Around Westhampton: Cartoonist Hilary Price to reveal creative secrets Friday at town library

Last modified: Wednesday, October 02, 2013

WESTHAMPTON — Award-winning cartoonist Hilary Price says she doesn’t buy the “lightning bolt” theory of creativity, where the artist is struck by sudden inspiration from on high.

The Florence resident and creator of the “Rhymes with Orange” comic strip that appears in more than 200 daily newspapers, describes her work as a “collaborative process” that draws on many sources, including friends, pets and observations of the world around her.

Price will discuss her work at an event Friday at the Westhampton Public Library. The evening begins with a reception with the artist at 5:30 p.m. followed by a talk on “Cartooning: Secrets Revealed” at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

As part of her presentation, Price will also be doing some drawing, thanks to a document camera that will allow her work to be projected in real time on a big screen.

“I know I love to watch people draw,” she said in a phone interview last week.

Price said her cartoons for newspapers are drawn first in pencil, then inked over.

“On some, you’ll see phone numbers in the corner or Cheetos dust,” she said.

“The real secret is sitting down and making yourself do it,” she said. “Doing this seven days a week is a muscle you build up. Some weeks are easier than others. What changes is the confidence that you will be able to do it.”

Price, a suburban Boston native who graduated from Stanford University, has lived in the Pioneer Valley since 1997.

She said ideas for her cartoons come from many sources.

“I’m pretty confident I’m going to get cat and dog ideas because I have a cat and a dog,” she said. “They live in your house and they have completely different agendas than we do. When agendas clash, that’s funny.”

When she needs a break from her studio at the Arts and Industry Building in Florence, Price heads outside for walks.

“Sometimes, when you shift your environment, grace happens,” she said.

The library event resulted from a chance meeting between Price and Westhampton resident Laurie Sanders at the Cup and Top Cafe in Florence. Sanders, a longtime fan of Price’s work, recognized the artist at one of the tables and approached her about appearing in Westhampton.

“Her comic strip is right up my alley — clever, quirky expressive, funny,” Sanders said in a email message. “I thought a lot of people would like to hear her story and see her work. And, did I mention that we have a new, beautiful library that can display her drawings?”

Details about Friday’s event are available on the library’s Facebook page or by calling 527-5386.

Price is also holding open studio nights Nov. 9 and 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Arts and Industry Building on Pine Street. For information, visit her website at


Chimney cleaning

The Westhampton Fire Department is sponsoring its annual chimney cleaning service Saturday for local residents. Firefighters will meet at the Public Safety Complex at 8:30 a.m. to begin the work, which is free, though donations are accepted. Overflow assignments will be completed Sunday, which is also the rain date for the cleaning service. Sign-ups are available online Click on the “2013 Chimney Cleaning” link to submit a form.


Arts grant time

The Westhampton Cultural Council is seeking applications for its 2014 grant cycle. The deadline is Oct. 15. School field trips, after-school programs, concerts, festivals, lectures, theater, dance and music are among the projects that are eligible for funding. Specific guidelines are available online Completed applications can be sent to: Westhampton Cultural Council, Town Hall, 1 South Road, Westhampton, MA 01027.


Festival coming up

Fans of Cow Pie Bingo have reason to celebrate: The game is back by popular demand at the Oct. 20 Westhampton Fall Festival. The eighth annual event, which runs from 10:15 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the town center on North Road, will also feature a Great Pumpkin Roll at 4:15 p.m., followed by a community supper, bonfire and sing-along.

Other festival offerings include an interfaith church service at 10:15 a.m., a 5k race at 12:30 p.m. to benefit the Westhampton Public Library, church steeple tours, a jeep show, live music, cider making and farm animals. The festival is sponsored by Friends of the Westhampton Public Library, the Westhampton Elementary PTO, the Fire Department and other civic groups.

For details, call Janice Tracey at 527-1731.


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