Children's Modern Art Canvases + Free Autographed Book

It's crazy exciting to announce our first promotion for Fat and Appy: Modern Art Canvases: A Free Autographed Copy of Love Is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske with purchase. No coupon code needed: We'll throw an autographed softcover copy of Love Is in the Air* into each order through April 24, 2013. Shop on, art lover! If you have been following our blog, you know we have been moving toward focusing Fat and Appy on art, rather than apps. We still love apps (hello, Apple!) but our first love has always been art. So, Fat and Appy is officially relaunching as Fat and Appy Modern Art Canvases for Children. 

A happy fat tomato with green background

There are several reasons for our new direction. A lot of parents want to have affordable art for their children's rooms and play spaces. Too often, they are stuck with tacky prints at big-box stores. Simple, short-run prints have a place, too, and you can find them on Etsy, for instance, but then you have to frame them and we've found not everyone wants to do that.

Need tips for finding affordable art? Check out our post, "Art on a Budget: 6 Ways to Find Art That’s Affordable"

Another reason is that we discovered an amazing partner to create our canvases. They are handmade in North America, guaranteed not to fade or crack for 99 years and we offer a 30-Day Happiness Guarantee. The quality is so good, I practically swooned when I saw the first sample.

An orange popsicle on a blue background by Jonathan Fenske

We've added 18 designs to the store, starting with the artwork from Healthy Creatures (that's our app for iPad!) plus some fun Popsicle illustrations. Jonathan is hard at work on more illustrations, so if you have some ideas, leave a comment below.

Two peas with faces with pink background

More details, if you are in to that type of thing:

-High-quality canvas stretched over 1.5" wooden frame

-Printed with gallery-quality Giclee method

-Available in four sizes

-Designed by Jonathan Fenske

-Canvas wraps around sides providing a white finished decorative edge

-Durable piano wire mounted on back for easy hanging

Thanks for reading, and for supporting us!

--Jen and Jonathan

Who are Jennifer and Jonathan? Read about us, here.

Image of Love Is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske

* While supplies last. Softcover copy of Love Is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske has a retail value of $3.99. Sorry, we cannot personalize the autograph. No cash value. Offer ends April 24, 2013. 

What's Your Favorite Children's Book? + Book News

If you have kids in your home, you read a lot of children's books. Books are everywhere around here. And beware the tidy mother who attempts to curate the collection. There were howls of protest when I started to "thin" out the bookshelves earlier this week. But we had to...shelves were stuffed and books were piled and the baby would drag them around, chewing and mewing for someone to read to her. (Kidding! She's in that stage where a book is simply not that interesting. We still read to her, of course, but she wanders off to see how her older sisters are clobbering each other. True story.) In any event, we filled a box-o-books to take to Goodwill.

Box of children's books

This book curating made me think of a guest post Jonathan did in February over at The Write Now Coach, Rochelle Melander. I've known Rochelle for many years and she's a true tour-de-force of a writing coach, author, editor...the list goes on. She kindly had Jonathan on her blog and he guest posted about his 5 favorite children's books. Here's an excerpt:

"When we had our first daughter seven years ago, I delighted in buying old picture books at thrift stores and discovering new titles at our local bookstore. When I wrote Love Is in the Air (indeed, whenever I write) all of my favorite books were (and are) swirling in my head, a beautiful, highly respected and influential mass of collective imagination."

In book news, we're pleased as punch to tell you that Penguin USA made an offer for Woodward and McTwee. It's one of several stories about a sweet, innocent hippo and a super snarky bird. The book will be published in 2014. We love Penguin, including Jonathan's editor, Bonnie Bader. Go book people!

Here's a homemade mock-up of the cover:

Cover of Woodward and McTwee children's book by Jonathan Fenske That's it from here! We invite you to head over to the new home of Fat and Appy, and our new collection of canvas prints for children featuring Jonathan's designs. Save 15% by signing up for our newsletter. Thank you for visiting. We adore you so much.

Tell us in the comments: what is your favorite children's book? 

This Tilt-A-Whirl Life: Big Changes Ahead

It’s been a little while since we blogged. I blame it on the whirl of life: meals, laundry, out-of-town work trips, freelance writing, laughing, crafting, mopping up spills of all sorts. We are a carnival ride spinning in a blur of multi-colored lights. We’re trying to catch our breath, but the reality is: someone is going to throw up.

