The LCVA Exhibition & a shark in my suitcase.

Phew… back from travels and enjoying refreshing Georgian Bay with family. It has been just about the busiest month I’ve ever had and while fun, it is SO good to be home with my kiddos. I am going to break this up into 2 posts. One on the LCVA and one on the Mazza.

On July 3rd Simon and I took the kids to their Grandparent’s place and headed to Virginia to set up my exhibition at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts. The exhibition is called Chasing Shadows (July-November, 2016). We spent a week with some of the nicest people. I am so happy to have met the staff and friends of the LCVA. It is in Farmville, a town between Richmond and Charlottesville. I was so impressed… everyday people were in and out of the gallery going to classes and peeking in as we set up. It is a thriving, well loved, well used center. In October I will be back when Farmville hosts the Virginia Children’s Book Festival. I will be holding my workshops right in the gallery. We’ll be playing with paper, light and shadow. The festival is going to be AMAZING:


The installation in the front window gallery was quite the challenge. I have never worked larger than about 3ft by 3ft and the window had to be 2 sided so it could be viewed outside from the street but also inside from the gallery space. The final piece is 33ft by 10 ft and is 3 ft deep. I learned so much from doing this and would likely do something completely different if I had the chance now but I like the way the room feels in the morning light and how it glows at night from outside. Here is a little animation of the set up.  So much Yupo paper and all inked and cut by hand! You can see lighting a space like this is tricky.

Here is BETTER view of the install… a time lapse. I am so thankful that Yupo sponsored the show by supplying the paper… that is a lot of paper! (Thanks Bill and Kevin!) I made all the coral, rocks, fish and squid at my studio and brought them with me. I even had a shark in my suitcase. 😉

Installation Time Lapse LCVA

I thought I’d post some photos from the set up and the exhibition. Excuse the quality… many were taken with a cell. The exhibition includes about 70 photographs, 9 light boxes, some early tunnel books, a cabinet of weather, process work for my books and an installation. To read about the exhibition follow the link.

I am so grateful for my best friend and husband, Simon. He not only made the boxes for the show but came with me for the whole week to do install… he even fit in a date to a nice restaurant on my birthday. (And thanks Candy and Les for looking after the kiddos!)

Also, a big thank you to Rachel Ivers, the LCVA, the amazing staff and the sponsors of the show: The exhibition and related programming are made possible through the generosity of Candice Jamison Dowdy ’69 and Charles H. Dowdy III, Northwestern Mutual, the Sansom Foundation, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts,  and Yupo Synthetic Paper.


Exhibition in Virginia – Preparations


It is just 2 weeks until Simon and I will be heading to Virginia to set up my show Chasing Shadows at the Longwood Center for the Arts in Farmville. You might have seen a post a while back when Rachel Ivers and Emily Grabiec visited the studio. That was a year ago… and now preparations are in full swing.

The exhibition will show original light boxes, photographs, working drawings for books and a large scale installation in the window of the gallery. The little squid picture above shows a 2×3 ft area of the 30×9 ft installation. My oh my… still more cutting to do!

OPENING ~ July 8th, 2016 from 5-8 at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts

For more on the show visit:

Here are some preparation shots of inking the Yupo paper, creating the light boxes, and cutting the many, many pieces that will fill the huge window of the Longwood Center – quite a feat for someone who usually works in miniature. 😉

The Virginia Children’s Book Festival!

The exhibition will coincide with the Virginia Children’s Book Festival. I am so excited to be one of the authors invited to participate in this amazing festival. Other authors include:  Matt de la Pena, Drew Daywalt, Marc Brown, Timothy Basil Ering and so many others.

Check it out! October 13, 14 and 15, 2016!


Another bit of news~ Emily Van Beek is now representing me through Folio Jr. I couldn’t be happier to be working with her!

Folio Jr high res teal black 1.jpg

Thaumatropes & this and that.

Hello, hello! It has been so long since I last posted! Lots happening in the studio these days. I just got these back from the printer and am so excited I have to share them. I was flipping my business card when I thought… hmm… Thaumatropes are way more fun. I love Victorian paper toys. This is the first of my designs… Spring!

EllyMacKayThaumatrope from Elly MacKay on Vimeo.

In the Studio

This winter I have been working on outlines for 2 new books that will be out in 2017. It has been a really enjoyable process. I have also been working on some boxes for the solo show I will be having at the Longwood Centre in Virginia this summer. The show will run the whole summer and will include my photos, original dioramas, a large installation, sketches and an animation wheel (if I can get it working).

Right now I am making a series of Grimm boxes. Here is a peek at one of the scenes – Snow White and Rose Red meet the ungrateful dwarf while collecting kindling. My wonderful husband, Simon MacKay is making all of the boxes for me. They will be available for sale in November.

