Thursday, March 5, 2015

Liebster Award

I've been nominated for a Liebster Award by the wonderful Melissa Iwai. I love the richness, design and colors of her illustrations and it's been great to get to know her this last year!

To participate in the Liebster Award, I am required to tell 11 random facts about myself, answer Melissa's 11 questions, and nominate 11 other new blogs (with fewer than 200 followers) to do the same and ask THEM 11 questions.  It's a fun way to discover and share other blogs with our readers.

I'd like to nominate some of my children's book friends and favorite artists for the Liebster Award. I hope you can visit their blogs to see their artwork!

Dow Phumiruk

Karen Windness

Laura Diehl

Brooke Boynton Hughes

Marsha Riti

Julia Kelly

Michelle Henninger

Nina Crittenden

Roberta Baird

Luda Kiperberg

Stan Yan

Here are 11 random facts about me:

1. I was an orchestral oboist. I got my music performance degree and then played a couple of years in a Louisiana symphony before quitting and selling my instruments. I really could not stand making oboe reeds. You have no idea how much work and time is involved!

2. The first prints I ever made were potato prints when I was in my 20's. I carved a couch and the words couch potato into a russet potato and went a little crazy making prints.

3. I live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a town known for having a lot of snow. And I'm sick and tired of winter!

4. I have to have some time alone every day. I'm a classic introvert. As a child I wished I'd lived in the 1800's as a mountain man- a trapper or homesteader in the west, basically a hermit.

5. I have a pretty intense sweet tooth.

6. My favorite color is blue. Any blue except turquoise and other blue-greens. I have to make myself use those sometimes.

7. I'm a pharmacy technician. I stumbled into the job about 5 years ago. I work part time in an awesome old-fashioned drug store. We even have a soda fountain!  Please stop in at Lyon Drug to say hi if you are in the neighborhood.

8. I've only seen the ocean a few times. I get a little overwhelmed. It's so big!!

9. My husband tells me I've become a much better singer since having a baby. My daughter demands that I sing to her all the time. My favorite song to sing is Angel from Montgomery. My least favorite is Knick Knack Paddywack. What is that song about, anyway??

10. My dog, Bailey is named after Champ Bailey who recently retired from the Denver Broncos. I'm not the person who named him. :)

11. I love old trucks. I drove a 1972 GMC pickup for 19 years until it was totaled. Sad day.

Here are Melissa's questions for me:

1.  What are your art goals for 2015?
The biggest one is to make  some progress on the road to being published. Other that than, learn, experiment, and have fun!
2.  What medium do you use?  
For a long time I've only done linocuts painted with watercolor. But I've been having fun lately combining some collage, drawing, painting, and stamps.
3.  What is your process of late for creating a piece of art from concept to finish?
I do a lot of drawings and maybe writing in the beginning until things start to settle into place. The early drawings are hard for me so I don't rush them or try to work too big.
For the mixed media illustrations I've been working on, I scan a drawing, do some digital collage, print it out on BFK Rives, redraw the linework, add some stamps, paint, stamp, whatever, whatever, roll a little ink over the top, or I don't know! It's been a lot of experimenting lately. 
4.  How did you come to be an artist? Did you do other things before this?  How did you know you wanted to become one?
I first studied to be a musician as I said in #1 of my list of random facts. After I quit, I gave myself lots of leeway to play  and try different things. I was really drawn to making art at that point. I loved the creativity and lack of supervision and structure compared to playing in an orchestra.I didn't really take myself very seriously and I think that helped carry me through a lot of uncertainty. And then one day I realized I was an artist. That was what brought me the most happiness.
5.  Have you traveled much?  What is your favorite city, town, or place and why?
I've travelled in the US a bit but not much beyond. My favorite place is a pretty empty corner of Colorado along the Colorado River. It's just breathtaking. I'm drawn to the mountains and rural ares mostly. I do love visiting New York though, and I'd love to go  again. This time I'd be a tourist with my family. And visit Melissa!
6.  What do you do when you get frustrated with your work?
I go for a walk. Or switch to a different project. And I try to give myself breathing room to take a break and become an observer for a while. If I can soak in some new inspiration before going back to the difficult project, that lets me return with a fresh vision.
7.  How do you manage your time -- that is, how do you carve out time in your life to do your art?
I just recently did a blog post about this very thing right here! But basically, I try to plan well and take advantage of every available minute. Small bits of work do add up to results.
8.  What is something you are grateful for? 

My family and the happy stable routines that we have.
9.  What is an inspiring quote that you'd like the share?
“For just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there’s nothing else. It’s here, and you’d better decide to enjoy it or you’re going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever.” ~Lev Grossman
10.  What is the best art tip/advice you've been given?
I can't remember exactly what he said, but I asked my brother, Peter Miles Bergman for lots of advice when I was learning how to become a printmaker. I was trying to understand all the finer points of editioning. Do all of the prints in an edition have to look exactly the same? Can the colors vary slightly? Or a lot? Does that make them monoprints instead of an edition if they are different colors? And he finally said, "Traditionally, this is how it's done. If you want make up your own system, though go ahead. No matter what, remember, you are the ARTIST. You are the creator and you get to make up your own rules." (He was probably exasperated with me!)
11.   What would you tell a child who says they want to become an artist when they grow up? 
This just happened to me today! My 4 year old neighbor, Macy told me she wants to be an artist when she grows up. I said, "That's great!" I strongly believe that it's important to encourage children to be creative and explore lots of possibilities. I also believe that it's important to teach them to tell the difference between reality and fantasy, and to teach them that dreams and wishes are earned through lots of hard work not magic. All this teaching is a process. It's not my place to squash Macy's new dream of being an artist by telling her today to give up before she begins because it's too hard to make a living as an artist. As she grows up, Macy will hopefully learn to work hard for her dreams and if she still wants to be an artist, she definitely can be! She may also have to be a waitress or a college professor to support herself, but I wish her the best no matter what!

These are my questions for the artists that I'm nominating:

1. What is a goal for 2015?

2. What is your favorite medium?

3. What is the hardest thing about being an artist?

4. What do you do when you get frustrated with your work?

5. What is your favorite illustrated book?

6. Where is your favorite place and what do you love about it?

7. Which is your favorite season?

8. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

9. Who do you look up to or consider to be a mentor?

10. What is the best art advice you've ever received?

11. What is an inspiring quote that you'd like to share?

Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing my nominee's responses!


  1. Thanks so much for participating, Jill! I loved reading your answers, and yes, please do visit me the next time you're in NYC!! :)

    1. Thanks, Melissa! It would be so much fun to see you in NY, but it won't be soon. I'll put it on the 10 year plan!

  2. Love that!! I always go into Lyon Drug when passing through Steamboat!!! One year I tried to buy the photo booth they had for years up front!! HaHaHa... is it still there?!!!

    1. How funny, Denise! They actually sold it a couple years ago! Too bad I didn't know. It wasn't working very well if at all at that point. It was a neat old photo booth for sure.

  3. And in the long list of funny coincidences... not 30 minutes ago I finished reading the third Lev Grossman "Magician" book. Yes, and yes. :-)

    1. Wow! I'm ashamed to say that I haven't read them, Sherrie. But for the last few years I've been reading much less. I know it's a temporary setback. Should I read them for sure?