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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


This morning I met with my long-time mentor Will Hillenbrand while he was out here picking his son up from camp. The alarm went off at six forty-five, I rocked myself out of bed with a, "Let's do it!" being that I stayed up easily till one am yesterday painting and watching The Holiday (love that movie with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet). Hair done up in braids, a ziplock baggie of Irish Soda Bread to go, and I was out the door in fifteen minutes flat.

I have not seen Will in a good number of years, largely due to my frequent movement be it from Ohio to San Francisco to Indiana to New Hampshire, and never quite matching our schedules to be more than a delightfully inspiring phone call from time to time. Will has a very playful appearance, youthful or whimsical could also be adjectives used to describe him, but characteristically he looks like a children's illustrator on appearance alone so it was not hard, despite many years of not seeing him, to waltz into the lobby and pick him out among the half-asleep hotel attendees, donning the dinning area.

Will was kind enough to look over my sketch books and my webpage as I sipped my coffee and we talked about the processes involved in the creation of art. We talked about moving sketches from the page to the computer, about expression, about sequencing. Pulling out an oddly shaped file folder (sized to fit printouts book-sized), he flipped through some of his work so that I could see his process at present.

When I was a freshmen in college, I first met Will giving a presentation in Cincinnati (recommended by a at the time unknown professor I would eventually tag along with my whole college career). He talked about his process, he talked about being an illustrator, he just talked and I was 100% enamored. This was the first time I ever met someone who talked about something that I wanted to do. It was like someone went in my head and pulled out what I'd been pondering over for the 18+ years I'd been around and laid it out for me perfectly. I wanted to be an illustrator of children's books and guess what? Other people did too, and did it.

So it was and is always fun to revisit where Will is and think about day 1 meeting Will and present meeting Will. I love looking over his stuff. I love listening to his process and studying the minute details of house shingles that his subtle lines nail. I love looking at his art and seeing the playfulness in it, but also just to see he doesn't just magically make the final happen (although I love his final work). He brought sketches to see show me, then the images laid out in the computer. It was all just cool, cool, cool. And it made me start thinking of things, elements, that I could start to incorporate in my own work. And I left, quarter cup of full-tilt coffee in my system, feeling inspired, as I always do when talking with Will, that I have growing to do but there are still people out there who do what I would like to do someday. There are still people out there who design books for children and love it like I love it.

Meadow Poetry

So yesterday, because I knew I was getting too stressed out, I purposefully blocked the day out to do a bunch of work in the morning, then paint in the evening. This painting is one I am doing for a friend of mine who got married well over six months ago but I am a bit behind on the actual present delivery. No surprise... I get behind of lots of lofty things I set my mind to, plus I'm quite particular when it comes to making a painting deliberately for someone... it has to feel right for that person. Anyways, this painting is called "Meadow Poetry II" because any of you who follow my work may see some familiarities from a previous painting I did, also known as Meadow Poetry. The original was done in watercolor and had my portrait drawn in charcoal with the hair spilling down over it. I'll see if I can find it to post alongside this new one. Primarily, I am using the same color scheme and dimensions but trying to resolve some flatness that was occurring in the first as well as changing the meaning of the painting more or less. The reason I am posting this painting is because last night I was working on the hands and every now and then I do something that I just nail and am so tickled pink I just can't help looking at it. In this case, it's the fingers on the bottom hand. I felt like, "Hot damn Moll, you nailed those." They just seem to have substance. They read as hands. And then I think about how I was teaching a friend of mine how to paint and we had been talking a lot about planes and how every form can be seen geometrically, fingers being no exception. So, here, in the fingers, you see a sense of depth created as I used different shades to demonstrate the different planes of a finger. A finger has four planes, and to describe it I literally just thought about that as I dropped in my value and color. Now, the hands overall need some serious contrast attention but the oil is to wet to attend to that at present, and truthfully, that's no surprise to me as I know that is my weakness, but I just felt it was important to share with my blog readers my prideful moment of getting something on the dot.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I am distinctively finding a pattern that goes like this:


But the solution has been pretty simple to make this a normal, happy pattern: Molly GO GO GO GO GO Paint, mix paint, play with paint GO Go GO GO gogogo (repeat).

I'm feeling it's paint mixing and painting time...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Business Review

My business got a review from my favorite printing company!!

Check it out:

I was and am pretty pumped about this.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Trina Evenings

So I hired a friend of mine to transcribe a bunch of the interviews I've conducted from 2006-present regarding my research on Trina Schart Hyman. Some would say I am lazy not doing this myself, however, I have decided I'm smart. Why not delegate your time? My friend can use the money, and I can use that time to draw or write (potentially furthering my career) something no one else can do for me. Win win situation right? Plus it saves me from scrolling through the tapes when I'm looking for a quote.

