turned out to be a weird, light bouncing shot:

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And here is "Antlers4", but where it actually hangs upstairs:

DSC_0075 What about you? Who is your fave artist and what makes you "happy" about their work? Tell us in the comments!

New Red Fox Collection Debuts at Fat and Appy

Really, really excited to tell ya'll that today, The Fox Has Landed. We're launching a new collection in our online store that offers parents modern art for children, Fat and Appy™. The new art collection is called Red Fox and the designs come from Jonathan's children's book Red Fox in a Shadowed Wood, a moody, evocative tale that's really different than what he's done before.

A fox print by Jonathan Fenske

Red Fox in a Shadowed Wood follows the adventures of a curious fox who travels homeward under the cover of night. Along the way, he encounters a lot of interesting things.

An art fox print from illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Jonathan Fenske fox art

Some of the adventures are a little scary, like the Black Car. But don't worry, {SPOILER} our adventurous fox makes it home okay! I really, really love this book. Jonathan is currently shopping it around, so hopefully we'll have great news to report soon.

We've released six designs for the Red Fox collection. Which is your favorite?

Psst: Don't forget! It's easy to save 10% at Fat and Appy when you sign up for our emails

The Great Outdoors, Indoors

These great snaps came in from our dear friend, Gina, who is the fabulous writer and blogger over at The Daily B. Gina and her husband Kris commissioned Jonathan to create a painting that showed their love of the outdoors using Fisher Price people. Jonathan matched their hair color and made sure the Rockies were in the painting. And of course Kris' beloved mountain bike made an appearance (in toy form).

It's always fun to see where art ends up. I think that could be a book...traveling around the country and snapping pictures of where Jonathan's art lands. Okay, okay, this is just a road trip excuse. I am picturing camping and gelato and...well, all of a sudden, I am feeling the need to travel. (For more of Gina and her awesome sense of style, you can read her post about her daughter's bedroom art makeover.)

A picture of a painting by Denver artist Jonathan Fenske

Photo courtesy of The Daily B. 

We're picking a winner of our contest tomorrow! Have you entered? All you have to do is leave a comment on our blog post about Etsy shop budpnq and you'll be in the running for this beauty. Good luck, ya'll!

Fat and Appy Blog giveaway

We Went West

In a few days, we'll mark seven years as Colorado residents. We've added two more girls to our family here, wrote novels and children's books, bought our second home, and made amazing friends. We've climbed mountains and trod family-friendly loop paths. We've amassed some killer outdoor gear. We've feasted on the stunning views of the Rocky Mountains' Front Range every day. We're blessed to live here. In honor of this family anniversary, I thought I would show a few of Jonathan's many Western-inspired paintings and illustrations. Enjoy!

P.S. Don't forget to enter our awesome contest that ends this Friday to win a gorg necklace from Etsy shop budpnq. Enter the Fat and Appy contest now!

A Fisher Price cowboy painted by Jonathan Fenske

An American Icon, acrylic on board, private collection

kowboy krunch final

Kowboy Krunch, illustration

when coach was first class

When Coach Was First Class, acrylic on board, collection of the Booth Western Museum

A painting of Yosemite bears by Jonathan Fenske

Yosemite Bears, acrylic on board, private collection

A painting of cowboy themes by Jonathan Fenske

Yeehaw Colorado, Giclee canvas print, available for sale from FatandAppy.com, $119. 

A Fisher Price painting of an American Indian by Jonathan Fenske

Surveying What Was Lost, acrylic on board, private collection

Flannery O'Connor Mural

I was flipping through some older photos from early in Jonathan's career and I found a painting of a mural he did in a high school in Spartanburg, S.C. Jonathan first launched his painting career after we married by painting murals in houses. It was a great way for us to get steady income and a wonderful way (looking back it) for Jonathan to conceive of larger-scale works. He also learned to work quickly since he had a lot of ground to cover. (As a side note, during this time Jonathan was diving into murals, I was across town in the newsroom at the Anderson Independent-Mail newspaper, learning how to write creatively and on deadline. First jobs are the best, although no one ever says that while they are doing them.) Jonathan was commissioned by the English teacher of the high school to conceive and paint the mural. As a rabid Flannery O'Connor lover, this mural was definitely, hands-down, my favorite one he ever did.

It's a scene from the Flannery O'Connor short story, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." The mural is a representation of this passage:

"The road was about ten feet above and they could see only the tops of the trees on the other side of it. Behind the ditch they were sitting in there were more woods, tall and dark and deep. In a few minutes they saw a car some distance away on top of a hill, coming slowly as if the occupants were watching them. The grandmother stood up and waved both arms dramatically to attract their attention. The car continued to come on slowly, disappeared around a bend and appeared again, moving even slower, on top of the hill they had gone over. It was a big black battered hearselike automobile. There were three men in it." ---From: "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor (1953)

A picture of a mural by Jonathan Fenske of a Flannery OConnor short story A Good Man Is Hard to Find

I hope the mural is still in that high school, although I wouldn't be surprised if it were painted over by now---those things happen. Jonathan doesn't do murals anymore*, but this picture takes me back to a sweet, sweet time.

