Friday, July 26, 2013


Not a native, but this garden lily called Stargazer is one I look forward to blooming every year. Some of the attraction is the name. I don't feel right if I haven't contemplated the stars in a while. Enjoy this one's celestial connections, coming at a perfect time to view your summer night skies.

Monday, July 22, 2013

One person's roadside weed is another's garden of inspiration...

It's Queen Anne's lace (Bishop's lace or wild carrot) time in Iowa. Aside from it's unpleasant invading nature, a field of these blooms, backlit by a July sunset, says summer to me. This year I've captured the ubiquitous roadside plants in a small square composition. Along with a few other invasives, thistle, clover, vetch, and those wacky little buckhorn plantains that have seed heads like cone shaped pencil eraser tops, Queen Anne's lace figures into our mental picture of many regional landscapes almost as much as the native plants do.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

An Illustrator is Nice...

A little shout-out to one of my favorite illustrators who passed away this week. Marc Simont's work graced many picture books. He won a Caledcott (1957) for A Tree is Nice (written by Janice May Udry), the title a sentiment I still whisper to myself when lost in a moment of natural world reverie. I love the picture of the snoozing granny and reading mother under the shade.

A lesser know picture book called "Glaciers" is a non-fiction work, written by Wendell Tangborn. The original printing of this book was illustrated by an artist with a realistic, yet a bit ho-hum pen-and  ink style. I accidentally ordered this one online when I was trying to track down a picture book I had borrowed from the library. This library copy had been a reprinted version a few years more recent, with Marc Simont as illustrator. "Glaciers", with Simont's renderings, bursts with feeling. His sensitive line quality and an added human elements made you want to explore the icy worlds.  With the two books side by side, I was able to see what illustrations for me evoked a story rather than just instructed on facts.  I appreciated Marc Simont's great talents even more.

I see his influence in many contemporary illustrators today. He has left a mark in me as a reader and artist as well.

Marc Simont

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