Excited to share some artwork and images from my summer full of painting, playing, and planting seeds for future ideas and adventures. Having the time to make art in the mountains was pure bliss. I loved hauling my oil paints down dirt roads to find skies and streams that felt like good company. Have a look!
It is so refreshing to take time to study the subtle shifts in the colors of summer storm clouds. I'm so grateful to my brother and sister-in-law for making me feel at home with them in Colorado. I am already looking forward to my next visit, whenever that might be!
"I want to paint the way a bird sings." - Claude Monet
The past two years have been full of change and progress in my life. I have much to be grateful for and don't quite know how to sum up the wonderful and surprising events that have come and gone since my last post. On the eve of a new year, it seems appropriate to take a look back.
Here are a few pictures that remind me how good and beautiful my days have been since my return to St. Louis...
The corner of my classroom has a gorgeous view that shows off the changing seasons here in the Midwest. I'm finding teaching to be full of new challenges and triumphs. Halfway through my second year, I am learning so much every day and gaining new perspectives on art and education. Plus, we have so much fun in the art room.
I ended the 2013-2014 school year with a trip to New Mexico with the Freshman class. Santa Fe and Abiquiu are full of inspiration. The light in the desert never ceases to amaze me, and I'm looking forward to another trip there next May.
I am especially grateful to have had the opportunity to help lead a trip to France with three other amazing teachers. Exploring Paris, Versailles, Chartres, Mont Saint Michel, Giverny and Normandy with an exceptionally great group of teenagers was absolutely the best. I am still pinching myself; the experience was so wonderful and we all returned home with a deepened love for education. I think my new dream job is to be a gardener at Monet's home in Giverny. Magnifique!
The Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma invited me to give a presentation about Monet Paints a Day in September. The museum planned an incredible day full of painting, chatting with visitors, and signing books. The gardens and galleries were enchanting. It was a really special day.
I'm still settling into my new home in St. Louis. I bought my own place this August and can't quite get over the fact that I'm a homeowner...what a milestone! The lovely light in my studio and space to spread out books and paintings are full of the promise of projects to come. Here is the wreath on my front door for the holiday season.
Wishing you a new year full of new insights and adventures! And my deepest thanks for the love and support of my friends and family. I'm hoping to put brush to paper more often this year and will keep you posted as things unfold.
I was thrilled when my wonderfully talented friend, designer Greg Kozatek, asked if I would be willing to have my watercolors featured on the Kid Made Modern blog. Such an honor! Check out the artwork and an interview with me here. And while you're at it, the whole Kid Made Modern website is full of fun and inspiration, so enjoy looking around!
The past few months have been very full here in Colorado. Winter lingered until mid-May, and spring has since made way for summer. There is so much beauty to see here every day, and I feel deeply grateful to have glimpsed moments of it.
I am gearing up to load my car and drive east by the end of the week. I start a new job as a high school art teacher this fall in St. Louis, Missouri. The thought of ending my time in Buena Vista is definitely bittersweet. I have been catching myself misty-eyed on my drives into town, and my walks in the woods. If there is a more beautiful place to spend your days, I can't imagine it. Beyond enjoying the majesty of these peaks and streams and pastures, I have loved living with family and finding good friends. It won't be easy to say goodbye.
While I don't have many paintings worth sharing at the moment, here are a few of my favorite photographs from the past 6 months in the mountains.
Here's hoping adventure finds you, wherever you are.
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."
Exciting news! I have an illustration featured in this quirky little book: Sundance Film Festival A to Z
Edited by Todd Oldham, this fully illustrated ABC book celebrates a selection of films, directors, and actors who have contributed to defining the Sundance Film Festival as a home to the innovators and dreamers of independent film. Each letter is illustrated by a different artist. The book includes work by a wildly talented and accomplished bunch. I created artwork to accompany the letter R. My assignment was to reference the following four elements in a single illustration: Robert Redford, and the films Run Lola Run, Roger & Me, and Real Women Have Curves.
Many thanks to Todd Oldham for including my work in the book and to the talented and gracious Greg Kozatek for his guidance throughout the process.
I also have to say, Robert Redford is my all time favorite. Films like A River Runs Through It, Out of Africa, Electric Horseman, and of course Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid have a spirit and power that I find remarkably beautiful and inspiring. Needless to say, working on a portrait of Mr. Redford for a project associated with his festival was a dream.
