Tuesday, March 31, 2009

International Bear!

"Oliver Finds His Way" is a book that I illustrated for Candlewick Press. When I read the manuscript, written by Phyllis Root, I knew that I had to take the project. Now it seems that Oliver has found his way into the hearts of readers around the world!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Drawing from a former life.

Quoting my own work and the way I draw certain subjects is trap that I try to be mindful of when I approach new projects. Often, in warmer weather, I will go landscape painting just to "restart" my ability to really look at things and draw or paint without defaulting to my mental cache of imagery. This past winter in New England has been crushing and continues to keep all but the most die-hards couped up in their studios. But a restart was needed and I dutifully headed down to the open drawing session at RISD for a solid 3 hour life drawing session. After about 30 minutes, we realized that the models were not going to show up and I found myself in a strangely familiar predicament. 
I taught at RISD in the illustration department on and off for a few years and was always nagging my students to go to these life drawing sessions and often they would come back with the "excuse" that the model was a no show. At which point I would tell them they should have gone to the Nature Lab, a sort of miniature museum of natural history, full of skeletons, taxidermy and fish.

So it was time to follow my own advice. After the first 45 minutes I realized that my former students must have cursed me. This was neither fun nor exciting. Then those self sabotaging thoughts came..."I should be in my studio"....."This is a waste of time"...."I should be working on my clients projects"...etc. But I continued to push through my own resistance.

Then, without warning, all resistance fell away and there I was, just drawing. Completely present and very happy. I had reoccupied that space I knew not as a RISD teacher but as a RISD student. Before I knew it they were closing the lab for the night and it was time to pack up.

When I arrived at home it was time for a beer and to look at the work. Had I jumped out of my well worn ruts of drawing for the night? I think so....Will I do it again? You bet. There is another open drawing session next week and model or not, I will be there.
And if you are one of my former students, put down the stylus, dig out your charcoal and get your ass in class.