If you are in Seattle in the next couple months I invite you to stop by the DRAWN TO BOOKS exhibit at Seattle City Hall! It's an exhibit of 45 illustrators' works from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, including a piece I made called CATCHING A LEAF. The show runs between Oct 31, 2017 and January 3, 2018, and there is an opening on Nov. 2 from 4-6 pm. Enjoy!
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!
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!
We also have an opening this Saturday, November 22, from 11:00am-2:00pm. Come stop by and meet the artists!
Here is my piece for the show:
Here's what I wrote for the show about making the piece:
I have a piece in the show. Here's a cheesy picture of me with my piece:
I also posted some pictures of the family event from the end of October on the SCBWI Western Washington Website (I've joined their blogging street team as a part of getting back into the swing of things after having my baby).
Anyway, especially if you happen to be in downtown Seattle this weekend enjoying holiday festivities, swing by the convention center and enjoy our show!
I look forward to catching up with many bloggy friends soon. I just started getting a good childcare schedule going and I've been enjoying the last few weeks of Picture Book Idea Month (more on that soon!). Still, babies are sooooo fun to have around. I have so many things to be thankful for this year. I hope you do too.
|Painting detail by Yusoff Abdullah, a Malaysian artist|
* The signature here is from the painting at the top of this post. I mentioned that the artist's name was Yusoff Abdullah, a Malaysian artist who I could find little information on, which is why the uncertainty and the lack of links. Please accept my sincere apologies if I've given credit wrong! Also, please correct me, if someone out there knows better, I'd prefer to properly give credit and links if they exist.
Did you know paper can be made from elephant dung?
Indeed it can.
I learned all about it earlier this month at the Pinnawala Elephant Dung Paper Products center in Sri Lanka.
Elephants apparently have very inefficient digestive systems.
They eat tons of plant material (literally), but much of it goes straight through them. That is, after being chewed and pulverized in their stomachs (essentially beaten like one beats paper in a paper beater or blender). So paper-makers gather elephant dung, boil out the "impurities,"rinse the fibers,
beat the fibers (as I mentioned, the elephant got this process started in its stomach) using traditional paper-making beater machines,
dye the fibers,
and strain them through moulds just like I do with my handmade paper.
The paper-makers let the paper dry on the mould and then, depending on the desired texture, either leave the paper as is (rough) or ring it through a paper press.
Then craftswomen and men make the paper into all sorts of handmade goodies: journals, stationary, picture frames, etc.
Who knew that *waste* could be so useful, interesting and lead to such crafty goodness?
So there's a *fresh* perspective on recycling for you.
(Note: did I really just write that and leave it for the world to see?)
Back to cleaner subjects next post.
(a New Year's sort of thing, no?).
music playing in the background, to the art on the walls and exhibit in the back. Just knowing such a place exists makes me so, so, so happy. You can bet I spent a lot of time treasure hunting there. I also read some new picture books I'd been anxious to read but hadn't found in Malaysia yet (too bad my son slept through the whole experience, I think he would have liked browsing there too). I left with a very happy bag full of books and a skip in my step.
I put this quote from one of the exhibit's signs in my journal:
"Jim Henson described his characters as his palette."
The best part of the day: I GOT TO BE A MUPPET!!!!!!
I even got to play in a Muppet band a few times.
Lest you think I'm exaggerating when I tell you that this moment was a dream come true, here is a picture of me from high school with my favorite puppet that I made back then:
The puppet's name is Boris. He lives above my drawing table (next to a few other puppets) and distracts my muse when I should be working. Or maybe he reminds me to use my characters as palette. Ya, that's the ticket!
As a bonus after I checked out the Jim Henson exhibit, I also checked out the exhibit: American Letterpress: The Art Of The Hatch Show Print.
I'm sorry, I failed and am blogging about this after the show is over.
But if you like letterpress work, here's a cool video that was at the show about Hatch Show Print, one of the oldest letterpress companies in the US:
In 1999, fresh from graduating from college, I was lucky enough to go to Europe to spend 3 months looking at art (I spent all my frequent flier miles to get there -- I had a lot, I was an out-of-state student, plus I also think I used some of my mom's miles, thanks mom!).
I spent on average about 8-10 hours a day in museums (honestly), planning my day around what museums opened earliest and which ones closed latest. I often didn't stop for eating (not a good idea -- unless you want to loose a lot of weight fast, which I did; my sister wanted to know if I had an eating disorder when I got home).And everywhere I went I bought postcards. While I was at the museums and galleries, I took copious notes that I transferred onto the backs of the postcards at night. I thought I'd have a little booklet of postcards by the end of the trip. HA! I had 4 enormous binders full (I ditched lots of stuff from my pack as I went along, to make room for my journals, by the end of the trip I was REALLY sick of my 2 shirts).
