The Musings of Molly

A blog primarily chronicling the artistic and writerly endeavors of a girl who moves with the change in wind patterns, and is always trying to puzzle out, and explore the life given.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Trina Schart Hyman Update

This is in response to a question I had about my Trina biography for which I sent out months ago:

I have not heard any word on it yet and am hoping to send it out again next month. I am however, conducting some additional interviews in the month of November to strengthen a section on gallery owners, personal and private collectors etc. and am very excited for those and the insight they will bring to the book.

I am still hopeful and determined.

Ode to the Eric Carle Museum

Today I went to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. There are a number of things that I love about this place, having been three times in my adult life. One: I love that their library is sorted according to illustrator. There is none of the author bias with Eric Carle. This library is the first and only library aside from my own where this has been the case, although truthfully, even mine can be a mix, however, Trina's work is always organized by her name even if it is a novel and she just did the cover art. This makes it so much easier for an artist like myself to bring my friend in and say, "This is one of my favorite illustrators," and instantly have a slew of books to demonstrate the quality of illustrations, rather than rely on my packed brain to remember authors, titles and artists and dig out the common artist name all over the place.
Two: I like that you can get within inches of the paintings hung up in the gallery. Ernest Shepard and Tomie dePaola were the featured artists this time and I LOVED being able to be within centimeters of Strega Nona and see how crisp and clean Tomie's work was. I loved seeing the faint pencil lines around Pooh Bear and how Ernest's ink flowed from image to image. It was just delightful. I stopped for awhile to look at a cushioned top to a basket Tomie dePaola had created, mesmerized by the acute sense of detail in the light wash, darker wash and faint colored pencil on top to create the form. It reminded me of the importance in SLOWING down.
Three: The gift shop is my heaven. I personally love reading biographies, autobiographies, books on books, books on writing, books on certain categories related to books (ie. cover art, golden books etc.) all of those books Leonard Marcus puts out. I am just devouring each book in the slim amount of time that my friend's attention span can maintain the gift shop. It was in this gift shop that I was first introduced to Holiday House, the first sixty-five years, a book that inspired me to want to intern and work for the company. It was here too that I began to learn of other places where I could read and learn about Trina Schart Hyman which as all know later turned into a passion, and a book.
Four: Eric Carle himself. He seems such a gentle soul. I have spoken only very briefly to snatch a photograph with him, but his adorable little self seems enchanting and I like that he took the interest in creating a museum to celebrate children's books and I like that he is a staple in children's books, yet kind of in a different category from the Caldecott winners and the schmoozy sectors.
Five: Meghan Lambert. This is a woman who works for the museum who kindly opted to interview with me about Trina when I was a mere Jr. in college. The fact that the museum staff supports and encourages such dialogues has earned them high respect in my eyes. Plus she introduced me to yet another library at the museum that is jam packed with all the types of books that I like that I can sit and work in whenever I make a reservation.
And Six: It is in the middle of freaking nowhere. Seriously. You're just driving along and then POOF, Hampshire College and Eric Carle Museum. Too funny.
So there you have it. My many reasons for loving the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I decided this piece was struggling because it didn't have a directional source of light. I am presently attempting to fix this but again something bothers me about it. I have noticed this happens here and there with art and that is where I really appreciate critiques. I think, "I have gone as far as I know," and often sit and look at it for awhile till I know what it is that the painting needs. I much prefer when the painting comes together easily and I feel, "Yes, you are done." with no further dispute. So, for now, this is the newly adapted cloud image.

Studio me

Here I am working on touching things up. You can see my nice little studio space. I have been fortunate enough in all my moving and sharing homes to have everyone support me in my artistic quest, providing me with a card table, a wide table, a whole apartment, or in this case, a table and table cloth to avoid getting paint all over the room. I like my little corner that I have now. Like usual, I have my styling studio clothes on complete with a hat to keep those pesky fuzzies out of my face. Despite the 33 degree mornings, I get warm painting thus the rolled sleeves.

Lion & Mouse illustration

This is an illustration I did to join with my lion and mouse sequence. Some of you who receive my postcards will recognize it from that. It's done in ink & watercolor.

