Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bob Cassilly - Sculptor/Visionary/Climber

(Illustration Friday visitors - Fuel, Scattered and Contraption all rolled into one. Water as fuel, many scattered ideas into one and certainly one giant contraption - just check out the St. Louis City Museum.)

Bob Cassilly created many works of interactive art. All draw the viewer in to the wonder of both the physical and mental human experience associated with each piece. This unique artist passed away recently in the midst of carrying out another gargantuan task. The co-founder and creative spirit behind the St. Louis City Museum set his sights on an even bigger playground. This can be a place where old meets the really old, Cementland.

An abandoned cement factory and warehouse company appears as ruins similar to the Coliseum, the Pyramids and even Stone Henge. These places represent lost worlds whose contemporary purposes began to fade as more time passed. We, as latter day observers, can only guess and conjure up stories about their significance. Even further away from our relatively recent ruins of up to 5000 years ago, stand the ruins of our Pre-Cambrian predecessors. Mr. Cassilly seemed to want to marry these two old concepts with a young suitor, a child-like adventurer. This adventurer being fueled by the simple human desire to be a kid. A kid who kayaks through silos on water pumped in from the mighty Mississippi River.  A kid who braves eel infested moats, scales castle walls and then gleefully throws rocks at would-be invaders. A kid who sees the world as a place to explore. A place to do things they normally would not do. What more symbolic way to pay tribute to all three missions than to explore this organic, concrete jungle along the same pathways that Lewis and Clark traversed on their famed journey in 1803?

Bob Cassilly will be remembered for his talent as a sculptor and his vision as a mold breaker. Visitors throughout St. Louis and other parts of the country can look to his work as a reminder of a person who knew that growing up was optional, not a requirement. Go climbing at Turtle Park in Forest Park, visit the St. Louis Zoo or check out the hippos at NY’s Central Park.  His presence is all around us. I just hope that with his passing, we gain more artists who are brave enough to carve out a new world without waiting around to ask for permission.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Boundaries Broken

Out of smoke and despair, comes hope. Hope that holds vigil over our boundaries to keep us safe.

9/11 Reflection of a Flight Attendant and Broken Boundaries

by Cindy Paul

I wasn’t certain I wanted to watch any of the memorial tributes to 9/11 today. Reliving the feelings would be too painful. I succumbed finally to the History Channel and am glad I did. You see, I was an American flight attendant (formerly TWA) at this time. A few minutes before 8:00 CST that morning, I prided myself in successfully trading out of a weekend trip for one that left Tuesday evening, 9/11/2001. Just a short time later, the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. A few minutes later, another crashed into the South Tower. My four children, 1 year old triplets and 4 year old child, were happily watching Barney when I got a call to change the channel.

I could not believe my eyes, what just happened? Wow, so many people dead, so many in shock. Was this really happening or was this yet another movie being filmed in NY. I did not know anyone working in the towers but did have plenty of friends flying the skies at this time and one working in Manhattan at the time. So much was unknown and nothing made sense. This was all happening within the boundaries of our country, right here in the United States. I had just picked up a trip set to leave in a few hours. Of course, I would take it, it never occurred to me not to, even after my husband and family members advised against it. Air traffic control made the decision for me when they grounded all air travel.

Later, I listened to a flight attendant friend recount her very different experience. She was departing just a few gates down from one of the targeted planes. As she searched her memory, she recalls seeing faces of the passengers and crew as they waited to board the plane. She boarded hers and one passenger talking on the phone asked about a crash into the WTC. No one knew anything and they took off on time. As they did, apparently, so did the plane carrying all of the faces she had just seen. Very quickly, they were called into the cockpit and told the news. They had to go back into the cabin and walk row by row looking for anyone suspicious. Obviously, I can only imagine how surreal this all must have seemed. We, as flight attendants, are trained for hijackings and other emergencies. Most hijackings occur when the perpetrator wants to go somewhere specific or have a specific demand met. The terrorists knew this and knew that all flight personnel are trained to cooperate. They used this to their advantage to overtake the planes and carry out the suicidal mission.

For weeks, nothing was routine any more for my job at the airline. New security measures fell upon us all. We, eventually, were given self-defense classes. We tried to console nervous passengers. We comforted one another. We learned to spot Air Marshalls on our planes and learned to stay out of their way. We learned that the world we lived in was now one where anyone can change the lives of another in an instant. Selfish people with selfish agendas, filled with jealousy, hatred and fear can now dictate the way you live and enjoy your life.

How dare this extremist group of terrorists invade our country? Who were they to impose their will upon countless numbers of humans who didn’t share their view? I believe God appeals to us all in whatever language or religion we seek him out? These people were not acting through God or for God; they were acting for their own selfish reasons. Granted, so much can be traced to how they are indoctrinated at a young age but there comes a point when we all must think for ourselves, sometimes at a very early age. We all become accountable for our own actions.

