Poetry in Art: I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold by Charles Demuth

Charles Demuth’s fabulous painting, I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold, was inspired by his friend William Carlos Williams’ poem, The Great Figure.  The artwork is full of references to the poem and poet.

I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold by Charles Demuth, 1928

I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold by Charles Demuth, 1928. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

It’s always nice to see artists inspiring other artists, especially when they work in different mediums.

The Great Figure by William Carlos Williams

A Brief Reading Q&A with Diana Shafer of Terrific Friends!

A Brief Reading Q&A with Diana Shafer of Terrific Friends

  1. Who are your favourite writers? Jonathan Lethem, John Steinbeck…it’s difficult to choose a favorite because I feel I haven’t read enough of one’s work for them to qualify. I once read just about all of Katherine Anne Porter’s works, but she ended up not being a favorite.
  2. What are your favourite books?
    Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
    The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
    Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
    The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  3. What is your favourite genre? Contemporary Fiction and short stories, but I enjoy taking occasional fiction breaks and reading more meditative writings on food.
  4. Name your favourite dead writer(s). Carson McCullers, Raymond Carver (and of course Steinbeck).

The Terrific Friends Edgar Allan Poe Print giveaway has ended! The winner will be announced later today!

Profile: Diana Shafer of Terrific Friends

Diana Shafer is the talented artist behind Terrific Friends and sponsor of our Edgar Allan Poe Print Giveaway.

She most graciously agreed to tell us a bit more about herself, in her own words.


I live in Nampa which is twenty minutes outside of Boise, Idaho. We are a couple blocks from the historic downtown center where a tight-knit community exists. There’s a budding art scene happening here and it’s exciting to watch. It’s not a glamorous city but my husband and I chose to live here for its affordability and supportive community.

I went to school in Portland, Oregon for fashion design. We moved to Nampa after I graduated and I worked as a seamstress for a while, before I admitted I hated sewing. I ended up opening a clothing store that focused on local and handmade. Unfortunately, the timing was poor (September 2008) and the economy gave us a really tough time. We kept the shop open for five years and I think that was all because of the amazing people around here who made an effort to shop local. I’m grateful for the experience but by the time my lease was up, I knew I didn’t have enough passion left to fuel the struggle, so I closed up shop.

When I was in art school, my favorite classes were drawing and fashion illustration and I kept practicing through the years, developing my own style. My first author portrait dates back to 2008, when I was just playing around and drew Carson McCullers after reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I really started getting to work on the collection in 2012 and finished it in 2013, shortly after I closed the store. Since then I’ve been selling prints on Etsy and in independent boutiques around the country. I’m working on illustrating a children’s book and a friend and I are just starting a new project focused on food and illustration. My latest work can be found under the name D.Shafer Illustration.

Aside from maintaining my Etsy shop and relationships with retailers, I spend a lot of time snuggling with my husband and two adorable dogs (a rambunctious boxer/poodle and a sleepy cocker spaniel/pug) while watching movies or listening to music. We have a close group of friends that we see regularly. I help at a community garden in the summer. There are a couple of chickens in our backyard. I listen to podcasts throughout the day. And of course, the time I’ve spent making my way through our book collection is what inspired Terrific Friends.


Thanks, Diana!

Happy Birthday, James Thurber!

James Thurber, my hometown boy, was born on 8 December 1894:

James Thurber by Fred Palumbo, 1954

James Thurber by Fred Palumbo, 1954

“It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”-James Thurber

Also check out: A Sunday Afternoon Virtual Tour of the (James) Thurber House Museum

[Alternative Muses] Birthday Mashup: Pierre Bonnard/Thomas Wolfe

“Man is born to live, to suffer, and to die, and what befalls him is a tragic lot. There is no denying this in the final end. But we must deny it all along the way.”-Thomas Wolfe (born 3 October 1900)

Self-Portrait by Pierre Bonnard, circa 1889

Pierre Bonnard (born 3 October 1867): Self-Portrait, circa 1889

[Alternative Muses] Style Guide: Schokko with a Red Hat

 Schokko with a Red Hat by Alexej Jawlensky is my favourite painting. She lives at the Columbus Museum of Art: I like to visit her when I go home.

Schokko with Red Hat by Alexej Jawlensky, 1909

Schokko with a Red Hat by Alexej Jawlensky, 1909. Columbus Museum of Art.

Schokko was an artist’s model. She adored drinking hot chocolate so much that it inspired her quirky nickname. I wonder if it kept her warm during long hours of working in drafty ateliers?

Her gaze in this painting is simultaneously direct and circumspect, which nicely mirrors her unnaturally presented yet magnetic appearance. She’s a woman with something to say, but what?

Did Schokko like or care how she was presented to the world, through other people’s eyes?  Was she a fan of modern art? Was drinking cup after cup of hot chocolate, between poses, the highlight of her day?

What did she look forward to, go home to, do in her spare time? Did she even like the colour red?



There’s more to style than what they tell you about in the pages of Vogue. Inspiration is everywhere. In this case, it shines at us from inside a picture frame. 

What does it say?

Colour is expression. Hats are relentlessly chic. Boldness is armour.

Building an unusual colour palette, deliberate and nuanced, isn’t just for paintings. Continue reading