Darwin Romps

darwin, inspiration, mud pup, sketches, watercolor

I am doing a MAJOR update on my website, where my blog post images are the highlight of the front page of my website. This will keep you up to date on the latest things I am making, whether it is painting, drawing, knitting, collage, or moments from teaching.

I realized though that this wonderful sketch of Darwin, created in November 2013, has yet to grace the internets. Here he is!

Darwin Romps

Groupmuse: Sketches from a quartet concert

fine art, groupmuse, Uncategorized, watercolor

At the beginning of December, I enjoyed an intimate quartet concert at a friend’s apartment. I was thrilled to be able to paint the musicians while they played. The observation experience parallels the observation experience I had during last semester at Mass Art in my Art Education program.

I was transfixed by the immediacy of the performance, and the intensity of the songs and musicians. These four images are my results.

Groupmuse01

Groupmuse02

 

 

 

 

 

 

Groupmuse04

Groupmuse03

You can also find these images, plus an artist book, and more paintings, on my Fine Art portfolio page!

 

Self Portraits, long overdue

acrylic, fine art, oils

Last summer, I began embarking in my fine-art career once again. I started with self portraits, glazing oils on top of acrylic monochromatic underpaintings.

I got really into my underpainting for one of my self portraits, so that piece was left unfinished, in a sense. I moved on to a second portrait where I did glaze oils on top. What a nice change it has been to play with oil paint again! I can’t wait to do so again soon:

NG_Self_Oil_0613

NG_Self_Acrylic_0613

Before painting these portraits, I began with a simple pear still life. As well as a tomato, painted on masonite board. Pear painting to come, but here is a snapshot of the tomato (4×6″ approximately):

2013-03-03 15.50.12

The hardest part

Uncategorized

Is the start of the project.

I have a very cool project starting with Charlesbridge Publishing. After several years of making opportunities for myself – searching for independent authors or publishers who were looking for illustrators for their words – someone contacted me for my illustrations. And I am so excited that one of my favorite publishers will be my first big break into the business.

But I am writing this post about the hardest part of the process – the start. Envisioning the project can be both exciting – imagining that final product on the shelves of bookstores nationwide! – but it is also the most daunting. How will I decide how to tell this story through my images? Is this the best way to do so? What am I missing?

It’s difficult bringing other people’s words to life, but I find I enjoy it as much as I do creating my own unique characters. My challenge is to infuse a bit of myself into someone else’s vision, our visions becoming one. Usually, I’ve worked alongside my author, hearing their praises or concerns throughout the process. This time, I am dealing with the Art Director, a role I once saw myself in at a startup company, and one that I’ve always been drawn to. This person is going to fuse author and illustrator visions together in a way I haven’t experienced yet in my years in this business.

It’s really, really scary.

I have to keep telling myself, they chose me for a reason. They like my style, and they believe in me (“They” being the art directors, who might be scary in my mind, but who I know to be very kind, wonderful ladies). But there’s that voice of doubt that still tells me, you’re going to screw this up.

This is a voice I am very used to. It has been with me since I was a child. And I see it in the students I work with. Envisioning the potential for one’s work is the most daunting, exhilarating feeling possible, and the best part is, we get to feel this feeling time and time again throughout our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, the most difficult part for a child, or an adult artist, is starting. And envisioning that shiny finished piece of artwork on display for everyone to admire. But as an art educator, I have the double duty of being an artist who deals with the same struggles of my students, and then the teacher who shares that experience with her students and takes her own advice.

So I say to my students, and I say to myself:

Bare with the process. Do you want your work to look good now, or later? Keep pushing through, this is just the beginning.

This is just the beginning.

Image

preliminary sketch of a chimney swift bird, trying to get the proportions and unique characteristics of the bird and bird’s nest

New Year, new pictures

children's illustration, family, freelance, watercolor

A few new illustrations for the start of 2014.

Due to a recent wrist injury, and school, I was limited in terms of making art. But I’m finally back to myself again!

In honor of my work at Brookline Arts Center, I worked on the next year annual campaign imagery entitled “Just Squeakin’ By!”

Squeakin By

And had this idea for an expecting card, celebrating the cooking ‘bun in the oven’ if you get the pun!

Bun in the Oven

Look for some fine art sketches to come next from a recent quartet concert I had the pleasure of painting at.

My newest endeavors

Uncategorized

To all my fans, old and new:

I am constantly learning new things about myself. This fall, I’ve started grad school for Art Education. I’m getting my Master’s from Mass Art, and am in my second week of classes. My brain is full of knowledge, and I am looking at everything in my life differently through the lens of a teacher. My decision to make this career change has never been better, and I can’t wait to update you all on my experiences!

That being said, I am still drawing, thinking, writing, and inspiring artists of all ages.  Stay tuned for my next adventures!

 

All good things,

Nicole

Recap of Comics Class Winter Semester

Uncategorized

I had a blast working with my students this semester at Brookline Arts Center in my Comics class. This was the first time I’ve taught the Comics class at the BAC, and the class is quite popular and well renowned in the community.

As always, I had a variety of personalities – some self directed, some distracted, some in need of lots of guidance. I always stressed that making comics is a process, it takes a lot of time to develop a full story – the text, the environment, the characters. Creating the world is harder sometimes than the dialogue you have to write. I never wanted my kids to feel like because they had a different style, or different working speed, they weren’t doing the right thing. As a storyteller myself, I am faced with the same daily challenges with my stories. They might not be comic books, but they still are stories.

Regardless, I believe that in the end – I did get through to each one of my students. They raved about the class to their parents at home. During our reveal at the end of our last class, they were proud of all their work – and we could see how they developed as artists in just a few short weeks.

Below is a selection of their work. It was funny, explorative, and inspirational!