Beautiful natural gothic window to the sky - you can see why medieval craftsman and stained glass artists were inspired by nature. Here some leaves from a tree in Sydney, Australia and here the gorgeous stained glass of Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. Tous les deux, lumineux!
You have to wonder, do trees watch over their branches and leaves?
More of God’s beautiful creativity quietly on show - hydrangeas glowing silently in the shade.
I’ve just had a lovely time celebrating with my publishers, Little Pink Dog Books and Christmas Press, both wonderful Armidale publishers who are doing great things in the Australian publishing world.
Beautiful books were celebrated at The Children’s Bookshop Beecroft, including See Monkey written by Sophie Masson and illustrated by Kathy Creamer, Trish Donald’s Tissywoo and the Worry Monsters, Rebecca Fung’s Princess Hayley’s Comet (illustrated by Kathy Creamer) and Christmas Press’ latest enchanting Christmas offering, A Miniature Christmas.
All good books for Christmas gifts!
It’s that time of year again, when the beautiful, luscious jacaranda flowers bloom… Oh to be a bee, and immerse oneself in the petals and clouds of purple, pink and blue.
The 100th Anniversary of the Armistice of WWI, reminded me of a beautiful poem by Christina Rossetti, titled ‘Remember’. I referenced this poem in a ballet of the same name, which I choreographed many years ago on the themes of war, love and loss.
May all those who died, rest in peace in God’s loving arms.
And here is the poem:
By Christina Rossetti
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
I’ve just taken part in a wonderful travel sketch class with artist Sheila Posner at Gallery 307 in Sydney and picked up some great tips. Of course, there was no ‘teleporting’, so we worked today from some of Sheila’s many trip photos, imagining (longing..) being there.
I’ve wanted to loosen up my work a bit and have more confidence when drawing en plein air, and especially with adding loose washes.
Sketching/painting ‘on the run’ is a no-holds barred way of creating art - really anything goes, but it’s good to know what works well.
Remember, what you’re creating is not a photograph so you don’t need to include every detail - feel free to edit as you go! Sheila prefers a non-waterproof ink pen as she enjoys the spontaneity of ink runs and it’s really quite liberating. She also recommends jotting written notes on the image - whether it’s the location, the country, the time of day, what you had for lunch… Any other thought bubble at the time of creating the image. All of these things will help to ‘bring back the moment’ later.
What a great way to document a trip, with a visual travel diary. Am definitely inspired to do more!
This one’s from Spain.
I had a great time interviewing talented author/illustrators Aura Parker and Jules Faber at the Illustrator Spotlight Panel, during the recent CBCA Northern Sydney Sub-branch meeting on Wednesday 8 August.
I was able to tease out some fascinating facts about their backgrounds and development as artists and their varied experiences working in the children’s publishing industry. The audience were enthralled by their quite different approaches in creating their illustrations in particular.
Who knew that Jules Faber developed his techniques in his early years at such unusual venues as nightclubs and weddings, and that he is soon to have his very own ‘Jules Font’!
I had a myriad of questions ready to ask, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough time for everything. My last question was what do they do when disaster strikes, and it was reassuring to know that these two talented artists can make mistakes and it is what they do to avert disaster which makes them the professionals that they are…
We also had time for some ‘Book Babies’, including mine!
A wonderful night was had by all.
Had a great time at St Kevin's Primary School, Dee Why on 8 August. Presented to two groups of lovely students, Years 3 and 5. We had fun exploring Paris in 1910 with Jack of Spades (Sophie Masson, Christmas Press) and went flying into space with The Fastest Ship in Space (Pamela Freeman, Second Look Publishing).
I was part of a small group of authors and illustrators presenting to the school including Jan Latta, Belinda Murrell, Jules Faber, Brydie Wright and Anne Donnelly.
Found myself recently at Angel Place, Sydney in the gorgeous laneway, with evocative art installation 'Forgotten Songs' by Michael Thomas Hill. For me, it's such a special place - a place to look up, listen, imagine and wonder... And it's also a reminder that a bird flying free is a beautiful thing....
