November 26, 2007
November 9, 2007
Okay, Okay, so I finally find my way to her new store and wait in line for about 45 minutes because she clearly has a lot of other fans besides me. The woman behind me has offered to take pictures of us (I'm so grateful - SB fans are the sweetest) And it's ALL I can do not to cry. I'm so excited, there's so much I want to say. I tell her how much her work and life story means to me and how I've been struggling with my own illustrated books. She gave me an encouraging word that I've never heard from any writer or artist before. She said there was a timing and it would happen when it needed to happen. SIGH!!!! Pressure to achieve before I'm 40, before I leave L.A., before the chicken is done roasting, you name it ... Thank you Susan for those honest words. All this pressure wasn't getting me anywhere anyway.
She signed my books - and I did cry a little on the way home - perhaps it was the release of all that pressure.
October 30, 2007
October 24, 2007
the air is so hot, dry and sooty. A friend said to me it felt like the world was coming to an end. The heavy dark gray skies, ash everywhere and the strange dull yellow color is so oppressive. I pray for those who are displaced and have lost their homes. My discomfort is nothing compared to so many others here in So. Cal. I was lucky enough to receive a book I had ordered from the U.K. entitled The Gentle Art of Domesticity. I had a brief hiatus from the gray and dark clouds all around and above me. Such a beautiful book full of color and inspiration.
October 11, 2007
Happy Birthday Mom!
September 24, 2007
My friend had me paint her beloved cat Katybelle which I finally finished and sent off. I had lots of great pictures to work from, but I have to admit, not meeting the cat made me nervous. It sounds strange but pictures only show so much and meeting my subject matter really helps me create a true likeness. Just writing this I hear how hoity toity that sounds, but it's true. I look forward to meeting her and hope she's like the cat I got to know when I was painting her.
When I was a kid, I distinctly remember how at peace I was with my box of crayolas in front of me --which I meticulously arranged in some order by shade or rainbow order ROY-G-BIV before even beginning my coloring masterpiece. I would color in my very own coloring book, one that I did not have to share with my brothers. I'm sure I spent hours upon hours at the kitchen table or laying on the rug in my bedroom coloring inside the lines. All I had to think about was what color to put in those lines to make it a beautiful masterpiece. Sometimes I would play color games -- if I could only choose one, which would it be? An impossible question to answer. Even now, I can think of very few things that bring on such peace. I think I'm going to treat myself to a big box of crayons and coloring book today. But at some point, I'm not sure when - perhaps first grade - I started drawing my own lines to color in. These step by step instructions come from Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals. I've had this book since first grade I do believe and still LOVE looking at it. He still makes books to help kids and (big kids too) learn to draw.
September 15, 2007
September 9, 2007
July 20, 2007
July 15, 2007
I had hoped to finish the illustrations for the book by the end of summer... (what was I thinking!!!) and all the work I've done up to now seems to have produced nothing. But I have to remember, I needed these wrong paintings to realize what I don't want and what doesn't work. And, I'm that much closer to getting the look and feel of what I want. That's a HUGE part of the process - all the work that does NOT go into it. No sketching, erasing, painting is a waste. Art and growing are both glorious and painful... Someone made a comment the other day about how painting must be so relaxing. I thought about it for a second. Yes, there are moments. But all in all I don't do it to relax. I get a massage, take a nap, watch a movie - that's what I do to relax. I paint because I feel most alive when doing it - even if I get mad. And trust me plenty of arches papers has been thrown across the room like a Frisbee. I hope to post another painting for the book soon - but I've got alot of wrong painting to do first...
July 5, 2007
This is my dad in his robe on Father's Day morning. He shares the sanctuary with both the Catholics and the Jewish communities at the retirement complex where he ministers. On Sunday mornings the Catholics get the sanctuary first and they have to wheel out the Virgin Mary before the protestant service. This is the closet where the Catholic priest hangs his robe next to the Protestant minister's. Oh the metaphors that come into play... Besides being a wonderful minister, by dad is an amazing carpenter. This is one of my favorite pieces that he built for me. I've been brought up making things and being taught that we can make just about anything we put our minds to create. I could brag on my dad for pages and pages. But one little picture tells you much more. I think the world would be much better place if everyone had a dad like my mine. Happy Father's Day to all the dads that love and teach us how to love and create!
