Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter is here




Best wishes to all for a hopeful and peaceful 2011.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter on the way




A few flurries in past weeks have left previews of winter to come. Last Saturday's was the first to coat the trees, as well as the windmill. By Sunday most had melted, allowing this little herd of six deer to cross through our field without leaving footprints.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Turkeys Gobbling

Frog Song Pond is so gorgeous right now!


It has been a glorious Autumn here, with colors that make me giddy. Since I always work on book pages out of sequence anyway, making the seasonly matching illustrations right now seems like a good idea. Here's a rather poor snapshot of a piece from Gobble, Gobble, which I mentioned a few posts ago.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pond Babies Swimming


The completed artwork for Pond Babies has been delivered to the art director's clever hands at Downeast Books. Editor Michael Steere seemed surprised to have everything arrive two months ahead of deadline.

Kirsten Cappy from Curious City checked out the book before it fluttered up to Rockland, Maine. Pond Babies, and the book by the same title, will be out next spring.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dear deer...


More about the Maine Wildlife Park, which I mentioned in the previous post:
Since I'm working on the artwork for Pond Babies now, the visit was a great chance to photograph baby animals. Well-intention hikers and woods walkers sometimes come across what they think is an abandoned or "lost" fawn, scoop it up, carry it away, and then call wildlife management folks for help. The truth is that a white tail doe carefully "parks" her fawn in a safe place while she grazes nearby. The human would-be rescuers have actually kidnapped the baby. Five of these little critters now make their home at the Wildlife Park, since their moms couldn't be located again. There's a fawn in the book, so this was a good opportunity for me to observe them.
My good friend Nancy went along on this expedition, and came to my rescue with her own camera when mine ran out of battery power. She took this great image of three of the fawn.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Turkey tale


I've spent a lot of time this summer working on block print and collage illustrations for a new picture book called Gobble, Gobble which will be out in the Fall of 2011 from Dawn Publications. The idea for the book came from observing the various antics of the wild turkeys who paraded around here on a regular basis throughout the year. Once I began the actual work, however, the turkeys apparently took up another residence. No turkey sightings all summer---at least not in my backyard. Until this morning. It's good to have them back.
••••••••
UPDATE:
A long overdo trip to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine was a real treat today. The park is home to many injured, orphaned, or human dependent animals. Most are now permanent residents---some are rehabilitated and released into the wild when possible. In addition to some injured wild turkeys, there are other turkey "visitors" who come to the park on their own accord to take advantage of the free food. This fellow was one of the visiting opportunists:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Zen Heron

The bubbles in the foreground are coming from the aeration membrane,
which is hooked up to our new windmill. See post below.


I learned a little more about patience at the pond yesterday. I waited quietly, camera in hand, mosquitoes biting, for more than half an hour as a young Great Blue Heron waited quietly, too--eyes alert, food focused. Just when I had decided to give up, there was a splashing victory for the heron.
Don't watch this if you're squeamish. A sad day for the poor bullfrog, but I was pretty impressed with the heron.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Watching for Quixote


Our new windmill, installed a week ago, will pump air through tubing down to the pond where it will exit two membranes in tiny bubbles. This much-needed aeration will bring a healthier ecosystem to Frog Song Pond. Plus, as my Dad said, "It will look cute on your blog."
Do you agree? Let me know! And for more pix, including the installation, check here.
I'm financing this project (hopefully!) with a new book, Pond Babies, which will be released next spring from Down East Books.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Searching the web

I've spotted several of these gorgeous black and yellow garden spiders around this year. Their distinctive markings, as well as their size (torso is about an inch to an inch and a quarter) make them look a bit scary, but they are harmless to humans. The females weave a zig-zag pattern into the middle of their large webs, thus giving them their other name---writing spider. There are lots of theories for why they do this. I wonder if E.B. White was inspired by these clever creatures when he created Charlotte. Look closely: Can you see "radiant" written in this web?


I made one of these lovely ladies from cut paper for my book, Scoot!, a few years ago.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Garden Bounty

First tomato! Yum!
A froggy in the garden

Today I will pick the first ripe tomato in my garden! This year I'm also growing peas, beans, lettuce, cukes, peppers, basil, carrots, squash, and maybe eggplants (if they get their act together), but tomatoes are why I plant a garden.
I've proposed a garden celebration book to a publisher---we'll see what happens!
If you have a surplus in your garden this year, consider what my young UU friend here is doing. She and her mom and brother stop by the farmers' market each week at the end of the day, gather donations of unsold-but-still-delicious produce, and take them to the local soup kitchen. Healthy food for the hungry, and a great way for kids to get the Big Picture.
from Mystery Vine, 2009.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bzzzzzzzzzz......



