Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Vernal Equinox!

It has been a rainy week, skies painted with dark and dramatic clouds.  Today the sun shone!  And all the flowers who had grown plump in the rain, turned their faces to greet the sun.  To me Spring is like Mother Nature's creative streak gone wild.   I love it all, the sun, the rain, the colors, the smells, the sounds. I hope all of the creativity is contagious!  
I spent the first day of Spring outside enjoying the beautiful sunshine with my lovely family.  
Happy, Happy Spring!!!
Anemone stretched out in the sun
Really interesting Fungi

She is feeding baby birds with her fingers...seems fitting.
Fruit trees blossoming over Monselice 
Daffodil  basking in the sun

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day!

Celebrating all things Irrational, Transcendental, Circular, and Delicious!
Apple, Pecan, and Strawberry, Sweetened with Honey, inside an Oil Pastry Crust
A piece for you!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Have Ink Will Print

Bought new printer ink yesterday...which probably won't last the week!  But that is jumping ahead,  this story REALLY begins 3 years ago....

This feeling inspired it all!
In the middle of a very long night, of very little sleep....Me and my magic milk making abilities were feeling very needed by a certain hungry, thirsty, hot, cold, squirmy, Baby Girl.  Like most human babies Baby Girl only has 4 limbs....BUT somehow in that very LONG night she felt more like a baby octopus to me, constantly wrapping and unwrapping her limbs around me, her blanket, and anything else she could reach.  After "freeing" myself form the clutches of Baby Girl and deciding, "Who needs sleep anyway!?!"  I got up and wrote a simple little story, "Goodnight Little Octopus." 

Pre-Bologna color work.
Over the next few months I drew illustrations for the story and eventually created a mock up of the book,  known as a "dummy."   I sent my dummy and transcript to a few different publishers over the next year, with no response....which I know is nothing unusual.  Last March I attended a little mini-conference organized by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in Bologna, where I had a portfolio review.  Changes were my precious baby....egos where bruised.  I did however make changes, but confidence waned, and I could no longer tell what I liked and didn't like.  So with self-confidence in the basement I gave "Little Octopus" a rest...for a whole year.  
Post-Bologna color work

 A few weeks ago I was reading a chapter in the parenting book, "Nurtureshock".  The chapter was discussing how, according to research, our popular notions of making sure our children have "high self-confidence" actually doesn't really translate to success in later life.  The thing that has the largest correlation to success is the amount of effort one is willing to put forth.  So with a little "self-parenting" and my favorite Yoda quote, "Do or do not..." "Little Octopus" has been resurrected!  AND today, printer ink in hand, I WILL prepare "Little Octopus" to journey, once again, to far away publishers in distant lands.    
The take home message, "Self-Confidence, Smelf -Smomfidence...GET YOUR BUTT IN GEAR!"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Picture Perfect Day

Primula vulgaris -Wild Primrose 

After weeks of a house full of sickness, everyone returned to school and work and I had the morning to myself.  I left the dishes in the sink, grabbed the camera, walked right past the pile of laundry, and headed out into the sunshine.  Late winter is one of my favorite times here in our cozy little hilltop home.  The trees are still bare. Last fall's leaves still carpet the ground. But, the years earliest flowers are in full bloom, beckoning me to bask in their beauty....the harbingers of Spring, Glorious Spring!  I hope their captured images bring as much joy to you as the making of brought to me!  

Helleborus viridis -  this is one of my favorite have to look carefully or you might walk right by it!  Hellborus and Primula are the very first flowers to bloom here.  
Hepatica nobilis
The Hepatica is plentiful in the hills in early March!  
Erythronium dens-canis
I only saw a couple of these with pink petals.
I just love these little lilies. They always remind me of marshy field I saw one Summer Solstice that was covered in Glacier Lilies...different color, but they conjure the memory all the same.  
I don't know what this is , but both the birds and the bees loved it!
....and the olfactory delight, none other than the Hyacinth in our yard.