Thursday, January 20, 2011

Audience of Two

This is another illustration-in-progress from the book I'm working on. The old man has found his flute at last & plays it, hoping to bring the missing wildlife back after a lonely year. (See my previous post here, Only Waiting.)

At first he heard nothing. Then suddenly two small brown birds flew out of the forest & circled his head. The old man was delighted. Perhaps more will come, he thought.

Acrylic on text & maps on canvas, ~7x10"detail of the full painting, which is 9x12".

From The Old Man and the Cat, by Anthony Holcroft, to be published in 2011 by Penguin NZ.

It occurred to me as I was painting this that every artistic creation is a similar cry in the wilderness... hours of solitary work, never really knowing whether the result will touch others...

Recently I've felt this way even more than usual since I've been spending so much of my time on this book. Almost done now, but it has been a very long stretch devoted to a project that won't reach its audience for some time yet.

So I was particularly grateful this morning to find this lovely message from Linda Hensley:
Hi! I think you're pretty stylish and I have an award for you! Please visit me, where you may find it and share with other blogging friends!

That's why I'm posting this image here, instead of on my process blog where I'd normally show it. (I'm really not satisfied with it yet & I'll be making several changes, but it does seem appropriate for the occasion.) It's awfully nice to know someone is out there! Thank you, Linda!

So, on to the award. I'm supposed to tell seven things about myself.
1. I'm a mother of twins, & when the boys were little, they had their own language. They also spoke English, luckily, but often veered off into realms of unknown vocabulary. It was fascinating but also rather frustrating, since they refused to translate. Once they started school, the Bipper language (as we called it, after the most frequently used word) slowly faded away.
2. I'm obsessed with hoop dance. I re-learned to hula hoop in 2009, & it's become my favorite way to work out the kinks after being curled up like an overcooked shrimp all day at the drawing table. If you don't know what hoop dance is, check out the links below.
3. I've always loved animation, & this year I've been awarded a grant to learn Flash! I'm very excited about it. The idea of making my creatures move tickles me no end. I won't be starting the class until the book is done, but when I start animating I'll be posting my efforts on yet another blog, Curious Illumation. Yes, I know, I'm not so great at keeping up with the blogs I already have. But I thought there should be a separate place for these motion experiments. Have you guessed that I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive?
4. Speaking of which, I love boxes. And tins. And baskets with lids. And cabinets with cubbyholes or tiny drawers. And old type cases. Being a collage artist, a collector of oddments & curiosities, & a dabbler in many crafts, I have a lot of small objects & supplies that need organizing. And I love containers that are pleasing objects in themselves. I even miss old library card catalogues, though I admit the computer does a much better job of indexing.
5. Despite my love of order, I can be very, very, very messy (especially in mid-project). Oh, really very messy. You can't imagine the chaos. Somehow I'm completely unaware of the havoc that surrounds me until the project is completed & then it always comes as a shock to look around & see the devastation. It's a little like Dr. Jeckyll waking up after a night as Mr. Hyde.
6. I can also be very, very, very silly. It's a family tradition. I have a large extended family, & you should see us at family gatherings, unless you hate seeing people getting silly. Bad puns & nonsense are in our genes, & anyone who marries in eventually becomes silly as well, probably out of sheer self-defense.
7. On a related note, my brother & I have both had letters published in MAD magazine. As adults, mind you. We're ridiculously proud of this dubious distinction! Said brother is a very successful electrical engineer & he actually lists his MAD letter on his resume under publications! As I said, silliness is a family tradition. This is what got me into MAD, by the way.

And now for some links, from all over the virtual map:
Escape from Illustration Island If any of you have yet to discover this blog & its equally amazing podcast, hurry right on over there for loads of great information & a warm illustration-related community led by Thomas James, who must never sleep at all.
Muddy Colors A fairly new group blog featuring lengthy posts by masterful artists, about the art & technique of painting & illustration, mostly fantasy-related, but with many ideas applicable to other styles.
Erratic Phenomena A blog focusing on new contemporary art, with interesting artist interviews
A Journey Round My Skull Visiting this blog is like having the best vintage/antique bookstore ever in your very own home. Crazy variety, endlessly inspiring.
Bioephemera Good artsy-science-y fun
Cartoon Brew A wonderfully eclectic collection of animation & articles on the subject, from experimental student shorts to full length studio feature reviews.
Ghettomation A blog & podcast devoted to DIY, at-home animation using whatever tools the artist has at hand (Some subject matter may be a bit NSFW, so be warned.)
Lineboil Another animation collection blog
Isopop A hoop dance blog by Rich Porter with links to other hooping sites.
The Happy Hoop Another hooping blog.
Revolva Hoop Dance Yet another.
Okay, enough hooping, I know! Now here are some great artist/illustrator blogs:
Dani Torrent
Jen Lobo
Light Night Rains


Kay said...


dani torrent said...

Hi, your blog is always fantastic!!! and thanks for having linked me ;)

Jen Lobo said...

That's so sweet! I feel honored. Thank you so much!
I am completely obsessive compulsive in some ways and also an extremely messy worker. Such a strange contradiction!

Linda Hensley said...

I love your little factoids! We've got some similarities. I like boxes and baskets, and know about twins speak from my youngest brothers. I'm looking forward to looking through your links of blogs. Oh yeah, nice illustration too!

Ces said...

I too love boxes. I love paper. I love illuminations and calligraphy! Very interesting read and of course I love your art.

art is jokken said...

I know everything about secret language of twins! It is so true ( and often very frustrating for me as a parent)
BTW, I do enjoy your work!

SherwinJTB said...

I like the image of the old man and his flute. Made me think back of when I wanted an image for my clarinet.

Timmy said...

Wonderful illustration, it fits the book perfectly.

moving company

Anonymous said...

I’m looking forward to seeing your images together in book form. I love the style, the collaged antique maps…..the mystery the images hold.

Curious Art said...

Thanks to all for your kind comments! I've just found out that the book will be published in the Fall of 2012-- a long wait, I'm afraid!

Floower-Mouse said...

Oh I'm so glad I'm not the only one that loves things to be beautifully orderly but ends up with a crazy mess mid journey. Your art work is brilliant and dreamzy - thanks for sharing it on your blogs

Ellis Nadler said...

tons of good info to keep me busy

Karen said...

Hey... the New Yorker has been a long time dream of mine so... thank you for reminding me with your kind comment. I wish you success for your book.