Thoughts on a year ended

It's 7.37am Jan 1st, 2013. I'm at the desk, drinking tea and nibbling blueberry pie. Well, it is still a holiday! I'm thinking on how we humans need touchstones and wondering why that is. Reflection and thinking forward seems our peculiar fate.

Enough with the philosophizing. I'm on a book deadline this week and am looking forward to a full day off sometime soon. Possibly. Here's the other thing - it's brilliant to be doing something you can't wait to leap out of bed to get on with.

But, before I pick up my pencil, I wanted to underline the highlights (mostly!) of 2012 for myself. Writing it here, on my blog, is an affirmation and a reminder of where I have been and where I am going (see para.1). I can see if I hit the goals I had in mind - or what came along on it's own two feet. There are things on the list I didn't think I would see. It's a reminder that the future always has some great things in store if we work hard at our dreams.

I could also write a list of things I didn't achieve or that went wrong. But that would be a bunch of negative and you don't want to hear me moaning (not on New Year's Day anyway).


Published - 5 books
Illustrated - 2 more coming 2013
WIP - graphic novel and MG illustrated adventure
Got shingles - :-(( (See below)
Attended ALA - 2 signings
Attended 1 conference
Attended a Highlights Foundation course
Attended R.Michelson Gallery opening and was part of the group photo (awed)
Attended an awards ceremony in NY Times Center for 'How to Talk to an Autistic Kid'
Won a gold medal from Foreword Reviews at ALA for Autistic Kid book, a couple of other awards and mentioned on lists
Mentioned in Publisher's Weekly
Exhibitor at Princeton Book Festival and several others
Did school visits (learned a lot!)
Heard some great authors and illustrators speak (feeding the soul)
Met new friends
Sadly said goodbye to old friends
Met up with wonderful old friends
Sailed on the sea several times
Art in a couple of exhibitions and visited some great ones
Received fan mail (means I gave back to someone)
Read a good amount of books (but not as many as I would like!)
Started a couple of new blogs
Sketched and drew more than I ever have
Stopped worrying about my style and just did it

Writing that list just made me realize what a fantabulous year 2012 was! I did so much more than I remembered. Thinking of those things gives me vitality and optimism for 2013. Except shingles ... and I nearly took that off the list. It wasn't an achievement or a good thing ... but it does remind me that in the list I write for 2013 looking after my health must be high.

So off to write me a list of goals for the coming year - I know already it's going to be a good one. I will do my best not to let myself down. Check back in next year to make sure I didn't.

Happy New Year to you all and I hope your resolutions bring you happiness and peace in 2013.


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!