The exhibit “The Storybook Waters of Illustrator Jamie Hogan” ran from July 1 – September 25, 2015 in the Children’s Room of the Portland Public Library’s Main Library where MECA Adjunct Assistant Professor of Illustration Jamie Hogan’s lush pastel and colored pencil illustrations of the water and waterfront were celebrated.
At the Exhibit Opening on Thursday, July 9, Jamie Hogan spoke about her illustration inspiration and process for Island Birthday (Tilbury House Publishers), a children’s picture book about a Maine island by Matinicus Island’s renowned essayist Eva Murray. Hogan also shared how she paid tribute to the journal drawings of naturalist John Muir in her illustrations for John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall (Charlesbridge), and her research of the tidal waters of the Sunderbans for the children’s chapter book, Tiger Boy (Charlesbridge). In support of these books and the exhibit, Jamie Hogan appeared at events in Rockland, Peaks Island, Kennebunkport, and Camden, Maine.
While Jamie Hogan strolls the beaches of Peaks Island with her dog or crosses the bay to teach Illustration at Maine College of Art, she is keeping her eyes open and camera ready for the colors and characters of Maine’s waterfront. Each day inspires her pastel landscapes and the nine children’s books she has illustrated since 2007. Artists across the country follow her process and rich reference on her blog at JamieHogan.com/blog.
“I grew up in the shadow of the White Mountains, skiing and hiking,” says Jamie Hogan, “but I’ve always been drawn to any body of water, from stomping in puddles to living in the Bay Area in California. Now I walk daily to the Maine shore during breaks in the studio. Crossing Casco Bay, especially during a full moon, thrills my soul to the bone.”
Hogan’s children’s book illustration career began in 2005 when Charlesbridge Publishing paired her with Mitali Perkins’ children’s novel, Rickshaw Girl, a book recently named as one of the “New York Public Library’s Top 100 Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years.” Other Charlesbridge titles include Nest, Nook & Cranny, with her charcoal drawings, and a nonfiction ecology title, A Warmer World, with her pastels. Her pastels came back into play for Here Come the Humpbacks, featuring a mother whale and her calf’s journey to the Gulf of Maine. The latest partnership with Charlesbridge mirrors John Muir’s own sketchbooks—Hogan illustrated John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall entirely in colored pencil.
“Jamie Hogan’s art is beautiful and energetic,” says Whitney Leader-Picone, the Senior Designer at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, who art directed Jamie Hogan’s Charlesbridge books. ”She has an intuitive sense of space and composition. Her attention to detail and strong design sense bring depth and transcendence to her artwork. Jamie captures the souls of her subjects, be they plants, animals, or people, so that they come alive to the viewer.”
Robyn Holman, curator of the University of Southern Maine’s Atrium Art Gallery, has included Hogan’s work in a number of exhibitions and sees Hogan as, “one of Maine’s finest illustrators, continuing to create work that is inspired, magical, and brilliant. Her work is grounded in both imagination and direct observation, resulting in thoughtful, unforgettable images that resonate with the text.”
Peaks Island residents and landscapes often are reflected in Jamie Hogan’s work. A Peaks Island kitchen appears in the opening spread of Tilbury House Publishers’ Island Birthday, and the model for the Matinicus Island boy of that story lives across the street from Hogan. Her daughter Daisy and her friends can find their younger selves pictured on the pages of Seven Days of Daisy (Down East Books) and Ice Harbor Mittens (Down East Books).
“Pastels are color dust, a very direct medium that I love,” says illustrator Jamie Hogan.”To lay it down on paper to tell stories for children’s education and imagination is an unparalleled honor.”