Monday, December 13, 2010
The season of good cheer and celebration is upon us, ready or not. Time to pry ourselves away from studio interests and obligations, dust off social skills and do the HoHoHo dance! Here's my 2010 Santa, partying away in very cool ankle boots. This is obviously pre-Christmas Eve, as he would be too tired to kick up his heels for quite awhile after the big night. So wishing to one and all a merry happy bright festive Christmas, Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Kwanza, what have you! And hopes for some peace on Earth in 2011.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Listen. It's different from hearing. Listening involves...involvement. And attention. And concentration while your brain processes meaning from sound, then chooses an emotional response. Working in the studio, making this image, I was listening to (in no particular order): Etta James, Bright Eyes, Otis Redding, Edith Piaf, John Lennon, La Boheme, Bruce Springsteen, Cat Power, Django Rheinhardt, Elvis Costello, The Ventures, The Corrs, Charlie Hayden, Cocteau Twins, Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, U2, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Bach, Thelonius Monk. Thank you, iTunes, for playlists and genius mixes, for freeing us from the tyranny of complete albums (apologies to certain purists who consider this musical blashemy). Listening and responding emotionally while painting is one "multi-tasking" function I happily embrace.
I thank all my studio musical inspirations for "listen".
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Last weekend I attended a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference here in my fair city. Writers outnumbered illustrators by about 10 to 1. Luckily, I am equally interested in words and pictures. Scribbling furiously, I tried to capture every spoken word, piece of advice, do this, don't do that, offered so generously by the excellent faculty: Laurent Linn, AD at Simon & Schuster, Alvina Ling, Sr. Editor at Little Brown, and Liz Waniewski, Sr. Editor at Dial. Now, back in my real world, sitting alone in front of the blank page (or screen), what will I be able to make from all of this? Surely something finer than before. What I love (and sometimes hate) about this life as an itinerate creative is... everything you produce comes straight out of your brain. You go out into the world and look, and listen, and gather information, relationships, experiences, places, characters, dialog, stories. Then you bring it all back to the studio, sit with your blank page and see what, if anything, you have to say today. Jasper Johns said "Do something, do something to that, and then do something to that." It's the only way I know to begin anything.
Friday, August 20, 2010
If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, I offer this one to express my dismay over the massive "plume" of oil still below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. The operative word is "below". As long as the surface looks better, happy days are here again. Except for the destroyed marine life. And the livelihoods derived from it. For who knows how long.
I remember swimming in the clearest most aqua blue salt water, walking on the brightest white sugar sand beaches of the Gulf, imaging I could almost see Mexico on the turquoise horizon. (sigh). So before this turns into 1,000 words, I'm going to hold that thought and go for a walk with Daisy-the-dog, to enjoy this beautiful late summer Friday afternoon.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
The Picturebook directory arrived in today's mail. It's quite a bit thinner than in past years. This is my image that appears in the book, inspired by a painting workshop I took last summer with Jane Filer. I like her approach to landscape, which magically tips perspective and stacks space in a flat picture plane. When I took the workshop I wasn't thinking about how it might inform my illustration. It was, in fact, a surprise that this image began to take shape soon after. Good example of how important it is to suspend expectation and stay open to creative winds of all kinds blowing our way.
As for the subject matter, it's a memory from a past life when I had tea in the Himalayas with two cats and a violin-playing mouse, who was pretty darn good.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
My city is host this week to a touring gentle giant, Jade Buddha for Universal Peace, at Vietnamese Lien Hoa Temple. It's 10 ft. tall and carved from a boulder of jade. I went to have a look this morning, unprepared for the total sensory and soul soothing experience I received. Arriving after too much coffee, world news, and a bout of creative angst, my jangled nerves and tangled emotions accompanied me as far as the seat I took. Then, sitting under bright banners fluttering in a fresh breeze, the spectacle of Jade Buddha surrounded by flowers and fruits and the rhythmic chanting of devotees banished all worries. I found myself in a little cocoon of beauty and peace. Just breathing in, breathing out. The chanting goes, "May all beings take care of themselves happily". What a revelation! Why do we have to be reminded to do the simplest, most satisfying things??
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
This painting was sold in the "Surfacing" show! Goodbye. Nice knowing you. I know you'll be happy in your new home. Thanks for all you taught me as I toiled away hour after hour balancing shapes, adjusting color and contrast, pushing and pulling foreground and background. And then someone came along, saw something special enough in you to take you home- amazing!
I studied oil painting for a couple of years at Braitman Studio here in Charlotte and this is some of my work in oil and cold wax:
Friday, February 26, 2010
Yikes. Where did 2 months go?? The broken wrist (mostly mended, thanks) definitely slowed my pace, but I managed to "get by, with a little help from my friends"- you know who you are! This was the January blitz: