Monday, March 23, 2015

Mandala making with Ms. Moffatt

Judith tries two versions of her
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending the day with my friend and fellow artist, Judith Moffatt. During the relaxing and enjoyable afternoon, we colored some of her "meditative mandalas."

Coloring books have been in the news recently. Both The Atlantic and Christian Science magazine had articles this month touting coloring as having the ability to lower stress, aid relaxation, and improve sleep and attention spans.

Mandala is the word for circle in Sanskrit, and this form of art has been around for thousands of years. Tibetan Buddhists create them with colored sand. Carl Jung used coloring mandalas as a calming exercise in his practice.

They have also been shown to be great for older folks.  They are great way to stay engaged and active, with or without company, even if you have mobility issues.

Of course, we know that kids have always loved coloring books.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Whisper Farewell to a Weekend at Whispering Pines KidLit Writer's Retreat

URI's Alton Jones campus is rustic and lovely.
Just home from a weekend at kid lit writer's retreat extraordinaire, Whispering Pines. From the first glimpse of the pines (can you hear them whisper?) to the last view of fog rising off the melting ice, it was a weekend filled with networking, critiques, writing exercises, and inspiration.
     It was the 20th anniversary of the retreat, so it was a special event. There were three editors: Kendra Levin, Sylvie Frank, and Mallory Kass, three agents: John Cusick, Erin Murphy, and Ammi-Joan Paquette, and a surprise panel with kid-lit luminaries like Brian Lies,  Kelly Murphy, Carlyn Beccia, Liz Dubois and Jennifer Thermes. And those were only the illustrators.
top row, L-R: WP co-director and author Lynda Mullaly Hunt, author Kimberly Newton Fusco, author Leslie Connor, author-illustrator Jennifer Thermes, illustrator Kelly Murphy, author Erin Dionne, agent Ammi-Joan Paquette. bottom row, L-R: author illustrator Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia, author-illustrator Liz Goulet Dubois, author Barbara O'Conner, author-illustrator Brian Lies, photo by Pam Vaughan
Add to that amazing food, fun games (KidLit Jeopardy), a crackling fire in the comfy living room...
it was a knock- your-socks-off event.

Me and my roomie, Linda.
Always makes me think of Narnia.
I even got to room with Whispering Pines co-founder, Linda Crotta Brennan.

As always I sketched during the panels and talks, one of the things that has kept me sane all my life.
I'm not that great at likenesses, but sketching keeps me focused.
 Mary Pierce, co-director for the past 4 years.

Jennifer Thermes designed this fantastic logo for the event!

Good-bye to Whispering Pines. (sad) Goodbye to snow. (not a moment too soon)
Thanks to everyone for making it such a memorable event.