Monday, November 21, 2011

Bee had a Bad Dream

A new Blog I started about my daughter's dreams.


I cannot believe a whole year has come and gone. Last year I realized in many ways how important the ritual of holidays are to me in the slow clicking pace of the year.
A few thoughts:
Last year we had no turkey-turkey being an American bird (remember Benjamin Franklin)- and us being in Japan. Here's the thing. I didn't miss it. The turkey that is.

As I was saying about Benjamin Franklin. A very practical genius. The kind of guy who would invent the Lazy-Boy and the Clapper. What? Oh, right, sorry he DID invent the Lazy boy and the clapper. That is my point.

The very first mention of Tofu in a western source is in a letter from Benjamin Franklin describing his curiosity about a sort of "Chinese cheese" made from a bean and called Tau-foo.
I wonder what Ben Franklin would have thought of Tofurkey. I think he would have approved.
see the letter here

Yes, so I didn't miss the turkey. The whole meal just isn't about that for me.
My dilemma is the gravy though. Gravy. Absolutely essential. fake is no good. You MUST have real juices from the cooked bird. So I'm afraid it is looking bad for the turkey.

I have planned out my attack on the Thanksgiving meal in this handy pie chart. I feel pretty good about it.

this is not a picture of Ben Franklin.

have a happy holiday

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Check out what Joy Chu has got going on over at Got Story! Lovely words on the Original Art Show and illustrators like Sean Qualls (and me :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break: a novel

Reading it now.

Like it so far.

Allright, so my son just informed me that a Minotaur is a man from the waist down. With "beefy human legs". All right.

Also I just reached a description of the Minotaur wearing a chef's coat, salt and pepper trousers, and steel toe boots. I like that, and I get that.

However I am a little sad because I love the way that bull or buffalo have such big thick shoulders and neck but dainty little feet.

And How the heck is a Minotaur supposed to wield an axe or open a jar of mayonaise with cloven hooves not hands? I think we all wonder this.

Monday, October 31, 2011

...and a ghost story

Last Thursday I was having dinner at the Society of Illustrators. I was sitting with my back to the the big glass doors that go out onto the balcony. Midway through the dinner the big glass doors blew in, and I thought who on earth just came in. A breeze floated in and goosebumps went straight up my spine. We closed the doors and that was it.

Later I was talking to Kate and I asked her if the Society has any ghosts. She said strange unexplained things happen there all the time. They suspect it is the ghost of Mead Schaeffer. Apparently he had a heart attack right where I was sitting!

Mead Schaeffer, incidentally is one of my heroes, and I would happily be haunted by him anytime.
A Well known illustrator through the midcentury, he was good friends with Norman Rockwell. You might recognize his backside.

Here is one of his paintings of the Count of Monte Cristo. He also did lots of pirates!

Happy Halloween

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Original Art 2011 Opening

Well, it happened. The Original Art 2011.
(this is what I wrote for the catalog)

The Original Art Show blurs the identities and boundaries of the two sometimes separate worlds of Art and Illustration.

A work of art is made to hang on a wall or occupy a particular space. We can buy a postcard or a poster of that artwork, but those printed materials are meant to refer us back to the one original artwork. Museums have become wonderful treasure boxes full of these curious things you can’t touch and, for 99 percent of us, things you can’t buy or take home.

In contrast, an illustration for a children’s book is painted to be printed in a book.. The original illustration refers us to the book and the story told within. The book then becomes the artwork. A picture book is also wonderful treasure box full of curious things made into thousands of identical copies so you can touch it, take it home, read it and share it. You can wipe your greasy fingers on it, put it on your shelf, sleep with it, or feed it grapes. It then becomes a part of your story and the stories of many other’s as well.

This exhibit is a rare experience. Works of art are put up on the walls so that we may recognize their beauty. Along with their superior qualities of beauty, emotion or design, each of the extraordinary illustrations here is a single page in the life of a story. The characters you see are in one spot along their voyage. They came from somewhere and then a page is turned and the characters have moved on to somewhere else. Each of these illustrations refers us to the work of art that is the book and the story it tells.

At the same time, this exhibit contains illustrations that have become separated from their text. Unconnected from their brother and sister pages, these illustrations might become their own stories. You, the viewer, can decide what their story is now. Isn’t that the very essence of a work of art?

here are the real details:
(In other words this is what I said in front of a wall to wall crowd of people that included mostly people that look up to as heros. I am talking to you Peter de Seve, Lane Smith, Kadir Nelson and Scott Gustafson. In other words no big deal)

As illustrators we are the first detectives at the crime scene interpreting the evidence. We are problem solvers, House Builders, We are historians and sometimes the cleanup crew, miners looking for the gold nugget in the story,
We live vicariously, and through our work have summited mountains, ruled countries, visited the moon and hibernated for the winter. The Original Art show is our travelogue. We have been places that are inspired by not limited by text and imagination. The Original Art SHow is here to prove it.
I’d like to thank Anelle Miller, Kate Fiertag, Tara Jacoby and the mighty Society of Illustrators for this beautiful venue, making the catalog and gathering the books and art, hanging it and making the whole thing happen.
Thanks to The amazing Dylis Evans, founder and captain of this Original Art show 31 years ago. Thanks to Marcia Leonard a kindred spirit, and the show's safety net and anchor. Laurent Linn who’s enthusiasm and heart are a mighty wind. And the wonderful Sophie Blackall my assistant chair.

a little bit about the judging process: :
First the jury: A jury of seven members; 5 illustrators and two people from the children's publishing industry. These were chosen with an eye to talent, variety, and sheer raw awesomeness. They are Sean Qualls, Hyewon Yum, Cecilia Yung, Scott Gustafson, Erin Stead, Julie Danielson, and John Marciano. A big Thankyou to them for a wonderful varied show!

