When a book works really well it looks so easy. And so many people say how lovely it must be to have my job, working with children's books, what could be better.
Always it is difficult to start, but this one is just so much more difficult than others have been, or seems so at this point in time.
This week I decided after many false starts that I would give up, wash my hands of the whole project, walk away, paint what I wanted to, not worry about it, try not to feel like a failure, delete the blog, go! I emailed James and Barefoot and told them I was sorry, but I couldn't do it. James was wonderful, very supportive, told me how he had thrown yellow paint around his studio and screamed when doing Ella Bella as he felt the same. And that was on a good day!
It felt better to have freed myself from the book, though I was so disappointed with myself, and scared. But I told James that whatever I did I just couldn't seem to make it shine. It wasn't the text, the words are lovely, too good to walk away from, it was me. Somehow I had completely blocked myself. Painted myself into a corner.
So I went to bed with an uneasy sense of freedom. Now I only had Ice Bear, which is going ok, to work on, aswell as a few texts lurking and ideas for books and too many exhibitions.
Four o'clock in the morning, voices singing starlight songs woke me from my peaceful haven and back into the text. Pictures formed and ideas and thoughts and what I had been missing and they started to sparkle. I fetched my sketchbook, pencil and tea, cwtched up with the puppy and started to draw wandered the net, looking at images, made paper boats from pieces of paper, folding and folding until the room seemed full of boats made of paper, came up with some roughs and emailed James and Barefoot saying "Scratch the last few emails. One more chance." If it didn't work this time then I would walk away.
Two days later, email sent to James and Tessa with the picture attached. At first I thought it was working, had some magic. Now I don't know. Waiting. At least if I have to walk away I don't think I could have done better. So, click on the image to see it bigger, and if you come back to the blog this time next week and find the whole thing deleted then you know I have moved on to something else.