Sunday, April 17, 2011

Paint and Pixel Festival

Yesterday wasn't the most promising of days for bicycle riding -- kind of chilly, with predictions of serious rain. But I went out anyway, on my favorite bike, leaving from the MIrage offices and heading out to see if my favorite loop was free from flooding.

First, though, I had a stop to make -- at the "Paint and Pixel Festival" put on by "Runners" artist Sean Wang and his wife, Peggy (although, according to Sean, Peggy was the person most responsible for organizing the event). It was being held in the Old School Commons in the center of Northampton, and many local artists were going to be there, including some of my Mirage pals -- Mike Dooney, Jim Lawson, and Dan Berger. Here's a photo of Dan and his wife Jess (Jim Lawson was sitting at the table to their left, but I guess he'd stepped out at that moment).

Mike Dooney was set up right behind Dan, and next to mecha artist Dave White.

And here's a reverse view of that scene...

I got there about an hour after the event had begun, and it looked to me like it was already a success. The modest-sized exhibitor's hall was busy, with lots of people wandering around talking to the various artists and looking at the wide range of small press comics, books, prints, posters, and original art that those artists had for sale. Here are a few random photos of the hall and various exhibitors. 

I tried to get photos which could be stitched into panoramic shots, but there were enough people moving around that I was only able to do this one.

Overall, the show kind of reminded me of a few of the small comics conventions I'd been to years ago -- it had that friendly vibe, but without all the tables full of old comics. If I am invited to the next one, I will very likely go.

Here's a shot of Peggy and Sean near Sean's table, with his "Runners" comics.

I chatted for a few minutes with local illustrator and writer Diane De Groat, shown here explaining to me her technique of combining Photoshop and traditional painting techniques in her charming picture book "Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth".

One of the people I wanted to talk to was Howard Cruse -- he's the guy in this photograph with the glasses and t-shirt -- whose "Stuck Rubber Baby" book I really admire. But I forgot to stop at his table! D'oh! At least I got this photo.

After hanging out at the "Paint and Pixel Festival" for about half an hour, I took off again on my bicycle, but sadly didn't get far -- Pynchon Meadow Road was flooded, as you can see in this little panorama:

I put red dots in the middle so you can see where I SHOULD have been able to ride through, had the river on the right side of this image not overflowed its banks. Hopefully, the water will go down soon and the way will once again be clear (and dry).

I didn't get much of a ride that day, but enough to satisfy me. And I did take the opportunity afforded by a more open schedule (one without a longer bike ride) to go back to the "Paint and Pixel Festival", this time to bring a couple of boxes of cookies from the Normand Bakery in Northampton (for the exhibiting artists). I had a specific goal in mind for this second visit (besides delivering sweets) -- I wanted to see if I could talk to the painter and children's book illustrator Ruth Sanderson, who was actually working on one of her paintings at the show, a new cover for a twentieth anniversary edition of her "Twelve Dancing Princesses" picture book.

And I did have a nice chat with her, and got a closeup look at her work on this new painting. She is REALLY good. "Mike Dooney good", one might say. (Which I consider to be a compliment to BOTH of them.)

Although I only experienced a small slice of the whole inaugural "Paint and Pixel Festival", I think it is safe to say that Peggy and Sean should be congratulated for putting together a really nice show. I hope it continues. - PL


Mark H said...

Peggy and Sean did an excellent job organizing such a wonderful event. I agree there was a “friendly vibe” there. I’m not usually the most relaxed person in a crowd but, I felt very relaxed at this festival. Everyone was so friendly and courteous. The event had a great feeling all around.
It was great to meet the guys from Mirage. When I first arrived and was headed up the stairs I passed Mike Dooney. (As you know from my other post I’m a big fan of his work.) I knew then it was going to be a fun day.
There where so many great artist there that my head is still spinning with inspiration. My wife and I stood watching Ruth Sanderson work her magic on canvas. I was blown away with her work. What a fantastic artist. My daughter now has a new favorite artist. We purchased a print of Ruth’s work for her to hang on her wall. I recommend that people click on the link you provided to Ruth’s web site. Her work is awesome. On her site she shows some of her process. It is fascinating stuff.
The panoramic shot you put up just made my day. You managed to get my whole family in the shot. We are in the foreground on the left side of the picture. It is rare for me to see a whole family shot. Usually my wife or myself are taking the pictures. Making it impossible for the four of us to be in one shot together. Very Cool! I hope you don’t mind that I saved it to my hard drive. It is just a cool picture of us enjoying the festival.
(Panoramic even!)
It was such a great day. My family had an excellent time. I was so pleased to see my children be so enthusiastic about all the wonderful art around them. I’m pretty sure you, Mike, Dan and, Jim gave my son a day he will never forget. Like I said to Michael Dooney, We just went to check out some artwork and get a couple comics signed. You guys went far beyond anything that we expected.
I’m glad to hear you had a good time yourself. You must have been pretty chilly riding in on a bicycle. I happy you did get the opportunity to get a ride in before the rain came in. In your picture of Pynchon Meadow Road, is that a bike path running off of the side of the road that is flooded? Or is it the road itself that is flooded? It’s hard to tell in the picture. It just looks like a swamp. If you did not add the red dots I would have no idea that there is a road or a path there.
All and all I thought the Paint and Pixel festival was a wonderful experience. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event. It was great to see you there. Especially because I did not expect you to be there. Thanks for sharing your pictures of the event. I saw you snapping away with your camera yesterday and, I was hoping you would put them up on your blog.

Michael Dooney said...

It was a cool gig. Unlike a normal comic show which usually starts out crowded and thins towards the end of the day, this one was a slow burn and it got more and more busy as the day went on. From my perspective it seemed to be more like a book trade show where folks were genuinely interested in looking and talking to creators,but as prone to buying stuff as usually happens at a comic show. Peggy said attendance was over 400 people and they are already planning for next year!

John Pannozzi said...

Too bad I missed it. I was up in New York, and got to meet Fred Hembeck at Comic-cpn in Albany earlier today. Peter, any chance you and some of the Mirage might be at the Paint and Pixel Festival next year?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fun event. And Howard Cruse was there? I am a fan of his. I just met him once--at a San Diego Con--but never got to really talk to him. Does he live up your way? I thought he was a Southern-type guy.

Modern Myths said...

@usagiguy: Howard and his husband live in the Berkshires these days. We hope to have them back for next year.

PL said...

"usagiguy said...
Sounds like a fun event. And Howard Cruse was there? I am a fan of his. I just met him once--at a San Diego Con--but never got to really talk to him. Does he live up your way? I thought he was a Southern-type guy."

Stan, I think I read a couple of years ago that Howard actually now lives in my old home town -- North Adams, MA. -- PL