I'm very fond of the Chinese New Year. As a former resident of San Francisco, I relate to all the Asian wisdom and ritual around new beginnings. And, it's nice to have another fresh start, since the calendar new year seems to come too close behind the holidays for a truly clean slate.
However, I am NOT fond of snakes. In fact, I am totally phobic! I repurposed my illustration of a snake from Nest, Nook & Cranny by Susan Blackaby for a New Year's card for my SF neighbor, Frank Ching. I guess the snake is all about transforming with ease, so I will embrace my fears, shriek some, and carry on.
The week began with a Maine meet-up of area members of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. I knew I was in the right place when this door handle greeted me at the entrance to Bull Feeney's in Portland.
It was a lively gathering of writers and illustrators hearty enough to brave the enormous snowbanks.
On Tuesday I made a presentation at the Curtis Library in Brunswick, alongside author Robin Hansen, telling our yarnish tales of making Ice Harbor Mittens.
If you can judge a library by it's art collection, the Curtis is chock full. Found this cool creation hanging:
From there, we ventured to the Peary-MacMillen Artic Museum at Bowdoin College nearby, where an inspiring exhibit of Inuit art from the collection of Rabbi Harry Sky blew me away.
Several sculptures are carved from whale bone, such as this voluptuous polar bear.
The show is nearly over. So glad I caught a look in time! They have a cool family event planned for February 23, with toy and puppet-making at 10 AM. Maybe I can disguise myself as a musk ox.
Valentine's Day proved incredibly SWEET. I brought my MECA class to visit the studio of award-winning author/illustrator Kevin Hawkes, who graciously shared his college portfolio, works in progress, and boundless humor.
He showed us several personal paintings, such as this one of a former Peaks Island neighbor hauling in his boat.
I met Kevin when we first moved to Peaks Island and always marveled at his prolific capacity to do amazing work amidst a bustling family. The Hawkes clan left for the mainland many years ago, but his influence has carried me far and wide. Now I'm illustrating children's books, too, and proud to be mentored by him. Here we are with my latest, Here Come the Humpbacks!
Thanks, Kevin, for sharing your professional wisdom with us!
The day only got sweeter, when I met my cupid, Marty, for lunch at the Blue Spoon. Intimate and delicious, this place never disappoints. I wisely skipped dessert, because I was later surprised with an amazing plate of treats crafted by Marty. Who knew he was such a pastry chef?
I hope you're all off to an auspicious new year. We head to Boston today for new scenes, visits, some art, and more great food.