A little gift for you crafty folks out there…I’ve been experimenting with creating mobiles lately. To recieve the Fall Colors Mobile, just click on the “free mobile” patch on the sidebar. You might see some Eric Carle influence in this creation, (it seeps in without you knowing it.)
Also, I’ve started my first singing lessons. It is an attempt to a) try something new, and b) work more directly with my voice (for speaking as well). I’m not interested in becoming a fabulous singer (although I am hoping to improve somewhat), but rather to learn more about technique, breathing, and projection. What I’ve learned so far is it’s harder than it looks! After one hour of doing scales I am left winded and exhausted. We had our first group session on the weekend (usually the lessons are one on one), and it felt so great to just sing with other women. (And we learned a few great English pub songs to boot, so I now feel I could confidently travel to England and hold my own while stopping for a pint.)
In the past I never felt confident signing in a group, but being in the musical last year really changed that. On the few occasions I had been to church (weddings, funerals), I always sat in the back and mouthed the words. I think I’ve learned that if you do anything often enough it becomes second nature and the fear is dissapated. I’m hoping that this also applies to public speaking. I so admire people who are natural and comfortable in front of a crowd or a camera. Why is it that the presence of a lens pushes me into an instant state of panic?
One thing that has come out of the singing lessons is that I find I am singing all of the time now. I even do it in public places without realizing it, sometimes blushing in embarrasment. My goal is to do it regularly without blushing.
I’ve really been into playing with texture and textiles lately (hence the new banner). The wood texture under the title is from an old box that holds a stamp kit. It must have been used for some kind of department store signs, (a junk store find). The flower pattern is from a tablecloth that I got in a fabulous vintage textile shop in Creemore, (I actually used pieces of it in a large collage for the show).
I spent yesterday afternoon making a large batch of “Wild Grape Jelly” from grapes harvested on my friend’s property in Beaver Valley. My hands were dyed purple after hours of picking, but the result is the most flavourful jelly you have ever tasted, (similar to black currant in taste).
Tonight we are off to a large bookstore to browse aimlessly and drink fancy expensive coffe. I’m treating myself. I am delighted to find out that my creative crisis yesterday has spawned a “time out” movement amongst many of you. May we all recharge happily (and without guilt) together!
I knew I shouldn’t have done it. I tell other people not to do it. I was aware of what I was doing the whole time and yet I was like an obsessed junkie seeking out the thing that causes me pain. …I started out yesterday by looking at other people’s work and feeling badly about my own.
It doesn’t happen all the time, but when your own inner critic takes over it can become so paralyzing. I would like to pretend that it doesn’t happen with me anymore, (I’ve gone beyond that stage), but it does. The result is that I am left feeling like I have to do more, I have to make my work better, if only I was doing “that”. I get so completely overwhelmed that I am unable to start anything. I end up starting several things, getting easily frustrated, and then feeling like crap about everything. So I ended up spending the rest of the day walking around in a kind of stupor, and feeling like maybe I should try another profession cause this one might not be working for me. Ever get like that? Yeah I know you do because I get email almost every day from people sharing their stories with me.
Some of this stuff is coming up because I have a rather large show coming up that I am still working on. I still have several pieces to do and I’m at that point where you have to push through to get to the good stuff. I feel more comfortable just avoiding it altogether at the moment.
So it’s time to follow my own advice, what was it that I wrote again? Oh yeah, go for a walk. Take the pressure off to perform. You are not a showgirl or a trapeze artist. You are just a human being and your only goal is to exist and create some things along the way. Enjoy the process. Do the things that give you the most joy (yes, it’s a cliche but it works for me). Take your journal down to the pond and doodle. Go for coffee. Hang out at the library. Make a pot of soup. Take some time to fill yourself up again. You need some quality time for yourself. Whatever it is you do, do it alone. Take some deep breaths.
I’m taking the afternoon off. I feel better already just thinking about it. So many possiblities.
I’ve just returned from my intensive journey (the drive home was almost 12 hours), feeling tired and renewed at the same time. Creatively renewed that is.
-listening to Jacqueline DuPrey on the radio while driving past fields of waving long grasses and corn.
-touring through the Adirondacs with the Be Good Tanyas This has to be the best driving album of the year!
-sleeping (or trying to sleep) in a cabin (that appeared to be sliding off of a massive cliff) during a rainstorm
-the Mass Moca of course, the shows inspired a batch of new exercises for myself to try this week. See them here.
