A Few Minutes of Sunshine

 Hello Friends,

This blog post is from the "shameless plug of things that are cool" division. The prolific and big-idea children’s author Amy Krouse Rosenthol is coming to the DC area. 
She has two separate events on Tuesday, May 19th:

Tuesday May 19
10:30 am
Book signing and performance
Politics and Prose Bookstore
5015 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20008 

Reasons to attend:

  1. You are looking to support a member of the children’s book community  
  2. You have a small child who loves her books
  3. You have a small child who doesn’t know about her books
  4. You have a friend/relative with a small child who you could take to the signing (thereby introducing said small child to Amy’s books AND giving your friend/relative a much deserved rest.)
  5. You’ve been wondering, "Who is this woman who can turn out so many books and still have time to raise her family and create a YouTube movement?" (see below)

Tuesday May 19
6:30-7:30 pm
“60 minutes of Lovely” The official Beckoning of Lovely gathering for D.C.
The Lincoln Memorial
Contact Rebecca.l.Goodstein@gmail.com

Reasons to attend:

  1. You saw the first Beckoning of Lovely video "17 Things I Made," and couldn’t help but think it would be cool to be at the Bean.

  1. (Imagine that says 2) You saw the second Beckoning of Lovely video that shows what happened when people came together to make a wonderful 18th thing… and cried, wishing you had been able to be at the Bean.

A quick summary of what’s shaking down at the 2 events:

1. The event at Politics and Prose is about three new children’s books:
Duck!Rabbit! (which just landed on the New York Times Bestseller List!)
Little Oink (sequel to Little Pea & Little Hoot) 
Spoon (illustrated by the magnificent Scott Magoon)

The New York Times Book Review recently had this to say about the new books:

2. The Beckoning of Lovely gathering is, well, a sort of natural extension of the Beckoning of Lovely project and film. To get an idea of what our 60 minutes together may be like, take a look at this blog write-up from the Los Angeles "60 minutes of Lovely" a few days ago…click here 
About these events, Amy says, "We are not promising the moon. But, we hope, a few minutes of sunshine…"

The Big Decision

This morning I couldn’t sleep in. I don’t know how some people can readjust their biorhythms to weekend time. My body just does the same thing each day. Wake up time, six am. So I went for a lovely walk. The weather is muggy today and threatening rain. The forecast says it will be in the 80’s today. We had a beautiful spring that lasted a very short time and now we are full on into summer. Ick, hot and humid. Good thing the pool opens on Memorial Day.

For those of you who do not know, we’ve been in Maryland this year and it just wasn’t a good fit (to use publishing lingo). We will be back in our Brunswick, Maine house come August. I’m applying for jobs– mostly teaching positions but I just found and applied for a community educator’s position with the U Maine extension office in Portland. This would have so many benefits, including a possible tenure track. Cross your fingers for me and if you know anybody in that office, call and tell them nice things for me. Thanks.

I have good news to share. I got into both the Vermont and Lesley MFA programs. Now comes the hard part, deciding where to go. Vermont offers more rigor and a more established faculty and program. Lesley offers a cross-genre program with interdisciplinary studies that would allow me to work with illustrators and maybe get some teaching time at the university level. (Always good on a resume.) I spoke with the Lesley Director this week and will speak with Vermont next week. I think it may come down to the money issue with financial aid. 

Happy to  hear your comments below and if you want to talk with me about it further please email. I’m open to advice.

What does a super mom look like?

On May 1st, I posted this to do list. 

  • Final 36" x 36" drawing for college drawing class due Wednesday on "The mythology of epiphanies."
  • Submit application packets for Falmouth and Brunswick art teacher positions.
  • Work on VCFA personal and critical essays for submission next Friday.
  • Final paper and project due for Color Theory, May 11.
  • Revise picture book for agent.
  • Re-read, novel taking notes.

Today it looks like this:

  • Final 36" x 36" drawing for college drawing class due Wednesday on "The mythology of epiphanies."
  • Submit application packets for Falmouth and Brunswick art teacher positions.
  • Work on VCFA personal and critical essays for submission next Friday.
  • Final paper and project due for Color Theory, May 11.
  • Revise picture book for agent.
  • Re-read novel, taking notes for revision.
  • Study for Praxis Art Educator Test

I’m feeling very accomplished and very creative. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve reclaimed without the responsibility of the conference. Looking back, I’m starting to wonder. How did I do all that? How did I direct a conference, freelance, do my creative work, take two college classes, do laundry and keep the kitchen clean (and that’s about all for house cleaning), and otherwise take care of my family duties (often with my husband away). I must say, I’m feeling a little like a super Mom!

Alright, maybe not. Maybe more like this:

Or this:

You choose.


