Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Art of Isolation

     This weekend is the MN SCBWI Conference!  I'm very excited to go and socialize with my "art" friends.  Being an artist a very lonely job and writing is even more isolating.
     To counteract my isolation, I often "think" out loud or "talk" to my pets.  My dog Mikko and I have had some excellent conversations!  My verbal interpretation of dog body language is probably less than scientific, but I tend to live in a make believe world, where animals speak, frogs ride bicycles and cows are criminals.
     I am sure my husband is planning my eventual breakdown, where I lose total sight of reality and actually start living in the worlds I create.  I think he has been saving up money, kind of like a college fund.  What he doesn't know is, sometimes, I worry about his sense of reality.

This is an actual conversation we had the other night:

Me: "How do you like my drawing"
Him: "Your plane isn't drawn accurately"
Me: "I didn't like the way it looked, so I took parts off"
Him:  "How is it going to fly with part of the tail missing"
Me: "That's what concerns you about this illustration?"

     I'll admit, I have lost track of the time looking at the clouds and I  actually do talk to myself.  Trying to keep it "normal" in public places is really challenging the older I get. Last week, I was in the store, when I noticed a woman looking at me, slightly frightened.  I had been talking to myself again.  To make myself appear normal, I pretended I was actually speaking/singing a song, so I added a melody to my "conversation" that was less embarrassing/weird?

     Just remember, as I sink deeper into my own hand drawn world, my goal is to pull you in with me.....Wwwwwwhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahaha.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

No Whining At Vineyards

     We did a second day in Washington DC and SURVIVED!  The National Art Museum was amazing.  Original Van Gogh,  Picasso, Renior, Degas, Monet, O'Keefe....I could go on forever!  I couldn't believe how close I was to these amazing works of art.   Things I had only seen online or in a book, were right in front of my face.  I love seeing the brush strokes, thickness of paint and crackles from age.  I would get my face right up to a painting and examine all the little details....although a security guard did weirdly follow me around for about a half hour, I think he thought I was sniffing the paintings or something :/  It was worth the pain, sweat and a few crabby moments (sorry Dick).  I highly recommend a trip to Washington DC....just remember to wear tennis shoes!!

                                                               Van Gogh- Self Portrait

     Car repacked and back on the road.   A day of sitting in the car as beautiful scenery whipped past was very appealing at this point.  We are headed to Upstate NY Finger country!  Dick's half of our adventure begins.  We did stop at Gettysburg and tour the museum and had lunch at an adorable Inn, in a stone basement by candlelight.  The Gettysburg Museum had this really cool cyclorama .  I was amazed it was painted in the 1800's. 

 The Appalachian Mountains are gorgeous.  We came across this covered bridge and I had to get out and take a few pictures. 

Soon we were in wine country.  I love staying in the charming little town of Geneva, right on the shores of Lake Seneca.

We had a great time!  Tasted lots of wine.....bought lots of wine :)  We are back home and glad to see our puppies.  Thanks to my daughter Nicole for puppy sitting and Patty and Mitch for helping out!  I am already thinking about where to go next year....we have a lot of vacations to make up for!!!!!

                                                                         Back Home!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Scorpio, The Bitch and The Wardrobe

Exit Freer Gallery: is about 95 degrees and 99% humidity! Now I understand why it was so cold inside! A little heat and humidity, we can handle it. We decide to head over to the Smithsonian Castle, and it was very interesting, showing a little bit from all of the museums and a black and white photography exhibit of the Civil War. Next we head to the American History Museum. If you have never been there before, the Smithsonian grounds and the National Mall are HUGE!

We walked four football fields away to the Museum, happy to be back in the air conditioning. There was so much cool stuff to see! It was the last day the Julia Childs kitchen was on display, so excited I got to see it!!! Most things closed at 5:30....bummer. So we decided to eat lunch at the museum and revise our plans. My feet were starting to get a little sore, so I was ready to take a break.

Revised plans, next the National Archives, then Lincoln Memorial. By now, my bag is getting a little heavy, my feet a little sore and anytime we have to go outside we are hot and sweaty!

From the National Archives, the Lincoln Memorial is a very, very, very long way. We are at the WWII Memorial and I drag my sweaty self over to a bench. By now my feet are pretty sore so I slip my shoes off for a few minutes. My feet are black. BLACK! I now know why the $150 Coach shoes were $30 on sale. I also notice a blister forming on my heel. We see the Lincoln, Vietnam and Korean Memorials.

