m wood pen

illustrator of books, cocktails, travel + more

M WOOD CUSTOM CHRISTMAS BORDER 2017

Challenge: Create a personalized border for a 6″ x 9′ Christmas letter to illustrate the wonderful highlights of 2017 for a new fabulous client.

Requirements: Sketch + layout imagery to signify a new job, a new city, a European adventure, a new neighborhood and two adored cats.

Creative Laboratory: To create an uncluttered but festive border, in lieu of the traditional garland or pine boughs, use a merry pattern of the red star of the Chicago flag; balance the iconic Eiffel Tower with Logan Square monument; whip up a retro Elevated train car and TWA jet in an ode to my nostalgic tendencies; balance the powerful towers of the Chicago lakefront with the earthy stucco of the coast of Sicily; and don the kitties in merry, mirthful wreaths.

Tada! A happy afternoon of sketching for me, and a very joyful client. Thanks, C.R.

 

Happy Christmas, London. Hats off to my pal @diaryofalondoness for inspiring this Merry, Bright + Londony sketch for her Christmas banner. Let the festivities, whirligigs, preparations and parties begin!

M WOOD LONDON CHRISTMAS STREET web

I just took out a pen to do a little bit of math. 2017 minus 1999 equals 18.

So, 18 years ago when my little home business became one of Oprah’s Favorite Things, I had a tussle with the producers over whether or not I would be able to attend the taping. And by taping, I mean just that. Later that same year I recorded an episode of Desperate Housewives over my one and only VHS tape of the brief but brilliant appearance I made in the front row of Harpo Studio for the madcap day of filming in the long-gone Chicago studio. All evidence erased. No photos available.

But I digress.

The tussle I mention was due to an invitation to help make a turkey at my daughters pre-school Thanksgiving Feast. I told my contact at Harpo that I wasn’t going to miss the Feast. She called me back to say that Oprah really wanted me at the taping, and asked me what time the Feast was. Conflict ensued because of course, the Feast and the taping had the exact same start time.

How to be two places at once, especially when looking into Corey’s earnest blue eyes? How could I miss the Feast????

Well, my marvelous mom volunteered to rep me at the Thanksgiving Pilgrim + Native American Indian Table, (apparently saving the day, as none of the young mothers had ever roasted a turkey) freeing me to dash downtown, pass the throngs of drooling audience members lined up in near hysteria outside, hang out in the green room, pass by Kenny G while being led to the set, and dish a little back and forth with Ms. O herself while the cameras rolled. Then dash home in time for school pick up!

So, why am I telling this story?

18 years is a long time but in my telescoping mash-up decades of this alternating life of mom + home studio artist, the time has flown by like *that* (I just snapped my fingers.)

My children are grown, my work has evolved, and that sweet little producer who cajoled me into finding a Feast substitute in order to attend the taping? She’s gone on to a wondrous career of producing producing producing! She’s all grown up, too, but lucky me gets to still call her a friend and a VIP client. 

And luckier me, still. Feast on this triptych of studio renderings that G. commissioned as a nod to the arc of her own fun, fabulous career, one terrific job after another, bringing those long ago lights, camera, and action flashing lights right back before my eyes.

 

 

 

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