Tuesday, August 28, 2007


As many/most of you may have guessed from the last post, we are sad to say that Grace Lin's husband Robert passed away last night. If you would like to send your condolences, the best way to do so would be by donating to cancer research in Robert's memory via the Jimmy Fund, and by supporting Robert's Snow for Cancer's Cure. Checks made out to "Robert's Snow" should be mailed to: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund/Attn: Lauren Nash/10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor/Brookline, MA 02445-7226.

Thank you for thinking of Grace in this very difficult and sad time.
Due to a family tragedy, the Blue Rose Girls blog will be going dark temporarily. We will give an update when we can, but in the meantime we appreciate your patience and support.

Monday, August 27, 2007

How do book auctions work?

I think there may be some confusion about how books auctions work, what they mean for a book, etc. and I thought I'd talk about them a bit.

Generally, an auction occurs when a submission has been sent out by an agent to multiple editors, and more than one editor is interested in making an offer. When the first editor expresses interest and/or makes an offer, the agent will go to the other editors to see what their interest level is. If two or more editors are interested in making an offer, the agent will usually hold an official auction.

In my experience, there are two main ways an agent will conduct an auction. Prior to the auction, the agent will generally send out an email outlining the rules of the auction. Sometimes this will include a request for a marketing plan. In general, the two types of auctions are Rounds, and the other is Best Offer.

1) Rounds: this is what most people probably think of when they hear "auction"--all of the editors sit in one room with little white cards with numbers on them while the auctioneer talks quickly about the book...just kidding. The auctions all happen over email, phone, or fax. The agent will ask for first offers by a certain date/time, and the highest offer will be treated as the floor. The agent will let all of the other parties know what the floor is (in my experience, this is usually done by phone), and then ask for their next offer. This will keep going until only one winning publisher is left. This type of auction is decided entirely on the advance offered.

2) Best Bids: with this type of auction, the agent will set a date/time and ask for a publisher's best offer. Sometimes this auction is based on the advance to determine the winner, but oftentimes with this type of auction, the agent will state in the "rules" that they reserve the right to take all aspects of the offer into account--the marketing plan, the editor's passion, the publisher and how the book would fit on the list. Occasionally, a lower offer might win out over a higher.

I asked my fellow BRGs if they had any specific questions about book auctions, and here were some of them:

How is it decided when a specific manuscript should be auctioned? The author/literary agent must have some idea there's a sufficient amount of interest in the book. How is word spread about the book initially?
I think I addressed the first part of the question above--although I'll add that on occasion, I've had an agent send me a manuscript and tell me that he/she is going to have an auction for the book on a certain date. This generally backfires on the agent, because he/she finds himself without the necessary interest. To be honest, knowing that a book is going to be in an auction affects me in two ways--sometimes it makes me want a book more (if I truly love the project!), and sometimes it makes me want a book less (when I feel that it's not "worth it").

Is it easier to get the other people at a publishing company to act quickly if a book is up for auction than if it is not?
Yes, definitely--there is a definite "due date" for an auction book, a day/time that we need to get an offer in, so sometimes this means that I get our acquisitions committee to give something an overnight read. If a book is not up for auction, it goes through the regular acquisitions process which can sometimes take months.

Have the books you've bought at auction earned out their advances?
I don't think I'm allowed to answer this question, but I will say that in most/all cases, it's too early to tell. But I'll add here that having a book go to auction doesn't always mean a big advance--sometimes it just means that more than one editor/publishing house has fallen in love with a project. I've won auctions with the type of advance I would have paid without an auction.

Do publishers keep a book in print longer if they paid, say, $60,000 for it than if they paid $10,000?
As far as I know, the amount of advance has nothing to do with how long a book it kept in print. It all depends on sales. I will say that if the book gets a huge advance (and I'm not sure if $60,000 would do it), then the book is pretty much guaranteed a significant marketing plan--but this doesn't always equal sales, and it doesn't mean a book will stay in print longer.

How do you as an editor decide if a book is worth bidding on?
Pretty much the same way I decide if I want to acquire any book--if I fall in love with it. But in the case of an auction, I have to decide if it's worth getting the committee to read something quickly, worth scheduling separate meetings to discuss, worth dropping everything and concentrating on the project. Some books don't feel like "auction books" in the sense that they're not super commercial and I don't think they're worth huge advances, but on occasion we've bid in auctions for a "quiet" literary work, but haven't necessarily bid a huge amount on the advance.

