Archive for October, 2013

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 —  all day :-(  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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Oct 23 2013

YOU. Read YOU.

Published by under reviews

I just finished YOU by Austin Grossman. It’s brilliant, in my opinion. As an elevator pitch, I would describe it as Microserfs meets Ready Player One, but with an existentialist heart. A bit slow in places, but the plot pulled me along pretty effectively, and I enjoyed the old-game nostalgia as well as the philosophical underpinnings. I highly recommend it to anyone who is/was into computer games, especially the early RPGs of the 80s and 90s. The recommendation goes double for anyone who has ever worked as a game developer, or wanted to know what that’s like.

There are many references to LookingGlass, and among the characters are many traits mined from the personalities of LG developers — but he’s re-formed all these elements into a kind of archetypal mythology that somehow tells the story of the whole evolution of games, both as it was and as it should have been, AND does the same archetype-evolution trick with both the people who MAKE games and the characters IN games. This can lead to some occasionally-confusing switches of perspective (1st, 2nd and 3rd person narratives are all used, all four “playable characters” are “played” as both avatars and real characters, and sometimes you aren’t totally sure if the protagonist is playing, dreaming, or hallucinating) — but ultimately YOU has big, audacious goals that, in my opinion, Austin achieves elegantly. It also has a really nice cover by Superbrothers.

Incidentally, I listened to it on audio, and the audio book is really well done. (As is the audiobook for Ready Player One, if you haven’t read that yet.)

Also, I should disclose possible bias, since know Austin personally (we overlapped at LG by a year or so). I don’t think personal bias is playing into my love of this book, but shared experience certainly is. It’s possible that no one who isn’t an LG alum will truly appreciate the full, painful genius of Realms of Golf.

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Oct 21 2013

Review: Templar

Published by under reviews

I just finished reading Templar, by Jordan Mechner with illustrations by LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland.  I read the first section when First Second published it as Solomon’s Thieves, and loved it — except for the cliffhanger ending!!! Now the story is finally available in one volume, thank goodness!

Since that first sentence contained the name LeUyen Pham, I probably don’t have to tell you that this book is drop-dead gorgeous, with 480 pages (!) of beautiful, dynamic, expressive drawings of medieval France illustrating a rollicking adventure tale with comic and tragic touches and a powerful ending. It also has some brief but clear notes at the end about what’s historical and what’s made-up (unlike some of their other reality-inspired books such as Boxers & Saints).

I don’t think I really need to say much more. Read this book!

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Oct 21 2013

More R&J, This time at the Folger.

I’ve been crunching hard on Macbeth (I delivered the line work last week), so I’ve got a backlog of things to post. But here’s one I wanted to get up right away. The Folger Shakespeare Library was kind enough to invite me to their very powerful new production of Romeo & Juliet. I drew a bunch, but the house was very dark, so I was drawing completely blind — hence the rather dada-esque nature of most of these sketches.

The show is directed by Aaron Posner, and stars Michael Goldsmith as Romeo and Erin Weaver as Juliet, plus Aaron Bliden, Rex Daugherty, Brian Dykstra, Sherri Edelen, Eric Hissom, Brad Koed, Shannon Koob, Joe Mallon, Allen McCullough, Matthew McGee, and Michele Osherow.

Later in the season they are doing Richard III and Two Gentlemen of Verona.

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Oct 02 2013

Second Star!

Published by under Uncategorized

The Horn Book has announced that Romeo & Juliet will get a starred review in their Nov/Dec issue. Which is awesome enough by itself, but I also got a sneak peek at the text of the review, and it is truly magnificent, thanks to the eloquence of Joanna Rudge Long.

Congrats to the other authors receiving starred reviews, especially friend and fellow Candlewick author Matt Phelan for his new book Bluffton!

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Oct 02 2013

ASP’s Romeo & Juliet

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m enjoying a lovely, serendipitous cross-promotion with Actors’ Shakespeare Project and their new production of Romeo & Juliet, which opens this week. The timing didn’t work out for me to see the whole show, but I caught a couple of hours of their tech rehearsal on Sunday night. I only got to see the last few scenes, but it looks really good! Here are a few sketches I did. They ran through each bit a couple of times, so in some cases I got multiple drawings of the same thing.

A big thank-you to Adele and Allyn for arranging logistics, and Maurice for giving me a ride back to Cambridge. The show is directed by Allyn Burrows and Bobbie Steinbach, and stars Jason Bowen and Julie Ann Earls as R&J. Also shown are Ben Rosenblatt (Paris), Ken Baltin (Capulet), Miranda Craigwell (Lady Capulet), and Maurice Emmanuel Parent (Mercutio/Apothecary).

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