- Littlest Family Process Art
- The Littlest Family is Out Today!
- The Littlest Family's Big Day
- Help Geneviève
- My Shirley Jackson Year
- Bits of a New Book
- Saltwater Fabric Collection
- Kimonos Postcard Set
- Leopard Odalisque
- Wordstock 2015 is Saturday
- A Monkey
- A Peacock Kimono & A Tiger Kimono
- New Work is Up Online
- The Tiger's Bride
- Wolves & Wonders is Open
- Beauty and the Beast
- A Tiger & A Peacock
- A Savage Beauty
- A Lady and A Monkey
- Show Cards
- Kimonos on Paper
- Bird of Paradise
- The Company of Wolves
Do you want to see what one of my books looks like at the beginning? Julie at the great Seven Impossible Things has posted a bunch of process art from _The Littlest Family's Big Day -- _click over for storyboards, cover sketches, etc. There is even more, but I pared it down to a good overview of what it looks like behind-the-scenes. I love these two early cover sketches so much. I think they were the first thing I ever made, when the idea was just percolating. Anyway, there's a lot more to see, along with art from two other books, _The Lizsts_ & _The Bear Who Wasn't There_ included in _The Sweet & the Surreal, _a post from her Kirkus colum last week. I love seeing the beginnings of things, all wispy and rough. Save Save Save Save
Maybe you'll come see us at the cutest bookstore in town?
Today is a really Big Day, because _The Littlest Family_ arrives in bookstores today! (I wanted to be sure to show you one of my favorite things in the whole book, the endpapers...I love endpapers & I'm especially proud of these.) I know the family will arrive with their suitcases in hand, ready to go out on a wander. I am so excited that this book is really _real _and is going to be on shelves and making its way out in the world. It's my tribute to going walks, to exploring new places, to how big the world feels, to all things tiny... I love these mini-bears & I hope you will too! More soon (there's a lot of process art that went in to making the book, so stay tuned...) Save Save
The first real copies of my next book came in the mail: _The Littlest Family's Big Day_ comes out in October, but you can preorder your own leaf-covered copy now! From the Random House catalog: _ Who is only under 5 inches tall and has just moved to the woods? The cutest and littlest bear family you have ever seen–and their adopted teeny tiny fox tot! What happens when they venture out to explore their new world…?_ I can't wait to show you more of this book, like my favorite endpaper/flap situation ever. More in October! :D Save Save
The year of Shirley Jackson actually began the year before. In my stack of Christmas presents was a copy of _We Have Always Lived in the Castle_, and when I read the first few pages, I was done for. It is, to me, a Perfect Book, beautiful and meandering and dangerous and sad -- the kind of book that seems so _right_ & that you love so much you wonder how on earth you it didn't find you before. And thus the year of Shirley Jackson began. It wasn't planned or organized, I just ended up spending most of 2015 reading everything that is even remotely in print. And just when I'd run out, a collection of mostly uncollected things came out near the end of the summer (_Let Me Tell You_) so that was nice timing. Shirley Jackson is so modern. She belongs with us, now: unconcerned about what is highbrow or lowbrow (in her influences or her work.) Uncaring for the divisions between what is important (capital-L) Literary fiction & what is genre writing, just fiercely herself. I think Jonathan Lethem talks about that in the lovely introduction he wrote to the Penguin Classics edition of _We Have Always Lived in the Castle_. She reminds me of my beloved Angela Carter in that way -- wild hearted, but feet firmly on the ground. Both with rare, magical minds but also earthy and wry and funny as hell. Amateur witches who thought about fairy tales and vampires a lot but also raised babies and gave the side-eye and laughed, I presume, all the time. And though they both have beloved novels, they might be, above all, masters of the short story, of small moments and self-contained worlds. You could do much worse than _The Bloody Chamber_ & _The Lottery_ for desert island material. If I were to create my own Essential Shirley Jackson (and I've given it a lot of thought) I've landed on a fat little volume comprised of one novel, one set of memoir stories & one set of short stories: _We Have Always Lived in the Castle,_ _Raising Demons_ (which I really prefer to _Life Among the Savages, _and which contains a beautiful story about clothespin dolls_)_ & then, finally, _The Lottery_ collection of short stories (especially Flower Garden & Seven Kinds of Ambiguity.) Though I hate to leave out _Hangsaman_, if only for weirdness' sake. I also love her writing-about-writing, the few essays & lectures collected in _Come Along with Me_ &_ Let Me Tell You_. She is, in her advice and prescriptions about craft, as she as always appears to me, utterly enchanting but utterly real. And people who are both are in such short supply.
