What first draws you to physically pick up a new book? The title? Perhaps. But what makes you think that it may be truly wonderful? Chances are it’s the cover. And when it’s a children’s book? The artist’s cover illustration is what will make you long to see more.
As an artist/illustrator myself, I am always thrilled to come across new and fabulous illustrators whose work I’ve never seen. This has happened twice recently and I was so impressed with these two artists’ work, I thought I’d share with you.
The first artist is Chris Sheban and I searched him out because I was so taken with the cover art on the Kate DiCamillo book I’m reading – The Tiger Rising. Turns out, Chris has also illustrated another favorite middle grade novel of mine, same author, Because of Winn-Dixie. Take a look at Chris’ portfolio – he’s amazing.
The second artist is April Chu. She came to my attention because she is the illustrator of the soon-to-be-published Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, the debut children’s book written by author and dear friend, Laurie Wallmark. What inspired me about April Chu are the illustrations of her most recently published book, In a Village by the Sea. It takes a lot of talent to portray the ocean as beautifully as she has, not to mention everything else in her illustrations. Take a peek at April Chu’s portfolio. Her work is truly outstanding.
Just as reading, as well as watching plays, movies, and yes, even TV, adds to our depth as writers, looking at other artists’ work adds to our richness as illustrators.
I’m going to add one more artist who has been a longtime favorite of mine. I can’t add a link to his portfolio because he is no longer alive, but his work glows with a richness and vibrancy that I have loved since I first set eyes on it many years ago. He is Edmund Dulac, born in 1882, passed away 1953. You can get background on him here, if interested, but will see more of his images here, where prints of his work are for sale. Pictured here is a 1911 illustration of Dulac’s for The Princess and the Pea.
It’s a good day to be inspired!
Posted in Art, Books, Children's Books, Creativity, Design, Illustration, Inspiration, Writing | Tagged April Chu, children's book illustrators, children's books, Chris Sheban, illustrators, inspiration, Kate DiCamillo | 2 Comments »
Each year, a pair of nesting Bald Eagles builds their nest on the Duke Farms Estate, and lay their eggs. This alone, is wonderful, but the entire process is caught live on the Duke Farms Eagle Cam.
Bald Eagles had become nearly extinct in New Jersey thanks to the excessive use of DDT, but they are slowly on the rebound, and this pair can be counted on to lay 2 or 3 eggs each spring. Through the eagle cam, you can watch the baby chicks and their doting parents high up in the tree. The first egg was laid on February 17, and the second of the two eggs hatched March 30. You can catch these youngsters as of this date in their pale baby feathers, then watch them grow right through fledging from the nest.
At times, there’s not much to watch on the eagle cam, but at other times, you have the opportunity of watching either or both of the parents bringing in food and feeding their chicks, moving around the nest, and the youngsters trying out their wings. In addition, there are weekly updates on the family as well as photos showing what you may have missed.
It’s a rare opportunity to get a peek at nature, so enjoy the Duke Farms Eagle Cam.
p.s. In reading more of the post notes, I see that one of the eagles hatched in the Duke Farms nest in 2009 was identified 150 miles away in Connecticut, where he had mated with a female, and fledged two chicks in 2014; the pair has nested again this year.
Posted in Animals, Nature, Wildlife | Tagged Bald Eagle, Duke Farms, Duke Farms Eagle Cam, Eagle cam, eagle nest, nest, Wildlife | 5 Comments »
One of the tough things about having a blog is that you really do want to keep up with it, and yet sometimes it’s just not on the top of one’s possibility list. Unfortunately, this infuses me with a certain amount of guilt. Things are running through my head constantly that I want to write about – it’s never for lack of subject material – it’s for the luxury of time to write it well and to provide images that you’ll enjoy seeing.
So consider this a teensy tide-me-over and more will be coming soon.
Posted in Animals, Art, Creativity, Writing | Tagged crocus, French Bulldog, Frenchie, Snow, Spring | 8 Comments »
Back when I lived in the city, walking about Manhattan, there was a very good reason to look up. Gargoyles. Fabulous gargoyles. Bumping into people on the street, apologizing, face-to-the-sky, gargoyles. New York is full of them and they’re all over the place. However, this post is not about gargoyles … maybe someday … but another reason for looking up. Icicles.
The recent 6 – 8″ of snow we had recently, followed by a drop to 4˚ at night, followed by a day of brilliant sunshine has these 2 and 3 foot daggers hanging off roofs everywhere. And although today was kind of cloudy, kind of sunny, I thought to photograph a few because I believe this is the last we’ll be seeing them until next winter.
Neither the main roof nor those of the porches on this house have gutters, which may be why there are so many icicles, I’m not sure, but what I do know is that when you walk around certain parts of the house, you best be looking up and stepping lively. Periodically during the day, you can hear them crashing outside the windows, just waiting for an unsuspecting soul to walk by.
Witness a few misses to the side of my house, the walkway where I come and go daily. Of course, there’s also a sheet of ice to navigate as well. Ahhhh – winter!
Having taken that photo, I became more interested in the textures created by the ice and snow around the house, often so beautiful as to look like abstract art. I peered over my back porch railing where the ice was dripping into the snow. Icicles were breaking and melting around the hydrangea, as eager for spring as we, I suspect.
And then, the last of the roses, encased in ice, also surrounded by broken icicles.
I could have gone around the whole property photographing these icy textures once I began, but such is not my day. These brightened my artistic soul, maybe yours, too.
Posted in Art, Inspiration, Life, Nature, Photography, Reflections | Tagged frozen, icicles, nature, Snow, Winter | 15 Comments »