Archive for the 'travel' Category

Sep 16 2016

Islesford Painting Workshops 2016

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I just got back from a fantastic week on Little Cranberry Island, Maine, helping to teach the Islesford Painting Workshops. As always, it was a complete blast. Look how much fun we are having!

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I’m up to my ears in catch-up tasks, so I won’t write too much about it, but once again it was great. I’m sad that this is (almost certainly) the last year it will be held, because the Dock Restaurant & Gallery which hosts it is being sold.

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Anyway, here are my paintings/sketches/studies. Some are digital this time — I continue to play with the iPad, and I’ve also been messing about with Kyle’s brushes for Photoshop. On one level it’s silly trying to get painterly effects on a digital device, because a real painting “in the flesh” is SO much more awesome than any print or purely 2-dimensional representation of it can capture. On the other hand, using tools that make different kinds of marks can help one understand more about the problems of painting, and in that respect it’s cool to have a really large toolbox in a small device to experiment with.

My favorite take-aways this year: First, the idea of “carving into” a painting, usually to simplify or define the space better. Second, the realization that I am usually willing to get quite experimental with color but not so much with forms/drawing. I want to play with that a bit more.

Previous year’s workshops: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 (2012 has the most theoretical/philosophical musing in it, if you like that sort of thing.)

So long, Islesford. The workshops may be over, but I’ll be back.

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Jan 19 2016

Samurai Rising is here! (Almost.) Plus, school visits!

Published by under appearances,travel

I just returned from a 2-week trip, part of which was attending ALA’s Midwinter conference, where, for the first time, I got my hands on a finished copy of Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner, illustrated by me. It doesn’t officially hit store shelves until Feb 2, but I wanted to give you a preview of how beautifully the finished book came out. I’m SO pleased with it. Note the wonderful design work by Art Director Susan Sherman, the embossed and red-stamped hardcover under the dust jacket, and the copious author notes that take up almost 1/3 of the page count (they’re really readable and interesting too — quality as well as quantity!). The two symbols are the mon or family crests of the warring Taira and Minamoto clans.

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Here’s me signing it for the fans who dropped by the Charlesbridge booth. (I used a brush pen, and alternated between drawing a sword, helmet, tiny mounted archer, or bow and arrow.) In the background is my editor Alyssa.

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You can pre-order Samurai from most retailers now. I’ll start taking pre-orders for signed books about a week before the on-sale date.

Also on this trip I did a bunch of great school visits (two of which were beautifully documented as per the following links). The first three were in my home town: Montpelier High School, Main Street Middle School, and my own high school, U-32. Then I did three in the Boston area: Manchester Essex Middle High School, Worcester Academy, and Duxbury Middle High School. You can see more photos on my Twitter stream. Duxbury has a gorgeous beach, by the way, and I’ll leave you with that view.┬á ­čśë

Duxbury beach

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Sep 22 2015

Islesford Painting Workshops 2015

Published by under landscape,sketchbook,travel

For the last three years I’ve attended the Islesford Painting Workshop, led by my friends and amazing painters Henry Isaacs and Ashley Bryan, up in the gorgeous environs of Little Cranberry Island, off the coast of Mt. Desert Island, Maine. It’s a wonderful workshop, with first class food and accommodations and very non-formulaic instruction. This year they asked me to help them teach both 3-day sessions.

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It was an honor to be asked, a joy to work with them for a whole week, a sacrifice to spend less time painting, an intimidating challenge to try to contribute something meaningful to what these two great men are doing, and to continuously find useful things to say to painters who range from absolute beginner to highly experienced. I am happy to say that, based on lots of great feedback, I do feel I contributed significantly in a number of ways, and found the experience very rewarding and instructive (in relation to both teaching and painting).

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On one of the sketches I wrote “wrap the space around the viewer”, which was my biggest painting takeaway from the week — I think I understand more now about why that’s important and how to accomplish it.

I found a little time to paint each day, and here are the pieces I did, as well as sketches I snuck in when I only had a moment to jot something down. The paint is gouache (opaque watercolor). Some got a little additional work/color added when I got home.

It’s a pretty amazing workshop, and I highly recommend it. I’m already looking forward to next year!

