Tuesday, June 26, 2012

world of wonders

I'm pleased to be included in an exhibit at the Atrium Gallery at USM's Lewiston Auburn College, a collection of children's book illustration with a science/nature theme called Tell Me a Story: A World of Wonders. 

These are 3 of my originals from A Warmer World.

A very small hermit crab illustration became part of a digitally created pattern for the end papers in Nest, Nook, and Cranny which I illustrated.

Love these end paper illustrations for Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly by Kevin Hawkes, a former island neighbor, and how Velma not quite disappears in the pattern.

I felt like Velma at the beach the other day, watching this butterfly struggle to lift off the rocks.
Can you identify it?

Drawing this Edith's Checkerspot butterfly numerous times while working on A Warmer World has made it very identifiable for me. Thanks to a warmer world, they are now found at elevations that are 300 feet higher than they were 100 years ago.

I was delighted to meet up with Cathryn Falwell, who arranged this display of original art and objects that were digitally merged in the final book, Scoot!

I was very drawn to these vibrant paintings by Jim Sollers.

  Here's a great diagram of a beaver dam, also by Jim.

This image stuck in my head when I embarked on a nature walk, courtesy of Garry Fox of the Peaks Island Land Preserve during Peaks Fest weekend.

The beavers on Peaks are invisible yet leave plenty of evidence.

They like to eat aspen trees, and otherwise bring down any thing they please. Garry showed us the features of a beaver skull, flat topped with eyes and nostril aligned, to move just above water level.

The good folks at PILP do a lot of volunteer work keeping trails accessible.

Here's the biggest lodge. Anybody home?

When I illustrated a beaver for Nest, Nook & Cranny I sure didn't find reference in my back yard.
Beavers are too busy to pose.

No walk on PILP land is complete without a stop at Battery Steele, a WW2 era bunker that now functions as a cave of surreptitious ritual and creativity.

Garry pointed out some art highlights, such as this piece done by his son, Keenan, who heads to Cooper Union in the fall.

This is a painting done for last year's Sacred and Profane by Paul Brahms, lit by flashllight in the complete darkness.

Garry didn't know who did this:

It brings to mind this Native American proverb:

                                                               Treat the earth well,
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.

From art to nature and back to art, let's "practice the art of noticing."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ICON 7: whole lotta love

My college town, pretty Providence, played host to the Illustration Conference, ICON 7. I'm still buzzed from all the electricity. Illustrators from all over gathering for a love fest in the field. I checked in first with my hosts, the lovely Christina Rodriguez and her husband, Travis, both RISD alums. Lucky me! And thanks to Kid Lit Cafe.

I met up with familiar faces at the RISD Icon exhibit at Woods Gerry Gallery. Excellent show.

Had to hug my fellow alum and mentor in so many ways, Annie Gusman Joly. She offered me my first teaching job at the Art Institute of Boston waaaay back when.

Great to reconnect with her husband, Dave, and colleague, Eric. Talked teaching with Jim Roldan.
And saw my own teacher, the inimitable Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges!

Enjoyed a delicious evening at Hemenway's with her lively circle: Salley Mavor and husband Rob, Allison Paul, and Carolyn Gowdy, who won for coming all the way from London. Everyone but Rob a student of Judy Sue's, we had plenty in common and lots to smile about.

I headed to the Renaissance Hotel the next day with new friend and amazing talent, Natalya Zahn.
This being my first ICON, I was super excited. Banner here by Jessica Hische.

Learned a TON from Jen Corace, who talked about being a maker, artist wrangler, and shop-owner. Here she demonstrates the secret RISD handshake.

We trooped over to her store, Craftland, home of awesomeness made by hand. Everything is fairly irresistible.

I happened upon Cora Lynn Diebler and Jo Lynn Alcorn and we linked up for lunch at 121 Local.
You can't go wrong in a crowd of illustrators.  Common language, yet so many different approaches.
Most of downtown Providence is unrecognizable, much has changed in the decades since I graduated. But this old haunt is still there.

I returned to the conference for Julia Rothman's workshop on Navigating Print and Pattern.

What a great hands-on opportunity to draw and swap. She walked us through making a tiled pattern. I was paired with Amy Biggers and here's what we came up with.

I loved what Natalya was working on.

She was paired with Aaron Meshon, lucky girl. Don't you WANT this?

From this crazy fun, I joined the Educating Entrepreneurs symposium next, with a panel of illustrators and teachers that included Susie Gharahmani and Whitney Sherman, among others.
With panelists from Etsy and Kickstarter, RISD and MICA, it was a broad discussion about how and when to introduce business topics into the studio environment. Afterwards, ran into another RISD classmate, Michele Noiset! Made my day, totally.

