Saturday, August 29, 2009

Get Inspired....Horse Show Sept 4-6; Griselda Sastrawinata blog, CTNX

Hey kids... I'm re-introducing subject headings to the Blog. "Get Inspired" is a series where I share sites and events I hope you'll find inspiring to visit... These are some of my favorite pictures from last years Portuguese Bend Natl Horse Show 2008:

This 3-day event is a charity horse show... all the proceeds benefit Children's Hosptial Los Angeles. The location is Ernie Howlett Park, on Crenshaw Blvd in PV. If you want to get up close to horses and sketch in a shady, sea-breeze environment... with lots of fun, food, and clean restrooms nearby this is the place to be Sept 4-6th 2009 There is a nominal admission fee. Parking is free. You can see even more pics at my post for the event last year. Website for this year's 2009 show is:

Not yet on our website, but coming soon, is a collection of charming, inspiring prints by Griselda Sastrawinata. I was lucky to meet Griselda when I tagged along with Stuart, who was invited to the recent DreamCon 2 at Dreamworks Studios. More on that event soon. I was so taken with Griselda's prints that I bought 2... and she graciously allowed me to bring a set to our showroom to sell.

The prints are in our showroom now... but you can see some images and read about their origin on her blog:

If your creative batteries need a recharge... either of these "Get Inspired" options should give you a boost!

We have LOTS of new arrivals coming .... and we are gearing up for the CNTX (Creative Talent Network Expo) animation expo in Nov. Don't know about it yet? You WON'T want to miss this Burbank show where artists, pros and students can mingle and network without the hassle of those larger events...

I have been doing lots of posting and would welcome some comments and feedback. Heellllloooo out there :)


Griselda prints at SNB Showroom 8/29

Remember this sign from the comic store in Paris...

Well, here's a pic of the SNB showroom, and our little corner for "tolerant companions"... We have a cozy chair, some magazines... and a toy box for kids (just ask).

And something new... a little table where I am happy to feature some of the artist who have a broad appeal. Here's where you can find something to give as a gift or for yourself. And the first artist I'm featuring is Griselda Sastrawinata. You're seeing these prints here first... they are at the showroom right now, and here on the blog before the New Arrivals page...


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Your Science Lesson for today, Musee Curie video

For today's science lesson, I'm sharing a video clip I shot from my 2009 visit to the Musee Curie in Paris. (You can see other pics from the museum on the post YOUR SCIENCE LESSON FOR TODAY, ELEMENTS ARE EVERYWHERE).

In this clip Renaud Huyhn, Director of the Musee Curie, demonstrates the equipment and process Marie Curie used during her 4-year process to determine the existence of 2 new chemical elements. (The instruments are replicas). This clip ends abruptly, and my apologies for that. I have a longer version that I'm also trying to upload, but the longer version also has my "science geek" commentary, so this version is actually more educational.

I have been visiting the Musee Curie since 2007. The clip takes place in the room that was Madame Curie's actual laboratory! This area of the museum can be seen but is normally roped off, so with this clip you are not only seeing Behind the Scenes at SNB, you're also getting "Behind the Scenes at the Musee Curie."

So kids, if you think work day is tough, just remember that Madame Curie and her husband Pierre were doing this.... oh, yes, not here in a real lab... but in a drafty shed with no heat or AC, and they didn't know it at the time, but they were also getting dangerous levels of exposure to radioactivity. Even so, they both claimed these years in their make-shift shed/laboratory were the happiest of their lives... and their work made a lasting contribution to science and health care.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Our Amazing Peggy & our unpredictable USPS

Here's photographic evidence of the many packages our amazing Peggy had packed and prepared for pickup on Saturday 8/22.... we left the boxes out until 8PM, but they were NOT picked up by USPS in spite of a confirmed pick-up being scheduled. So they'll go out today. It's not a perfect world... only Peggy is perfect :)
Be sure to view the posts about our East Coast trip... More New posts & pics coming. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, August 21, 2009

More Savitt art and Illustrated Terhune books

Here are 2 books that I loved as a kid and I've never gotten over:

I can't remember now which one I read first... but the pictures drew me to the story (no pun intended) and the story helped make me a reader.

The 40th Anniversary edition of LAD: A DOG by Albert Payson Terhune w/ the illustrations by Sam Savitt. This version was first published in 1959.. and is still in print.

