Masters Schmasters

I’m reading this amazing book by David Hockney, Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters. It is almost a dissertation on the use of optics, lenses, mirrors and projections in the 1400’s, 1500’s, and 1600’s. He uses visual evidence to prove that many masters used these optical tools to, in essence, trace. Now, lenses are lenses, they are just tools and the painters and their apprentices made the marks. Just as computers are tools today, the masters had their own set of tools that, in the hands of unskilled others, would not have helped. (My subject line is just a joke.) Actually, I was thinking of slatts but anyone interested in image making would appreciate this book. It is extremely thought provoking.

Power Out

At 2 am last night, I jolted awake to the sound of every alarm, printer, computer, light, and answering machine starting up again. My, I thought, how quiet is was without all these gadgets. Thus ended my 36 hours without electricity. It started warm and cozy with games and me reading Harry Potter to my sons for two hours straight. However, with my husband working and me finally through four Saturdays of stressful work I had been looking forward to a weekend movie marathon for the kids with popcorn and peace for me. No such luck. We hooked a small generator up to the fridge. At least we saved the food. Calm now but my kids had to deal with a pretty stressed out Mommy this weekend. All’s well that ends well.

Post-event Depression

Do you suppose there is some classified depression for event planners? Post-event depression? If so, I think I have it. This week I have been feeling a little low. The FFF was fabulous, the portfolio reveiws were not so bad, the poem coming back rejected from Spider was just weird (no form rejection, no nothing). But I’ve had a hard time lifting my drawing pencil or sitting to write my daily pages. My JoNoWriMo momentum has gone out the window entirely. Actually, I feel as though I should give up the current art, throw it out, and start over.

I must say that I’ve been cramming my choreography for the new aerobics rountine that launches on Saturday. That has left me physically tired. I’ve prepped for three other classes I teach during the week: writing, hebrew school, and kids movement. And I made a ducky costume for E. (So cute if I do say so myself.) So I haven’t been idle. I just don’t  feel like doing what I should also be doing. Writing, drawing, prepping the synagogue newsletter.

Ahhhhhhh! Too much. How do I get out of something? At least soccer ends on Saturday. Phew.

Portfolio Groundhog Day

So… I said that I would talk about my portfolio experience a little. I’m afraid if you know me it is sort of like ground hog day. I work and work at creating new pieces and getting a professional presentation. When I put out the portfolio I’m excited and proud but the reception is tepid at best. It is very disheartening.

The thing is that I keep getting similar feedback from art and creative directors. I hear about how my paintings look flat or that the colors have the same value (lightness/darkness) so that nothing really POPS! It was suggested that I take painting and color classes this weekend to remedy the issues. I agree. I never went to art school. But I read an awful lot, know all these things, and can notice them in other people’s art. Noticing and remedying this issue in my own work is more difficult and I really do need guidance.

As with writing, though, one has to practice, play and revise constantly before you get anything worth keeping. I am always putting myself in situations where I am showing my art, or creating art for show. I don’t really write this way. I just write. I get an idea or thought and write. I’m constantly playing and practicing. Not so with art….well, I keep a sketch book and I draw regularly but not every day. Often it is in fits and spurts. It is either all the time, can’t put it down, frustrates my family or nothing. Too busy to pick it up. Well, that is just life right now.

Urgh! I would love to go to art school. To have the time to be so selfish and into my art. Someday…someday.

The 2006 Fall Folio Feast was a great success!

The Fall Folio Feast of the Maine Illustrators’ Collective went off without a hitch. About 42 illustrators and 15 art buyers attended and enjoyed casual company, fabulous food and a super speaker.

Melissa Sweet spoke about the process of creating her marvelous book Carmine: A little more red. She talked about carving out studio time as a building block in her day. She goes into her studio each day and makes it a standing committment. If she draws, or naps, or reads, or organizes her papers, at least she is in there and allowing the process to work. I loved seeing her early character sketches for Carmine, Grandma, and Rufus the dog. Her power point presentation was great and she used a technique that made it look as if she was turning the pages of her book. Sooo cool. I’d love to learn that. It was a relief to me and many other artists in the room when she explained that she completes work in the early part of the day and says, “Wow, this is pretty good.” Then she goes back at various later times through the day and revises and critiques her own work. She is sure that it looks worse and worse to her throughout the day until she is sure, by dinner, that she will never create anything good again.

In addition to the buyers who had pre-registered: Houghton, Candlewick, Charlesbridge, Sundance, Islandport Press, Family Fun, Curious City Books, Dinardo Design, and Montgomery Design, we also had a few who just showed up. Ronnie Sellers Productions and Palomar Medical. Of course, everyone wants more art buyers for next year and I’ll work at that. The best promoters are the people who were there, so talk it up! I hope all the art buyers would just tell one more art director, editor or creative director to come. Then we’d double the buyers!

As far as participants– we had a talented and interesting bunch of illustrators from various fields including children’s, medical, editorial, and gift and stationary. We will not increase the size of the event in this respect. Forty seemed just right. More portfolios would be a little overwhelming. This means you all need to watch the mail for the Fall Folio Feast 2007 information. And if artists who were there get jobs from the event, please alert me so I can use your story in the promotional materials for next year!

The day after is a little bittersweet. I spend six months or more of my year coordinating the event and then it is over so fast. A little like a wedding I suppose. More about my portfolio feedback and next steps tomorrow.

Getting it together

Over the past two days I have been getting myself together. I cleaned the pile of papers (files, etc) off of my studio floor. Recycled tons of paper piled on my desks. And generally feel more with it. Today I started painting my “Raining Cats and Dogs” umbrella. Last year, during our Fall Folio Feast, it rained and poured. This year, various illustrators are painting umbrellas to display then give to the art buyers. I’ll show you soon.
Did I mention I did not win the cherry blossom festival?

New Sweatshirt Designs

Here comes the shameless self-promotion part of blogging. I have a cafepress cyberstore with various designs on sweatshirts and t-shirts for babies and kids, also mugs, and other products with book club designs and more. Take a look. I have three new winter designs. Great gifts for the holidays!

www.cafepress.com/shopanna

In other news. I tacked the completed images for ROAR! on my studio wall. My kiddo, I., came in and said, “Wow, Mom, those are great.” It meant a lot coming from him. This is a child who is not afraid to critique.