Monday, January 21, 2013

the life aquatic

Hooray! Here Come the Humpbacks! has arrived. When the box of complimentary copies shows up, it's official. Since the non-fiction story by April Pulley Sayre is about a mother humpback and her calf's migration, my dedication is to my daughter, "who crosses water twice a day," her own six-word memoir, written in a comics class exercise.

Yes, we live the life aquatic here on an island, crisscrossing Casco Bay. She headed to the ferry one morning wearing a t-shirt she designed.

The same day I hung up a sparkly piece I bought from Maine College of Art student Devon Johnson.

The semester has begun, and I am excited to share the classroom with Devon and the rest of the class of 2013 illustration majors. In reviewing their work, I spied several interesting illustrations for an assigned article about ocean trash.

I, too, illustrated a trashy scene for Here Come the Humpbacks!

It's a daily reality here. All manner of things wash up. Sometimes a neighbor makes a statement, like this monstrous driftwood covered in lobster buoys.

On my daily walks with the dog, I collect any stray debris on the beach.

It's my personal beauty regimen. See, isn't this more beautiful?

Illustrating a non-fiction picture book is more than just drawing. It's getting immersed in the subject. I learned a LOT about whales while working on this book. Every bit of trash I pick up is one less particle of plastic being ingested by sea life.

I came home and found another surprise: my adoption package from Whale and Dolphin Conservation! Here is Salt, my plush toy that represents a humpback first identified in 1975 who has 12 known calves and became a grandmother in 1992, the year we moved to Maine.

Besides a certificate of her history, I received her family tree and a DVD of whale watch videos. Cool!

Meanwhile, my better half was doing his part to preserve the ocean. He designed this poster for an upcoming rally about tar sands.

And what's a rally without a banner? A group of hardy islanders gathered to pull one together, but saved the actual painting task to Marty.

So we draw, paint, and care about our world. Right now there's talk of snow again. Here's a view from Here Come the Humpbacks.

Could be Salt and her kin, making their way back home.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

beauty buzz

Meet my gorgeous cousin, Joanne McDonough. We call her Jojo.

She's also the premier make-up artist and skin care therapist at Joya Beauty, where we made a visit recently.

She has the original art of this illustration I did for Maine Magazine, for an article called Get Your Glow On, about skin care.

Jojo shared her make-up wisdom with my daughter and her friend, showing them how to mix their own custom colors.

Part chemistry and part color theory, all calibrated with style.

Each of them got a custom batch of products.

Here's Imogen sitting pretty!

Found some fun illustrations looking at one of Jojo's vintage beauty books.

I just came across a vintage beauty drawing of mine, during recent post-holiday cleaning.

On the way home, the girls compared their stash of products.

We'll be back to get facials. Here's another illustration of mine that comes to mind.

Thanks, Jojo, for the beauty buzz!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

plunge into the new

2013 is off to a brave and busy beginning, full of stories, students, and creatures with white fur.

Charlesbridge donated a stack of books for the Natural Resources Council of Maine's Polar Dip and Dash on the last day of 2012. Sunny but cold, it was a glorious day to sign books about climate change for the top ten kid winners.

There was a great crowd, including a polar bear looking a bit out of his element, a fitting metaphor for the whole deal.

Wait, what's the bride doing here? Oh, it's Beth Dimond, Public Affairs Coordinator for the NRCM, who decided to take the plunge with her entire wedding party before taking the plunge at the altar.
Talk about prenups!

She was kind enough to take this photo of me awaiting the dipping action. Notice I am not in MY bathing suit.

Great spectator event, truly. Here the crowd gathers, those in clothing feeling smart, and those dipping bracing for the water.

The event itself is, of course, brief. Wedding dippers in the foreground below:

I sponsored my neighborhood polar bear family, Jeanne Gulnick and her husband Mark Green (both professors at St. Joseph's College) and their brave kids, Jonah and Lilah. I shiver just looking at them. Bravo for raising money to combat climate change.

A couple of days later, I encountered more brave kids at King Middle School. I was one of 9 guest artists visiting for their annual World Culture kick-off, an expedition involving making art inspired by a French or Spanish artist. Students begin by interviewing local artists about how culture influences their work, and other pertinent details about being an artist. I always bring pastels, since materials are a major aspect of my approach.

This student made a fast and furious drawing, unafraid to get green dust all over.

Wow, sweet rewards for artists.... Holy Donuts!

I also showed students my current Sketchbook Project, in which I'm drawing my favorite shops around Portland. My own superhero/donut dunker modeled for me. Look, up in the sky!

Over the weekend, I finally saw a performance of the Peaks Island Puppets. I felt like a kid again, totally transported.  My neighbor Stephanie Eliot shines with exuberance and David Handwerker is
sly and silly. Julie Goell made all the puppets and props, and wrote the comical telling of Solomon and Ashmedai. I brought home the materials to make my own. Cool.

I headed back into another school on Monday, Casco Bay High, to help kick-off their week-long intensive on self-publishing. Shared selections from my zine collection and lugged my vintage typewriter.

Meanwhile, I'm sketching away. Everything seems to be a source of inspiration. 

Stopped in at Longfellow Books to see the latest window installation, this one by Gaella Materne, awesome illustration senior at Maine College of Art. She recreated in 3 dimensions the book cover of my neighbor Eleanor Morse's new book, White Dog Fell from the Sky.

Eleanor also posed for me for my sketchbook.

Eleanor will be reading and signing this Friday at Longfellow Books at 6:30. I'll be one of the first in what will be a long line for this amazing book. Come join me!