If you'd like to find out more about the Sundance Film Festival, or to purchase a copy of this book, click here. All of the artwork created for this book will be on display during the festival this year. If you find yourself in Park City this January, keep a look out for my art!
Imagine living where you can pick succulent figs from a tree just outside your living room and smell citrus wafting in your kitchen window all summer. Sounds glorious, doesn't it? That place, is California. I grew up in the Santa Monica mountains and still have family living in the area. My multi-talented aunt has a lovely collection of fruit trees in her backyard and makes preserves every year. She often gives the jem-like jars of jam or marmalade as gifts and asked for my help in putting together labels to finish off the packages. I loved working on this design project, but enjoyed the jams even more. Thanks, Patty!
Since my trip to California this summer, I have settled in Buena Vista, Colorado for now. Long hours at my new job haven't left me with many opportunities to paint. But how I love working outdoors and having my days marked by the pink light of sunrise kissing the peaks and the deep blue of evening as the sun slips behind the mountains revealing galaxies and constellations in the night sky. I fear my paintbrush would fail to capture how the aspens seem to glow during this heavenly season. Until I have some new artwork to share, here are a few pictures from my fall in Colorado.
The release of Monet Paints a Day has come with so much fun and some happy surprises.
I got a sweet note from a close RISD friend recently telling me that she had shared the book with her art-campers this summer in the woods of Massachussets. Sara is a wonderful teacher, artist, and designer. After reading the book with her group to teach about Monet and his creative process, the kids all made their own impressionist artwork! Take a look at Sara's website to see the young artists at work and to read her lovely review of the book.
Another fun surprise... a dear friend sent me this picture of Monet Paints a Day on display in the bookstore of the New York Botanical Garden. How awesome! Thanks, Melissa, for spotting Monet in NYC!
I have been on the road for the past few weeks. The trip included a few major events, such as...
...delivering a copy of Monet Paints a Day to my 94 year-old grandmother. She loved it.
I made the trip out west in part to attended the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Summer Conference in Los Angeles. I was moved, amazed, overwhelmed, and inspired by the whole experience. I left feeling so grateful and excited to be entering a field where there is just as much emphasis on making great books as there is on living great lives.
Here is the ballroom where the brilliant keynote addresses were given by Arthur Levine, Bryan Collier, Patricia Maclachlan, Karen Cushman, Clare Vanderpool, Ruta Sepetys, and Gary Schmidt...and the list goes on.
I have been thrilled to read reviews of Monet Paints a Day as they pop up. Here are a few reviews to read for yourself:
Waking Brain Cells
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Now, off to new adventures!!
July First is the official release date for Monet Paints a Day, the book I illustrated for Charlesbridge Publishing. Seeing as I started working on the illustrations waaaayyyy back in October of 2010, I am beyond excited to finally be able to walk into a bookstore and find it on a shelf.
Sharing the story and artwork with friends and family has been a thrill. A good friend of mine is a classroom assistant in a first and second grade class, and she teaches kindergarteners too. During the last few weeks of school, she read the book to her students and they were kind enough to write me notes and letters with wonderful praise and some terrific questions! Here are just a few letters. They all tickled me to pieces, but these especially did:
If a bunch of letters from 6 and 7 year-olds don't make your day, I don't know what will!
I've been keeping busy with a few projects and am doing my best to spread the word about Monet Paints a Day. Keep your eyes peeled on the shelves of your favorite library or bookstore come July!
Today marks the launch of a wacky and wonderful book project that I am excited to talk about. Chocolate Chips and Rocket Ships is a book of 99 1/2 poems by John O'Marra, illustrated by 100 artists.
Every day, a poem and illustration will be released on the web here. To watch a terrific video about the author and his kids who inspired the poems, to donate to the project, and to purchase a printed copy of the book, visit Chocolate Chips and Rocket Ships on KickStarter.
John (who found me and my art on 1200 Posters) sent me an email back in March describing his vision, sharing some of his fun poems, and asking if I'd like to jump on board to illustrate a poem of my choice. The silliness and sweetness of his poetry had me hooked! I feel honored to be included in the book and am grateful to John for reaching out to me.
I picked his poem titled "Bugs" and had a ball filling a painting with things that crawl, buzz, and flutter. I think it is only right to wait until the poem and the art are released with the book before I post them here, but I figure I can share a little sneak peek...