Art Show at the Washington State History Museum

 If you are anywhere near Tacoma, WA, in the next couple of months, please consider stopping by the Washington State History Museum. The Western Washington Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators will have an illustrator exhibit there from November 19, 2014 to January 18, 2015.

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:
It's called Dreaming of the Summit, Mt. Baker, Early 1900s.

Here's what I wrote for the show about making the piece:

I was inspired to make this piece after looking through a book about early mountaineers in Washington State. The early gear looked so low tech; I was intrigued. Later I began wondering about early women mountaineers. When did women start climbing Mt. Baker or Mt. Rainier? What did their gear look like? I decided to find out. The photos and stories I found fascinated me; women were mountaineering in Washington State in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It seemed incredible that women climbed mountains and scaled glaciers wearing what they wore in the pictures I found. This art piece imagines what it would have been like to be one of those early female adventurers: a young Whatcom County woman (I’m from Bellingham), dreaming of the summit of Mt. Baker. I imagined her to be inspired by stories of Fay Fuller, the first woman to climb Mt. Rainier. 

Drop me a line if you stop by. Let me know what you think.

New Studio

The last few months I've had a surprising development...
 My husband and I bought a new house in Bellingham.
My new studio will have a view of the bay.

Unfortunately I'm under a bit of construction in part of the studio as you can see here. But I have a nook with a sink where there are no construction plans.

And basically...
I'm back in business.


It is always hard for me when life chunks out some of my work time for a month or two (or sometimes three). But I'm hoping that this move will be worth it. This is an amazing new studio (even though I'll miss my old tiny colorful studio that I've cherished for the last decade).

And now I'm bursting with pent up art on the to-do list. I'm flooded with half finished projects (or nearly-finished projects) that are pestering me to tend to.

So here I am again. Butt in chair once again. Loving what I do and anxious to be back at it.

Another Try

I nearly always find that the practice of trying many things when problem solving with art or writing (not stopping at the first solution that may work), makes work stronger.
So this week I'm trying a few more things with the illustration I posted last week.
Why not?
 Here's a few photos of my work in progress.
I'm liking the mix of mediums. I'll have to sit on it a bit but I'm glad I decided to try more options.
Please note: I'm trying something new! Posting using photos I quickly took from my phone. I hope it works. It's lots easier to post this way and I hope to be able to quickly take photos of my drawings and post like this if it does. Wish me luck!

Working on a new portfolio: Sneek Peek

I have some big change-ups in the works for my illustration.



After lots of play and several critiques that nudged me this direction, I'm working on overhauling EVERYTHING. 

It's been super fun, even if a little scary. That's the way adventures work I suppose.

Anyway, I look forward to also overhauling my website and this little blog. But that will be awhile yet. Meanwhile...

Since my last post —oh so many months ago —I've come to the conclusion that it's really working better for me not to be as engaged with the Lady Internet as I work. But I have a new idea to be engaged and not engaged at the same time. 

I'll try to just post more snapshots of my drawings and works-in-progress now and then without taking too much time to write or explain and thereby distracting myself from the important work at hand. I've always been kind of reserved at showing all my sketches. But over the last few years I've taken to drawing a lot. Reams of paper filled in a week or two sometimes. Might as well share more liberally, even if they are rough and it makes me feel vulnerable to do so.

Cheers to a good kind of risk! I hope you are busy finding your own good kind of risk too.

Just Freaking Going For It

At the beginning of the year I picked a theme for the year:
Just freaking go for it.
(I take the rule of no f-bombs on the internet seriously, but freaking might have been a different word when I wrote it in my journal).

This meant many things to me at the time. Among them it meant I wouldn't worry about how I could say yes to all the things that screamed "heck ya!" that I wanted to do (a mentor program, a novel revision workshop, a larkish trip to see the last Shakespeare play I hadn't seen in the cannon, etc. etc. etc; I'm always ambitious). Instead I'd just freaking go for it and figure out the details later.

