One of the coolest things about the past year for me has been meeting other artists from around the world online. So many different people, with so many different and fascinating ways of seeing the world! One of them, Toe, hosted several galleries last year, and I was lucky enough to participate in two of them.
Toe is really good at picking out challenging themes, and the theme for last summer’s gallery was sound.
I thought long and hard — how might I illustrate or imply sound itself, in the soundlessness of visual art?
Then I remembered a story my friend Paul told me. A family of birds built their nest under the air conditioner outside his window. The baby birds would start their cheeping at dawn, and would peep all day long until dark. Paul also has house rabbits, and the singing drove them absolutely bananas. They would run off and hide under the stairs with their ears down, and stomp their feet in annoyance if the chirping became particularly boisterous. I loved that story, and decided to see if I could find a way to illustrate it for The Gallery Sound. The result was this:
I also found myself thinking of sleepless nights when I would drag myself out of the bedroom in exhausted misery at three am, and hear a mockingbird singing his heart out just outside the window. The rest of the world silent and sleeping, and this one bird singing for the joy of it with every trilling song he knew. And that little bit of beauty would shine so brightly in the dark that my own tiredness dimmed a bit and seemed less important. Insomnia brought me a gift of beauty, and that was something.
I wondered what the mockingbird might sing about. I wondered what the song would look like if I could draw it. And this is what happened:
So after struggling to find a good, solid idea for the gallery, I had two! I spent a few days trying to decide which one to submit, and finally gave up and sent them both, leaving it to Toe to decide which to include.
You can see the whole gallery here! I’m proud to be one of the 20 artists from around the world who participated. You can also see the gallery on Google+, where you can leave comments — and I hope you will! I think people who view art often don’t realize how much artists long for feedback, and how much those comments mean to us.
I recently opened a store on RedBubble featuring some of my illustrations, and last week I uploaded these two pieces — you can now buy “Noisy Neighbors” and “Mockingbird’s Song” as greeting cards and stickers! Both images are too small to upload as larger prints, but the print quality is excellent, and the largest size notecards are 5” x 7.5” — big enough to look great in a small frame if you want to hang them on your wall. At $3.60 plus shipping, you can have one delivered to your mailbox for about $6. Buying 8 or more cards gets you 20% off, and you get 30% off for 16 or more.
When I was a teenager, my friends and I wrote long letters to each other regularly. It was paper treasure — the gift of someone’s thoughts and the time and care it took to write them down. I still miss that. And I still have all those letters tucked safely away, like a time capsule from a world before email and flat-rate phone plans. I bet there’s someone in your life whose day would be brightened by getting a note from you in their mailbox!