Out of Adversity comes Creativity

Last week I was telling you about our old boy Oreo, who'd had a reprieve at the vet. Unfortunately it didn't last long. By the weekend he couldn't walk, and trying to pick him up at the weekend he nipped my face. He was devastated and sat with his head on my lap all night.

I had a lovely shiner, and was able to blame 'im indoors and give the neighborhood something to gossip about.

Oreo eventually went to doggie heaven on Wednesday last week ... the lovely Chris Demarest drew me this beautiful sketch from a picture I posted on Face Book ... RIP Oreo we miss you ...

if you don't know Chris' children's illustration check him out here ...

So that was Wednesday morning  ... on Wednesday afternoon I had the artist's reception for my Fire and Ice Photographs at Eastern Maine Community College. So I took out my English Stiff Upper Lip and gave a rather rambling talk on the photos ... but it was actually a lot of fun, and nice to talk to people about my work. Afterwards a fun meal with friends which helped take the edge of a difficult day.

Thursday - dog number two - Sprout, our little blind Cockapoo had to have surgery for breast cancer. We left her at the vet and hoped that we would be bringing her home later. I don't think we had enough Kleenex in the house to cope otherwise. Glad to report Sprout pulled through, had a large tumor removed and a couple of little ones, and 2 teeth! She had her drains removed this morning and is doing nicely.

Here she is recovering in her baby onesy ...

So all in all, a helluva week.

In the midst of all this I still had to have the finals done for the book for Freespirit Publishing. I did it! Finished them this afternoon. Amazing how much you can cope with when you try. Not that I am complaining ... I have a home, someone to love me, work, all my limbs and am not living in an earthquake aftermath. It's not so bad.

But still. When your sad, your sad. And in amongst the sadness I had an idea for a new book. ('Here she goes again', I hear you cry, 'what about all the other ideas she keeps springing on us!! When will we be able to buy those in my local B&N??' - be fair reader, I have finished the math dummies, and I can't do anything else about those until I hear back from THE AGENT. Sigh.)

The new idea is about a girl and her horse. I don't want to give away too much (when do I?) but it is not like anything else I have come up with (SO FAR). It is much more about emotions and dealing with sadness. I suppose I channeled my grief from this week. Here are a few sketches from the rough layout. I am going to do one of them in pastel .. (yes NOT in photoshop!) I would love to have feedback on what you think of the roughs and of the finished pastel ... hopefully I will get to post it in the next couple of weeks. I bought a beautiful piece of sanded gray pastel paper ... actually it is probably too good to draw on. I just want to pin it on the wall and think 'Did I really pay THAT MUCH for a piece of paper?'

Leaving you with some photographs taken just as the sun was setting one evening this week. Last night we had a storm and I think the rest of the leaves are gone, so I am glad I took these in time.

Work. This week .... sketches for the poetry book Wee Three by Marta Moran Bishop and for 'Crazy Days' by Margy Robertson Reid way up in the far flung realms of Northern Canada.

a rather weary Wacky Brit signing off

on the bedside table this week:

Tim Burton - The Interviews
Questionable Creatures (A Bestiary) - Pauline Baynes
Save the Cat Goes to the Movies - Blake Snyder
Zen Ghosts - Jon J Muth
Words and Pictures - Quentin Blake
Fancy Nancy & the Fabulous Fashion Boutique - Jane O' Connor, Robin Preiss Glasser
Olivia Goes To Venice - Ian Falconer
Art & Max - David Weisner

(I went a bit mad at the library!)

Working Habits

I am feeling a little stressed this week. People are looking forward to the long weekend, to me it's an opportunity to catch up on backlog. I know a lot of freelancers feel like that. But it can't be right, can it? And yet I fear it is. So I am thinking about working habits and how we can change them. It's not easy. I have been working for myself for 20 years almost. And always seem to be chasing my tail.

And the funny thing is someone at my crit group the other day asked me how I juggle all the different things I am working on so well. The answer was 'Badly'. I came to the conclusion I look like a swan swimming along serenely, but you should see the feet paddling crazily ... 

E.B. Lewis said at LA conference that if you really want to be a children's illustrator, then you had better be prepared for your life to suffer. What MORE than it is?? Well ok then.

Everyday I make a to-do list. Paying jobs get priority. Then I try to do some personal drawing each day and work on new techniques. Then there is some marketing, social networking. Oh yeah, and then working on my own books. And researching and reading. Oh and spending sometime with 'im indoors and looking after the animals and house and garden.


So there ... I don't have many problems after all :-)

Back to the to-do list.

I leave you with a little greeting card illustration of carefree fairies with (apparently) no-to-do lists else how would they have time to dance?? Unless it was on their to-do list of course.

aka The Wacky Brit

PS. Nothing new on the bedside table. This rotten heat has been putting me to sleep too quick at night.