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