Sunday, March 30, 2014

I miss Blogging

I know that lots of folks aren't blogging anymore - at least folks that I know. We're all Facebooking and Twittering (or is it Tweeting) and I have become a lurker again, just like I was in the beginning.  I'm reading blogs and not writing.   I'm being a voyeur, which is really lazy in a way.   And it's no excuse to say how busy I am but oh boy am I busy!

My money work - the actual job I have - is overwhelmingly busy.  So much so that I wonder how to possibly get along.  The Japanese people that I work for work at least 10-12 hour days in the office every day. Barely any exceptions.  Heads down, working hard with multiple cigarette breaks.  I find myself working at least 9 hours every day behind a desk, with walks to the bathroom or meetings or to get some crap food to keep up my energy.  Needless to say this has not been good for my health, and I've now vowed to eat better and walk at lunch and get out of the office every day.

I attending the SCBWI conference in NYC this winter and was tremendously inspired to keep going down this road.  I also realized that in order to illustrate my own books that I have to learn to write.  So I started.  I've always told myself that I was a bad writer but I tried to put that aside and wrote two stories.  My friend KJ says "not so bad Mim" and I trust her honesty and knowledge.  I have an opportunity to submit a story and some illustrations to Houghton Mifflin and I'm hoping at least the story will get taken.  I'm working slower on the drawings, letting them mature a bit.  I'm using different materials, inks, gouache and hot pressed paper - it's all different but good.  

To further my writing side, I've joined a once a month Children's book writing group. We meet at Barnes and Nobels and read and critique each other's work. Their work is so creative and beautiful - and I'm enjoying meeting these women and men. I'm learning to slow down, to rewrite, to critique my work, and to listen to what's inside.   A group of us also have an ATC trade going on which is really wonderful and fun - wow the great art I am getting!!!

And aside from all that wonderful stuff going on, I have a 91 year old mom who I want to see at least once a month, I have a home and a husband and good friends and vacations to plan (Argentina in May to see a nephew who is studying there for a semester and yes...I have Rosetta Stone spanish to listen to).  Starting Sketchbook Skool next week or so, and a California high school graduation to go to and a NYC bar mitzvah in June.  A weekend away to NYC with girlfriends.

Writing this all down feels satisfying and good.  I am happy and fairly healthy and I have the luxury of writing and drawing and working and playing.   I enjoy just about everything I do (except those 9-10  hour days...would love 8 hours, but oh well...)

And I miss sharing with you.  I guess I miss the writing and expressing myself here.  I miss sharing moments, and some things I would not share on FB.  I'm going to try for a once a week update on art and life and all the good (and bad) things that go on in my life. Because Blogging has given me friends, and an outlet and opened doors that I never knew were even there - let alone trying to open them.

Right now I am watching rain wash away the snow still in my yard.  Im enjoying the crisp air and planning for spring.  See you all there!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

The "other" blog

http://mjstella.blogspot.com/2014/02/getting-ready-for-scbwi-conference.html

My regular days are filled with work - the paying kind.  My evenings are filled with getting ready for this conference, I'm probably over reacting but I've learned to live with that part of myself.

I'm enjoying it all!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

New Blog

I've started a new Blog at MStella - Illustration.  It's not that I really want a new blog to manage, but needed a website, and needed a link that I can put onto Facebook that stays away from any personnel discussions, angst, etc etc.  Purely artwork and illustration.  It'll undergo many design changes in the future, in fact I'll probably be looking for someone to help me with that project.

So whew.

I hated the fact that this blog, which is personal, would be exposed to Facebook  - where I am connected to people at work.  So this answers both needs I think, and it's a relief to get it done.

And I'd love your comments and suggestions on the new space.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Getting ready for the Next Challenge

I have, with great trepidation, signed up and paid for a conference in NYC for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.  I want to see what that world is like, I know I'll be overwhelmed with the talent that is out there, but I want to see it all. Plus it's a chance to go to NYC for a few days, see some old friends and have an egg-cream if nothing else.

