01 December 2016

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!

It's KRAAAAAAMPUS week again!!!!

The Dead Swamp

I'm so excited to have finished the third painting in my childhood memory series. I've been having so much fun taking a break from other work making these, and I have a fourth forming in my mind already.

The Dead Swamp is located in southeastern Massachusetts and feeds into the larger Hockomock Swamp. In Wampanoag, the name Hockomock translates into "place where spirits dwell", and my childhood experiences there could corroborate that name. During the seventeenth century, the Hockomock Swamp was used as a fortress by the Wampanoags against invasion by early white settlers. It played a role in King Philip's War as a strategic base of operations for Metacomet (also known as King Philip) to launch assaults upon nearby white settlements. My town was largely unscathed because of the friendship between Metcomet and the Leonard family who operated the first Iron Works in the new colony. The Dead Swamp provided not only fish and game, but also inland protection from some of the harsher New England seasons. While the swampy areas have their beauty of flora and fauna, there's a much darker side to this mystical place. There have been accounts dating back to the 1700s of will o' the wisps (or feu follet), poltergeists, large thunderbirds, ghost dogs, and  larger than life snakes. All this makes the provides the perfect combination to fuel a young girl's imagination.

On one cold, fall day... this very swamp called our names. From just over the hill, where the path lead into the swamp, we heard a whisper that carried towards us as we biked up the hill. First I heard it, then my friend. There was no denying that this was no ordinary voice. And it wasn't the last time that the woods called my name.

Inktober... in November or Sloooovember

For the past few years, I've really been trying to embrace Inktober, not only because I love ink, but also to just get out of my normal daily work routine. All of this is easier said than done! So, my slower than molasses self is still trying to get the last few images done. Therefore, we're in Slovember. Wait. DAMNIT. I swear when I started this post it was still November. It just changed into December. Well, curses! I'm still going to try and get the last few leaves in by the end of the year.

I decided that this year I wanted to make a longer series for Inktober. I tried to do random drawings in the previous year, and I would sometimes have too much hesitation on what to draw. Since I was a small child, I've loved learning bird and their songs, so I decided to increase my natural knowledge into native New England trees. Sure, maples and oaks are well known, but what I didn't realize was the broad variety that existed. As I researched further, some of these trees are transient, in some trees like the Bear Oak grow in newly deforested or fire damaged area. You don't typically see them in old growth areas. This series encouraged me to get out of my studio and take a walk in neighboring woods and fields, looking for new leaves and shapes I hadn't noticed before. I'm thinking of trying out evergreens next October. I mean October, November, December. Ugh. I'm so slow!



13 September 2016

A Long Long Time Ago

So much time has passed since my last post, and with it so many things have happened. 2016 has been a tumultuous year, but the urge to push on still exists, with much thanks. New chapters, new projects, new resolutions. With some more structured time, I am hoping this will be the first of more posts here.

Something that I have discovered is integral for the sanity of an illustrator is finding time for yourself. Sure, a walk in the woods is great, but what I crave most is the time to make an image just for me. I carved away a little time early this year to do just this. It's from a long, long time ago, back on my childhood street with the best friends and neighbors a kid could ask for. I grew up close to thick New England swamps, rich with folklore and maybe even some mean neighbors scattered within. We friends stood up to both real and imagined foes with bravery and on this particular day... rotten tomatoes from the garden. The Kirklands lived beyond the woods, and every now and then would try and provoke us into a verbal argument through the tall pines. We totally annihilated them that day.
This is the second of what I hope will be a very long series of remembered childhood moments. I'm hellbent on trying to capture how special this neighborhood was and how much it's affected my adult psyche.

It's good to be back, and I've just fallen in love with Switchback Brewery and I am ITCHING to do a review!! NEXT TIME!



18 November 2015

2015 Fall Class Demo

Each semester, I like to take a moment to talk about process, and finding one's own method of working. I use it as an excuse to paint some moody people. While watching the Three Lives of Thomasina (one of the best Disney film about a cat that brings a family together, through her mysterious death and reappearance), I sketched this sulky lass.

