Friday, October 21, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Best of TLD, 2014-2015





Tada!  Isn't it gorgeous?

Next month I look forward to celebrating the publication of this beauty, which contains 75 poems by 55 DMC poets. But today I'd like to focus on Michelle Kogan, who designed such a charming cottage garden cover.


MICHELLE KOGAN

Michelle Kogan is a painter, instructor, illustrator, and writer creating colorful figure, flora and fauna paintings, and children’s illustrations. The paintings often include urban settings and have a sensitivity to endangered species and the environment. She is an instructor at the Evanston Art Center, where she teaches figure drawing and painting, 2-D drawing classes, and plein air watercolor. She also offers plein air workshops at nature venues in the Chicago area, including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, Lurie Gardens in Millennium Park, and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Michelle is no stranger to the Ditty of the Month Club. She contributes regularly to DMC challenges with poetry, and sometimes with art, as well.  Her poem "Toady" will be included in The Best of Today's Little Ditty, 2014-2015. Michelle first came to Today's Little Ditty with the deeper wisdom challenge in January 2015. She wooed me with watercolor (an illustrated tanka) a couple of months after that. Inspired to visit her Etsy shop where she sells archival prints, paintings, greeting cards, journals and sketchbooks, I became irrevocably smitten.

I've asked Michelle if she wouldn't mind answering a few questions so that you, too, can get to know her and her artistry.


moreart4all.wordpress.com

Tell us about your artistic background. Were you walking around with a sketchbook as a child?

I’ve always been creating art.  I grew up with art around me. My mother is an artist and has always encouraged my art pursuits. As a young child, I was curious about everything, and sometimes I would take things apart to figure out how they worked. I had so many ideas and questions, my mom often asked me where they all came from. By high school I packed in as much art as I could and was drawing constantly in all sizes of sketchbooks. I had a hankering to find out more about art and artists, and began visiting Chicago museums and galleries with friends and on my own. The question of what do I want to be never entered my mind—I knew from the time I was a teenager I had to be an artist. My passion became my career when I studied art in college. Beginning at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and finishing with my MFA in painting from Northern Illinois University.


What turns you on, artistically speaking?

Drawing–painting and playing with color takes me to another realm. I’ve always been keen on nature, critters, flora, and our human relationship with them. I was a big reader as a child, and a storyteller early on, too. When I recognized these core interests, critters, flora, concerns for our environment, and story, my art took on its own visual voice.

Wildlife Comes to Lake Shore Drive, endangered species — © Michelle Kogan


You often combine painting with poetry. What, for you, is the relationship between the two? Which comes first—the art or the words? 

My art and poetry are inspired by each other, along with nature, and walks I take. If you went on a walk with me, we’d walk for a while and then something would catch my eye and I’d want to stop and sketch or write . . . and sometimes both. Way back, maybe ten years ago, I revisited writing children’s stories. Then I thought, why aren’t I writing poetry? I was always fond of it. I began with haiku, writing them constantly, but that wasn’t enough.  I sought more genres and blogs that featured poetry, and now I’m challenged with balancing the writing with art because I’m writing all the time.


Gourdian Finch and Gourds, endangered species

an autumn breath waits,
beneath airy earth tones, and
begs you to linger . . . 

© 2016 Michelle Kogan


Michelle Kogan, painting en plein air


As a teacher, what is the main thing you would like students to take away from your classes?

I want students to catch the art bug—to be so drawn and inspired by art and art-making that they can’t get enough of creating it and taking it in.


Tell us where we can see more of your work.

There are a handful of places you can view my art:  Studio b. gallery, in Three Oaks, MI, the book City Creatures, Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness, and online at my website www.michellekogan.com, my blog www.moreartforall.wordpress.com, my Etsy Shop www.MichelleKoganFineArt.etsy.com, and on Facebook and Instagram (mkogancreate).


Thanks so much, Michelle. It's an honor to have your art on the cover of The Best of Today's Little Ditty, 2014-2015.


Kenn Nesbitt's DMC challenge this month is to write poems for our mothers. This week's daily ditties included work by Keri Collins Lewis, B.J. Lee, Mindy Gars Dolandis, and yours truly. Make your mom proud and post yours on our October padlet, then come back next week for our end-of-month celebration!






Another great place to find poetry challenges is at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Thanks to Tricia Stohr-Hunt for hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup.






39 comments:

  1. The cover is simply lovely, dear Michelles!

    I hope many are inspired to catch the art bug.

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  2. Yay for this charming cottage garden and for all the loveliness I know his hiding within! Congratulations on this project, and thank you Michelle K. for introducing and inspiring kids to love art. xo

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  3. Very nice cover! The colors and fonts work together well. Congrats!

