Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Monhegan moment

This is Elena's view. Staying on Monhegan, drinking iced latte at the Novel Two, with 15 minutes of internet running out!
Good thing; I need to be climbing Gull Rock in minutes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mermaids on my mind

Finally, I am back at my drawing table. And charged with the delicious task of illustrating a month for next year's NPR calendar.
The piece must show my public radio listening experience. While I was sketching, I heard an interview on WMEA 90.1 with an author of a new book on biodiversity. He mentioned horseshoe crabs, critical to testing the toxicity of antibiotics. Who knew? There are so many species we know nothing about yet our very survival depends on them. I started drawing an underwater scene, which had to include a horseshoe crab and a mermaid. Plenty of mermaid folklore around an island. I've been drawing them for years.

This one combines two favorite subjects, the moon and a mermaid.

This is a real place, which we call Billygoat Rocks, with an imaginary mermaid lounging before the twilight stage.

I was so captivated by this spot. I drew a mermaid sunbathing there, too.

This piece is called "Surfacing".....

Anyway, when I sat down to work on this NPR thing, I submerged myself in all things mermaid. Just finished reading
The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler with my daughter. And she just got the sequel.

Got out the mermaid dolls for fun. This one was bought from a beach vendor at the St. James Club in Antigua.

And here is a Groovy Girl mermaid.

I needed my NPR mermaid to be listening to her iShell, so got my best model to pose real quick.

The illustration is about submerged frequencies, and All Songs Considered, literally and metaphorically.

I drew my mermaid separately, so I can move her around underwater. Playing with layers in Photoshop is akin to collage; so many accidental possibilities: I loves it!

Stay tuned for the final piece. I gotta go finish it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Busy busy bla bla

If you're thinking island life is this bucolic ho-hum of tidal backwash: au contraire.
Summer in Maine means more people. It is, after all, Vacationland. Which makes it distracting as hell to keep up with your own
work. Everybody and their brother is riding idly by on tandem bikes, sporting the latest trend in sneakers. Meanwhile, life goes on here. Between ferry trips on the Island Romance, I was breathing pastel dust making scenes of island skies for the annual Color of Peaks show down at the "club"...the Trefethen Evergreen Improvement Association. Yeah, the summer sailing and tennis establishment of which we have never been members, but since it's right down the hill I can feel a certain proprietary attachment to it.

While I was in the studio, in the shade, my daughter was going to Colonial Camp at the Peaks Island Fiber Arts Camp down by the library. It happens in a neighbor's side yard, like a mini Sturbridge village. They made bread in a mud oven, churned butter, made strawberry jam, handsewed a colonial shirt, made a three-legged stool with a leather seat...oh, and everyday they made lunch like clover tea, leek soup, and buttermilk biscuits. Here she finishes up her basket on the last day.

We think we know busy, but the Colonialists were BUSY. I mused aloud whether my daughter would want to live back in that time. She replied, "for two weeks, not three."

In other news, I attended my first department meeting with new department chair Alex Rheault and adjunct Mary Anne Lloyd.
It was a blast to hang with two brilliant educator/artists and concoct a stimulating brew of curriculum for the fall semester.

We worked in Alex's kitchen on one of the steamiest days, but it was cool as cucumber there. As soon as I finish my syllabus, I can go back to my illustration assignments!

But first, another bonfire....another s'more. Never too busy for a pastel moonrise.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Rovers in the house

School age campers at the Peaks Island Children's Workshop are known as the Rovers. I had the honor of hosting them in my studio recently, during Art Week, the first of many themed weeks of activities. Kristen Chalmers, lead Rover who coincidentally owns the Gem Gallery, brought them to my house after a full morning of swimming, finding jellyfish at the marina, and picnicing at Rover Rock. Six Rovers, including my daughter, squeezed into my cluttered studio (11' x 14') and got a quickie show-and-tell. They had the same curiosities I have about people's collections and cubbies. What's in them? Where did you get that? Why do you have so many of them?

They tried out my souvenir camera collection.

And this was an object of delight.

Last year's Halloween headgear became today's radar when the kids moved into the dining room to make art. They were given Bristol paper to start, and a buffet of pastel pencils, markers, glue sticks, scissors, and a treasure box of collage papers.
Here Peter shows off his collage, a zoomy airplane of map scraps: destination unknown.

Isabella was fast and deliberate with her lovely smudged fish.

Meanwhile, Gabby was not sure what to do. We can draw anything? She started out on one side, got frustrated, started again on the other side. She asked for another sheet of paper. An artist after my own heart! Then, she created a sweet bird, and could smile.

Nirmala made a pair of delicate and colorful somethings. Butterflies? Angels?

Isabella didn't stop. She made a second collage on the back of her fish.

Daisy started this ambitious mermaid mosaic.

Arthur's mom picked him up early. Lemonade was spilled. The table was a riot of paper scraps, clashing patterns, and glue sticks without covers. The creative concentration during that hour was just the inspiration I needed to quit stalling on my own work. Thank you, Rovers!