Is it fall yet? I have some paintings to finish…

Although in my last post I said I would update readers on the status of my book projects, I am advised against making this information public. So, for now, I’ll mention some fun experiences in art this summer. The first, and most fabulous experience, has been volunteering at the local Hightstown Library. I read books to kids age 2 and older, then break out watercolor sets for everyone to paint. The first week, a young girl squealed when she dipped her brush into the water to clean it–”Orange!! The water turned orange!!” Her excitement startled me, as all I ever see in the clear cup is my watercolor water getting progressively dirtier. I sigh when I realize it’s a point I need to get up and change it. But this girl screeched and squealed with each changing color. She made me laugh, and showed me the magic that is simply–a paintbrush and water.
The second experience has been a little more trying. I went to three different conferences and illustrator days through different organizations. I had portfolio critiques, which led me to some sort of crisis of style. The editors and art directors had a good point–I’ve got such a range of work that it’s hard for people to know my “style.” I love sketching animals at the Museum of Natural History in NYC in a style that is tight and realistic. I love painting urbanscapes in oils, with a loose, almost impressionist stroke. Portraits that I completed at the Art Students League of NYC were very tight, though my illustrations have cartoon elements. My illustrations range from oils with dramatic lighting, to pen and watercolor illustrations that are light and comedic. I love all of these things! But I don’t use every style for every genre. I wouldn’t add cartoon eyes to the oil portraits of real models, just as I wouldn’t make a New Yorker style cartoon look like a Caravaggio. I think what I need to do is really hone specific styles for my portfolios, and pick one style to show the editor. That way I get to keep all my various ways of painting–but I can appear streamlined and consistent to an editor.
In June I was able to visit the Met and the MoMa with out of town friends. It was great to not only revisit my favorite paintings–but also hear how the kids viewed the work. There were the predictable questions about how modern art was considered worthy of being in a museum. But there were also moments where the kids resonated with different pieces. The best moment was spotting 18th century graffiti on the Temple of Dendur at the Met. I have known it was there for years–but the kids loved this irreverence from a bygone era.
In August, I’m looking forward to more time to paint. And September, when my son goes back to school, I am so excited to have my regular schedule of work back. I miss 6-8 hours a day of pure writing and painting.

See full post here: Paint and Paper2014-07-23.