Denver artist, video scribe, Denver illustrator

This year is bestowing blessing after blessing on us: Jonathan is video scribing like a crazy person. He also published two children’s books and has a third coming out next year. Painting commissions also take up his time, as well as other freelance illustration work.

And if that wasn’t enough, we are launching a line of stretched canvas prints of Jonathan’s work. (We’re starting with the original art Jonathan created for our app, Healthy Creatures. You can see the beta store here…pardon the mess. Update: We moved to our new home! www.fatandappy.com We have more art to add and things to build out. We’ll also be moving the URL to www.fatandappy.com.)

So, something had to give. Jennifer (that’s me!), who has always had the steady-eddy corporate job, will be coming home to manage Fat and Appy and Guppy Up!, our two art businesses. Resigning a great job was a tough decision but with so much work coming Jonathan’s way, and so many opportunities at hand, we knew it was the right time.

I am excited and just a little apprehensive to transition in such a big way. Jonathan feels the same. But it’s our time to jump off the carnival ride…and whirl away as a family, together, toward whatever is ahead.

Warhol, Flying Planes and Cloud Gate

Two commission paintings are leaving the studio. "The Things We Leave Behind" is a nod to the client's love of Chicago, air travel and the Cloud Gate sculpture in the Windy City. Jonathan loves working with this client. This is their second collaboration, the first is here. If you look carefully, you can see Jonathan's mark on the painting and then reflected in Cloud Gate. Fun! Fenske_JD_blog

The second painting is also a repeat client and this time around, she wanted a portrait of Andy Warhol. It's packed and off in the mail already. I like the bright splashes of color. I walked past this a dozen times and I said (probably a dozen times), "I never knew I liked Andy Warhol so much." I just really gravitated to this painting.

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If you would like to commission a painting, just fill out the form below. Jonathan works with all sorts of budgets, so just ask. He'd be happy to work with you. If you want to see more of his paintings, check out his website. And don't forget to subscribe to our blog at the bottom of the page, we thank you very much! [contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Commission Inquiry ' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

Art We Love: Michelle Kondrich

Art We Love is a new series we are starting on the blog. Jonathan and I feel strongly that we should help support other artists. And one way we can do so is to help share with our friends and followers talented people working in art and illustration today. So, with a drumroll, let us introduce Michelle Kondrich to you. She's a Denver-based illustrator who has worked with some really cool brands and agencies. Learn more about her here. Michelle also does visual scribing (also called whiteboard animation), like Jonathan, so they have that in common. It's like a secret scribing society!

Michelle graciously answered five of our nosy questions. Keep reading for her answers, learn about her amazing desk...and admire her great illustrations! And don't forget to follow her on Twitter: @missillustrator

"Submerged" by Michelle Kondrich

1. What is a favorite illustration of yours right now and why?

My favorite illustration right now is called "Secret Recipe" and it was created for Light Grey Art Lab's Message in a Bottle show. It is one of my favorites not only because I just like the way it looks but because it is representative of the direction my art is taking and of my growth as an illustrator and painter over the last year or so.

"Secret Recipe" by Michelle Kondrich

2. Where do you work? 

I work primarily from my studio at home. And by studio I really mean my desk against the wall in our living room. We have a very small apartment but I have managed to carve out a comfortable space. One thing I absolutely adore about my studio is my desk. I had a custom standing desk built by a carpenter from my home town and it is exactly what I needed. It is about 5 feet wide and half of the desk tilts at an adjustable angle like most drawing tables. The other half is stationary and is where I keep my computer. It also has a huge drawer underneath that is good for keeping things clutter-free and for some flat storage. Not to mention, having a standing desk equals no back or shoulder pain from working!

3. When faced with a new project, what's your creative process like? 

I don't know that I have a process that I consciously execute with new projects, but they always start with a lot of thinking. I often have pages of loose leaf paper with idea maps and brainstorming lists to try to get my mind to think about the problem from all angles. If the project allows it, I will take a day or two to let the subject matter float around in my head before I do much sketching. Then I just start drawing out ideas until I find a few that feel right and I'll do many sketches of those ideas to find just the right composition.

4. Did you draw a lot as a child?

All the time! I remember getting a lot of attention as a young child for being able to draw so well. I distinctly remember drawing things upside down so that the people across the table could see what I was drawing. I don't know where that came from, but it's not a skill I have now. At one point I had a little drawing table, much like the Wacom's now, that I could plug into the television and create these big drawings that everyone in the room could see.