-we got terribly lost trying to find the The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and arrived there slightly frustrated and drained at 3:55pm, (to find it closes at 4pm). A very sweet and sympathetic woman there (with curly blond hair) said, “Where did you travel from?” When I told her we drove all the way from Canada she smiled and said, “The gallery is locked, but come with me I have the keys.” I couldn’t believe my luck. So we got a chance to see the shows very quickly, in about ten minutes. I could tell this woman really loved the work and was happy to share it with someone else who loved it too. The collages of Eric Carle were so stunning and full of little details that you cannot see on the printed pages. Little pieces of collaged tissue paper make up little bug legs and arms, a delicate piece of white paper was glued on to make a paper lantern that was so compelling I gasped. There was a display in the middle of the room that showed his process, dozens of sheets of paper, each decorated and hand painted with different brightly coloured patterns, add scissors. I was so grateful to this woman for giving me this gift and thanked her repeatedly. She informed me that there was a rehearsal for a new ballet of “The Hungry Caterpillar” going on and that I could take a peek. I looked through a small round window to see dozens of young ballerinas in bright Eric Carle costumes in wonderful shapes moving around as little insects. It was magical. The books had come to life. Thanks again blonde-curly-haired lady (I wish I had gotten your name so I could send a thank-you gift, you made my day!)
-a really quick tour of Northhampton. A town with a large artschool, needless to say I felt very at home there. I saw Anne Lamott’s new novel which I will try to find here.
-sitting around a campfire with A’s family (many flew in from Holland), and laughing till my stomach hurt. It seems that some dutch sayings do not translate well to english. The phrase “Don’t get water in your shoes” still leaves me giggling uncontrollably!
-seeing a sign that read, “Pete’s Gun Shop & Dry Cleaners” *only in the US.
-eating “Chuck’s Sister’s Salsa” which is rumoured to only contain tomatoes, green pepper, and jalapeno. I’m going to experiment with it, as I came home to a garden bursting with ripe tomatoes. If anyone has a recipe similar to this one please share it!
-our friend Michelle dressed up as Marg Delahunty Princess Warrior , she had on the most fabulous shiny silver bustier suit, and high boots. She wildly pranced in amidst a sea of shocked faces to present the bride and groom with a large sword. Yay Michelle!
-recieving a green work apron from my sister-in-law (a belated birthday gift). I have always wanted a work apron and this works perfectly! There is very freeing great about having permission to get dirty as a painter.
-Picked up a great quote that sums up my life completely:
“I am still learning.” -Michelangelo
*kinda takes the pressure off to do everything perfectly.
Now I must get to the barrage of email that has built up over the last few days, yikes. It’s good to be home again, my bed was a welcome sight after sleeping in tents for many days now.
I had to get this entry out early because I’m heading out on another short vacation into the hills of New England. I love it at this time of year, driving through the Berkshires, stopping in cozy cafes for lattes, and browsing lazily in bookstores. We plan stop for dinner in beautiful Williamstown, hit their fabulous bookstore and then stay in a cabin at the top of a valley overlooking North Adams. The next day we’ll tour my favourite museum the Mass Moca, and later take a meandering drive, stopping in Shelburne Falls and Northhampton (more bookstores and cafes and home to illustrator Eric Carle), and hopefully have time to visit The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art before landing at a campground for a large family wedding party!
I hope you enjoy the new format. I have not yet decided how it will evolve, whether I will do more frequent postings (which a lot of you have been asking for). My dilemma is that I don’t want to take energy away from my existing projects, and posting once a month has been quite doable thus far. But I really like the blog format and Movable Type (once I got past the learning curve.)
note: Update your bookmarks!
…you can now leave comments, just scroll down to the bottom of the post!
…for all you budding illustrators out there I have added a section called
How to Start Out as an Illustrator-promotion basics. Including my little soapbox rant about awards annuals.
…my recommended reading page has also been updated and given a new look .
…this website…negotiating for book illustrations…drawing for fun!
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (for the bookclub). Roy’s writing makes my head spin, (in a good way). I found it hard going at first with so many characters, until someone from the group said, ‘just get to the halfway point’, and she was right. A sample:
“A carbreeze blew. Greentrees and telephone poles flew past the windows. Still birds slid by on moving wires, like unclaimed bagage at the airport. A pale daymoon hung hugely in the sky and went where they went. As big as the belly of a beer-drinking man.”
The wonderful email that it flowing in about the book every day, thank-you. I am overwhelmed by your comments (several have made me cry). Truly, I had no idea.
…comic artist Craig Thompson. I must get his new book “Blankets”.
…Penelope’s blog I love her simple illos.
…Luc Latulippe has some excellent Tips & Tutorials for illustrators.
Films I recommend:
…Chicago. My mother’s dancing style was greatly influenced by Bob Fosse technique, (she was a part time dance teacher while I was growing up). So naturally it became the basis for much of my training as well. While it is not necessarily true to Fosse in many respects, it has such great energy. The dance numbers leave you breathless.
…recipes for camping.