A visit to the Eric Carle .. and time to reflect.

Couple of weekends ago I had one of those surreal-y fab days that stay in the heart for a long time.
We threw a bag in the car, got the animal sitters organized and travelled down to the far reaches of Massachusetts to visit the Eric Carle Museum for the 10th Anniversary celebrations.

The museum was buzzing with fabulous illustrators and authors, excited children and an amazing new exhibition of art from all periods of children's illustration and by an array of stellar artists. There were book signings and readings and among others, Eric Carle and Tony Deterlizzi madly raising money by doing doodles! (Like 100! that's A LOT of drawing in a day). The lines were out the door.

Here are some gorgeous gals ... Kelly Light, Heidi Stemple and their beautiful daughters.
Oh and me on the end!


 How can you not smile standing in front of this beautiful painting?

The Eric Carle is a beautiful museum and arts facility. If you get the chance to visit, go. It lifts the heart! A special moment for me was stopping in front of works by Ashley Bryan and finding Jerry Pinkney next to me and exchanging some thoughts with him about Ashley. 

Then it was right on to the 23rd Children's Exhibit at the R.Michelson Gallery in Northampton. My first visit there and what a cool place this is! Situated in a beautiful old bank and full of STELLAR illustrations and art. Again, if you are in the area GO! For several years I have had attending this event on my bucket list. I'm glad I made it and it won't be the first visit. So much talent, so many HUGE people in the book world there, humbling.  It's moments like this that keep you warm through the winter in the lonesome studio when self doubt and pressure of work overwhelm. Then I will look back at these pictures and find inspiration.

So many interesting conversations, re-meeting of friends and making of new ones.

Plus - breathtaking art work!



Fellow illustrator Russ Cox was there with his prize winning print from the NESCBWI poster contest 2012. In the Dr Suess section no less! Congrats to Russ and Maine!

I got to meet an artist I really admire, Wendell Minor!

 Norton Juster presenting Anita Silvey with her award. His speech was SO FUNNY.

The biggest thrill of the evening, though, was being in this line up of talent. OMG!! After seeing this yearly pic oline for several years, I didn't imagine I would get to be in it. I feel honoured. I won't go through all the names ... I am sure you recognize many of them. If not click here to see the full line up on the website.
All I'm saying is; there I am, on the left, 3rd row, next to MO WILLEMS. That is all!!

 Afterwards, to dinner with Kelly Light and family, Russ and Lynn Cox and an explosive time was had by all!

I love book people. LOVE I say!


I joined the Darkside

I said I wasn't going to do it. I said  blogging and facebook was enough. And then, suddenly, in between morning toast and the long dark hours till elevenses, I broke down and joined Twitter. Why? Why? I think I was being tweeted subconsciously. So now here is another thing to add to the more-things-to-use-to-procrastinate-with list. And I don't even understand it. I don't even have a mobile phone (really!!) or an i-anything.

OH ... tweet me at 'thewackybrit'.

But still, there are lots of scrumdidally illustrators and writers out there tweeting and the Twitterness kindly suggests I follow them so I do. I even have, to date, 27 followers, and I feel guilty as I have not tweeted anything in the least interesting as yet. But I am sure I will learn something, meet some interesting people and perhaps figure what it all means. I have to say I am mildly attracted by the fact that tweeting sounds a bit rude. But then the British are the masters of innuendo.

If you hadn't noticed (or maybe you  live in New Zealand) it's FALL. Or Autumn (let's not go too Americaspeak). How did it get to be October so flipping fast???

I looked out of my window (a treat this week as I've been glued to the pencil layouts for the BOOK, which I am delivering Monday morning ... sigh of relief, as the deadline moved) and took a photo or two. You have to remind yourself there is a world beyond the studio at times. Here they are ...

There is a lovely little river beyond the trees. (In England we would have called it a major water source). You never know maybe next week I will open the front door and go outside and take some shots. But can't over do it, or I will be in therapy.

No drawings to show you this week ... can't post any of the pencils I have been working on as under wraps still. How exciting!!

I did escape from the drawing board today though. I went over to my friend Russ Cox's house for the day. And guess what we did? Hired a life model and did some drawing! It was a lot of fun, even though I didn't think I'd feel like drawing squat. However when you get going you forget you've been drawing 10 hours a day all week and  just want the capture what's in front of you. We had a great model. Wish I could post some on the blog ... but keeping it child friendly, just in case. Also had a lovely lunch ... nice to have cookery friends!

Blimey guv, it is only 4 DAYS until I hop over to Nevada and Virginia City for the SCBWI mentor programme meet up and conference .... it's going to be a HOOT! Looking forward to spending time with like minded crazy folks of course, meeting some experienced illustrators and getting lots of  information. My mentor is Priscilla Burris, and she is such a fun person. I know we are going to have a great time.

Still to do ... layout the other 2 picture books in the math series, I really would like to take them with me, but time is running out. And I haven't touched my portfolio ... groan ... I fear the midnight oil will be a burning.

Trying not to worry about the fact that on Nov 1 I have a photography exhibition opening in Bangor, ME for a month. GULP. I have decided to hang the pieces dry mounted and raised from the wall. The reason for this, let's not beat about the bush, is money. I took the first 5 to the framers and they dry mounted and laminated them. Went to look at them today ... not good. The lamination had bubbled and they looked bloody awful! PANIC!! So decided just to dry mount the others, so hopefully will be ok. But still have to get the spoiled one's printed again and running out of time. No pressure right?? All will be well .... (repeat and believe).

I was really happy to see that the Children's Corner I've started on the Wacky Brit's Blog is going well. I have had more people visit the pages on Mondays than any other day since I started blogging and lots of good feedback from folks using them in schools, libraries and just to give to their own children and grand-children. Hope you will make use of the pages every week! Please let me know if there is something special you would like.

Things I have to do:
1. Finish set up of the Illustration GLOG ... had no time last week.
2. Register for the New York SCBWI Conference in January 2011 ... (note to self: earn some money first)
3. Do illustration for Tomie dePaola award and maybe that might pay for conference cancelling out point 2.
4.  Do some mail outs!!!!!

YAWN. Sorry to be rude and do that in your face ... going to have a bit of down time with 'im indoors and then an early night. No rest on Sunday or Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday - I will be working hard to get all I need done, done. (Note to self sleep on the 3 planes that will get you to Reno. Hopefully)

Thanks for reading ... next week join me for the blog from the WILD WEST in which I will tote a Winchester and down several whiskeys as they slide down the bar. Well the second part might happen!

OH! I am on Blog radio again ... tune in Monday 11th at 4pm EST  You know you want to.

See ya later, y'all!
aka The Wacky Brit.

PS I went to the library this week and this is what I am reading:
HEADS - Matthew Van Fleet (so so cute!! Can't imagine how they put it together.)
THE ODIOUS OGRE - Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer ... ( Didn't do much for me really)
CHILDREN MAKE TERRIBLE PETS - Peter Brown ... (very engaging ... love Mr Brown's work)
IT'S A BOOK - Lane Smith - (Very funny and apt. Unusual illustration style and colours).
WHEREVER YOU ARE MY LOVE WILL FIND YOU - Nancy Tillman (very poignant ... one for the parents I thought and a gift book, but beautifully illustrated.)