Saturday, August 29, 2009

Marcus and Petunia

I'm painting/writing a book about two firefly friends. Here they are, meeting for the first time:

and Petunia (a rough sketch of her, anyway):
I started this image on Thursday. It's still a work in progress, but I like it so far. The look of it is just what I had in mind. Last week I received a letter from a publishing company asking to see more of my illustrations. The design team specifically requested some sequential narrative images geared toward children. As I was reading the letter, a little tale about two fireflies popped into my head. (At the time I was working with kids on bug-themed projects at the Arlington Center for the Arts.) Over the course of the week the story took shape, changed shape and reformed again into Marcus and Petunia. One of the most interesting aspects of creating this story has been designing the characters. I wanted to make them hyper-realistically buggy, but also a bit anthropomorphic and charming. So I studied actual firefly anatomy and then subtly amplified "cute" features, like their big, shiny eyes.

In other news, in the event that my status as a "real American" should ever be called into question, I give you the following image:
Me, last night, riding to the demolition derby at the Marshfield Fair, eating extra crispy KFC chicken over the 10-piece BUCKET clamped between my knees.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Life's been all about syllabi and lesson plans around here. It's also been about those necessary evils: art career related tasks and errands. I'll be back in the studio tomorrow working on something new and exciting.

Until then, you have to check out Lauren Nassef's website and her "Drawing a Day" blog. I love, love, love her exquisite use of line. I discovered Lauren's work through a chain of blog links, from this post on Camilla Engman's site to Julia Rothman's interview with copyright lawyer, Amy Everhart, at Book by it's Cover. Nassef was the victim of astonishingly flagrant copyright violation, but ultimately won her case.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Bookends

Peaceful breakfast with Mom's Dahlia in the am.
The aftermath of a full day teaching and painting with many, many kids at the ACA.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Weekly Studio Update

This week I've been busy finishing up my Teeny Tiny Sparrow Series. I've been sewing paper for a while, but this is the first time that I've stitched snowflake patterns like the ones above. I like them. They're simultaneously familiar and mysterious, which is my favorite duality.

That little group of stars in the center of the blue thread pattern is the Hercules Cluster. It makes me want a telescope.

I'm experimenting with more affordable framing because, as my husband points out, I'm not a non profit frame reseller.
I was using Jameson and Thompson in Jamaica Plain, and as much as I LOVE them (great people, super, hand-crafted frames like buttah (that's "butter" with a Boston accent)) I really can't afford them at the moment. Also, I know someone trustworthy and artistically talented who works at Big Picture Framing in Cambridge. I still can't decide if I made the right choice regarding the matte color, but that would fall under that pesky category: my fault. The work that the framers did, on the other hand, is unquestionably great. The piece is beautifully floated, very sturdy and archival. Also, the turnaround time was lightening fast and the people were nice. Even more importantly, there is a cute dog roaming around the shop and one can pet her while choosing one's frames.
Now I'm working on another series of eggs:

The other day I was organizing my storage space, and I came across this unfinished monstrosity. I decided to see what would happen if I whitewashed over it:
I like it much better now. I might try some subtle drawings on top of the white.

And don't you feel bad for this guy?
Yesterday I showed this picture to Deb and she said,"Oh my God, she looks like a man!" When I showed it to Charley, he said, "Hey, they're like us! He looks so benign, and she's thinking about all of the things he should be doing instead of just screwing around." Does this mean that our newlywed phase is officially over?

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Inspiration Delay/Sneak Attack

Today I stitched these forms onto the corner of a painting.
It was one of those intuitive choices that just seemed like the right thing to do. And then I looked up at the wall directly in front of me and saw these:I bought them about 9 months ago because I was thinking of snowflakes and spider webs which, in turn, made me think about doilies. This kind of thing always reinforces my belief in the value of spacing out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I've finished three paintings that are part of my Teeny Tiny Sparrow Series for the Teeny Tiny Art Show. This first one is my favorite:
I saw this mixed media piece at Sarah Ogren's etsy shop, and decided I that needed it:
I'm going to get a little shelf for it, but for now it will live on our bookcase. When I first saw Sarah's work at Three Graces I was a little freaked out. Mainly because her work is almost exactly like my own Bird-head People Series (like this one, for example). It's like convergent evolution.

I love this present one of my students made for me last week. The design is kind of amazing, particularly for a six-year-old.