I will start this off then. :-) I am choosing the topic of influences, and my influence of choice will be of no surprise to you.
As I posted over on Silver Apples, I recently went on an abe.com Trina Schart Hyman book-buying bender! (I found so many of these for just a dollar or two, I couldn't really resist). I discovered Trina when I was about 10 years old. She was the art director for Cricket Magazine and she did all the insect characters in the borders as well as several large illustrations per issue. I used to copy all the crickets and ladybugs and borders into my grade-school sketch books. One of her illustrations totally grabbed me and influences me still. It was a double page spread for the poem "The Song of the Wandering Angus", by Yeats (from which my Silver Apples blog title comes from). I blame her for my ultimate decision to pursue illustration.
These are some of her most influential books on me. "Little Red Riding Hood" was the first book of hers that I purchased - back when an art student in college. It perfectly depicted the mysterious depths of Eastern woodlands for me, and I've referred to it often. She also nearly perfectly captures how I think mythical creatures should look, as in her versions of Fairy Poems and Witch Poems shown here. I also first read her Self Portrait while in college - which pretty much reduced me to tears. She seemed to embody the way I wanted to approach art and life, and had been astonishingly successful at it...
I am still saddened by her death and that there won't be more of her books to search for and collect... I still think of her often as I work on my own paintings.
(the new blog look is great Rebecca! Thanks!)