Saturday, December 31, 2005
Friday, December 30, 2005
You'll have to sign up to read the NYTimes online article, but it's free and worth it. The exhibit at the USB Museum is called:
"Dutch Treats: Contemporary Illustration From the Netherlands," an exhibition of about 80 works by 14 children's book illustrators whose forays into whimsy have beguiled readers of all ages for half a century.
I'm starting an illustration for the NYC SCBWI conference in Feb. Hopefully I'll get it to work out the way I see it in my mind. Things always seem to glow in my mind..but getting them on paper is another thing. I've got to grab every moment I can to do the illustration. Things get hectic during Christmas/holiday break. Every time I think it's time to sit down and create, there's an appointment to go to, or friends and family visiting. These come first and I'm thrilled to have each friend and loved one here, but I've been fighting to get back on track. Time to get offline and get to the drawing board.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
I also borrowed Earl the Squirrel by Don Freeman. His scratchboard style was fresh and flowing, working perfectly with the humorous, yet tender story.
I took it as a special gift. (I'm a great believer in taking note of signs in nature..whether it's a cardinal, or a sweet bird song, or a rainbow on Christmas day.)
It was a personal reminder of the day's true meaning and the Gift we celebrate on Christmas day.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Saturday, December 24, 2005
I justify it because.....I'm taking a break..I made fudge, got last minute groceries, watched my husband creating culinary wonders, and now need to go make some more goodies and get ready for a beautiful Christmas Eve service. Christmas Eve services are one of the highlights of the year for me...there's something extra special about taking time, finally, in the midst of the hectic season to pause, quiet down and listen to the message I need to hear...to sing age-old songs with dear friends and...being an artist....watch the glow from the candles as they are lit, and the light spreads throughout the congregation. I can't wait.
For now..I'm off to make some yummy chili cheese dip. If it turns out as well as I remember it, I'll try to post the recipe after Christmas.
If I don't write tomorrow...my best wishes for a Merry Christmas to all of you..and a happy Hanukkah, as well as prayers and wishes for a safe, healthy, blessed 2006 in every way!
There's a new free online art newsletter due out in January. Here are some details:
It is a bi-weekly Artist's Newsletter called SELLING YOUR ART. The newsletter is free and will be distributed by email via Yahoo! Groups. The first issue will be released Friday, January 6, 2006. You can subscribe by going to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sellingyourart/
Friday, December 23, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
I just found out that the drummer for the group TSO or Trans-Siberian Orchestra graduated from my high school around the same year as me, or the following year. His name is Jeff Plate, and he played on some sports teams with my brother.
I'm so proud of him! I didn't know him well, but it thrills me to know he succeed so fully in such a tough field.
What a small world. Congratulations Jeff!
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Here it is. I must be insane. I took this job on at the last minute before Christmas..not only that, but it's about 22"x14"..much larger than normal..making everything take longer due to the amount of detail and grass, buildings, etc. I pieced it together to copy it at Staples. It didn't fit on the copy machine, which explains the line down the middle..
Tomorrow I have to finish the next drawing...I am crazy.....
Actually...I've got to finish the bush on the right hand side of this...a bit more.
The client who ordered this has been a gem. Even though it was a tight push for Christmas, it was worth doing. You can't tell by this image, but the building on the far left is a horse barn..huge..with a gorgeous stone entrance..and houses an indoor ring.
Monday, December 19, 2005
I needed to add some color to the blog..so here's another of my Bolivian hats/chullos. It seems that people like viewing these hats, so I'm posting an unusual one. This one has ruffled border that is unusual. I'm not sure what the story is with the ruffle, but I love it. Notice the swan like birds in this design.
I'd love to interview some of the men who make these hats. They are incredibly talented.
The next time I visit Bolivia, I plan to try to meet someone who makes these and interview them.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Friday, December 16, 2005
I imagine it's also a great place to get ideas for other product names.
