Tuesday, 30 March 2010
While I struggle a little with a story for Katie in Scotland, I thought I'd post an assortment of sketches for Nessie. These were doodled in advance of the book to promote the BIG NESSIE COMPETITION which will be launched this Easter at the National Galleries of Scotland and online at Orchard Books' website. DETAILS TO FOLLOW!
Different people see Nessie in different ways. But Orchard and I eventually decided that Nessie is:
b) Be-flippered, not legged and
c) Greenish for camouflage
In other words, pretty close the the Plesiosaurus that most sightings have compared jher with. Lot's of pictures and toys make her more worm/eel-like, without legs or flippers. Sometimes she has horns. Ah well... on my trip to Loch Ness later this month, I'll be able to sketch the real thing from life!
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Today I had a rare and wonderful experience at a primary school, in Cottenham, Cambridgeshire. They decided to adapt Katie and the British Artists for their school play. They changed Katie to "Josie" and adjusted some of the paintings (including a Lowry instead of a Turner), but the imagination and hard work created something very special, an enchanting memory for all the children - and me!
Children from years 3 & 4 took part (it's a large school so this provided around 200 children), and they represented the paintings in dance and costume. I don't have any photographs, alas (child protection and all that), so you'll have to take my word for it: it was fabulous. My heartfelt thanks to the staff, parents and children for such an honour. I can't think of a better way to bring art alive for children.
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Nothing to do with Mussorgsky for once. These are pictures Linda McClelland, the education manager at the National Gallery of Scotland, took of the Katie's Picture Show exhibition just before it opened...
I can't wait to get to Scotland for the events and my research trip. It's going to be quite an adventure... the trains to Fort William are a little hit-and-miss, although I am told that this is one of the Great Railway Journeys of the World. I hope it's a slow old bus of a train to give me a chance to sketch. I'm staying in Fort William two nights so I get enough time to enjoy Ben Nevis (to climb or not to climb. That is the question)AND get to Loch Ness. My poor little head will be spinning with it all!
I must thank my publisher Orchard for all their support on the trail and events and arrangements. A great celebration for Katie's 21st anniversary!
Monday, 8 March 2010
Today the exhibition opens at the National Gallery of Scotland (rather appropriately as yesterday was my birthday) and the "Katie trail" is now available to the public. Here are a few pictures of the trail... it's free and so if you have plans to go to Edinburgh, make sure they include a visit to the National Gallery. Linda McClelland has worked tirelessly to pull all the necessary strands together and in an incredibly short space of time. But it's all worked out and I'm thrilled. Later on, next month, I'll visit Edinburgh for a few days to run a workshop for adults and some storytelling sessions for children. While I'm "North of the border" I'm hoping to get to Fort William and maybe (just maybe) Loch Ness. My reason? well Katie is due to meet a certain inhabitant of the Loch in her next book. More about that soon!
Saturday, 6 March 2010
Recently I accompanied a year 3 class, from St Thomas More School in Letchworth Garden City, to the National Gallery. This has become an annual event and each visit is followed up with recreating a painting from the collection of the gallery. It's always such fun to see the awe-struck children in the gallery and then compare that with the wild abandon of working with them on a vast scale and with unfamilar paints. Here we've used emulsion paint which is a bit more subtle than acrylic and dries matte of course, which I rather like. It's also very inexpensive (especially as most of the paint was donated by parents with near-to-empty tins to dispose of). The children worked in small groups of around 6 for 20 minutes or so, each new group adding layers and details.
The painting chosen this year was, of course The Waterlily Pond by Monet. And it coincided perfectly with the next Katie book, which is Katie and the Waterlily Pond, due out in August. I read a set of proofs to some of the children - a sort of sneak preview - on the bus to the gallery, so I was very pleased that this painting was chosen by them.
I think they did incredibly well and the photo doesn't do it justice. The painting positively glows on the wall of the classroom!