From the Korean Memorial we are going to head back to the Metro....I let out a little whimper as we look at the map and see how far it is. My blister has ripped open, my bag now weighs about 80lbs and Dick (Scorpio) is not quite as entertaining as he was a few hours ago.

"Which station do you want to go to?" he asks.

"The closest one" I say.

"You pick" he says.

"Just pick a freaking station and If I have to walk one extra step, I will lose it!" The bitch states :)

I stumble and Dick walks, to the station. Ahead of us is a guy about 70 yrs old, limping along and his wife telling him to suck it up or they are going to miss the train. We all head down the escalator and watch the train pull away. Fifteen minutes of standing and waiting for the next one. The old guy lets out a whimper as his wife gives him a tongue lashing. I wanted to give him a hug.

I look over at Dick who is patiently waiting for the next train, carrying my 100lb bag, stopped and got me a bottle of cold water AND saved me a seat on the only available bench around. Lucky to have such a great guy! He calls over to me..."Hey Blackfoot Sweatsalot, I saved you a seat!" What a guy!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Organized Adventure

We split our vacation into two parts. My part was the trip out east and Dick's part is the trip back.

Part one:

We drove following the Mississippi river through Iowa and while it was a beautiful drive, we spent way more time in Iowa than anyone from Minnesota should. We stopped several times, took pictures at all the scenic overlooks...all road rules intact!

On to Illinois! Staying south to avoid Chicago traffic we crossed the state from Clinton, Iowa to Watseka, Illinois. Lots of corn and cows!! Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia....and so on. We talked, we laughed, we sang along to the radio....blah, blah, blah... It was fun.


We took the metro into the city and the first thing we saw was the Washington Memorial, sticking up above all the cool!

It was going to be a nice sunny day in DC. On to the first museum!

What can you say about the Smithsonian besides amazing! We could have spent two weeks there, instead of the two days we had planned. We wandered around the Freer gallery first. Wearing flats, oversized bag containing water, almonds, protein bar, camera, maps and the official DC guidebook, we were site seeing pros....

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dick and Colleen's Great American Adventure

It has been 20 years since my husband and I have been alone on vacation together. So this year, to wrap up a summer of hard work and long hours, we are taking a road trip. We settled on Washington D.C. as our destination.

To keep the peace, we established a few road trip rules:

1. If one of us wants to stop, we stop.
2. Driver controls the radio
3. Avoid interstates
4. Colleen controls the temperature
5. We cannot book a hotel before noon of that day.
6. No chain restaurants
7. No calorie counting
8. Reading road signs out loud encouraged
9. Colleen gets to pick the hotel
10. Turning around for something cool is allowed!

The Jeep is packed....we are off!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

SCBWI Hippy Hop

I had so much fun dancing the night away and spending some time with my inner flower child...namaste :)

We even did a Flashmob (see pic)!

Time for bed!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

SCBWI LA The Place To Be

I just got back to my room, I left 15 hours ago!! My brain hurts, I only peed twice today, dinner was a $12 glass of wine and a handful of almonds, BUT IT WAS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!

I met so many nice people :) I learned really amazing things :):) AND I had fun :):):)

Three more days to go, I hope my brain can handle it!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I'm here! The excitement begins at 7:45am tomorrow, so no craziness tonight. To bed on might be the last night I get some sleep :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

SCBWI....The Prep

For my non children's book friends...SCBWI is code for Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. For my medical friends "The Prep" does not include large amounts of Gatorade and Metamucil.

My flight is at 2:45 tomorrow. I'm hoping for a better flight experience than my last one. Today is all about getting ready and trying to keep the "forgot to bring" list to a minimum. I'm relying on public transportation and my limited knowledge of Los Angeles for survival, so the inevitable trip to Target after I get there, is questionable. Do they go to Target in LA? Maybe only movie stars personal assistants have the secret map to "the unmentionable places" (sounds like something you find in Harry Potter). I mean, when was the last time you saw a Target store lurking in the background on the red carpet? I don't care to see where the stars live. I want to know where Sylvester Stallone buys his toothpaste!

So follow my official SCBWI journal to learn all about LA or at least about the inside of the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, where I will be spending most of my time.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Updated Website!

