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.
I've been working hard to get all the different categories illustrated for the Memphis Magazine City Guide. Above is an overall view of the skyline (maybe for the table of contents). Bonnie Hopkins, a Loyola art student and assistant at MCA this summer, went downtown with me Saturday afternoon to draw from Mud Island. We found a picnic table to work from (great comfort compared to my normal urban sketching on the sidewalk) and had a great visit while we worked. It was a very social and creative day for me, with the Memphis Urban Sketchers that morning and Bonnie's company all afternoon.
I also got permission to paint inside Brooks with my watercolors. I'd been wanting to paint the rotunda, and working for the City Guide issue seemed like a great opportunity. There's an arts section, and music is already pretty well represented in my illustrations, so I thought I'd plug my own area of visual arts instead.
Brooks allows sketching with pencils only during their regular hours, but they kindly invited me to come paint on an off day for this project. Since they regularly serve drinks at special events in this space, I didn't feel too bad asking for special treatment for my small palette cups. (It's a marble floor as well -- very little possibility for serious damage.)
It was a challenging subject, but also a lot of fun. And I liked that I could get in different forms of art -- the main sculpture, a framed painting and photograph on the left, and a peek at the ancient art collection on the mezzanine floor. It seemed like a good scene for "The Arts" section.
I was recently asked to illustrate a short story for April's issue of Memphis Parent (free on news stands right now!). It was my first illustration job since doing ten block prints based on the book of Revelation for the Presbyterian Church, USA, and needless to say, it was a much different process.
I love working from a text, though, and trying to suit my work to the author's intent, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing this job. I'm hoping to be able to break into some more illustration work. The watercolor sketches I'm doing seem like a good medium for both children's books and place sketches for magazines or newspapers. The Seattle Times actually has an urban sketcher on staff. How cool is that?
The above image of the story shows the double page spread all put together, but it isn't very legible. If you want to really read the story, try this PDF instead.