Friday, January 29, 2010

Of Watercolors, Children's Books, and JD Salinger

First, I want to remind you that I'm hosting a giveaway. 250 stickers from UPrinting for the lucky winner. See here.

Marguerite and I have been working with watercolors, colored pencils and pens, and clay lately (probably because they're the ones that are already out). Anyway, I just let her go crazy with the art materials, sometimes showing her tricks that I think will fascinate her (but will probably be pronounced lame by anybody older than 3), while I work on something on my own. Through this process, I discovered a different approach to something that has been frustrating me. I'd been wanting to write and illustrate books for Marguerite, but while the story part is usually not a problem, I have a hard time accompanying it with illustrations. A day or two ago, while Marguerite and I painted, I started concocting a story for the picture I was painting. Realizing what I was doing, the idea that the reverse of my usual process might just be the way to go (for me anyway) came like an epiphany, lol. I know it's not anything like a groundbreaking discovery, but I'm the kind of person who's so set in my ways that I find it hard most of the time to adjust or to shake things up. I'm pretty sure that I've missed so many things because of this reluctance to be flexible and I'm glad that the chaos (pardon the choice of word) of having a child has forced me to get better at it. I actually find that these qualities I used to shun - flexibility, spontaneity... you know, those attributes that make a person fun - allow more creativity in my life. There's a need for balance, of course. I mentioned this in an article I wrote about sparking one's creativity. Anyway, here are just some of the pictures I painted that evolved into actual stories.

Also, I cannot end this post without mentioning JD Salinger, a writer who had such a profound influence (not necessarily good, but at that time, I only let things influence me negatively, lol) on me during my teenage years. Almost twenty years later, I continue to love his stories although the impressions left on me are different now. Mostly, they inspire me to write good stories (not that I've actually been able to deliver - gah, enough with the asides!). To date, my fascination and curiosity for the man have not diminished. In the words of Holden Caulfield, he was the kind of author that you wished "was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it." Although, of course, given JD Salinger's reclusive nature, that really wouldn't have worked out. The point of this is that he died yesterday (or the day before, depending on your time zone) at the age of 91 and I want to acknowledge the part he played in my life. As I'm hardly qualified to (or even capable of) writing a tribute, I'll just say "thanks".


Vera said...

Your illustrations are really inspiring, i mean, one can't help but find a story in them :)

spinninglovelydays said...

Thank you, Vera :)

Chin chin said...

Nice illustrations. Congratulations on your talent. May you pass it on to your little one.

spinninglovelydays said...

Thank you, Chin chin :)