I just now sent pdfs of the FINAL art to my editor in San Diego before shipping the art off to New York. It is a good thing I live in the middle of the country where I can easily communicate with both coasts. My summer was spent painting the illustrations for a story written by Mem Fox which will be published next fall with Beach Lane Books. You will hear more about it as that time draws near...
I also spent the summer painting large sets for Circus Juventas' summer show, "GRIMM, Happily Ever After". From castles to cottages, gypsy wagons to tree stumps; all were needed to transport performers and audience into a magical, fairytale world and my brushstroke is apparent on almost every wall. I also write the script for the show and my son Cooper performs with the other amazing kids who dangle and swing from the air or leap 30 feet onto the shoulders of another waiting below. Truly it astounds me, which is why I keep doing it every year. I am already beginning on the script for next summer's show!
With a literary theme like the Brothers Grimm, I was able to link up Circus Juventas with our wonderful local bookshop, The Red Balloon for a Circus Event. For the first time in the store's history there were contortionists, jugglers, unicyclists, and chair-stackers performing, and of course Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm to lead the way. Whenever I do an event at the Red Balloon Bookshop, I get the honor of painting their window. This summer's image was a hats off to GRIMM and was inspired by the circus paintings of some of my favorite artists. Look closely and you will see references to Picasso, Chagall, and Seurat.
Like fellow Potato, David LaRochelle, I was honored to be "Author of the Day" at the Alphabet Forest~ a wonderful haven for literacy created by the author, Debra Frasier, at the Minnesota State Fair. Celebrating my book, FOLD ME A POEM, written by Kristine O'Connell George, I spent 8 hours folding origami animals with Fair visitors- and since everything at the fair is on a stick, we put our origami on a stick, which made for some very fun puppet shows!
And one of my favorite memories of this past summer was a gathering of six of us potatoes in Maryland for a SCBWI conference that kept us all busy sharing our experiences and creative spirits with attendees as well as with each other. I was fortunate to travel with both David LaRochelle and John Coy to and from Maryland and let me tell you... if you ever need help getting through the red-tape and chaos of an airport in bad weather, bring John Coy along~ what a master communicator!
It hardly feels like summer is truly over, though I hear we are supposed to go below freezing tonight, thus I better cover my tomatoes! Yes... I found time to garden too, though the weeds have more energy than me!