It’s a very odd feeling. Kinda feels like waiting for the end of the world. Sandy, the hurricane-megastorm, predicted last week, has been blowing about my mental radar for many days. At first, I discounted Sandy as media hype and hoped she would just turn herself out to sea. When it became clear that she was indeed stopping by this way, I went into planning/action mode and prepared. That was yesterday morning. This AM the sky is dark and bright at the same time. The winds are certainly threatening, there’s a sprinkling of rain and the barometric pressure feels oppressive. But, nothing more until perhaps, tonight.
I’m writing this post in a strange haste, feeling as though the power might go out at any time and this might be my last sentence or the last couple of minutes to post before the cable blows down or the power blinks off. Wierd.
I’ve no idea if and when Sandy will make me think better of this post, but I know two things so far; she’s making me think about my life’s conveniences and relative safety in a way that only happens when one is threatened with the loss of those things and alternately, she’s gathering away my energy and attention from the work I need to do now, because there is not yet a mess to clean up or an emergency to deal with.
At this moment there’s only a mild foreboding, wasted time watching wet newscasters yammer on and drifting to the windows to stare. Best get something done. I am no longer able to type anyway, because one of my cats is so clingy that he insists upon sleeping on my keyboarding hands. I wonder what he knows…
A small tribute to the last of this year’s Jersey tomatoes-from a friends garden.
For those of you who do not know, NJ, USA was hit with a scary, freakish pre-Halloween snow storm. Power and internet service is just coming back after five days. While this was not a tragic event, it caused (among other things), the slashing of thousands of limbs from hundreds of trees, still sporting lush green leaves.
During the storm, my family and I slowly turned our heads to one another, then causiously moved from window to window to reluctently view the damage after each erie snap of a giant tree limb crashed onto the roof or to the ground.
When the snow finally stopped, my husband and I ventured out our back door. The brunt of the snowy wet rampage took half of our huge maple tree. Snow already melting, the scene looked like this.
It was strangely reminisent of a documentary we watched a couple of nights before the snow, called Radioactive Wolves. This time however, the damage was nature’s doing. She had wierdly reclaimed and rearragned our patio, yard and neighbor’s yard. It was kind of morosly beautitful, especially the startling find of new buds clinging to the carpet of branches, twigs, snow and splingered limbs layering our patio. Naturally these buds won’t survive, but like the wolves, I hope our maple will find a way.
A bracing breeze just wafted through my window, triggering a pleasant Jersey shore memory…
It feels like early in the season, just before the boardwalk is open, except for one small candy store. Happily, they have candy necklaces! Those unhygienic, fabulous elastic beauties that simply cannot be resisted. You know that you not only look stunning, but you are wearing a treat that will last most of the evening, or at least as long as a satisfying jaunt along the shore, zipped up in last year’s sweatshirt, thrilling to the feeling of your freezing, wet toes.
There is a pinhole in my thick skull which is finally excepting illumination. I’ve been so busy working diligently to bring my drawing and digital painting skills into line with what I know I can accomplish, that I have forgotten the light, the spirit, the magic of telling a visual story, naturally.
Particular rays of light emerged in the forms of Marijka Kostiw and Laurent Linn Sunday, when the New Jersey Chapter of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators held our annual “Illustrator’s Day”. Marijka Kostiw of Scholastic Books presented a thoroughly enjoyable and informative critique session, evaluating the illustration assignment described in earlier posts. I learned a lot in general, and was pleased in particular, that what was for me, a looser , chancier, more “from the heart” piece turned out to be the best direction to take with the assignment . Later in the day, Laurent Linn of Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, very kindly urged me in the same less calculated more natural direction, while critiquing my portfolio. Leeza Hernandez, a really fine illustrator, rode the prevailing glow into her workshop seminar, reminding illustrators to rediscover the very basic elements we instinctively know, but often suppress when concentrating too hard on getting the job done. Thank you!
It was a good day. I wasn’t the only illustrator who walked away vowing to reignite the inspiration that led us to illustration for children in the first place. I met some really lovely people who are as interested as I, in helping each other to bring our work up to the next level. I feel encouraged, unbound, and eager to let go….