But, part of what I am doing involves have a critique of my (non-existant) portfolio.   I don't think cobbling together little sketches will make for a great portfolio.  So I am trying to beef it up (past two pages!) and have something that can be meaningfully critiqued.

To that end, I am working on one or two sketches for a few stories.    I'm starting with Peter and the Wolf.  I always loved that story and music, the first time I heard it was at the Children's Symphony at the Brooklyn Academy of Music conducted by none other than Leonard Bernstein.   And he explained to so beautifully to the kids, I just adored it and him.  So I decided to start there.

I'll add some Water Lily Girl pics, and "Dad and his Pizza" and some other stuff.  I don't know what to expect, so I'll just bring what I can.

Pencil sketches below.  I plan to show the sketches and some finished work from each series. (oohh, I just noticed how small the head is in the first shot, gotta go work on that)




(I really think I need a new scanner ) 

If anyone has any experience with this type of conference or critique  - let me know! 

Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year to all!!!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Day


We had a small tree this year, but a lovely day.  Since DH's mom died on Christmas day a few years ago, it's been sad and lonely without her, but this year we managed calm and peaceful - which was great.  Breakfast with my mom, bike riding, presents, and an early night. 

My brilliant husband gave me a full set of newly reprinted Wizard of Oz books, complete with color lithographs. The Illustrator, John Neill has always been one of my favorite illustrators so this is a treat beyond treats.  I have two of the Oz books from the 20's, but having the whole set is a joy.  Wisely he only brought one book down to Florida for me to see, the remaining dozen or more are at home - waiting to be unpacked and set up in a place of honor. 


Wishing you all a Happy New Year, Happy Boxing Day, Happy Everything. 

xoxo Mim

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all



Have a wonderful Holiday!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Snowstorm is a chance to get all those inside chores done...isn't it?

I love this time of year, and I love being buried in the house during a snowstorm. There are chores to be done, a pile of presents waiting to be wrapped and sent out, a house to be cleaned and what do I do?  I sit down and knit.

Yesterday I finished another Cowl and fingerless - mitts (really, just tubes for your hands and arm) and was quite pleased with myself.  These are Merino wool with a bit of silk in them.   I also finished my grey sweater which I've been working on for a few weeks. It needs final blocking but it looks good on and is about as warm and cozy as baby alpaca can be. The only complaint I have about this yarn is that it's SO unstructured that the sweater feels like holding a pile of slippery....well something. I can't think of a good description.  But it slides around in a funny way and is hard to fold as it slips off itself.   But all in all, I couldn't have been happier as I watched Christmas movies and knitted all afternoon.



Frankly I did feel like I deserved some time out.  Not only have I been working like a dog, but I did a lot of final shopping yesterday starting at 7:00 AM.  Yup, idiocy I know, but it was the only way to get things finished before a snowstorm came.  And I experienced going to an "American Girl" doll store. Have you ever been to one?  I never have but a niece got a doll from my mom and it needed some changes of clothing.  I was amazed at the store, it's like Disney world for girls.  It's also outrageously expensive, but if I could have had one when I was a kid...and gotten matching clothing for myself - wow!  I would have been on top of the world.  Walking away from the store I thought about getting one for myself now, and making matching clothes for myself so that I can experience that feeling - getting in touch with my inner child and all.   Then I thought that the store should do it, offer adult clothing to match the child and the doll....and then I started laughing at myself.  Still, it was a fun experience.

So today I am finishing the chores (awful chores, like laundry, and cleaning house, and paying bills), while the snow continues to lightly fall.  The plow guy has come a few times and it looks like we got about 10 inches, not too bad.  But theres another yarn waiting for me, a Malabrigo in a gorgeous dark color called whalesroad.  I've got a bottom up knitting pattern that is calling out to me.   An easy turtleneck pattern.   Plus...I do hear my studio calling my name.

Anyone want to come over to do my chores?