I skipped the evening's ceremonies in favor of heading out of town a bit. Needed this serene sight of wind power over the skyline.

Are you still with me? Gawd, this conference is PACKED with programming. Next day there was more, more, more. Art directors here dishing on the main stage at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

Too many high points to recap here, but favorites were Christopher Silas Neal's animation, Navy, for Kate Spade, the "cardboard guy," and Jessica Hische revealing that she "procrastiworks." Me, too!

What really brought down the house was the appearance of Lynda Barry and Matt Groening, college pals who shared laughs, comics, and unforgettable wisdom. Lynda held up her gesturing hands and reminded us, "these are the original digital devices." They have intelligence and we need them to speak: we were all together because we drew a picture. Yes.

The crowd drifted over to the Rhode Show Bazaar feeling all fuzzy after that. Tables and tables of cool stuff! Here's Cora. She's ready to let heads roll with her new Anatole Diebler graphic novel.

Natalya's got nature on her side.

And I got to meet Lizzy Rockwell at last! Big fans of hers in this household.

Ran into Anthony Russo while browsing the illustration wares. Cheers over a glass of wine, and then
time for a dinner outing with my hosts, Travis and Christina.

And meeting new folks: Daniel Hertzberg, Sunil Manchikanti, Jen Hill, and Moira Birch Swiatkowski, each one amazing.

Providence has a certain spell. As Jen Corace put it, "You can get away with a lot here."

So full of ICON wonder, I was kinda cross-eyed by the next day. More art directors showed off great illustration, and I'm keen on seeing loose sketches, like this one by Mark Ulriksen.

Thomas Schmidt of Buck TV said it best, "We just like illustration." Preachin' to the choir, amen.

Marshall Arisman debated the value of an MFA against my former teacher, David Porter, who had the last word. 

The high point of the morning was Idiot's Books, with a flawlessly hysterical stand-up routine about jumping off the deep end to find satisfaction. I went right down to the book store and bought the last copy of their "Ten Thousand Stories." You gotta love a couple with 3 kids who are selling onesie's that read "I suck." 

I headed home with a pile of goodies that will keep me fed for quite a while.

Thanks to ICON 7, my hosts, and the shiny town of Providence for a fierce shot in the drawing arm!
When can we meet again?

Monday, June 11, 2012

animal power

 I keep my eyes peeled at all times and a camera in my back pocket. I never know when my image bank will come in handy. I just finished a piece for the 2013 Lunar Calendar, illustrating a poem by Sarah Fuhro that mentions a heron. I found this shot, recently taken during our trip to London, at the Serpentine in Hyde Park. What a handsome fellow.

And here's a sighting on Peaks Island just last week:

I made this drawing, using a bit of collage, and incorporating a feather found on the beach.

Another bit of paper moon found it's way into a card made for my friend, Susan, who makes an appearance in Seven Days of Daisy (on Saturday, of course!)

This little pink turtle came from one of my illustrations in Nest, Nook & Cranny.

Susan spends the winter in Florida, right where loggerhead turtles come ashore to lay eggs. I rely on her for my wisdom about turtles. She sent this photo of turtle prints left on the beach.

She let me know April was a good month for this spread in A Warmer World:

And look who I met on a walk on my island last week!

When I have a rare sighting like this, I wonder. And look at Medicine Cards to see if there's some animal power needing my attention.

According to that book, turtles are the oldest symbol of Mother Earth, and the message is: honor your creative source, and be grounded.

The heron, on the other hand, is about self-reflection, reflecting your spirit's inner goal.

Susan celebrated her birthday last night with a bonfire in her yard, beneath a teepee made from a fallen birch.

Sparks flew up towards the stars, with wishes for good health, grounding, and finding that inner goal.

May the animal powers be with us all, if we notice.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

88 keys

My poster for 2 Pianos 4 Hands is back in circulation. Portland Stage has brought this "comedy with music about a lifetime's obsession with 88 keys" back by popular demand. I did the illustration quite awhile ago, since the play ran originally in January of 2011. I worked on the illustration 2 summers ago, and Marty posed on the ivories.

Since then, he began taking piano lessons. Life imitating art? I've had the pleasure of listening to both my husband and daughter practicing their instruments for the last year. The message in 2 Pianos 4 Hands is complicated. Being a maestro is hard work. But in the end, the joy of music is what sustains us all.

Here's the proud student with his amazing teacher, Jan Thomas, after Marty's first recital.

Sound of many hands clapping here! Bravo, Marty!