My art at the convention center

On Saturday I finally got a chance to see Western Washington SCBWI's illustrator show at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Here are a few pictures for show and tell.

I loved seeing my Alligator Brothers piece there.

Saturday was the day we gathered for the family Draw-Along, inviting the community to bring their kids and come make art with the illustrators.

I brought a cut-paper exercise that I've with my art students at the Montessori school where I've been teaching art. 

Here's a picture of the mess we made at my table. Fun day!

Meet the illustrators and come to our Family Draw-Along

If you are in Seattle this Saturday stop by the Washington State Convention Center anytime from 12:00 - 2:00 pm for a family Draw-Along with children's illustrators from Washington State. Bring the kids! (although you don't have to). Materials will be provided. It's the perfect time to check out the SCBWI Illustrator art show in the same space, up through Sept 29th (the poster says the 30th but that's wrong. It ends the 29th). I hope I see you there!

Pictures from The Last Bookstore in LA

I had a FABULOUS time at the recent SCBWI conference in L.A. I loved the new location, I took away great thoughts for my work, I got to see muppets in action (!) and I was nominated for the Sue Alexander award.

I've been busy busy busy fixing some work. Sometimes I need a break from the Internet when I'm hard at work/play (am I the only one that feels like the Internet can be an echo chamber?). But I felt like it was long past time I at least posted these pics

Isn't this bookstore amazing? Their art section was my favorite. Although they had a stellar comics section too.

Cheers to a playful and promising summer's last few weeks.

Prints on Etsy

I finally bought a printer that allows me to make fine art prints. Yay! I hope to add more every now and then but there are a few for sale now in my etsy shop. I'll have cards posted soon too.

This is making me wonder if it isn't time to start planning for some craft shows again before too long...

Back on the bike!

I posted this on facebook but thought I'd post here too.

Starry Starry Ride...

This week I'm celebrating the magic of getting back in the saddle after a setback. I cut this collage out before

my bike crash

last summer. Needless to say, I had no desire to finish it after my crash.

But this past week I decided to follow through. I glued it to mark the week I finally got the courage to get back on my bike (a little over a week ago now).

Cheers to getting up and trying again after a crash.

Tom Sawyer

Another new illustration done in my new style.

New illustration in color


I have fond memories of my mom reading Tom Sawyer aloud to me when I was in third grade. She even took me to Hannibal, MO to visit during a Mark Twain festival. I liked visiting the caves.

Here it is in black and white

Yesterday in the grocery store parking lot

 
I don't often write personal essays, but journaling about my day yesterday* I wrote this regarding my struggles with pavement (or maybe I should say anxiety) since my bike crash last summer and decided I might share what I wrote here. It's off-topic from my usual blog posts but I'm attempting to be braver sharing my art with the wider world and for whatever it's worth I thought posting this might be a small act of such bravery.  If that interests you, read on. Otherwise I encourage you to skip this post. 

Even while leaning on the grocery cart as if it were a walker, the elderly stranger looked like she'd topple. My mom and I were walking out of the grocery store, pushing my stroller full of my son and our groceries, on our way home when we saw the old woman. She moved glacier slow, the cart her crutch, her feet shuffling like a wind-up toy losing its wind. I motioned to my mom to take the stroller from me and I offered to help the old woman.

She was glad to let me put her groceries in her car. I stayed with her as she pushed the cart to her car door, tip-toeing with determination. She was grateful for my company, she said so, but I sensed hesitation in how she kept pausing and testing her grip on the cart, as if she wanted to let it go. It was clear she wanted to be able to do this herself. I felt for her. I wanted to respect her autonomy. Maybe she did usually do this herself. But then again, it was also clear something wasn't right. She looked off-center and a touch distant. Maybe it was a health episode?  Maybe she'd worn herself out shopping?

So I stood nearby after I unloaded her cart. And when she finally did let go of the cart it was like watching a cliffhanger letting go of a cliff. The old woman tipped, her hips swayed, her knees buckled. I lurched forward with both hands and latched on to her arm. She kept falling, I didn't have a solid hold on her and I tipped with her, at least partially. But she fell, my awkward catch at least softening the contact with the asphalt.

She was shaken, embarrassed. So was I. But she wasn't broken, at least I hoped not. My mom and I got her up and into her car. I stood next to her with her car door open and asked if she was okay. She looked at her arm. It was bruised. Probably from me grabbing it. She seemed rattled, but said, "I'm okay." Then she looked at her hand. "I'm bleeding," she stammered. And she was bleeding; it was a big cut, right on the butt of her paper-thin palm. Her hand shook.

My mom gave us some tissues and went to find a store clerk to help us. The old woman glanced at me, and looked down. "Thank you," she mumbled.  I asked if I could call anyone. She said she lived in an assisted living center not far away, but she'd be fine. She didn't want an ambulance. Her eyes knotted. I asked if she was in pain and she said she'd be okay. But I knew the pain was something different.