I updated my website!! Some cursing, one ice cream break and a reassuring lick from the dog, I managed to get through it. Go Daddy and I are still not fact we are fighting (I can't get my homepage image to center under my name badge) but we are no where near the feuding that took place the first time I set up my website (see original 2 posts). Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time out of their busy day to peruse :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One More Try

I'm trying to revive an old painting I started and never finished....let's see if I can save it....stay tuned!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Work, Work, Work

I'm so busy lately, even my dog is bored with me! I promise to put down my paint brush and write a post soon!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunny Summer

Happy Memorial Day everyone! If you live in Minnesota, it's officially safe to plant...which I did today. 79 degrees and sunny today, what a beautiful day!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Left Feeling Hungry?

Let me start by saying that I LOVED the Hunger Games series. Everyone I am related to, work with, follow on Twitter or even pass on the street are talking about the release of the movie. While I am caught up in the hype, I am secretly dreading seeing the film.

I am tired of going to movies, after reading the book, only to be disappointed and out ten dollars. Movies made from wildly popular novels, owe it to all of us loyal readers to follow the story lines, cast believable actors, and pick up the little nuances in the writers "voice" that made the book special. If Hollywood is listening, pay attention to what I have to say next.

Just like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" we are a sure thing! We are already fans of the story, we are all going to see the movie. We don't need Reece Witherspoon straddling an elephant to get us in the door. All we are asking is that you stop trying to make everything into a Blockbuster hit. Please don't dumb down the storyline to draw a few more customers. The paying customers that are going to make or break you, are the readers that you so easily toss aside for some big Hollywood starlet that has been dreaming and working her whole life of 21 years for this part to come along.

So as a loyal "Hunger Games" reader, I will spend my ten dollars and go see the movie. But tonight, I am going to spend some time with the characters in my head, imagine them walking through the woods, and I will be listening to Katniss' arrows fly through the air and her sweet tender voice sing to the Mockingjays.

When I do see the movie, I pray that a big Hollywood actress with her hair dyed brown and braided, really does make a great Katniss and the cornucopia is as cool on screen as it is in my head.

I hope I we are not left feeling as hungry as the residents of District 12. Maybe I should get the jumbo popcorn just in case.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Flying Greyhound

My oldest daughter Lauren lives in Tampa, FL and I am so excited when I get to make a trip from the cold Minnesota weather to sunny Florida.  Today was one of those days!  My flight was scheduled to leave at 8:45 p.m.  I slept in and had a list of things to accomplish before I left.  I did not pack the day before since my flight was so late, besides I had laundry to do.

I read the paper, checked the Twitter feed,  received a call from a prospective client and logged into my e-mail.  Interesting, a message from the airline.  Bad weather is expected on the east coast, to avoid delay or cancellation, your flight qualifies for a free schedule change.  Cancellation?!  I panic!!  I log in to my account and I have 2 choices....a free change for a flight leaving at 12:31 with a connection in Newark or a $604 change leaving a 4:00 p.m. with a connection through Chicago.

It is now 10:24 a.m.

Of course I don't want to pay any additional money for an already expensive ticket and only an idiot connects through Chicago with winter weather on the way.  12:31 to Newark it is.  My husband was working from home today, so a ride to the airport was not a problem.  Living 45 minutes away and still sitting in my pajamas is.  I press the confirm button to make the change as I tell my husband we are leaving in 15 minutes.  "FAILURE TO CONFIRM" What??!!!!  Please call 1-800-xxx-xxxx to confirm your ticket. What??!!!! I quickly dial the number and a message informs me my wait time is 20 minutes due to a unusually high volume of calls....really?  With the speaker phone on and a 60 second loop playing on how great the airline is, I scurry around the house randomly throwing clothes in a duffel bag.  I throw on jeans and a sweatshirt, brush my teeth, put my hair in a ponytail, grab 2 YA novels I want to read.  We jump in the car and head for the airport.

10:42 a.m.  I am impressed!

We head back to the house to get my phone, sitting on the counter, still playing the informational loop, my paper with the confirmation number and flight change info and my phone charger.

10:45 a.m.

We are about half way to the airport when a very pleasant voice answers and offers to help me.  Surprisingly the 12:31 flight is no longer available, but she can get me on a flight at 2:35 p.m. connecting in Newark.  I take it!

