My Illustrations in the Philadelphia Sketch Club’s Phillustration Exhibit

I’m very pleased and honored to say that I have two illustrations accepted into Phillustration 8 at the Philadelphia Sketch Club.

The juried show at the Sketch Club, which is the oldest association for artists in the country, has an opening reception on Sunday November 20 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. The show runs from November 11 to December 3. It features some of the best illustrations in the Philly area in categories such as books, editorial, advertising, institutional and student work. This year’s jurors were freelance illustrator and designer for 3×3 Magazine Skye Bolluyt; and Steve Spatucci, an illustrator, animator. author and multimedia creator whose Plasmic Studio develops identities for companies and implements them in various media formats.

The pieces of mine that will be in the exhibit are my illustration for the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of HMS Pinafore:

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And my portfolio piece for The Pied Piper of Hamelin, published in the Bucks County Illustrators Society showcase book Fantasy Tales:

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I invite everyone to take in this exhibit; illustration is fine art that tells a story. The Sketch Club is located at 235 S. Camac Street in Philadelphia, and the gallery hours are Wednesday, Friday,  Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

All artwork (c) Pat Achilles.

Announcing ‘Fantasy Tales,’ a Bucks County Illustrators Society Showcase

bcisfantasytalespromophotoI’m thrilled to be part of a unique publication of The Bucks County Illustrators Society – a showcase of the talent of the Society’s members, a full color book with text and illustrations entitled Fantasy Tales.  As a co-founder of BCiS, I am especially pleased to see the work of so many of my friends in the arts highlighted together.

The book includes art by me as well as James Bennett, Deb Hoeffner, Gil Cohen, Dot Bunn, Joe DeVito, Ponder Goembel, Rich Harrington,Monika Hinterwaldner, Becca Klein, Glenn Zimmer, Marie Thresher,Joe Kulka,  Rebecca Rhodin, Pam HamiltonSandy Bender, Kim Kurki, Seth Robinson and Kathryn Maxwell. Each illustrator chose a story or excerpt from a story that has elements of fairy tale, supernatural or fantastical events, and created an illustration to accompany the story.

In conjunction with this publication, we are mounting a show of Fantasy Tales artwork by our members, with many of the pieces in the book displayed as original art in the exhibit. The exhibit will be at the Scatter Joy Center for the Arts gallery, running from June 24 to July 20, at 305 Horsham Road, Horsham, PA. The public is invited to the opening reception on June 24 from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm, to meet the artists and enjoy light refreshments. Copies of the book Fantasy Tales: A Bucks County Illustrators Society Showcase will be available for purchase at the opening.

The artwork in Fantasy Tales encompasses a wide range of illustration styles among BCiS illustrators, and varies from traditional media to digital to combinations of both. The stories chosen span classic Fairy Tales like Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella to a Native American Folk Tale to the epic King Kong saga. Each illustrator’s biography is also included in the book.

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I invite all my friends, and any fans of illustration or fantasy art to come to our opening or visit the gallery during June and July. In Fantasy Tales the Bucks County Illustrators Society also thanks three institutions with whom we have special friendships: the Philadelphia Sketch Club, whose history of supporting artists and mounting exciting exhibits stretches back to 1860; Phoenix Art Supplies and Framing, a vital resource in Bucks County helping artists find the best supplies; and the Scatter Joy Center for the Arts, founded by artist Kathy Davis, which regularly hosts changing gallery shows and art, craft and music classes for adults and children.

Regarding parking for the opening reception, the Scatter Joy Center for the Arts, where our exhibit will be held, is in a beautifully renovated stone farmhouse on the northwest corner of Dresher and Horsham Roads, in a shopping plaza called ‘The Elements,’ which has ample parking.

Honored to Win First Place in Book Illustration at Phillustration 7

I am very honored and grateful to the Philadelphia Sketch Club and the judges for Phillustration 7, for awarding my illustration “Ghost Tour” First Place in the Book Illustration category this year. I painted this piece last fall for the children’s book Let’s Visit New Hope, written by Gayle Goodman and Roy Ziegler and sponsored by the New Hope Historical Society.