Small study

I have a camera again! Here is a painting I am still observing because I don't entirely feel it is "done". I started it last month and it has been sitting while I contemplate it. I enjoyed mixing the mediums as I did although I'm not convinced that I did it in an entirely archival way... hehe... the gold leaf is pretty touch and go. It is a small piece, only 8"x10". But, as it is something I am working on, here it is. I am also currently in the process of updating my website as a whole so do check back there to see the new fine art and illustration work.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Keene's Children's Literature Festival Part I

This evening as I was driving home, leaves blowing across the road as if snowbanks, I was thinking about the Keene Children's Literature Conference I will be going to in a weeks time. Sometimes I find my passion for children's literature is similar to that of a secret society. I love books. I love talking about them. I love looking at them. I could talk for hours about authors, illustrators, the industry you name it. Equally I like drawing illustrations, I like visually depicting tales and pondering over the best way to do so and I also like writing, spinning fictitious tales out of words floating above my head. However, to the majority of the world, this is not a passion. Matter of fact, this world might as well be a secret society for all their knowledge about it. This can be a lonely "club" sometimes as a result. Sometimes I even forget there are more members than just myself.

I had a set of friends that I met at a writing conference years ago, move into town. On our first night out reacquainting ourselves, I was literally bursting with happiness over having spent the whole evening talking about and sharing children's literature. We talked books, we talked our books, we talked ideas, we talked common people, new and exciting news, you name it. I was in heaven. Oh how I had missed this.

It has been awhile since I reconnected with those folks again, although I have been thinking about a consultation on a ms that is just frustrating me to no end. However, the point of all this is to say, I am looking forward to this conference in the same way I look forward to meeting with my friends. Because at the conference, auditoriums are filled, classrooms swarmed with hundreds of people just like me, who live and breath the world of children's literature and remind me that it is not always a secret society, and it is not something I should forget exists. It is there, it is present and I should continue sending out my postcards, continue writing, painting and continue striving to find my place in this world of children's literature.


Looking down at my ankle this morning, while writing my morning pages I noticed the fine thread that had held one anklet had finally broken. I have been home, quiet and calm with the solitude of my dog, while my family is out thousands of miles away burying my grandma, or across the pond in Italy. Chloe and I spent time outdoors admiring the gifts of the season, the vibrant colors reflecting off the still water and then it was back to the warmth of the house, curling on the couch to spend time with a journal, spending time with the silent tv, the silent radio, the silence in general.
So this morning as I noticed the anklet gone I felt a sense of surprise that it had disappeared without my knowledge as it was meant to do (though it was on yesterday). The anklet was picked up sometime in the previous winter season, with it's seven beads that upon falling off meant I would be at peace. As a kid I had one for happiness, one for luck, all of which too succeeded in their "magical" task, worn till they lay frayed and itchy on my ankle, beads hanging by a string. I amused myself with purchasing this simple anklet and skipping over the "Love" "Luck" "Friendship" colors, figuring, like the lottery, half the fun was thinking about the outcome :)
So there we have it. I am at peace. I smile as I write this because of a conversation with my mom. "Ma, I feel very calm lately. Very much at peace but I have to wait for my anklet to confirm this isn't just a wave." Poking her head out from the kitchen, hands covered in pie dough flour she said, "Molly, I could have told you that you were without you waiting on your anklet." "Yeah but Mom, it's the POINT that it symbolizes." "Okay Mol," she said stretching out the ohhh kay before continuing back to the rolling pin.
So beats me where it is as I cleaned my room, changed sheets etc. this morning but I felt it was noteworthy that it has in fact disappeared.
Beyond that I have started sketches for two new paintings. Dad comes home with my camera in four days and I can start posting again some of the images I have been working on. One of the sketches has me leaning to do a long watercolor and ink piece. I have been having such fun with oil that should be a nice change or challenge for me. The other painting is one where I am trying to capture a set emotion, perhaps for a wedding gift for a friend of mine, or perhaps as an experiment for myself.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Today I found out my grandmother died. Being one of the lucky people who has had the opportunity to know both sets of grandparents, this was hard to hear as she is the first to pass. Memories of hanging out at her house, watching the coo coo clock pop open, being handed Werthers from the crystal candy jar, and her always having my favorite doll ready for me when I came, even as a twenty-four year old was special. My grandma and I shared the similar interest in being artists. She was a wonderfully talented crafter with her hands, making beaded necklaces, earrings, you name it. She tated finite lace dollies and chokers and braclets too. She was the top seller at the craft fairs in Arizona and let me sell my wares there as a kid, always encouraging what I did. She sat with me and taught me how to knit and tat, and sent me home with her personal set of needles when her eyes were getting too old for knitting. I was called "Molly girl" to her. She was also my pen pal, writing me letters in her personal fancy handwriting that always seemed to reflect a classier age.