This year, On the jury day, each member of the jury looked at over 550 different books. For each book the juror cast a silent vote whether to admit that book into the show. Their votes were cast on the basis of the artwork’s merit. These votes were tallied, the result being the Original Art Show. Roughly a fifth of the number of books entered.

However this was not the end. The jurors, after one or two more cups of coffee, looked at their top picks together as a group. The medal winners were decided by rational and illuminating discussion. It was, as my son likes to say, EPIC.

I love the flexibility and stretch of this medium, That can bring us a stick figure with a full range of emotions, or the poignant story of a man’s life as told through shrubbery.
I think this years winners show that breadth. I am so proud of the care and sometimes agony and that the judges gave to the selection of the best of the best in our industry.

It was my very great pleasure to present the medals to the winners
This year we are uniquely fortunate to have all three medals given to author illustrators:
Every year two silver medals and One Gold medal is awarded.

A Silver Medal was awarded to Kadir Nelson for Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, published by Balzer and Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; art director: Martha Rago; editor: Donna Bray; author: Kadir Nelson.”
(my book description):

In Kadir Nelson’s book of portraits, every wrinkle and crease tell a story. Every sparkle in the eye speaks of the will to survive the next thousand miles of hard road and steady stream of injustices. The warm sunlight that shines on each person promises hope, and the entire book leaves the smell of fresh earth in your nostrils.

A Silver Medal was awarded to Lane Smith for Grandpa Green, published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan; art directors: Anne Diebel and Molly Leach; editor: Simon Boughton; author: Lane Smith.”

my book description:

In Lane Smith’s Grandpa Green, The Grandpa, while his stories are being told through the living landscape of his garden, is also losing his memory, as well as his tools and glasses. As the grandson gathers all these up we know that the Grandpa is cared for and that his stories will be remembered and tended. The elegant clean lines contrast the lush messy textures of the shrubbery. I have yet to read it myself without bawling like a garden hose.

The Gold Medal was awarded to Rosalyn Schanzer for Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem, published by the National Geographic Society; art director: David Seager; editor: Nancy Feresten; author: Rosalyn Schanzer.

(my book description)

Using scratchboard and a powerful and minimal use of red Rosalyn Schanzer has Evoked at the same time an old world style and a new modern edge in these powerful images. The color red itself becomes a character, a sub-plot, and a struggle for power. By the end of the book we suspect that the devil might well exist, but not in the accused.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Life Drawing

Every once in a while I like to get back to that first love, life drawing. It feels good to exercise those muscles that get a little rusty. This time I wanted to try something new with white on grey, let the paper do some of the midtone work.

It turned out so badly after the first ten minutes, that the only thing I could do was work another hour in embarrassed silence. It started out looking like I should float in a dreamcatcher and a wolf with some frosty mountains, or airbrush it on the side of a van.

I realized that I really needed some charcoal to balance to white. Turned out that adding just a little rust colored pastel didn't hurt either.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

it is October

and it is about time.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I guess I'll start this up again by saying that it feels good to be back at my drawing table. I am feeling like Monday will be my new sketch day. When things get busy sketching is the first thing to go, but I have been missing it. So here's to feeling good.

I also started exercising again. I am trying a spinning class. I actually just figured out that "spinning" is the same as indoor cycling. I had heard of "spinning," but the image I had in my mind was of people sitting on something like those little kid spinning wheels you sit on and turn the wheel which spins you around.

or plate spinning.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In my attic

We are back from beyond. Among the things I have seen in the last month: the west coast of Japan, the East coast of Japan, The west coast of America, the east coast of America, the west of Iceland and the west coast of England. In one month.

So many adventures.

So good to be back home.

Now all I have to do is unpack. I can't believe some of the things I left up in my attic...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Original Art Call for Entries

Click the above for the Call for Entries. ( i am this years chair). ( very excited about this). More about this later.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Guy

14 years with the man I love.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mother Nature

Not sure what to say about this one although a few things come to mind. I'll let you fill in the blanks though. :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mdme de la Migraine

I used to get migraines a lot. Thank goodness not much anymore, but this week I was blasted by a terrible one and I realized that it has been almost 10 years exactly since my last migraine. And so....Madame de la Migraine, we meet again. Et Encore, je ne vous aimez pas.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The way you wear your hat,

The way you wear your hat,
The way you sip your tea

-Cole Porter

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Puddle Wonderful

....and its Spring when the world is mud luscious.

Oh e.e. cummings I love you.

And if you are the sort of genius who remembers this whole poem then to you I will say,

not all lame, queer goat-footed balloon men are ill- intentioned.

by the way, How has Spring found you? or has it found you yet?


Monday, April 11, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Waiting for the Magic

This is the cover for Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan. Due out in September.
Spring is here. No give-backs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spy Paper Dolls

So lately, we have been ninja enthusiasts, ninjaphiles? And in our very academic research on Wikipedia we learned that there were women ninjas or kunoichi. One woman in particular was very cunning, Lady Chiyome, had a school which taught the arts of the geisha but which was actually a front for teaching the arts of the Ninja. (cue gong sound effect)

Loved Paper dolls as a kid. I had a set which included Princess Di and baby William. The rest of the royal gang were included, but I never cut them out. Sorry, your grace.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011


We are safe and well here in Japan. There has been some worry expressed on our behalf for our safety- for which I am grateful.
It is an unbelievable disaster. Every news report brings further knowledge of destruction. I couldn't work at all today. I tried to draw something that would make me feel better. Mostly, we feel so helpless. The earthquake happened just as kids were getting out of school. I am grateful that I have mine safe and sound. I wish that everyone did.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011