Mad Hatter

My daughter's Montessori Pre-School is gearing up for their semi-annual fundraising auction. It's a terrific school, with incredibly caring staff and founding members, for which my wife and I are eternally thankful. Thusly, despite my chronically "behind" state of being, I couldn't say 'no' when they asked me to create some sort of image for their Mad Hatter's Tea Party themed event. I don't paint with acrylics very often, but the immediate brightness was hard to resist (especially for cranking something out), and it turned an already worthwhile project into a futher experiment with new mediums.


Recent Travels

I shouldn't write too much tonight, but I've been back n' fourth across the country twice in the last three weeks, and both trips were really great...and totally different.

First, I spent a week in NYC. Awesome! No way that I don't sound like a lovestruck kid from the mountains in Washington state, but The City is so cool :) I went four years ago with similar intent - to show my work around, and to make some face-to-face connections in publishing paradise. This time, the visits were with many people that I've worked with in recent years, and the time spent sharing art and simply visiting felt even more valuable. I also attended my first ever SCBWI Winter Conference, and had the distinct pleasure of hearing Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Jay Asher, Jack Gantos, and many others during the last three days of this whirlwind week. Extra cool was a casual but inspiring exchange with David Diaz as we both gawked at way too many people trying to get a brief seance with an agent on Saturday night. Alas, the conference did NOT answer the ongoing agent/continued no agent question for me, but I'm still giving it serious thought.

In any case, trip no. 2: Ely, MN. I agreed to do this almost a year ago. Despite my own snowy mountain locale, at times Ely seemed like it might be just a bit too far away and a bit too complicated to pull off. Not to worry! It turned out great. Hands down, one of my most enjoyable school visit experiences EVER, and I drove away last Friday afternoon renewed vigor for teaching about what I do, and a tired but satisfied smile turned upon my mouth. Just a few additional photos of the fantastic kids and a quick glimpse of our days at Washington Elementary School. Thanks VERY much everyone!

OK truth be told, I didn't get any photos of our classroom sessions. What follows, are pics from the TOTALLY INCREDIBLE pajama party that was planned for Tuesday night, cancelled due to potential ice storms, and then actually occurred on Wednesday night, after my first full day of classroom visits. Note to future school visit coordinators: exhausting as an extra 1.5 hour gathering was at the end of a full day, it was totally worth it! Easily 120+ people showed up, and I think they all had as much fun as I did... with much thanks to Betsy, Karin and others for the excellent door prizes, evening craft projects, and everything else.

The "best dressed bear" contestants...

...and then some!

Plus, a chance to draw on the walls.

Some great work by MANY aspiring illustrators - and even a pajama clad parent!

And lastly, I took the rare opportunity to visit Ely's International Wolf Center. I've been a member for almost 10 years, and the 4 mo. old pups that I witnessed will definitely get me back before another decade goes by. Quite a bit different than a stroll through Times Square, or Central Park, but memorable nonetheless. Thanks again to all involved for making both trips so worthwhile. And now I'm home :)