On April 16 and 17, I visited the Sewickley Academy, in Sewickely, PA, to present my Community Mural workshops to students in the Lower School. I taught Pre-K and Kindergarten students how to cut, color, and shape paper into butterflies, leaves, ants, and feathers. Then we assembled the art into a "Wings" mural at the school. Grades 1-3 created a Log's Life Community Mural, also following Robin's unique sculpted paper technique. They researched plants and animals in a northeast forest. Everyone is delighted with the murals, and my ability to teach some special art skills and a little biology to students this young.
While I was in Pennsylvania, I was asked by my hosts when I would find out if my painting from WINGS, "Green Darner and Pitcher Plant" won a purchase prize from the Focus On Nature X juried show. The show was opening at the same time and they were familiar with this painting's inclusion in the show. Also, they were certain I had a very good chance of winning this! Well, I figured they were being very polite and supportive, and I love them for that, but their opinion was not based on much evidence. After all, this is an international show, with amazing art! I have had my art included in a Focus On Nature show three years before and I know that the quality is extraordinarily high.
Well, I kept telling everyone that I really wasn't thinking about it!
And in order to keep my ego protected, I tried to forget about it.
I did check my e-mail the night the announcement was made in Albany, NY. No messages. I checked that morning, too; nothing. That was fine, just as I expected, really. When I arrived back home to Massachusetts, I had quietly concluded that I didn't win any award, and found a message on my phone machine telling me that I did indeed
win! I'm really happy, and of course: it's a winning painting!
To, be fair, there are over a dozen artists who won purchase awards from the FON X show this year, and I understand that over 13 countries are represented. I haven't seen the show, yet, but it is an easy hours drive so I can visit it very soon.
To me, one of the best parts of being a book illustrator has been working with students and educators in school visits all over the country. I love showing people how to create their own natural science art. Besides, I've been an illustrator for over thirty years and my studio work is very isolated, even lonely sometimes.
Although I missed being able to get the purchase award at the New York State Museum in person, on April 17. I was with a wonderful group of students and educators that night and they believed I could do it, and I did.
Posted by Robin Brickman, illustrator of Beaks! and Wings by Sneed B. Collard III.