Sunday, November 23, 2014

My new book about Godfrey the kitten

I am excited about the release of my second children's picture book called Godfrey Finds a Home. It is the first in a series I plan about Godfrey the cat who is discovered up a tree on a farm in Massachusetts.
He is rescued and has adventures on the farm. He learns about CSA-community supported agriculture which is a subscription sold to the consumer by the farmer who depends on it for his winter livelihood. In the North there is no produce farming done as the fields are locked up tight by Jack Frost. This is a great idea as it enables the farmer to pay his mortgage and all that housekeeping entails. Seeds and other amenities can be purchased for the following Spring. On the other side of the deal, the consumer gets a weekly box of fresh picked vegetables beginning in June and going to or through October. The Stillman's CSA boxes are varied as Glenn grows a HUGE variety of vegetables and fruits mainly for the Boston market where there are numerous ethnic tastes. CSA boxes do not reflect all those tastes however, as a lot of households don't know what to do with really 'different' vegetables-these are my words, my opinion. If there is a 'different' vegetable Genevieve tells what it is and what to do with it in her weekly newsletter. You are welcome to subscribe to her online letter which she has designed and built it and it is very pretty, as well as, informative. www.

But, getting back to my book,
The book includes Genevieve, Glenn, Faith, Reid, me and Larry as well as the men who work here on the farm. They are from Jamaica and come in the Spring and leave in the Fall. They work hard and are dedicated and do their jobs well. There are others who live locally who work here too.
The book is 32 pages and half of them are illustrations done by me in watercolor, colored pencil or oil. The men carrying baskets 
and Larry
is done in oil on canvas. I am learning as I go about how to illustrate for 'modern' methods of publishing as the illustrations are either photographed using my Samsung phone camera app which is incredible or they are scanned into my computer. They are then emailed over to the publisher as is, of course, the copy. I have read a half dozen books on illustrating for children's books and none of them told me how to do this. 

The story was written before Larry passed away so this is a memorial to him as well as clue-ing kids into how vegetables are grown and prepared for market. Corn does not appear from a can, box or bag.  Ears of corn are, in fact, ripped of a tall stalk at the peak of ripeness. Picture a raised bed of strawberries, sweetly fragrant, ripening in the June sun. The romance of the farm is in this book. It's all true and the only down side is the winter.
From the shameless commerce division (quoting from The Tappit Bros.)...
You can order the book,$11.50 from me, signed if you wish.
 I offer free shipping on orders of 4 or more books or you can get it from Amazon or order it from B&N. ISBN # 978-1-4575-3120-0
Thanks for your support for CSA,also.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Treading Water or Moving on

Since mid-October I have given little thought to painting except it didn't interest me.
I started up again with my friends at Hitchcock Art Group to be social.  I painted animals on rocks. I fooled around with Zen doodling. I progressed to finishing my illustrations for my book (at the publishers now) called Godfrey Finds a Home and edited and reedited the story.

 That got me moving. Then I bought some apples and pears and did some watercolor still life paintings. The winter was long and cold. I accepted that I wouldn't be going South for winters, anymore. I wouldn't be seeing Utah and Colorado. I had the motor home listed for sale on Craigslist and E bay and gave several hundred dollars to two different folks who said they would advertise the motor home on magazines and other places. Rip-off. Not a bite in six months and I didn't hear from those folks after the first couple of check-in calls.  I cannot drive it and I cannot afford to park it. I am walking away from this millstone. 
My choir had a special Sunday in May and I painted a watercolor of the Church for the program. We did some interesting music from Vaughn Williams, for one.

I watched Last Love on Netflix. Actor Michael Caine, a retired philosophy professor, is speaking to a young friend. He was 'treading water'after his wife died. The girl asked him if he loved life. He says yes, but, life is people, food, music, art, nature. When you lose someone you gave all your love to, everything else dies, too. You are surrounded by countless others that cloud your vision, an unwelcome distraction. You seek oblivion in isolation. Solitude make you wither.

I am studying piano for the second time in 60 years. I figure if I'm going to direct the choir I'd better get some solid music background. It is different for me this time as I am learning the bones and structure and not just tickling the keys with kiddie tunes.
I wish I had done it 10 years ago so I could have played chords with Larry.I have been accepting commissions for pet and house portraits and I am unpacking boxes (after 6 months here) and settling in.  Larry's children and his sisters and brothers have been wonderful to me, very caring. He would be pleased. The river birch I planted in his memory, is doing well.