Sweet Intern Experience

Once again, Maine College of Art (MECA) proves to be a sweet dance partner.  This semester Jessica Tomlinson, MECA’s Director of Artists at Work and I dug through my shelf of upcoming children’s book marketing projects and found one for a MECA Illustration student to jitterbug to.


Melissa Sweet Illustration from A SPLASH OF RED

Melissa Sweet Illustration from A SPLASH OF RED


Author Jen Bryant and illustrator Melissa Sweet will soon release A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, a picture book biography of a self-trained artist that overcame war and disability to recapture the joy he had as a boy drawing and painting.


Illustrator and MECA student Liz Long will be exploring websites, galleries, and speaking with Jen and Melissa to fill a website with further stories of Horace Pippin and this starred reviewed book about him.  Curious City designed the website and accompanied Liz Long for a trip to Melissa Sweet’s Rockport, Maine studio.


There Melissa and Liz talked research, layers, influences, ephemera, and the secret inclusion in the book of an orange bench.  Sprawled on the studio floor, they sifted and marveled through Melissa’s process work.



Illustrator Melissa Sweet & MECA Student Liz Long


Liz discovered not only how generous Melissa Sweet is to her subjects and the page that depicts them or how generous she was with her time and interview, but how Melissa’s generosity plays out in books given.  Liz and I left piled with signature Sweet goodness.


MECA Student Liz Long at Melissa Sweet's Studio

MECA Student Liz Long at Melissa Sweet’s Studio


The recorded interview with Melissa will become a 10-15 minute sound slide production video interwoven with the snapshots I took as Liz and Melissa chattering and with images from A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin.


In January, Liz Long will do the same with author Jen Bryant at the Brandywine Museum where this lucky MECA intern will lay eyes on her first Horace Pippin painting.


Liz Long at the Farnsworth Museum

Liz Long at the Farnsworth Museum


And speaking of laying eyes on…here is Liz consuming a Andrew Wyeth at the Farnsworth Museum, just down the road a spell from Melissa Sweet’s studio.  It was a fitting end to the day as it was Andrew’s father, N.C. Wyeth who discovered Horace Pippin and brought him to the attention of galleries and critics.