"iBaby" by Michelle Kondrich

5. Who is your favorite illustrator that you admire? 

Wow, picking favorites has never been a skill of mine. One illustrator I really admire at the moment is Oliver Jeffers. His work is gorgeous and his stories are unique. 
I'm also a huge fan of Victo Ngai at the moment. Her work is remarkably imaginative and beautiful. No matter the subject, I would hang her illustration on my wall. She inspires me to work harder at making the work I do an object of beauty even if the subject is not.

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.

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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!

Fun Art Today: Illustrator Alex Mathers

wiredmountainillo_mysite Twitter is the best place to discover illustrators. I keep a Twitter list just for illustrators that I follow. I love scrolling the list to see what some pretty talented people are up to. Alex Mathers is one such illustrator. He's a globe-hopping freelance illustrator who works with the Google+ design team, among others. Alex is actually to blame for making Jonathan and I dream a crazy dream: going overseas with our gaggle of girls and working for a time at our projects. Why is Alex to blame for this scheme? It's because he wrote this absolutely wonderful post about his nine months freelancing in Tokyo. He makes freelancing abroad seem so...so...I don't know, something like possible. He's a dangerous man.

Another thing about Alex Mathers: He's an encourager. You know I love this. Alex runs this cool contemporary art site called Ape on the Moon along with the very talented Phillip Dennis who tweeted with me once so we're like practically best friends. Alex and Phillip post about other creative art makers who are doing very cool things.

Secret Pro Tip: Alex also runs the Red Lemon Club, a site dedicated to helping creatives find more clients, network and promote their work effectively in a very classy way (read: not email-blasting hundreds of creative directors.)

Last day to enter the Free Book Friday contest! We're giving away a hardcover copy of Love Is in the Air, Jonathan's new children's book from Penguin USA. Click here, comment and you are entered to (maybe) win!

 

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

Space Bug Eats Cheery Astronaut

As you may know if you read our blog, Jonathan loves vintage toys. He often sets them up in funny or poignant situations and then photographs them to see how the scene works. He takes the scene that he likes best and then paints with acrylics onto board. Voila! Sometimes, I see him processing an image from one of these photo shoots that makes me laugh out loud. This is one such image. It's called Final Transmission.

http://www.jonathanfenske.com

From the Studio: Paintings

Jonathan is having a rush of post-Christmas commissions. I thought I would show a recent one called "Working Well Together." This was commissioned by a Colorado client in honor of her brother's wedding. This picture isn't the best---in real life, the painting is brighter. You can still get the idea. In my opinion as the artist's wife, I like commissions the best because they are pre-sold. In a gallery, a painting can hang for months or years before they sell. A commission is just a visitor...there's no time to get attached. Working Well Together

Love Is in the Air: Jonathan's New Children's Book Is Published!

This week was a fun one in the Fenske household. Jonathan's first children's book that he wrote and illustrated published Dec. 27. Love Is in the Air (Penguin USA) is the story of a lonely balloon and a lively kite and their special day in the park together. Jonathan is pretty excited and I am over the moon. It's not every day you get to walk into Barnes and Noble and see your sweetie's new book on the shelf. Proud of you, baby!  

http://www.jonathanfenske.com

 

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Love Is in the Air is available in soft cover, hardcover and (soon!) it will be an enhanced ebook, produced by Penguin's awesome ebook partner.

 

http://www.jonathanfenske.com

 

What's next for Jonathan? Penguin will release Guppy Up! Feb. 7, 2013. Plus, he always has new children's books in progress, and Penguin is interested in some new titles for 2014. So, stay tuned!

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.

 

This Is My Husband's Arm

Jonathan has been doing some visual scribe work for Boulder social media agency Room 214 lately. He was tapped to tell the Room 214 story...which is a really fun tale of two college roommates (James Clarke and Jason Cormier) starting a successful business together, with race cars and rabbits thrown in for good measure. Visual scribing is new to Jonathan, but he's excited to learn a new outlet for illustration. Check out his work (and Room 214's of course!) below. You can also see this today on the Denver Egotist, which is pretty cool, since that's how Room 214 found Jonathan---through his illustrator profile on the Egotist. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6uO2e3U-DM&w=560&h=315]

Art Party!

