Yay! My first "showing" in Atlanta after being here almost a year... it went up last week at the San Francisco Coffee Shop in the Virginia Highlands. It's a great coffee house in a great area of town, a high-traffic place, so hopefully I will do well. I have about 35 pieces up now and will have about seven to eight more in the next few weeks (the cost of extra frames/mats for this starving artist is holding me back!) I am hoping to sell a few pieces but even if I don't, the exposure is wonderful. If you're in the Atlanta area and would like to check it out, it runs the whole month of April, and it's located at 1192 N. Highland Ave.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
The story on this one is fairly simple... a few years ago when looking for a book or a poem to illustrate, I remembered a song that I liked as a child called "The Teddy Bear's Picnic". I decided that it would make an excellent children's book (and I still do, whenever I get the time to develop it more) so I filled up several pages of my sketchbook with teddy bear studies. When looking back over them last weekend, this one popped out at me... I decided that it was sweet enough to deserve an illustration by itself! Wanting to keep with the "worn out old teddy" look, I wanted to keep away from all bright colors. I colored the background in marker with different shades of light browns and then used subtle color with pencils over the top... and this is the result!
It's no big surprise where I got my inspiration for this one... my favorite stories are the ones written by L. Frank Baum about the Land of Oz. There were fourteen books in all, and I checked them out one by one from the library as soon as I was old enough to read on my own. I loved the characters so much and I greatly admired the illustrator of the books, Jon R. Neill. I spent hours studying his drawings and trying to draw just like him in my notebooks and on half finished homework assignments.
I've had the idea several times as an adult to do "my take" on the classic story and characters in an illustration, but I just couldn't get it right. Jon R. Neill did it so perfectly already... that made it more of a challenge for me, to use my own style instead of copying his drawing like I did as a child. So instead of trying to draw all four characters in a scene from the story (the Lion always gives me trouble!) I decided to take one, the Tinman, and make him the star of this drawing. This isn't a scene from anywhere in the book, but I always remembered the part of the book where Frank Baum wrote that the Tinman would walk so carefully down the yellow brick road and would cry at stepping on even the tiniest of creatures. Even without a heart he was kind to every living thing, and I guess that struck a chord in me. I also loved adding the poppies- I don't know if it's because they played a part in this story or because they're just beautiful, but they have always been one of my favorite flowers (so I always enjoy putting them in my art!) Lastly, this was just one more piece that allowed me to play around with color. Green has always been my favorite color (guess why!) and so it was fun to combine the yellow greens and blue greens and emeralds in this piece. It turned out better than I had planned in my head... and it gave me a little more inspiration to do an illustration with all of them in it!