Monday, December 5, 2011


CURIOUS CUP LOGO. Kiona Gross, former Decatur, Georgia, neighbor and friend, requested I make a logo for her bookstore in Carpinteria, California, back in 2010. What emerged from my daily drawing practice were a series of images that were fun and surprising! (all art here copyrighted by Ruth Schowalter, aka Hallelujah Truth)
#REVERB11 PROMPT (December 5): What has been your favorite book (or books) this year? Of course, tell us why! (Carolyn Rubenstein at A Beautiful Ripple Effect)

Hallelujah for BOOKS! Delving into books is like diving into a vast ocean. A dear friend of mine (Kiona Gross) moved to Carpinteria, California to open her own bookstore, CURIOUS CUP (see curious cup on facebook). In October of 2011, Kiona sent me a signed copy of Brian Selznick's new book, Wonderstruck, and I devoured it. Kiona knew how much I had fallen in love with Selznick's first book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Selznick's work speaks to the child in me. His books are told part in beautiful rendered images that make my SOUL gasp! As a language teacher interested in the different cultures that we humans must adapt to, I appreciated Selznick's exploring the convergence of the hearing and deaf cultures. The story is captivating and heart-full! I know that it will be made into a movie just like his first book that is now playing in theaters (Hugo).
CURIOUS CUP AND CARPINTERIA SWIMMER AND BOOK READER. Part of the practice of daily drawing. Kiona and I were working with the idea of a book and a coffee cup. It was fun when we thought that the curious cup might be a tattoo! Fun exploration! I adore collaboration!

Another book for 2011 that I would like to mention is Mark Nepo's The Book of Awakening. My sister-in-law Elizabeth Schowalter recommended that we read the daily passages and share our ideas, possibly engaging in some of Nepo's exercises. Who wouldn't love a book that quoted passages like this one from Paula Underwood Spencer: 

"If you want to be truly understood, you need to say everything three times, in three different ways. Once for each ear...and once for the heart."

I was also inspired to make some artwork from his passage, "The Spoked Wheel." He writes about "the common center from where all life begins" and the spokes that emerge from this center that represent our individuality. (see a previous blog entry to see my artistic response to "The Spoke Wheel.")

CURIOUS CUP BRAINSTORM. The leaves of the book made me think of the famous sculpture,  Winged Victory of Samothrace. Again as process in a daily practice, I let my mind play. Not good. Not bad. Just is. 
The last book I will mention for 2011 is my beloved copy of Katherine Dunn's "Creative Illustration Workshop." I became deeply enamoured with Katherine Dunn's drawing and her relatedness to place, Apifera Farm. In addition to being a huge creative spirit, Dunn cares for donkeys and helps raise money to support castaways. How great is that (For more about my art related to Katherine Dunn, see a previous blog post)!

CURIOUS CUP AND THE SWIMMER CONTINUED. As the idea of a Carpinteria swimmer with a curious cup tattoo developed, I added a book. I envisioned a huge sign for Kiona's business! Kiona gently asked me to make the shoulders smaller, and we both thought it would be cool to add children!

OTHER BOOKS THAT MUST BE MENTIONED: Next to my bed two other significant books live! Lynda Barry generously shares her creative process in such a different and unique way in What Is (2008) and Picture This (2010). Whenever I am feeling puny, these books make me laugh and begin life all over again as an artist devoted to this mantra: not good, not bad, just is!

Finally, there is my Chiboogamoo's book, Life Traces of the Georgia Coast: Unseen lives of the Georgia barrier islands, due to be published in 2012. My brilliant husband and I continue to LIVE this book as we return to the Georgia coast and its barrier islands as frequently as we can. We are both blogging about these Georgia islands, building on the knowledge we acquired during the strenuous years of book writing that Chiboogamoo did. How can a devoted spouse not be impacted by the creative endeavors of the romantic other? (see Chiboogamoo's website and blog and one of the all time favorites of mine!)

A FUTURE CURIOUS CUP LOGO? Pilgrims how fun is the daily process of drawing and seeing what you can discover! I know that the way to surprise yourself is to lend yourself to repetition. Start with what you know and build on what you learn each day! Life is a Journey and so marvelous when each step is taken with Awareness!

DEDICATION: This December 5, 2011, blog entry was done to honor my friendship with Kiona Gross! A good good friend! I know that the town of Carpinteria, California, is truly lucky for having her and her daughter Sid in their village! Happy Birthday Kiona Gross! Thank you for the time spent with me and developing my artistic vision! Your love of the arts and artists is deeply appreciated!


  1. Ruth- I am loving looking through all the wonderful drawings you had done for the logo and the fun it was to think about this. Your art is amazing and was a huge part of keeping the name when the cafe part of the business was not able to become reality. I was debating whether or not I should change the name but because of the logo and the fact that you designed my logo for me- I could not change the name (I still get folks coming in looking for a great cup of coffee!). Everyone loves your logo.

    I get teary- eyed looking through these past drawings. I miss you and Tony as friends, neighbors, mentors, and everything.

    I love the logo with the woman and two kids (maybe we can talk about making that into a sticker for the store).

    Sid will be back in Georgia at the beginning of the year for a brief visit with friends. I am hoping to come through for a long weekend in Feb or so-- and would love to see you.

    For books- there are SOOOO many I love. When I bring out a book to show customers- I tend to say "oh- this is my favorite book" and after about saying this 10 times, someone once pointed this out to me.

    For your blog- I will have to go wtih Beautiful Oops- by Barney Saltzberg.
    "When you think you have made a mistake- think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful"

  2. Dearest Friend Kiona! I would love for you to use the woman with children logo as a sticker! When you guys come through Decatur, we have to see you! I'm checking out Beautiful Oops!