Friday, April 13, 2012

Art Thief

This is my cat Dino, who enjoys keeping me company while I illustrate. Although sometimes I think he becomes irritated when I am working instead of paying attention to him- as was the case shortly after I snapped this photo. I went to the kitchen for a few minutes and when I returned my illustration was... MISSING. I spent an hour looking for it, until I was convinced that either I had gone mad, or a thief came in my house for two minutes, and my unfinished illustration was the only thing they stole. Turns out the thief was my cat, who pushed it off the drafting table and hid it under a shelf on the other side of the room (where I am sure he was hoping it would stay.) I took this picture because I thought he was so sweet watching me work, but now I know he was actually plotting. In the future I will have to tape my work to the desk if I want to take a break.


This was a fun personal project to work on for my three year old niece Jade. The letters sat in my studio for a few months, but once my sister and I painted her walls with "Pluto" (from the Disney paint collection at Home Depot) and pulled some other colors and decorating elements into the room, I knew exactly what to do to with them. The twigs and leaves are paper bags and newspapers painted with watercolors, and the little birds I (carefully!) cut from a Mary Blair painting that I printed off of my computer.

Girls, Inc.

This Girls, Inc. project is one of three that was commissioned through the Sioux City Art Center for a public works fundraiser. I was honored that the director of Girls, Inc. personally requested me, and I was filled with excitement when she took me on a tour of the building and I was able to meet so many of the girls and see all of the activities they were involved in. I love Girls, Inc. and what they do, and it was personal because I have my own great memories of spending time there as a child.

This is one of the biggest challenges I have ever had in illustrating. There were so many things I wanted to express about all the things Girls, Inc. stands for, and I wanted to do it in the most simple and powerful way possible... and I wanted it to be beautiful. I went through lots and lots of awful sketches before the idea finally came to me. I have always been a fan of silhouette art, and decided to incorporate that into the pieces by taking side profile photos of eighteen of the girls at Girls, Inc. (they were more than eager to volunteer for me.) Every single silhouette was unique, and that was the theme of my paintings for them- that every young woman is unique and beautiful. The tree in the paintings represents their strength as a group, and unifies them. I am so proud of how they resulted, and that I found a way to make it personal- the director was able to identify every girl in the painting just from the silhouette, and of course the girls were thrilled to look and find themselves.

This photo was taken about 6am, after being up all night finishing details on the larger one. The 30"x30" hangs inside the building and the 4'x4' painting is located...