Better Homes & Garden Sept. 1958

Better Homes & Gardens - Sept. 1958

Oh man, what a scrumptious cover. And I don't usually use such descriptive words when describing a magazine cover. Vintage modern mid-century architecture goodness, care of the incomparable Jan Balet (here and here). Architecture, characters, color, design, etc. All of it coming together quite harmoniously.

You know you want to view it larger. Of course you do.

UPDATE: Leif Peng today (Dec. 1st) has posted some more of Balet's work, along with a letter he's received from the artist himself. Also, Jan sent Leif a photo of when he was 85 in 1998. He's 95 now! Checkit:

Jan Balet Sends a Christmas Gift.


Post-Thanksgiving B-Boy Animation

Break Dance Stop Motion from ben wheatley on Vimeo.

Because we all need some dancing after the Big Feast. And it's stop-motion, too! Well, pixilation, actually. But still just as cool.

(Via Celebreak.net.)


Happy Thanksgiving & a Mystery Solved

Household November, 1962

I've been waiting to put this one up for an entire year. I found it among my vintage magazine collection right after Thanksgiving last year and was kicking myself for not finding it in time. But that's okay. The reasoning? The illustrator is listed as Lorraine Fox. Why am I happy about this? Because a reader of my blog got in touch with me in August of this year and told me that they found out that it was Ms. Fox who did the wonderful illustrations for that Better Homes & Garden Decorating Book I mentioned on The Ward-O-Matic way back in 2005. The same illustrations that I used for inspiration for that Victory Vintage wall in Decatur. One big illustrator mystery finally solved!

Big thanks to Ashlee for her eagle eye.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


40? Aww yeah

40? Aww yeah

Ah, words. They evade me. It's a monumental milestone, to reach 40, but right now I'm finding it hard to express exactly how I'm feeling. Should I, though? Just because I have a blog doesn't automatically mean that I'm to proclaim something profound, does it? I know that many out there do, and that's fine. There are times when I do open up and convey my innermost thoughts and feelings, and when that happens, it's cathartic in a way. Mostly a selfish thing. I get a sense of closure or accomplishment, possibly a nice pat on the back. Right now, though, I think I'm stuck on what to say because it's supposed to be such a big deal. It's expected of me.

Nah, no biggie. Really.

And that's how age has been for me all along. Not a big deal. Reaching 40 certainly is a big deal to many out there, but to me, it's just another number. What is it that they say? It's all in how you feel, right? Well, I don't feel 40. I feel 6 to 7 years younger, and that is no lie. The way I see it, I'm just getting started.

Just you wait, world. Just you wait.


Last chance for b-boy

b-boy, my solo art show lasts til the end of this month. If you'd like to purchase a painting, now is the time! And yeah, I know the economy is in the pits, but peoples still gots ta make a living. Here are a few more pieces:

Acrylic & ink on cardboard
41" x 38.5"

Acrylic, marker & gesso on linoleum
12" x 9.5"

Top rock 3
Top rock 3
Acrylic & ink on wood
10.5" x 21.75"

Freeze 1
Freeze 1
Acrylic & ink on wood
19" x 13"

In the meantime, check out this über-cool b-boy papercraft automon. (Thanks, for the heads up, Laura!) I'm seriously thinking about printing this up and building it:


Announcing The Ward-O-Matic Shop

The Ward-O-Matic Shop is now open! I finally got enough sense knocked into my head to start up a shop on Etsy selling prints & original artwork. It's a little barren right now, but I'll have more work up soon, including paintings and more prints. Maybe even sketchbooks.


The Retro Kid hits 2,000 Members

Playtime Watercolor set
The Retro Kid, the Flickr group that I started up in 2005, has hit a major milestone recently: we've reached 2,000 members! That's quite an accomplishment. Excitement is hardly the word for what I'm feeling now. I'm extremely proud of this group, checking it every day and searching the vast pool of artwork & illustration that's been submitted for inspiration. This couldn't have happened without my moderators, Glen and Julia, and especially the group's members. You all help make the internet a wonderful place for me. Thank you.

Games For Special Days 9

So, what is The Retro Kid? Glad you asked.

From the group's description:

We are interested in illustrated children's books from the mid-1940's through the mid-1960's, give or take a few years. As long as it has that cool, mid-century modern stylized look that was so popular during that time. Some of what I dig are books and anything illustrated by Mary Blair, JP Miller, The Provensen's, Art Seiden, Aurelius Battaglia, and the like. I'm not limiting to just these illustrators, but willing to be open to just about anything similar.

This group is not limited to just children's books, but also anything that was illustrated for kids at that time: albums, 45's, commercials, magazine ads, games, toys, etc. If it's retro, and it looks cool, let's see it! (See below for examples.)

If you're a member of The Kid, stop by and tell us who you are. We'd love to meet ya.

You can check out submissions from the top 5 contributors: Eric Sturdevant, Glen Mullaly, Dan Goodsell, Julia Miller, and oh yeah...me.

Some examples from the group:

Paper Arts & Crafts: cutting

Alice & Martin Provensen 1
Image courtesy of Glen Mullaly.

The Big Brass Band Record
Image courtesy of MrMack.

Mary Blair ice cream carton
Image courtesy of rock-paper-scissors.

songs for 4's and 5's
Image courtesy of - julia -.

Dr Seuss Roscoe model kit
Image courtesy of grickily.

Heinlein 2
Image courtesy of Glen Mullaly.

Upp med ridån, cover
Image courtesy of David at Klockarp Foundation.

The Horse That Liked Sandwiches
Image courtesy of Eric Sturdevant.

Image courtesy of Leif Peng.

If you like this sort of thing, there are plenty of other Flickr groups that might interest you. The first one that's of particular interest is Mid-century Illustrated, featuring artwork from the same era, but opened to ALL illustration, not just kid stuff. Leif Peng heads that one up with Julia.

I've actually started up a sister group to The Retro Kid, called The Retro Teen. Other groups I administer:

Vintage Science
Mid-Century Science
Vintage Education
Jim Flora Art

Other groups of interest:

Vintage Children's Books
Vintage Cookbooks
Golden Age of Advertising (1950's - 1970's)
Eye Candy: Children's Books from the 60's and 70's
Vintage Christmas
Mid-Century Illustrated Originals
Typography of the 50's
The Atomic Housewife



Happy Voting Day

Hail to the Chief
Something's in the air today. Can't you feel it?

Hail Columbia
It's not just the brisk autumn atmosphere. Almost like in Mary Poppins, where the changing of the winds signified something new just over the horizon.

In honor of this monumental day, here are a few scans from various music books in my collection. The first two are from Proudly We Sing, illustrated by Robert J. Lee. 1958.

Old Abe Lincoln
These next two are from one of my favorite books, The Fireside Book of Favorite American Songs, illustrated by the amazing Aurelius Battaglia. It was published in 1952.

Hail Columbia

Lastly, a wonderfully simple illustration by the brilliant husband/wife team, Alice & Martin Provensen. From Instruments of the Orchestra, 1962.

Go out and vote today, people! I did.