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, November 20, 2009


So here's the Christmas card ideas for this year... which one I plan to finalize is still up in the air. I'd love opinions...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday at The Starving Artist

When I fantasize about my perfect life, I dream about the possibility of having a place, a gathering of artists that join in to draw together, not to compare who's better than who, who went to what school, but to draw, to share in the common space and delight of gathering together to continue growing as artists. The Starving Artist makes me feel the reality of this dream. Collecting every Monday night, many of which I have missed due to commuting, artists of all ages join together, women and men, and we swap around who poses and we draw the figure.

Tonight I was a bit tired having rushed about my day and having left a painting at home for which I was working on to attend this evening gathering, contemplating if I wouldn't rather be continuing the piece at home. I rounded up my paints and an entourage of sketchbooks, watercolor paper, watercolors, pencils, watercolor pencils, you name it. One of my dilemmas has been that I have not responded well to my mediums the past few times. Once while in art school I had a girl tell me she was not particularly successful at painting as she was a line drawer or line artist rather than suggestion artist. This felt like a light bulb going off in my head, suddenly I had a way to articulate my connectedness with paint and seeming frustration with line. I am not a line drawer. Unfortunately, I often still try to educate my line, and have found this frustrating at these fun gatherings so today I tried something new.

What resulted is seen above. I had SO much fun. I liked what I did. I had this silly bit of excitement in thinking, "Wow, if I saw these done by someone else, I'd be drawn to them." So with an Ohio band playing softly through the room, reminding me of different geographies and different periods in my life when I was in the midwest, I had the best evening, steps closer to what I imagine my "rooted" area to be like.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pics from Lit

I have been incredibly slack when it comes to updating my blog lately. My poor excuse is that it is holiday season and my job requires my presence in higher volume. Here are some pictures from the children's literature festival with Jane Yolen and Lois Lowry. As these women have been so helpful in my Trina Schart Hyman biography I wanted to snap a picture with them in the event of being able to use them in the book perhaps. Jane is signing my copy of Girl in a Cage--the last cover art Trina did before passing away.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Dad and I raked leaves this morning--him with the power blower, and me with the old-fashioned wire rake. The wet leaves clung with earnest to one another clutching the damp morning grass only to be tossed to the air and slowly directed to piles at the edge of the driveway. I smiled with my wool sweater and goofy hat, watching as my dad in his classic outdoors sweatshirt and "Proud Grandpa" hat shuffled the leaves along.

And then I shifted back, back to weekends where we three girls piled in the back seat of an old Honda, with Bruce Springsteen "Working on the Highway" sounding from the cassette tape in the front as we cruised down the highway to my dad's parents house in Connecticut. Squirreling out of the car, M&M wrappers trailing, Kate and I would race to the one tree we were allowed to climb--a large maple in the side yard. As Dad and Mum unloaded the suitcases and my little sister, Kate and I were already dangling from the branches, our 80's sweatshirts high on our tummies. And then Dad would be there raking a nice pile of leaves under our low level branch. Piles of brown and slightly yellow leaves grew higher and higher until we got the signal to jump, falling from the limb with Mum's voice echoing out the door, "Girls, be careful not to break your arms!" And we would laugh, damp by the wet leaves, pulling sticks from our hair, throwing leaves at each other, burying ourselves to see if Dad noticed we were missing, and then shaking them off and crawling up the tree for another launch.

Dad swapped me for the leaf blower after half the front yard was done, so that he could teach me a trick, flipping the rake over and pushing the leaves like a snow plow down the yard into the pile. "Like a true New England boy," I laughed, taking the rake back to test it out for myself and tossing the leaves high on the pile thinking about Kate's little boy mere weekends ago lying in a similar pile of leaves to have his picture taken...

The Keene Literature Festival II

The Keene Children's Literature Festival was awesome! Featured speakers this year were: Jane Yolen, Katherine Patterson, Lois Lowry, Lita Judge, and Beth Kromme--novelists and illustrators.

I was particularly excited about this event because like most conferences, one gets to sit among hundreds of children's literature fans, often teachers and librarians but a speckling of soon-to-be writers and illustrators as well. This event is nice because we all pile into one auditorium and everyone gets to hear the speakers present back to back so there is no juggling of which author/illustrator you want to attend & conflicts of when they overlap. I will post some pictures once I get my camera out of the car.

Trina Schart Hyman and Jane Yolen were the two most frequent speakers at this event and I was happy to hear her name mentioned a couple of times in recognition of her role in the history of Keene's festival as well as with Lois Lowry sharing a humorous story of the two of them and simultaneous black eyes.

Every single speaker this year was engaging, humorous and left me thinking about some aspect of my own world as a writer/illustrator. Jane Yolen took the approach of talking about poetry--an area I do not fully understand but like most in the children's world. Her speech and Q & A after gave me the opportunity to learn not only how one is to read poetry but just made me think about the discrimination given to poets who publish in the children's book arena vs. the "adult" arena. Lois Lowry had us cracking up at the humorous letters she has received over the years. Lita Judge had a facinating history as a child and learning through self-teaching how to be an illustrator and really painter as a whole. There was a lot that I enjoyed observing in her watercolors. Beth Krommes was too cute about winning the Caldecott Medal this year and I loved how she shared her experiences as an artist and answered all my curiosities about the C. medal as is. Katherine Patterson gave a very moving speech pertaining to hope and was just charming on her 77th birthday (what an interesting birthday to have on the 31st of October). She also spoke of being classified as a weird kid, and having another classmate also classified as such because that boy was adamant about becoming a ballerina (what boy is not going to be brutally made fun of for this dream) but low and behold as life separated them, they reconnected many years later and that young boy had become a ballerina after all. I love those stories, the idea that if you are passionate about something, and believe in yourself amidst diversity, you can persevere. Now, I obviously am giving the cliff note version because it was far more entertaining and powerful when she shared the story, but the moral is good to remind my slew of readers about.

I left the Irish Cottage of David White's (the festival director) feeling gloriously energized. I loved the comfort of each of the very established women (Jane, Lois and Katherine) and how presenting to crowds like the 500 present at Keene, was a breeze; they were natural and comfortable with themselves as human beings and as writers--or at least came off as so. And as I sat across the aisle from them, I smiled as Jane Yolen spoke words of calm and encouragement to one of the younger speakers. What a kindness to see that camaraderie rather than competition. What a kindness to see the generations of powerful women writers sharing with a different generation. Not to mention, how nice to hear a two time prestigious well-recognized woman not be stuck up and snotty, but rather very human and like the type of human I wish all could be. (Then again, she was friends with Trina, and since I hold Trina up to a certain standard, I'm glad she liked these women too ;))