25 March 2008

So, What's Next?

Believe it or not... I have started to write again. It's a bit scary, a bit exhilerating, but it IS all good. I am rebirthing an OLD manuscript involving Frisky (his name might change), but the story is still about finding love. More to come!

Also, lots of telephone call sketches. Sometimes they come out nice! Or at least I think so.

23 March 2008

Seven Impossible Things Feature

The lovely ladies, Jules and Eisha, of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast were more than kind to feature some of my work today! I've never met a nicer couple of girls, and I was flattered when they approached me!

About the Blog {Begun in August of 2006):
Jules and Eisha's vision for this blog is pretty simple: we’re going to talk about the books we read. We read lots of different kinds of books: picture books for toddlers, memoirs, young adult fiction, graphic novels, Man Booker Prize-winning high-art metafiction, whatever. And we’ll write about them, whenever we can, in the hopes that we can a.> let you, the reader, know about a book that you might like to read, too; and b.> inspire discussion about said books. So, if you read one of our critiques and want to chime in with a comment, please do.

What on earth would us illustrators and authors do without dedicated people like this?
Thanks so much guys!

22 March 2008

Sketching to the Oldies Success!

Montserrat College of Art's Illustration Sketch night was a true success. Music, food, a GREAT model with GREAT costuming was only made more supreme by the attendance of many students, alumni, and faculty. Hope to see you at the next event!

Amaryllis! Spring is coming!

Amaryllises were introduced into cultivation at the beginning of the eighteenth century. However, most of the so-called Amaryllis bulbs sold as 'ready to bloom for the holidays' (which our little friend to the left is) belong to the allied genus Hippeastrum, despite being labeled as 'Amaryllis' by sellers and nurseries. Adding to the name confusion, some bulbs of other species with a similar growth and flowering pattern are also sometimes called by another common name for this plant, "naked ladies", even though those species have their own more widely used and accepted common names, such as the Resurrection Lily. Naked ladies? Woo woo!

18 March 2008

Little Erin Merryweather Trailer

Thought I'd post this trailer of Little Erin Merryweather for everyone to enjoy. I worked on this project a few years back, so it's really fun to finally see it being distributed! I got to create Erin's book, complete with illustrations and rhymes. It was a fun time, especially when they filmed me drawing and painting.

16 March 2008

Holy Hops... What's the Deal?

On this Saint Patrick's Eve, anticipating everyone I encounter tomorrow to have a nasty hungover attitude, I realized I was ashamedly overdue in a beer post. Well fear not. I did some research for everyone! Well ok, I googled a few things, thought one or two individual thoughts, and began to tie it all together. Well, at least I learned a few things.

So, what's the deal with trappist monks, this guy Saint Patrick, and why this day has turned into a freakfest of drunkards and drinking before noon? And who in their right mind ever thought to die the dang drinks green? Ew!? This might be a slightly confusing way of tying them together, but it will make a bit more sense.

Centuries ago beer was the daily drink of the common people. You see, when the world regressed into the dark ages and messed up the public water and sewerage system, plain water was often polluted and due to beer's inexpensive, nourishing qualities, monks brewed beer for themselves as a safe source of hearty sustenance. Monk's meals were meager, pretty much the same as everyone else (thanks freak ice age!), particularly during fast periods. However, consumption of liquids did not break fasting. Eventually, the monk's were able to also sell their beers to travelers who took shelter at their monasteries, and a flourishing trade developed. To build brand loyalty, the names of the monastery's patron saint was used. To this day many beers bear the name of a saint.

Probably the best known Irish saint after Patrick is Saint Brigid (b. 457, d. 525). Brigid founded the monastery of Kildare and was known for spirituality, charity, and compassion. I thnk me and Brigid would have really gotten along. Check this out. She worked in a leper colony which found itself without beer, "For when the lepers she nursed implored her for beer, and there was none to be had, she changed the water, which was used for the bath, into an excellent beer, by the sheer strength of her blessing and dealt it out to the thirsty in plenty." I remember many a moment like that, but alas no Saint Bridie around! Brigid is said to have changed her dirty bathwater into beer so that visiting clerics would have something to drink. TMI, but kind of cool. A poem attributed to Brigid in the Brussel's (ooooh Brussels) library begins with the lines "I should like a great lake of ale, for the King of the Kings. I should like the family of Heaven to be drinking it through time eternal."

