Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Light Is Tilting...

We hiked up to Colorado's only real geyser, up the West Fork near Dunton. The dogs ran, the girls goofed with each other while they hiked up the trail, and then sat around the stinky milky pool of water until it bubbled up...

 then it was down the aspen clad hill collecting firewood to go cook hotdogs over and then the summer was over.

Today, the house is quiet, the dogs are sleeping and the light is beginning to tilt sideways...Fall is thinking about coming and I'm ready!

Friday, August 20, 2010

IF: Atmosphere

"Mothergoose flying up through the atmosphere to the moon"Actually this is my entry to the Rocky Mountain SCBWI conference mid September for the brochure and merchandizing on the book bags and coffee mugs. It is the Denver skyline looking towards the Rockies. It did not win, but got another portfolio piece for the Portfolio Showcase at the National SCBWI Conference in LA a few weeks ago.
I will  be on a first book panel discussion at the Rocky Mountain Conference. My first -doing the illustration packaging for Group, working with NPR and Babybug this year. Check out the brochure here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I read the book, well actually listened, twice, driving this way and that to Denver and Las Vegas this summer. I find reading books I might not agree with...well, interesting and Eat, Pray, Love, is definitely interesting.
It is a book about a women, who basically does a one- eighty on everything domestic- her husband, the plan to have children, her entire life.
Contrary to the movie, if you haven't read the book- she came to this realization during an artist's friends open house- scheduled just weeks after the artist gave birth- so for Elizabeth- it was the image of the artist, literally leaking breast milk through her cocktail dress and trying to take care of her newborn -trying to sell her art in her home, with her unhelpful husband that was the turning point for Elizabeth Gilbert-- who had many a panic attack in her bathroom- before she broke away from her life.
Yes she ate pasta in Italy, amongst sexy Italians, and then searched her soul in India, but the end result for her and now what I would bet many a lonely woman are now holding on to across the country, making their own pilgrimages to see the movie, with copies of the book on their nightstand- is that just maybe, oh maybe- the universe that desperately wants to throw out good things to all who ask- might after a year of self discovery, give all who ask their own sexy, romantic, already had children and neutered Brazilian who wants nothing more than to worship the ground you walked on, sing your praises and meet your every desire.
Now there is a dose of reality for ya!
On a side note, just read this morning that her husband who was so horribly portrayed in the film- actually took his own journey of healing and discovery- traveling to third world countries and did humanitarian work. Elizabeth did email all her friend and raised enough money to build a needy friend in Indonesia a new home.
Do I think Elizabeth Gilbert should not of chosen the life she did- of course not. Or that she should of not changed her mind midstream- not for me to judge. I hope the best for her- she is a gifted writer and speaker and obviously I enjoy reading her work.
But, my whole philosophy of life apparently runs opposite of hers- I am a wife, going on twenty years, I am a mother, going on seventeen, I am an artist and I am a writer and yes I have given up things, not done things, not gone places both literally and figuratively because of my....here is the thing I think Elizabeth decided she did not want- commitments.
Before I got married, I had dreams of Paris, and art, New York and publishing, or LA and flim- and frankly I think I could of done well- been successful- but where am I?
I am in sagebrush and red dirt, living where the man I love- grew up, raising his children and tolerating his aging father who lives next door and often smells like the horse and often track mud into my house. But, now with my girls older and in less need of me, I am trying to stretch as far as I can towards LA and New York, and do something else , express myself somehow.
It all reminds me of a long time ago, when daughter #1 was just a baby and we decide to go camping- and we took all the baby gear we could fit in our jeep and headed to the mountains. Well, apparently we decided we needed something else, so stopped in a grocery store in Telluride, Colorado and I ran in, while they waited in the car.
It was surreal, me walking down an aisle as a women my age came towards me. She looked at me and I looked at her- frosted blonde hair, perfectly applied makeup, a white slip dress, high heeled shoes- we passed each other- me thinking, "who the heck comes to the grocery store looking like that?", I could tell she was also questioning me, though it was not until I headed to the grocery store restroom, that I realized that still nursing, I was engorged and my sweatshirt was soaked with breast milk.
Yes, I was probably the epiphany for another woman's decision Not to have children!
But for me- motherhood is the great gift and the great act I can do on this earth. It is the greatest privilege I have- to literally create life inside me. My arms still sometime ache, wishing to hold my babies again.
Yes, women have been beat up throughout history, entrapped in lives they did not want- I quoted little Lucy- in my previous blog- who at a young age defined her fate as a wife in how many tiny stitches she would have to put in her future husband's coat and pantaloons.
The few post before that is Rapunzel, saving herself, not needing a prince. An interesting fact in Eat, Pray,Love is that apparently Elizabeth had never gone more than two weeks, without being involved with a man and she had the tendency to morph into whoever she was with and lose herself.
Something we as women can do- easily- but I just think it is time to celebrate what makes us unique as woman- we are creators of life, nurtures and often more connected to the spiritual and emotional worlds, while also celebrating what makes men unique as well in their bravery and strength, their ability to focus and ability to protect to their own deaths. The steadiness they can give us- Jon is my rock, I call him a glacier- but he allows me to go here and there because I am always anchored to him.
I could never raise my girls without him- to be complete - they need the attributes he gives them- fathers are NOT a optional accessory, contrary to a lot of well known actress who are fueling the $%#$# idea they can do motherhood on their own.
It is the coming together of the separate but equal enmities that is....sorry for those that think the universe just spits out good things.... what God intended.
Nurturing and Protecting- the heart and the head- these are the attributes of God- which are brought forth in Male and Female.
But I digress..
I just hate this "polarization" we do in America- Eat, Pray, Love is an extreme solution to what many, many women struggle with, feeling like they are trapped in a life, with hopes and desires they might never realize.
I had a heart to heart with a friend not that long ago- who feels imprisoned by her life, but unlike Elizabeth, having children and no book deal to fund it, she did not have the freedom to travel the world to figure things out.
We didn't solve her conundrum- but each having daughter- we agreed they needed the freedom to come into their own, do a little exploring both literally and figuratively before making their own decision about what they wanted out of life.
I am not going lie- I hope for my daughters that includes being a mother and a wife...eventually.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nonfiction Monday: Anonymous Was A Women by Mirra Banks

