Although I'm a little late on posting this, I read Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman for book club in February, and I found it incredibly inspiring. I think it about daily.
I never studied Van Gogh in college, and I really only knew that he was mentally ill, cut off his own ear and was friends with Gauguin. But the story that Ms. Heiligman has weaved together through the letters between him and his brother told of a kind, thoughtful and extremely hard-working artist. He was dedicated to becoming a better and better draftsman and painter, and he consistently sought his brother's feedback on how he could improve. I was surprised to learn that he struggled with color (as do I), and he worked diligently to develop and modernize his palette. I was so impressed.
This book has much to offer — it's a passionate tale and also educational and inspirational. I highly recommend!
The portrait below was my take on Vincent shortly after I finished the book.
When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to get my copy of Cricket magazine. I loved every single illustration, and I wondered about the artists who were so lucky to have their work in there. I wanted to know these artists, and I hoped to be one some day.
So... a few months ago I was hired to illustrate for Cricket Magazine! Huge! I cried when I read the request. I cried, and then I called my mom.
Here is my watercolor for Carol MacKay's poem, Basset (Nov/Dec issue)...
I started licensing my work! So stoked!
Last fall, after an extremely helpful call with Giuseppe Castellano of The Illustration Department, I decided to revisit the resources in SCBWI's "The Book." I focused on a small group of art directors and agents that I'd like to work with, and I sent out emails to all of them. I am now fortunate to be represented by Lori Nowicki and Liz Wain of Painted Words licensing, and I couldn't be more grateful.
I cannot believe it's been over a year since my last post! This will be the first of a series of short updates of what I've been working on the past 13 months....
November of 2016:
Three local, award-winning businesses that I love began carrying individual collections of my note and greeting cards. Wonderful shops with stellar products and customer service: Sunshine & Clover, Feed the Birds and Baked by Susan.
Last night, I had a dream that I found my beloved cat, Milla, at my friend Jenny's apartment. I was totally confused as to why she was there, but so thrilled to see her. I told her all about our new cat, Leo, and how much her buddy Tyco was going to freak out with glee when he saw her. All the while, I could not figure out why in the heck I'd left her at Jenny's in the first place.
As I was packing her up to leave, however, I realized I was dreaming. My dream self told me that Milla was not at Jenny's and would not be coming home. That she'd passed away two years ago.
When I woke up, I wanted to feel grateful that I was able to hold and pet her all night (even if it wasn't real), but it's not enough. Man, I miss her.
Back in October, a friend in my town of Croton-on-Hudson suggested I show some of my watercolors at the local coffeehouse, The Black Cow.
With much gratitude, through the month of April, I am now having my first solo art exhibit since college. It feels pretty great. (:
The month of October was a very busy and exciting time for me. I had a good deal of illustration work come in, AND I had my first group gallery show since college. In fact, I had TWO gallery shows in October — one opened in Iowa on the 16th and the other opened in NYC on the 24th.
I'll update more about the illustration jobs soon, as well as details on an upcoming solo show, but here is a shot of the watercolor and collage work that was at the show in Cedar Rapids ("Rabbit," "Meeting the Wolf" and "Crow").
As always, your questions and comments are most welcome!
On Friday, I submitted my entry for the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search. This was my third year of creating work for this competition, and it proved to be as challenging and rewarding as ever.
This year, we were given a story about a fictitious young woman who lived in Brooklyn. The brief showed us a picture of her (and her clothing style), where she shopped, where she worked, products she'd buy, products she sold in her shop, the food truck she stopped at, and so on. With this type of person in mind, the assignment was to create a patterned sneaker that she could wear when she bicycled to work. The patterned shoe also needed to incorporate at least one word, hand-written or an actual font.
Although I really liked this approach of getting a visual story about the client, I did find it tricky to create something for a person I couldn't really relate to, while still keeping myself in the art. So I focused on whatever images I was drawn to in the brief.
In her shop, she sold some darker, occult-type of items, so I decided to go with a crow theme. They are one of my favorite birds – strong, smart and ominous, and I knew I would enjoy drawing them.
She also sold some pretty, Parisian-style gifts, which made me envision using a loose, dreamy watercolor style for my pattern.
I drew my shoe template with a sharpie, painted several crows (you can see one of them here), and this is the mockup I submitted, followed by the actual pattern...
I'm loving my new Artwin watercolor pen. I find it lends itself to the quick gesture sketches that I really enjoy creating, and the set up and clean up is minimal.
Here's a crow I painted yesterday in the few minutes before dusk turned to night...
I picked up some paint pens for our Easter egg decorating, and I love them. I tried them here on a sloppy watercolor sketch I made a few days ago, and I really like how it added new life to it. I'll be trying this on other potential discards and see what I can create...
We had two early-morning guests today. One was a three-year-old who wanted to watercolor.
I can't remember the last time I broke out my watercolors before 9am, but it was such a fantastic way to start my day, I think I'll try a morning like this tomorrow as well.
Happy Spring, All!