Our Illustrated World - The 2023 Illustration Gallery Show

Thursday evening we celebrated the opening of our biannual WU Illustration Gallery Show. It's a chance to show off works by our amazingly talented students in our show called "Our Illustrated World."
Works were from several (not all) illustration courses, such as Design Drawing II (a freshmen-level drawing course)...
Comparative Anatomy: Creature Creation (this is Shaunie with her piece - she also shared world building pieces and an animation sizzle reel)...
Illustrating Children's Books, here are book dummies and full spreads...
Animation 1 (a collection of sizzle reels shared on a monitor), Creating Graphic Novels...
Persuasion & Propaganda (these are posters around "Mental Wellness" and "Self care")...
and World Building. Setting up the show was a great learning experience in itself; although, we couldn't have done it without the help of Gallery aide, Jenna, shown blowing up one of the many balloons!
Here are Alyssa and Mia...
Ave and Asher...
Ethan, Sarah, Israel, and Guye...
They did a great job getting everything on display - it was a lot of work - and it came together beautifully! Here was the primary signage.
One entire wall was made up of works from World Building, from the maps...
to large projections of the scenes (not shown), to landscape views, to street views
, moving in to interior views, and prop design.
A few students created maquettes (models) to use to make their drawings more accurate.
Look at the model by Izzy Wallace...
Then see how it translated to her artwork - pretty awesome!
Everyone had a great time.
They blew up balloons (here's Ave who got pretty good at making balloon dogs).
Here are Maggie, Israel, and Asher.
Folks loved watching the Animation Reels.
Several alumni dropped by. Here are Lizzie, Hannah, and David.
And me (feeling rather victorious) with Lizzie.
We had mascots - Chair Jason with his pug...
and Kaelen with Beans.
The show is up in the Lewandowski Gallery through March 6th. I hope you can drop by!

Laundry Day!

At first mention, it might seem odd that I take my drawing class on a field trip to the local laundromat. But the one on Cherry Road is a mecca of perspective elements that illustrators need to master to be able to draw just about everything. The machines are build of boxes and ellipses, and the floor takes a master of one and two-point perspective to accomplish. So, it's been a field trip destination since before I started teaching at Winthrop and the managers are used to seeing us land on them once a year. The patrons were patient with us and the students had fun! Here are some happy photos of the outing...

I won the Pearson Teaching Award! OMG!

I can't believe it! I have been selected as the Outstanding Teaching Through the Pandemic award winner for the 2022 Pearson Excellence in Higher Education Award!
I was so flattered to be nominated, and to be a finalist. I never thought I'd actually WIN - wow! Here's what they said:
It is evident that you adapted in ways that demonstrate your commitment to your students in the face of the pandemic. Your creativity and resourcefulness provided multiple learning modalities while also supporting students through an emotionally turbulent time to still have the best learning experience possible. Out of a robust pool of talented nominees, your work as an educator stood out to us. We are so excited to recognize you with this award.
The award comes with a lovely plaque and a $2,000 grant to attend a conference to share your differentiated teaching and learning expertise! WOW! Thank you!!! I am so grateful!!!

They closed with: "Congratulations again on your award! On behalf of learners everywhere, we appreciate your commitment to student success." - The Pearson Higher Education Marketing Team
Read more about it HERE!


Providence, Rhode Island for New Years!

I took a lovely train ride from NYC to Providence, Rhode Island to spend New Years with my dear friend, author/illustrator/professor Mary Jane Begin and her beau Andy Seal. More hugs!
     MJ lives within walking distance to a bay on the Atlantic - a very different vibe from NYC!
There, we took several lovely walks along the beach.
Andy made cozy fires every night.
We ate and read and got excited about the house just up the street that MJ decided to buy. (I'll let her tell that story!)
     Meanwhile, MJ and I visited RISD, where she teaches and where I almost went to school long ago. How different my life might have been if I had!
I loved seeing her photo among the faculty.
One of the shining stars of RISD is their taxidermy collection that they keep housed in their Nature Lab. I've long wished we could do something similar at Winthrop, since we also have an amazing taxidermy collection. No matter how you feel about taxidermy, they make wonderful drawing resources for students learning proper anatomy.
     In Providence, we had lunch at a wonderful old restaurant originally built in the late 1700s as a brothel (I think). It had plaster walls, black trim, enormous fireplaces - I loved it! I love old places with history like that - it's part of why I love Scotland so much. They're chocked full of stories, you can practically feel them in the air. (Sorry I didn't get a photo of it!)
     MJ and Andy were fabulous hosts. We spent a lovely outting in Newport, where we ate right on the water and wandered the old winding streets.
The decorations reminded me of Williamsburg; although I suppose the style arrived in Providence first!
Afterwards, we took a walk on "Cliffwalk," a spot overlooking the sea and Martha's Vineyard. I found a spot to sit and think while MJ and Andy walked on. They make such a handsome couple.
     It was a truly beautiful spot, and I decided to throw out Stan's first parting stone there. I'll talk about that more in another post.
     Before we left, we collected a dozen or so quahog shells (pronounced CO-hog) to stuff with clams for New Year's Eve. (They turned out amazing.) What an amazing thing to collect one's food from the wilds - it's not something humans do much of anymore. But it makes you feel so connected.
     Back to their own little beach, we saw horseshoe crabs...
and talked about life and death and, well, everything.
I was fascinated by the enormous number of "lady slippers" - a type of shell that was a hard to find treasure when I visited beaches on the Gulf Coast as a child. There were spots on their beach where ALL the shells were lady slippers!
A planned New Year's Eve party was sidelined by Covid, so MJ and Andy threw an impromptu gathering instead. We visited a Portuguese grocery store to load up on snacks and munchies. I'd never been to one, so it was wonderfully entertaining. Turns out I LOVE dried fava beans! Friends Chris and Anika Denise (who we also teach with at Hollins U) came over that evening along with another couple, which was a lovely way to spend the evening, even if I didn't make it to midnight.
     I had planned to throw out another of Stan's parting stones on New Year's Day, which turned out to be more than I bargained for. Again, next post. But leading up to that moment, we came across several families takng the New Year's plunge in the icy Atlantic.
There was a true sense of hope and joy for 2023, written in the sand, built with stones, collected carefully and shared with the world. Truly, what more could one wish for the New Year than this?
I'm so grateful to friends who have taken me in and shown me love at such a difficult time in my life. I don't think I've been easy company, yet I am so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by so much love. And I still have love to give... May your new year be filled with peace and love.