And speaking of Saint Patrick, what's the deal? Why the horrible MySpace photo aftermath with beads, weird shamrock antennae, and, brace yourself, green beer? Well here's some facts about Patrick and lets see if we can make the connection:

Patrick was born in southwestern Britain around 390 A.D. in his wealthy upperclass father's villa. Kidnapped by Irish pirates at sixteen, he spent six years as a slave tending sheep in County Mayo near Sligo. Patrick probably made his escape from Mayo to the coast of Wexford and returned home to Britain. Upon his return, Patrick received his theological training in Britain. Patrick was not sent to Ireland by the Pope, but by church authority in Britain. Patrick did not introduce Christianity to Ireland as this had been done by earlier missionaries and the first Bishop of Ireland, Palladius, who was ordained and sent to Ireland in 431 A.D. by Pope Celestine. There are probably at least two sources for the snakes which Patrick "drove" out of Ireland. A symbol for the goddess worship practiced in Ireland prior to Christianity was the snake or serpent. The conversion of Ireland to Christianity symbolically banished the "snake" from the land. Secondly, the bloody cult of Crom Cruaich in County Caven demanded human sacrifice to a serpent deity and the dismantling of this cult by Christianity is now remembered as the "snakes being driven from Ireland." Upon Patrick's arrival in Ireland, he led a successful mission, anointing clergy and baptizing thousands. An outcast among the stratified classes of Irish society he endured many hardships and wrote "I daily expect either assassination or trickery or reduction to slavery". After returning as Bishop to the land that had once considered him a slave, he never left again, becoming more closely identified with the Irish people than the British.

As a man, Patrick was devastated by captivity. In his years of slavery he developed a deep faith and sense of conviction in his God which provided him tremendous missionary zeal. Perhaps finding more acceptance among the society of his captors, Patrick dedicated his life's energy to the Irish christian mission and he died there around 460 A.D. with no ordained successor.

If you ask me... I think in some kind of time warp mix up...I think those lenten fasting days of the monks got confused with the end of winter (which we all know equals to total cabin fever) and feast day of Saint Patrick. So perhaps a bit of a misleading holiday, but no reason not to get out there and appreciate life. But for heaven's sake, if you do one thing for me, please do not taint your beer with green dye!

15 March 2008

Illustration Friday: Heavy

This was from a recent Harcourt (I think?) educational reader I did. Heavy boxes coming down crickity attic stairs are dangerous!

13 March 2008

The Living Room

Not having a project(s) on your desk really makes you think about what kind of images you want to really make. These last few weeks, I've been slightly regressing into myself, trying to go through old memories or strong enough feelings that I've had since childhood. This scene is one of the warmest, and the first moment I began dreaming up my own stories. In our living room we were lucky enough to have an upright piano, which in all honestly was just for my sister Jane. The other six of us would just bang away on the cold, milky keys to annoy one another. (sidenote: My plastic horses would make the best noise when I ran them up and down the scale). As my sister would play, I'd lay on the floor and think of a story that went along with the melody. It was a lot of fun.

As far as the style of the piece, I brought back my old skool stylization of character. I used to do weird bulbous people in school. And you know what? Maybe I didn't get the best critique on these pieces, I always loved doing them. Above is one of them, and you can see over time, the watercolor layers start to crack a bit.

11 March 2008

Hearts and Stars to you Claude!

Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the end of an absolutely legend, Claude François. Although he was a legend, he was just a man. Albeit a man who needed to change a light bulb even when all common sense, electric warning tags, and your mom told you to never do it in water. Opinions of Claude echo across the land, and speculations about his personal life abound. Why do I have respect for a described "egotistical, perverse, mean, ill-tempered control freak and perfectionist" man? With dance moves that would cause me bodily harm and energy enough for a whole warren of rabbits, he never stopped smiling.

Don't let Sinatra tell you about His Way, Claude. Tell em like it really is... Comme D"habitude... as usual.

* a side story: Antoine's niece, an avid CloClo fan at the age of four openly wept and yelled "I'll never get to meet him!" after learning about Claude's death. I felt her pain.

09 March 2008

Dragons Get Time Out!

I'm beyond excited to read the first review of Hush Little Dragon! I did give a bit of a chuckle when I read the words carnage and grisly feast. I guess I do have abit of an odd humor. All joking aside, the birth of this book truly makes me joyous. Time Out New York Kids graciously featured the book for this month:

"Charmingly illustrated by Kelly Murphy, the book only hints at carnage (the grisly feasts occur off-page), though images like a fire-breathing mama dragon poking her head through the bedroom window may loom too large for overactive imaginations. But kids with an affinity for Edward Gorey will no doubt be tickled."

They called the book twisted, which is awesome but I think it's a bright book. Hopefully people appreciate that carnage hinting is trickier than one would assume! And I am always flattered when people utter my work and Edward Gorey's name together. Read the full review here.

ps.) for some reason this clip has really been making me laugh. I know, I'm not well.

08 March 2008

Illustration Friday: Garden

I am a rose of Sharon,
a lily growing in the valley.

A lily among thorns
is my dearest among the maidens.

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
so is my beloved among young men.
To sit in his shadow is my delight,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
He has taken me into the wine-garden
and given me loving glances.

-Song of Songs 2:1-2:4

02 March 2008

Slings and Arrows

Of outraaaaaaageous fortunes! Trying to paint and paint as much as I possibly can. Still a bit too tight than I'd like, so I have to set a quicker time frame to paint. This one is about 24 hrs. Average...