Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It was very hot here yesterday–94 degrees in Boston!  In April!  And our green, green little neighborhood was buzzing and teeming with life.  When I sat down to resolve this little diptych, that same tickly summer feeling crept into the piece.  Even without warm greens and golds. Pardon this awful photo.  I was rushing.  See a bigger, better image here.

I'm gearing up for Newton Open Studios, which is on May 16th and 17th.  This is my first year participating, and I will be stationed, along with about 17 other artists, at the New Art Center. Here's a link to all of us.  I already have a lot of work for it, but I like to invent deadlines for myself whenever I can.  (It helps with self-discipline.)  So I have a number of new little pieces I'm planning to complete beforehand.  Granted, I have yet to actually start three out of four of them, but I like to dream big.

My mom is teaching me to use the sewing machine.
This was a skill that I was supposed to have learned in my seventh grade home economics class.  But I was too busy peering out through my giant, red-framed glasses at a particular boy to successfully master any sort of domestic skill whatsoever.  I remember that we made tote bags, but I accidentally sewed mine closed.  In the cooking portion of the class my group received a C- on cleanup.  And all we made that day was cinnamon toast.  Eighteen years (and far fewer raging hormones) later, I find that sewing on the machine is actually really easy.  And a great excuse to hang out and get crafty with my mom. ;) 

The cover illustrations of The Economist are often brilliant and technically accomplished, but I think they've reached a new high with this one:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Some Happy Rejections

A few weeks ago I sent out nine little portfolios to different children's trade book publishers, as  I've been itching to do some illustration work.  Yesterday I heard back from three different publishers.  The design team at a California- based publishing company sent back a form letter saying that they will contact me if an appropriate project arises.  So yay, that's a kind of acceptance.  A sort of, "thanks, we'll keep you in mind." But what truly flattered me (and I know that I'm kind of an oddball here) were the two rejection letters.  

First, let me just say that whenever I send out an application for any sort of art or art teaching related opportunity, I always expect rejection.  That's not to say that I lack confidence--to be honest, I REALLY love my own work.  It's true, even if I'm tacky to admit it.  But the self-indulgent loveliness of making art that moves and tickles one's own self (and hopefully others too, of course) can be pretty far removed from most of the business and administrative side of things.  Especially when one is going for long shots.  Rejection is merely par for the course.  When I send out a portfolio for consideration, I like to imagine a kind of Dickensian scene upon its reception.  Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the scene unfolds as follows: a group of heartless oligarchs peer at the return address on my envelope and bellow, "Kaetlyn who?!  Never heard of her!"  Laughing raucously, (depicted with jolting and grotesquely close-up cinematography) they toss the unopened envelope into the incinerator.  

So imagine how surprised I was to receive very kind and complimentary handwritten rejection notes from two art directors, one of which even contained constructive feedback!  Namely that my work seems better suited to adult subjects and editorial work.  So there's something else to look into.  A nice next step for me to take.  I celebrated with my first raspberry smoothie of the season. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring is in the Air

It has been (and continues to be) a whirlwind couple of weeks.  Charley and I went to Baltimore, where Charley's sister, Ivy, married Bill:And where my shoes got stuck in the mud:

At first glance this might seem like a minor detail, but I view it as 1) a delightful sign that spring is really, truly here.  And 2) proof positive that Ivy should simply be in charge of planning everything for everyone for the rest of all our lives.  Who else could pick out the one tiny window of perfect, golden sunshine amidst a steady downpour of April showers?  I refuse to believe it was luck.
I've been stalking the magnolia trees in our neighborhood.

And working at the Arlington Center for the Arts Vacation Arts Program this week:

The kids in my classes make their art with reckless abandon.  I can't wait to carry their energy back into my studio next week. ;)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Fretful Day

Yesterday was a fretful day.  You know the kind of day where everything, when you add it all up together, just seems like a bit much?  Well yesterday was that kind of day for me.  So I decided to put the brakes on my ongoing spree of focused productivity and just make stuff.  Totally self-indulgent stuff.  I rifled through the loose bits in my studio.  I keep them in this box:
And added them into this visual journal that I've started keeping:

The following page from The Tale of Peter Rabbit is left over from grad. school.  My master's thesis was an installation entitled, Peter Rabbit meets the Pink Prom Dress, which consisted of seven paintings, a dress suspended from the ceiling, and a row of Beatrix Potter's illustrations lined up and velcro-ed to the wall.  (I promise that it made sense at the time.)  Wherever Peter's blue coat appeared in the  illustrations I sewed my own little felt blue coats.   

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Something Old, Something New

Cat B. came into my studio on Friday, and remarked that she liked this old, unfinished friend that has been languishing in the back of my studio for the past six months:  
I pulled it out and worked on it a bit more.  The truth of the matter is that I'm a sucker for praise.  But I also really like this piece, as it bridges the gap between my larger watercolor/gouache paintings and my smaller, acrylic bird-people paintings.  And I will be happy to resolve it.  So the praise isn't my only motivator here.  Don't worry.

I'm also working on this big egg:
It's meant to be free-standing, which is different for me, since getting involved with that third dimension makes me nervous.  

I've also put some images of my work (and other bits of life) up here on flickr.   Being new to flickr is kind of like walking into a party where you don't know anyone....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Our neighborhood was looking awfully pretty today in the early morning light.  Even though I kept my own name, I still feel a bit of Able pride every time I catch a glimpse of Charley's name thingy hanging in our window.  Although he made it as part of some sort of mechanical engineering soldering assignment in college, I like to think that it shows a little bit of an artistic side glimmering underneath all of his (admittedly indispensable) pragmatism.  Notice how it's perfectly balanced?  

I finished this egg series today:
This whole project was a nice, juicy 2D design puzzle that made me giddy in a freakishly geeky way.  The most challenging part was color.  The family who commissioned this piece chose a wonderfully motley group of birds to represent themselves.  And with that motley group came a set of givens that resulted in a complicated color conundrum (for those alliteration lovers out there).  Whenever I resolved the overall color relationships for the entire series, the local relationships would break down, and vice versa.  At one point I got the whole thing to work by painting the space behind the hyacinth macaw a pale pink.  But the macaw represents a six year old boy.  And in my experience, six year old boys often take offense to being associated with pink.  But I think I got it right in the end.  

I like them arranged like this on the wall:And here are some close-ups:

Monday, April 6, 2009

When I was a little kid I asked my father, "What's the point of growing up and getting your license if you don't even want to drive to Toys 'R' Us anymore?"  

Well, I just figured out the answer.  

The point of growing up is being allowed to make cupcakes at 10pm on a week night.  

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I found this video posted on Sophism Press, and couldn't resist sharing it with you myself!