Friday, March 31, 2006

The Third Period

If you have ever wondered what a professional hockey player sees when he looks up from the ice, now you know. This is the scene from the ice only minutes before they dropped the puck at RBC center tonight. And only two hours before the Carolina Hurricanes clinched the Southeast Division title.

Of course I didn’t have skates on tonight, let alone pads. I was in a cap and gown, walking across the ice to receive my diploma after having graduated from Hurricanes University. Good for me!

Ok, the Olympia is coming out to clear the ice. I have to go. It’s been a really fun week but now I need to put hockey aside and welcome back illustration. This week’s Illustration Friday word, Spring. I feel another turtle painting coming on :P
The Second Period

I know I shouldn’t have been so excited. It’s just a locker room. It’s only hockey equipment. . . But I was as excited as a little kid! This was an NHL locker room, and these were Cam Ward’s goalie pads.

The second night of Hurricanes University consisted of an hour in a classroom setting discussing the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Stuff like salary caps and Unrestricted Free Agency.

After class, we went to the Hurricanes locker room where we had a Q&A session with Left Winger Andrew Ladd and Pete Friesen the Head Athletic Therapist/Strength Conditioning Coach. It was cool that Ladd was there because I attended some of the 2004 Draft and by chance was there when he was picked. Pete Friesen was not only incredibly knowledgeable, he was also a hoot!

Also in attendance was a reporter from NPR. He recorded the session for a radio segment they are going to do on the University.

Tonight is Graduation. Booth seats for the Canes vs. Panthers! Plus I have to wear my cap and gown and receive my diploma on ice in front of 14,000 people. OK, that’s a little goofy but still it’s all fun.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

And there’s a break in the action...

OK, this might not be writing or illustrating but it was a once in a lifetime event and too cool not to blog.

Last night I stood between the same pipes where Martin Gerber, Cam Ward, Weekes and Irbe have stood before. Not to mention Ed Belfour, Martin Brodueur, Rick Dipietro, and Dominik Hasek to name a few. The ice; the RBC Center for the Carolina Hurricanes University.

As part of the program we met Chuck Kaiton the voice for the Carolina Hurricanes. From deep inside the RBC Center, Chuck Kaiton gave us a tour of his studio. From there we went upward to the top of the center for a view from the press boxes.

The rest of the night was the on-ice session, running drills and reviewing plays with Carolina coach and former left winger, Jeff Daniels.

At one point I took off my glove and touched the ice. I thought about tasting it but...

: )

Saturday, March 25, 2006


I wish I had more time to devote to this week’s Illustration Friday word, monster ‘cause that’s a word that is right up my alley.

For Christmas I got the book Monster by Frank Peretti. I’m not a quick reader but I’ll tell you what, I devoured that book. My head was in it every night, curled on the couch, the fire blazing (of course, this was pre-anchovy days).

My first encounter with Bigfoot was through a newspaper story my mother clipped for me when I was in elementary school. It was the story of a girl who was lost in the woods. A wild fire spread through the forest and she surely would have perished if not for a hairy creature that placed her on a cliff. At least, that’s how I remember the story.

I read the article on a long car ride home, driving back from a week vacation in a cabin in Vermont. I still remember thinking that it was good that my mother had given the article to me on the way home and not on the way there.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

How Do You Like to Read?

The one thing that is repeated over and over again in the world or authors is, in order to be a great writer you need to be a great reader. I’m not the best reader. I’m slow and get hung up on big words that need sounding out. : )

But I still like to read. Right now I’m about through with the fourth book in the Narnia Chronicles. If I had to guess, I would think they would make this story, Prince Caspian, into the next movie.

Reading is important but how you read is probably just as important. The setting, the atmosphere, the spot if you will, are all part of the reading experience.

I don’t have a reading chair. That’s the one thing missing. I would like to have a big smushy reading chair with an adjustable floor lamp. For now, I use the couch.

It should be night, in the winter, and a real wood burning fire is essential. Pour a short glass of wine, preferably red. Peel back the lid from a can of anchovies and display them on a circle of crackers, and crack open a book.

How Do You Like to Read?

Saturday, March 18, 2006


This is the finished composition for this week’s Illustration Friday word, Feet.

I’m not as happy with it as I am with some of the other Musk paintings.

It’s not the looseness of the painting that I’m unsatisfied with. That went ok. It’s really just the composition. It worked so well in my head but I didn’t really pull it off like I envisioned it.