Whose permission do you have to get to bid and do they give you an upper limit?
For me, I need to quickly get at least one or two positive reads within the editorial department, and then get the approval of the editorial director to distribute it to the rest of the committee--basically for us, the way auctions work is almost the same as the regular acquisitions process, but everything is sped up time-wise. Our publisher is allowed to authorize up to a certain amount, and if we think the auction will go above that amount, we have to get the CEO involved to sign off.

Do any of you have other questions about auctions? Ask away!

Friday, August 24, 2007


I am not a lover of hot, humid weather. When I was still teaching, I will admit, I didn’t enjoy saying farewell to carefree summer days as I returned to school in mid-August to get my classroom ready for the beginning of school. Still, I welcomed the end-of-summer/beginning-of-autumn…and the cooler, drier evenings. I relished the corn on the cob that we bought at local farm stand. I enjoyed picking the large, juicy beefsteak tomatoes from my grandfather’s garden. I loved the plum jam my grandmother made with fruit from the small plum tree in my grandparents’ backyard.

With the edible bounty that issues forth at this time of year and the changing of seasons in mind, I selected Sophie Jewett’s In Harvest for Poetry Friday.

In Harvest
by Sophie Jewett (1861-1909)

Mown meadows skirt the standing wheat;
I linger, for the hay is sweet,
New-cut and curing in the sun.
Like furrows, straight, the windrows run,
Fallen, gallant ranks that tossed and bent
When, yesterday, the west wind went
A-rioting through grass and grain.
To-day no least breath stirs the plain;
Only the hot air, quivering, yields
Illusive motion to the fields
Where not the slenderest tassel swings.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

I have links to some back-to-school poems and reviews of two books of school poems at Wild Rose Reader today.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Competing against oneself? Is there a way to avoid this?

I have a book coming out called City Hawk (about Pale Male) this September. Not far away! As you all know, my book Strong Man came out early this summer. I haven’t even put up coloring pages for the book or other promo things. It’s a new book! So essentially I have two books out in the same year and kind of close together. This concerns me.

For example, Strong Man got into the Society of Illustrators show. I haven’t heard anything on City Hawk so I’m guessing it didn’t get in. Right there I was competing against myself! At the end of the year when books go up for awards… it’s not like BOTH of my books would have the chance to win something… just one.

I WISH I could do one book a year. I am really burnt out. But I can’t afford it. When I was doing one book a year I had to work more hours at the bookstore and I was stressed about paying bills CONSTANTLY. I don’t want that life. So I guess I wonder what it takes to be an author/illustrator and do it comfortably without losing ones sanity and without putting out competing books.

Some people will say “Well, why don’t you do school visits. They pay well.” My friends just last week told me I should stop whining about the book signings/events I’ve agreed to do this fall. “You’ll sell books Meghan!” they said. True, I will sell books. But I don’t like doing it! If a big part of my life becomes something I don’t like doing then I’d rather find a new career. Why should I be miserable? Also, I’ve done enough bookstore signings to know that they’re WORTHLESS. So what if you sell 10 books? (10 books, by the way, at a store like B&N is a lot). That won’t make a dent in sales.

So I guess for all of this blabbing I don’t have a solution. I don’t know what to do so that I don’t compete against myself. I don’t know how to make sure that BOTH of my new books get equal attention.

On another topic--I’ve been working this week on organizing my living/working environment so that I’ll have more work hours available and will spend less time looking for my keys and my phone and my white paint and my reference material, etc. If I have time, later today I’ll post some photos of my new methods/work area.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

brush mortality

I go through brushes like crazy, like they weren't $5-$12 each. For every painting I retire 3 or 4 brushes from regular use. Everyone tells me it's negligence and bad brushes and that's somewhat true. Every job ends with me in a zoned out frenzy, not even thinking to put a brush down to wash out the acrylic crust in the ferrel for an hour or more. I've tried more expensive brushes, but they just fall to the same fate.

I've gotten comfortable with a variety of mid-grade brushes-- synthetics for the bulk work, and sable/synthetic blends for details and faces that require more care and finer glazes. And I've acquired a system of moving brushes down an assembly line of jars, from new to very bad, keeping the bad ones around for dry brushing, scumbling and other distressing techniques. This bunch I have now is about 2 years of brushes. I use the big cheap hog hair hardware store brushes for the gesso underpainting, which give nice texture.

