My great passions (apart from my personal relationships) are making my own children's picture books and teaching others writing and illustrating skills to make and publish theirs. I also love making art and teaching others art skills for inner/outer adventures and explorations. So I've moved my Mondays with Mira Teaching Picture Book Videos to the Picture Book Academy and am mostly going to focus on art and my personal creative adventures here. I hope this makes more sense and that you'll stay with me.
Now about the image above, which I call "Protected."
Technique-wise I drew the one penguin with peonies using acrylic markers on paper that I had primed first with acrylic matte medium. I then scanned it and brought it into Photoshop and made a duplicate by dragging that layer down in the layers palette to the icon that looks like a duplicated folder which I then flipped using Edit/Transform/Horizontal in the menu so that they were facing. This was the beginning of the relationships. I then used command (or control for PC users) e to flatten my layers into one and repeated these steps only the last step was vertical to form a kind of cross. Using the move tool I positioned these as I wanted them and then using the lasso tool selected one of the penguins and copied and pasted it. Using command (or control for PC users) t to activate the transform tool, I dragged one of the corners holding the shift key down for proportions and made it smaller and then transformed the direction it was facing to be where I wanted it. I then made another copy, flipped it with Edit/Transform etc. and did one last wee penguin in the middle.
Sometimes we do things and then understand what we do later on. This image is known as a mandala where it starts in the center and radiates out. Mandalas are extremely relaxing to both do and look at, which is partly why I enjoy doing them so much. The other thing I love is looking at the negative shapes that they form, i.e. the space around the objects. Squint your eyes and look at the center and it's almost like opening up into an icy landscape.
After I composed this image, I looked at it and realized that what it's about for me is community, and how in community we get protection and strength when we need it. Having just returned from my SCBWI children's book community in LA for our big conference, and then spending a week with Jill Littlewood in her multi generational craftsman home or compound full of filmmakers and Jill and I making art like crazy, and putting together my Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books community, I see how I feel embraced and protected by this sense of strength and beauty in community that closes and opens as needed.
If you're up for it, let me know what you think : )