Here's the interesting part, my friend is now hooked on Trina. She has actually been enjoying the transcribing and she starts to ask me questions about Trina. Friend: "So, was Trina wealthy when she died? Because if she had cancer twice, that's not cheap." Me: "I don't think so. I think she was comfortable enough that she was able to pay for her illness but not able to retire entirely." Friend: "So when you said she was a good correspondent, did you mean by email, letters what?" Me: "Trina was very routine-like, she'd sit down every night and spend like an hour or two writing letters. And they were personal letters too. People treasure them. As for email, she didn't believe in a microwave... I think she may have had a color copier that her partner used, but definitely not a computer." Friend: "Why? Was she opposed to technology?" Me: "No I think she just felt it sucked an element of creativity out of your life. Like she never felt people shouldn't have enough time to boil a cup of tea that they'd need to use the microwave for that. She never wanted to be that type of person. Same kind of thing in her illustration career. She didn't like the way publishing was becoming so commercialized...." and on and on... as we walked down the sidewalk towards Keene State College.

It was lovely. General conversation with my eyes closed on a Princess towel while waiting for her to be done running a summer camp... chronicling as much of Trina's life as I could in summary while explaining the connections of the people for which she was transcribing interviews... and then drifting into the gallery at Keene State.

"So what are these?" Me: " These are color separations; remember how I was talking about what a big deal it was when Trina got her first full-color picture book... can you imagine doing this??"

We talked about Trina for three hours.

We talked about children's books, the history, Holiday House, Trina, Trina, Trina. I love doing just that.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sketches of Dogs

As I work on my sketching week escapades I'm going to do my best to post them here as an "accountability" thing.... here are the dogs from my midwest trip.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Website changes

Oops, almost forgot! I've been making changes to my website lately too. From the critiques that I have received (ages ago mind you) I needed my images to get bigger. I also felt it was time to update the images in general. Some of them were older, not really where I was going anymore and I had some new art too. this is the work in progress however, I would like to get more of my sketches up as I've been trying to do a fair amount of work in my sketchbooks lately (as you can see from my previous posts).

I hope to get this up by next week because I have a new round of postcards to mail out and am going to start trying to get an agent to pick me up as an artist. Yep. I decided it's time to focus on getting an agent and less about the publishers. When I'm done with my changes, I'll post them up on Also, for anyone who knows people who need websites, feel free to pass along my information (McL Design: as that is one of my many business avenues.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July's Child

Sometimes I find this blog is silly to write in because I feel as if I am writing to myself. Now, in part, if I don't write new entries save a month apart (to the date today mind you), I can understand why as a follower, it would be a nusense to try to keep up with this... my interest would wane.... this reminds me of my feelings towards Madeline L'Engle and Mildred Taylor. Both authors I felt left their readers in the midst of good stories... cliff hangers if you will, season finale's except neither picked up the boat and brought us another novel. I waited and waited, checking their names on the bookshelves, but the shelf did not expand, the new books did not appear and so over time, I quit looking. My expectations and hopes for revisiting old friends in new ways, faded. And then I found out Madeline died, so I forgave her for never getting around to another book (despite the fact there was a LARGE gap in between her dying and my checking of the shelves....) anyhow, so, this blog. There is also the issue of comments. I rarely get comments. Oh sure, once in a blue moon someone writes one, but I sit there after a blog entry and watch that little parenthesees with a number tucked inside, watching, waiting, hoping it will change, wishing.... staring with anticipation, like watching the New Year's ball quivering at the top of the pole... but nothing. After about five or so checkins on this I give up. No comments. So if I'm not in the mood for writing to myself, then I let it sit, my blog, collect dust for a month. There has been a TON going on this past month. Much I could write of. What pertains to writing? Well, I finished my postcards, have them ordered and in my possession. I also spent a glorious evening at the Eric Carle, for a "Member Exclusive" gallery opening of Lisbeth Zwerger's work.... an event that was nice and fancy (if you wanted it to, which for me I did since my job requires us to where chill/hip clothes like jeans and a little skirt and heels every now and again is a treat.) And I chuckled over recognizing Jerry Pinkney hanging out and mingling... met a wonderfully friendly woman known to me as "Susanna the Egg Woman" in the gift shop who knew much about Trina (helps out with the Egg Auction for Jean (Trina's partner)'s school) and is from Storrs, and has so many books her floors are beginning to warp... (I actually loved talking with this woman because she was so natural at conversing. We were just instantly talking about life, causal things like not fitting her rolly suitcase through the halls because she has too many books, and then before you know it we're chatting about Trina, who she knew for ten years, and then on to who Trina painted with... and then she's bouncing back to the counter just as quickly as she bounced over to my area to begin with).
But all of that is just to say, I find it most humorous, that one of my persistent "readers" shoots me emails here and there to comment rather than the little memos... and whenever she does I feel inclined to stick my head back in the blog window and continue my work here. And so, I begin again, here in July, a month later, with the same full time job, the same trying to do too many things at once, and the same self... let the july blog adventures begin.