Wednesday, August 27, 2008


why should today be any different from yesterday?
the days i circled the sun
instead of you
was a revolution
without a victory

Robert Mercer, 1972-2007

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


As the WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON deadline closes in, I seem unable to escape my bad habits. I've tried to get on the bike every couple of days and I've eaten so many blueberries (instead of candied ginger) that my blood must be blue hued. But the other day, maybe because I have been painting so many moon scenes I began to crave half-moon cookies:

These are the cookies that I ate in my childhood, bought at the local bakery. Every time my sisters and I return to our childhood home we always indulge in these baked treats, much to the chagrin of our significant others. Full of Crisco and corn syrup, they don't rank high on a gourmet's palate--however mixed with nostalgia, they are delectable.

And they are especially mouth-watering in contemplation. Throughout my entire painting of this picture, I kept thinking about them. You can have one after you finish this, I told myself.

But it was not meant to be. Half-moon cookies are surprisingly difficult to find in my adult locale. Instead, I satisfied myself with a cannoli (which was very good) and the mental promise that once I finish all the paintings I would bake my own half moon cookies. Hey, once I'm finished, you can all have one!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

on my desk

I'm working like crazy on WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON illustrations. I always have about 20 references for one painting--my desk is full of reference and the actual painting just takes a fraction of the desk! For this painting I looked at Chinese roof tiles for designing the circle motifs of the painting border.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Here is the first color painting I've done for WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON. Upon looking at the manuscript, we decided it would be ideal if there were 10 color illustrations...but I need to do them by the end of the month. Yikes! Wish me luck!

I want them all to have this level of detail, though I do think I overworked this one a little. If I have time, I'm going to go back and decrease the contrast of the gate, take the yellow/orange light away from it, make it a bit more monochromatic so it isn't so fussy looking.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


At the start of the summer I had three goals:

1. finish WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON to the highest quality possible
3. be/get healthy

As the summer and deadlines have progressed, I'm forced to concede that that accomplishing all three goals are impossible for me. One goal had to be sacrificed.

My first impulse was to let #3 go. I think that is the impulse that many authors and illustrators have. Exercise, eating right, and living takes time--and some of it not the most enjoyable. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that was the goal that should not be given up. Art is important, my work feeds my soul, but the body needs care as well. If there was anything I learned through Robert's illness is that, as trite as it sounds, if you don't have your health, you don't have anything.

So thus remained #1 and #2. To attempt both would make both works subpar in my eyes, I had to choose. But it was difficult. I loved what I had done so far with WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON, I think it is my absolute best writing to date. I want it to be a book that I would be proud of. A book that, no matter the reviews or criticism, I would know that I did to the best of my ability.

But the YEAR OF THE TIGER called to me as well. For me to get The YEAR OF THE TIGER out in the actual namesake year, I had to have the draft finished by fall--or I could wait another 12 years. The Tiger is my year and the year of the Pacy character of the book. How could I not have a book for it?

Then the word came in that WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON would be printed in color(!), and the choice was made for me. The publisher's gamble of printing full color novel demands the respect of my full attention. THE YEAR OF THE TIGER will have to wait (Sorry, Janet!).

At least, if I keep #3 going, by the time I get to it I will be in good shape.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


At the Salvation Army, I caught sight of these old dry goods storage cannisters. They were rather rusty and dirty and I thought, "I wouldn't keep my flour in that!"

But I changed my mind.