*Actually, he did a bird mural for our older girls' room in 2011, right before the baby got here. But professionally, it's not something he does anymore.

Pssst! Did you get our first Fat and Appy email? It contained a code to save 15% on your next order. Get on the Fat and Appy mailing list today! 

A Fenske Commission: Straight to the Moon!

Another commission is leaving the studio. This (as yet untitled) painting is for a client who wanted a vintage Western + space story using Jonathan's collage-style painting method. They have a Cape Canaveral and NASA family background and were fun for Jonathan to work with over the past few months. I loved seeing this one take shape...it's really cool. A painting by Jonathan Fenske

If you're interested in a painting commission, drop Jennifer (that's me!) a line at jennifer AT fatandappy DOT com. If you like the collage-style painting method, but don't want to go the commission route, check out our online store of affordable Giclee canvas prints. Here's Yeehaw Colorado ($119) for a 16"x20" canvas print:

A painting of cowboy themes by Jonathan Fenske

Pro Tip: Don't forget! Sign up for our emails and save 15%! This discount will go away this weekend (we're dropping it to 10%) so make sure to save now! 

Some Recent Fenske Illustrations

Jonathan has been doing a little bit of everything this summer: editorial illustration, video scribing, painting commissions and logo designs. Here's a quick look at two projects. This illustration is part of a series for a large quick-service restaurant chain. I love the pattern Jonathan did on her bathrobe! This illustration is making me want to design fabric again! (A long-standing dream of mine.) A woman in a bathrobe with coffee illustration

Here are several logo treatments for the Los Lunaticos cycling team in Santa Fe, NM. What's your favorite?

Various logos for a cycling team in Santa Fe NM

We hope your summer is filled with creativity and fun! Today, I'm hoping to take pictures of our newly improved family room. I keep trying, but with three kids running about, the room is always a disaster. I think I'll have Jonathan take the girls out for ice cream or a bike ride so I can finally get some snaps of the room. Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by our blog. We're Jennifer and Jonathan, makers of high-quality modern art for kids, among other things. Visit FatandAppy.com , and sign up for our emails to save on your next purchase. 

Fat and Appy at the Farmers' Market

We did something new-to-us Saturday: we set up shop at the Bradburn farmers' market in Westminster, CO. Having a Fat and Appy table was a new experience, as was talking to other moms and dads about our modern art canvases. You see, I'm so used to looking at the canvases, thinking about the canvases, and working to share the canvases with the world, that it was a little strange to have to explain that, well, we sell modern art canvases. Most people thought they were looking at an original painting.

That's a tribute to our trusted vendor who uses a Giclee method to print our canvases. The quality of the canvases is stunning. They look like original paintings.

Jennifer Fenske talks to a customer at the farmers' market.

So, I found myself stumbling over the words a few times. I'll have to get smoother and less flustered.

While we were at the market, we made new friends with Daniel and Kristen from the Early Bird Restaurant in Bradburn. I enjoyed their wonderful coffee and a delicious piece of banana bread. I love discovering new indie restaurants, and I know we'll come back and eat breakfast at their restaurant in downtown Bradburn.

A vase of flowers

Big Idea was also at the market and they set up the best kids' creative activities. Our girls painted with foam and water for over an hour. They also decorated empty cardboard boxes.

The kids take turns drawing their versions of the guppy from Jonathan's book Guppy Up!

I loved the bustling nature of the market, the neighbors all stopping to chat and catch up, and of course, I loved the food.

Fresh organic strawberries.

Carrots at the farmers' market in Colorado.

Cupcake from the farmers' market.

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Jars of homemade jam from the farmers' market.

Jonathan read Guppy Up! to the kids at the market. This always cracks me up...kids really can say some hysterical things.

Jonathan Fenske reads the children's book, Guppy Up!

After he read, Jonathan drew his guppy character for the children and then they made their own versions.

Jonathan Fenske draws the guppy from his children's book Guppy Up!

Going from "online" to real-time was definitely a first for our new business. Maybe we'll try art fairs or other festivals. I'm not sure yet. I like the convenience of selling online...the store is open while I'm asleep! But there's something to be said for talking with parents and hearing their feedback and what they want for their children's decor. I would like to find a way to balance both. Either way, banana bread must be involved.

Welcome! We're Jennifer and Jonathan, and we make art, books, canvas prints and other fun things. Check out Fat and Appy to learn more. We are so glad you stopped by!

Pie! Birds! Buds!

