Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I am plodding along. Today's snow has me missing the sunlight. Even my dog Tamara wasn't happy about it. My dog has attitude. Can you tell by the photo? Look at the balls of snow collecting on her paws. She hates snow.
I love her new red coat.

Being able to be retired and not working at a 'real' job gets me feeling guilty. Everyone I know has so much to do all day with families and jobs. And here I am taking my sweet dog for walks in the snow and writing and drawing. Good grief!

Yesterday I started recording the Albert story with the idea of creating a slide show video using my original illustrations from the book and maybe a few more drawings. Stephen said to go ahead and do it if I want to. Now that I know how to record on my computer it should be possible for me to pull it all together. But I will take my time with it. Once it is done I can burn a dvd. In the meantime this week I need to break away from Albert and get into a new project.

For the past week I have been playing around with a new idea for a story and today I started a chapter book for idea for grade threes. I had fun with it. I wrote it with pen in my journal and tomorrow I hope to put it into text on computer. At least it is a start to seeing if I still have it in me to create another children's book.

There could be lots more chapters or it might just end where I ended it or it might become a picture book.

I sort of feel like I just drew an orange and I'm not sure if it is any good yet I need to keep moving with it because nothing ever seems good enough and if I stop I will be right back to where I started.
I have been sketching some drawings of the characters in the story. I am thinking of maybe trying black and white illustrations to make this chapter book into a graphic novel for kids. It is fun so far.
My head is working on it even while I sleep. I know what everyone looks like. I keep coming back into my piggy characters for some reason. Maybe I am comfortable with them and also they add a sense of light humour and silliness. I am slipping into the piggy world again and it is comfortable. I have no idea if this will go anywhere but at least I am beginning. What I need to do is write it out, edit, print it out, mail it with maybe two illustrations and a cover letter. Then wait for six months and see what happens.

I am also preparing to start a portrait of a sweet little girl in the family. I think I will use coloured pencils since they are what I love best. I took some fair photos of her sweet face last September and I have an intense desire to draw her. I don't know if I can actually pull it off but then why not?

Today I also put together the Information Book Award Certificates for Roundtable presentation to the winners for two 2008 books. Tomorrow I shall go to a printer with my disc, print them out, pay for the print outs, buy special envelopes, put everything in the mail to the woman in charge of organizing the voting and presentation and then I shall wait for a cheque to cover my cost.

OH STACY THANKS!! for becoming a 'follower' of my painting puppies blog. Now I have one follower for each of my two blogs. This is fun. I think I shall use the maple pancakes blog for the CWILL stuff and writing stuff and piggy stuff and I will use the other blog for artwork like portraits, acrylics and the monthly thing. Having these blogs is helping me to get motivated and try things and keep moving forward.

One perk for today is that I had twenty comments for my pencil work of the orange on my painting puppies blog. Of course I have visited the others as well. It works for everyone. A delightful thing really to be sharing our drawings with artists all over the world.
I think it is Magical. Twenty years ago this would not even have been considered. I have lived this long to be able to be a part of this internet world. I am so blessed.

January 27 Tuesday-Tell-All

This week's Tanya's CWILL question has been answered on the CWILL blog by others wiser than me. But here are my thoughts as well.
This week’s question: What would your dream library look like?

Oh yes! Vancouver Kidsbooks is the best place ever!

And what about a story telling corner with a soft carpet and lots of big soft cushions to lean against, a few soft teddy bears and rabbits for little ones to hug as they listen. (In this imaginary world, the soft toys are washed daily and/or the children can take a bunny or bear home to keep if they wish.)

All around the small children's area low shelves filled with picture books for the children to read. Around the area perhaps there could be a few smaller size comfy chairs for children to curl up and read.

A white board with fresh non toxic washable markers and pastels and paper. (For book talks by illustrators) .
What about banners and art and posters on the walls relating to books and changing with the seasons like Valentine's Day themes.

How about a big fish tank filled with beautiful fish and coloured stones?A (supervised of course)computer lab for children in a separate bright and cheerfully decorated room where children can search for books or information or write their own stories. There will be a fast and fine printer of course.
The lighting will be perfect for reading. Modern and calming and not harsh yet bright enough.

Perhaps there can be a special Canadian section of picture books with funny toy moose and beaver characters and a mural of a Canadian forest on the wall above the book shelves.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Tuesday Tell-All

Tanya at CWILL has posted this week's question and I got carried away. I wrote more than one sentence. Not cool! But it was fun!
Thanks Tanya for another thought provoking question.

This week’s question: How would you finish this sentence, if you were writing the opening scene of a novel? “I had just slammed the door, when

I had just slammed the door, when I realized the door would not stop Roger from getting inside. I ran upstairs to the window off the back porch where it was possible to climb out to stand on the roof overhang. Once outside I could see for miles. But there was no sign of Billy. Maybe he never got my message. Maybe he still didn't know the truth about Professor Morty's disappearance.

