Friday, March 8, 2013

Collections of Music-Inspired Illustrations

Beyond that of blood if there's anything that ties my husband, children and me together it's probably music — at any volume.  Our family shares a keen appreciation for it, in all of its genres. We love to listen, to sing along, to critique. One of us even has the right to do the latter, as he has actually spent years studying it.

When my husband and I first met, it became obvious that music was a big deal for us. I was into the new teenage beat before attaining the age of double digits. How nice for me that by the time he came courting, I realized I was hooking up with a guy who had been collecting albums and 45s for almost as many years. 

Then too, music played a predominant role in the upbringing of our children with lessons, bands and choirs. I sang to them as babies, hushed them with lullabies, and made darn sure they knew every band from the '60s.

In their own time, they developed tastes of their own, which we encouraged. Today, I so enjoy hearing them talk about their favourite artists, debate the value of certain genres, or discuss the influences of old favourites on modern music.  Our conversations at family get-togethers inevitably lead to what concerts we've been to, what music we've heard lately and why it's good or bad. 

Logically, therefore, the majority of our weekends involve music on some level, whether it's going out to hear our son, travelling to see a favourite artist, or simply staying in to listen to our own collection. 

So in keeping with the tone of this missive, and combining two art forms, here are collections of illustrations perfect for the music lovers' projects.

iCLIPART.com Musical Illustrations

iPHOTOS.com Music Illustrations

Acclaim Images Music Collection

ClipartGuide

TOONClipart Music Cartoons

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Grab Your Green for These Saint Patrick's Day Colouring Pages

Go Green! This can be rooting for the team, or thinking ecologically.  Or, in just 10 days, it can mean doffing your Kelly green duds and making like the Irish in recognition of Saint Patrick's Day.

I remember as a little one in school the teachers hyping March 17 as if their students' names were Flynn, O'Brien and Hallahan.  My classmates and I were encouraged to wear green. In music class we sang Cockles and Mussels,  Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ra and When Irish Eyes are Smiling. And, of course, art class was all about colouring leprechauns, pots of gold, rainbows and shamrocks.  

What I don't recall was anyone telling us what the celebration was all about. A public holiday in Ireland, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Montserrat, the day is named for one of Ireland's patron saints. It was made an official feast in the early 17th Century.

As a religious holiday it's observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran Churches. For Christians it commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.  Today,  Christians do attend church and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day.

While it's not a legal holiday for most countries, the cultural spirit of Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in places throughout the world.  Parades and festivals are held, with traditional costumes, shamrock hats and Celtic music.

And as the days lead up to this joyful Irish party, children in schools prepare to celebrate, learning songs and doing crafts.

So, if you're looking for some entertainment for your little ones, whether in the classroom or at home, have them grab their green crayon and get to work on these Saint Patrick's Day colouring illustrations.  With a membership to the first site, they can even colour the images online.

iCLIPART.com Saint Patrick's Colouring Pages

Crayola Pot of Gold Colouring Pages

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Beautiful Garden Photos

As I wait out the waning days of winter, my mind blooms with images of one of the things I enjoy most about spring and summer  — the beautiful gardens.  Not that I personally have ever been able to achieve one, but I've long admired the horticultural work of others. Beginning with my two grandmothers.

With so much yard to offer, my paternal grandma's country garden was a no-touch zone, a large swatch of riotous colour just several giant steps from the barn.  While we enjoyed the colours and fragrances, my cousins and I knew the boundaries and opted to spend our time dallying with the fish in the pond, rather than risk stepping where young feet were not meant to tred.

My mother's mother on the other hand, opened the garden gate for us to explore.  Surrounded by a periphery of glads, peonies, exotic roses and morning glories, we learned to sidle along the paths between the  kaleidoscopic blending of hues and textures, and gingerly tiptoe between the rows of the centre vegetable plot.  This garden was no secret, but it was one of our favourite places to be.

Every year as the days warm I look forward to seeing the floral displays that grace flowerbeds and backyards, and wonder why, with the green thumbs of my grandmothers, I didn't even manage a fingernail with a tinge of that colour.  Whereas those two women with little planning created beauty beyond imagination,  I can imagine what I like, but it never seems to work as I plan.

So with spring in view,  whether, like me, you're looking for inspiration or if you're  in need of photos to promote the gardening season these links will take you to some fabulous collections for both purposes:

iPHOTOS.com Photos of Gardens

iCLIPART.com Garden and Flower Photos

Acclaim Images Flower Garden Photos

Garden Design Garden Photos

Huffington Post World's Most Stunning Gardens

National Geographic Night Gardens

HI Pages Garden Designs

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

So, is it Dogs or Cats?

Dogs or cats? This question was posed recently on a television sitcom I was watching as an important factor to consider when looking for a potential mate.

Intense animal lovers don't have a preference, but for the majority of pet owners, it's usually an either/or situation, even within families.  My husband and I, as well as our sons, think pooches are perfect, while our girls are crazy for cats. 

Our youngest actually has two dogs, one a rather handsome fellow with more patience, acceptance and brains than most people.  One of my favourite Ronin stories happened shortly after the arrival of the new pup, a needy bundle of energy and size. Where once we used to give Ronin attention when we visited,  now his little buddy made sure to dance his way between and thwart any attempt at affection.  One day,  when Milo was particularly frantic,  Ronin went to the back door and quietly sat waiting. As I opened it to let him out, the newcomer, afraid to miss something, made a beeline outside. At which point, Ronin turned and went back towards the living room, pausing to look at me. I shut the rowdy youngster outside and enjoyed a cuddle with my wise friend. 

The point is they have very different personalities, and we love them both.

Cats, of course,  have personalities too. The two we owned when our daughters were home were as different as night and day. My older son 's cat (his wife's idea) is a prima donna. My daughter's cat is a handsome, though cowardly fellow, who struts his stuff quite proudly until a neighbourhood kitten comes around to scare the heck out of him.  And our younger daughter's got one feisty feline — who may just be mildly psychotic in my opinion.

Regardless of what appeals to you in a pet, there's little doubt that both cats and dogs give us more than we give them.  Put them together, such as those in these collections of clipart images and photographs, and they're absolutely adorable too.

iCLIPART.com Dog and Cat Clipart Images

We Rule the Internet Dogs and Cats Sleeping Together

Love Meow Friendship Between Cats and Dogs

Cat Pictures and Videos Cats and Dogs Best Friend Pictures

Monday, March 4, 2013

Religious Illustrations for Easter

In a few short weeks it will be Easter, a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, on the third day after his crucifixion. It is  perhaps the most meaningful holiday of the Christian calendar.

Born in a more conservative time than today, in a modest town in the middle of a rural community,  you can be assured that my religious upbringing was thorough.  My father was the Sunday School superintendent. My older siblings taught Sunday School and they and my parents at various times sang in the choir.

Missing a Sunday service was not an option and the Lenten calendar of events was well covered,  with mandatory attendance at church on Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday,  on Good Friday and Easter morning.

Suffice it to say that while a chocolate bunny may have come my way as a treat, the essence of the season was steeped in faith.  Of course, there was the highlight of a brand new Easter outfit for church, complete with a cheery bonnet, crisp, clean, ankle socks and shiny, white, patent-leather shoes. But, with a certainty back then, the good old Easter bunny was given little consideration.

Regardless of where I stand with my beliefs now, I respect those of strong faith. For any of them, who may be looking for Easter illustrations that reflect their Christian faith rather than the commercial fun,  here is an excellent collection of diverse artistic styles:

iCLIPART.com Religious Easter Illustrations

iPHOTOS.com Religious Easter Images

Acclaim Images Religion Easter Illustrations