It meant I'd take some risks with my work I'd been afraid to take. It meant that I'd sign up for a bunch of stuff despite the fact that I'd just had a baby.

It meant looking this fact in the face: I knew I'd be unsatisfied with giving up either time with my kid or time in my studio so I was determined to do both. It meant learning to breathe in every quiet moment I could find because I knew the year would be packed.

I didn't know that one of my beloveds would be dying before the end of the first half of the year (more on that soon; I miss you, I miss you, Grandma Muriel)... But ya, I didn't know I'd be throwing in saying goodbye to someone dear to me into the mix.

That theme has kept me going: just freaking going for it. When I was tempted to drop one of my goals —which would have been totally understandable; flexibility is an attribute that allows for survival (bridges would collapse if they weren't flexible, constitutions would fail if they weren't flexible, teachers would be sucky teachers if they weren't at all flexible, etc etc I digress) — I thought of the theme for the year and decided to see what happened if I didn't drop one of those goals...

Would I/could I pull it off? 


I've kept up with most of those hard goals.
I've kind of nailed them so far.
I feel really good about what has happened with my work.

To be truthful, I think the work time and the baby time and the taking every single moment as it has come attitude has (mostly) brought out the best in me as both a mom and an artist. It's pretty much impossible to be perfect at either of these ambitions (motherhood or artisthood) but I feel like I've done my best. There's not a better feeling than doing one's best with tasks that are difficult.

So. Pat on the back. Because artist's don't get them often and it's okay to give yourself one now and then when you see you deserve it.

I know that the pace is UN-sustainable (yay for an upcoming vacation), but for now it has been a good thing. The goals have kept me going and kept me vibrant during a hard good-bye (to Grandma) and a busy hello (to my second son Lars).

All that being said...
The reason I write a second(ish) post on this is because...
One thing I've completely dropped the ball on these last months has been my blog.

I like blogging. It's something I don't intend on quitting. But I felt like it was the right sort of thing to backseat for a bit. Especially when I learned about my Grandma's sickness and then decided to keep my other ambitious work goals anyway.

SO now I digress a moment to scoff at the "have-to's" of the internet world because I've always wanted to anyway (even if it kind of breaks my rule about no rants on the internet). Does it annoy anyone else how THE PERFECT ARTIST/AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR is "supposed" to somehow also always be perfect at keeping a million different social networks and internet updates going? It's not that twitter or tumblr or flickr or instagram or facebook or blogger are bad things. I kinda like all of those things (except maybe twitter I confess). But real life is always more important. And non-internet art is more important to me. And while amazing people do juggle it all, they sometimes also juggle many other good things outside the internet that need to be juggled first.

And also, does anyone else sometimes wish that certain artists they follow or love might just make more art and less internet noise? Not because their internet noise is bad necessarily, but more that you just like their art more. And you don't want them to squander their precious time not making more of the art you love. Maybe I'm alone but back when I sometimes spent time on twitter I found myself thinking that ALL THE TIME.

So my blog has been a bit neglected. And this is my overly long excuse of a post that needs to come out as I try to assemble how to take a new approach to my blog after dropping it for a bit.

Thank you to those who have written me asking what's up or said hi on another platform or whatever. I guess this is another reason I write this post. I haven't quit. I'm actually running strong. For now I'm going to try to post here at least once a month while I keep up with this year's theme for myself (Maybe I'll chose "breathing room" for next year's theme. Ha!)

Many blessings out there to whomever reads this. I hope your life is full in just the way you want it to be. And if it isn't, can you make it so?

When you are on a roll

Go with it.

I'm excited about the work I'm making...
So excited.
And I have been on a roll.
So I'm going to keep going with it.

Sometimes when you most have something of value to blog about you have little spare time in which to blog. That's the way it is sometimes with journals and it's been with me this year and blogging, which is why I haven't been present.

But I thought I'd take a moment to appreciate my little quiet blog and any readers who may stop by to say hi.

I'm still here, working away.
I hope hope you are too.

Life is full and rich.