As well as painting bigger, I'm also experimenting with painting on a smoother surface which is less tiring on my hand, and probably better on the brushes.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Long live kids' book illustration?

I've been a bit silent. I've been busy with deadlines. I don't want to talk about that, however.

Thanks to all of my medical nonsense--I have small fiber neuropathy.... I have lead poisoning... my lyme test is so-so... I might have something very serious that’s like MS... (one must wonder what anyone would find if they were tested as much as me!) all of this has caused me to become VERY interested in the medical field. I read up on everything the doctors mention. I don’t' just read to find out about myself. I read because I find it fascinating.

Then I got an idea. Why not try medical illustration? I can do very realistic, detailed drawings so I'm the perfect candidate. I also don't get grossed out easily.

My fantasizing has gotten more serious lately. I investigated taking classes at Columbia medical, etc. I've been looking at a lot of medical illustrations. One of those instances was while at Physical therapy. The doctor there told me that he has a patient who is quite successful at it, although is now retiring. He said he'd ask about it for me. He told me this week that she said not to bother... that illustration is being outsourced! Goodness. I guess I'll be continuing to make books (don't get me wrong, I love making books.. I'm just a bit burnt out). There's even a website called outsource2india.com - on it says that US illustrators charge too much--100 -150 an hour... and those illustrations take a LONG time... which means buying a medical illustration is expensive. Okay, whom are the people buying these illustrations? Some of them are the drug companies--plenty of money there. I'm not feeling bad for them because they have to pay up. But now India is taking over?

So my question is--will this happen to kids' books? Will US publishers discover that they can buy illustrators on the cheap somewhere else? My only solace is that kids' books requires more of an understanding of the language--illustrators are not just copying what's in front of them from photo to colored pencil drawing. And don't forget about the wonderful package deals like many of the BRG offer. We can write and illustrate! That has to be worth something. Especially because, in my opinion, books written and illustrated by the same person have the potential to be better (an argument for another day!)

I will conclude with this. The heyday of the illustrator is over. Goodbye Norman Rockwell. Hello stock photography. Even when I was in school, which wasn't THAT long ago, editorial work was good. It's not now. One of the only safe places left is a kids’ book. I guess we should all enjoy it while it lasts!


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Inspired by Anna

Anna's painting-on-a-box post got me thinking.....and when she gave me her old Mac, I decided to set it up in the "lucky spot" and write there, without connecting to the Internet.

The "lucky spot,"according to Amiko, is the Southeast corner of your house -- and in my apartment, it happens to be the sunny yellow windowseat where I always begin my day. It has a view of the water and, not coincidentally, of my garden....(the grid is the window screen)

So, on Friday I set Anna's old Mac up in the window seat, where I could stretch out. And I discovered that I LOVE MACS!!! Even the fonts are better -- Caslon on the Mac is bigger and rounder and more generous than it is on my laptop, which is a PC.

I don't know if it was because I couldn't go on line -- well, I COULD have, but it would have meant getting up and going to my other computer--enough of an undertaking for me to resist the impulse and go on writing, or where I was sitting, or the Mac font, or the bigger monitor, or not being interrupted by checking for those exciting emails, but I really concentrated, saw the book differently, and had the best writing day I've had all summer.

Thank you Anna!

Friday, August 17, 2007

POETRY FRIDAY: Did I Miss Anything?

There isn’t much in the way of humorous poetry for adults as there is for children. I guess…maybe…adults don’t like or appreciate funny poems the way kids do. I noticed that no one responded to my posting of an excerpt from Maurice Sagoff’s comic take on Beowulf last Friday.

Don’t most people enjoy a good laugh? I love a good satire. I love irony. I really like the way Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert use humor to expose the phoniness, machinations, and stupidity of politicians and public figures. For my money, The Daily Show and Colbert Report often give us “news” that is often more truthful than the “real” news programs.

I’ve chosen to post Did I Miss Anything? today because I think Tom Wayman uses irony to make his point. I think it would be a great poem to share with high school or college students at the beginning of a semester. What do you think?

From Did I Miss Anything?
by Tom Wayman

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

Everything. I gave an exam worth

40 percent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course

has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

You can read the rest of the poem here at Poetry 180.