This was one of them. Ten years later, I realize that my generation will always remember what they were doing this fateful day, just like the previous generation remembered where they were when JFK was murdered. I hope my children’s generation will not carry on the legacy of witnessing anything this horrific again, but I know life does not work this way.

I commend my fellow Americans for their individual sacrifices both in the air and on the ground ten years ago. I also am grateful that I was not in the air that day so that I may reflect on this today with you. So I do watch the tributes, I do relive the painful feelings. I guess it would actually be more painful to forget.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Asleep Illustration Friday

At least one of them is asleep. This is from a story called "Cloud Cruising." This little boy and his dog Lucky finally prove that a cloud is as soft as a puppy's ear. It only took 30 rolls of sticky tape, a wobbly ladder, some rope and a lot of patience. This pair's hard work paid off in the end as you can see.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Soaked Illustration Friday

Soaked is certainly a good word to describe the weather lately. This was done on a self imposed time limit to see how creative I could be without being overly critical. I prefer to edit and re-work but I wanted to have more of a loose look. Try it some time, I gave myself about 45 minutes for this. Have fun!

Squash is the Star

If you're interested in food and art, you will enjoy my guest post at http://cooking-varieties.blogspot.com/. Wan cooks up a variety of foods that are colorful and tasty. This is also a chance to make the world a bit smaller.  She lives in Malaysia where the food culture may be different from your own. Try out a recipe, you will probably want to try out more.

Thanks for inviting me Wan.



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Safari - Illustration Friday

This week's word "Safari" kept me singing Jungle Boogie so I felt a little jazzy. This is what came out.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ridley Pearson Visit - SLCL Author talks

Author Ridley Pearson visited the St. Louis County Library Headquarters a few weeks ago. His talk primarily focused on his Kingdom Keeper Series. The audience enjoyed hearing plans for the next two books. This is published by Disney and takes the loyal readers on mystery trips through the Disney theme parks.

Ridley Pearson writes books for readers of all ages. I found it interesting that on that very day, my husband was reading one of his detective crime novels while my son was beginning the Peter and the Starcatcher series. This is a series he co-wrote with Dave Barry. I will tell you that my son, who until now, read mostly Pokemon or Wimpy Kid books, has already tore through books one and two. In fact, for two days he asked me if I was able to get the 3rd book from the library. It is so popular that I ended up buying the last two, so we have the full set. He signed books one and two for us. One of my daughters is almost caught up to my son. The other two have their favorite authors too.

Thanks to the SLCL and to Ridley Pearson for inviting my whole family into the "joy of reading" club.



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lesson & Beginner - Illustration Friday

Learning to jump from a master can be scary and just a little bit fun (especially for beginners)...just ask our green friend and his classmates. Of course, they should be worried about lunch that just got away.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Journey - Illustrated Friday

Journey down the hill on a snowy night...nothing better or more fun!

Just as if we are looking at a picture in an album, we celebrate several journeys this week. We are reminded of the historical journey out of slavery and of the shadow of death passing over as well as the fourteen steps made during an incredible journey leading to death on a cross. Regardless of your belief in any of these historical stories, they have all made the journey through words in many books from 7000 years ago until now...pretty impressive trip.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lois Lowry - St. Louis County Library


Apparently, the Lois Lowry library visit was a great success. I wanted to attend but had previous family events. I must say I have only read one book of hers, The Giver. However, her style and message will stay with me forever. I will admit I did not always like the message and became a bit "put out" by her ending. Regardless of how it made me feel, it was one of the best books I ever read. I read this as an adult student earning my teaching degree as part of a children's literature class. I was completely swept up by all the surprises and enjoyed them even though my polyanna attitude of life had trouble accepting this story.

I hope those in attendance learned something from her and enjoyed her company.



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bottled - Illustration Friday

If we only could have "bottled" up Jim Croce's genius. We would truly have time in a bottle. I hear his son is a musician too and his wife runs a restaurant in San Diego in his honor. He is  missed. I also have a fascination for these cobalt blue type bottles. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Duet - Illustration Friday

The idea of a "duet" conjured up several images for me; music, friendship and symbiotic relationships. (I can thank Star Wars for introducing me to "symbiotic," think Jar Jar Binks.) ;) We all know we need each other to be in harmony but we also need lots of "duets" to survive. The sun and the moon are perfect examples and I wanted to showcase these along with my young musicians to represent "Duet" on these book covers. 

