Friday, March 13, 2015

Flying by the Seat of Your Pants

I found this little looped animation in my archives created using Animation-ish. 

I had forgotten all about it, but I was delighted by this image of a young person hovering--looking slightly perplexed--and possibly delighted at the position they're in. 

I looked up a definition of the idiom 
"flying by the seat of one's pants." 

To use one's judgement, initiative, and perceptions as events unfold in order to improvise a course of action without a predetermined plan.

In other words, to "wing it."

It's a great skill to have. Creative people are very good at it. They welcome the blank page, the surprise, and the sudden stage. 

If classrooms were allowed to go "off-script" more often, students would get practice thinking for themselves--and rather than be perplexed by being thrown into unfamiliar situations--they would be:

Friday, March 6, 2015

Personal Quest

I'm not sure when exactly this "personal quest" emerged, but it was probably about 30 years ago.  I was in a boat and I looked at the water and saw the dancing and flowing patterns and wondered how I would ever be able to capture that undulating wonder on paper.  

It haunted me-- for decades. Still does.

Almost every time I would see water, whether the ocean, a lake or a pool, in real life or in a photo, I would think:

"How can I capture this?" 

Strangely, I have made very few attempts to tackle drawing water.  Instead, I have put my energy into seeing water. I am comforted with the thought that it might be more important to actually SEE--and appreciate--than to "capture" it.  In my book, ISH--the last scene shows Ramon savoring a spring day and instead of "capturing it"--he instead "simply savors it." 

Having said that, I am still on a quest to make a painting of water.  Staring down the patterns that nature creates. Breaking it down. Translating the shapes. Mixing my paints to  approximate those shapes.   

There is something wonderful about having a challenge teasing me. Perhaps it is better not to tackle it and just have it coax me along... to keep my eyes open and really see this beautiful world we're blessed to be living in. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Our Haiku-llaboration

 I noticed a tweet from a classroom in Colorado. 

I'm incredibly busy these days with a pile of projects, but I enjoy little distractions to help my brain stay engaged and inspired.  Writing Haiku is fun, so I was eager to dive in and get started, but I noticed that the Sixth Avenue Elementary students had directed the request to Sharon Creech as well. 

The idea of a collaboration popped into my head.

A "haikullaboration!" 

I messaged Sharon Creech, who happens to be one of my favorite authors and, I am lucky to say, a friend.  I asked Sharon if she'd like to start a haiku for me and I would do the same for her. We'd take turns writing the next line--and I would illustrate the results.  

So... I sent the first line to Sharon.

"Please, dear, sit with me." 

She added the next line, sending it back to me to finish it up.

Here is our first haikullaboration:

Sharon then sent me a line: Glass bottle of ink." 

I closed my eyes and imagined a bottle of ink--a familiar item to me. I saw it in my studio--ready and able when the time was just right.  I added my line and sent back for Sharon to add that lovely last line to make our second haikullaboration.

On Monday March 2, 2015 at 11am EST, we tweeted our illustrated poems out to our friends at Sixth Avenue Elementary School. 

On another haiku note, I illustrated a book with Bob Raczka called "GuyKu" (Haiku for Guys) and we developed a fun site to explore this whimsical form of poetry. 

I hope this post inspires your own creative collaborations!