At Wild Rose Reader, I have a review of Swimming Upstream: Middle School Poems by Kristine O'Connell George.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Moving, moving, moving

Today is my day to post, but alas I am mid-move; running boxes over to our new place, painting, cleaning and all that fun stuff... we are moving into a loft style studio apartment that is basically one giant room in an old converted horse-drawn carriage factory.

I've been going back and forth for days about wall colors and arranging the place, after all it is my work space too. Yesterday I painted one wall this color (it is a nice pea green in case the color doesn't translate):

I can't get enough of looking at that color. It is so satisfying.

Well that is all the creative outlet I've had this week. I'll post pics soon as the studio comes together!

And Katherine, I'll work on the palette pics! (comment from last week)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Let's Do Lunch!

I've always scoffed at the television/movie cliche of the Hollywood types saying, "let's do lunch," yet now I find myself often doing the same. One of my favorite perks of the job is free lunches/dinners/drinks with agents and authors and illustrators. Today I will talk briefly about what I call an "Agent lunch."

The purpose of the agent lunch is to get to know the agent and their tastes, and help them know you and your tastes. And the side benefit is good conversation with someone who also loves books, and good food (to get to know their other tastes). Many times, this lunch is the first time I've met the agent in person, although most likely I've emailed and talked with them on the phone before. Sometimes the agent is someone I've already worked with, already have contracts with, sometimes it's someone that I'm meeting cold, that I might not know much about. Generally, it's kind of like a blind date.

My very first agent lunch on my own was with Barry Goldblatt. It was five or so years ago and I was a newly promoted Assistant Editor and ready to step out on my own. I believe I emailed Barry randomly (I'm not sure how I heard his name, perhaps on a website or at a conference--our company had never had a contract with him), and we decided to have lunch. I asked him to pick a place near my office, and he chose the Mexican restaurant Hell's Kitchen. We met, we sat down, the waiter asked if we wanted anything to drink, and at this point I believe I ordered something alcoholic, at which point Barry laughed in delight, and did the same. At the time, I figured that agents and editors always drank at lunch--the old "three martini lunch" model--but I quickly realized this was not the case. But it set a nice tone for the lunch, we discovered we were both foodies, and had a lovely meal. I didn't feel that our tastes in terms of books were completely aligned, but I thought there might be something that would work down the line. At the time, he didn't have any available projects; these lunches sometimes work like that--you plant the seed and hope the agent remembers you the next time they go out with that literary novel with award potential, or the big commercial auction project.

(In this case, lunch with Barry paid off five+ years later when he went out with a short story collection edited by Cecil Castellucci and Holly Black titled Geektastic. You'll be hearing more about this in the future.)

I try to have lunch with a different agent each week. Sometimes it's to reconnect with agents I've met with years ago to stay on their radar screen, sometimes it's with someone brand new. Sometimes the agents find me (usually through Publishers Lunch, sometimes referrals, and a few through this blog!), sometimes I find them (in similar ways). When I had lunch with Barry those many years ago, I asked him to refer some agents to me, who I then proceeded to contact, and then it spread from there.

Sometimes the agents are very young, sometimes they're quite a bit older. As I've mentioned, sometimes it's a bit like a blind date, where you hope the chemistry is there. I generally enjoy all of the agent lunches I have--I enjoy meeting new people, getting to know someone's publishing story, talking about the books we love, exchange some publishing gossip. And I love food. I've been bringing my assistant along to most of my agent lunches these days, and as she's a big foodie who enjoys trying new restaurants, I usually let her research and pick the restaurants. It's been fun trying the restaurants in our new neighborhood, including Django, Riingo, and the Grand Central Oyster Bar Restaurant. I love ending the lunches with coffee, sometimes with dessert (Oh, the decadence). At the end of the lunch, generally the editor pays, most likely because most publishers have more generous expense accounts, and also because the agent has something that the editor wants: the next big thing. On occasion I've had the agent pay, though, sometimes because they were the one doing the asking (like dating!).

Curtis Brown agent Nathan Bransford had a great blog post on agent/editor lunches a few months ago. I thought it was interesting that he was under the impression that many editors dreaded the agent lunch. What's there to dread? I guess there are those editors who are more introverted, shy. And I did have one older agent refer to me a few times as "Oriental" during our lunch, but I know he didn't mean to offend me. But overall, the lunches are very friendly, casual, and fun.

