HI ART! Who’s Art?

 It is a sun, sun, sunny day and pretty warm here in Southern Maryland. This in combination with a day away from my house, in class and creating art boosted my spirits. I’m excited to post a new image here. 

Moscow nights. We have been looking at framing in my drawing class and the professor created a great assignment. She split the class in two and we created and wrote down one of those silly stories when one person starts and then passes it around the group. Then we had to create a 5 frame comic to show the story. Here is mine. I can’t figure out how to get a bigger image when you click it, sorry. Any help would be appreciated.

I’d hoped to scan in a collage I’m working on too but that will have to wait. Maybe tomorrow. Suffice it to say that I’m happy doing my art and working on many projects (all be it for free) that I enjoy.

More later.

Sick Monday

 Except it is Tuesday, and I’m not sick, it’s my kiddo. Which means that all my plans, including going to my class, are scrapped for the second day in a row. I’m only grumping a bit, because when I get sick (worshipping the porcelain and sleeping all day from a fever) I want my Mommy. I hope that when he grows up and gets sick he’ll want his Mommy too.

Congratulations to Melissa Sweet!

 Melissa Sweet, fellow Maine illustrator and amazing collage artist, recently received the Caldecott Honor for Jen Bryant’s,A River Of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams. The Caldecott Award "is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children." You might wonder then, why Hugo Cabret won last year. If you look deeper you find out that the award is about the perfect marriage of words and text. This marriage means that the illustrations are not redundant, they expand and grow the story making it full and satisfying. Melissa takes this marriage one step further and incorporates the text of WCW’s poetry in her images.

It is not easy to incorporate letters and images. Each letter has a swoop or line of its own as well as its own negative and positive space. Melissa’s illustrations allow the reader to step into William Carlos William’s shoes and experience the joy of creating poetry. Spending time with each collage, the viewer discovers the poems anew, finding words, like treasures, within the illustrations. 

In her illustrator’s note, Melissa says that she had a lot of false starts before she stumbled on the idea of using old books as a centerpiece of the collages. The use of the book covers is genius. The viewer wonders was William Carlos Williams, a doctor by education and a poet at heart, trapped by his medical studies or released from his daily doctoring duties by the poetry the books contain?

The use of color in the images is stunning. In a reinvention of the The Figure Five in Gold by Charles Demuth, Melissa adds shocking pink and various other hues of red that take fans back to Carmine, A little more red. My favorite page illustrates the poem I posted yesterday, "This is just to say" Melissa uses the color chord that includes violet, its complement (yellow) and the two colors on either side of yellow, yellow-green and yellow orange. It is brilliant: the yellow-green and yellow-orange vibrating with the violet plums. 

The final page of the book is most stunning. So instead of describe it I’ve scanned it here. (Click to see it bigger.)

Melissa describes this book as a gift to her career but it is the viewer who feels the outpouring of love on every page. 

A Poem

 My college friend Lori Sabian tagged me in Facebook with the charge to post a favorite poem. There are so many to choose from but here is one from William Carlos Williams.  

This is just to say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
the were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

More about William Carlos Williams and how he connects to Maine illustrator Melissa Sweet coming soon… 

Still alive

Yes folks, Anna is still alive and well. Better than well actually. Conference registration is charging full steam ahead. After one week we have over 250 people. Last year (with 575 people) it was pretty obvious that we had outgrown the space and we are looking for a bigger spot for 2010. In the mean time, we’ve limited the conference to 400 people so that means that things are filling up.

Some people have been disappointed by the limits but I’m confident that there are enough wonderful offerings to fill your weekend. (I would suggest for instance, that if you think you do not write "about race" or for the "gay community" that you may be surprised how much we all include racial, sexual, and gender baggage in our writing.) We have moved around some of the workshops due to demand and raised their limits. If you were closed out of something you really wanted, check in with Shirley Pearson (conference registrar) about changing your schedule. (shirleydpearson at yahoo dot com)

I am taking two college art classes (Drawing and Color Theory) from an enthusiastic, and approachable professor. On the first day of class, many of the young adult students in the class set themselves up facing me. I quickly realized they thought I was the professor.  I was flattered (since that is my goal) but explained I was also a student. Since then, I’ve just been the one who is very willing to share my life experiences, ideas and thoughts. I actually find myself hanging back, pausing and trying to allow some wait time for my younger classmates to give their opinions. I’ve told my professor not call on me if my hand is up and she wants to get others in on the discussion. I’d love to hear from these other students too but they seem afraid to volunteer their thoughts. The professor has been using some teaching techniques to get everyone involved which is great. 

One thing I love about taking classes is that I start to see my learning all around me. I’m noticing how color works and doesn’t work. What color is "local" color what color is "perceived" or "vibrating." What are the darkest darks, the lightest lights. How is a space constructed "atmospheric perspective." Many things that I’m learning are review, some I know but don’t have a name for it, other information is entirely new. When I’m taking a class, the art I produce, because of the structure and intensity of the course, is usually more accomplished. I’m able to use what I’m learning to make the image better in a variety of ways. 

Sharing is good:
Check out this lovely Lego artwork…