We have another snow day today..this one caused by frozen rain. "Frozen rain days" aren't much fun, but at least there's some white still showing..probably lethal to try to walk on. No sledding today I guess. At least the fort my kids built will be frozen and longer lasting.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
(I'm doing this the lazy way, since I've got my own kids plus 2 others here at the moment.)
I also finally put some lights outdoors decorating the bushes in the front of our house , and a 'faux' pine garland with lights on the deck. We also were finally able to decorate the tree after several setbacks..including burnt out tree lights, a cracked tree stand/leaking water...need to re-stand the tree, etc.
The Christmas tree is starting to shape up with decorations from years ago, as well as some hand-made ones that the kids created. We decorate the Christmas tree in the "down home style" (hodge-podge style..sort of a crazy-quilt approach to tree decorating) which is my favorite. I've got beautiful old decorations from my childhood and before. My Mom generously gave me many old favorites. Every time I hang them I'm reminded of the amazing times we had as kids.
Anyway..I also love tinsel and tiny real candycanes.
Last night we had the pleasure of attending our local middle school band concert. There's something special about watching and listening to middle school kids play holiday and Christmas music..squeaks, blunders and all...watching them blush in their Santa Claus hats, and seeing their earnest faces when the band director picks up her baton to start the music.
I nearly cried watching them all.
Kids these days are hardworking, fun-loving, creative and diligent. Anyone who doesn't believe it should go to a local middle-school or high-school concert and see for themselves.
I'll have some links up later on. I have to get to the store before the sleet hits.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I found out about this today on the Chicken Spaghetti blog..(one of my favorites..listed on the few links left there on the right of my blog)
I'm going to add La Bloga to my link of "multicultural links" on my website.
(even though I use the term...I really dislike the term..multicultural..for some reason it sets things apart, as though different, when in reality are all multicultural....)
Thanks again Chicken Spaghetti for another terrific link.
I also received my book Magic Pencil-Children's Book Illustration Today in the mail the other day. It's an unusual book, put out by The British Council, and The British Library, and compiled/written by Quentin Blake. I can't wait to get into it. Many of the illustrations in it are wonderful.
Today I added just a few of the former links I had on the blog. I've got many more to add.
Monday, December 12, 2005
If you had a link here and would like it restored..can you PLEASE give me your blog or website. I'm going to be adding links for a Lo-o-o-ng time now..I had some treasures here and it'll take awhile to redo that. What a pain....
but at least it didn't all disappear.
I have no idea how this happened. I didn't even mess around with my blog at all...very strange.
I didn't delete anything, so I have no idea what's up with this. Stay tuned for more info. I may have to start a cachibachisII
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Just seeing her photo convinced me all the more what a kind, down to earth woman she must be.
Her illustrations are warm, spontaneous and full of the humor of children, and way they move and fill our lives.
There may be some more artists highlighted on the site. I haven't checked it out yet. It looks like a terrific place to find more interesting articles.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
(I just got back from Christmas shopping..and on a Saturday no less..something I tried so hard not to do because of the crowds, but It was fun.)
I don't know why there isn't a store in a 20 mile radius that has any holiday type tops for girls...I looked in every type of store I could find, and found nothing. Finally I resorted to my favorite thrift store and found 3 gorgeous tops for less than the price of one at any other store...and then I got tempted to buy other things while there. I justify it all, knowing the prices are terrific.
**********back to children's writing topics now**********
Here's another website that is interesting, and has posts about children's lit too. It's called Original Content, and discusses children's books and writing.
Friday, December 09, 2005
It did the trick though, giving the kids the day off. Hopefully we'll bake some Christmas cookies and fudge. I'm off to a slow start this year, just having bought the first gifts yesterday. I braved the mall. (I don't particularly enjoy malls at any time of year, but at Christmas-time it can be even tougher to deal with the sensory overload and all of the 'Stuff'.)