27 October 2015

Viterbo 2015 (aka The Summer I Almost Melted To Death)

I'm slowly catching up with some posts here, and I am happily enjoying the New England fall weather. As I look back to my month of July spent with Fred Lynch, his family, and the journalistic drawing students I remember just how hot it was on those Italian streets. We had over 25 consecutive days of 95˚ F and above. Now, I am... as I like to say... a delicate flower. I need 70˚ or lower! HA! While I am complaining about the weather, I'd like to shift focus on the amazing students and fellow faculty members that made this summer one of the most memorable. I count myself blessed to be able to sit, observe, and record the comings and goings of this ancient town. Viterbo is a lively, gritty city full of tiny alleys and bizarre adventure. I just needed a few months to cool off afterward! Here are a few of the scenes I was able to capture.









13 October 2015

Inktober and The Alien

Fall is in full swing, but temperatures are quite lovely. Perfect weather to take the saucer out a few more times before the first few flakes fall.
 My dog is quite bizarre in all senses of the word, so it only made sense to have her looming over Evergreen Street.

While I am not able to participate everyday during Inktober, I love the excuse it gives me to try something fun... and maybe a little silly!

06 January 2015

Floral Inspiration


Today, as the temperatures struggle to go beyond 17˚, I am looking at J.J. Grandville's Les Fleurs Animées. I was able to purchase this book for my husband at Christmas along with another featuring his amazing ink work. Grandville's characters and scenes border on the absurd but always have such an amazing accuracy of personality and expression.
J.J. Grandville was born at Nancy, in northeastern France, to an artistic and theatrical family. The name "Grandville" was his grandparents' professional stage name. Grandville received his first instruction in drawing from his father, a painter of miniatures. At the age of twenty-one he moved to Paris, and soon afterwards published collection of lithographs. Grandville's ability for political provocation made his work much in demand. He worked in a wide variety of formats, from his first job illustrating the parlor game Old Maid, to illustrated newspaper strips of which he was a master. One of Grandville's supreme achievements, at a time when French printing technology was ascendant, was Les Fleurs Animées, a series of images that are both poetic and satirical. But perhaps his most original contribution to the illustrated book form was L'Autre Monde, which approaches the status of pure surrealism, despite being conceived in a pre-Freudian age. Leading members of the Surrealist movement such as André Breton and Georges Bataille recognised in Grandville a significant precursor and inspiration for the movement. The rock band Queen used part of his artwork for the cover and backcover of their 1991 album Innuendo. Even they knew how awesome Grandville's work was!





27 December 2014

YULE LOG!

My attempt at a bûche de noël this Christmas. Since Antoine was not able to be with his family this year, I wanted to make sure he had some of the familiar French traditions.

I was excited that this came out the way it did! Flourless baking and lots of eggs for this recipes!

Joyeux Noël!

Hope for 2015

 
There are only a few more days left of 2014, and while I do not want to complain, I am happy to have it end. 2014 was an active year, but at times a stressful one! I am eager to see what 2015 has in store.

I visited three new states this year (Texas, Washington, and Oregon) and was able to visit Italy, France, and Canada. Traveling makes the heart happy. I hope to be able to add a few more to the list this year! I'm excited to say that I am currently working on seven or eight different projects right now, with some due out in this coming year.

Above is a sequel cover to Shirley Parenteau's Ship of Dolls. Taking place across the ocean from the first book, Dolls of Hope tells the tale of the recipient of the gift from the United States.

With just a few more days in 2014, I'm trying to be as productive as possible, making sure to work the heck out of this year, with enough momentum for next year as well!




22 December 2014

Festal Cheer!

Each age has deemed the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer.
-Sir Walter Scott


Well, the New Year is fast upon us! This year's card features a recipe totally unknown to me and my part of New England. Apparently, it's big around Wisconsin and Minnesota areas still. I was excited to hear about this once commonly popular drink, and look forward to giving it a try this New Years!