But I must say, that little turtle is getting his day : )

This week’s Illustration Friday word, Feet gave me the idea for another part of a picture book story I am working on titled "Musk".

It’s not only a picture book that I’m working on, but also a stretch for my style of painting. I’m trying to see how lose I can get. I’m not spending much time on the sketches and I’ve lost the brush entirely, using my fingers to paint.

To be honest, it’s hard to push myself to work this loosely. I have to trust that the picture will come together at the end when my natural instinct wants to know it’s going well right from the sketch. As you can see, this isn’t very impressive.

Here's a link to a complete painting done in this style.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Raleigh Area SCBWI Schmooze

See the lady in the hat. Her name is Leah Palmer Preiss. Leah is an illustrator and was also the presentor at the Raleigh Area SCBWI Schmooze we had last Saturday at the Quail Ridge Books & Music.

I hadn’t met Leah before but was familiar with her work. She had sort of a Blossom thing going on with the crazy hat. I found out later she is known for her collection of crazy hat’s. It was of a releif cause to be honest, I thought her work was almost creepy (in a good way... good creepy :) and was half expecting some goth, Marilyn Manson chick to show up.

Another thing that was pleasantly surprising was how cool her presentation was. I expected she would come and show some illustrations, maybe do a PowerPoint presentation or what-have-you. Instead she played this cool game.

Everyone was given 7 pieces of paper with a word written on it. The words were like: thing, color, shape, change, person, word, idea. . . hmm, there were more but that’s all I can think of right now.

On the back of each paper we wrote something that we thought of when we saw the word. For example, one of my words was ‘change’ so on the back I wrote diaper. I also had ‘color’ so I wrote hot pink. After we wrote our words, we exchanged the 7 papers with someone else. Then we had to arrange the words we were given into a short story. It was so funny to hear what people came up with.

Some of the other people in the photo are Marnie Brooks who teaches a class on writing children’s books at Meredith College. Also, Mary Jane, who is the person who started our local SCBWI group, though she has only been to one meeting :) The other thing in the photo is the soda I brought.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

When I was a “yout”, living back in NY, my friend and I would jump on the Metro North and ride the train to Fordham. There, with our large sketchbooks in hand, we would draw from life the animals of the Bronx Zoo.

I was so into drawing animals in high school that my dream was to become a wildlife artist like the type I would see in the pages of National Wildlife magazine.

This weekend, with kids in tow, I attempted to recreate those days once again. First thing I remembered was that animals, even the sluggish ones, move constantly. I found myself begging, oh please hold that pose one more second. They never listened.

Even the grizzly bear that looked so very content to just sit in the water, would lift his head every few minutes to look around.

The Australia exhibit was new to me. Kangaroos are very cool but they hop about a bit so I had to think gesture drawing.

The bison didn’t move as much but they were way over thar, on the other side of the field. Come over here, I said. The grass is greener! Silly buffalo didn’t listen.

I probably sketched more zebras than any other animal. They didn’t move much, mostly just chewed grass so I was able to get a few nifty angles. Like this head on view.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


The completed painting for the Illustration Friday word, Insect.

click the painting for a larger view.
But First, a Hockey Story

Finally felt well enough after that nasty sickness to get back out on the ice Sunday night. Substituted for an A/B league because their goalie was out with a knee injury.

We tied and the game lasted 6 more shots in a shoot out. The second to last shot went to the right but I thought it was going left. I stopped that puck with my right leg but my left leg still went the other direction.

So now the league curse follows me as I sit here with a leg brace from ankle to thigh due to, you guessed it, a knee injury. Needless to say, I didn’t make the last save.

The good news is I have a really good excuse to get out of housework! I’m taking advantage of that this morning by working on the Illustration Friday word, Insect.

I really wanted to explore a loser style so I cheated a little bit and used the same turtle sketch I used last time. But I flipped him around ;P

There are four steps to creating this painting. The first being the sketch above and the second was the painting. This close up (the bug by the way is in the full composition) shows the third step, the black outline.

For the painting part I went real lose. I just pushed the paint around with my finger. Brushes are so over rated, don’t you think? I still went tight with the black outline, at least at first. Then I couldn’t help but splat the ink. That part was so fun.

This is the full composition. Right now I’m waiting for the black paint to dry. I think it’s about dry and now I can move to the finally step, the scribbling with the colored pencils. More fun!