Our middle girl turned four Sunday, which of course is a terribly big deal. We hosted an art party and Jonathan took the kids through a lesson in painting their own "Pop-art"-sicles. It was an adult joke, but some of those kids were pretty smartypants and I think they got it. We were overwhelmed with the kids' creativity and powers of concentration. Cake, presents, art...color us happy! (and completely exhausted.) http://www.jonathanfenske.com

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Content Creators

I really do think that well-done, original content (whether that's books, animated series, webisodes, podcasts, cartoons, you name it) is a rare thing in this world. Probably it's not so rare, because there will always be starving artists, poets and writers who create. But does the world see their work?

Read More

Heavy Odds: We'll Take Them

Yesterday, we woke up to fun news and several "congratulations!" emails: Healthy Creatures, our children's app for iPad was featured in the Denver Post. We were interviewed by technology reporter Andy Vuong; Aaron Ontiveroz took our portrait. Both journalists were awesome and couldn't have been easier or nicer to work with. I liked Andy's angle in the story about the hard road ahead of us as indie mobile app developers in a crowded market. He's absolutely correct---finding mobile app success on the App Store without Disney or Dora in your name is really, really tough. But here's the thing: working our tails off in the creative world is all Jonathan and I have ever known. It was tough when Jonathan was a talented painter in search of a gallery. He walked in and out of galleries in Atlanta until he found one that believed in him. Jonathan's paintings now hang in collectors' homes across the U.S., a museum, foundations and currently, Santa Fe. His commission backlog is months long.

It was tough when I wanted so badly to publish my novel, I could barely step into a bookstore without being overcome by longing. I wrote query letters and was rejected by everyone on my list--until an agent took a chance and asked me to rewrite my first novel. That one didn't sell, but my agent sold the next one to St. Martin's Press. And the next one.

It was tough when I wrote novels at the kitchen table after working all day at my marketing job. Both times, my belly was swollen with a kicking, nutrient-sucking daughter. But Jonathan would not let me give up. When the development dragged on for Healthy Creatures, Jonathan told me to dig deep and keep at it---that we would see it through, together. And we did, with a third newborn daughter kicking on the floor beside me as I worked.

And it was tough when Jonathan kept rising to the top of the slush pile for his children's books that he wrote and illustrated. He came so close several times before a major publisher offered a contract. We rejoiced, champagne flowing, and then plummeted to earth when the publisher shuttered the imprint, dumping all of the recently acquired titles. I watched in awe as Jonathan picked himself up and headed back out there, pitching his books on his own. In December 2012 and then again in February 2013 Penguin USA will publish Jonathan's children's books Love Is In the Air and Guppy Up!

Do you have a dream? Of course you do. If you've read this far, let me tell you: it will be tough. You'll never work harder. But don't you dare give up.

The odds are heavy? Of course they are. You are short of money? Time? Connections? We are, too.

But here's the thing: the alternative is not trying. That's not an option for so many of us. So, for that, I'll take a longshot any day.

What's your longshot dream? Tell us in the comments so we can encourage you.

Fenske Art Roundup

It's been a while since I blogged, so we apologize for the tumbleweeds. Here's a roundup from the Fenske studio. Enjoy! Love Is In the Air eBooks Jonathan's first children's book with Penguin USA, Love Is In the Air, is publishing Dec. 27, 2012. We just found out that Penguin will be making ebooks for Love Is In the Air and for Guppy Up! which publishes Feb. 7, 2013. Hurray! Since we have just completed making an app, it was a joy to hear about the ebooks. Someone else will be in charge of every single detail. Someone else can test, test and test some more. Making an app or ebook is hard work. Even so, I think that Fat and Appy's next project will be an ebook of a fun children's book that Jonathan wrote last year called Happy Thoughts. It hasn't found a home yet, so we're thinking it's a perfect way to dip our toe in the book app market. (Wait---didn't I just complain that making an app is hard work? Well, it is, but we just can't stay away....)

www.jonathanfenske.com

Healthy Creatures Launches on the App Store Our first children's app for iPad launched one month ago! Healthy Creatures is a creative app for children ages 3-8 that allows kids to make creatures out of fruits and vegetables. It's .99 on the App Store and we're thrilled to have ten reviews of 4 and 5 stars! We've also been featured on awesome blogs such as 5DollarDinners.com, TodayIAteaRainbow.com and MileHighMamas.com. We've even been mentioned on the App Nanny's podcast! Along the way, we're learning the ropes of app promotion, app marketing and the general app-ecosystem. Want to see Healthy Creatures in action? Watch the app trailer.

