Illustration – A Promise Kept – Treasure the Little Things.

Many decades ago, I made a promise.

This week I learned that promises made to ourselves are important….even decades later.

Every five years or so, a thought will cross my mind. “Please draw Miss Hickory.” Every time it came into my mind I either ignored it, dismissed it, or had an excuse of why I was too busy. Mostly I pretended not to hear it.

When I was 6 years old I picked up a book in our school library; Miss Hickory, a novel by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey. I did not have the skills to actually read it, however, I already had definite opinions concerning the illustrations. Even then my life as an artist was already determined. I also had a serious balance of logical thinking as well, and was insulted that a creature made of twigs would have high heels, a knitted sweater, and –  just how did those flowers stick in her nonexistent hair if she had the head of a hickory nut? At the age of six I promised myself that one day, when my skills were better I would draw Miss Hickory as I saw her in my mind.

So, last week upon waking, when I heard “Please draw Miss Hickory” for the umpteenth time, I thought about it and said, “Yes.”

Drawing Miss Hickory was an opportunity to listen to my six year old self and in return, she opened the door to valuable information as I sketched and painted. Nothing is a mistake, everything is a valuable key. Our conversation gifted me a greater understanding of this incredible journey called life.

From my perspective…….

Listening to our thoughts is important. Within ourselves is a wealth of information, the library of “Us”. Parts of ourselves hold the keys that are the story of “ourselves.” Some we want to keep, some we need to update or “take to the cleaners.” Some have been a huge asset in our creative lives, and all need to be known. When we don’t listen, out fear of something “bad” is a lie. This is when we find it difficult to live comfortably in our own skin. A good friend of mine once said “Think of yourself as a corporation and you are the CEO.” This is so wonderfully creative and true. Will we listen to the “essential workers” of our corporation? Or be a petty tyrant, a bully. Or look outside of ourselves for answers.

I have never read the Miss Hickory book, but I have ordered it. Miss Hickory is a Newbery Medal award winner.  After completing my own illustration, I read reviews about the book – both good and bad, some replying it was freakishly dark. The book will arrive on Monday. It should provide either more opportunities and illustrations, or simply a good laugh and an opportunity to a close the door.

In this time of less distractions…….take the time to listen to yourself. You are an individual, a “one of a kind.”  That is what makes you a miracle.

– Thank you

From Painting to Book Cover & Design.

A while ago I created the painting “Night Owl,” and then
it flew off!

“Night Owl” 24″ x 36″

Night Owl became licensed to Candace Lienhart and Kahuna Kindergarden, to be used as the cover art for her book SoThere Excerpts & Quotes.
While the painting was horizontal, the cover art needed to be in a vertical format.

Painting, Book Cover and Design

Continuing the painting into a vertical format was quite a challenge, and I enjoyed this project very much. Once the cover was completed within the book specifications, I also created the full book design, layout and graphics.

Back Book Cover and Inner Pages

I loved working with the information of this book. It’s wonderful, and I was able to read it page by page. The text was delivered to me in an editable word document by two people who had been collecting and compiling the information.

I used Adobe InDesign to create the book formatting and file. Originally InDesign was used for magazine and book layouts allowing continuity, and creativity with image placement and wrapping text for many, many pages. This book had 147. Now InDesign is used for many things, brochures, banners, eblasts to name a few.

Adobe Photoshop is the go-to for all image work. Images need to be formatted for clarity and size. Since the book was to be reproduced and bound by a professional printer, the images also needed to be formatted in CMYK for the colour process used by printers.

Adobe Pro DC is used for many steps of the process. From InDesign I can create a pdf file, edit, and rearrange pages. This file can be emailed to the client for proofing and review. It is also the program that the final “production ready” book file is created in for the printer. The whole book production process can take place in three different cities, without leaving home! But I like to meet my printer, they are an encyclopedia of “how to’s” and best cover and text paper choices. I like to make sure it feels good in my hands.

