Thursday, September 16, 2010

Old Art, New Art and Awesome Picture Book Editors

Good bloggers blog frequently and briefly, bad bloggers blog irregularly and blog long. Guess which one I am? Sigh. My husband used to say"most people have too much time in their life - you have too much life in your time" and it's true. I love my life but I tend to cram too much in. I'm grateful that I'm grateful everyday for having meaning and purpose and art and love and that I'm in Northern California, a place that makes my spirit sing.

Last Saturday some of my students and I went to a SCBWI (society of children's book authors and illustrators) illustration conference in San Francisco. We went down on the Friday and I stayed with some friends who I hadn't seen for 7 years while I was off doing my PhD and then teaching in Illinois.  Jane and Jerome are art lovers and have loved me and I them for decades now. A LONG time ago Jane was my vocational guidance counselor and helped me go to school to get my BFA. While I lived in SF they came to every exhibition and major event in my life (wedding, birthdays etc.), they came to my fundraiser to help pay for my MFA and my fundraiser to help pay for my PhD and over the years they collected my art. When I visited them I saw pieces that I had completely forgotten I'd done and said "No wonder you still love me, your house is full of me." One of my favorite pieces was actually a gift. For Jane and Jerome's 40th or 50th wedding anniversary (they're not young but they are young) they paid to rent one of those ceramic places and invited their nearest and dearest to come to paint ceramic pieces for them. Of course I did 2 big plates as a "relational piece" - a kind of diptych where if they were getting on well they faced each other and if they weren't they turned away. I had completely forgotten about this but they hadn't. It was such a joy to see them and be in their beautiful home and near their beautiful energy. Here's some of the art.

Jane and I in the doorway of her house early in the morning (normally Jane is a very snappy dresser but here she looks like someone in a Paul Bowles book).

and now for the lovely Christy Ottaviano, children's book editor extraordinaire. Can you tell I'm having a really bad hair day? I thought I had a pic of Dana Goldberg - beautiful Children's Book Press editor - but somehow I don't. Most editors are young, female, ridiculously hard working and very gifted these days. Oh to be young beautiful and talented again. Guess I'm still talented but the rest is tough.

Final pic is of a new painting. After it was finished I noticed that the back leg is a bit long but I still love it cos it tells me what I need to hear right now and I was so happy painting it.
Inherent in "do less" is "be" more. Looking at my own art I see how many themes continue but my style of making art has shifted from working primarily with pattern to working more with texture and line. Am so grateful that art is a place of refuge, joy, and transformation for me.

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