Thursday, May 24, 2012

love that dirty water

I left some of my heart in Boston years ago. It was my formative post-college city for 8 amazing years.

I did the above illustration eons ago, but it still captures my vibe for Kenmore Square. See the moon?
I recently connected with Nancy F Passmore, esteemed publisher of Luna Press, to which I have contributed for 30 years. We roamed about the MFA for three languid hours, catching up under the lights.

 I have Buddha on the brain, for a current project. Plenty of exquisite places to pause for meditation.

We made our way through the maze of galleries to see Seeking Shambhala,
an exhibit that contrasts old and new. Delighted to find the work of Gonkar Gyatso, who made this divine halo by secular means.

Check out the crafty detail, you sticker lovers.

There's a whole statue covered this way, in the center of all the Tibetan paintings acquired over a hundred years ago.

All the Asian art made me swoon. I did this drawing of Saraswati last year. Should have
visited the Asian wing for proper immersion.

Understood the neon wisdom here.

We also visited Paper Zoo, where I fell in love with a very graphic turtle.

Something about the symmetry of turtles, their slow but sure magnitude, is a fantastic drawing challenge. I drew this turtle for A Warmer World.

I was also drawn to Beauty as Duty, a startling lesson in British war-time fashion. Who knew that austerity measures meant patriotic scarves?

I noticed during my recent trip to London that the Brits do love their flag. Who doesn't? My favorite souvenirs show the same colors.

This Getty image is spooky. I try to imagine the prospect of daily life with gas masks, but what leaps to mind instead is "are you my mummy?" from Dr. Who.

Meandering back to the exit, I discovered a room of magical instruments. What kind of song could be played with this?

I can hear it. Can you? Enough to make this mermaid surface in my pastel.

I was quite moved by the sculptures flanking the Fenway entrance.

The enormous baby heads beckon me to be like new, to see everything for the first time.
I headed back to Kenmore Square, washed by rain and memory, feeling young.

Boston, you bring me back every time.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Maine Comic Arts Festival

This year's Maine Comic Arts Festival brought another wave of sun and shiny artists together.

 The location really can't be beat, sitting right over the water in Portland, Maine. I found many familiar faces from the MECA orbit. Front and center was Ben Bishop, who's had recent success with his graphic novel for DownEast, " Lost Trail."

We met years ago in an Illustration 2 classroom at MECA. Not far away I encountered colleague
Michael Connor of Coelacanthus fame, who co-taught Illo 2 with me this past semester. Sitting next to him was former student, Jessica Shea.

Right next to her was MECA alum Kori Handwerker, who publishes a free web comic, Prince of Cats.

Many other talents showed their wares with big smiles. Found kinship with this artist over deer.

Who could resist these adorable crocheted jellies?

They were total magnets for the fab art of Renee Kurilla.

Indeed, the water theme was fitting for the location. Here's Dave Roman and Kazu Kibuishi working their pens.

Another familiar face from SCBWI: Casey G! Could be the last time I see her for awhile, as she departs the east coast for the west. Fare thee well, Casey, you'll be missed.

The MECAF crowd is always friendly and chatty, a good place to talk shop, ogle wares, collect cards and buttons, and bring home plenty of swag with a capital S.

Big bravo to Casablanca Comics for pulling another memorable event together.

Friday, May 18, 2012

everything's related

Sometimes you notice how everything's related. I'm closing out an entire week in my studio, with not one trip off-island. Splendid. Even though it's nice to be done with the MECA semester, I'm enjoying working with an art student, Olwyn.

She lives across the street. I've actually drawn almost everyone in her family, who've been handy models on many occasions.

Her younger sister, Imogen, posed for a drawing in my 2011 Sketchbook Project.

And here's their little brother, who provides plenty of amusement, in the same sketchbook.

Nikolai also posed for a recent illustration project, soon to be published by Storey Publishing.
Heads up knitters: it's all about casting on.

 I've even drawn their lovebirds.

Here Olwyn appears as a Santa Lucia attendant.

We've done some life drawing studies together, and Olwyn's mother, Kathryn, gracefully posed for us.