Westgate Community School 5K Westgate is a wonderful charter school in our neck of the woods that just moved into their forever home (the first three years of the school's existence was spent in a rented old middle school). Jonathan designed Westgate's first ever 5K logo which celebrated the new building.

www.jonathanfenske.com

The Kitchen Sink Jonathan has been working with Room 214, a social media agency in Boulder, doing some visual scribe work. Jennifer is researching tee shirt companies to produce a line of toddler and kid's tees. We made two one-offs with Fat and Appy's logo for the Denver Startup Bash a few weeks ago. Jonathan is also working on a handful of painting commissions from clients around the country.

www.jonathanfenske.com That's it for now! As always, we'd love it if you followed us on Twitter (@fatandappyfun or @jenmanskefenske), Facebook or YouTube.

Art Garage Sale: Four Works by Jonathan

Update on the Sale: All four paintings are sold!  Thanks to those of you who retweeted and shared this post.  It's time to move some art. We spent the morning at a garage sale, visiting some friends up in Berthoud. They were helping their pre-teen son host a garage sale and lemonade stand to raise money for a charity he's supporting.

We picked up some goodies: Nancy Drew paperbacks, foam bath letters and a little pink purse. The girls were beyond thrilled.

This got me thinking---we need to liquidate some art that never found a home this year. Jonathan has a series of four three Little People acrylic on board paintings that really need to leave our basement and be enjoyed by someone. So, this is a little weird for us, having relied on a gallery to sell all of Jonathan's paintings for years, but here goes: we're going to try to move these works via the power of social media. It's #artastic.

We can't let these go for garage-sale prices, but we can assure you that you are getting a fabulous deal over what you would pay in an art gallery. That's because we don't have to give the gallery half, which is the standard arrangement.

Each painting is $250, with free first-class shipping included. We can ship immediately or you can pick up your painting if you are in the Denver area. Details below! We'll push this via Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Facebook, and then report back if it worked or not.

If you are interested in purchasing, please email jennifer AT fatandappy DOT com.

Please note: Each painting is acrylic paint on illustration board. Illustration board is a flat surface, almost like a heavy stiff paper. The painting will ship unframed; you will want to protect and display it in a frame with glass. Each painting is signed and dated by Jonathan (2011) with the title of the work on back.

A note about the backgrounds: They look a bit purple-ish in the photos below. The backgrounds are actually white.

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Where Their Legs Will Take Them

It's been a quiet weekend so far. Jonathan has a commission due, so he's trying to get the paintings done (there are four) and out the door on Monday, shipped across the country to the collector. Our middle child came down with a fever, so we cancelled two different dates with friends, plus an outing to another friend's pool. Lots of Looney Tunes watching happening in the house. That, and pulling some very tenacious weeds in our suburban backyard.

We have friends who are an opera singer and art director, respectively. Their boy attends a magnet performing arts school, so my friend says he's always putting on shows in their living room. I guess it's what he sees at school and home (in the case of his opera singer mom). It's no different here. Our eldest girl fashioned an art gallery today:

The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree.

Jonathan and I sometimes joke that we want our girls to be anything---anything!---other than an artist, writer or illustrator. We know it's a hard road and sometimes dreams are pesky things to chase. Sometimes you chase them for a very long time.

But honestly, we would be proud to see them follow in our footsteps. I know we would. Already, they show a love for art and words that touch us. Their adults lives seem so far away but at the same time, I know it's fast approaching. Faster than we'll ever want it to be.

William Kaether, Dec. 1917

Who is William Kaether? It's a question I've asked myself more than a few times since I married Jonathan. That's when Mr. Kaether's painting joined the household we started together.

The painting is rendered in oil of a late fall-early winter scene. A broken down fence next to a slow-moving stream gives the painting (to my eye) a gloomy, melancholy air. The atmosphere seems still and attuned to winter, although it could just be dirty and in need of cleaning. The work is, after all, almost 100 years old. I know this because Mr. Kaether signed it "Dec. 1917." The painting is heavily crackled and the frame looks to be old, probably the original one. It came to us through Jonathan's grandparents who owned an antique shop in Florida.

I've casually Googled William Kaether, but haven't run across him yet. Perhaps someone with more time and more investigative skills can tell us more. But I tend to think of Mr. Kaether in the most friendly of terms---wondering who he was, what he did (other than paint) and what he might think of his long-ago winter scene and of us, this family of tumbling children and tired parents who live on the edge of the Denver plains.