Friday, November 30, 2007

IF : Excess of Yellow Birds

This is an illustration I did for the cover of a new picture book I've been working on aptly named, "The Yellow Bird Tree." It's the story of a little village boy who had been quite ill for a while. So ill, in fact, he never left his room. The elder doctor of the village said the only hope left was to say a prayer each time you see a yellow bird, and ask the yellow bird to deliver the prayer to the little boy. This is the sight he sees one day when he finally gets out of bed and opens his balcony doors! The tree was bursting with little yellow birds, and more were still coming for miles.

This is a story about hope and the power of prayer.

Now if I'd just finish the darn thing and get it to an eager publisher :)
Stop by and see what I did for this word in my Moleskine.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

IF : Lolo At The Zoo

This week's prompt for Illustration Friday is "The Zoo." I can't hear that word without remembering The Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, near where I grew up. I was only six years old in this photo, 1959. This is Mabel, the matriarch of the gorilla colony at Franklin Park. She and I were good friends right from the start. We used to talk about what we'd do when we'd get out into that big world waiting for us . (I could talk to animals all of my life.) She worried about her little one, Hank, but she knew that there would be a better world waiting for him without barriers and barricades. He'd have better opportunities than she had. He wouldn't have to live in the confines of the city. It just didn't seem right to sit in the short, mown grass and watch cars go by. Not right at all. Yeah, Hank would do just fine as long as he could find his way out.

As soon as my parents and I got to the zoo I could smell the popcorn and roasted peanuts mixed with the smell of the monkeys and elephants. It was heaven to me! My six year old hands would grasp the cold bars of the monkeys' cages while they looked at me, anticipating a treat of some kind. I'd name them all and make plans for each and every one of us to meet again. I'd run to the aviary filled with the most magnificently colored birds that filled the air with their shrieking, shrilling calls.

Franklin Park Zoo was a much needed escape from my hard life at home. It's amazing to me that my parents even took me there. It just tells me that in spite of the hard times, they tried. They really did the best they could. But it was Mabel who taught me to be strong.

I used to pick flowers for Mabel whenever I got the chance to go to the zoo to see her. As you can see, I would stand beside her and we'd talk for hours, sharing secrets and planning life's strategies. She was the heart and soul of Franklin Park.

We moved around a lot when I was growing up and I never got to say goodbye to Mabel. She knew I had to follow my parents as a youngster, but she also knew I'd grow up to be okay. She often comes to me in my dreams and I wake up laughing, not being able to tell anyone I felt gorilla breath on me last night and how wonderful it was!

You know, Mabel and I weren't suited for the city yet somehow we found each other and gave each other strength and hope. Man oh man, that's what life is all about.

Thank you, Mabel.

Love always, Lolo

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm it.....again!!

Okay, so now I've been tagged by Laurel Neustadter, OttoBlotto and ForeverYoung to list 7 random and hopefully interesting things about me. Try not to hit the snooze button!

1) As a kid, I used to be on probabtion for truancy. (Long story!) Anyway, back in the day they used to send a truant officer to your house if you missed a lot of school. The magical thing that came out if this was my probation officer, Janice. She was my first mentor and 44 years later, we're still great friends!

2) I don't know how to accept comliments. For instance, if someone says "Hey, that's a beautiful blouse!", I'll go on about how it doesn't fit very well and it's really old and then probably admit I bought it at Goodwill!

3) I can't watch underwater scenes on TV or at the movies. I literally lose my breath. Maybe it has something to do with an ex-boyfriend trying to drown me. Nice guy. I hung in for ten years.

4) I have a greeting card addiction. I'm an old-fashioned letter writer and I have at least a hundred blank cards to choose from at all times, yet I still keep adding more. Whenever I see an off-beat card shop, I'm there!

5) I'm a published children's book author but I didn't get to illustrate them...Ashley Wolff did. The books were published in 1991 and are still best sellers~yay!! Last March they came out in bi-lingual board books and sales have sky-rocketed. Sixteen years later those nice checks are coming to my door :) For those of you who can't find them, here's the latest editions of "I Love My Daddy Because..." and "I Love My Mommy Because..."

6) There are so many places I'd love to see but I hate traveling! I'd love to drive the back country roads of Ireland and stop for a pint at the pubs~or go to Scotland to see where my Grandfather and Great Grandfather were born. But I'll never go. Besides, I can't stand to leave my animals!

7) I love to read but I never find the time. I bring books to bed with me but fall asleep after one page. I don't think I've completed a book in at least 2 years! How sad is that.

So there you have it. Seven things you could have gone along nicely without knowing about me. I'm just not that interesting!
Oh...and seeing as I've tagged so many of you before, I'm letting you all off the hook :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

IF : Superstition

" Carrying an acorn will bring luck and ensure a long life."

I love it when a painting I just finished happens to fit the "IF" theme! I painted this Thursday for my friend's birthday. She loves acorns, oak leaves and Ravens. Yesterday I had no computer access due to some glitch at the towers, or whatever. It was hell for me because I wait all week for Illustration Friday! I still could have gone to the studio to draw or paint something, but no, I frittered away the day in withdrawal. Today though, I hope to do something superstitious in my Moleskine! So check back on my moleskine site if you'd like.

Have a super weekend!

Friday, November 09, 2007

IF : Scale

Phyllis discovered she had a natural talent for playing the scales through her nostrils.

For some reason I found myself humming "Puff the Magic Dragon" while drawing this. Honest. It was torture!

acrylic, Prismacolor pencils, Pitt pen, collage notes and rubber stamp wings on a scrap of cardboard.

Done for Illustration Friday
click for a bigger dragon experience!

Friday, November 02, 2007

IF : A Magical Hat Indeed

Let me tell you about my hat.

I keep my secrets under it.

I store my worries and fears there where I can't see them,

and if I can't see them, how can they bother me?

This is my magic hat.

My no more troubles hat,

my reachin' up to heaven hat.

And when I wear it I stand tall

and proud and happy because I know

it's going to be alright.

acrylic, colored pencils on watercolor paper
Done for Illustration Friday's prompt...hats.