The Death of Magic.

Today is a personal post. 

Last month I attended Nashville's Creative Mornings and Chris Olux did a powerful talk. A talk so bold my toes were numb and I wanted to get off my chair and scream, "YES!!" Yes to everything new. No to everything old and tired and repetitive. 

His talk focused on making work that YOU want to make. Not what everyone wants you to make. Not what everyone thinks you should be making. Because I will tell you - it's easy to get boxed in and feel a tremendous amount of expectation and pressure. But we cannot be put in boxes and we certainly cannot put ourselves in a box. We are complex beings that grow and when you are making work, work grows too. A quote that he shared that morning that pierced me:

“Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.”

It's the destruction of reputation that resonates so strongly with me. I am not saying that millions of people know my work or that I have a preconceived reputation. We all have reputations and they must all be reflected upon and possibly destroyed.  The truth is, it's hard to change course in a true and pure way. As I was talking to my friend, the wonderful illustrator, Lauren Lowen, she mentioned that she had to differentiate the joy she found in making work with the joy she found in other's approval of the work. When she said this, my head exploded. THIS. This is the struggle that I am currently going through.  I want to make work that I just can't. stop. making. 

This morning I was sharing all of these utter frustrations with my friend Greg Oberle, whom I admire so much for his personal resilience and ideas. He shared this line with me from an interview with Bill Waterson.  "Repetition is the death of magic." The whole interview is incredible and I urge you to read it - but those lines just struck me (which is why he geared me in that direction.) It's why I have such a difficult time making prints, or cards, or teaching online classes about my style or how I work. Because every day should feel new and I have no idea who I am artistically. I hope I never do - because that will mean I've ended up in a box. 

You'll see I've taken down so many of my paintings from my site, and while I appreciate the huge amount of support and care for those and so many works, I have to cut that attachment. Close my eyes and jump.  Forward ever, backward never. 


This Spring I was approached by Salamandra to illustrate A Princesinha, the Portuguese Edition of A Little Princess written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Immediately I knew I wanted the job. Not only was I trying to make my way into the publishing/book world, but I have loved this story since I was a little girl. When I was in 7th grade, I did a book report (along with 3D Diorama) of this story and I have always loved the magic of it. 

I owe a huge thank you to Isabela Jordani who invited me to work on this book, and worked so hard to iron out all the details. She put a huge amount of trust in me and gave me creative freedom to make the best work I could and I know it made all the difference. This was one of the most rewarding, challenging projects I've had and I feel like it's just the beginning. I'm sold on storytelling and narrative illustrations. I finally feel like my work has a home. I'm getting sappy but I'm excited!  

Here are a couple of my favorite illustrations from the book, and I'll share one sketch for you as well. Each illustration was created with gouache and colored pencil on smooth bristol paper. To see all of the illustrations, go my the Gallery Page. To order the book, visit Salamandra.