Monday, October 27, 2014

We Need Diverse Books Campaign

Recently, I've been involved with the #WeNeedDiverseBooks mission to promote diversity in children's literature, and they have launched an official fundraising campaign!

The mission statement:
"We Need Diverse Books is a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. We Need Diverse Books is committed to the ideal that embracing diversity will lead to acceptance, empathy, and ultimately equality.
We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. Our mission is to promote or amplify diversification efforts and increase visibility for diverse books and authors, with a goal of empowering a wide range of readers in the process.
In order to accomplish our mission, we reach out to individuals and groups involved in many levels of children’s publishing—including (but not limited to) agents, publishers, authors, distributors, booksellers, librarians, educators, parents, and students."

You can learn more by clicking on the link below and watching the video:

Read more about We Need Diverse Books on the website:

Friday, October 10, 2014

Painted Tile

A few months back, I was asked to paint a ceramic tile for the African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, Inc. They had partnered with Glennpeter Jewelers Diamond Centre for a previous event and were asked to contribute a tile for the Jeweler's "Wall of Love" which displays painted tiles from various community groups Glennpeter Jewelers has been involved with.

I was given a kit with the paints, brushes, and directions (a great help, for someone who's not used to ceramic paints!) and this is how the tile turned out:

This is before firing the tile in the kiln, so the final outcome will have brighter, darker versions of the colors used. I haven't gotten any calls telling me the colors ran or the tile exploded in the kiln or anything (I'm dramatic, I know) so I'm hoping it all turned out OK!

If you ever happen to be in their Albany location at 1544 Central Avenue and see the tile on the "Wall of Love", let me know how it looks! 

An Announcement!

I'm very happy to announce that one of my original illustrations was purchased by the Albany Institute of History & Art this past spring during my show at the African American Community Center of the Capital Region, Inc.!

The illustration is from my first book; My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden's Childhood Journey, created with oil paint and cut paper. It depicts men and women jumping off a tree into the air with flying birds, escaping to freedom : "Wanting to Be Free like the Wind Blows through a Tree"

My mom called me and said: "Lizzie, you're in the newsletter!" Thanks for letting me know, Mom! :)

... Click on the Newsletter to read the blurb! ...

The Albany Institute of History & Art happens to be in my neighborhood, and they have been very supportive of my artistic endeavors. They purchased the clog that I painted in the summer of 2012 and display it in their lobby!

.. the facade of the Albany Institute of History & Art ...
... the front doors ...

I will be teaching the Albany Institute's Girl Scout Program workshops this fall. The first is a jewelry workshop on October 18 for Junior Level Girl Scouts. We will be making our own jewelry inspired by the Institute's ancient Egypt exhibition! So exciting!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Back to Work

Ahh, it's been over two months since I've posted anything!
I've been busy working on multiple projects and was able to leave town for a relaxing vacation. I finished illustrations for one of my upcoming books right before my 30th birthday, photographed and emailed them to the publisher for review, then escaped to New England for a while to breathe some different air...

One thing I haven't done on recent vacations is sit down and draw or paint. I recently bought a block of watercolor paper and dug out my watercolor set. I've been experimenting with freeing myself from creating images that are overly thought-out before even touching the paper with paint or ink.

I think too much!

On a beach in Rhode Island, I decided to sit down and just play...

It's so freeing to just sit on a beach and listen to crashing waves and whirling wind. After flying a kite and doing some reading (well really laying in the sun and listening to Kevin read out loud), I created four little watercolor paintings inspired by my surroundings.

You can't tell from the picture, but I swear there are tiny little bugs sunbathing on the painting.. weird.
I guess bugs love art too!
I sprinkled some sand onto the wet paint to add a frosty texture.

... This one looks more like a beachy landscape ...

... Grassy sand dunes ...

... Kevin's feet on the beach, in pen, marker and watercolor ...

I think I'm going to use this combination of watercolor, pen and marker in my next book (which I'm working out sketches for these days).
I've got to take a break from working with oil paints... too much getting lightheaded and having to stop painting before I think I'm done for the day. I know that oil paints are somewhat toxic, but a recent trip to my local art supply store to get a new tube of Flake White paint was a sort of scary reminder: the saleswoman said that the company had discontinued that particular color because of the high amounts of lead in it (oh geez, and I've been leaning over my paintings, literally breathing in the stuff for years. Is that why I'm so stuffy in the mornings and my sniffles sound like an old rusty lawnmower? I'm going to try very hard to not self-diagnose here...).

So as soon as I'm done with the very last changes for the illustrations in Poems in the Attic (due out May 2015), I'm swearing off oil paints for a while! It will be hard, since that's my favorite medium and I've gotten so used to it, but an artist's gotta do what an artist's gotta do to stay healthy, right?

Plus, I've officially entered my third decade of life and it's time to experiment! I spent a little too much money on fancy decorative papers in Boston and Providence, and I'm looking forward to painting, cutting them up, and using them in my next book :)