Thanks, everyone, for the kind wishes!! I'm so glad it's out in the open, and not that I'm 100% worry-free now, but I'm worrying less and less all the time. Well, rather, the nature of the worries shall shift to all new things. Like, you know: childbirth. Raising a person, hopefully a really good one. Little things like that!! But thank you all, and xoxo. (And I'm so glad to learn that two writer-friends, in faraway Norway and New Zealand, are also expecting :-)
Look at the red ceramic skull I found yesterday while buying Valentine's chocolates! It's by a local artist; there was a whole skully grouping and I had to have this one; it's sort of a Valentine's gift to "us." More traditional, from my sweetie:
This is kinda funny; I did this painting years ago based on a bit of folklore of how to tell if a mama is expecting a boy or a girl: offer her a lily and a rose; if she chooses the lily, it's a boy. The rose, a girl.
Jim forgot, though, and didn't make me choose! So now I'll have to wait until the next ultrasound. (Tone told me that in Norway cheese cravings are taken as a sure sign it's a boy. That contradicts the midwife's "girly heartbeat" prediction. So, who knows!)
Wow, this was unexpected. Digging through old floppies to find that painting, I sort of uncovered a whole buried chunk of my life: the part wherein I was a painter. Funny. All these paintings have long ago been purged from my hard drive to make space for other things, but here they are, on these discs, reminding me of years past. I spent a lot of time learning how to paint, and now I don't do it at all. I'm sure the caps of my oil paint tubes are all sealed on there like glue and entirely unopenable. I think I will paint again some day. Maybe not the same way, exactly, maybe in a simpler style. The way I was working before was a bit taxing. I think I'll show you some old paintings. It's been too long.
This is "Moon Balloon," a favorite:
It's a big one, and my parents own it so I get to visit it. Wow, it feels like ages ago. This one marked a breakthrough for me, when my skills took a huge leap, and it still thrills me to look at it and think, "I did that." At the time, I couldn't take my eyes off it. I was so amazed with myself. It's like that, learning a new skill or craft, if you're really committed to it. All of a sudden, you get better. And better. You amaze yourself. It's awesome. Here's a detail:
This next one was commissioned by Alexandra, who was a wonderful "patron of the arts" back when I was a struggling painter. She and also her parents (and their friends) commissioned a number of paintings at a time when I had quit my job to paint; I am eternally grateful to them and my parents for being so wonderful. Every artist should be so lucky to have friends and family like mine.
I love that quote. HERE is the ee cummings poem it comes from.
This one was a commission from a family who came to my booth at the Saturday Market; it was for their daughter's new bedroom as she transitioned from girlhood to teenhood.
When I finished it I had to mail it away to the East Coast and never saw it again. Sad. Detail:
A testament to how I'll put wings on anything and everything, even kangaroos:
One of about nine pieces I did for the Cricket Magazine Group, who was a great client. This one was for Ladybug:
Well. There are lots more, but I'll stop there for today. Funny how the memories come back. My time was spent so differently then. In the upstairs studio with Jim instead of the downstairs writing room by myself. Weeks I'd work on one piece, teeny weeny brushes, painstaking detail. Turpentine fumes. Gorgeous, gorgeous paint on a palette. And all the weekends at the Saturday Market, selling prints! And oh, the evenings with the mat cutter, assembling prints into colored mats and bagging them. That took so much time. Mind-numbing. I taught some painting classes back then too, specifically in how to use oils more "illustratively" -- it took me a lot of experimenting to develop a technique by which I could work on very detailed drawings. (I have a brief tutorial on my website.)
I wish there was just more time in life. More time in each day. I'd still love to illustrate a picture book some day -- that was my dream, why I went to art school, but I just never got there. I veered away. I think in the future I will find some time to dabble again with paint. For now, I need to focus on the book at hand, the writing.
And speaking of books: I got type-set pages for Lips Touch yesterday! SO EXCITING! It's gorgeously decorative throughout (thank you, Chris Stengel, designer extraordinaire) and I CAN'T WAIT TO SHOW YOU! But I must wait. So I will.
Happy Valentine's Day, and happy weekend. Cheers!
Oh, wait. One more thing: the Cybils winners have been announced. In my category, they are:
Middle grade sci-fi/fantasy: The Graveyard Book
Young adult sci-fi/fantasy: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Both fabulous books. Yay!