Let me know if there's anything specific you'd like to know about these mysterious lunches. And hey, maybe one of these days, We'll Do Lunch!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

In fairness to the younger generation

Yesterday I went to another children's birthday party, and this time, no one cried or screamed or fought....even though a lot of the same kids were guests. The invited guests included girls -- I say "invited" because most of the kids who were at the parents' Club that day joined in the party. The only organized activity was watching the magician

(If you remember the last birthday post, and the boy who spent most of the party alone playing with the dog and calling: "Here, Henry! Come to Uncle Issac!" he's the one with red hair and a puzzled expression in the front row - you can see better if you click the picture.)

For most of the party, the kids just ran around, swam, or played. When I arrived, about ten were crabbing -- very absorbing. One boy and I

spent most of the party doing it, missing the pinyata, cake, and present-opening.

He taught me how to do it. Squid, he said, is the best bait:

You put it on a weighted line, drop that into the water, and when the crabs bite -- which the little rock crabs we were catching do in less than a minute -- the other person nets them. You empty them into a waiting bucket by turning the net inside out --though when all the children were doing it together, someone did shout:
"Don't be a baby, just pick it up!"

(You can pick them up without getting bitten if you hold the sides, or the back.)

Calvin said that the little rock crabs are easy to catch; the big blue ones are harder, but he told me where to find them and more about local wildlife than I've learned since I moved here.

When people ask me why I write for children instead of adults, I sometimes have a hard time coming up with an answer; but I think one reason is their passionate interest in the world around them. It's reassuring that even with Nintendo DS and the like, some kids still feel that.

Friday, August 10, 2007

POETRY FRIDAY: A New Take on Beowulf

I like serious poetry. I also enjoy light verse that is well written. One of my favorite books of humorous poems for adults is Maurice Sagoff's Shrinklits: Seventy of the world's towering classics cut down to size. It is truly a riot. Here's an excerpt from Sagoff's version of a really old classic:

by Maurice Sagoff

Monster Grendel's tastes are plainish.
Breakfast? Just a couple Danish.

King of Danes is frantic, very.
Wait! Here comes the malmö ferry

Bringing Beowulf, his neighbor,
Mighty swinger with a saber!

Hrothgar's warriors hail the Swede,
Knocking back a lot of mead;

Then, when night engulfs the Hall
And the Monster makes his call,

Beowulf, with body-slam
Wrenches off his arm, Shazam!

Monster's mother finds him slain,
Grabs and eats another Dane!

You can read the rest of the poem here.

At Wild Rose Reader, I have a review of a poetry book by Joanne Ryder entitled A Toad by the Road.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


So my plan to keep you all updated went out the window. Right now I feel like i'm going to throw up. Why? Because it's 9pm and I haven't eaten all day. Yesterday I ate a pancake and that's it. I'm completely out of it. I went to bed at 7 this morning and slept for a few hours and the same for the day before. I can fill you all in later but right now I must lie down.

Oh, the life of an author/illustrator. Or at least the life of one who has too many projects lined up at once!

I am scheduled to work tomorrow and saturday but I stumbled into the bookstore tonight and told them I haven't slept and I need time off. They gave it to me. Thank goodness.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Good news

Yesterday I went into Charlesbridge publishing to meet with the art director to go over the proof (color prints of illustrations + text) for the book I recently illustrated, Priscilla and the Hollyhocks. To my great surprise they have gotten poet extraordinaire Nikki Giovanni to write a quote for the back cover! Here is a sneak peak at her quote:

"Priscilla and the Hollyhocks tells a story too often ignored or overlooked- a story of how the west was not won but captured. Reading about Priscilla's remarkable life makes all our hearts a bit warmer while filling our heads with a much-needed piece of American history."

So cool!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Hiding out

The past week has been so hot and swampy in Boston I've beed hiding out in my bedroom, the only room with ac in our house, to work on my new book Red Shoe. I am moving in a couple weeks, so with half our belongings packed away in boxes I just plopped down on the floor and started painting on a box, away from the rest of the busy house and, gulp, my computer.

Holed up and tucked away I've been noticing how much more I'm getting done outside my studio, in a new space. Part of that is probably due to the distraction of computer- when I'm in my studio I compulsively check email and read blogs and generally distract myself with this thing. Sitting in a quiet internet free room I can paint for hours... after getting over the first few compulsive urges to run downstairs and see if I've missed any exciting emails in my inbox of course!

