Monday, February 28, 2011

boston blast

I've been digging in to my current project with all hands on deck. Drawing a multitude of animals, and taking lots of notes.

I scavenged a plastic bear from my daughter's neglected toy bin to help with shadows and form for the book jacket sketches.

These two sketches (cropped here) were the favorites out of 8 variations.

I did a color comp for the publisher's jacket meeting. Again, here is just the bear.

While awaiting feedback on cover issues, I resumed working on the interior illustrations. Just as I was about to tackle a complex page of penguins underwater eating krill, DING! The bell rang for school vacation. 

We made a blast down to Boston, where my better half and I met, so many moons ago at the Boston Globe. And where did we go first? Yes, the penguin pool at the New England Aquarium. They have a little comic "Penguin Power Adventure Guide" that educates about climate change and overfishing in simplified, graphic form. I tried sketching the zippy penguins, who zip far too fast for my camera. Seen from above, it's like they are flying in the wave pool.

Quite a few are content to just chill in the shower.

Had my eyes peeled for lots of other things I still need to draw, such as coral. Of course, the coral in these tanks are fake. But I marvel at who fabricated these. The problem is that climate change is draining coral of color like this.

We circled and circled the central tank, mesmerized. Along with about a jillion other families. It made my day to have a face-to-face with this guy.

So much immersion led us to get wet, too. The hotel has a nice view from the pool.

From there we headed to the Boston Athenaeum, for a fantastic exhibit of Edward Gorey's work.
Croquet in the snow, anyone?

Gorey's work has surely inspired Tim Burton, Peter Sis, and countless others, with his meticulously detailed line and eccentric wit. I loved seeing sketches and lists of made-up words, decorated envelopes, and hand-stitched toys alongside unpublished pieces and fond favorites. Go see it!

Next stop was Mass Art, for an animation exhibit, "Astatic." I thought my daughter might find some inspiration for an animation project she's doing. But, the show was not entirely appropriate for children. Some of it was fun, but a room of Nathalie Djurberg's work was unwatchable after just a few seconds.

Nothing can just be what it is anymore. Like our multi-tasking society, art often has multiple layers now, of both meaning and form. This piece by Atsushi Kaga was an installation as well as a  naive animation made with child-like lines, but it was by no means simple-minded. It had a charming quality that made you want to play with it.

In the Stephen D. Paine Gallery, we encountered a much more satisfying show. Artist Joe Fig interviewed a group of artists and then made miniatures of their studios, displayed along with their work. It was fresh and engaging;  his ability to displace one's sense of scale and consider the maker, the maker's space, and the viewer's relationship to all that creation, made so perfectly tangible, was stunning.

This is a view inside the studio of April Gornik.

Here, from another angle, is a giant viewer.

The mental scale transport was incredibly fun. One can pretend to be a giant looking at the whole gallery, or imagine an enormous face peering over gallery goers.

With that, another bell rang. Time to head back to Maine, the vacation meter had expired. We've returned to our island orbit. Nothing like a blast to Boston to refresh our sights!

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