Competition Cat

Last weekend I attended a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference in Birmingham, Alabama. This meeting was designated as Writing and Illustrating for Kids (WIK).

As the event draws to a close the prompt for the following year’s competition is announced. In 2013 the illustrators received their information: “Look out P.J. it’s a……” The artist fills in the blank and completes an image to enter.

I thought that I would like to use a flying cat since I had 2 models sleeping in my studio.  With the main character being a cat, the word feline seemed to be an appropriate part of the sentence. With dictionary open on my computer I began to look up science terms. Well, why not work with alliteration as one does in children’s literature. Back to the science terms under the letter F.

“Look out P.J. it’s a flyby feline fission flux.” These are all science terms that could pertain to space.

The Steampunk look was on my mind so off I went. Alli was on the floor stretching beside my chair.

Steampunk Alli sketch.
Steampunk Alli sketch.

Now who would P.J. be? Hmmm, who would be afraid of a flying Steampunk cat? Steampunk mice of course.

Steampunk mice.
Steampunk mice.

Some positioning thoughts.

How do cats fly?
How do cats fly?
How do mice look afraid of flying cats?
How do mice look afraid of flying cats?

One of my favorite tools is the white gel pen. Probably one of the simplest materials to use. It is basically a white ball point pen that is opaque enough to write on paint. On a blue background it would be fun to emulate a blueprint. What could be drawn? Buildings, machines? Oh, flying machines of course.

Flying machine sketches.
Flying machine sketches.
Acrylic on 18" x 24" cold press 140lb. watercolor paper
Acrylic on
18″ x 24″ cold press 140lb. watercolor paper

Everybody and everything is in its place. However, it is looking very flat. I took a photo of the art and opened it in Photoshop. This piece was going to be submitted on line and 8″ x 10″ prints were going to be mailed so the actual painting would never be seen. Now P.J. joins the ranks of digital art.

With shadows and enhancements added digitally.
With shadows and enhancements added digitally.

It neither won nor placed, but I am happy with the outcome. In my quirky art world cats fly, mice shriek in horror, and flying machines frequent the skies. I may be a little too edgy for children’s books. Part of my mission in attending the conference was to see if I could find the right fit for my artwork in the illustration business. I have not found it yet, but “this too will be revealed.”

 

 

Reflections through affirmations


This photo may look like the last entry with notebook, etc. I have added a collection of affirmation cards. Positive reflections for daily thoughts. A way to remember all of the things we need to remember to feel confident and ready “to take on the world.” Little black cards with swirly illustrations and longhand notes to myself. Ah ha the favorite white gelly roll pen steps in again, that pen always makes it fun.

Another new computer


I am preparing some pieces for a few upcoming shows. The need for frames and the expense of frames made me put the creative juices in action. Sometimes that leads to a diversion from the point. The point here is to finish the paintings so somebody could purchase one for a gift and not have to worry about how it should be framed or hung. While purusing Amazon for ideas I came upon Frame It! by Tonia Davenport. She has wonderful ideas for untraditional frames. I have combined a few and have come up with somethings that work. These are some of my acrylic and white gelly roll pen pieces on black paper in their new frames. Animal Magnet, mixed media, 8″x 9″ on the left and Blue Birds, also mixed media, 12″x 10.5″ on the right.
P.S. My new computer’s power button stopped working. The manufacturer would not repair only replace. So here I am reloading everything back in the computer, all of the software, artwork, photos, printers, ugh. Not again!
All artwork is the property of Beth Crews Rommel and may not be reproduced without her written consent.

Spare me



The lack of a/c in our house especially in my studio is giving everything a heavy feel. Clothes feel heavy, food feels heavy, dark paintings feel heavy, paint feels heavy. The spare lines from the weekend sketches at Lake Eola are what I am feeling today. The man’s profile and the woman and her camera, quick gesture type drawings with a brown gelly roll pen…still love those things. So spare us the Florida heat without air conditiong. This reminds me of the post I made right after the lightning strike. It went something like this…at least we have electricity and therefore air conditioning unlike the days following the hurricanes of years past. Spare me.

Love those "gelly rolls"



After reading several blogs and seeing the daily painting idea come up several times I have decided to give it a try. I was looking for small pieces of illustration board when I found some layout board from long past days as a graphic designer. Yes, the old cut and paste grids. After a coat of grey gesso the board had some tooth and body. I painted in a loose floral and some blue birds. This was something I could see outside my studio window. After the paint had dried I went in with a black gelly roll pen and did some line work for definition. This is the part I like the most, decorating the piece.