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.

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.

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]

Vintage Bear Illustration

Jonathan looooves old vintage squeaky toys. We have more than a few. Here's a bear he drew back in 2010 called "Bear Capture" that sold in Atlanta's Matre Gallery. Pro tip: Love an artist's work but can't afford a painting? Look for their pencil on paper sketches or ask if they can do a pencil commission. The difference in price can be significant and you still get a piece of work you love! Be sure to budget in a nice frame to protect the drawing. We like frames from Dick Blick and Target's RE collection. Like this drawing? Be sure to check out our line of affordable Giclee prints on canvas at Fat and Appy Modern Art for Children

An illustration of a vintage bear by Denver illustrator 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!

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

Art Movers: Home Edition

Jonathan thinks the best way to enjoy your art is to move it around. From time to time, Jonathan will play art swap and move a painting or print from one room to another, from family room to kids' rooms or from a bedroom wall to the living room.

Most of the time, I love this where-will-it-turn-up-next game. But every so often, I think, "Nooo! You can't move that. I'm too in love with it where it is."

But every time, I end up appreciating the new location. And then I think, "We should have done this before!"

This week, Jonathan moved "Painting" by Bruce Clark. I was totally reluctant. I love "Painting" (I blogged about it here) and thought it reigned over our living room in eye-popping 1980's glory. Here's what it looked like at nighttime:

A Bruce Clark painting

But Jonathan had a new plan, and so I consented. He moved "A Need to Nurture" into the space. At first, I wasn't sure.

A Need to Nurture Modern Art Print by Jonathan Fenske of Fat and Appy

But now after a few days, I really love it. I'm even eyeing other pieces, thinking of the places they could go---someday.

What about you? Do you move art around? Share your tips! We'd love to hear from you. 

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!

Free Book Friday Winner and Er, Another Free Book Friday Contest!

Hi everyone! Thanks to those who entered last week's Free Book Friday contest. We had nine entries, so I used Random.org to pick the winner. Drum roll, please..... Screen shot 2013-02-01 at 10.29.41 PM

The winner (#3 on my Random.org entry) was Comment #3 by Gina who writes a pretty awesome parenting/DIY blog. Congrats, Gina! She wins a signed hardcover copy of Love Is in the Air.

That brings me to this week's contest. There is more than one hour left on Friday, so I still feel okay in my soul about this being a Free Book Friday post. Eastern time zone people are asleep, but here in the Mountain West, we're just getting started.

dog_Fenske

I've decided to give away two Love Is in the Air books this week since I think it might get monotonous to do this for five weeks straight as planned. So....for this week's contest, please simply share this blog. You can do so with the share buttons at the bottom of the post. (If you are reading this from the front page of the blog, you won't see buttons. You have to click the actual post and then scroll down.)

It's the honor system around here, so once you tweet, Facebook or whatnot, simply just post in the comments below where you shared it. The contest will be open until Wed., Feb. 6 and there will be two winners. Good luck!

Art on a Budget: 6 Ways to Find Art That's Affordable

Jonathan and I love art, and we share our home with paintings and other special one-of-a-kind pieces that mean a lot to us. I know from talking with friends who come over that they often want original art---but don't know where to start. It's too expensive, right? Well, of course, it can be. But it doesn't always have to. With a little work, Googling and luck, you can have beautiful art, all for not much money. We're living proof!

Okay, if you're still with me, read on for a few tips on buying art on a budget. (Or finding art on a budget...but we're getting ahead of ourselves!)

Art on a Budget Tip #1: Find An Artist You Love and Then Figure Out How to Buy from Them

I'll let you in on a secret: artists like to sell their work. And they usually do it with a smile on their face. So, get out and meet artists. You'll be collecting on the cheap, so head to undergraduate art openings at a college or university near you. Stopping in at the local yogurt shop? Chances are, there's an artist on the walls that month. Even Barnes and Noble displays art on the hall leading to the bathroom. Look for artist "studio tours" in nice weather. Go on gallery crawls where there are pop-up exhibitions happening on nearby streets.

Use Twitter to find artists by following hashtags such as #illustrator and #artist. Strike up Twitter friendships with artists and visit their websites. Often, artists will set up online stores where they offer paintings, prints and even pillows of their work. Want something different but completely cool? DENY Designs based in Denver sells home decor goods printed with amazing art, including stretched canvas.

Become friends with your new favorite artist. Get on their email list. Comment on their blog. Be supportive and introduce them to other potential collectors. They'll be grateful and when you commission them to paint the perfect 24"x24" piece for your foyer, they'll gratefully move you to the top of the list.

