Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tomie de Paola award entry, progress

I am somewhat hesitant to post all of my work in progress for my entry- can't decide whether this is reasonable or paranoid.  A little of both, mayhaps?  I really got down to work this week, believing the deadline to be the 5th of December, not the 15th- which, as I discovered today, is the actual deadline.  Deadlines really work for me... when I have a deadline, I make decisions, I get things done- not that I don't without a deadline, but I somehow find a way to prolong things...not through any lack of motivation or effort.  My book, for example- I fuss and fiddle and put things aside so that I can 'think' about them and ostensibly find the 'perfect' solution...and I never, ever manage to just bang out a page within a day, or two days the way I can if I HAVE to.  I don't really know how to make my self-imposed deadlines as REAL to me as an externally imposed deadline, I really don't... Anyone else have this problem?  Any suggestions would be muchly appreciated! 
In any case, I am quite pleased with my progress thus far.  I am going to incorporate a pattern, surprise surprise... I envisioned what I realize are actually quite eastern european flavoured floral-botanical patterns, although Heidi is set in the Swiss Alps, I still think that  it are some of my pattern experiments:

I tried turning this into a regular repeat; this attempt shows just the framework and no petals, leaves, etc.:

However, I realized that this was too 'regular', not quite what I had envisioned.  I want to use this pattern ON the mountain they are ascending, so I wanted it to look a little more like actual plant life... something more like:

That was more like it... but finally I decided to go with this one:

I've since transferred it to the drawing...which no, sorry,  I've decided I'll wait to show you in its various stages only after it's all finished and sent in.  That will be soon enough; I'm ready to make with the gouache.  I'm going to (try to) pretend that I don't realize that the deadline is actually the 15th.  I'm having fun with this; it's going well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The brilliance of Otto Dix, beautiful architecture, general discouragement, new and ongoing projects you can see, I'm posting once again on my OLD blog... it doesn't seem as though I'm getting quite the same traffic on my new blog attached to my website...but if you want to read the posts that you've missed AND subscribe to/bookmark my 'new' blog, here is the link:  NEW BLOG (and I will be unspeakably pleased as well!)

What has been going on? Well, I’ll start where I left off- I was anticipating my visit to the Otto Dix exhibit now up at the MontrĂ©al Museum of Fine Arts. This is a show that I have been waiting and hoping to see for twenty years, and it was as good as I was hoping it would be. I was happy to see several luminous and beautifully detailed not-quite caricature portraits that I had never seen in reproduction, and I was particularly impressed by a striking series of etchings inspired by Francisco de Goya’s Los desastres de la guerra (and, more importantly, by own experiences during WWI). VERY good show; I will certainly go back for another look. I have always loved Dix, I admire his astonishing talent too much to even be able to be envious of it.
Then… I was off to Windsor and Detroit to run the Detroit Marathon (no, no, du calme…I did NOT win)…however, it was a great experience and I’ll certainly do it again. Besides the run, though, I had a great time as a tourist in Detroit- the day before the race I was able to go on a tour of my very favourite building in the world, the Union Trust Guardian:

…and here I am with the enthusiastic, witty, charming and knowledgeable head concierce of the Guardian Building, Mr. Christopher Roddy:

Have I mentioned how much I love Detroit? We stayed in the recently restored Book Cadillac Hotel (now the Westin Book Cadillac); the exterior has been beautifully restored; the interior, while not restored to its former state, is chic and modern and tasteful- it’s fine. We also went on a tour of Hitsville U.S.A., the Motown Museum (something that I’d meant to do for years and years while I LIVED in Windsor, but you know how it is when you COULD go to see something ANYTIME!), which was also animated by a tour guide who was, well, ANIMATED. Love Motown. Finally, a bus tour of the course covered a large swath of the city….a great, great day.
Since my triumphant return I’ve been continuing to work on sending out packages to publishers- I’ve been doing research on some smaller publishers, which might be a better fit (and more likely to pay attention to/consider me). I’ve been continuing to work on my MontrĂ©al card/print project, with somewhat disappointing-to-me results. I’ve become quite discouraged over it, in fact… I’ve been feeling recently that I haven’t done anything that I really think is good in a while (sigh). So, I’ll put that aside for the moment. I’m beginning work on an entry for the Tomie dePaola award given by SCBWI- the gist is that you produce one illustration for a passage chosen by the illustrious Mr. dePaola. This year’s passage is the opening passage of Joanna Spyri’s classic, Heidi. So, I’m now percolating ideas for that- the deadline is the 15th of December. After that, I’ll continue working on the book dummy. As a matter of fact, SCBWI has another annual competition- this one for a grant- for an unpublished book dummy (or series of 10 completed illustrations). The deadline for that one is in February. Plenty to keep me busy for the next little while. Must also get back into diligently ‘building my web presence’ and recommence my pestering of various people via email in earnest. Wish that I had an agent to do all of this self-promotion stuff… it’s a grind. Alas.
Stay tuned for sketches for my Heidi submission!