I pulled what was left of my cell phone from my jeans pocket. But since Roger had crushed it with his wire cutters I knew it was not going to work ever again. The sound of shattering of glass at the front of the house below announced Roger’s entrance probably through the living room window. I had to keep moving. I leaped off the porch roof reaching for a projecting branch of the great maple tree. It looked sturdy enough to support my weight and it did hold but only briefly until it snapped. I found myself lying on the ground holding the broken branch in my hands. I was bruised but it seemed to me nothing was broken.

Roger yelled my name and he was getting closer. My thoughts leaped with hope when suddenly I heard the distant sound of Billy’s motorcycle. It was getting louder. I pulled myself up from the ground and ran as fast as I could across the mansion lawn toward the road at the bottom of the slope where the grass met the road. I arrived on the road waving my arms just in time to meet Billy on his roaring monster of a motor bike. He screeched to a stop directly in front of me.

“You look terrible. You have blood all over your face. Are you OK doll?”“How many times do I have to tell you never to call me such a revolting name? Just get us out of here. He knows! He is furious. We must get away. Now!”

Friday, January 16, 2009

Albert Paper Doll

Here is my continuing saga of playing with the paper doll idea in the form of Albert with clothes and added tabs.
If there is anyone who would like a copy of the pdf version I would be glad to send a copy via email. FREE of course.
It may seem a silly project but I have had fun with it.
I think he needs more clothes and some hats and a few piggy friends and who knows what else.
I created Albert and his clothes with my coloured pencil crayons. I scanned the drawings into my computer. I printed them out with my colour printer after converting it to a pdf file. The layout is on letter size paper. It could be larger of course, depending on the printer. I cut out a square around the Albert character and then pasted Albert onto a piece of card. I used a glue stick. When it was dry I cut out Albert carefully.
Cut out the clothes. Fold the tabs over and back.
That's all for today's Albert project. Wouldn't it be nice to have anyone come by to enjoy this paper doll today.
I must admit I am having fun even if nobody comes by.
It has been a lovely Albert week for me and it all started with trying to make a book trailer becaus of CWILL's Tuesday Tell All.
Who knew?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Another Version of Albert Trailer

I made an attempt at another trailer with a deeper voice for Albert. I used Muvee software this time. The file is small and therfore the images are fuzzy. But the sound works O.K.

The process is so much fun. It could become addictive. It is all a creative process.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday Tell All

The Tuesday Tell All CWILL question this week is
"As a student or in the early stages of your career, did you have a mentor who encouraged you? "

This question is a bit of a puzzle to me today as I think back on the life behind me and the many experiences and responsibilities I have encountered along the way.

In my early life I can't remember any mentors until I was a girl in grade four and my teacher, a nun called Mother Barbara taught art to class at a girls school called Loretto Abbey in Toronto.

Once she showed us how to use coloured pencil crayons I was struck with a passion for drawing.

There have been many wonderful supportive friends along my life path. But it would take a long time to go through all of the stories. So for today I will say Mother Barbara encouraged an entire class of little girls to make art and have fun and I was privileged to have been there at the time.

My family moved around a lot during those post war years, and I was only in her class for about six months before I was on to another school. But the effect upon me of her enthusiasm for color and drawing lasted a lifetime. From grade four on, I always knew I was an artist. A weird artist perhaps. Not a famous artist perhaps. Not the best artist. Better than some and worse than others. But always an artist.

For most of my adult life I have earned my living as an artist and I am eternally thankful for this gift of being able to draw. And it was Mother Barbara who encouraged that class of grade four girls so long ago.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Tuesday Tell All - Albert's Old Shoes

Because of a question posted on CWILL this week about book trailers, I decided to give it a try and see if I could make one. So here is the result! It was a lot of fun to put this together.
Kids love this book about Albert. The story includes playing soccer and one bully named Bill and it has a funny happy ending to satisfy every child.
It is possible to order a copy of Albert's Old Shoes from your local bookstore. If they can't find it listed, you might explain that the book is available from Fitzhenry & Whiteside in Toronto. It was originally a Stoddart/Kids paperback until Fitzhenry & Whiteside took over Stoddart's collection.
Scholastic / Northwinds Press was the publisher of the original hard cover editions.
Stephen Muir is the Author. Mary Jane Muir is the illustrator.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Paper Dolls

It is time I updated this blog. I have been posting mostly at paintingpuppies and I am realizing perhaps I should either give up this blog or pay more attention to it.

My city has been under the weather lately in more ways than one. Too much cold and then too much snow. Now we are warming up and the snow is melting and the rain is beginning to saturate the place. The roads are beginning to look like rivers.

When I was a kid and stuck indoors I loved to play with paper dolls. This may sound strange but back when I was a kid we had to entertain ourselves because there were no computers. So with all this bad weather and not being able to go far for three weeks I have been entertaining myself by reading, watching TV, drawing and painting and writing. Today I made up some paper dolls just for fun.

I have created the files into pdf format but i am not sure how to post a pdf here on the blog. But here is one sheet in jpeg format. I'd be glad to send the pdf through email if anyone wants a copy.

It has been silly but fun. And perhaps it is OK to play once in a while. This is Albert's girlfriend Lolly.