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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Childrens Book Artwork by Ellen Tumavicus: Ralph Flies the Coop

Please read this lovely write up by Artist Ellen Tumavicus, about the process of working with author Jaime Scanlon on the book "Ralph Flies the Coop." This exhibit will be on display through July!

Artist Statement:
I have always loved to draw and paint. Throughout my life, I have drawn the world around me. My face in a mirror, the view from the window of the train or the bus or the airplane, people on the subway and on park benches, my kids sleeping, the feelings I can’t put into words, the pears in the bowl on the kitchen table. Drawing has consistently been my avenue towards feeling good and connected with my inner and outer self.

I’ve also always loved to travel. Although I grew up and lived in the same town for the first 18 years of my life, I stepped on a plane to West Africa when I was 20 and the travel bug has stayed with me ever since. I have lived in Spain and New Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago. When I was in my early twenties, I travelled all over Europe, drawing everything I saw, and visiting as many museums as I could. I travel to visit family in Aruba whenever I can, and hope to visit family in Amsterdam and in
Lithuania soon.

So when my friend Jaimie Scanlon told me she wrote a story about a rooster who travels the world, and she wanted me to illustrate it, I jumped at the chance. Drawing and painting Ralph was so much fun! I had to research all the places he visited to be sure I was depicting them accurately and respectfully. I haven’t been
worldly in my travels as Ralph, and haven’t visited many of the places he and goose explored. I learned so much! When you read the book, be sure to check out the cultural notes at the end so you can notice all the details and historical references.

It was also a challenge and a blast to draw a rooster’s face with all the emotional ups and downs Ralph goes through throughout the story. I had to figure out how to draw a cocky Ralph, a disappointed Ralph, a hopeful Ralph, a curious Ralph, a flirtatious Ralph, a pensive Ralph, a daring Ralph, and a humble Ralph.
I also had to imagine how to show Ralph’s transformation visually- not just his face but his whole body stature
and wings and attitude transform as he travels the world and becomes a wiser, more connected, kinder rooster.

I hope you enjoy these drawings and paintings as much as I enjoyed making them!
-Ellen Tumavicus


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Notes notes

Great artist's statement. I always enjoy hearing about the process of making things, and the above comments on illustrating are very good. I especially like the mention of needing to draw emotions with the whole body.And it does take a lot of research.

It makes it hard to put a price on creating this kind of artwork, too. An hourly rate for strictly drawing would be too low - considering all the time, thought, research, planning, sketches, etc. that lead to that final work. And a fair price might be too high for many to pay.

Anyhow - great statement!


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