Michael's work commemorates the songs of fifty birds once heard in central Sydney, before they gradually moved away due to European settlement. There's a detailed explanation on the City of Sydney Council website explaining the story behind the artwork and the creative team who put it together - truly an 'audio-visual' feast.
As Michael puts it: the work invites 'contemplation of the city's past, its underlying landscape, and the sustainability issues associated with increased urban development.' It really is an 'interplay of past and present'.
The birds call as you move down the laneway - and the calls change whether it is daytime or at night. Don't forget to look down as well - there are plaques in the stone work naming the featured birds.
Here's my illustration entry for the recent New England Writers' Centre Illustration Prize Competition, on the theme of 'A Fun Day Out'. The brief was to create an illustration suitable for a children's picture book.
On Saturday 30 June at The Children's Bookshop Beecroft, a fun double-book launch took place hosted by wonderful Paul Macdonald. This featured a new edition of The Fastest Ship in Space by Pamela Freeman, for which I created the illustrations, and The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock by debut author (and Pamela's husband) Stephen Hart, with illustrations by Kathy Creamer.
A great turn out was on hand to hear Cassandra Gold's beautiful words launch Stephen's time-slip novel, followed by Christmas Press Publisher Sophie Masson's launch of Pamela's exciting space novel.
Today I had the pleasure of presenting at an inner city Sydney school, Bridge Road School, which is doing wonderful things for local K-6 kids.
I was appearing as a Books in Homes Role Model as a writer/illustrator at their Book Giving Assembly and had fun showing the students some of my illustrations, especially those inspired by books. Then, it was time to help hand out the wonderful bags of brand new books organised by Books in Homes and their program sponsor, and to see the excited children exploring what was inside their own bag.
Fostering a love of reading and books is a gift for life!
Pelting rain, hail, thunder and lightning (and even a wayward pigeon) did not dampen the spirits and excitement of the students at St Joseph's. Part of a group of fellow CBCA writer members, it was a treat to present at this school near the beach and I enjoyed explaining my illustration process for Sophie Masson's spy novel, Jack of Spades. The girls and boys were wonderfully responsive and engaged, as was evidenced by the enthusiastic line queueing afterwards for book sales!
Both Jack of Spades and the new edition of The Fastest Ship in Space by Pamela Freeman, were snapped up by eager readers.
Bienvenue à Sydney! Wonderful to see the gorgeous The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries being exhibited at the AGNSW. I've now had the joy and privilege of seeing them three times over the past 30 years or so, twice at the fascinating Musée de Cluny in Paris. Great to linger again and admire the intricate details and amazing 3D effects incorporated into the design and weave. Such craftsmanship for the medieval age...
I love the detailed plants and the creatures, especially the collection of rabbits, many of them with personalities and emotions.
Come along to the launch of The Fastest Ship in Space, at The Children's Bookshop Beecroft on Saturday 30 June 4.00pm. It's going to be a fun double book launch with The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock and a chance to meet authors Pamela Freeman and Stephen Hart, along with illustrators myself and Kathy Creamer.
Very excited to announce that the new edition of Pamela Freeman's middle-grade novel The Fastest Ship in Space has gone to the printers and will be released shortly! I created the cover and internal illustrations for this wonderful action packed adventure story.
So thrilled to announce that I've recently signed a contract with Armidale Publisher Little Pink Dog Books to create a wonderful new picture book Lola and Grandpa with author Ashling Kwok. Already having fun brainstorming my illustrations! Visit www.LIttlePinkDogBooks.com for more information.
Very excited to announce that a brand new edition of Pamela Freeman's adventure novel, The Fastest Ship in Space is soon to be released in May. I've created the front cover and internal illustrations for this fun middle-grade novel. Here's a sneak preview of one of my images!
Sophie Masson's blog, Feathers of the Firebird features a post written by me today, in her new series called '2017 Book Discovery'.
I discovered a fascinating book this year, Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson, a gripping read about real-life modern day divers, who are passionate to the point of obsession, about undersea diving and searching for sunken treasure.
I love to travel and enjoy reading travel memoirs from exotic locations, so Pirate Hunters was the perfect book to take away with me on a recent beach holiday. I gazed out to sea and imagined what sunken galleons and buried history might be waiting to be discovered...