Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tooning In: Ring of Fire

Tonight was a blast from my past—and in general, simply a blast!

Here's the thing: before I was an illustrator, I was a costume and set designer. Only God knows how much of my youth I spent in the dark, prowling the catwalks or sitting in a mostly empty theater "house" with a notepad during tech rehearsals. After an absence of more than twenty years, tonight, at the invitation of Jenny Hutchinson of LARAC (Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council), I was back in the catwalks of a local theater. What a treat!

I met Jenny in February in Glens Falls NY at Art in the Public Eye's Go APE for Art! small works show, in which we both participated. Jenny, a talented artist (who is the Gallery Curator and Program and Shop Coordinator for LARAC), slipped me her card and invited me to participate in 'Tooning In, a theater sketching event she was organizing for LARAC, which was scheduled for the summer. At the time we were in the middle of a harsh upstate New York winter—summer seemed an eternity away. But here we are, at the end of July already!

'Tooning In came to upstate New York via Christopher Baldwin, a sequential artist whose work can be seen in MAD magazine (and whose first book, Little Dee, will be out soon). He took the idea from the Portland Opera and adapted it with the help of Jenny and others here in New York State for the Adirondack Theater Festival. The basic idea is that artists attend dress rehearsals at which they sketch like crazy. The resulting art is displayed and sold, gallery-style, in the lobby of the theater. 

Many area artists were asked to participate, and there were several productions from which to choose. I signed up to sketch Ring of Fire, a review of the music of Johnny Cash, because I am a die-hard fan! Tonight was the last dress rehearsal before tomorrow night's preview performance. The show opens Friday night—and if you live anywhere near the Wood Theater in Glens Falls, New York, you need to be there! The show is fantastic, and absolutely family-friendly. If you go, look for my art in the lobby... I sketched as many of the cast as I could from my once-familar perch in the catwalk.


Anonymous said...

Well, Violet, another blast from your past is about to light up your life...from waaaaaaaaaaaay back in the CJA art room! Remember that little freshman Schwartz?... ;) Priorities, my little girl is "Om-mom-mom"-ing me, so I turn the keyboard over to her. She's very excited about an idea we have that we would like to talk to you about...
fvvv! She usually does a lot more key tapping than that!!!
I am very excited to see where your art has taken you. Life has been too crazy to focus on it, and I have jumped all over with mine !!! My very favorite thing to do is making muppet-style puppets (like Sesame Street) for kids' videos, etc. When I see your illustrated characters, my mind automatically builds them in 3-D puppet form. I can't help's just one of those things! And my goodness, the only thing that has changed about you is your Veronica is partial to "V" names and finds it lovely. She is my 11 year old non-verbal special needs 'wheelchair kid' with global delays. In other words, the main character in a series of children's books based on the life and times of a REAL kid and her REAL life adventures...because there are LOTS of stories to tell, eyes to open, and lessons to be learned by kids (and PARENTS). For example, the day we were stuck in a waiting room at Children's Hospital and a mother scolded her daughter for staring at Veronica with her talker (augmentative communication device...she's learning)! Of course the curious girl dropped her head and put her back to Veronica... how will my daughter ever make friends if this is how people behave? I broke the ice with Mom and asked her to please encourage her daughter to introduce herself to ViVi as she would any other kid. I instructed her to talk to ViVi, ask questions, let Veronica respond and ask questions, too, and just be extra patient because Veronica moves slow and sometimes needs my help...and to let me know if she thought ViVi did. Veronica has a page of jokes in her talker so they were laughing when it was time to say good-bye. That's the way it SHOULD be!:)
I'd like to contact you...what's the BEST BEST way?
So glad that you are having fun and so glad to have found you!!!
~Diane (Schwartz) Sato Kodelja (and Veronica)

Violet Lemay said...

Diane, how nice to be back in touch! Your stories about Veronica remind me of my friend Katie, who blogs about her special-needs daughter Rylie. It's wonderful stuff: