"Sebbie and the Sky Pirate" is a piece I did in 2014, and it's one of my favorites because it's so silly. The pirate figure and the boat I'd found at a secondhand store, but I couldn't find a way to include them in a composition that didn't feel awkward. Sebbie's too big to stand on the boat, which might have been okay, but if I set the boat on the table top, was Sebbie then standing in water? I tried adding more boats, and making fake water, but all of it looked forced. It took some time, and a lot of playing with toys, to realize the boat needed to fly. From there, the ladder idea came to me as a way to tie the top and the bottom of the painting together, compositionally, and also as a friendly invitation from our flying pirate, so I made it out of match sticks and twine. The title is a bit of a tribute to Neil Gaiman, as he's one of my favorite authors and Stardust was the first book of his I read--but I titled it well after I'd finished the piece; it wasn't initially inspired by the book.
"Courting Adventure" is also from 2014, and I love this piece for different reasons. The landscape in the background is the beach at Plum Island in Massachusetts on a stormy day. When I have landscape backgrounds in my Sebbie paintings, it means I've gone and painted the landscape and then when I set my toys out on the table, I place the landscape behind them, as a theater backdrop of sorts. Plum Island was one of my favorite places to escape to when I lived in the Boston area and was weary of the city. It's a national park, so all preserved, and the beach has areas of pink quartz sand mixed in with the regular sand, so it looks like stripes of purple sand as it's uncovered by erosion--I've sometimes wondered if that's why they call it Plum Island, because of the plum colored sand, but I doubt it. At any rate, it's a good place to go and look out to sea and dream of adventure. And Sebbie's boat. Sebbie's boat I found at a small toy shop called The Toy Boat out on the piers on Nantucket. It's a lovely shop full of toys (as one might expect--but full of my kind of toys, toys I'd love to paint), and, being island-based, it has a large collection of wooden toy boats, including dozens of the one Sebbie is holding, all with different colored sails--after the Rainbow Fleet. They're handmade by a gentleman on the island, and I fell in love with them and thus own far too many. (Of course, in writing this, I looked up the toy store to make sure I'd remember the name correctly, and found myself pursuing their toy boat section--I suddenly felt I didn't have nearly enough.)
Anywho, both these guys will be on their way to Arizona soon. If you're in the area this summer I'd recommend a visit--it sounds like a thoroughly fun exhibition centered around toys and play, and, well, obviously, Sebbie will be there.