The other lovely thing about this set-up; less of a commute for taking naps...

The Snowy Day (in the hot summer)

It's surprising to me when people have never heard of/read a certain book that I consider a classic. Then again, I work in children's book publishing and am a life-long lover of kid's books. On Saturday, I spent the afternoon at the Bohemian Beer Garden for a good-bye party of a couple with a one-year-old daughter. The husband (who is not in the children's book industry) was reminiscing about a conversation we had towards the beginning of our friendship when I asked him what children's books he remembered loving as a kid, and he couldn't really remember any of note. But now that he has a child, he's discovering the books for the first time. One in particular he mentioned was The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, which many of you will remember is my all-time favorite picture book. I was delighted that he, too, loved this book (which was given to them as a gift), marveling at how beautiful the illustrations were, and how lyrical the text was in it's simple, quiet way. It was nice to hear him "get" picture books. (He also said that In the Night Kitchen seemed like a book that was created while on drugs! I can see where he's coming from there.)

A group of us eventually went back to the couples' apartment where I pulled out The Snowy Day and read it again. Man, what a perfect book that is! The footprints in the snow page (first one way, then the other), the sky on the spread where Peter climbs up the snowbank and then slides down, the beauty and color of the snow in the last spread. A couple of people mentioned that they hadn't ever read it (shocking!), so I eagerly gave it to them to read. It was so fun seeing them experience the book for the first time.

Oh, if I could one day edit a book that becomes as beloved as The Snowy Day, I think I could die happy. What are some of the books that you wish you edited/wrote/illustrated? There are so many for me.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I'm tempted to do something crazy.

My astronaut book is due next week. If it doesn't make it... well... things will be ugly. Today I work from 2-10:30 at B&N... tomorrow I work... Monday I work... when exactly do I have time to paint? This week I've had PT twice, I got a skin biopsy, got tested for lyme disease.... so basically all I do is run around to different appointments during the week when I'm not working at B&N. That means finishing this book will be next to impossible! And last week I had HALF of the book left to paint! It usually takes me a week to do 2 finishes... but to finish this book I'd have to do a painting a day! Not really possible.

But here's what I'm tempted to do:

What if I posted an update of my artwork everyday online? You could all see how far I'm getting... or not getting. It would be like a bad reality show.

Is that a bad idea?



Last week I posted a fairy tale poem entitled Immortality at Wild Rose Reader for Poetry Friday. I'm intrigued by the way some poets use themes from traditional literature in their contemporary poetry. The following poem uses a familiar fairy tale to look at a female stereotype.

by Andrea Hollander Budy

A woman is born to this:
sift, measure, mix, roll thin.

She learns the dough until
it folds into her skin and there is

no difference. Much later
she tries to lose it. Makes bets

with herself and wins enough
to keep trying. One day she begins

that long walk in unfamiliar woods.

You can read the rest of the poem here at Poetry 180.

At Wild Rose Reader today, I have two poems dedicated to my young friend Daisy Locke. Daisy is a cancer survivor. My husband will be riding in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge for Team Daisy this weekend. Last year Team Daisy raised $65,000 for the Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

green again

It's been a long long time since I've posted. I had a bit of a break back in November. I started drawing right handed again a month ago, and this is my first painting in over a half a year. Being able to make pictures still amazes me. I'm enamored with it like a five year old, and re-teaching myself to draw has made me feel like one too, which has actually been pretty cool.

I'm painting much larger to ease up on my finger which is still stiff and not yet nimble. You couldn't get me to paint one inch more then I had to before, now this painting (for Peaceable Kingdom Press) is double the size it'll be printed at. Other then having to buy more expensive brushes this has been surprisingly enjoyable.

While I couldn't paint I worked on school visit programs which I'd never had time or courage to do before. It turns out I really like performing. So much that it's hard to return to sedentary, isolated studio life for the long stretches of time required to do a picture book. So though I have to paint at my desk, I can sketch anywhere other then my studio and now I do. Including in this new oasis near my busy kitchen, the 5 x 5 back porch my fiance rebuilt for me. We made it a make-shift greenhouse and painted the floor sage green. Breezes come through on three sides. Christmas lights make any place more magical. My drawings come out better here. And in the garden below my cast is melting away among the hostas and bleeding hearts.
It's nice to be back!