Friday, June 25, 2010

nature's way

Now that the steamy Solstice has come and gone, it's hard to believe that six months ago I was working on Ice Harbor Mittens for Down East, snug as a bug in my studio with icicles outside. Peter Ralston photographed me starting one of the illustrations for that book, due out this October. A mighty swell article came out of that, "Happily Ever After" appearing in the 2010 Island Journal, published by the Island Institute.

This is one of the photos that didn't get used, but you can see how I'm trying not to laugh at Peter, who needed me to smile.

And a day later, this drawing was complete, and serves as a spread in the book.

It looks cold here, but the scene was much hotter last Saturday during the Peaks Fest Dock Day.
Ellis Ducharme, who modeled for Ice Harbor Mittens, rocked out with his band, Totem, one dock away. Ellis is on the right in the illustration above, and on the left below.

The band came together at Maine Academy of Modern Music in Portland. They're awesome, but I'm partial...

Earlier, I was part of the Authors Day during which a slew of island authors and illustrators sold books, not all of which could fit on this table. Quite a bounty of creators we have on this little rock.

Here I am with Eleanor Morse and Annie O'Brien, two of my most revered mentors! They show me
what clarity and craft is all about.

The next day of Peaks Fest, my daughter and I went on the nature walk led by a member of the Peaks Island Land Preserve, looking for beavers.

It's pretty clear that beavers are at work, but they stay out of sight when folks come tromping through the woods. They are driven by the sound of running water, and keep making little dams.

The resulting pools are lovely to look at, but over time will waterlog the roots of trees, and they'll rot
from the bottom and collapse. Here's my illustration of a beaver lodge that appears in Nest, Nook & Cranny:

 In August, I'll be having a book celebration and nature walk. More details to come!

But first: there's a full moon on Saturday night, and the big deal is that there will also be a partial eclipse of the moon. Check it OUT!  According to those who watch the skies, it will be
a very significant event. Pluto, Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn will move into a powerful square alignment.
Time to think peace, believe peace, and act in peace. And at the very least, get outside and behold
nature's way.

 This is my contribution to the 2011 Lunar Calendar. I made this piece during the last full moon, when the dandelions seemed to be popping out all over. I have a fondness for their ephemeral orbs, made for wishing.

So get out on Saturday night, maybe even with a telescope and your favorite people and critters, and look up!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

pools and schools

School's out! Whoooohooooo! Now's the time to play in tide pools. This is my page for the Peaks Island Childrens' Workshop's 2010 Coloring Book, which will raise funds for it's fantastic program, where children play and learn to be stewards of nature. Like reaching into the shallow waters of a tide pool and finding their imaginations run deep. Cupping a hermit crab in their hand, but returning it gently to its habitat.

Of course, in my view, there's a mermaid sporting an anemone head dress...

Just before school got out, Marty and I took a short blast to the Atrium Art Gallery
at USM's Lewiston-Auburn College to see an exhibit, "Vernal Pools."

First, there was lunch at the Chick-a-Dee.

The gallery is lovely, and the show engaged all the senses, from poetry to sculpture, prints, books, to audible frog peeps.

Love this fairy shrimp sculpture by Tom Berger.

And here's a lively book by the esteemed Rebecca Goodale:

Having art as a destination for a motorcycle ride makes my day. And meeting a few beasts is always fun, too.

I went straight home and dove into the pastels. Made this for the Gem Gallery's June group show.
I'm always struck by the reflections of pools, no matter where they are.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

steampunk chronicles

I'm a proud member of the Maine Illustrators Collective, a group of illustrators that call Maine home, or pretty darn close. This Friday we'll be showing our version of the theme Steampunk, a topic that seems to come up with increasing frequency. I happened to be thumbing through Maine Magazine and came across a sweet little ad for Portland Velocipede. Voila, my idea came to life.

Hence, my rough thumbnail of a speedy cyclist with gears flying...

Always in search of mo' better reference, I got Someone to pose on a bicycle with appropriate determination:

And because this coincided with our own motorcycles coming out of the barn after a winters' hibernation, my collection of vintage postcards added some inspiration.

My better half suggested some styling that would enhance the penny farthing handcrafting:

I grew up in the White Mountains, not far from the famous Clark's Trading Post where the familiar whistle of their steam engines punctuated every summer afternoon. Funny how life repeats: now I can hear the whistle of the Narrow Gauge Railway in Portland, across the bay.

So, a locomotive had to be part of the race. Here's the Vixen Velocipede!

The Steampunk Chronicles will open this Friday, June 4 at The Green Hand in Portland, from 5 - 8 PM. Hope to see you there, goggles optional.