Thursday, May 28, 2009

doggie dining 052809

Am I the only one who is fascinated by animals eating? Am I still nine? Tonight my husband had his flamenco rehearsal (he plays guitar for dancers and singers) so I ate dinner with the dogs. While they ate their chicken and vegetables, I sat on the floor and ate my chicken and no vegetables. It was so fun. For reals. And no, I am not nine. I am a grown up (that's why I get to eat no vegetables).

Earlier this evening...
Maximo and Lulu had the same old same old: steamed asparagus, chicken, carrots and oatmeal with chicken broth. Lucky dogs. They must have done some great stuff in a previous life to have gotten the opportunity to come back as these two. They are little pashas in the palace. Well groomed, well trained, well behaved and well loved.

They appear in fiction in THE NIK NOTEBOOKS, VOLUME ONE, THE SILVER SERPENT. As puppies so small Nik can hold both in one hand.

butt glue and licorice whips

I did it. I accepted the invitation by Holly Cupala and Jolie Stekly to crack the licorice whip, stick my butt in my chair, and accomplish some children's book writing and illustration goals.

I have stuck my butt in my chair lately, to simply stare off into beautiful blue sky space. Of course, this has always been a normal part of my process, but these days, due to the illness I endured and lingering after effects, I just don't get to the working part. My neural networks are atrophied. For reals.

The good news is that I had a battery of tests done this week, and have a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Practically paralyzing in the wake of my C-difficile infection. I have medication, and I may feel better in three weeks. I hope, I pray, and I will do what I can today.

Because my heart is ready, my work is waiting, and I am ready to wield that licorice whip! Butt glue notwithstanding.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

doggie dining 052609

Earlier this evening...
Maximo and Lulu had grated raw apple and carrot, chopped steamed asparagus, and boiled chicken drumsticks (meat only) with a little oatmeal cooked in the chicken broth for dinner. They loved it (duh!). And yes, I am childless (on purpose).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

scbwi wonderland

What an exciting regional SCBWI Conference!

The Speakers! The breakout sessions! The shmoozing! The portfolio show! The chocolate chip cookies (crispy delicious)!

Oh, I was, no, I AM, inspired. I heard so may great things that I couldn't possibly write about everything, so I will focus on one thing: Grace Lin's Keynote. There are many women children's book illustrators, but not many who headline at conferences. It was fantastic to see a woman illustrator give the keynote on Saturday.

Her talk was so inspiring. I was chatting with other conference attendees on why it was so special, and we all agreed. Her talk went straight to the heart.

First of all, she projected (on the big screen) an illustrated story of her early years when she relentlessly drew pictures of herself winning the gold medal for ice skating (she drew herself as a hipopotomus, which she doesn't resemble at all in real life). Turns out when actual skates hit actual ice, drawing was a better career choice. After art school, one question begged an answer. "Why am I imitating the Old Masters? Where is my art?"

She realized "I needed to find my own voice and my own vision, and I had to stop copying other people. And I realized I was doing art for all the wrong reasons—so I could show off. But you shouldn't do art for praise, approval, or to stroke your ego." She put her classical training aside and said she would paint something to make her happy.

And that is the heart of the matter. After all her training she still had to find herself. She painted something to make her happy, something from her heart. Today she is an artist, a children's book illustrator, and a novelist. I'd say that's right up there with a gold medal for ice skating.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

color monday: lilacs

Outside my studio window a tall tangle of lilac branches bounce in the wind, conical heads heavy with tightly furled buds, curled against the cold, waiting. Waiting for a warm day when their formed petals will unfurl, seduced by sunlight, their sweet scent released, and each lilac head will be a bouquet unto itself, the sum of hundreds of tiny perfect five lobed blooms.

So every day I wait with the lilacs, for the warm day that will bring them into full bloom. I hope to bloom with them.

This is Color Monday and our palette is inspired by lilacs.

...In the door-yard fronting an old farm-house, near the white-wash’d palings, 
Stands the lilac bush, tall-growing, with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom, rising, delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle......and from this bush in the door-yard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms, and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig, with its flower, I break...

Walt Whitman, When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom'd