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!


In stitches

And I'm not talking about laughter but REAL stitches. On Nov 19th I attended NESCWBI Illustrator Day in Manchester, NH. The keynote speaker was Sally Mavor. I did'nt know Sally's work prior to the event .. and I was blown away by her creativity. You see, Sally STITCHES all her illustrations!

Her recent book is 'Pocketful of Posies', a celebration of nursery rhymes and poetry, it's equally popular with both children and adults.

Talk about patience ... it took 5 years to complete. I don't usually say BUY THIS BOOK. But BUY THIS BOOK!!

Sally handcrafts each element in the illustration and then puts them together as a 3D artwork which is then photographed for the book. Included in the details are found objects, often from nature. Just beautiful!

Do visit Sally's website and find out more about Sally and her beautiful work. Also see a fabulous movie here!

Other presenters included Carol Goldenberg Rosen (book designer) who gave an excellent presentation on book layout, highlighting books by clients such as David Weisner. Jennifer Marsh Morris and Carlyn Beccia gave an overview of Painter XII and Photoshop CS5 for digital painting ..... 

Some photos from the day ...

 Anna Boll and Casey Girard - great organizers!
 Casey and yours truly (I've had a horrible cold!)
 Jennifer Marsh Morris  - some great hints!!
 Russ Cox and Casey Girard
The event was held at the NH Art Institute.

And then it was Thanksgiving. All plans for a dash to NH for dinner with family were thwarted by SNOW. So we stayed home, cuddled our puppies and ate rib-eye steaks. Yep, we saved a turkey.

Right now I am working on a PDF for an eductional publisher, so can't share sketches I'm afraid.
Next on my list is this year's entry for the Tomie de Paolo SCBWI award for NY conference in January. The theme is 'Chicken Licken'. So I had better get a move on with that as the deadline is Dec 15th.

I will leave you with a pic of snowy Maine on a sunny day ...
On the bedside table ...

This week mostly I have been Butt In Chair

To borrow a phrase from Jane Yolen, mostly I have been 'Butt In Chair' this week. Can it really be October ALREADY? The wind and rain are blowing through Maine this morning and it is pretty wild. Not the cold Nor-Easters though. They are still to come.

Here's a fall photo or two to get us in the mood ....

I have no drawings to show you this week ... I have been scribbling away on the pencils for the BOOK for Freespirit Publishing, have those finished next week. The deadline looks like it will be crunched a bit, but, well I love a challenge.

Struggling to get the 4 picture book math concept dummys out of the computer, stuck together and sent to the AGENT of choice. (The new plan d'jour). But after feedback I decided to make a change to one of them that involved a fair bit of redrawing. I am really fed up of these dummies now and want them OFF MY DESK!!

Then I got sick last week. YUK. Some kind of fevery thing and falling asleep, and no, before you ask it wasn't too much of the hard stuff.

All in all September has flown past ... and now it is only 14 days until Nevada SCBWI conference and mentor meet-up. It's going to be a lot of fun, but it has come around fast ... once again a revamp of the portfolio. Not over thinking it this time. Just the stuff I like. And if it is all different styles, then it is. And it will be. I really hope I will have the 4 PB dummies finished too to take with me .... more Butt In Chair.

A new GLOG is in conception. (Group Blog to the uninitiated.) At the moment it looks like being me, Russ Cox, Sheralyn Barnes, Carrie Clickard and Fred Koehler. A good mix. We are deciding on a name right now ... hopefully it will be up and running soon and we will be posting sketches and artwork. Be fun to have a group of fellow illustrators and writers together in one place. Watch out for it!

That's it folks. Got to get back in my chair. Wait! I never left it. The wind is howling round the attic, and the oak tree outside my window is really whipping.

OH! nearly forgot ... I will be guesting on R Jeffreys 'The Write Step' blogradio show this evening at 9pm EST talking about working on a book of poetry called 'Wee Three' so hope you can tune in, or you can download later and listen. Let me know what you think. I doubt I will be able to listen to it after, as I hate the sound of my own voice. Hey! Come on! Be nice :-)

Cheerio ...

aka The Wacky Brit

PS. Nothing new on the bedside table, but lots on order at the library.