Anyway, it was a dream trip. I spent days in places like the Prado, the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, and countless others. I spent entire hours in front of single paintings (like Guernica).By taking notes, I forced myself to slow down and really look at all sorts of things, color, texture, composition. The notes were silly (and are tedious to look back at), but the act of taking them helped train my eye to look. After all, I had to look for something to write about.I also made a point to never spend longer reading or writing than I spent looking. Looking took precedence. And making a point to spend more time looking also trained me to look. By the end of the trip I took hardly any notes at all. It was like meditation. I would just loose that side of my brain and be a part of the colors and vistas before me.
Because I only had three months, I edited lots of locations from my initial itinerary. I wanted to enjoy the places I did go, and look at ALL the art I wanted to see in each of those places.
My biggest regret from the trip (save for missing things that were closed for renovation -- it seemed that many places were closed for renovation in 1999 -- prep work for 2000?) was that I skipped out on a few amazing art towns in Spain.
Like Toledo, and Bilbao.
While I planned the trip I took to Spain this past February, I swore I would make up for lost time.
It didn't end up working for us to go to Bilbao, But I made my Grandma skip Madrid so we could spend time in Toledo.
Unfortunately when we got to Toledo, quite a few places were closed for renovation (go figure!) but what was open turned out to be the perfect amount to see in the amount of time we had there anyway.
This time I didn't take notes while I looked at the art at all. I just soaked it all in.
P.S. Interesting side note to this post: I took something home other than 4 enormous binders of art postcards from my trip in 1999. I fell in love on that trip. No kidding. My husband and I met in Rome and then again in Venice. And then again in Paris... And then again in Seattle. Bryce was touring around checking out the spring classic bike races (his biggest passion is bike racing). Our first kiss was in front of Claes Oldenburg's Buried Bicycle sculpture in Paris:
Before we went to Spain, I researched interesting places to stay in a rather intense manner. It paid off so many times.
I found the most amazing hotel in Sevilla. It was called Hotel Amadeus. It was a small hotel on a tiny hallway of a street with a classical music theme. Every room was named after a composer (we stayed in the Verdi room). All of the art was music related:
And best of all, our room had a piano. The room was even sound-proof so my husband could play music whenever he wanted.
Nothing is more romantic than your beloved playing the piano, making up beautiful music that matches your day. But it wasn't too likely we would have found such a perfectly matched place without research.
On the other hand, we didn't plan anything about my favorite part of our time in Sevilla.
We stumbled into an amazingly whimsical public-art sculpture show right at the perfect-light time of evening.
What a fun surprise!
Most of my travel journals have been make-as-you-go sorts of affairs. I bring a bunch of loose paper that I'll sew into a book later, normally in a color palette that kind of matches the research I've done (the best research is colorful, no?). I bring an embarrassing array of supplies (see this post). I make a rough plan for how I'll go about my journal (in Spain I had planned on making a collage every day and listing 5 things I had done), and then when I actually am off having adventures I see what happens. If I leave my book un-sewn and basically open to adding whatever, I can I add any sort of paper, place-mat, or brochure and bind it all in place when I get home.
So I plan like crazy, and then stay open to the surprises. Mixing the two can be so lovely.
P.S. I'd love to hear about your own make-as-you-go journals if you've made one in the past. Or let me know how it goes if you decide to try one out while on summer vacation.
But travel journals are a bit more linear, no? They (at least kind-of) have a beginning, middle and an end. And like characters grow in stories, travel often changes people. You don't return home the same person you were when you left. You grow.
(At least so with journey kinds of travel. Maybe not so with lazy vacation travel -- don't get me wrong, lazy vacations are good -- just not usually adventurous).
Maybe due to my Adventure-ess spirit I can't help but often favor travel journals amongst all the different kinds of journals I have kept. I love the unknowns, the risks, the challenges, and the fun discoveries. I love creative play, discovery, and most of all, engaging in wonder. So, duh, I love travel journals.
So anyway, all this is to say that for the rest of the summer (through labor day), every Friday, I'm going to put up a blog post about travel journals. I'll be mining lots of pictures from my personal stash, but I'd love for anyone to send me pictures or links to post of your own if you have them. I think it will be a fun way to keep some focus to my blogging and a way to enliven an old regular feature (journal of the week) that I suspended recently.
And to start? Let's finish up with those collages from Spain...
For those newer to my blog, I went to Spain in February and shortly thereafter started posting pictures of the collages from my travel journal alongside pictures of the stuff that inspired me to make the collages.
Well I left off about half-way through my trip, right before I visited Bodega Tradicion, a sherry bodega with an owner who has a passion for art collecting.
The tiles behind my Grandma were painted by Picasso:
There's an intimacy to small, semi-private, art collections that's often lost at big museums. The owners of Bodega Tradicion display their art in a beautiful long private gallery. They have pieces by Velazquez, Goya and Zurbaran.
And they have delicious artisan sherry. Cheers!