Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2013 Pen Pal Author at Linebaugh Library

My friend Raina (and fellow board member) said, "I heard you stalk male authors."
I said, "No, that's not right, I stalk the women authors too."

Bats at the Library by Brian Lies

It's 2006 during down-time at a tennis competition for our son. I force my family to check out the local bookstore. We probably shouldn't buy anything because we have to focus on the boy's tennis, but there's no harm in looking. Then I see it!  Bats at the Beach. It is the cutest bat I've seen since Stellaluna (and that's cute). The little guy was toasting an unusual marshmallow with cricket parts. The other guy was flying his friend like a kite. 

So, how does a grown woman explain to her husband of many years that she MUST have a children's book that costs $16? We could pretend it's for our child but he's known me too long to believe it. It wrenched my heart to walk away without possessing it.
This is a sad story of loss and despair. And, I never forgot the book.
Seven years later, not only do I  own multiple copies of Bats at the Beach but all the other books too of Brian Lies. So, why not meet this guy that has made this iconic bat? We started negotiating to have Brian as the next Pen Pal author to visit Murfreesboro.
When an author says Maybe, I hear Yes. And when the author says, well I can only . . . fill in the blank . .. . I say Yes.  Yes, yes, of course it is for the kids. I'm certain that at least one of those kids will want to become an author or illustrator.
Brian Lies sharing his wisdom with the children of Murfreesboro.
Hobgood welcomes Brian with a great sign.
Having a little fun by drawing on the wall in the bookstore.
"Have our author and eat cake too" - that's our motto.
It's tradition now that my son comes for the cake.
I'm looking a bit raggedy, but who cares when I can meet Brian Lies.
We learn all his cool tricks. One is that he uses a blue crayon to sketch. Blue is his favorite color and helps to relax him into getting the work done.
He goes through many sketches and smaller versions of paintings until it's Better. He doesn't believe practice makes perfect, but practice makes Better.
I really dig my job on the library board.
So, how are we going to top this?
Shssh, I've no idea, but we say that every year. 
If you have any suggestions for next year, ah never mind, I probably won't listen, because it will start with  wandering some local bookstore and noticing the best book ever.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Le Cirque Challenge Somerset Studios

Somerset Studio magazine proposed an art challenge to their readers to send them Circus Art and called it Le Cirque. It could be any type of art. I've never been a fan of the circus, it seems creepy, sinister and out to take poor people's last quarter. Yet, the little cracker-tiger from the metal tin, holding paint brushes on my desk, was crying out to be made into a journal. I still hesitated to cut up the metal container, because they are already cool, and probably hard to come by these days, but the polar bear said, go ahead, and I put on the goggles and made the first cut into the tin.
The whole process is fun from hunting yard sales for old odd pieces to slopping Mod Podge everywhere. I will take a photograph of anything, so  I've thousands of images to use. Making the paper from Gesso and all colors of paint is a blast.
The only part of the process I dislike is sewing the signatures together.
Erin Morgenstern visited the Nashville Public Library. She's a sweet woman, so of course she needed to be taming that orange Bengal tiger. The Life of Pi author visited too, and it just dawned on me right this very second that I missed the opportunity of using that tiger. I did address an SASE and when it returns, I will add that. Work is never done.

Even though the circus is a dark topic, these circus crackers are just funny.
Surely, you also played with them before you ate them, like I did as a kid (okay, I still do).
Another item that was lying in the attic was a circus-cracker game. I photographed the game pieces, printed out the image and then glued and pained over that. Don't you just want to eat him?

There is something about those striped tents that make you want to go look inside.

Morgenstern and me getting eaten up by animal crackers.

This guy is getting a little worried about someone chewing on him.

Morgenstern autographed her book and a flyer. Don't worry the First Edition book and signature is safely tucked away in the Triangular Book Case.

At the Southern Festival of Books, I met Hannah Barnaby, so heck, why not include her new circus book into this journal?

And have her get carried away by a big ape. Who knows, this could be a fantasy of her's?

It wouldn't be fair to alter them and not doing something dumb to myself. I do love Big Cats.

The tent invites you in. I photographed the tents when there were in town (for the Fourth of July firework sellers), printed out the image and then painted over it.

The center spread is the tent pole holding the whole thing together.

Of course my own big cat, Mimi, who sits on all my work during the process can not be overlooked. Ringmaster, yep, that sounds about right. Zane is in there too, but it's a secret to find him.

Jerry Lewis is an image that must be in my work. Now how do I include Jerry Lewis in a book about the circus? He did play Vaudeville which is circus like, but I wanted it to make complete sense. Then it struck me, by thinking of Jerry Lewis, that this circus journal was missing the last important thing about a circus. And yes, it's just dawned on you now.
The Clown.

Like the circus, the clown is also a bit dark and gloomy. Jerry Lewis's clown is the same way and the perfect obvious choice to be highlighted. The book is King of Comedy by Shawn Levy.

I love this creepy handsome duality.

We end with some popcorn. Seriously, I will take a photograph of anything, folks looked at me funny when I photographed the popcorn they served at the Morgenstern event, but you see it did come in handy, so who's right in the end?

 The end.
Note: Artist Leighanna Light held a class on Metal Art Journals in Nashville at the Art Is Life Retreat last Spring. Even though I was intimidated by her great journals and the fear of boring a hole in metal (and myself), I signed in anyway. Since then, I've made a bunch of metal journals and even had Mike Wolfe of the America Pickers sign my first found-junk one.