Character Development Project

As a student at UCLA in film writing something an instructor said stuck with me, "complex characters, simple plot." To achieve this takes some hacking ... lots of sketching, notes, observing in ways I normally do not. 

All of that is well and good, but let's add a couple of twists. It's an animal. An animal not well understood or socially accepted as a house pet. A rabbit. Rabbits who live on farms, in the wild, in Beatrice Potter's books. And a rabbit who is like a dog and cat in one. Who will not accept a mate because he's decided on the human equivalent, who sleeps in the bed and is perfectly polite about toilet habits. And much more.

To do this would take daily work for awhile. Lots of content that could be trashed, an MD notebook in storyboard form and the motivation of a community doing 100 drawings. A hundred drawings is about right. 

At the moment I've created 60 with 40 to go and it's been a learning process for sure. It's challenging not to take it to the fantasy realm - high concept and fictional. The way I've handled that is to carve away at a characteristic with many scenes until I capture a real quality about his character. 

Looking forward to pulling it altogether into a book. To see it in process you can see it here. Or see it as a gallery here

Randall Children's Hospital Installation

The thought that something I made is bringing a bit of color to the lives of children in the hospital gives me a lot of joy. It keeps me painting. But these things rarely happen with the wave of wishful wand. I think the story is a good one, so I wanted to share.

I met a woman some years back who was going through a divorce and decided to start a new business. What I admired most in this sparkly and strong person was how she faced loss and decided to surf it all the way. In painters terms this would be scraping the canvas to its essential material. Then, bravely...(often shakily) splashing on that first layer of color with a sense of abandon and curiosity. She chose me to create her new brand. As I did her head shots in a local wine bar (she made it easy with her natural beauty) and worked with her on her copy we got to know one another a bit. One day while she visited me at home, I shared with her about a new series I was doing in a studio class: The Girl Series. It was about missing information from childhood and longings in adulthood. When she saw Girl on Haystack she wrote me a check then and there and that was that. It was instant for her. She needed something from that painting.

I have this weird psychology that doesn't allow me to like my paintings at first. I was still in that stage when she bought it. I've learned since to never sell a painting in that stage. It's like taking insurance money while still in shock. You lose. But in this case it was a lucky call. She paid me well and the painting truly served her. 

Now it's serving sick children in an otherwise not so cheery space. She made this happen. The business she created at the time she purchased the art took her to a job serving this hospital. She is dialed in and I am honored. The feedback is coming in that it is lifting spirits already. So glad.

I'm thinking about ways to get more of my art into environments of healing. Color has this way of speaking a language straight to the heart. And color is why I paint. 

See... wasn't that a good story?

Summer Creativity

What I love about the summer heat is painting... well, everywhere! It can be a little random considering the variety of choices. Watercolor at a cafe early in the morning as the sun comes up at 5:30 a.m.? Or order two cups of coffee and paint with one, skip the cup of water for dipping? And then what about breakfast? Consider the many types of breakfasts possible with all the fresh fruit and vegetables. But what I get a kick out of is the yoga that happens organically from painting large (and in charge? ha! not really) on the floor. 

This has been a year of deep and wide organization and the new website and brand is part of the outcome of digging through the piles of digital dust and art in pockets, containers and vessels all over the place. Years of mining and deciding what matters not, what might matter later to keep and what might matter later but isn't in line with goals and so it goes. I'm still deep into it. Finding half written children's stories and business ideas such as The Half Sandwich shop (if we can mix and match ice cream why not 1/2 sandwiches? Besides how many times do you just eat 1/2 of the sandwich?) and piles of sketches, old novels, scripts and more. It's endless. What keeps me going is the vision of a light and airy creative summer. 

Summer can be that way. I remember it well as a child. Sun, water and suntans - wet dogs and the smells of food cooking, swimming until toes are soggy and hair is turning green. 

Summer is a good vitamin. I would love to hear about your creative summer thoughts and plans. 

A Wee Bit Obsessed with My iPad

Digital art isn't a direction I would have normally taken. But often the day is so packed it's all I get into the day. It's very relaxing. Like a nice glass of wine and good slippers. 

And more than that I have found a new freedom in the fast action of scribbling on glass. You can add as many layers as you like, so if you don't like something you just add another layer and in the end negotiate which you keep and which goes. Much like collage or layering an oil painting with gesso when you aren't into what's happening. 

As I opened up to the medium more and more using the Apple pencil and Sketches app on my iPad I thought about a children's book conference I had been to when an editor from Penguin Group showed a digital illustration and an analog one. He asked us to guess which is which. And we got it wrong 8 times out of 10. Then I saw Hockney's iPad work. I don't love all of it and I'm not a jewel tone type. But there really is a backbone to this medium. And the prints can be huge without losing resolution. Not to mention that when you are on an airplane you don't have to bother the flight attendants with requests for water to dip the brush or worry about spilling it on your neighbor. 

My art printing rep who licenses my work requested mostly the iPad abstracts. I'm in. I'm still growing from the medium though I have a bias towards the physically made works. I'll see where this goes.