Saturday, June 28, 2014

Going to Print!

I spoke once, back in 2012 [here] about books, and how I always had this thought that one day I would like to illustrate a children’s book.   I quoted Toni Morrison who said “If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”.  I admitted my limitations and confessed the importance of establishing goals so long as you don't let them deprive you of interesting detours.  By the fall I’d done a few paintings.  A year later I was still working on it.  I’d stalled out for a while, and had another baby.  I think my art improved.  I’d discarded a number of attempts.  I’d even painted on the back of some of the ones I didn’t like (watercolour is expensive – upwards of $15 for a single sheet of paper).

I’m now two years from beginning my journey and I’ve just sent off my artwork to a company that will help me get through the self-publishing process.  In other words  I’ve decided to publish this work independent of a publishing house.  In the past, self-published authors had to spend considerable amounts of money preparing a book for publication, and to purchase bulk copies of their title and find a place to store them. Print-On-Demand  technology means that I, via numerous, accessible global distribution channels like, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, etc., can have a book printed– virtually world-wide – only when an order has been placed.  Voila!  Putting your book for sale on Amazon feels like dropping a single grain into a bag of rice.  So while this book will likely never make enough money to even cover the costs of getting the paintings digitized, let alone set up fees etc.  the point is I’m taking my own advice.... you know those things you've always wanted to do..... you should do them...  here I am...

I’ve received some praise.. I wonder how much is lip service and how much is real.  The best was from the folks I’ve hired to help me get my paintings into digital format suitable for printing....

© RiverWalker Arts
“I received your illustrations this morning! They are absolutely gorgeous.  I can't even tell you the response I have received.  Every single person who has laid eyes on them has had wonderful things to say.  Multiple times I have had people ask what professional illustrator sent them in.  Just gorgeous.” ~ H.S.

Wynken, Blynken and Nod is about a Journey.  The Poem written by Eugene Field and published in 1889 is about three little fishermen who sail off in a wooden shoe to fish among the stars in the night sky.  It is a dream, it is a lullaby, it is a gentle pull into the mysteries of bedtime stories.   The Journey for me is the series I am painting.  I’m doing it for myself, I’m doing it for the children in my life, I’m doing it because I can....  and all things going as planned there will be a book... a real tangible vanity published book to read, to sell, to admire and market – in time for Christmas craft fair season.  (I only ever do one craft fair a year.... but still it’s how I put myself out there in my community).

You’ll be able to order one too, I’ll sign it if you want.  It will be for sale on Amazon... so I’m told. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


So this is the deal.   My I have a dirty little secret.  A time waster.  Which is awful because I REALLY don’t have time to just sit and let time disappear in a flash.    I have kids to pay attention to, I have school work to get done, a book to publish... oh and did I mention I just sold my house and bought a new one so I’ve got moving to do too.  And in case you didn’t know.. Kids take up a LOT of time.   Anyway.. my time waster – my dirty little defragment the brain activity  -  PINTEREST.   (I know..... Please don’t judge me).  

 “What’s for Dinner?” by Sandra K White
I often seek inspirational art on Pinterest, (along with toddler activities, toddler crafts, quilting techniques and crockpot recipes.)  One day I came across Sandra K White’s “What’s for Dinner?”  watercolour.  (   It  spoke to me.  It sang to me.  I NEEDED to paint BEETS!  (I’m not even sure her painting has beets, they might be turnips, or giant radishes.... all I saw was beets) .

I became somewhat obsessed.  I’ve been painting variations of Wynken, Blynken and Nod for two years and little else.  I’ve gone through enough Winsor Blue to last a lifetime, specifically : Artists' Water Colour: Winsor Blue (Green Shade) .  So the thought of lusciously vibrant oranges and rich deep reds had me positively humming with anticipation.  I really needed to wipe all that blue off the palette. 

Finally. With a little cooperation from some sleeping children I managed to squeeze in enough time for this:
dug up from the garden ..... Basic research has shown beets may protect against liver disease, lower blood pressure and have an effect on mechanisms of cardiovascular disease.

11x 15 inch Watercolour on 140lbs cold press cotton rag paper
© RiverWalker Arts

Thank you Sandra for the inspiration....