(I also just wanted to play around with designing a book cover. It turned out to be great fun.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Toy - Illustration Friday

After just returning from Spring Break which involved a lengthy drive to Colorado with 4 children, I have a new perspective for toys that do not need to be charged. The million feet of chargers and earbuds we own are forever tangled. I miss the good old days of kites, jacks and yo-yo's (Of course, these can get tangled too). Regardless, we will be re-introducing these into our household.

Tip: Trees come out of nowhere to stick a root or branch up while you're skiing just for a good laugh. I could see their smug smiles through all the snow and bark. I eventually made it safely to the bottom of each hill anyway.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stir - Illustration Friday

Stir up a little surprise with your imagination...you never know what you will pull out of your hat.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Doreen Cronin - St. Louis County Library SLCL

We had the opportunity to attend another St. Louis County Library author presentation. This time we listened to Doreen Cronin. She was entertaining for both children and adults. She talked about how she became an author and shared personal aspects of her life. Doreen shared her secrets for choosing character names and how she fashions stories from inspirational people in her life. I was touched by her description of the time she wrote Click Clack Moo Cows That Type. Her father was the main inspiration and continues to be a part of her writing even though he passed away before she wrote this book.

We bought two books and she graciously signed each one. Doreen has a pleasant personality and seems like a very nice person. I look forward to reading her latest release The Trouble With Chickens.



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WARNING - Illustration Friday

This kind of warning beats the mean old storm and tornado warnings we have had here lately.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Laura Numeroff and St. Louis County Library - SLCL

The St. Louis County Library hosted an author event last night featuring Laura Numeroff. She was on a book tour for her newest "Ponyella" which is touted as a new twist on an old favorite, "Cinderella." She read "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" with cute little mistakes as a way of interacting with her audience. The children seemed to enjoy this. She also read aloud her newest book, "Ponyella" and "If You Give a Pig a Pancake."

The author answered questions from the smallest readers in her crowd all the way up to the tallest. My own children and I enjoyed our small moment with her during the signing of the books we purchased. The SLCL offered some fun activities such as creating a wand or coloring pages.  

Doreen Cronin will be at the Daniel Boone Library on March 11th if you are interested. 



Sunday, February 20, 2011

Layers - Illustration Friday

A good, close-up sniff lets this little bunny know that these onions are not Easter Eggs. Although both have layers and pretty colors, he will need to leave the field and hop to the chicken coup for that delicacy.
Some practice with layers in Photoshop results in several different versions of an image.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wacom Cintiq, Adobe Software and my MacBookPro

What can I say? I see the world in a whole new way with my Cintiq. I cannot imagine a time when I did not own one. Do not get me wrong, there is still something very magical about holding a pencil or paint brush. However, the computer is such a wonderful tool for playing around with color. It gives you the freedom to delete and add layers with ease. I especially love the opacity bar. Being able to sketch directly on the screen of the cintiq is becoming just as natural to me as on paper. I also enjoy the faster results I get in completing an illustration. In an age where time is money, this is critical.  

Of course, the wonderful software by Adobe helps make this work as well as the fabulous features of my Mac. I have a great "set-up" in my studio and will post pictures soon. I feel like a high tech animator at Disney or Dreamworks. The combination of digital and traditional methods of creating art makes this a very exciting time to be an artist. I like taking my digital creation and recreating it with a pencil and paintbrush too. This is sort of a reverse way of thinking but I think the color study helps my traditional art.

Happy Drawing!



Monday, February 14, 2011

Sweater - Illustration Friday

Looks like Aunt Clara and her knitting needles have been at work again...Happy St. Valentine's Day!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Illustration Friday - Reverse

A quick little sketch for the hard working poets out there."It bothers me when I must re-verse my poem. It was hard enough to write the verse the first time."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

More snow

Well it appears we have another snow day around here. My business trip cancelled for the rest of the week. I have taken this as a sign to work on my craft more. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Surrender - Illustration Friday (IF)

A revised version above to bring out more details.

"I give up," she said with a smile on her face. Finally surrendering to the snow as she waves her hand and her white scarf. Hot chocolate is awaiting her inside.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Today, I attended an informative workshop facilitated by Ann Croghan. She is a local professor at many area colleges. She presented watercolor and intense ink colored pencil techniques. The crowd was of good size and asked many questions. The store gave us a pack of watercolor paper and a 40% of coupon.

I am eager to try some of her ideas and maybe even enroll in a class.



Friday, January 28, 2011

SCBWI Conference 2011

From the looks of the great blog offered at the SCBWI website, the Conference is off to a good start. The line-up of speakers and presenters make me wish I was there. My plan is to attend next year, any reason to visit NY is good enough for me.

If you are there and wish to share some thoughts, please do so.

I am particularly interested in the Illustrator's sessions. My website is complete, I am just filling it up with samples before taking it live. I will link my site at the time.

TFR (Thanks For Reading)