January 2019
Welcome!  I'm glad you stopped by!  May the New Year be full of blessings for you and yours!
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A New Direction -
an Exciting Project for 2019
Happy New Year, dear readers!  May 2019 bring you health and happiness – that is my wish for you.
I am so excited about this turning point because I will have a new focus for 2019.  I’ve just finished a year-long coaching program for artists with Nikol Rogers.  I learned so much, and as a result have decided on major changes in my art career.  I will be focusing on a long-term project – finishing writing and illustrating the book I began last spring and then put aside.  Meet Colwyn the Gray, the main character and co-author for the book!
Likewise, this newsletter will change.  Although there will still be free downloadable art and a discount code for my Etsy shop in each issue, the majority of the articles will be about my journey creating my (Oops!  I mean “our”) book “Milkweed Manor.”  I hope you will find it interesting and inspiring as we travel along this road together.
My Milkweed Manor Sketchbook.
Last spring I wrote the text for "Milkweed Manor," a series of eight stories about the animals living in the woods behind Milkweed Manor.  Then, after a few edits, I jumped right into the illustrations.  I completed three before putting it aside until now.  It's a good thing that I did put it aside because I now realize it was a mistake to begin illustrating at that stage.  

I realize that I need to devote a considerable amount of time and effort drawing the animals that will be my characters - a rat, mice, squirrels, rabbits, badgers, a raccoon, a fox, a weasel, crows, and an owl.  I'll be working on this for the next several months and at the same time will continue editing the text.

It is only when my text is fully edited and I feel completely confident in drawing all the characters that I will begin the actual illustrations.
I've never worked in a sketchbook before and it was a bit scary.  What to do?  Go shopping! - for the perfect sketchbook and this is it: Canson's 180 degree hardbound sketchbook.  I wanted one without a spiral binding, but a binding that could lie flat, allowing a drawing to span the center line.
It was hard to get started, scary even.  But I finally made that first tentative mark and by the second page I was loving it!
Pretty soon I found myself decorating the pages, and talking to the rats!
And then the rats began talking with each other!  Perfect!  This is the exact tone of fun that I want for everything having to do with "Milkweed Manor."

And I'm learning a lot through the sketchbook.  The most important is that although each of these rats has a distinct look, in the end Colwyn must be Colwyn in each illustration.  So I will need to decide on a profile, how large the eyes and ears will be, how long the tail will be, how chunky or slim his body will be.  In other words, Colwyn must be recognizable, not just because he's the rat character, but because he's an individual.  This is very exciting!  and challenging!
January Promotion

This month, I'm offering you, my precious subscribers, a 25% discount in my Etsy shop.  The offer applies to everything in the shop, including this adorable needle felted river otter.  From Jan 1 to Jan 15, just use discount code ICYCOLD25 at checkout.  I ship the day after I receive your order, and shipping is free.  Click on the image to the right to go to my shop!
Nine Cats
In December our local art club, Placerville Arts Association, had a small works show.  One of the categories was Series of 9, and this was my entry - 9 cats, predictably.  Sorry the photo is fuzzy, but I still wanted to share it with you.  All the cats have names that are also names of flowers.  They were really fun to do.
Here are my favorites - Daphne, Daisy, Jasmine, and Heather.
...and, of course, Rose.  I'd like to do a larger, more elaborate painting of her, perhaps in oil.  But, given my focus on Milkweed Manor, I'd have to work on her on the weekends.
This Month’s Free Downloadable Art - Fox in the Snow

Click on the image and it will open in a new window (from  You’ll see the image, and at the upper right of the window you’ll see three little dots.  Click on them to open a menu, then choose “download.”  This file is 2mb.  Please note that I’m sharing this image for your personal use only.
Do you have friends who you think would enjoy this newsletter?  Just have them e-mail me at and I'll sign them up for studio news, Etsy shop discounts, and free downloadable art!
Glad you're here!
Comment?  Suggestions?  Just want to chat?  I'd love to hear from you.
e-mail me at
or visit me on facebook - Kaaren Poole
Copyright © 2019 Kaaren Poole, All rights reserved.

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