We just cannot get a break from the rain down here in Maryland. It was rainy all weekend and the beginning of the week. Yesterday we had dramatic thunderstorms and tornado warnings. All we saw were high winds in the early hours though. On the bad side, my sons have not been able to play in their scheduled baseball games and are generally bouncing off the walls from staying inside for recess. The good side is that I’ve not been tempted to stray from my final projects and papers to go outside. (Don’t worry procrastinators, there’s always the internet.) My drawing project process is below and the final critique went really well yesterday. I’m thinking of having a small art show in my house for friends, "A Semester of Art." I’ll photograph it and put it on my Facebook page too so that you all can enjoy it. BYOW&C. (That’s wine and cheese.)

Here are my past paintings torn to bits.

Here are the pieces reassembled in a blue gradient.

Here is the final drawing. "The Mythology of Epiphanies."

For the background (the mythology) behind the artwork see this previous post.

Now I am onto the next thing in my to do list: writing the critical essay for my Vermont application!

The Mythology of Epiphanies

 I’m working on my final project for my drawing class. Last Tuesday we picked pieces of paper from two cups: a phrase and a word. I ended up with "The mythology of…" and "epiphanies." 

The funny thing is that this phrase is very meaningful to me.  and I have been corresponding about "doing the work" necessary to create a book that is honest, and authentic from its dialogue to theme, to emotions. A work of fiction or art is never born fully formed as Athena from Zeus’s head. It is built little by little, year after year upon the backs of the previous drafts and thumbnails, research and revision. 

My journey to this realization has taken a while. I’m still thrilled when I learn a new trick of the trade, or an interesting bit of wisdom on revision but the fact is that nothing creative comes easy. Even for those who are wonderfully talented. 

I was unsure of the image I would create for this final project. I’ve been drafting thoughts and listing words that come to me. Birth of ideas, the story behind the story, tales of success, fish stories, tales, eureka, lightbulbs… Using words in the image seemed like a cop out, using a symbol or iconic image seemed too cliche’. Then I got to thinking of the work I’ve done. The images for portfolios that got ripped apart by well-meaning art directors. I decided to rip them apart myself.

I took out my old work and portfolios and started tearing. It felt great. I made piles of color and created a mosaic type, collage, background of blue gradient from all the skies I’ve tried to do in my paintings. Then I started to think of these as the scaffolding, the girders that allow me to climb higher in my understanding of illustration and design. I immediately thought of the photos by Hine in the ’30’s of the workers building the Empire State Building. 

Look at those amazing lines! What an epiphany! I immediately started sketching thumbnails. Tomorrow, I’ll draw on top of my mosaic sky to recreate an abstract version of the girders in the building. It is due on Wednesday. Hopefully I’ll have a picture to post by then. 

No emails

For the last 12 months I have had a plethora of emails. Every time I sat down to the computer there would be at least 30 emails and this would be true about three times a day. Yesterday 10. Today 6. I am not complaining. I am rejoicing. The conference is done and it far exceeded my expectations. Our keynote speakers, Cindy Lord and Floyd Cooper were absolutely amazing.

Cindy gave us a practical and touching keynote about the work that is necessary to create honest writing. It is this kind of writing, she explained, that will allow your readers to connect to the story in an authentic way. Cindy is a personal friend but we have not been in close proximity for a while. Never the less, her speech seemed like a conversation that discussed all the challenges I currently face in my writing. It was as if the other 400 people in the room melted away and we were sitting together having tea and cake. Truly, this is the mark of an excellent speaker.

Floyd was charming, funny and informative. HIs positive and laid back style was accessible to everyone in the room (artist or writer). He told us about his experiences in the industry over the last 20 years, and the challenges facing illustrators willing to take on characters from diverse cultures. He shared his subtractive method with ease and aplomb. (Which anyone can do. Ha.) 

Our faculty was generally knowledgeable, prepared, and accessible. I actually got to attend three workshops over the weekend and all of them were excellent. 

Of course it is the conference within the conference that takes my breath away: seeing old friends, making new connections, learning from peers.

Thanks to everyone who made this conference a reality. I delegated quite a bit this year as I was directing from afar. Everyone kept the juggling balls in the air and put on a super show.

Now I’m free to do my creative work, and that’s what it is really all about. To do:

  • Final 36" x 36" drawing for college drawing class due Wednesday on "The mythology of epiphanies."
  • Submit application packets for Falmouth and Brunswick art teacher positions.
  • Work on VCFA personal and critical essays for submission next Friday.
  • Final paper and project due for Color Theory, May 11.
  • Revise picture book for agent.
  • Re-read novel taking notes.

At least I don’t have as many emails.