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Jul 06 2015

ALA 2015 recap

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At ALA with Ashley Bryan

Although I’ve been to the American Library Association‘s (smaller) Midwinter show, I’d never been to the main ALA Annual show until last week. It was a really wonderful experience. Alison and I flew out a week early to explore and visit friends in the area. Here are a few highlights of our travels and of the show (below the cut):

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Sep 12 2014

Islesford Painting Workshop 2014

Published by under landscape,sketchbook,travel

For the third year I joined the excellent painting workshop held at the Dock gallery/restaurant in Islesford, on Little Cranberry Island, off the coast of Mt. Desert Island in Maine. Henry Isaacs and Ashley Bryan do a wonderful job with this every year, the restaurant feeds us like kings, locals let us stay in┬átheir beautiful homes, and it’s always a great group of folks to paint and socialize with.

Here’s ┬árecap of 2012 and 2013.

The workshop started off with the traditional day of fog,┬áthen turned sunny and beautiful for the rest of the time. I worked almost exclusively in gouache. Most of these are painted on 5×7″ watercolor postcards.

 

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Jun 24 2014

Colorado!

Published by under sketchbook,travel

Just got back from a great week in Colorado. I was a guest of the Denver Comic Con, which has grown HUGE in just a few years. I was on a couple of excellent panels, met cool people, spent some time tabling and sketching, and then took off for the mountains of Estes Park, where I hung out with ground squirrels and elk :-)

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Oct 28 2013

Plein-Air painting in Maine

Published by under landscape,sketchbook,travel

I enjoyed the Islesford Painting Workshop so much last year that I decided to go again. It was a rather different experience this time, partly due to completely different weather, but still excellent.

The first day we had heavy rain and fog —┬á all day :-(┬á We painted from inside the Dock Restaurant / Gallery, and attempted to capture the solidity of the fog. Day two was still foggy but at least we could change locations a bit. Day 3 was glorious, for which Henry apologized several times (the man has a New England sense of humor and a deadpan delivery).

Here’s a gallery of all the pieces I did in two and a half days. Many of these I am thinking of as sketches for later paintings (which I’ll probably never get around to), or as somewhat unfinished works. The thing about goauche, though, is you can’t really work back into it very easily; so more than likely they will just stay as they are, sacrificing “doneness” in favor of (hopefully) a bit of that nice plein-air freshness.

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May 17 2013

Greece!

Published by under landscape,sketchbook,travel

I recently had the pleasure of being on a fabulous 12-day tour of Greece with Children’s Literature New England and The Examined Life. It was wonderful! Alison and I took about 3000 photos, to which I will not subject you except for a few of the highest highlights, and I did a few sketches and watercolors which you can see below. Alison has written a detailed blog post here. Enjoy!

 

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Sep 17 2012

Painting Workshop on Little Cranberry Island, Maine

Alison and I just returned from a lovely 4-day weekend in Maine, where I attended a great little painting workshop with Henry Isaacs and Ashley Bryan. Henry is a landscape painter whose work I find absolutely stunning and inspiring. Ashley is inspiring to me both as a children’s book author/illustrator, a painter, and a radiant beacon of joy in the world. The workshop is organized and hosted by the Islesford Dock Gallery and Restaurant (Cynthia and Dan Lief are the wonderful proprietors). The gallery has excellent art, as I had seen on many previous visits to Islesford. The restaurant, as I discovered over the weekend, has really spectacular food — by any standard! We were fed so well I’d have to say the meals threatened to upstage the painting.

I will post a few of my paintings above the cut, and the rest below — along with a bunch of thoughts about painting that are bouncing around in my head.

Friday was a very foggy morning on the beach. Henry gave a great little demo and talk about seeing everything as solid, even the air, and treating it that way, rather than having a background with a subject in front of it. My first attempt at this was clumsy. I was using gouache, which is my favorite medium for landscape. It’s hard to cover a large surface with gouache though, and that caused some problems every time I tried to work larger than about 5×7″.

My second attempt used too complex a subject, and while I like this piece, it feels more like a drawing than a painting, and more like my habitual approach than what I was going for.

After that I did some pieces that caught parts of what I was after.

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Jan 05 2012

Last Year’s PA Farm Show

Published by under animals,horses,sketchbook,travel

I recently came across these in a sketchbook and realized I hadn’t posted them. Mind you, there’s a ton of stuff I forget, or don’t have time, to post — but these I had definitely meant to, so here you go.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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