Monday, November 10, 2008

Michigan in November

That doesn't sound like a recipe for beauty, but it is.

What a pleasant surprise it was for this homesick Vermonter to catch the last of the fall color on my recent visit to Grand Rapids.

I was the guest of two school principals, Sue and Rich Miller in their farmhouse in Ada.
They live with Tucker, the biggest, handsomest border collie you've ever seen.

I had some free time before and after my visits to their respective elementary schools: K.E.C. Oakleigh and Palmer, so I took full advantage of the winter sun and snowlight.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Call My Grandpa Papa

“My Dedushka is amazing, He can make things disappear. And once he found a quarter-- Right here in my ear!”

“Ojii-San is tall and strong.
He lifts me way up high
So I can see the whole parade
As it goes marching by!”

“My Opa took me camping
And the part I loved the most
Was eating the marshmallows
He taught me how to toast”

“Nonno takes me to his barbershop.
We sit in two big chairs,
And a nice man named Rosario
Cuts off all our hairs.”

I have just finished 2 new books for Tricycle Press. This one is called
I Call My Grandpa Papa

They are about the different names chosen by grandfathers from different world cultures and from here in the United States. They are illustrated with a collage technique I used for the 1st time here.

I Call My Grandma Nana

My Lola has a million blocks,
And wooden tracks and cranes.
We build a town--and all around
I get to drive my trains.”

“Abuelita is my Grandma,
She’s teaching me to sew.
The doll we’re making looks like me:
Blue dress, black braid, white bow!”

I have just finished 2 new books for Tricycle Press. This one is called
I Call My Grandma Nana.

They are about the different names chosen by grandmothers from different world cultures and from here in the United States. They are illustrated with a collage technique I used for the 1st time here.

Happy Halloween 2008

I created this card using the new collage technique I used in my 2 new books for Tricycle Press. See my next post for samples!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Appalachian Trail was right next door

To get in shape for the Proper Walk I needed lots of exercise.

Luckily the Appalachian Trail, which runs for 2000 miles from Georgia to Maine, passed right by Hollins.

I discovered a trailhead and met many interesting people who were doing the entire route in one summer.

Hollins University is a beautiful place

My particular corner may not be beautiful--my cottage was spartan but plenty roomy.
But the campus, which was only a short walk away, was rolling and lush and dotted with graceful brick and white wood buildings.

The school's motto, inscibed on a plaque on the chapel, is Levavi Oculos--roughly translated into lift up thine eyes to the hills.

The hills are the Appalachian Mountain range, range upon range, all running SW to NE on either side of campus.

Carvin Creek flows out of Carvin Reservoir and through campus.

Tinker Creek runs from Tinker Mountain and is the setting for A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, a Hollins alum. If you read it, my favorite essay is Present.

Sante Fe to Hollins University in Roanoke, VA

After a day spent visiting Santuario de Chimayo with Susan, Lucy and I got back on Rt. 40, headed for points East.

Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and on into Virginia. We arrived on June 16th and moved into the cottage in the far upper right corner.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

San Francisco to Roanoke

San Francisco, CA to Roanoke, VA.
Roanoke, VA to Leicester, VT.
Leicester, VT to Nairobi, Kenya.
Proper Walk 2008 The Great Rift Valley, Kenya

My traveling summer of 2008 began on June 10th.

The 1st leg headed south through the Great Central valley of California on Rt. 5 and picked up 40 east in Bakersfield. Along the way fields of roses were in bloom in Wasco and Joshua Trees were blossoming on the Tehachapi Pass.

1st leg: crossing the US took 6 days. Five days of driving and one day spent visiting Susan Guevara in Sante Fe.

SF to Sante Fe in photos

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Costa Rica is alive

Have you ever heard a troupe of Mantled Howler Monkeys hooting in the dusk? The sound is startling and a little scary at first but in only a week in Costa Rica I not only grew used to it, I began to find it comforting.
Comforting in the sense that Costa Rica is a place where primates other than ourselves live in the wild and appear to thrive. The monkey troupes are sometimes as small as 3-4 individuals and sometimes have dozens of members. The group at Playa Lancosta was at least 30 adult monkeys with a dozen infants clinging to the backs of their mothers. Their prehensile tails were marvelous 5th limbs, always wrapped around a branch as an extra anchor.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Cesar Chavez High

is a rare treat for me to be invited to speak to high school students. My books would seem to place me squarely in front of the kindergarten/1st grade audience, but I love the older students. On Friday, February 22, I was lucky enough to visit three art classes at Cesar Chavez HS in Stockton, CA.
After presenting a slide show about my work, I demonstrated how to draw a face. I discussed symetry, proportion, some anatomy and light source/shading techniques. The students had only rudimentary tools but were game and did some extraordinary quick sketches.
Then Anthony asked if I would draw his portrait and soon after that I was happily transforming Victor into a bear in football shoulder pads!