Tom & Jerry

Often mistaken for eggnog. a Tom and Jerry is light and spicy, with a sweet foamy crown that forms when scalding hot milk is poured onto the batter placed in the bottom of a mug, then stirred quickly, which causes the egg whites to rise. Once you've sprinkled the top with freshly ground nutmeg it is ready to drink.

The Tom and Jerry's origin is a bit of a mystery. Some say it was probably invented by Pierce Egan, a British journalist who lived in the 1800s and wrote the popular novel The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq. and His Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom (hence Tom and Jerry). Egan is said to have named the drink as a publicity stunt. Others hold that a famous American bartender, "Professor" Jerry Thomas, concocted the Tom and Jerry in the 1850s.  The only Tom and Jerry certainty is that there is no connection between the drink and the cartoon.

Ingredients
Yield: 1 Cocktail

1 egg
1 ounce Cognac or brandy
1 tsp of confectionery sugar
Hot milk
1 ounce dark rum
Grated nutmeg for garnish

• Separate the egg white from the egg yolk and beat them separately.
• Fold the beaten eggs together then add the confectionery sugar. Place  batter  into an Irish coffee glass.
• Add the dark rum, and brandy. and fill with hot (but not boiling) milk.
• Stir well.
• Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Store, covered, in the refrigerator, and use as needed. Will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Mixture will probably separate in the refrigerator. Just stir and use. The drink will still turn out frothy and delicious.

Here's a sampling from Christmas Cards Past!

WOLLSTONECRAFT IS COMING!!!

January 6th, 2014!
Wollstonecraft Detective Agency hits the shelves! Jordan Stratford has been busily working on the follow up books as well, and here's a few teaser images.


Viterbo 2014





Finally getting a chance to share of the images I worked on this past summer. I was lucky enough to join my colleague Fred Lynch in teaching a course in journalistic drawing in a small town just northeast of Rome. It was a fantastic trip, made all the more special by a dedicated troop of students. Visiting Assisi was also a true highlight, as well as traveling by car with the Lynch family from Viterbo to Lyon France. While is was a bit stormy in the Italian Alps, the view was still breathtaking.

The Lynches were also kind enough to take me to another neighboring medieval walled city called Vitorchiano. The views were stunning.

This chance to work in a whole new fashion awakens a deeper connection to my artistic roots. I mean, I used them everyday, but here... on the street, trying to capture a fading light, or a fleeting moment sharpens the trust in myself... not only that I can do it... but I chose the right subject matter as well.

It was a hard working, eye opening summer for sure!


Class Painting Demos


It's been busy these last few months, which is always a good thing! I really enjoy the one day out of my semester where I take an hour and demonstrate my convoluted process. It gives me a chance to step outside of my current projects and just paint... to paint. I took a few extra hours to polish these up last weekend, and it was just what the illustration doctor ordered. These are both from my spring and fall semesters of 2014.



2014 draws to a close, and I hope to visit the blog more frequently. It's been such fun to be able to have a chronological record of the last eight or so years! I hope to cram a few more posts in 2014!

04 February 2014

Waves


Hello again, dear blog. I miss you. I miss you a lot and I can't tell you why it's been so long. Maybe it's been a touch of being busy or more likely distracted. I have been working, though! I've been lucky to have three different bookcovers to work on since the new year. I'm also nearing completion of the first Wollstonecraft book.

As I type we are about to be hit with the second snowstorm of the year, and even though I've succumbed to the winter's plague, I am loving this weather. I wish I had the opportunity to ski or skate like I used to. Perhaps I should try and just brace the knee. I have a torn ACL and  a damaged medial and lateral meniscus, so it makes the more rigorous sports a bit scary. I will have to get my fix by watching the upcoming Winter Olympics!

I'll come back soon, blog!

12 November 2013

Cold Glance

A cold glance, from under a fur bonnet.
This is a recent class painting demo.