She was ashamed.

I recognized the look in her eyes, simultaneously grateful and horrified I'd gone through this experience with her. Or maybe that was just how I felt. I knew I wasn't only speaking to her when I pressed the clean tissues into her bleeding hand and knelt down with her, she in her car and I next to her on the asphalt and said, "You aren't alone. Lots of people fall. I've fallen. Look at this scar."

I pointed at my chin, at the place where I'd crashed into the pavement after flying over my handlebars on my bike just months before. The scar: the physical reminder of the accident that still replays in my head over and over and over during moments of weakness and vulnerability, the epicenter of my own mental issues with pavement.

The elderly woman looked at my chin. It was the first time she really turned and looked at me and she was looking right at my ugliest most unreasonably shameful spot. I traced the long red line of the scar.

"I got it only a few months ago falling myself," I said. "Someone else helped me get up afterward too." I added.

I thought not only of the two men who picked me up bleeding off the side of the road those months before, but of the paramedics at the fire station they took me to, and the emergency room doctor with the gentle hands who threaded my chin back together, and the friends who'd helped with my kids while I recovered from the accompanying concussion, and the friends and my husband who encouraged me to seek help when the anxiety and flashbacks and headaches overwhelmed me months later, and of my therapist who'd offered me relief just hours before.

"It takes a village," I said to the old woman who now sat bleeding and defeated at her steering wheel.

She nodded and half-smiled. I thought I saw her even raise an eyebrow. "It takes a village," she agreed."

I gave her my blessings as the store manager and a few clerks surrounded her and took over helping her. The asphalt was still hard under my feet as my mom, my son, and I walked away. But the sun was warm, the birds were chirping. And I was, at long last, moving forward.


*Please note that I re-wrote the intro to this essay a few days after I posted. Why? Because I didn't like the old one.

Starry Night

New Piece (after revision)

I've been trying out my new technique with some old pieces I liked in the past as an exercise in revision. Here's an example. Above is the new piece. Below is the old version (a poster I agreed to make for a Christmas event quite a few years ago).  When I get to compare two pieces like this, it makes me want to pat myself on the back and believe in progress. This is probably a sign that I need a humbling critique to put me back in my place. (Only kidding. Sometimes it's nice to check one's critic at the door and just appreciate progress even if there's always more progress to be had.) Onward!

Old piece (before revision)

Cinderella

I'm still working hard at updating my portfolio using my new collage technique where I collage straight into photoshop. It's been fun; I love the process of using all I've learned about collage and drawing over the last many years and putting them together in this new way.

Sometimes I've run into bumps but I love the process of brainstorming to smooth out the bumps.

I've also been doing some unrelated paper quilt collages. I'll post a few before long.

Meanwhile here's a "new" illustration. This time I used an old drawing but gave it color. It may be hard to tell and I'm not sure if it really matters, but pretty much all the color in this image is scanned from paper (why I still call it collage).


Hey Diddle Diddle



More experiments with collaging directly into photoshop. If this is tiny on your screen you can click on the image to see it larger. I'm experimenting with some changes with my blog and website to fix this. *Update: Yay! I think I fixed this.

 
 I posted these recently but thought I'd post the updates. The changes aren't much but I like them.

Meditative drawing

I posted this on Facebook but thought it might be nice to post here too

:

A combination of too much chai yesterday afternoon paired with anxiety from reading way too much about the Paris attacks before bedtime left me wide awake in the middle of the night last night. 

Usually if this happens I get up and write in my journal or read a book or do some yoga and I can manage to go to sleep again. 

I don't often draw when I wake in the night because my inner critic rages at the midnight hour (unless I've stayed up in a manic obsession over a specific project). But I've been teaching art this fall and I showed the kids I teach how to draw Indian Rangolis a few weeks ago. Turns out Indian Rangolis are pretty therapeutic to draw when my brain is in overdrive. 

It felt like a quiet rebellion to use my anxiety as an excuse to focus on beauty for beauty's sake while I cozied up to the stove in my studio. Here are my prayers for Paris and the world, drawn mostly in the anxious hours of the early morning, myself like so many: striving in the face of fear to turn toward the light. 

I'l

l add that I've had a lot of requests for coloring sheets.

Good idea. The

se aren't great pictures because they are just s

napped with the scanner app on my phone but I'll put some up so

on for anyone i

nterested.

Trying collage in a new way

 I've been experimenting with new ways to approach my collage for quite some time. The problem with the old way was that I was frustrated that some of the looseness and expression in my drawings would get lost in the final pieces. 
So with these I collaged directly onto the computer instead of using glue. I've been loving making them and I've been happy with the results.
More to come...