Today on Thanksgiving I am grateful for family, friends, communities of people in church and dance and music who surround me, and also very thankful to be able to do a job I love. Well, a number of jobs these days, but they're all art related. I love doing exhibitions, travel paintings, landscape commissions (especially in Cape May!), and illustrations.
I've been wanting to do more illustrations, and recently I was contacted by a new e-book publisher, Chalk Line Books. They're reprinting vintage crime fiction and want me to be their in house illustrator. The first one, Jim Thompson's Sharecropper Hell, just went up on Amazon. You can preview the book and scroll down for the first illustration here.
Yesterday my editor dropped off the second book for me to work on. I enjoy working from a text and finding the images that speak to me, and I'm having fun doing something new.
I've got an exciting new project in house. There's a new e-book publishing company in Memphis, and they're reissuing classic crime fiction. They've enlisted me to illustrate their initial set of books, and I'm having a ball. I've been wanting to do more illustration. I love reading a book and figuring out which images would be the most powerful to represent.
Here are a couple from my first book for them. They're pen and ink drawings based on the book Cropper's Cabin by Jim Thompson.
Last year I was lucky enough to get to do watercolor illustrations for the Memphis Magazine City Guide issue. It seems to have been well enough received for the art editor to want to have some more artwork instead of their usual photography. In a neat twist, he's enlisted the Memphis Urban Sketchers to provide illustrations, spreading the love around a bit and adding some interest. I can't wait to see the different artwork he uses. I've submitted a few myself, and it will be interesting to see what makes it to print.
There are certain categories each year (arts, dining, who's who, etc.), and blogs and hospitals are some of the more challenging topics. I decided to offer artwork for those, figuring he might need a little help in those areas.
I stopped on my way home from kayaking this morning to paint Le Bonheur. I love the view of it from right in the middle of Poplar Avenue, but that's not a safe place to paint. This was the best angle I could get from the sidewalk. As an added bonus, I scored some shade as well.
Yesterday my very kind housemate agreed to let me paint him as he did some schoolwork on his laptop. That's always a bit of a risk. You never know how you're going to look in someone else's artwork, and I appreciated his taking it. I've been enjoying doing more figural work, but capturing likenesses us still very hard for me.
It's been nuts since I got home. I had a couple of nights back, and then I left again for a dance weekend with my sisters. I loved spending time with them after being gone for a month.
I hung out with awesome women (that's one of my sisters front and center):
danced to my favorite band with friends (and sisters, though no one got a shot of that):
and got dipped a few times:
Now I'm back to work. I was supposed to be in Cape May this week painting for Cape Resorts Group again, but bad weather cancelled my flight. So I have a little time to do some commissions here, catch up on my sleep, and get up there in the next few weeks more rested and ready to go at full speed. Overall a very good thing.
My Cape May watercolors have been featured in the Concierge Magazine printed for the Cape Resorts group for use at all their hotels. It's fun to see them in print, and I'm especially pleased with the cover. That was such a fun Victorian house to paint. It's one of several cottages they rent out.
Seeing this makes me want to go back there again. I hope I get to soon.
All the work I've done for Cape Resorts Group in Cape May is being used by Stella Bean advertisers. They are building a new website for the group that incorporates my paintings, but Kevin Philip is also creating fun extras, like e-cards to send out for the holidays.
Below is the storyboard for the Congress Hall one, which uses three of my watercolors to make an animated card. You can flip through the document below to see the progression, and you can follow these two links to watch the full e-cards.
Friday and Saturday nights are the best radio nights in Memphis. WEVL, our local community radio station, has a rockabilly show (with Lonnie, my very favorite dj) and then an awesome blues show on Fridays and a soul show on Saturday nights. Last night, with an evening at home and lots of work to do, I decided to go ahead and carve, proof, and print the final O Antiphon while listening to Soul Stew. It was a satisfying evening (and I took a small break to slow dance with my husband to Otis Redding, my favorite Stax singer, when he came on). I always love creating, and I feel so blessed to do it every day.
O Emmanuel, God with us, is the final of the seven days leading into the Christmas season. This hymn is sung on December 23rd. I love creating these through the season of Advent (instead of midsummer sometime). It means I'm working hard to hit the deadlines, but I also feel the season so much more strongly than if I were making these in a different time of year.
Many thanks to Call to Worship magazine for nudging me to take on the O Antiphons. It's been a lovely journey.
These are the three proofs I pulled as I carved last night. I carved the main bit, printed it, refined it a little, printed again, refined, and ended up with a final version.
It's been so crazy since the Memphis Magazine issue came out that I've been tardy asking them for some PDFs to show on my website. But I met an illustrator on our recent trip who reminded me to have illustration highlighted on my website if I'd like to do more of it, so I've been working on that this week. I set up a new Illustration page here, and I got a batch of the magazine urban sketches uploaded. Hopefully I'll receive the rest of them to add soon. You can see all the excitement here.
Memphis Parent asked me to do another illustration for them, this time for their calendar page. It's fair season in the fall, and I had fun doing all the rides.
I probably say this pretty often, but one of the really fun things about drawing in public is meeting so many different people. Yesterday I was still lacking a header for the Medicine section of the City Guide, so I headed to Methodist. I was lucky enough to find both shade (always a bonus) and also a couple of ambulance drivers (also hanging out in the shade) who were waiting for a new battery for their unit.
They were interested in what I was doing, and I learned why some ambulances are red and boxy (city-owned ones) and some are white (private companies). Having a little company gets me out of my BBC podcast routine and mixes things up a bit.