Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Old Books

Prismacolor colored pencil on Strathmore Charcoal paper. "Pottery Green"

“It is a good rule after reading a new book, 
never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” 

— C.S. Lewis

I love old books, so when I saw this week's topic on Illustration Friday, "worn", I had to look no further than the bookshelf next to my desk. I've always liked how these four looked together, in their green and blue covers. I might have gone overboard using the grey-green paper, but I like how their faded covers sort of fade into the paper.

I've drawn books before (here) and I always have a grand time doing them. I've thought about doing a series, but I'm a big fan of artist Jane Mount's book series, and worry that I'm not being original—not that my work is all that similar to hers. I guess it's time to re-read this wonderful little book that I have,  Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. It's enlightening, inspiring, and great fun to read.

Speaking of books, I mentioned in a recent post that I'm going to visit the home of Beatrix Potter on my upcoming trip to England. Well, in my travel planning, I somehow neglected to see that her house isn't open on Fridays...the day I'll be there. Grrr. I tried to console myself with the fact that there will be a smaller crowd and I can still see the outside and the gardens. But what really cheered me up was the fact that, a few minutes later, I got the last online reservation for one of the infrequent tours of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and the tour includes going into the not-usually open-to-the public Radcliffe Camera.  (I'm such a library geek.) And when I read the description of the exhibition that's on while I'm there, I forgot all about Beatrix and her not-open-on Fridays abode. Check out the amazing exhibition here.

I'll be back home on July 13, so I hope to give you a full report!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Children: Works-in-Progress

For the first week of summer break from my job as a substitute elementary school teacher, Illustration Friday decides on the topic, children. There's no escaping the little darlings, it seems.

Not surprisingly,I decided on a botanical interpretation—my potted succulent, Echeveria, commonly called "Hen and Chicks".  Doing a bit of research online, I found this description which made me chuckle as I thought of my own adult children:

"The plant’s well-known common name, Hen and Chicks, was derived from the vegetative offsets, or new plants that mature Echeveria will produce. The mature plant, the hen, develops numerous offsets, chicks, which surround the mature plant until the offsets are mature enough to support themselves.  In nature, the offsets break away from the hen once they are mature, but they can also be pulled or cut off and transplanted....  The hen actually benefits from the removal of offsets since much of its energy is used to supporting the chicks."

As often happens when I'm drawing, I realized that I liked the look of the work-in-progress, with parts left unfinished.  So, I decided to post this as it is. After all, doesn't the beauty of children (and maybe the occasional frustration, if we're being honest) arise from the fact that they're "unfinished" works?

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts as to whether you find unfinished work interesting or frustrating. As for your thoughts about whether you find children interesting or frustrating, let's save that discussion for another time—it is my summer break, you know.