June 29, 2007
June 6, 2007
May 25, 2007
My illustration class is going well, and I'm sketching, painting, drawing and trying not to judge my work against Beatrix Potter every single second I have a free moment. This weekend between BBQs, Disney Land and sleep, I hope to be working on my portfolio and GerAmyUm...
May 17, 2007
May 14, 2007
May 4, 2007
So from this I roughed out a "sketch" of GerAmyUm with her weedy neighbor. I'm not finished and still working - it's funny, even weeds look pretty in watercolor.
You can see how I have my work cut out in making this weedy neighbor look a little less pretty and alot more annoying and pesky. Strange, I'm missing the color "pesky" and "annoying" from my pallette. I'll have to go mix it up now...
May 1, 2007
April 27, 2007
I ran to Trader Joes to pick up my favorite snacks and beverages because tonight is my night to host the "article club" and instead of reading an article I decide to be a rebel and have the girls come to my house with their "very most favorite" children's picture books to read aloud. I'm stopped by a woman in the store asking about my cool tanktop made by my friend Sharon B. (the snazzy girl to your left) It's a picture of my mom going to prom and she looks like a princess. But it's also a picture of her first date with my dad. Apparently she went out with him in the afternoon and then off to prom with another fellow. People ask me about my tank all the time and I love telling them the story. Once again I find myself writing Sharon's website on the back of my business card and just wonder why I don't get my cards printed with her info on the back.
Next stop the 5001 on 2nd Street - they have such cool wine glasses and I've been eyeing these chartreuse glasses for some time now and I decided today was the day I would buy them, I mean I did get money back from taxes... And, aren't they sooooooo pretty!!!!
And, here's where I wished I had done a little more to myself in the morning... So, I'm bustling along the street and I see this woman and I blurt out "You're Vickie Howell", like I've just discovered gold. Poor thing, I must have scared the Bejeezus out of her. I mean I'm sooooo not a celebrity hound. I saw Harrison Ford at In-n-Out Burger and Vince Vaughn at the Burbank airport and barely blinked an eye. But this was Vickie Howell and she's a knitter, author, and one fantastic creative soul that I really admire and I read her blog all the time. I mean I felt like I knew her. And this is what happens when cyber and reality collide - it's a bit confusing and one can be very one sided and at first I felt weird and guilty like I intruded into her life... Anyway, she was gracious and kind introduced me to her friend. I now call my new wine glasses, my "Vickie Howell Wine Glasses". Cheers
April 24, 2007
April 23, 2007
April 17, 2007
April 16, 2007
I spent most of Saturday packaging these note cards together and laying them out for these photos. I had fun, even though I'm still not that great at using my digital camera yet, but I'm working on it. I need to get some tips on lighting. The Grand Prix took place this weekend here in Long Beach and all day I heard the sound of the cars speeding in circles - it sounded like big bees buzzing.
After my note card photo shoot, I was part of the inagural ride of the "Cute Girls Bike Club". My sassy friend SB the founder and tattooed leader led us to a local biker bar downtown called House of Hayden. We were not bikers of the Harley sort but of the pedal sort with matching baskets and little bells. I had to race home alone leaving the CGBC and Van Halen music(to my dismay) but I was off to great food. CP was making dinner and there was NO-WAY I was going to miss it. ONE AMAZING grill master - the tri-tip and mushroom sauce was mouth watering aMAZing!!!
April 10, 2007
Ah, yes the picture book, GerAmyUm - the first one I'm taking a stab at illustrating. The writer in me is re-writing, re-writing and re-writing. I have about 4 picture layouts in my head and I think I'll let the words go for awhile and work on the pictures. Oh, the pressure I feel in making this book amazing. I think it's because the story means so much to me. I mean, it is the name of my blog, my website, my cards.... When a story means alot it is both good and bad. Good in that you are passionate, excited and interested -- Bad (mostly bad) because you are TOO excited, interested and passionate. For me that means it's really difficult for me to keep it simple. And the beauty about children's picture books is that you have to tell a story simply and rather quickly thanks to the parameters of the book itself.
In August, The SCBWI will be hosting a week longer conference. My plan is to attend and really push my work. I have five completed children's picture books I hope to pitch. However, the big one for me is to pitch myself as an illustrator too. I've not done that before. The insecure 14 year old inside me sees all that I'm not - mostly that I've had no formal art training. But clearly that doesn't matter. Look at Susan Branch - her story is amazing, or even Beatrix Potter. Ultimately, the work will speak for itself and hopefully speak LOUDLY to an editor at the conference.