Monday, January 24, 2011

Walking On Air

 Making a book is a labor of love. When I began to illustrate The Lord's Prayer, I wondered if I would survive the process. I guess I wonder that with every book.  Never-the-less, I just received the new book in the mail. Whew. A lot of mixed emotions, because the journey is always challenging. And wonderful.

  If you ever see someone who is walking about three feet above the ground, they are probably an author or illustrator who has just seen their newly published book. I feel really privileged to be in this business.

 When I was trying to figure out how I would illustrate this interactive poem, I thought about family and the wonder of one generation following another. In the Magnificat, Mary sings of God's mercy
from one generation to another.

 How does one illustrate stuff like that? "Oy vey", says me. I have to be careful not to freak out at the beginning of a project. Breathe. Calm.  It's all going to come together.  Trust the process.  OK, so I set up a photo shoot with my son, Jesse, and his son. When I painted the illustration I actually combined my hand with Jesse's holding the little hand~his son, my grandson.  I found the whole experience powerfully moving.

 I enjoy the ritual of applying the gesso and meditating on the imagery to come.

 I tried several other gesso colors.

 Then experimented with silk screen inks in combo with the gessoes.

Next,  I did an under-painting of alizarin crimson with sap green. Someone told me that the Italians liked this method. Gee, that makes me hungry for spaghetti. I'm not trying to be cute or stereotypical. It's just, you know, Pavlov.
 Now I'm  adding some silk screened patterns.

 Alrighty, more silk screening on top of the other patterns.

 Hey, since we're here, let's add even more.  Yeah!!

 I can't stop myself.  Pull the rip cord, pull the rip cord!!

 Well, maybe just a little more. I am after all using the sun as a metaphor for the glory of God. Yes, I know, I am so in over my head. Who could ever do justice to the grandeur of the sun, let alone the glory of God? Not me, for sure. So I'll just do what I do and hope for inspiration and understanding.

 I am always amazed by the wonders shown us by astronomers, especially when they use different kinds of telescopes to see the different wave lengths of light not normally visible. I played a little with that in this painting. I could have gone on for months experimenting with layers and subtleties, but... well, you know.

"To see the world in a grain of sand and Heaven in a wild flower hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour"~ William Blake

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dinosaur Crashes His Way Onto Magazine Cover!

Last summer I was asked to illustrate a magazine cover. And it is finally out! Above is the 2011 Jan/Feb SCBWI Bulletin cover. YAY!! For those of you who aren't familiar with SCBWI it stands for The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. A fabulous international organization for anyone interested in publishing books or digital content for children, middle grade, and young adults.

Photos by my son, Jesse Watson

I had a lot of other ideas which I thought I might use on the cover, but a "friend" of mine convinced me otherwise. You have heard the phrase, "If you give a mouse a cookie..."
Yeah, well try, "If you give a T-Rex raw meat and teach it how to enunciate with its lips..."

There are certain rules of etiquette that simply elude a young T-Rex. I mean honestly, how rude! To go for my jugular just because I was a little late with his ground round. I guess I should be glad he's not picky whether its fresh or month-old road kill. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Rexy was quite pleased with my progress on the cover art. Naturally, he wanted to put it in his mouth. You just can't turn your back on a T-Rex. Really. Trust me on this one.

The only stipulation for the cover art is that it has to have a kite somewhere in the image. Since my cover was a winter cover, I took my kite out in a blizzard and tried to fly the thing.

After throwing it up again, and again, and again it started to climb towards the heavens...

Orrrrrrrrrr not. I feel your pain, Charlie Brown.