An art teacher friend of mine just shared with me about this upcoming film titled Loving Vincent. It looks incredible! It is the first full feature oil painted film. Van Gogh's paintings literally come to life! As I understand it, the story revolves around the mystery of his death. This is right down my alley, mystery and paintings..what more could you want. It looks like the movie, at least for now, is only showing at art theaters. I very much hope I can manage to see it. Amazing!
This is an illustration about a boy in Uganda, the first in a series of books for a non profit organization that helps children all over the world. My heart has gotten connected to this little boy working on this project!
Books are here to sign for the upcoming school visit!
A little snippet of a larger project:
I've been able to attend several different writing groups this week and it has been a blast. First was the North Texas SCBWI convention in Addison, Texas and I am so glad I was able to attend this year. Agent, Jamie Weiss Chilton from Andrea Brown Agency, Editor, Brett Duquette from Sterling Publishing, Editor Callie Metler-Smith from Clear Fork Media, and Agent Melissa Edwards from Stonesong were the main speakers. I also heard Kayla Olsen speak, author of Sandcastle Empire. She shared her long journey to publication which was very interesting and heartfelt.
The one speaker that especially stood out for me was Brett Duquette. He emphasized the enjoyment of the writing process. He shared about his mom who wrote with 5 friends every week for years because she loved writing, not with any real intention of ever being published. He also had this great advice for rewriting. He suggested going though and editing one thing at a time. For instance, the first go through might be just looking at the verbs and making sure they are all strong. The next time through might be for the purpose of looking at character development. Next time? Maybe look at sentence structure and patterns.
I also attended a local writing group this week at the library. The group meets once a month and each person's writing is for a different genre. At first, I thought it might not be that beneficial because the others were not writing for children. I loved the diversity, though, and learned from the experience. They meet once a month and I'm hoping to make it again next month.
Another group focusing a lot on writing is a group called WILD, Women in Leadership Development. They meet once a week at my church for six weeks and it has been amazing. It also involves standing and speaking. Ugh! I love speaking to children, but it is definitely a challenge for me to do that with adults. They are wonderful "cheer you on " people so that does make it a little easier.
Attending these groups, hearing speakers, and meeting other writers and illustrators has always helped with honing my craft but this week it has done more. It has forced me to dig deep and find my purpose for writing and reassessing my goals. I feel like I've discovered the heart of my writing and illustration buried under a lot of stuff. I don't write or paint to be published. I write and illustrate to touch people, especially children. It is about the people. At this point, I have not been published by a large company and maybe I never will. I have reached children through the books I've written and illustrated and though it is not huge numbers, each child is significant, each one valuable and precious. Each one is worthy of doing the very best work that I can. Inspiring, teaching, touching the heart is my goal. We are only on this earth for a little while. I want to make sure I am focused on the real deal.
It has been awhile since my last post. My siblings and I were assisting my mom with the care of my dad. He died a week and a half ago at age 91. We were all there with him and all his grandchildren got to see him in the last few weeks of his life. Still recovering and helping my mom pull life back together, we are very thankful for all the good amidst the difficult time seeing my dad with dementia the last several years and many agonizing days watching him slowly stop eating. I love my Dad immensely and so thankful for the promise of being with him again one day.
Now it is time to pick up my projects and paints as I am surrounded by all the beautiful woodworking items he made. He was an artist too although he did not think of himself as such. We actually worked together on ornaments and other items.
Today after church I drove out in the country through several small towns looking at green hills and goats and horses. I watched Miss Potter, the movie about Beatrix Potter after I got back. It was so beautiful and just what I needed to start the week.
This character is a very knowledgable instructor guiding readers through a scientific kind of art activity book. It is a work in progress heading toward the finish line and then to the mail for submissions.
I'm reading a book titled Cultivate by Cageless Birds. It is a very unusual, inspiring book for growing and celebrating your creativity. Beautiful words, photographs, drawings, and paintings fill the pages. The authors define the title as "the process of living from your heart." I love the attitude the authors take about creativity. It goes beyond art. It reminds me of what I love about creating materials for children, that child-like free place to explore, learn, and create honestly and unashamedly. www.cagelessbirds.com
Today my family celebrated my dad's 91st birthday. Yesterday was my mom and dad's 61st wedding anniversary. It is a bittersweet time because my dad has alzheimer's. He was well aware, though that it was his birthday and that we were all there for him. He listened intently to every card read to him. He wanted those cards next to him the rest of the day. We have all spent much time telling him how much we love him and appreciate him, asking him for forgiveness for whatever we feel we need to. Our cards were filled with more words, words of love and gratitude and honor. Words. The words we speak and how we say them are so important. My belief is that the world was created by words. The best selling book of all time records it. As a writer, as a daughter, a wife, parent, friend, my words make a difference in others lives and hearts. I know because I saw it on my dad's face today.