Friday, May 23, 2008

Major Taylor

About ten years ago, I was asked by the Major Taylor Association to serve on a committee to help find a sculptor to create a statue of Marshall "Major" Taylor. He was called the "Worcester Whirlwind" - first black World Cycling Champion in 1899.

The sculpture would be installed at the entrance to the newly renovated Worcester Public Library. Antonia Tobias Mendez was selected to create the monument. This is the first monument to an african-american in the city of Worcester.

On Wednesday, May 21, the statue was unveiled! Here is Lynne Tolman of the Major Taylor Association, whose determination helped see this project through.

The grandson and great-grandchildren of Major Taylor were there, giving heartfelt speeches. You can see them to the right of the lady in the hat (committee member Stacy DeBoise Luster) in the front row, below.

I love how the statue is low to the ground, accessible to everyone who goes to the library. Especially accessible to kids. So many monuments are set so high they are difficult to see, or to have a sense of connection with the person honored. I hope this sculpture inspires hope and appreciation to all who see it.

Antonio Tobias Mendez
Worcester Public Library

P.S. Children's book illustrator James Ransome did a book on Major Taylor a few years ago. I got to see him speak at the Worcester Library during the book's promotional tour. He is an awesome painter, wonderful speaker, and a kind person. Visit his website at:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Coming along...

April simply flew by! Admittedly, I spent most of it in the garden (even in the rain) and less of it at the drawing board or at the computer to scan it all in.

Anyway, here's some of what I've been up to:

Playing with technique.

Here's the same drawing - I painted it with watercolor, after printing the drawing onto on cold press paper.

You can see the texture of the paper, which makes the image look kind of blurry. (I don't care for the composition very much, the figures lean left too much.)

Then I wanted to see how it would look as a black-and-white piece. I know that if I printed the drawing in blue, then went over it in black ink or black crayon, I could scan it in CMYK and simply delete the Cyan channel, convert to black & white, and adjust.

It's easier than inking over a drawing, then erasing the drawing. And if make a mistake, I could just print it again and start over.