This is where I usually work:
But for the next few days I'll be working about a hundred yards from this spot:
I'm heading up to Monhegan Island, off the coast of Maine, for a family vacation. There are no paved roads, only a few cars, beautiful views in every direction, hiking trails, and everywhere you go, artists are painting. It's a very inspirational place.
We went to Monhegan for a few days last summer, and just like this summer, I had a book due in August. So I set up a makeshift studio on the deck of the house where we were staying. And while other artists painted seascapes and landscapes and sunsets, I painted an illustration of knights riding into battle, for Iron Hans.
We're staying in the same house this summer, so if the weather's nice, I'll spend some time painting on the deck, working on an illustration for Lady Liberty. I also plan to spend a few hours working on my snowflake for Robert's Snow 2007. If you're not familiar with Robert's Snow, it's a wonderful program set up by author-illustrator Grace Lin, where hundreds of illustrators design their own snowflake ornament, and all the ornaments are auctioned off in December to raise money to help cure cancer. Here's my snowflake from the most recent Robert's Snow.
This year, I'm going to paint my snowflake on Monhegan. Maybe the view from the deck, maybe I'll wander around a bit and find some different view to paint. I like the idea of someone putting this ornament up on their Christmas tree on a cold winter day, knowing that it was painted on a beautiful sunny day on an island in Maine.
Anyway, here goes. This is what the snowflake looks like now. That's a 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper, just to give you a sense of scale:
My first step is to paint it with a couple coats of Gesso. For those of you who don't know what Gesso is, it's basically just cheap white acrylic paint. Here it is after the Gesso:
Now I'll pack it up, and take it to the island. I'll take pictures as I'm working on it, and post it once I'm back from Monhegan. We have no electricity there, so no blogging from the island.