So as I was driving home from work today I was thinking about her and was sad, sad for myself, sad for my dad, and sad for my 98 year old grandpa who told her every night that he loved her. But then I smiled when I remembered she would get to see her mom again. Her mom passed away when she was a teenager and suddenly I didn't feel as terribly sad because I thought how wonderful that would be for her to see her mom again.

And yet, at the same time, with this being the second death of the year, my Uncle Jack being the first, I have come to realize a different growth in myself. I feel as though I have aged, or rather, grown up this year with the host of events and life changes that have occurred and I feel this strange sense of peace with the year as a whole, as though this last thing, my grandma, has created peace in this growth. And I figure if it takes a little while for her to find her mom maybe my Uncle Jack will help her out. I figure he's having a grand time with his brother anyways and can show her the ropes because I asked him to and he'll laugh his hearty laugh and maybe even bring her a scotch on the rocks, her favorite, as a toast to the new life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Websites

While I continue exploring the great features of iWeb I decided this weekend to start organizing my photos and embracing my traveling gypsy lifestyle. Feel free to check out the new site at:

I've utilized the blog for mostly snippets of the images that I've included. I will continue to update it once my digital camera is returned next week and as I continue traveling. Next place on my list is the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art--a wonderful museum in Amherst, MA. I'm hoping to loop down there in the next two weeks. Last time I was there I had the most fabulous gift of running into Eric Carle himself and he was kind enough to snap a photo with me. I was THRILLED to meet him.

Atlanta Sunshine

It has been a busy month for me so far between driving to my new job which is awesome but two hours away (great for catching up on my books on tape), and bouncing around with family things. This week I sent out another round of postcards to publishers with my lion and mouse black and white paintings. I often think of Eileen Spinelli, who has published a ton of books and poems and how she has the routine of sending out manuscripts and promotional pieces bi-weekly. Even if she is doubtful with limited responses she does it all the same. And so I sent out thirty cards today that may hopefully join my pirate card in a file somewhere for art directors to consider periodically for children's books.

Besides that I had a nice warm up in Atlanta, GA with Kelley ( and went to the Bodies exhibit which was fascinating both from an artistic perspective as well as just flat out curiosity. We saw nerves, muscles, bones, you name it. I thought the body that had all the human interventions implemented in it, ie. leg rods, replacement hips, plates in head, back fusions etc. was really pretty cool to see--just all the ways we have learned to modify the human skeleton when injured. I also went to this fabulous pizza shop with Kelley and Danielle (Kelley's sister, my childhood pal) and enjoyed the mix of Latina music from the companion restaurant and the outdoor patio. On Monday I got the chance to join Kelley for her IMT therapy which was fascinating. Kelley was working on moving her hand forward and backward, a motion so easily taken for granted but was awesome to see Kelley utilize her physical strength and mind to strengthen and rebuild the nerves in her arm/hand. It was great to warm up and catch some good airport sketch time before returning to the cool northeast. The leaves are looking fabulous now and I love the turn around the roads to see the classic New England stones with bright leaves and old farmhouses. Granted I'm back in wool socks, but I'm more appreciative of the beauty.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall II

For the past four falls I have not lived in the same location, and yet for some reason, this fall has me very reminiscent of my last one spent in the midwest. It seems strange to me that for all my traveling, I find I am looped back into memories of spending fall in another location. Yet, I also find tugging at my mind the knowledge of what it is to "fall" here, in New England--a seasoning I haven't done since I was ten. It is as if my younger self is emerging from the subconscious with what this experience will be like, and how best to prep for it with the smells and the shift in the air, the wool sweaters and socks, while my mind periodically looks back a year to the leaf fallen paths of Indiana, the frost coated grass, the last routine, the dogs and a different set of 'family'.

I find seasons, particularly those on the in-betweens, fall and spring, offer much in the way of making one feel a personal transition, as I've mentioned before. I once connected very well with the movie Chocolat, where the woman knew when the wind changed it was time to move on. Ohio, Connecticut, California, Indiana, and now New Hampshire... and yet for whatever reason this season seems most distracting to me. I do not feel the rapid transition that comes when I up and leave a place, rather the trickle transition that has been occurring for much of this year as is. And so on this October 1st, with the leaves ablaze, and a fire to be started, I listen to the wind but stay where I am, moving like the turtle in the race to meeting myself.