Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pre-Show Prep

Hi all!   It's a busy, busy time right now.  Open Studio Hartford is November 12-13.  Finders Keepers starts December 1st.  And there's a WeHa Artists' Emporium Pop-Up Show on Dec. 10 - 11th.  All of this means there's a lot to organize, prep, package, make signs for, write press releases for, and a whole bunch of other things.

Here's a peek at some of the art I've been working on for these events.

Bear Rocks                  2016                   j.c.phillipps
 Bears!  There have been a lot of bear sightings in West Hartford this past year.  They seem to be coming in off the mountain a little more.  They've inspired me.  I've made a series of bear rocks, and I just started a series of collages called Bear Sightings where bears have wandered into town and they're just sorta living an everyday life.  (Below) This one is my favorite so far, Bear Sighting: Pool.

Bear Sighting: Pool              2016               j.c. phillipps

I have been bagging card sets and prints.

And I made a bunch of softies.  I made the usual characters from my books (Wink, Monkey Ono, Dizzy and Rocco), but this year I expanded and just started making whatever I wanted.  I made some teddy bears, a sloth, a sheep, a snail, a robber, a fox.  They're not cost effective by any stretch of the imagination but they're fun!

Various Softies                                 j. c. phillipps

This year I'm trying something new.  I was playing with my art gum eraser one day and molding it into faces and I thought, These look kinda cool.  So I bought some small canvases (3" x 3") and made a bunch of tiny clay faces.  I glued them onto the canvas, painted them, then added a protective gloss coating.  I think they're kinda cool.  We'll see if they sell though.  Sometimes my experiments can't find homes.  They're the lonely orphans of my imagination.

In addition to all of this, I am actively looking for a new literary agent and submitting some picture book projects to publishers that do not require an agent to submit. There's a ton of research and prep that goes into every one of those submissions.

So, I'm keeping pretty busy these days. 

Thanks so much for stopping by!
I hope you're all enjoying Autumn.  It's my favorite month and the colors up here are glorious!


Monday, October 10, 2016

Night Fall 2016

Night Fall is a newer Hartford tradition.  I think it started about four years ago by a wonderful artist, Anne Cubberly.  If you want to know more about it and her, read this. http://www.courant.com/hartford-magazine/people/hc-hm-anne-cubberly-profile-20160924-story.html  Anyhoo, it's a wonderful visual performance with costumed players, music, and giant puppets.  So ... right up my alley.

Here's Magoo doing a little reading before showtime.  Night Fall takes place in rotating parks each year.  This year, it was close to home.  People bring their own chairs or blankets.  I knew if we wanted a decent seat that we needed to be there an hour early, thus, book.

There are characters that work the crowd before the show.  Here's a bird meeting some young audience members.

When night falls (there's your title right there, folks) the show begins.  This year the theme was Differences, and that was evident in the performances.  In the shot below, a group of woodland creatures and insects are having their picture taken, on the photographer wants to separate the mammals from the bugs.  All the critters keep having to fight and trick to stay together.

Here the Rain Goddess (I don't know if that's what she's actually called, but that's what I got from her) is dancing with her rain drops.

And my favorite, the giant monkeys!  I'm not 100% sure what was happening in their sketch, but they're loads of fun.

I have to confess, we didn't stay for the whole thing.  It started to rain and we didn't have the car, so Magoo and I took off a bit early.  Still, it was a wonderful thing to see and I'm so thrilled to live in a place where fantastic community events are created and shared.

Thanks so much for stopping in!
Hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Writing Narratives at Bowers School

I'm back at Bowers!  Yay!  Bowers Elementary School in Manchester, CT is this really wonderful school that had me come in for four days last year to talk about building characters.  I was able to spend time with each and every classroom and really enjoyed the teachers and students.  It was a wonderful school visit.  And - lucky me - they invited me back this year for another four days!

This time I am talking about writing narratives.  Yesterday was presentation day.  I did one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  I work really hard on building my presentations.  I try to pack a lot of good info in there, but I also want the students to participate.  It's less like a lecture and more like a big group workshop.  (Above) I put some games in the presentation too.  Here, I'm asking for volunteers to join me on stage.

I also did some classroom workshops with the first graders.  For the younger students, I wanted them to start thinking about moments in their lives that they associated with big emotions, because a strong emotion is usually linked to something that would make a good personal narrative story.

Then we looked at one of Mo Willem's Elephant & Piggie books, because the way Mr. Willems draws emotions is SO PERFECT!  He's a master of it.  We looked at pictures and I got the kids focused on the shape of the eyebrows and the mouth, and if the chin was tilted up or down.  We talked about how we knew what the characters were feeling even if they weren't saying anything because of their expressions.

Then I lead them through an exercise where made an emotion reference sheet.  (Because when the little ones write stories, they draw them too.)  Now, when the time comes for them to work on stories and draw themselves, they can look back on how they drew different emotions.

We did happy, sad, angry, surprised, confused, and proud.  And they did such a GOOD JOB!  I could have shown you fifty of these - they were so fun!

I'm back at Bowers today, doing more emotions and working with the third graders on creating endings for their stories.

Thanks so much for stopping by!