By 12:06 p.m. I am sitting at my gate with a turkey sandwich and scrolling through the Twitter feed.  Flying is awesome!

I have my earbuds in listening to an interview that Jill Corcoran posted on Twitter, thinking what a great use of my time.  I hear an announcement that the flight to Cleveland (leaving before mine) is delayed.  I chuckle to myself and think....sucker, who connects to Cleveland with a blizzard on the way?  Five minutes later they announce my flight to Newark is delayed 3 1/2 hours and I will likely miss my connection.  My flight originates in Cleveland.....Karma stinks.

While I sit at the airport in travel limbo, listening to Mr. Burmeister being paged to return to security for his lost item, I realize that flying is no longer the exciting, slightly upper crust way to travel that monotonous 60 second loop was trying to convince me it is.  Airlines are now the Greyhounds of the sky!

Looking back on the day with my new view of flying, this is what I see....

My husband pulls up to the curb and I scramble out of the car and grab my bag under the scrutiny of the police making sure we are not parking, blocking traffic or leaving the car unattended.  I hurry into the terminal, find my airline and get in line.  It's my turn to find my flight information, remember I did this over the phone while driving to the airport and the nice lady said she would email me the info so I didn't have to write anything down.  No email.  I finally find my flight, print my boarding passes and head to security, where....

You have to remove half your clothes, take off your shoes and unpack your carry on of electronics, liquids, gels and pastes.  I get stuck behind the lady who has a 2 liter bottle of water in her bag, claiming she didn't know she couldn't bring it if it wasn't open.  She then attempts to drink the water as the line screeches to a halt and even though I realize I am in line with many people from many flights, I know she is going to be seated right next to me on the plane, climbing over me 6 times to pee all that water.  I then get X-rayed, redressed, repacked and follow the line of disheveled travelers to their gates trying not to walk behind the inexperienced traveler who always stops suddenly and unexpectedly in the middle of the concourse, looking around in confusion with their shoes untied.

I am sitting at my gate thinking about shrinking seats and leg room, half cans of soda, stale pretzels, and two bathrooms for 175 people.  I have been at the airport for 4 1/2 hours.  I will miss my connection in Newark and have to spend the night in the airport, hoping to get on the 8:00 a.m. flight to Tampa, no guarantees of course and all for the bargain price of $406 and the convenience of getting to my destination quickly.

Right now, riding a bus with reclining seats and my luggage safely stored beneath me and not on a plane to Omaha, as I am headed to Tampa doesn't sound like a bad thing.  I miss road trips with the beautiful landscapes of America rolling past and quirky stops along the way.  There is nothing better than a relaxing ride, daydreaming out the window, while someone else drives.....Then the water chugger next to me says, "I should have taken the bus, like usual."

So my dear daughter Lauren, I give up!  Dad is in the car for his hour drive back to airport to pick me up.  My ticket has been reissued for 8:00 a.m. tomorrow.  Hopefully I will remember to dress appropriately for security, leave my electronics at home, survive my second dose of radiation in 24 hours, pee before I board, get a window seat, take off on time, say thank you for my soda and pretzels, make my connection in Cleveland (Damn karma!) and land in sunny Tampa.  Where I plan to read my 2 YA novels, get a tan, draw amazing sketches, dazzle you with my witty conversation and restaurant quality cooking and 5  4 days later get back on my flying bus to Minnesota, where I work long hours, saving my pennies for my next relaxing vacation.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Text Me A Picture

I just received my order of letterpress blocks in the mail. I saw them online and had to have them. I bought a set of random pieces and I am going to find a way to fit them in my illustrations.

I am so excited to get started. If they work out I am going to order an entire alphabet set. I currently seemed to be obsessed with text. It reminds me of when I was younger and I would spend the whole day creating fonts. Bubble text was my favorite!

Off to "text," have a great night!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Illustrated Name

     My friend just had a baby named Charlotte.... Love that name :)  I made a little piece of artwork for her. I hope she likes it!  My niece Jenny just had a baby so I think I need to do a Maci Jo piece too!  Jenny's sister Liz just found out she is having a boy, so I will have to think of some "Boy" type things.  I have 2 girls, so I tend to be a little bit on the girly side of illustration.  How can you not love pink?
     I am currently working on a picture book manuscript for the #PBDummy challenge.  Trying to come up with something clever in 500 words or less is much more difficult that it sounds!

Back to work....I have so much to do!