Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Thank you Miss Ginger!"

I'm a lucky person!I get to witness both the inner workings of making literature for children and seeing what that literature can do in the hands of a child! And I don't know which I like best- for the past five years I have had the fun of teaching ART to rural ranch kids and Native American kid,mostly Navajo, at Battle Rock Charter School in historical McElmo Canyon.
I'm also a freelance writer and aspiring freelance illustrator who is getting to know some very kind and cool illustrators-and one of the coolest and kindest is Ginger Nielson- who just donated a whole box full of her new book- "The Adventures of Cali" to my kindergarten through second graders.Written by Michele Lallouz Fisher, with wonderful "Ginger-esque" illustrations- she has such a distinct look- the story tracks the travel of a little caterpillar that is hiding in a delious tomato patch and found by a curious boy.
What makes these books really cool is they come with a little recorder- so the kids can have someone record the story and than they can read along listening to the device.
Anything, again I say anything, that gets these kids interested in reading is a good thing. As is true across the rural West,reading is a skill that is sometimes overlooked- and if a "gimmick" of a recorder- is used to get a kid in a lap of an adult reading- I'll do the happy dance.
The recorder, itself will be great for these kids as well- allowing them to listen to their own voices- Navajos, by their culture, can be very soft spoken- so sometimes it is hard to get these kids to talk much, but who doesn't like to hear the sound of their own voice!
So thank you, Miss Ginger, for your generosity- the kids loved the story and loved the illustration and thought it was pretty cool that I knew you! Some fuzzy caterpillars are coming your way- so watch your mailbox!!

Friday, February 22, 2008

IF- "Multiple"

This is an illustration I hadn't got up on the internet yet-and am using to try and learn how to use Photoshop lightroom- still not there but much, much better. ( and BTW- thank you a hundred times over for all the great advise I got on taking images of my artwork- you all were gracious and right on with the advice to use a ditigial camera instead of scanning!!! Thank you

I could use the theme "multiple" to describe the many attempt to figure this out and what a dunce I am at anything technical. But I have another thing to talk about- so if you are interested read on- if not- enjoy the illustration and have a great day!
Otherwise.....and this is about a writing assignment not art BTW

Today I gave up on "multiple" attempts to please an editor and just told him not pay me. It was work for hire and I just couldn't deliver what he wanted. Not that I didn't have the ability to do it- but I just thought it would be the wrong way of going about it. And since it involved teaching kids- I guess I wasn't willing to put my name on it.
When I was telling my friend about it, she didn't seem too surprised, saying "Of course- you're an artist."
What exactly is the definition of "artist?"
Does it mean just "creative"? Does it mean a person marches to their own drum- but then how can they touch the lives of others- what good is art for art sake if it doesn't move people? I'm hoping it doesn't mean "difficult" and "can't play well with others"
I think it definitely means- I don't need to be taking anymore Work For Hire writing assignments- cause I must not be very good at bring to life someone else vision-
and here again- I wonder, like I have written in this blog before- if my vision is anything that will ever be out there to "move" anyone.
It seems like I have explored a lot of doors down this hallway of creative pursuits and thus far with not the success I hoped for. I'm still turning doorknobs and have to be getting close just for the process of alimanation.
And I can hear the voices of my friends telling me the obvious- "finish your novel", "illustrate your own picturebook", "actually send something in" and Okay- you're right- but I just let my deluxe chef's oven slip through my fingers on a principle- so I need to vent-

Monday, February 11, 2008

IF- "Choose"

Help me "Choose!"
Should I get a new stove or Adobe Photoshop?

I am in a quandry!It takes a lot of "tweeking" to get my fabric collages back to looking good once I scan them onto the computer. The different textures and even some metalic threads in fabrics go all wacky. I finally gave up on this illustration-with courderoy and metalic tweed. I have been using Corel Paintshop Pro and it takes some doing to get the color and texture back sometimes.
I checked into Adobe Photoshop and of course am salivating at such a cool program- but Is it worth the almost $700 for color correction and digitial fixing? I am rationalizing that Photoshop is about 3/4 of a pretty nice range/stove I was eying and I do really like to cook!!
Anybody got some tips for scanning collages and texture and is it easier with Photshop?

Monday, February 04, 2008

IF- "Blanket"

Many times you see Navajos up in the mountains collecting long lodge pole pines for their teepees. No they do not live in them, but use them for pow wows and festivals. Often we'll see the poles stashed in a grove of evergreens, ready for camping or hunting season, when they will just bring up the canvas. I can't say I have ever seen a Navajo drive a classic old truck, mostly they are in minivans!