So after a whirlwind week of a signing in Philly and an art opening in Providence, I boarded a plane for the Lone Star state. The Texas Librarian's Association was going on and I was making up school visits missed because of Hurricane Rita (I tacked on a few more schools as well). The coolest thing about getting down to Texas so often, is that my best friend from RISD grew up there and lives there. Jamie and her husband Jeremy are two of my favorite people on the face of the planet. They run a very successful business Imago Dei Gallery and will celebrate their 4th wedding anniversary at the end of May. So while a week's worth of school visits is hard work, I get to hang out with some great friends and their great friends who have now become great friends of mine as well.
I was honored by Baghead's permanent place on Sampson Elementary's new library mural and was also honored with some great drawings by kids that decorated Foster Elementary. When all was said and done, I probably spoke to close to 3,000 or so kids in the 6 days of visits I gave. It was also cool to have some friends and their kids come by to see the visits. Tyler and Timmy, whose parents are old family friends, came by and Isaiah came with his mom and sister and Mika came with her kids as well.
The real highlight for me during this Texas trip was our journey out to "the hill country". (Jamie has been talking about this place since we first met. She and her family go every summer.) Jamie and Jeremy's church had planned a retreat out to the Frio River and we stayed in these nice cabins. It was 5 hours west of Houston, so we drove through some towns that literally looked like they were from old western movies, towns that were built around railroads. I bought a cowboy hat at Buc-Cee's pit stop and oddly enough, I wasn't even self conscious about wearing it. I felt like a full out Texan. We went kayaking and swimming and it was a great getaway - no cell phone service, no internet... and if you fail to put suntan lotion on, you will pay for it. That Texan sun is ruthless! I had a few red stripes on my arms in places that I missed....
An all around great trip! I landed at about 1:30 AM (Flight delays are AWESOME!) And then I woke up to head down to Providence for RISD's illustration portfolio review. I saw so incredibly talented young artists. These kids will have books out in a few years, so watch outAnd now I need to kick the studio time into gear because I am revising what will be book #9! I've been working on a lot of research and I need to get work done before I head to NYC next weekend to see my friend Jonathan Weiner's art exhibit and I fly out to LA for a week for big important meetings.
And speaking of RISD, Jamie had this picture of our first day at RISD.