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  • April Gavin

You Just Do It

I heard this twice over the summer from two different artists. The first time in June from a retired illustrator, and the second time just a few weeks ago from a talented teenager who loves to draw. Large bouts of BUT, BUT, BUT sprang to the front of my mind the first time I heard this, but the second time AND, AND, AND was the prevailing thought. It's 100% true though. You really do just do it.


In mid-August, I participated in a week long class at Castle in the Air on writing and illustrating a children's book. For our text, we used limericks and a poem by Edward Lear. There were six of us including the instructor Karima Cammell. We each chose a limerick or two to illustrate. Some of us were intrepid (just doing it) in the endeavor and some of us questioned our abilities. Everyone's drawing hand is different; but when the book arrives, you will not be able to tell who was comfortable and who wasn't as all of the illustrations are beautiful.


The very first limerick I chose was:



There was an old person of Skye,

Who waltz'd with a Bluebottle fly:

They buzz'd a sweet tune, to the light of the moon,

And entranced all the people of Skye.


In my mind's eye, I could see an old woman dressed is as Scottish attire as I can draw dancing with a human sized blue bottle fly. What happened next was to hold that image right where it was and draw from that mental image. My drawing hand obeyed. Rare that!


The second limerick was:



There was an old man in a barge,

Whose nose was exceedingly large;

But in fishing by night, It supported a light,

Which helped that old man in a barge.


The poem was a collaborative drawing effort. The collaboration with the other folks was the most fun and nurturing time I have had in my life. In the poem, Edward Lear has a table and a chair take a walk from their home to the village. They get lost and are rescued by friends. Here's a spread from the book (the apparent bald spots are where the text goes):


The other thing we did as a group was to trace out and draw each other's stuff. Our cover is a composite of drawings who initially were drawn by another person in the group. Then, one of us copied that drawing and made it as true to the original as we could. I'm still not over these geese and the owls.




Our book will be available in a few months from a print on demand service. I will be bragging about it when available here, selling at open studios, and giving away as holiday gifts.


The secret dream I have held my whole life is to tell stories and illustrate them. I am already planning out my projects, setting my goals, and looking at next steps. Art has taught me that I'm good at setting goals and achieving them.


Speaking of goals, I set out in 2022 to be accepted into six exhibitions and one publication. In the last week, exhibitions number five and six came through. Divulge: d’Art’s Second National Exhibition Featuring the Use of Art for Therapy & Mental Health Awareness happens in Norfolk, VA from September 10th - October 8th. My piece Acceptance was selected by juror Matthew Bernier.



Acceptance is a collage made of cut fabric scraps. Double-sided interfacing was fused to the scraps before I cut them even smaller to fit my design. When I was ready to commit, I ironed the pieces to the canvas substrate. If I could pick up my younger self and tell her anything it would be to accept yourself and you are enough the way you are.


Exhibition number six is called Small Worlds at the Crooked Tree Art Center in Traverse City, MI. My piece Covenant was selected by juror Tami Miller. The exhibition runs from October 1st - November 12th.


The virtual version of the 10x10x10xTieton exhibit is here. Gosh, it's a gorgeous show with many great artists. Please take the time to look at all this great art.


No sooner than I had posted last time about my mother's death on June 1st, my father died on July 8th. We were not close and we didn't meet until I was an adult. His absence though loomed large and hard throughout my childhood. Every child will be curious about an absent parent. It's also normal for mothers to hold onto anger and rage at a failed relationship. When I would ask, I was told my father was a bad person and that I was just like him. I wasted a lot of my life holding on to that one statement.


Now that they are both gone, I feel more relaxed in the world and can truly be myself. I didn't wish either of them the horrid illnesses that befell them; but if reincarnation is real, I hope that they do not hook up next lifetime. It was hard enough this lifetime.


The Autumn light is returning to the Bay Area and I'm getting ready for open studios in November. Hold the dates for November 5th-6th and November 12th-13th.


Hope to see all of you soon!




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