On the shirt tails of a hefty winter snow storm, I recently traveled to Manhattan, Kansas to present a Keynote at a regional workshop for the National Association of Interpretators (think professionals who work in education and interpretation in zoos, museums, nature centers, national and state parks...). Our like-minded missions, to connect people emotionally and intellectually to the resources we write, teach or talk about, made my experience at the conference rich and inspired. It was a delight to meet a group from a completely different discipline I had so much in common with. Old vocational identifications, ancient and archaeological, came to the surface and played along side with my newer author-illustrator self.
One fellow presenter talked about the challenge of communicating the concept of time to children. We're not talking "This happened last Tuesday" kind of stuff. We're talking "This happened 11,000 years ago"! She had come up with an inventive portable visual and tactile stratigraphy display, presenting objects from the various time components of her state park, where she interprets. It got me thinking about our own lives stratigraphically, how one layer of experiences builds on the next. It is rich and complex alright, not just one story, but many. And I do still have fun digging around occasionally!
Monday, February 18, 2013
Today I turned a little pencil sketch made a couple weeks ago into a colored scratchboard piece. I spied a family of deer laying down in the woods together, napping in the late afternoon. Snow was still on the ground. I hardly noticed them, as they blended so well with their surroundings; really, they were just mounds of soft brown. I took the binoculars to them, rewarded by how tranquil their expressions were and how cat-like each repose. We don't often picture these large gentle mammals sleeping. And yet there they were, dozing close to each other in perfect contentment. The next day, I snowshoed up to the spot they had been and looked at the shallow divits left in the ground. Such a nice napping place. I feel I know them a little better now. And perhaps come spring, I won't be so peeved when they eat my hosta.
Monday, February 11, 2013
Friday, February 8, 2013
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
(with apologies to William Carlos Williams)
They were blackberries from Mexico.
They weren’t organic.
There is snow on the ground.
I bought them anyway.
I ate the last ones in the fridge.
Maybe you would have liked them
in a bowl of ice cream tonight.
They reminded me of northwest summers,
a Chinook wind for my palate.
a Chinook wind for my palate.
They were delicious
and so cold.
Monday, February 4, 2013
As a child, reading picture books by Margaret Wise Brown paved part of the road to my eventual involvement in children’s book illustration. Even today, when I look at my old and worn copy of The Whispering Rabbit, it’s like looking at a dear, familiar friend. The illustrators paired with MWB's words are some of my favorites still: Leonard Weisgard, Garth Williams, Alice and Martin Provensen…
And now I have another illustrator’s work to add to this favorite list. Fellow blogger Julie Clay has a new book out, written by MWB, just recently published in the UK (Parragon). Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears is such a classic picture book. Julie’s bears are full of expression, and endearingly rendered, the simple text in perfect accompaniment. I share below one of the dearest illustrations from the book that has quite a soporific effect on me!
Congratulations Julie! You’ve made a lovely addition to the world of picture books.
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