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  4. Beautiful. Michelle's watercolors seem to exude bright, sunny energy! I can't wait to see what's under the cover. : )

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  5. I have been taken by Michelle's art for a little while !!! Whimsical but real and lovely. What a beautiful cover. I love the Guardian Finch and Gourds and the line from Michelle's haiku, " an autumn breath awaits". Treasure. Janet F.

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  6. Inspirational story and cover. Poetry is art, so it makes sense that you create both.
    Congratulations.

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  7. Am on a trip! It's marvelous to see this! Thanks Michelle and Michelle!@

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  8. I'm so tickled to be a part of this artistic venture! I enjoy Michelle's work on FB; it's nice to be an anthology-mate with her and all the other wonderful poets.

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  9. Thank you so much for introducing me to Michelle K's work. The autumn illustration and poem are so special and what a pairing! Of course this is my take-away quote: "I want students to catch the art bug—to be so drawn and inspired by art and art-making that they can’t get enough of creating it and taking it in." That is going to be featured in my future PD sessions. I will try to get a mother tribute poem to you, Michelle.

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  10. Michelle!!! I am so excited for you and all of your featured DMC poets! Congratulations to all!

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  11. It's so beautiful. I'm excited for the release! Thanks for the interview. It's so nice to meet Michelle Kogan :-)

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  12. simply breathtaking I fell so Blessed to a part of such a Wonderful book I can't what to read and get a few copies for gifts The cover is amazing you are a Blessing to all of us that know you Michelle !!! :)

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  13. Thank you, Michelle, for this introduction to Michelle! Wonderful work, both of you! Can't wait to read this anthology and lovely to be included!

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  14. What a lovely cover!! Thanks for giving us a chance to learn more about Michelle's beautiful work. There must be something magically creative about having Michelle as a first name. Hmmmm, Michelle Rattigan has a nice ring to it. :)

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    1. Ha! Oh Jama, you've got creativity to spare even without the name... though, yes, it does have a nice ring. ;)

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  15. The cover is delightful and the painting "wildlife comes to Lakeshore Drive" is amazing! Michelle's style reminds me of one of my favorite greeting card artists, Marjolein Bastien.

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  16. Beautiful work - especially the owl picture! And I love the cover, Michelle. Congratulations on getting it all put together!

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  17. Simply beautiful! I can't wait to share this with my grandchildren.

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  18. This is gorgeous! What a fabulous cover for what promises to be a delightful anthology. Proud to be included.

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  19. What a charming cover! Thanks to both Michelles--I'm looking forward to seeing the finished anthology.

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  20. What gorgeous work. The cover is stunning. I especially love the owl picture.

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  21. So excited about this beautiful cover! Michelle is so talented. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us. I'm heading over to Etsy!

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  22. Such a beautiful cover. You can tell she is very connected to nature. So much life in the work.

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  23. What a treat to have shared this talented artist and poet with us, Michelle - that cover is stunning.

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  24. Lovely cover, Michelle! I can't wait to purchase a copy of this book!

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  25. Michelle and Michelle - a dynamic duo! Amazing cover - I love the hummingbird. I am so looking forward to reading this anthology. Yay! =)

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  26. What a beautiful cover. I can't wait to get my hands on this. It's so exciting to be part of it. Thanks!

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  27. I'm flattered and quite taken with this cover reveal that Michelle has created! "Today's Little Ditty" has taken me on wonderful adventures and I'm grateful to be a part of this creation! Thank you Michelle and all here that have shared your enthusiasm and kind thoughts, I'm looking forward to the book too!

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  28. What a talented artist. I love the light and vibrancy. I hope kids catch the poetry and art bugs, redoubled. :-)

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  29. What a wonderful interview, and what a wonderful cover - how exciting!!

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  30. What a gorgeous cover. And how exciting - to be so close to completing the first of the TLD collections. (Did you see what I did there? ;) )

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  31. THANK YOU ALL for your kind words of congratulations and to Michelle again for the gorgeous cover. I'm over the moon, though the fact that there's still much to be done is bringing me back to Earth fairly quickly. :)

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  32. How wonderful to be getting so close to publication! I'm especially partial to "Finch and Gourds"--reminds me of pumpkins and butterflies! ;)

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  33. Appreciations for all the goodness. Poetry, detailed, colorful nature artwork (a la Beatrix Potter) & a great outdoors action photo of Art Bug Advocate Michelle K., a T.L. Ditties forthcoming debut that will be a wonderful picnic of creativity & also lovely links. So excited for double the poetry joy!

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  34. Hurray for both Michelles! Thanks to both of you for bringing our community together in a special anthology!

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