From Lucy Larcom, A New England Girlhood. 1889
" The thought came over me with sudden dread one Sabbeth morning when I was a toddling thing, led along by my sister, behind my father and mother. As they walked arm in arm before me, I lifted my eyes from my father's  heels to  his head, and mused: "How tall he is! And how long his coat and pantaloons! And I suppose I have got to grow up and have a husband, and put all those little stitches into his coats and pantaloons. Oh, I never, never can do it!"
I love this book and love this quote- that a little girl could already grasp her fate- that there was no other option for her other than to be a wife and mother- for her sheer survival- and little Lucy, was gauging that by how many stitches she would have to put in her future husbands clothers-! 

Anonymous Was A Women, might of been created in the late 1970's, with words from a hundred years before that- and wonderful images of these girls piece work- but the hopes and emotions that come through in their diaries- still echoes today!  

 Go To - Tammy's Flander's blog- Apples With Many Seeds for a blog roll of other great Nonfiction Books.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

IF: "Star Gazing"

" Blue Boy also dreamed of the stars, swirling in the night sky, and the dancers, swaying to the drums, by the light of the flickering fires."

Monday, August 09, 2010

NF Monday: Restless Spirit- the Life and Works of Dorothea Lange

I wanted to start participating in "Nonfiction Monday- (blog links over at Mom Inspired Learning this week) featuring bloggers picks of the best of todays Nonfiction which is an exciting market in Publishing at the moment- especially in Children's Publishing and since I just got back from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators National Conference in LA- I have lots to choose from and so today I pick one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Partridge, at the conference from which I took a great photo research workshop from.
Several years ago, Elizabeth did a book on  Dorothea Lange, a wonderful photographer from the Great Depression that took the most soulful photo's of our country's hardships. Ms. Lange also happened to be Elizabeth's Godmother.

Friday, August 06, 2010

IF- "Caged"

This is literally a reposting from the previous post on my trip to LA for the SCBWI Conference- but I just realized it fits the theme of "Caged" perfectly- or better what you should do when you realize you are in a cage- which, can come in deceiving pleasant packaging- with white horses and princes-  it just accord to me to ask why if a Hero could climb up to save her, why she never just didn't climb down- Do you have an answer?

Here's what I learned...

Just got back from my yearly pilgrimage to LA for the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators Conference...wow!

From Jon Scieszka, ...

I laughed till my sides hurt and was reminded of all the somewhat "disturbing" children's books from our era like one involving a rather voyeristic chat through a bathroom window!
M.T. Anderson made me laugh too...
and he could of been a broadway singer and dancer or can really put together an impromto preformance on the State of Delaware.

Deborah Heiligman... 

in her breakout session on Nonfiction- "You can' make this stuff up" prompted me to go out and buy a kids book on Darwin ( because hers was already sold out at the conference book shop)

Loren Long...

reminded me both in his keynote and in his breakouts for illusrators that instead of getting overwhelmed with the big huge project- just remember you need to do "one sketch a day"

William Low..
gave me some Photoshop tips that will be worth their weight in gold- lots of "ahh ha" moments in his techy breakout session.

Elizabeth Partridge....
probably inspired me the most and was the nicest lady! Her book on Dorthea Lange, that took the most moving photo in the Great Depression and was Elizabeth's godmother- is the one I desperately want to find and pour over. Elizaebeth gave the most wonderful break out on photo research and the power of photography in nonfiction. 

Paul Fleischman....

gave some great tips in how to organize the great mass of information you acquire in writing a YA novel 

EB Lewis...
  gave a wonderful ketnote, coming into Children's Publishing, from the Fine Arts. He talked alot about how he shoots reference photos and later that day, just by chance we sat together in the pool lounge and had dinner- and talked about Mesa Verde, researching archives, train rides- mine to LA and his in Africa- and another friend at the table, Keisha- had us laughing listening to her adventure involving chickens, riding on the bus in Africa. This is what is so wonderful about this conference the interesting, really nice people, you meet from all over the world.

Gail Carson Levine...
also gave some wonderful tips on how to map out your idea and cover all the bases before you dive into the meat of writing your first draft- and discovered she has a great blog for writers too- where she takes questions. 

 I had an imprompt chat in the hall wih my friend Richard Jesse Waston, (we met through our blogs)

his son ,Jesse Watson

and their friend Steve Bjorkman-

all well established illustrators who could not of been more encouraging to me- someone just starting out- Thank you!!

As usual, the conference made me feel like my head was going to explode- not just the keynotes and the workshops, but the mornings and evening spent just sitting around the hotel lounge and letting "serendipity" bring people to talk to and learn from. Actually it wasn't "chance" it was a blessing from God- and I am ever greatful!  Also did the Portfolio Showcase and here is a new illustration I got ready for it- my website is on the list to "spit shine" - it is in great need , but have some new ideas of directions to go- from the conference and as Loren Long said- I need to just think of the thing I need to do today!