Happy Memorial Day to you and your family! We are relaxing today around the house and will head to a BBQ with friends later on. Meanwhile, there are new, tender plants to tend. I currently have a peony obsession which I blame on the Denver Botanic Gardens. You see, I saw the paeonia "Fernleaf Double Red" getting ready to bloom a few weeks ago at the Gardens. I decided right then I had to have my own, must have my own! And then I found out that they are pretty rare, and tres expensive (about $30-50, bare root). So, I thought it wise not to kill a $50 bare root peony on my first go-round, so I picked up paeonia "Sarah Bernhardt" at the Home Depot for about $14. Here she is: Welcome, Miss Peony. Further blog posts will tell if I become one of those crazy ladies who is devoted to one type of plant or another. Actually, maybe it's not so crazy at all. I have mentioned my new-found peony thing to a few friends and they all tell me stories of their grandmothers' peonies. So, if my kids remember my peony bushes, maybe that's not so bad?

Picture of Peony
Picture of Peony

This is my perennial bed I've been stocking with free, divided plants from friends. I did add a $13 (also from Home Depot) Spirea. Also stuffed in this bed is Shasta Daisy, Jupiter's Beard and a ton of sedum from my dear friend Rebecca. More on her later---she's a very talented landscape architect. The willow structure was Rebecca's idea. I still have to weave in more willow branches. Hope to get to that next week. The kids love playing in it.

Picture of willow house
Picture of willow house

Our yarrow is getting ready to bloom. This variety is "Paprika." I have divided it three times already, and it's headed for a fourth after it blooms. It's a monster bloomer and grower.

Picture of yarrow in Colorado
Picture of yarrow in Colorado

Nothing much to show in the vegetable garden bed yet. I raised my plants from seeds this year, to mixed results. I've lost all the cucumbers (rats!) and have reseeded those, ever hopeful. You can spy broccoli in the middle and spinach to the far left. Carrots are in the foreground, too tiny now to see yet.

Early garden bed in Colorado
Early garden bed in Colorado

Our much-abused bird feeder is hot to trot this year. We are visited by dozens of (fat) birds each day.

Picture of birdfeeder in Colorado backyard
Picture of birdfeeder in Colorado backyard

And here is today's Peach and Blueberry pie. The crust I make without fail each time just wouldn't come together today--it was super crumbly, so I couldn't even roll out a top crust. I scraped and rerolled to make a ghetto lattice crust. Here's hoping it tastes good. Or that our friends at the BBQ are forgiving.

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DSC_0945

We hope your holiday is special and full of love and laughing. Thanks for stopping by!

We're Jennifer and Jonathan and we are delighted you are reading our domestic art and home ramblings! We create books and modern art canvases for kids at Fat and Appy. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Send your peony advice to Jennifer

The Bunny Makes the Journey

I wrote recently about art coming out of the trash. In this case, art is coming from eBay. Jonathan purchased this little fella recently for a few bucks. He's kind of on a squeaky toy kick right now. A vintage rubber bunny

Then, Jonathan sketched the bunny, dodging our well-meaning four-year-old who often "adds" to his drawings.

A squeaky vintage rubber bunny

Jonathan's currently working on the bunny design that we'll add to Fat and Appy, our online store for modern children's art. We'll post again when the bunny makes his complete journey. Come back, won't you?

Is vintage art your thing? Check our Near and Deer, Fast Car or A Need to Nurture at FatandAppy.com. 

3 Pieces of Art That Make Me Happy

It's snowing (again!) and I'm having a quiet afternoon to write and work. I've been home from my corporate job for about a week a half and my new way of life is still sinking in. (I resigned from my social media job to run Fat and Appy and help Jonathan's career; you can read more about it here.) The house isn't perfect: clothes are strewn about and stubs of crayons the baby has chewed litter the floor. But there are signposts of peace--small pieces of art around the house that tell me I am home. They make me happy. I thought I might share a few with you.

1. Elephant Tea Pot

I realized I loved design and decor when I got out of college. I was in possession of my first apartment outside of Asheville. On a cool, fall Saturday, I wandered into an antique store in Asheville. I spied this elephant tea pot and bought it, relishing in the freedom that came with having a little money in my pocket. (I am sure it was a small amount of money, but still, it was mine!). This little pot has been packed and repacked a half-dozen times...it always goes with me.

Picture of an tea pot shaped like an elephant with baby

2. Blurry Pop

I love this painting by Mr. Jonathan Fenske. One humid summer day in Atlanta, Jonathan decided to lay out some popsicles on a board in the front yard. As they melted, he took pictures every 15 minutes or so. The art project came to an end when Kemp, our Australian shepherd, discovered the pops and ate them. (Want your own Pop? We have a Giclee print version inspired by Blurry Pop in our online store.)

A painting of a creamsicle by Jonathan Fenske

3. Swinging Bird Timestone Clock

We picked up this clock for super cheap at a thrift store. This hangs in our kitchen and is just delightful. It makes me happy just to look at it. You have to see it in action for the full effect (I took a five-second video).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2OB_WI2Pmc]

That's it from here for today...what pieces of art do you have that you love and make you happy? If you liked this post, you may enjoy our blog post, Art on a Budget: Six Ways to Find Art That's Affordable