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(c) Pat Achilles

There were no shortage of terrific illustrations in this year’s show in several different categories. Other members of the Bucks County Illustrators Society, of which I’m a co-founder, also had outstanding work exhibited, including Glenn Zimmer, Deb Hoeffner, Pam Hamilton, and Rebecca Rhodin. Joe DeVito served as one of this year’s judges and his pencil concept sketches for a King Kong project he is working on were also prominently featured.

The crowd at the Sketch Club was large and enthusiastic for the opening reception yesterday – Pam Hamilton took this wonderful panoramic shot of the gallery:

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The Sketch Club is a venerable Philadelphia institution, having started in the 1860s, and is considered the oldest continuously running organization for artists in the country. Outstanding painters and illustrators of the past who have been members include Thomas Eakins, N.C. Wyeth, Henry Pitz, Walter Baum, Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber; and Ranulph Bye, among many others.

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Sketch Club President Rich Harrington and the staff created a varied and exciting exhibit that I recommend to everyone who enjoys ‘fine art that tells a story’ – which is how good illustration is defined. I am thrilled and grateful to receive this recognition, and thankful also to authors Gayle and Roy for writing the book that inspired my illustration!

The Sketch Club is located at 235 S. Camac Street in Philadelphia, and this show is up until November 27, with gallery hours Wednesday, Friday,  Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

My Illustrations in the Philadelphia Sketch Club’s Phillustration Exhibit

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve had four paintings from the book I illustrated for the New Hope Historical Society, Let’s Visit New Hope, accepted into Phillustration 7 at the Philadelphia Sketch Club.

The juried show at the Sketch Club, which is the oldest association for artists in the country, has an opening reception on Sunday November 8 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. The show runs from November 2 to 27. It features some of the best illustrations in the Philly area in categories such as books, editorial, advertising, institutional and student work. This year’s jurors were Joe DeVito, illustrator of hundreds of book covers and sculptor of Tarzan, Doc Savage and King Kong; Winona Nelson, whose concept art for the gaming industry has been featured in Spectrum Magazine; and Amy Raudenbush, children’s book illustrator and winner of many regional awards for her work in the Philadelphia Daily News.

The four pieces of mine that will be in the exhibit are illustrations of places and events from New Hope’s past & present, including the Bucks County Playhouse,

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a ghost tour through the neighborhoods,

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William Penn arriving in Pennsylvania,

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and the towpath along the Delaware Canal, in the early 1900s.

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I invite everyone to take in this exhibit; illustration is fine art that tells a story. The Sketch Club is located at 235 S. Camac Street in Philadelphia, and the gallery hours are Wednesday, Friday,  Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

All artwork (c) Pat Achilles.

Illustration Award from Phillustration

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Art by James Bennett

I’m thrilled and honored to have received the First Place Award in Advertising art from the Phillustration 6 exhibit, hosted every year by the Philadelphia Sketch Club. The poster at left is the award certificate, with artwork by the inimitable James Bennett, whose painting of Roger Waters won Best of Show.

My husband and I attended a wonderful reception today at the Sketch Club, along with members of the PSC and the Bucks County Illustrators Society.  BCIS won other awards as well: besides his Best of Show prize, Jim Bennett also received an Honorable Mention in Self-Promotional, Cassandre Maxwell of West Chester received First Place in Editorial, Deb Hoeffner of Doylestown received Honorable Mention in Editorial, Ponder Goembel of Riegelsville received Honorable Mention in Book Illustration; and Dave Song of Doylestown received Honorable Mention in Self-Promotional.

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My illustration for the play ‘The Secret Garden,’ which won First Place in Advertising Illustration

Also on display in the exhibit is artwork by BCIS members Glenn Zimmer of North Wales, Monika Hinterwaldner and Lee Harper of Doylestown, Pam Hamilton of New Britain, Rebecca Rhodin of Lansdale and Joe Kulka of Quakertown. It’s a terrific show, featuring art by many area illustrators including Charles Santore, Bob Byrd, John O’Brien and David Brinley (who juried the show) and it runs through November 8. The Chairman of the Phillustration show is illustrator Rich Harrington, and he’s done another fantastic job.

I recommend checking out this amazing show in person, but if you can’t get to Philadelphia there is also an online gallery of the works at the Philadelphia Sketch Club website.  You can find out more about our Bucks County Illustrators Society at the BCIS website as well.