A bird feeder that hangs from a pergola post near our back door has become a perfect home for paper wasps. These little critters are welcomed around here because they go after some of the nasty pests that attack my garden.
They also leave behind their gorgeous nests which they construct from plant fiber and saliva to make paper. I've used this lovely material for collage in a couple of my books. The tree branch on the cover of Scoot! is made from wasp nest paper.

I shot this little video of the wasps at work. Sorry for the jerky quality--I don't have a tripod.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tree House Lunch




Summer is the perfect time for lunch in the tree house by the pond. Three small friends (grandchildren of a friend) came to visit last week. We had lunch and games, and made turtle puppets. For more on the arts & crafts activity, click here for my Artful Acts blog.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Babies at the Pond



Tadpoles are growing fast! Little legs have sprouted, propelling their bodies around the pond.
I've been searching for other "babies" because Down East Books has agreed to publish my new picture book for toddlers, Pond Babies, next Spring! Ta-da! Should be fun.

I photographed this adolescent loon chick last summer on No Name Pond, about 50 miles north of here. Click HERE to HEAR the loons on my Frog Blog.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

turkey prints

Once upon a time, a long, long, time ago, I graduated as a printmaking major in the BFA program at the University of Connecticut's School of Fine Arts. A strong sensitivity to ammonia had driven me away from etching and engraving, but woodcuts and lithographs had stirred the ink in my blood. That same ink became a regular part of my wardrobe and makeup for my student years, but after graduation my only printmaking was done while teaching children's art classes.
Now here I am, decades (wince) later, and I've once again started making prints. A recent series of printing workshops with kids (click here and scroll) inspired me to think about a new approach to my own picture book illustration work, which has been exclusively paper collage. I'm now experimenting with cutting blocks to produce line, and then printing these over the paper collages. Still fooling around with it, but having a grand time in the process!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Word Wizard


I've recently discovered a couple of terrific, creative blog moms who have used my book, Word Wizard, to engage children with word play and anagrams. Here are their sites. Check them out!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gobble, Gobble


No....it's not winter. This guy is just here to announce that Dawn Publications will be publishing my new book, Gobble, Gobble, next Spring! Ta-da! More information, and perhap a sneak preview of sketches, coming soon.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pensive


This guy found a perfect perch today, until a pushy mallard came along. To see
Bully & the Bullfrog: the MOVIE, click HERE.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chippy Spa

This chipmunk is from SCOOT! Greenwillow Books, 2008.

Silly me....I thought I had created a bird bath!
These guys are cute, but they're sneaky little varmits, too. Spotted one
with a freshly-dug turtle egg in it's mouth last week.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Reflection


Memorial Day, 2010.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Flitter, flutter, scamper, scoot!

Frog on far left, a pair of Mallards, and two Eastern Painted Turtles. I didn't even ask them to pose!
First time seeing a Green Heron at the pond
One of THREE turtles laying eggs at the same time yesterday! All were about 10 feet apart.
Such a wise looking fellow...

It's been a busy week at Frog Song Pond. Here are some of the inhabitants. For more, click
HERE. Then go outside and play.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Views


Although I love living in Maine, it's good to go somewhere else once in awhile to get a new perspective. Last week we hitched up the wagon train and set out for the "wild" west. Here's my first time at the Grand Canyon---truly an incredible place. Looks like torn paper, don't you think?


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wolcott Wizards


I spent two great days this week at Roger Wolcott Early Childhood Center in Windsor, Connecticut. Lynne Markwell, the Early Literacy Specialist, kindly invites me to visit all of their terrific kindergarten students every year. Greeting me in the hall was this wall of wonderful word wizards--successful young readers! Aren't they cute?
Word Wizard information HERE.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tortugas!


Quite a chorus line on the log at Frog Song Pond today. Well....a silent chorus line, anyway.
Maybe basking line is a better description. More photos on my other blog, HERE.

These two wanted to be alone, however....


I recently heard that Turtle Splash! will be out next year in a Spanish edition. Muy bueno!

Craig Reinauer, a preservice elementary teacher studying education at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland, adapted Turtle Splash! to create a stop-motion animated video for his class project. Check it out HERE---quite charming!