Hello there! I've been hard at work finishing my next picture book and now that it is really & truly finished, I'm planning on doing nothing. (Just kidding, I'm beginning the art for another book.) I've been sharing these little bits & pieces over on instagram, and I wanted to see them all together. The art has only been finished for a little over a month & already I miss this book (and its occupants) so badly. I can't wait to see the real thing (and for you to see it too.) More on this little book when the time is right!
Do you remember these seafaring designs from earlier in the year? They were for my first fabric collection! Full of mermaids, sailors and sea monsters, we named it Saltwater. It's slated to come out next year (2016) and I'm so excited. You can visit the entire collection here at Birch Fabrics -- and here's a peek at some of my personal favorites: I can't wait to make a dress of constellations, or little sailor guys...and cut & sew dolls! (!)
I just got this Kimonos postcard set back from the printer and I'm so happy with how it came together. Already works on paper, they just seemed so right for stationery. You can find the set in the shop! (I've squirreled away a big stack for my own purposes) I'm currently working furiously all hours finishing up my next book, nestled away painting and painting and painting while wintery rain falls outside. So the rest of the new things (more Wolves & Wonders prints and postcards) will come to the shop in the new year. I hope you are having a wonderful December!
Leopard Odalisque 14"x11" Wolves & Wonders has officially come down and now I'm setting to work making postcard sets (there will be two sets from this show!) and prints soon. This piece about visiting the gallery's street had this nice photo of the show, up in its hideaway attic-y space:
Wordstock is this Saturday in its new location at the Portland Art Museum & there are going to be so many authors! Here are all the on-stage events. I am doing storytime in the children's area from 11:00-11:30 & then signing at 12. There are some pretty amazing children's authors & illustrators storytiming throughout the morning (Christian Robinson, Rilla Alexander, Carson Ellis etc.) And Emily Arrow has written songs for each of the books on the children's stage, and I've heard her _Wonderful Things_ song & it is adorable. It would be a nice way to spend a chilly November Saturday.
_A Monkey_ 8"x10" I liked this monkey so much, and I kept thinking "I'd like to paint myself another monkey after the show." Then I thought, why don't I keep this buddy as a souvenir? And there are a handful of paintings still available (including another of my favorites) even if the monkey is spoken for. And this is the last week to see Wolves & Wonders at Land!
Work from _Wolves & Wonders_ is now available for purchase so you can hop over & peruse!
Over 30 paintings & nearly 100 lanterns later, the show is up & the opening was lovely. Thanks very much for everyone who came by to hang out under the paper lanterns with us! _Wolves & Wonders_ runs through November 9 at Land gallery (open seven days a week, 10-6) Available work will be up for purchase online soon (really soon, actually) and I will let you know when it is all in readiness!
_Beauty and the Beast_ 20"x16" Beauty & the Beast is one of my favorite stories. I think it is such a lovely metaphor for reckoning with the savage & civilized parts we're all made of. And even if it was originally a an instructive parable about arranged marriages (this is the word on the street), I also think it holds a lot of significance about the contemporary idea of true love. I have a lot of thoughts about this story, but it will have to wait for another day, hopefully not too far off. I'll just leave it at this: most of the new show amounts to Beauty & the Beast, and I hope if you're in Portland, you'll come see us Friday night for the opening!
_A Lady and A Monkey_ 11"x14" This portrait (or double-portrait) is one of my personal favorite paintings in the upcoming show! I'll be previewing work from Wolves & Wonders up 'til the opening on Oct. 9, although there will be some pieces that will remain under my hat until after it has opened (I like a little element of surprise.)
I've been painting these small kimonos on paper for my (rapidly approaching) show in October. I love painting these -- it's nice to work on little pieces interspersed with larger, more involved things. I hope that by some magic, I'll conjure all these dream kimonos by painting them & they'll arrive in a trunk on my doorstep. At the very least, I'd like to make my favorites into a set of postcards...they seem just right for notes. I've been posting them on Instagram as they come along, and I'll keep posting peeks & previews of the show both here & there!
The Company of Wolves 16" x 20" I think I posted a progress photo of an earlier incarnation of this painting -- it's changed a lot since then! The painting is part of my show, Wolves & Wonders, which opens at Land on October 9. The show was inspired by Angela Carter, variations on Beauty & the Beast, the East & the West...lots of things. Stay tuned for more lions & tigers & wolves & ladies! PS: And thank you for your lovely and kind comments on the NY Times list post. So exciting and so unexpected.