Love Is

Introducing my new crossover picture book:

Love_Is_cover© 2017 Durga Yael Bernhard

I’m pleased to announce the publication of my new picture book: “Love Is” – my first crossover picture book, and my sixth multicultural concept book.

differences illo onlyA crossover book is intended for both children and adults.  This book also crosses over another line, in that it functions as both a picture book and a greeting card booklet.  Just 7″x5″, this endearing little book fits into a greeting card envelope, which comes with the book.  It may be mailed in the U.S. with just two first class postage stamps!

twinsThe book takes the form of a rhyming poem all about the many forms of love, with an emphasis on the kinds of love children relate to most.  The illustrations tell the story, helping children to recognize what love is and how it manifests in our relationships with friends and family, elders and caregivers, coworkers, pets, etc.

For adults, this whimsical little book makes a great gift for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or any occasion for love!  wagon

I wrote the poem about ten years ago, beginning with the idea that the word “love” is both a verb and a noun.  But no publisher was willing to take on a crossover book, so I finally decided to publish the book myself.  Blue Thread Books, an imprint of Jewish Currents magazine, will help to promote it.

guitarI hope you will consider purchasing this little book as a gift for your loved ones – of any age!  It costs just $8.95 in my webstore, shipping included.  It comes with a greeting card envelope, and if you wish, I can inscribe the book to your recipient and mail it as a gift for you.  Just follow the instructions on the order form.  The book has an inscription box at the beginning if you prefer to fill that out yourself.  Spread the love!  kind-hearted ear

Order LOVE IS here!


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Heart Spiral


Heart Spiral

This image was commissioned some years ago as a logo for a massage therapist.  But really, it can serve many purposes.  At the time I designed it, I was fascinated by the culture of the ancient Mimbres Indians of Arizona, who created amazing painted pottery.  Most of these were bowls, decorated with innovative geometric and figurative designs.  I fell in love with these bold yet simple circular compositions, and have used circles and spirals in my art ever since – archetypal forms that are seemingly inexhaustible.

What interested me most about Mimbres bowls was that they were used for interment, or burial.  When an individual died, s/he would be buried under the floor of the family pueblo, curled up in the fetal position, with a bowl over their face to provide the painted dome of a “sky” for the deceased.  But to keep the person’s soul from getting trapped, the bowl was first struck to create a hole in the center.  Thus archeologists unearthed hundreds of broken bowls.

I thought about the symbolism of that hole, and created a heart-shaped opening at the center of my geometric spiral – with another spiral within that heart, suggesting a source that radiates both outward and inward.  My client had asked for a healing design with a heart at the center.  She was pleased with the result.

The Mimbres people mysteriously disappeared from the face of the earth about 900 years ago, and their land became Apache land.

I lost touch with the massage therapist a long time ago. But today, as we remember the timeless teachings of Martin Luther King Jr, somehow a heart spiral seems appropriate.  The words of Dr. King spiral outward with a rippling effect that continues to inspire and guide people who wish to cherish the good in life, and who practice tolerance and kindness.

Heart Spiral can be ordered as a thank you card by clicking here. If you order this week, I’ll send you an additional card for free.  If you want the card without any words, send me an email.  The image is also available for licensing.

"Thank You Spiral" greeting cards are 5"x7", blank on the inside. $3.50 each or 6 for $18 – shipping included!

“Thank You Spiral” greeting cards are 5″x7″, blank on the inside. $3.50 each or 6 for $18 – shipping included!

A good week to all!

D Yael Bernhard
THE LIFE OF AN OLIVENew!! Explore the life of a 2000-year-old olive tree
JUST LIKE ME, CLIMBING A TREE: Exploring Trees Around the World
NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN – A Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review;
winner of the Sydney Taylor Award and National Jewish Book Council Award
THE DREIDEL THAT WOULDN’T SPIN – A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah
WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING – A Children’s Book Council Notable Book
A RIDE ON MOTHER’S BACK – An American Bookseller Assoc. Pick of the List
– and more!

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Diana Reading

diana-72dpi© Durga Yael Bernhard

This painting is my first figure painting in oils.  The subject is my friend Diana, a sister dancer from my African dance class of many years here in upstate New York.  A long time ago, I modeled for Diana’s college photography project – I was pregnant with my third child, and birth was the theme of her work.  Now fourteen years later, I wanted to try my hand at figure painting for the first time since my own college years – so I asked Diana to return the favor.  She was the perfect model for what I had in mind.

On a hot July day, Diana arrived wearing a soft, printed wrap skirt.  I picked some bee balm and lilies from my garden, and Diana settled into my wicker chair with a book.  The day was lush and verdant – especially compared to now, as I write this post on a frigid winter night.  I began with a quick brush drawing, and blocked in some basic colors.  Then I took photos to finish the painting later – and we set out to hike to Diamond Notch Falls.  It was a great day, with good conversation.

I undertook this painting purely for my own personal challenge and satisfaction, so it could not take priority over my paying work.  Thus it was put aside for one project after another until one hot day the following July, I realized it was just the same kind of weather and light as the day I had painted Diana a year ago.  I looked back at my calendar, and sure enough, it was the exact same date.  I dropped everything, took out the canvas, and set up my oil paints.  (“If not now, when . . . ?”, I thought.)

Two weeks later the painting was done.  The photos I had taken of Diana were poor quality, so I struggled a bit, and tried to work from memory.  More than anything, I wanted to capture the light . . . but my camera had not caught the light and shadows at all, so the best I could do was suggest the light coming from the window.

I hope I’ll find the time and the means to practice figure painting again soon.  In the meantime, thanks again Diana!  It was a pleasure.  What do you think – does this look like you?

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