Spring is Sprung

At last - birds, grass, decent temperatures. Things are looking UP in Maine. Put the fence up over on the big field (in winter the snowmobile path goes across it) and turned out our horses. There was galloping and bucking and BIG farts. (They do that when they are happy). Me, I just do the galloping and bucking bit.

Last weekend I trotted off to Boston with some girl friends. We had a blast, the sun shone and it was 50 or so degrees. Even the daffs were flowering! Stayed at a lovely little hotel (John Jeffries House on Beacon Hill.) It was good to get away from the studio, see some sights and people, eat (too much) at nice restaurants and browse in galleries. One of the fun things is getting on the DownEaster Train in Portland and cruising to Boston North Station. Nice not to drive, kick back and relax, have a drink ;-).

Saturday night we went to the Opera House and saw Mary Poppins, the Broadway cast. Just stunning! Great set, singing and an escape from reality. I particularly enjoyed the sets, which were very illustrative and made to work like a doll's house. Of course Disney always but on a great show, love' em or hate 'em. Well I loved it and took some inspiration from it.

More inspiration on Sunday - Boston Museum of Fine Arts. One afternoon is far too little time to do it properly - and viewing fatigue sets in after a while. It was good to sit and contemplate amongst old masters, the paintings old friends from books and posters, from essays written at college and lectures received. So I mused among the Impressionists and spent a while with John Singer Sargent and his beautiful brushwork. Roamed in the Egyptian room and pootled in the new Art of the Americas wing. Totally missed the musical instruments and costume though. Rats.

And in breathing the atmosphere it reminds you that this is still just paint on canvas, one brush stroke, one observation at a time. Take that home and recall that what you do is not so much different.

Meanwhile back in my real life ... still trying to throw off the kidney stone episode with has left me pretty exhausted. I am deep in to the compositions for 'Hidden New Jersey' for Charlesbridge. There is a lot of detail and research for each spread ... they are packed cock-a-hoop full of history. Hopefully I can share them here soon. There's a lot of work to do before then though!

Good news also this week - 'How to Talk to an Autistic Kid' goes on sale from Free Spirit Publishing. I received my copy and it looks fab! You can buy it now on Amazon If you have a child who is in contact with an Autistic child, perhaps at school, or just to educate them that an Autistic child acts a little differently but is highly intelligent, this is a great book. Also if your feeling generous, purchase a copy for your school or library. If you would like a signed copy, please let me know and I will try to arrange it.

Lastly, really pleased to find out that Corinna Elementary School (about 10 miles from me in Maine) has received a grant enabling me to work with 4th graders in the next several weeks to produce a book. Hopefully we will publish through Lulu and put it on Amazon ... watch out for that! More chances to spend $$!

I hope Spring is with you now where ever you are and you are looking forward to a beautiful year.

Ta Ta For Now

The Wacky Brit

On the bedside table -
Writing Magic - Gail Carson Levine
When I Grow Up - Al Yankovic and Wes Hargis

Sneezles and Wheezles ...

Yikes! It's been pretty flippin' cold here in the Northern reaches of New England. -17F or thereabouts a couple of nights ago. And to accompany the arctic blast I succumbed to flu-ish sneezing and coughing and spent a good deal of time feeling miserable in bed this weekend. And to cap it all 'im indoors had gone off on a jaunt (tsk tsk) to New Hampshire so I had to fend for myself, crawling from my sweaty sheets to venture out and feed the horses snow falling, overcoat wrapped round my dressing gown, tartan wellies and furry hunting hat. Am I getting any sympathy? No? Worth a try.

Feeling more human again today and back to the drawing board.

Here's another piece I have been working on for my portfolio to take to NY SCWBI Winter Conference, which is THIS WEEKEND!! YIPEE!

The portfolio is ready, the art showcase piece framed, postcards printed. Can it really be a year since my first SCBWI conference? It seems like much longer. What a lot I have learned. I am traveling down with fellow illustrator Russ Cox and rooming with Toby Speed. I think there will be MUCH partying!!

I have begun work on 'Hidden New Jersey' the book I am illustrating for Charlesbridge, with Anne Lewis from BlueTreeCreative.com. It's a fun joruney around the state, with 'Search and Seek' items on each page. It's going to prove to be a bit of a jigsaw puzzle to lay out, but I am looking forward to it.

Also fresh in the works are illustrations for a chapter book with a San Diego publishing house ... these will be black and white. So hopefully I will be able to give you more news on that soon.

The New Year is shaping up nicely. It was so quiet before and after Christmas I was getting a tad nervous ... but hey ho!

That's it from the Wacky Brit this week. Got some work to finish before I jet off, and packing to do.

More news after the conference!




The Wacky Brit.

On the Bedside Table ... nothing new this week.