Once you find something that's in your budget, ask yourself just one question: Do I like this piece? If you do, buy it. This is where you decide to part with cold cash: if you like it, it's yours.

When I was in high school, I was really into Georgia folk artists. I adored R.A. Miller and found out a cool gallery in my hometown of Greenville, S.C. carried a few of his pieces. I walked in the door (probably decked out in a vintage dress and humming an R.E.M. song) and trotted out a few minutes later with this tin cut (below) for $40. (The painting on the left was purchased in Nicaragua off the street for less than $20. It has a cardboard frame...isn't it the coolest?)

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Pro Tip: When buying art from a cafe or bookstore, it's a universal truth that the frames will be atrocious. Look past it---it's okay. Head over to Dick Blick and re-frame your sweet new piece of art.

Art on a Budget Tip #2: Trade Something

From time to time, Jonathan (who is an artist and children's book author/illustrator, if you are a new reader to this blog) will trade with another artist he admires. It's how we got this piece by David Nielson when we lived in Atlanta a few years before we moved out West.

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If you aren't an artist with another painting to trade, maybe you are a graphic designer and can trade a website design. Or maybe you're an attorney who can give some contract advice to an artist. Stay-at-home mom? What about babysitting for an artist who needs help watching kids so she can work? Trading works best if you have a relationship already established with the artist. So, I say ask--you never know what you might be able to arrange. Back in Atlanta, we once traded a painting for a Danish Modern dining room table and chairs. (If you want to see that painting, "Chivalry Is Dead," click here. It's peeking over the shoulder of our friend Brian.)

Art on a Budget Tip #3: Troll Etsy

There are some amazing artists on Etsy.  It's like an art fair on your laptop. You'll have to sift and sort but when you do, slap a heart on shops you love and come back again and again. We purchased this print from 12fifteen and then framed it with a Target matte/frame combo. I love prints and think they are a great way to collect someone you love...even if more than one person has the same one you do. Total cost: $47.50.

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Art on a Budget Tip #4: Ask an Artist to Paint Your Walls

This one takes a little more coordination, but you probably won't be turned down. As long as you are not asking the artist to paint a Disney character (blech), most early-career artists will happily come over and draw something special on your wall and then paint it. Jonathan got his start doing murals all over the Upstate of South Carolina. Send a friendly email...what do you have to lose?

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Art on a Budget Tip #5: Don't Forget Sculpture

An often less-expensive path to an art-filled home is to remember sculpture, vases, birdhouses, lamps...anything that you love and expresses who you are.

This TimeStone clock makes me happy every time I walk downstairs for a badly-needed cup of coffee in the morning. The bright yellow bird slides back and forth. We found this at a thrift store for less than $5.

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These blocks were a gift for the new baby. They are fresh, modern and so pretty. From tiny giraffe on Etsy.

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Art on a Budget Tip #6: Make Friends with Your Local Thrift Store

Every thrift store in America has a huge bin of mouldering frames, 1970's owl art and assorted motivational posters housed in gold-tone frames. You, dear reader, are going deeper. Remember to disregard the frames and the cleanliness of the art. Pounce on anything that is clearly original and well done. Jonathan rescued this awesome 1982 painting from a thrift store down the street. It's by Denver artist Bruce Clark and I can't imagine what happened so that it ended up where it did, but we couldn't be more thrilled to be the new owners.

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I should definitely add that many quality galleries offer paintings in the low hundreds. Some even may have very small works for less than $200 if the artist is just starting out. Or they may sell high-quality prints that cost around $100. But if those prices are too steep for your budget, then I hope some of my ideas may help. Good luck and happy hunting!
Do you have a fun art collecting story? Share it in the comments!  And don't forget to subscribe to more Fenske art news by scrolling to the bottom of the blog and entering your email. Keep up with Jen and Jonathan on Twitter, too: @jenmanskefenske

Art in the Home

Paintings are funny  things---they live in your head (in Jonathan's case) and in your home while they are coming into existence. I often get attached to certain works Jonathan does and it's a little bit sad when they leave us, whether it's to the gallery or for a commission. I don't get too sad though---after all, the baby's gotta have new shoes! From time to time, though, we hear about where a painting ended up and it's like meeting an old friend. This month, we met over email some collectors who shared with us a glimpse of where a handful of Jonathan's paintings landed after they left the Matre Gallery several years ago. The couple, who live in Atlanta, graciously allowed us to share the pictures with you. I adore their home and their style. And the paintings? I have to admit I was a bit moved when I saw them again. I remember the vintage toys and the fresh canvases Jonathan built in our old bungalow near downtown Atlanta.

In the end, these pictures from such an art-loving couple, brought us a lot of joy. Hello, old friends! And hello, new friends.