I'm scanning Olwyn's work for her portfolio. Here's an evocative painting she did of Courtney Love awhile ago.

This week we put together Olwyn's zine she just created, "Live Through This." all about Love.

Olwyn's a multi-talented girl. We recently saw her in Circle Mirror Transformation at Lucid Stage.

Above, the cast is doing a talk back with the audience after the performance.
The play, by Annie Baker, is captivating, with resonating insights about art, acting, and relationships.

At 17, Olwyn is the youngest in the cast, but performed with tremendous skill amongst professional peers. Bravo, Olwyn!

On the subject of sketchbooks and relatives, my family's batch is part of the Sketchbook Project 2012, and now on it's way to Los Angeles!

Yep, everything's related.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

the play's the thing

Theater is on the brain here. Marty and I had the good fortune to attend Portland Stage's annual Spring Gala benefit last week. I illustrated the brochure (above) and then created a layered collage in a shadow box, below.

This was presented to L.L. Bean at the event, in honor of their loyal sponsorship of Portland Stage.
 Here's Artistic Director, Anita Stewart, with the art:

Her dashing husband, Ron Botting, then handed it to Rosemary Moser, Community Relations Director at LL Bean.

Elements from my illustration were used in signage here and there, in curious company at the Masonic Temple in Portland, Maine.

Signed posters were auctioned off. Here I am mingling with mine, for the current show, Marie Antoinette: The Color of Flesh.

Marty's admiring his, for The God of Carnage, and Santaland Diaries.

I was also pleased to see Jacques go to a good home, the endearing dog sculpture carved by MECA grad, Thomas Dowling. Jacques made an indelible appearance in Heroes recently and was an instant hit. Portland Stage auctioned him off in style.

I'm thrilled to have my work on display in the theater lobby during the run of Marie Antoinette. The show is a spectacular production, with lavish costumes, a sizzling love triangle, and flawless set designs. I'm going again, for the final show on Sunday, with a sketchbook in hand this time.
So much to take in!

Next up will be 2 Pianos 4 Hands, back by popular demand. And it's my poster!

Tonight Marty's heading over to the Little Festival of the Unexpected, to see Love Sick by John Cariani. Marty just might do the poster for the next season's production.

Meanwhile, I'll stay home by the drawing board, working on sketches for The Sisters Rosensweig, due next fall during the 2012-2013 season.

The play's the thing!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

pop up show at Charlesbridge

In honor of Children's Book Week, Charlesbridge Publishing had the brilliant idea for a pop-up show in the empty office space two flights below theirs, on Main Street in Watertown, MA.

I bopped down with Curious Co-Pilot, Kirsten Cappy, in dotty style. Trivia question: what are we holding?

I brought along original sketches and my toy polar bear that provided handy reference for A Warmer World.

Some framed pieces were part of an incredibly abundant exhibit of children's book illustration.

I'm thrilled by the company I'm in! Here's one of Rafael Lopez's paintings:

Love this phoenix by Ralph Masiello:

And I was delighted to see a piggy by David Hyde Costello:

I had the honor of meeting several folks, like Hazel Mitchell, Leslie Evans, and Stuart J. Murphy.
And the publisher, Brent Farmer!

Familiar faces not seen in way too long totally made my day: Richard Goldberg, Jim Roldan, Sarah Goodman, Sue Gilzow, and Ina Rubin.

Nancy Wovers brought her talented daughter, Isabelle, who shared her sketchbooks and some recent paintings. Wow, the girl is good!

Keep drawing and painting, Isabelle!

I also saw first proofs for my most recent project, Here Come the Humpbacks, due out next year.

Lots and lots of blue, yes.

On a good tip, we discovered a rare breakfast destination before leaving town the next morning.

The Deluxe Station Diner is something out of the past and the future, with stylings by none other than Mark Fisher. He happened to be on the same trolley I took to my first portfolio visit at the Boston Globe. Um, over thirty years ago.

 We gobbled down banana bread under the shiny eyes of this fellow.

Time to hit the road. My trusty co-pilot led the way from our blast to the past back to Maine.

Thanks to Donna Spurlock, princess of the pop-up show, and Charlesbridge for showcasing the joyful labors of the children's book world!