Sunday, December 30, 2012

polar dip n' dash!

The time is here! Can you take the plunge?

The Natural Resources Council of Maine is once again hosting a Polar Dip and Dash tomorrow at East End Beach. I've sponsored my brave neighbor, Jeanne Gulnick, braver than I, who will dash and then run into the chilly Atlantic at high noon.

The NRCM advocates on behalf of Maine's natural resources, so they have my support.

There are many charity dips like this; find one near you!

Friday, December 28, 2012

making merry

I'm getting back to my Sketchbook Project today. Yes, I really am.

I showed this sketch done a month ago to my colleague, Anne Dennison, at Maine College of Art.
I'd put her adorable niece into my Sketchbook Project 2013, eating a cookie from Katie Made Bakery. My theme this year is favorite shopfronts around Portland.

It gave her the idea to commission me to do a portrait as a gift for her sister.  So I did, in pastel.
Kyler is one very, very cute girl; hope I have captured even an ounce of that. Thanks, Anne!

It was my last "to do" before beginning the whirl of making merry.

Out came the vintage table cloth from my mother and just in time for some new snow.

In a flurry of flour and cookie cutters, I made sugary stars for neighbors.

We put some holiday props on the door.

It was a quiet but magical Christmas day, full of surprise gifts and fuller bellies.

 A clear and calm Boxing Day brought this pair of curious boxers to the island.

Gloves off, everyone.

 Nothing like a beach stroll to work up an appetite. We enjoyed pie with some Doctor.

Daisy drew this festive Dalek for our guests.

 And we gifted this bold poster by MECA student Miles Cook:

With a good dose of the Doctor, we were ready for the oncoming storm.

What a brilliant day to make tracks. Or, some new lines in my Sketchbook Project.

Happy New Year! May 2013 bring peace, good health, and more merry making for all.

Friday, December 21, 2012

lighting the season

This past week has been a heavy one. I walked the dog this morning past the island church to hear the bells toll for the Sandy Hook tragedy. There's talk about new angels in heaven, but that no doubt brings cold comfort to grieving families. Here is an angel drawn years ago. We can all use some heavenly peace.

The best I can do is be alive to my countless blessings. I noticed beauty in many forms on an early morning walk, heading to Maine College of Art for my final day of the semester.

These polar bears painted on the window at Company C make me smile.

I love how the winter light is barely breaking over the brick buildings in the Old Port.

Maine College of Art is draped in glitter.

Back on the island, the annual ritual of stringing lights on Pheobe's tree became inspiration for Marty. Here's his card:

This little tree lights our season.

May you find some light on this longest night. Merry Solstice!

Friday, December 14, 2012

chilly illo news

Wow! I love receiving my book in a language I can't read! A Warmer World has now been published in Korea. That totally warms my heart.

My illustration from this book also graces Charlesbridge Publishing's holiday card:

With winter on my brain, I was inspired to draw a snowy owl for my own holiday greeting this year:

I'm still in the process of mailing out my warm and wild wishes so let me know your snail mail address!

I've been busy with the culmination of the semester at Maine College of Art. My class once again participated in the Holiday Sale, a very practical assignment to develop an item for sale, including packaging, display, and staffing the table in pairs for two days.

Here Maria and CeCe play the elves:

Students created original holiday cards, stickers, wrapping paper, prints, and unique items like these "spaghetti yetis"by Declan McCarthy.

Kiah Gardner made felted gnomes all snug as can be.

With the semester complete, now I can seize the holiday spirit. If only it would snow!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Science rocks


A WARMER WORLD is on the National Science Teachers Association Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12: 2013 list!

AND it’s on the 2013 Elementary California Collection list!

Cool stuff for a warmish book.

I'm eager to see a new film, Chasing Ice. Even diehard skeptics of global warming are getting the picture. It's a documentary from the Extreme Ice Survey and sure to send chills down anyone's spine.

Friday, November 9, 2012

a yarnish tale

We had our first snow the other night. Time to pull the woolly sweaters out of the trunk. I did the above sketch in early rounds for Cast On Cast Off by Leslie Ann Bestor, which Publisher's Weekly  just named one of the top lifestyle books of the year! Noting that "clear presentation distinguishes this reference guide that should be on the shelves of knitters who want to develop their craft and their own style" I am thrilled.

My first sketches were too narrative, and eventually my illustrations play a suggestive role, indicating a knitwear piece at the beginning of each section that is organized by specific stitches with detailed photography. I worked with the super stylin' Mary Velgos, who directed me through an elegant simplification for final art.

I wanted my figures to be doing something, rather than fashion poses. Marty became the salty fisherman reference for the section on Stretchy Cast Ons, modeling a Channel Island sweater.
That's my Grampy Hogan's hand-carved buoy from Nova Scotia.

First sketch round:

The illustrations became black and white with a single color that connected to each section.

My daughter posed with her signature mismatched knee socks.

First round sketch:

Final illustration:

Each illustration was merged over a page from an oatmeal paper sketchbook I have. Storey wanted 
a hands-on reference guide, small and portable for the knitter on the move. Here's a spread from the book:

So if you're ready to knit yourself some elegant beginnings and endings, this is a must-have.

Speaking of sketchbooks, I have cool news. The Art House Coop chose my sketchbook out of 22,000 to go on a mobile tour with 999 others! Curated by Colossal, this small batch is heading to the mid-west to spread the love of sketching in a custom-made library trailer. If you can't check out the tour, you can see my sketchbook here.

The Sketchbook Project has been a fun catalyst for seed ideas and just having fun. I've started my 2013 Sketchbook with this drawing of a favorite spot in Portland, Bresca.

Anybody curious about my fetching model?

Oh, more good news bits: A Warmer World received a great recommendation from Library Media Collection! Let's hope climate change is an acceptable topic now. Here it is:

For the record, I don't use acrylics. I work in pastel. Thanks to the librarian reviewers! I think I'll go throw on a sweater and get back to drawing.

Stay warm, peeps!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Peaks Island style

I've been getting into an eery mood watching my middle school crush. Sketched this from an episode of The Best of Dark Shadows. Despite the vintage production values, the show remains creepy as ever.

Only two pumpkins survived the warm, wet weather in order to be carved.

Our trick or treater scopes out the moonrise before setting out.

We stopped in at the Gem Gallery early on.

It's a tradition to see what Witch Kristen has to offer.

After avoiding the haunted house at the Lions Club, but scoring an apple, we were drawn to our final destination, best saved for last: the Nash house. Scott and Nancy Nash, along with a royal troop of rogues, install an annual performance piece in their yard. Every year, they outdo themselves.

This year they created a brilliant parody of that Maine icon, the lobster shack.

Greeted by Roe, we were invited to have some LIVE BOILED.

Only a crew of illustrators and designers could bring this much dedication to detail. Time to order!

Nancy was the ever cheerful greeter at the Take Out window. Tater Tots, please!

Other patrons had plenty to chew.

You could also take home other delicacies.

Way more appetizing than mere candy!

We could watch the kitchen action, too.

The Eleanor du Jour kept trying to pop out of the pot, though.

Finally, our order was served by the friendly staff.

In fact, all the staff was extremely HOT.

Here a pair of lobsters head back for more.

Halloween Peaks Island style is like no other!