The Illustration Friday word of the week is temptation.
The New Age has come up with a lot of wonky slogans, formulas and fads, but a rare few of them can be quite useful. Some of them can even shift a person out of her meaningless, status quo life. Take, for example, the Mission Statement. At first glance, this seems to be simply a trendy reinvention of that age-old question, “Who am I?” But wait…isn’t this a very useful question to ponder deeply, whether one is a New Age advocate or not?
Artists have had to face this question forever, even before the Artist Statement was de rigueur in the contemporary Art World. Blank canvas, pristine paper, lump of clay and the palette of rainbow color all shout out the endless possibilities for creativity, and simultaneously point out succinctly that Life is Short: one simply can’t do everything. “What are you going to do with it?” an artist’s materials constantly asks.
It’s a good (but not an easy) question, one that can only be truly answered moment by moment, artist or not. The world would be a very different place if asking, “Who am I?” was an accepted part of school, family and spiritual life. Today’s suggestion: Avoid the temptation of relegating this one to the “Later” file.
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Telling Stories with a Brush… Pencils, paint and the thrill of a good tale are my inspiration…and fairytales, dreams and psychology inevitably find their way in too. I like to make paintings that feel personal, almost private, like reading a favorite book under blankets with a flashlight. Making images is how I weave all the parts of my world together.
Most paintings start with a detailed drawing on tracing paper. Sometimes an idea arrives all at once, clear in my mind, but more often, the objects and figures unfold gradually as I draw, erase, and draw again. I use a light box to transfer a successful drawing to archival paper, and the paper is soaked, stretched and allowed to dry before beginning with dip pen, ink and watercolors. Because watercolor is transparent, there is little room for mistakes or drastic changes–sometimes beginning again is the only option. BUT when the painting process goes well or surprises me wonderfully, no other medium compares to the glow and delicacy of watercolor.
I love combining words with pictures as well: my first two author-illustrator picture books, “The Emperor’s Pear Tree” and “The Teapot’s Tale” are currently seeking their publishers.
Painting and drawing happens most days in my tiny studio in the Northern California Gold Rush town where I live with my sculptor husband. Lizards, deer, blue jays, jack rabbits, very tall trees (and the occasional mountain lion, bear or skunk) are our neighbors. They remind me that my own small story is part of the much larger and immensely inscrutable Mystery of Life. Great love and attention goes into my paintings, and I hope you will love them too. Thank you for visiting!