Sunday, March 06, 2011

from the BRG archives: Done Done Done Done Done

This is me, and the finished illustrations for Priscilla, which has been officially delivered to the art department at Charlesbridge publishing. Hurray! Its such a strange feeling, looking over the dozen or so pieces of paper that occupied my attention for every waking moment for the past several months, and then leaving them in someone else's hands. When I come down to my studio in the morning, it takes a minute before I realize there is not a painting on my desk, burning for attention, and although its nice to have my free time back, it is a little disorienting.

Maybe one reason certain personality types are drawn towards becoming artists (or writers), is that we have the burning desire to simplify life. When a painting or manuscript becomes your focus every waking minute (and I don't mean that you work constantly- but that even when you're not working you're somehow engaged with the creative process, that some part of your brain is still mulling over what color to choose, what composition to build...), everything else gets swept aside into a less important "deal with it later" spot. And when you finish that project, it is so deeply satisfying that the surface ups and downs going on around you don't affect you as much. It is stabilizing to operate this way.

But you can't always be that involved in your work. Groceries need to be bought, floors need to be swept, and cars need to be dug out of the snow. Which for now is fine with me. I missed having a food in my fridge!

Originally posted February 26th, 2007


Anonymous said...

I find it awe-inspiring that you were able to finish all those illustrations so soon after bringing into the world someone who is now more important to you than yourself. What an accomplishment, first this event and then the pictures. It makes a lot of us stop and think.

Grace Lin said...

Anonymous, Anna is truly amazing but this is a post from from our BRG archives--it's from 2007, before Anna's little one was born...if she was able to give birth AND do all this illustration all at once I think scientists would be trying to clone her!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

Which took longer: the gestation or the completion of the illustrations? Those pictures look marvelous but the picture you showed us of the baby wins the prize.

Anna Alter said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks! Yes as Grace said this project was well before recent baby news, thank goodness. I think for this project the completion of the illustrations took longer, particularly because I didn't write this one so a lot of the ideas for the pictures were already there in the manuscript. I'm also a perfectionist when it comes to detail, so painting always takes me awhile to complete.