SnowWhiteRoseRed_EllyMacKay_16 - 1 (1)

Interior of one of several Grimm boxes for the upcoming show at the Longwood Centre in Virginia.

The Nightingale Award

Continue reading

New York – Society of Illustrators Original Art Show – Thank you Running Press!!!

I couldn’t believe it last week when my amazing editor, Marlo Scrimizzi from Running Press offered for us to meet in NYC!

I went through a snowstorm on the way to the airport but when I arrived at my hotel, what a wonderful view – oh, New York! That evening I had a night out with Marlo, the Running Press book designer, Teresa Bonaddio, and my agent Kirsten Hall (who I got to meet for the first time) at the Original Art Show. One of my works from If You Hold A Seed was on display. It was such an honour to be included in the show. I got to meet some awesome illustrators there! With a packed show and ipod camera, I didn’t get too many pics of the art on the walls but here are the winning books. Have you read them? (You can read about the winners and see all the books here.) The show will be on until December 21st.

After the show, Marlo, Teresa, Kirsten and I went around the corner and ate a late dinner at the Fig and Olive. I don’t know how long it has been since I was out past 8 O’Clock (given my two little kids), so Marlo and I  decided to take in the lights at Time Square. In the morning we met for some NYC bagels and made plans for future books! It was so good to talk to Marlo in person and discuss all the details. Kirsten joined us later at the City Bakery and together the three of us wondered through shops and bookstores. (Kirsten’s pics are below.) But… after buying some books for the kids and it was time to go home! 17 hours of travel and 24 hours there – New York was a  whirlwind and so much fun! So many great memories. Thank you so very much Marlo and Running Press!!!

NewYork - book winners1 NewYork - book winners2 NewYork - book winners3 NewYork - book winners4 NewYork01NewYork03 NewYork1NewYork2 NewYork three of us1NewYork05NewYork08NewYork11NewYork12


This October issue of O Magazine has a feature on my work! My mom has been showing everyone in the checkout lines – so sweet. I was really excited to get a copy. It is on page 38. Here is the on-line version:

Some other news – Lily just started Junior Kindergarten. She is loving it. And… Today is Koen’s first day of daycare. He is going half days, 3 days a week. It feels very strange not having him here but it will be wonderful to have some dedicated studio time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I love this time of year. There is a wildness in the air, a crispness to the colours, melancholy and comfort all at once. I think this afternoon when I pick up Koen we will go for a walk and collect some more signs of autumn for the Fall Leaves book. It is lovely to watch the subtle changes that Fall brings to the plants.

An Invite… our group show is opening at Grey Roots this Friday, September 28th. Re:Thinking the Past
Objects have histories that resonate over time, revealing how we once
thought, lived, worked and played. Six artists make companion objects,
interpreting the Museum’s collection.

Happy Fall Equinox friends and thank you for all of your support!

Here is a new autumn print for the shop:

Quiet Companions – Still, they listened to the sound of leaves. And as the wind whispered of the winter to come, the gentle autumn sun kindly warmed their thick coats to fend off the breeze.

Stories and more…

My head has been in the clouds lately…  Here is what I am working on.

Hilltop by Elly MacKay

I am playing with a story about a little girl who finds a friend in the clouds. Next week I’ll do a bit of brainstorming with an editor and see what we can come up with. It is getting there but not there yet.

I have also been working on images for my first book for Running Press. I am really enjoying the process. It is like a puzzle, making sure all of the images work together. Fortunately with this way of working there are many options to choose from. Today I worked on a boy looking out the window at a chickadee… It is secret. (wink)

Other news:

My box of books arrived from Kids Can Press. It was pretty exciting to see my cover in print! It is coming out soon. (Margaret and the Moth Tree by the Trogen sisters)

I am now selling my work at a new store in Seoul, Korea called Earth Music. Exciting to have work there!

My show at the Roxy in Owen Sound is also coming up this spring!

And how are you? Are you enjoying this amazing weather? I hope so. xo


Rethinking the Past

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next Fall my husband Simon and I will be taking part in an exhibition at Grey Roots Museum and Archive called Rethinking the Past. The other artists are Kevin Yates, Christie Pierson, John Glendinning, and Stephen Hogbin. The artists have been asked to reflect on the collection.

Simon and I began talking about how rural life has changed for children in our region. Just as I did, Lily spends time on her Uncle Bill and Aunt Dawn’s farm, though the work and lifestyle that comes with being raised on a farm will be unknown  to her and most of her generation. Many of the old barns here have fallen down in the last 10 years. Farming once defined this region. We were drawn to the toys in the collection and to the old wooden  miniatures by Erskine Brown; his memory of what things were like as a child.

My images will accompany some large scale toys Simon is making from the 1860s barn that stood on the bluff by my childhood home. It came down last year.