Here's a adaptation of LAD. This is a re-print from the 1970s of a book first published in the late 40s. Illustrations are by William Bartlett and Harry Michaels:

The interior shows a view of the real Sunnybank house (based on photos I've seen of the real home when it existed);

Detail showing house:

In every copy I've seen of this book... and I always look.. there is this printing error in this illustration of one of the most dramatic stories in the book. Can you see the rattlesnake Lad is saving the baby from?

Here's Lad bored at the dog show... read the book to find out what happens AFTER he wins... (this illustrations shows the dogs "Benched"... back in the 1920s, dogs had to stay at the show all day.)

This illustration shows the grounds at Sunnybank... including the red barn building which stood on the grounds during Terhune's time. The barn was also the kennel for the Sunnybank collies.

planes, trains and bookstores back east

How does Stuart manage to have books you can't find anywhere else???

Part of the answer is he travels to find them.... This trip took us across the country....

We were meeting our beloved bookseller pals Barb and Cliff Erickson of To and Again Books. They used to live in CA and exhibited near our booth at SDCC. They are now in Maine. Our rendezvous point for this trip was in NJ for the Sunnybank Gathering (see post below), followed by book scouting in NJ and PA.

Here's Stuart Ng crossing the Delaware....

We got to Philly... but never had a cheesesteak sandwich :(

We took planes, trains and automobiles...

to find little bookshops and bookstalls....

You will note that, in the photo above, Stuart is proudly wearing his T-shirt for Eric Goldberg's Animation Crash Course book :)

We enjoyed this huge mosaic at the East Market train station....

I love the feeling that art is everywhere if you're looking for it...

A trip like this takes planning, of course....

Book scouting w/ Stuart is part Indiana Jones adventure.... part Sherlock Holmes sleuthing... be sure to pack lots of patience and persistence... and you need that secret ingredient, Stuart Ng karma, to find the treasure in the trinkets....
We love to bring them all back for you to enjoy at our showroom and on our website.

Birdwatchers guide; Know your magpie

Tagging along on a scouting trip brings out my inner magpie.

If I'm not careful, I lapse into a trance where I feel myself drawn to anything shiny and glittery accompanied by a strong urge to possess it even if it lacks any purpose for my purposes. I am absolutely NOT ALLOWED near "high risk" zones such as trays of costume jewelry..... shelves with old typewriters..... any displays of lifesize fiberglass livestock.... (some of my ancestors were farmers, and from regions in Wisconsin where families still put little deer and ducks and gnomes in their gardens)

There are always more pretty things to see than we can ever bring home... so here are some pictures from our scouting trip of items we left behind..

from a flower stall at an indoor market in Philly..

more views of the outdoor antique vendors... Walking around there is like living the "horse fair" chapter in "Black Beauty"....

a table of duck decoys...

Everybody loves snowglobes.... a story behind each one from each place..

Musical instruments... if only they could talk as well as sing....

Another view of the indoor market...

And a train station... cute store space, if only we could transport it back to Torrance....

Sunnybank, Terhune, Bransom, Kuhn & Savitt, UPDATED 10/1/11 with you tube clip address

Two rows of books by Albert Payson Terhune. He was once one of the most popluar authors in America. Now the public library in Pompton Lakes, NJ, is one of the few places you'll find so many Terhune books in one place...
Once upon a time... there was a real collie named Lad...
At nearby Wayne Township, there's a little museum and room of Terhune artifacts. There is even a lock of Lad's fur in the center of this showcase...

And even though Lad lived almost 100 years ago, people still visit his grave

Lad's world was The Place ..... also known as Sunnybank.... on the shores of Pompton Lakes in New Jersey...

Every summer, there is a "Convention" of sorts, of fans and scholars of the author Albert Payson Terhune. Never heard of him? In the 20s and 30s, he was one of the best known and most beloved writers in America. He had a long career as a journalist, sportswriter, and novelist, but he was best known for his dog stories, most of which were based on real collies that he owned and raised as his country estate in NJ. "Sunnybank" was originally 40 acres with a huge home and working farm. The house no longer exists, but thanks to the efforts of a woman named Claire Leishman, and other fans, 9.6 acres of Terhune's land is now preserved as a park. The beautiful grounds still evoke memories for fans of Terhune stories. Lad and many other of Terhune's canine "chums" are buried at Sunnybank. The annual event at Sunnybank also raises money for the restoration of the park, and for the Collie Health Foundation, which funds projects to find causes and cures for canine disorders.

