Yesterday morning the rain kept pouring down as we endured the rush hour traffic into Albany, New York for an interview on public radio. We got to the station 45 minutes early, with plenty of nervous energy to burn off.
We parked Trusty Rusty in view of the WAMC headquarters and its performance hall, a retrofitted old bank building on Central Avenue. I started a watercolor sketch of the streetcorner, while Jeanette cast on another knitted sock onto her bamboo needles. I had to fire up the defroster and wipers every ten minutes or so to keep the windshield from fogging up.
I take back what I said yesterday about watercolor being impossible on rainy days. The comforts of the car interior is better than getting a steady soaking outside. Here’s the sketch in my mini-Moleskine, using the Schmincke sepia, light red, ultramarine, and yellow ochre.
We suddenly remembered to tune the radio to WAMC. As I put on the last touches to the sketch, the hosts Joe Donahue and Julia Taylor introduced the segment: “Next we’re going to take a journey into a world of fantasy with artist and author James Gurney…” I rushed in to the studio with a cup of coffee and my sketchbook still in my hand.
The on-air room was lined with foam waffles, and the microphones swung out from spidery arms. Even though the show is called “The Roundtable,” the table is actually elongated. The engineer behind the glass flashed a hand with five fingers—was that five seconds or five minutes? Joe and Julia were completely relaxed and friendly, but intensely focused, always in the moment. They write the intros, segues, and questions the day before, Joe told me. But they depart from the written script on a whim.
It’s the interviewer’s job to get the guest beyond his prepared answers, and the guest’s job to get the interviewer beyond his prepared questions. They were fun to talk to, and got me thinking about aspects of Dinotopia that I hadn't touched in an interview before.
Here's the link to the MP3 podcast of the interview.
Today I do two more interviews: an in-studio chat at WKZE and a phoner from LA to plug the Art Center gig.