I found another treasure at the SA (Salvation Army). I've always wanted some clothes from Oilily, but can't justify paying their normal prices. I found a gorgeous sweater in the SA for $3.99!!!! (don't you just Love when that happens?)
I'll add some children's illustration info later on..so that this isn't completely off-topic. Check out the Oilily site for some inspiration.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
The LA Times is printing it in installments. Maria is a wonderful writer who I met on our online group:
Latino/Hispanic Writers4Kids. Her warmth and sense of humor are magnetic. Read the story, and keep it marked to read more.
When we first moved here I found that astonishing. I grew up in the North, where people put chains on their tires, and brave feet of snow as though it's the most normal thing, gearing up for snow each year, ready to drive on snow covered roads, not just hide indoors when the snow hits. In driver's ed in NY state, we learned how to skid on snow and how to get out of a skid. Here in VA many folks panic when snow hits. Other more foolhardy drivers continue driving at 60mph trying to prove how cool they are.
The kids built funny snowmen, had snowball fights and used their sleds. When you live down here, you never know if you'll have a chance to use your sleds and snow equipment, so it makes it extra special.
Well..I've adapted to the Virginia style by looking forward to 1/2 inch of snow, knowing that most likely school will be closed and we'll all get to hang out at home for a day. It was a gift.
As for gifts, I was very touched yesterday to recieve an unexpected package on our front porch. A generous person I'd finished illustrations for, sent me an amazing gift box full of an assortment of delicious goodies! What a special surprise!
Gifts sometimes come when you least expect them, and this client/friend is a one in a million gift.
Here are some cachibachis for you. .....
Two of my all time favorite Christmas picture books are:
One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham Illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson (one of my all time favorite illustrators)
Both the story and the illustrations are rich and moving.
Another book that I loved so much I borrowed it from the library at least 15 times before I bought it. It's The Animals' Christmas Carol by Helen Ward. Her work is incredible. How I wish I could illustrate like she does.
My librarian friend recommends a book called Silver Packages. It wasn't there yesterday, and I'm not sure who wrote it, but she says that the message is timeless.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
I got some marketing done today. It's about time. So far I have over 40 postcards addressed and ready to mail out. Only about 60 more to go now.....
It's actually lots of fun. I just need to do it more often, since the last time I mailed any illustration samples out was a year ago.
Today's workshop offered another workshop for parents, which I attended while my child attended one.
All I can say is I wish I had had teachers like these when I was younger.
Their program is fascinating in that all of the teachers are also writers , practicing their craft while they teach teachers and kids.
We did several writing excersizes and learned a few techniques to beat writing blocks and bring inspiration.
The two teachers who taught the parent's workshop were Kathy Hailey and Cathy Turner ( I hope I spelled their names correctly). The title of the workshop was "The Gift of Words"
The Northern Virginia Writing Project is a part of The National Writing Project.
It was wonderfully run, and my child came out of it begging to go to the next workshop.
Friday, December 02, 2005
Here's the pen and ink rendering that was due. The only thing that makes me sad is that in my rush to photocopy it and reach the PO in time, I didn't notice that the ceramic flower holders and bottom part of the stone paved driveway got cut off in the copy...oh well..at least it's on it's way. It didn't fit all the way on the copier, but I thought all of the image made it...that's what I get for trying to make copies in a rush, while keeping an eye on my kids.
It's a list that someone compiled of multicultural kid's books. I know that there are many more than these, but it's just one place to find some.
I have a page of Multicultural children's links on my website if anyone is interested as well.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
I love the Christmas and holiday season, but the pace can really be a challenge. The temperatures here in Virginia have made it feel like Spring, making it even harder to believe that Christmas, the New Year and holiday season are upon us.
I'm finishing a pen and ink rendering for a client. It's an amazing house (mansion) in California. I'll post it when I'm done.
Hopefully I'll find some fun links to add to the blog later on today.