Friday, September 30, 2011

good vibes

I am thrilled to have another illustration appear, the above, in the October issue of Maine Magazine. Genevieve Morgan's stories always conjure up lots of imagery, and I enjoy visualizing topics with depth, and in this case color!

I love working with them. I send a bunch of sketches, they always pick the best one, and off I go.
Here's a sneak peek at the one for November/December, about skin care, from the inside out. The premise is somewhat related to the above, in that our outward appearance benefits from good health at the cellular level. No matter the age, we are a gift, and the glow comes from within.

My rough sketch:

I have this behemoth book, with a spine measuring over six inches, published in 1915 titled
"Domestic Medical Practice." It has fantastic anatomical stuff, and I enlarged a portion of skin cells for a collage bit. Tried them in a variety of colors.

Here is the final illustration.

Meanwhile, the season is changing. I love the light at this time of year, and taking late afternoon walks with my daughter. She took this photo, and I like her manual viewfinder. It's all about noticing.

Low tide finds the return of this heron.

This reminds me: heading tomorrow to Cathryn Falwell's book launch for Gobble, Gobble! at  Audubon's. Stay sunny, please!

Look, it's a committee of cormorants, with one seagull.

It's also cruise season.  Saw the Queen Elizabeth docked over in Portland in very magical fog.

Fog is frequent visitor along the coast and a plot device in Ice Harbor Mittens. I met with author Robin Hansen and Curious City this week to discuss upcoming events. We'll be at the Portland Public Library on October 22. Come say hello!

I just finished reading two great books about sketching. Drawn In by Julia Rothman is a great collection of 44 contemporary sketchbooks. And an even broader, larger collection can be found in An Illustrated Life. I find inspiration in the visual roamings and drawing disciplines of others.

Being back in the classroom with my students keeps my pencil sharp. Here's a few recent sketches.

I noticed this old man reading in the ferry terminal, moving his finger across the page.

It's fun to draw people who actually aren't posing, because their movement makes for a drawing that is part observation, part cumulative memory.

Here's a teen, reading and listening.

Have you ever seen the Dark Follies? Caught this performer, the ringmaster, in Monument Square on a First Friday.

This is Stacy, who works at MECA. I've always envied her full-bodied hair, and sketched her in the library.

And here is my very own Marty, who celebrated a birthday recently. 

This means my own birthday is soon to follow. And my favorite month, October! I am happy that my off-hand sketching has yielded a JOB. Time to work on sketches for Storey, for a book about knitting.

Here's what the art director comped up. Sketchy chic...

Okay, enough stalling. Back to the drawing board. I'm up for good vibes.

Friday, September 23, 2011

whale spotting

This impromptu gesture made by my daughter while we were browsing at Artists & Craftsman Supply made me think about keeping our eyes open. Since starting on Here Come the Humpbacks for Charlesbridge in June, I've been spotting whales everywhere.

First I found them in our own toy bin.

And this little life-like model pairs well with cocktail napkins found at Take a Peak.

I couldn't resist this platter from Velocity Art and Design. Perfect for a Sunday morning of warm scones, yes?

And while traveling through Wiscasset, I had to stop and buy this porcelain white whale found at Rock Paper Scissors. Exquisite.

Yes, there have been books read, such as A Whale for the Killing by Farley Mowat, and films watched.

When I take on a subject, full immersion is necessary. I've intended to go on a whale watch, but instead find them in unexpected places. Like at the Gem Gallery, during Carol Cartier's "Wilderness" show, where I found these whales ready to play ping pong.

Just saw this in the window of the new Pine Cone & Chicadee shop on Free Street. Want.

This bears a strong resemblance to Rockwell Kent's illustration for Moby Dick. I've requested the classic from the MECA library, since illo grad and white whale expert Seaums Doherty says I must read it.

In July I lived vicariously through my family, who explored without me the inflatable whale that visited Peaks Island, thanks to the Children's Musuem of Maine.

