Friday, August 10, 2007

Working, Working, Working!!!

This Summer is full of projects....I'm illustrating 4 wonderful books that are each so different from each other yet compliment each other in wonderful ways. The deadlines are a little frightening but it's okay.I picture each project living in a separate house and I imagine myself going into that house when I work on a particular book,there's only that project and those characters and that house and that world and no one and nothing else ...otherwise it becomes too overwhelming. Characters overlap and start visiting and popping into the wrong book and then everything becomes just too confusing..for me.
I LOVE what I'm doing....I've always wanted to be doing this,living a life peopled by the "real" people I love and also the book characters that I am falling in love with more each day and I'm trying different things, experimenting a little with different media, playing. Right now I'm playing with Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils, oil based rather than wax, and I'm having a blast learning how to layer them over watercolors to bump them up here and there. Paula Pertile is a terrific illustrator that is masterful with these pencils and a wonderful inspiration!

The playing is such a joy! Drawing, for me, designing storyboards and creating the characters...those first journeys into the unknown with nothing but a pencil staring into the infinite space of a blank sheet of paper, reading and rereading the manuscript...listening for the invisible people waiting to be let out.....for me, that's the work!
Then after all the drawing...and drawing, and drawing comes the eventual go ahead from Editors and Art start painting. This is my favorite part. Sloshing around with watercolors is my best part, playing with color, watching the drawings come to life is an unbelievably satisfying process, that never feels anything less than superlatively and hugely gratifying. Special every uncovering the Ice Man or seeing the first crocus after an endless, frozen Winter.
Just glorious and always a surprise. Thankfully,I never get used to it.

The illustration above is the cover for one of my projects, a picture-book, Saturn For My Birthday to be published by Sylvan Dell in the Fall of 2008. I'm thick in the painting stage of this book and I'm having so much fun with it! I'm loving painting a book that's humorous and zany and kind of silly.

I'll post more on the other projects as they evolve!
Love, Wendy

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

MidSummer Night's Dream

When is MidSummer?
August 7 always seemed like MidSummer in Vermont, but right now, here, in the Pacific NorthWest, it feels more like Autumn. The air is cool and damp and sky is filled with dove grey eiderdown and the pale ivory grey of milkweed fluff, a palette of slate and charcoal and graphite and soot and steel, stones and the liquid silvergrey of flashing steelhead. Today the air was pungent with the scent of woodsmoke and evergreen needles, mostly cedar. The wisteria is confused, blooming again.
I do miss the heat and humidity of Vermont, great drippy tomatoes born of heat and then the tiny purple asters along the roadsides at Summer's end and the morning and evening fogs at the edges of meadows at Summer's close. And the leaves begin to change....
But now is more MidSummer....the Dog Days of August, than Summer's End.
Very mostly now I am loving that I am back in the arms of the MotherCountry, my Mexican Adventure ended a year ago and a bit more and I feel like the Phoenix, risen again... sometimes like the survivor of a hurricane or a storm that blew through my life....beginning with the terrible death of Gabriel and running its' course for three years in Michoacan and another here on this Island.
At last the Sirocco, the Mistral, the Santa Anna winds that have buffeted me have stilled and lace curtains are now ruffled gently by soft, sweet breezes....the hatches no longer need battening down and something deep and well loved is returning, a sense of Calm and Peace, along with the Passion.

I'm looking forward and not backward. Happy, so very happy to be back!