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Phillustration 6 at the Philadelphia Sketch Club

I’m honored to have two pieces accepted into the Sketch Club’s annual illustration show this year.  My illustrations for the posters of Town & Country Players’ The Secret Garden and the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s Patience will be hung in the upstairs gallery at the Club along with dozens of wonderful examples of the talented illustrators in the Philadelphia area. The juror this year was David Brinley, and President of the Sketch Club is Rich Harrington, both terrific illustrators as well.

Artwork (c) Pat Achilles

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An Evening with Renowned Children’s Book Illustrator Charles Santore

fwsantore3I was lucky to be among the people in the upstairs gallery of the Philadelphia Sketch Club who witnessed a magical evening Friday night, wading through lions, crows, mermaids, foxes, Red Coats, cyclones, herons and Patriots.  The Sketch Club graciously shared its venerable and historic Center City home with the Bucks County Illustrators Society, as members of both clubs spent the evening in delighted awe of the extraordinary work and charming commentary of Philadelphia illustrator Charles Santore.

Mr. Santore is certainly one of the most renowned illustrators of classic children’s books today, with titles including The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, The Wizard of Oz, Paul Revere’s Ride and The Night Before Christmas, among many others.  His art is part of the permanent collections of the Brandywine River Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, as well as many private collections.  He is a winner of the prestigious Hamilton King Award from the New York Society of Illustrators, where his work was recently featured in a solo exhibition, “Exploring the Narrative Picture.”

santorephoto4He compares the creative process of illustrating a story to ‘staging a ballet or visualizing a musical composition,’ designing his pictures to build throughout the book to a grand finale.  The artists and fans who attended this talk, accompanied by a slideshow of his illustrations, saw these processes clearly unfold in the flow of the illustrations for The Wizard of Oz, where all movement in the first half of the book streams left to right, concurrent with the Yellow Brick Road; until the story encounters the Wicked Witch of the West, whose forces move relentlessly right to left.  Mr. Santore explained many instances of the ‘choreography’ of his illustrations, and delighted the audience as he pointed to example after example of his deliberate placement of shadows, gestures and framing of elements in his work for Aesop’s Fables and The Little Mermaid.santorephoto2

Amid the many charming and funny stories of his career, Mr. Santore also shared heartfelt moments that touched many in the audience.  He read aloud the Longfellow poem Paul Revere’s Ride while slides of his illustrations for the book were shown. Since the story takes place through a moonlit night, the images were powerfully composed between light and dark elements: a massive ship’s hulk, the spark from a horse’s hoof, a brilliant moon, a skyward view through the belfry of the Old North Church. Once during his reading he faltered briefly, murmuring, “I’m sorry, it still gets to me.”  His emotion over the bravery in that historic event and the beautiful language of the poem was evident in his voice; his admiration also echoed in the remarkable detail and vitality in his artwork.

santorephoto7Mr. Santore cheerfully stayed after his talk to answer questions, accept congratulations from students and fellow artists, and autograph books. I had bought his Wizard of Oz earlier in the day, and he chatted with me while he signed the title page (he’s left-handed, by the way) and made the book a complete treasure by drawing a little lion there too.  I asked him how he ever imagined and designed that stunning illustration from the perspective of looking up through the belltower of the Church.  “There’s a funny story to that,” he said.  “I called the Old North Church office and told them I was doing this book.  I asked if they had any photo references of inside the belfry.” He paused and made a wry face.  “They wanted ten percent.  Ten percent of the profits on the book, to give me the information. So, I called friends of mine who lived in Boston and asked if they could go to the church’s gift shop and find anything. They found a terrific book with plenty of photos, and they sent it to me.”

Afterwards the audience enjoyed a wonderful dinner together in the dining room of the Sketch Club – a building that since 1860 has served as a meeting place and forum for artists and supporters, counting among its illustrious past members Thomas Eakins, Henry Pitz, Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, N.C. Wyeth and Thomas Anshutz.  The evening concluded with members of America’s oldest club for artists exchanging stories with Bucks County’s newest club for illustrators, where for this evening the topics of conversation revolved around art, books, and the magnificent illustrations of Charles Santore.