I thought I might see a whale on the ferry to Nova Scotia in August, but instead, a stone whale awaited me at Nicole d'Entremont's cabin in Pubnico.

And what's hanging in the Hogan camp on the Bay of Fundy, built by my grandfather in 1934? A wooden whale made by my Uncle Roland Hogan. Perfect.

We did see an amazing skeleton at the New Brunswick Museum, of a right whale named Delilah.
I sat under a life size model of her, dwarfed and amazed, unable to capture her immensity in this sketch.

Since sending off my sketches to Charlesbridge 3 weeks ago,  I found time to visit an excellent show of children's book illustration at UNE, with esteemed companions, Kirsten Cappy and Cathryn Falwell.

Besides finding the wonderful work of my neighbor, Scott Nash, I delighted seeing my heroes Barbara Cooney, Dr. Suess, and this lovely leviathan by Peter Sis.

From the show, we girls made a short but breezy getaway to Taylor Pond, thanks to Cathryn's hospitality. We relaxed in the fresh air. Ahhhh. So needed a break in the action!

While I am fixed on whales, Cathryn has a magnet for frogs. Spotted this fellow in a culvert next to her cabin.

During the return voyage to my island, a local tug escorts another tanker down the river.

This familiar sight came in handy for one sketch for a spread in the book, in which author April Pulley Sayre writes about the dangers of shipping lanes to the migrations of whales.

Back on my island, I ride my bike to the backshore, and notice the shadows starting to look like fall.

Oh, and how the sign on this seafront cottage, now empty, catches the sun.

I'm even finding whales in the clouds that float over the rocks. I did this loose sketch from a memory.

Word has it that the sketches are now in the final stage of approval, with experts and fact-checkers.
Time now to clean the studio and line up my pastels in anticipation!

Monday, September 12, 2011

back in the hive

Another semester has begun in the BFA program at Maine College of Art, with some refreshing changes. We have a new Interim Dean, Ian Anderson, who has worn many hats during his time with the school. He's been both on faculty and in the administration. Yay for all of us.
Above is my impromptu phrenology of a dean: one who makes art, listens, knows the bones of the institution, the students, the faculty, and the staff, and has a big heart.  

There's a whole new studio space for majors in illustration, new media, graphic design, and photography. Kinda chaotic sorting out who got what desk where, but the sunshine prevailed.

On the first day of IL 421, the illustration majors' studio class, students brought in sketchbooks they were asked to fill over the summer. I'm trying to figure out what moves them in their spare time.

Alex is big on the cosmic scene right now, painting planets and deep space.

 Devin's full of pathos.

Bridget has editorial ideas, in this drawing mourning the passing of the shuttle enterprise.

Bill enjoys fantasy characters in elaborate costume.

Brittany has a fluid style for figures.

Zoe's sketchbook is filled with a cast of adorable characters.

Ali created a cat named Louis, ready to star in a story.

We drew from a model together, all feeling a bit out of practice. I'm happy to report this class is able to draw circles around me. Here's a sketch by Michael.

I did this one of the setting.

Good warm-up for sketching the president, Don Tuski, shortly after class, while he gave a report on MECA in Osher Hall. Things are happening, lots of good news and forward movement.

I lingered in the halls to check out the current show of MFA student work. This installation of drawings by Carlos Pileggi is mesmerizing.

MECA is five sprawling floors of intense surprises; students have ample room to put their work out there. Down the hall is Mail Me, an exhibit of incoming student art mailed from home during the summer.

This one stood out, by Peter Rimkunas. It deftly captures the maze we travel in, as well as the aspirations that stand above the rest. The sense of order, structure, and conceptual meaning are well beyond the average. I hope he takes an illustration class! (note: after posting this encountered him in the halls, he is a transfer illustration major now, to our good fortune.)

I liked this one, too, by Vivian Ewing. Could be a potential sculpture major. Many students stayed in the bounds of a square, perhaps that was the required format. But this mobile with fluttering color and a paper crane, delicately folded from a map, ascends to another place.

It feels good to be back in the hive again.