All three of these programs require some training by experimenting or online courses. YouTube is my main go-to, there are some creative problem solving geniuses out there, and I am grateful to them all! I have been using these programs since their infancy, I changed their diapers so to speak, and they just keep evolving and becoming more amazing.

That is the story of the painting becoming a book cover.

Are you designing a book or calendar? Questions are welcomed! If you ever find yourself needing digital assistance, an image formatted for web or print, or anything requiring text or design, email me at Liza@northlizalane.com, or go to my services page. Some tasks require as little as 15 minutes!

Thank you

Magical Realism – Painting Retrograde

Every Storm has a Key to Wisdom

Retrograde Detail, holding steady.

I painted, and then repainted this piece six times, and then I quit counting. I would give it up and then come back to it many times. The little bird with its fine feathers lifted by the winds of the storm is the only part that remains intact from the original. This is how the piece finally received its name; Retrograde.

A great deal of information about mercury in retrograde can be found on several sites. During a retrograde I try to find the customized clues within the storm of confusion. If the universe is putting in a great deal of effort, then shouldn’t I as well? Just short of dressing up and with the best of intentions I approach retrograde as a grand yet uncomfortable opportunity. I vow that my sense of humor will be my perch. I try to remain steady (and laugh), knowing the clues will arrive like random puzzle pieces smacking me in the forehead. After a lot of bruising the pieces will begin to assemble themselves, just about the time I find my perch being torn from its roots and I am not laughing anymore. Note; trying to force or reshape the puzzle pieces to fit together and into an insight is not recommended; I have tried. And then…it happens, the pieces become a key to a valuable revelation about life and I didn’t die! Yea Mercury in Retrograde.

Magical realism is a natural and favorite way for me to create. I have always wanted to see beyond what we perceive with our eyes, and paint what is occurring behind the scenes. My definition of magical realism is painting life through a mysterious lens, revealing an “interior” mystery using magical elements to make a point about reality. This is my painting illustrating mercury in retrograde. It will end on August 2nd. The next retrograde is October 31st through November 20th. Oh goody, we do get to dress up!

Thank you.

Painting The Orchard, A Parents Illustration of Transformation

This Is An Animated Painting

Transformation

My youngest launched himself from the nest two years ago. During the excitement, the packing, and the plans, I painted. Then I animated the painting to illustrate observing the transition, and the transformation we both were experiencing. This animated clip is very short, only one minute and twenty-three seconds.

The Orchard

Change has its own timing,
it can’t be rushed
and most likely it won’t be convenient,
that’s part of its charm.


Art & Design: North Liza Lane
Music: Joe Hisaishi – Evening Wind (Yuugure no Kaze)

When my children launched themselves into the world, I was required to experience a transformation from being the guide in front of my child, into the supportive position of standing beside a young man. My job now is to trust their own intuition, their path choices, and their own decisions. I ask questions to prompt their wisdom to come forward.

Their “owner’s manual” is deep within them, and it is private. I was not given a copy. It is fortunate that I could not get my hands on it, or I would have probably started a “protective” editing process. Possibly ripping out whole sections. Not a good plan. I truly enjoy this stage with both my sons. I really like this position. We are now good friends, and we laugh, and we enjoy the journey together. I also enjoy my empty nest. I am filling it up with discovering myself and who I am now, after a job that I can only trust, was well done.

The Orchard is my illustration of the experience of being a mother, a caretaker, and then releasing them into the world. This painting and animated clip is two years old, but it came into my mind when thinking about Fathers Day, of being a parent, or caretaker, or a guardian. – Thank you

Iggy & Images within images

Iggy, a nature spirit

Iggy

 images within images

8 Stages of Painting Owl

The Face

Prior to painting Owl, I had already painted a design that I chose to use for a background. It needed a face, and the following images are the stages of creating Owl. Once completed, I slid it into the background.

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