Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Respect my peeps

It's that time of year: bunnies, candy, and hope trying to pop up through the crusty snowbanks.
For some reason, Easter seemed ridiculously early around here. It was pointed out more than once that it is
tied to Passover, which falls after the first full moon after the spring equinox. I had lunacy in mind anyway, working on
my annual contribution to the lunar calendar from Luna Press.

The calendar is full of poetry, art, and moonrise and moonset times. Living on an island, I've become more in tune to these daily cycles. I dashed out during the cooking of dinner last Friday to see the moonrise over the backshore.

It never ceases to amaze me.

All that moon energy got me into spring cleaning, finally! I uncovered a VERY old piece of mine, from my RISD days. back when I was an illustration student trying to figure it all out.

Not sure what I was thinking on this one, but I used every technique in my limited toolbox at the time.
I showed it to my MECA class, explaining that I didn't know what I was doing then; and it's important to
explore outside your comfort zone.

My students did that last week, when they tried sculpting from the model.

My good friend, Peg Astarita, and her teacher, John Read, joined my class to demonstrate their methods for working
from the model.

Here are a couple of John's pieces.

Awesome surfaces and intense forms.

The model really had the easy part.

John worked in very wet clay, able to form a complete figurative shape in minutes.

Peg's figures are feminine and elemental, like this glazed goddess.

Peg worked in harder clay, refining a single figure during the whole session. She does this at our life drawing group on the island
and her process fascinates me. The model changes poses, but she just keeps looking and working on one figure.

One student decided to work from the inside out, with Super Sculpy.

A splendid thing to be surrounded by people going at the same creative purpose yet with different methods.

Now all we need is spring to shape our sprouting ideas.

I'm looking for snowdrops, usually the first thing to pop before the crocuses....

Let me know when you see some!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Circles of influence

Time to give credit where credit is due. I haven't bought the Blogging for Dummies book yet. But my loyal and patient husband, Marty Braun, was able to get my uploads all copacetic, with proper linkage.
He's the tech support in this household. Thanks, Martini!

It's back to Maine College of Art this week, where I have been teaching for the last 5 years. Before the spring break, my students worked on a silkscreen project. They warmed up first with a simple gocco exercise. A gocco kit is like the Easy Bake oven of silkscreen. Small, portable, no-mess, and voila...fun multiples. They had so much fun their designs wound up on chairs, walls, and...skin.

We moved on to simple stencil screenprinting, with the help of Kevin Townsend, a master printer. He gave a great demo and gave Liz Heller a hand with her first pull of the squeegee.

I brought in examples of Hugh D'Andrade's silhouette illustrations, such virtuosos of sharp design! He is a new member of the family, having just married my talented kissin' cousin, Mati McDonough. It was a momentous occasion to witness their betrothal last August, where we scored this groovy CD of lovey dovey music, their wedding souvenir. A sweet union of Mati's luscious painting and Hugh's folky silhouette.

Marty and I were once newlyweds in San Francisco, just like Mati and Hugh. Their work, art, and love are inspiring. Reminds me of those heady days.

Tweet tweet. Is it SPRING YET? Egads. it's been a brutal winter. The birds are coming back, though. Here is one of my favorite birds, by my bud, Mary Anne Lloyd.

We never seem to have a short yak and today talked 3 different times on the phone. Yadayadayada.
Illustration is like that; so many overlapping circles of influence. What's not to like?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Peeps from Peaks

I'm an illustrator just getting into the blogosphere. Bear with me!

I'm excited about my upcoming Brown Bag lecture at the Portland Public Library on April 4 at noon.
Mitali Perkins, author of Rickshaw Girl (Charlesbridge Publishing) and I will talk about the book and show visuals. Should be fun. I met with Kirsten Cappy of Curious City to discuss getting visibility and she said DO A BLOG. So be it.

I illustrated this amazing chapter book story back in early 2006, immersing myself in all things Bangla. I met the author a couple of months later at the annual Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference in Nashua, NH. I sketched her while taking notes on her very smart lecture on writing for children.
Here she is, with the most amazing smile.

The art director at Charlesbridge, Susan Sherman, was heading to Australia shortly after I delivered the artwork. She mentioned that her partner would be surfing while she did her time at the SCBWI conference (an art director's duty is never done). Somehow a Hindu goddess wound up surfing in my next promo piece.

I haven't seen Mitali since last October when we spoke at the Graves Memorial Library in Kennebunk.
My daughter, Daisy, and her best bud, Nirmala, finally got to meet Mitali. They both modeled for my illustrations.
Nirmala was born in Nepal and adopted by an island mom, Carol. Daisy and Nirmala's friendship inspires me daily.