"Lad: A Dog" was the best known Terhune dog story. Sam Savitt did the cover and illustrations for the 40th anniversary edition published by Dutton in 1959. ("Lad" was originally published in 1919). Marguerite Kirmse also illustrated Terhune books and stories in the 1920s. Renowned photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White took pictures of Terhune's collies and estate for the original edition of "The Book of Sunnybank."

There has been a resurgence of interest in Terhune in the last decade, and it's heartwarming to see support for the preservation and display of these artifacts, most of which hung in Terhune's home.

POST UPDATE OCT 1, 2011.... there's a clip on You Tube of newsreel of Terhune at Sunnybank with his dogs:


In glass case below is a copy of the book about Terhune's blue merle collie "Gray Dawn", along with a photo of the real dog. Noted wildlife artist Bob Kuhn is credited with the cover art for this series of the Terhune books. Believe it or not, researchers have established that many families of AKC collies today are descendants of Terhune's dogs!

Illustrator Paul Bransom was a friend of Terhune's and knew many of the Sunnybank collies. Bransom illustrated many of the magazine stories where Terhune's dog tales first appeared. Bramson also did dust jacket illustrations for early editions of some of the books. Here is the most famous of the Bransom portraits of Gray Dawn, which shows the dog w/ his favorite dog toy, a flannel elephant.

I was a fan of the books as a child. My mental images of Terhune and his collies were formed by the art of Bob Kuhn and Sam Savitt. I started collecting Terhune books once I met Stuart. Looking for Terhune books gave me something to do while Stuart and I visited bookstores together. That was over 25 years ago. I've completed my Terhune collection, but I still like to go to bookstores with Stuart. Sadly, there aren't as many good, general used bookstores around today. The internet now features Sunnybank websites, and has made books like the old Terhune titles accessible, but it was more fun finding them among shelves of other children's books or dog books.

Your Science Lesson for today, Elements are Everywhere! (UPDATED 1.5.18)

Elements are everywhere, they're tiny bits that bond together, you can read about them on the Periodic Table...

Here is my FAVORITE poster of the Periodic Table of Elements. You can buy your own at the best ever chemistry website (thank you Theo Gray who created it)

When you are in PA, you can experience your own giant touch screen version of it at the FABULOUS 2 story extravaganza of our chemical world aka the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF)at 315 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, close to all the historic sites like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall...

UPDATE 1.5.18 ... As of Feb 1, 2018, the CHF will be known as the History Science Institute
This name change reflects the Foundation's 2015 merger with the Life Sciences Foundation in San Francisco.

Because I'm chatty and like to talk w/ people, I ended up talking w/ the docent about how we all know the Theme Song from Spongebob Squarepants, so why can't we learn more about chemistry :) In fact, I made up my own Chemistry jingle and since I was willing to sing them my Chemistry Song (set to the Spiderman Theme song from the 1960s cartoon... "Hydrogen likes to say hi, and bond w/ other elements.... Helium and the Noble Gases say "no thanks, our outer shells are full, we've got lots of electrons there...." it goes on, trust me), they allowed us to visit their 4th floor gallery, full of paintings like this..

Here's a view of the main floor exhibit area

And here's the interactive touch screen of the Table of Elements. I could have spent DAYS here!

If you can't get to PA, visit the Chemical Heritage Foundation website at

My all-time favorite science stop is the Musee Curie in Paris... near the Pantheon...

Here's a view of the building on the rue Pierre et Marie Curie..

The Musee Curie is housed in the same rooms that Marie Curie used as her private office and laboratory during the later years of her life. Here's Marie's office...

In case you didn't know, she basically used her brain power, years of hard work, and instruments like this (the equivalents and paper clips and q-tips), to discover 2 previously unknown chemical elements. Oh, and she also almost single-handily unlocked the door to the nuclear age for the rest of science. The best book I've read in the last 5 years is "Madame Curie" written by her daughter Eve Curie (an amazing person in her own right, Eve died in 2007 at the age of 102 in New York City, where she had resided for decades).

These instruments on display at the museum are replicas... the originals are still RADIOACTIVE!

You can learn more about Marie and Pierre Curie, the Musee Curie, and the history and current work of the Radium Institute in Paris at

Here you can see Mr. Renaud Huynh, Director of the Musee Curie, leading a visit for a school group.

Science is FUN kids.... and there is a long partnership between artists and science. Where would we all be without Leonardo da Vinci? So visit a science museum soon and bring your sketchbook!