Monday, August 30, 2010

nature trail

 Woo hoo! The esteemed author, Susan Blackaby, of Nest, Nook & Cranny will be flying in from the other Portland in mid-October! It will be our first chance to meet before combining forces in a couple of book events. Meanwhile, I'm brainstorming with the brilliant Kirsten Cappy of Curious City to map out a nature walk in conjunction with an art show on Peaks Island. My island habitat has provided so much reference for that book, and my outlook in general, it seems only fair to share it!

Every day, I'm trekking through some woods with my mutt, always with eyes peeled and just letting my mind wander.

Spotted this Black Crowned Night Heron in a little marsh, completely unruffled by my presence.

Last week, Kirsten and I followed Garry Fox, president of the Peaks Island Land Preserve, into the woods to scout out a possible story walk. The organization will partner with us and benefit from a portion of sales of books, prints, and original art.

As we padded over the carpet of needles, Garry pointed out the tree species and a couple of man-made

Nice to see kids can still find refuge in a fern forest.

We got talking about island critters, since my daughter and a friend had recently encountered a dead star nose mole. Garry said cats will chase and kill them, but don't like their taste.

When I did this piece for the book, I could have used a better specimen for reference.

I was thinking about my love of Wind in the Willows while drawing this curious mole. But look how curious the star nose mole really is up-close!

Rest assured this fellow had a proper and ceremonial burial..

We spotted a field mouse like this on our walk, looking for a cranny.

And there was also a wee toad, who peed into lucky Kirsten's palm.

Here is a view of the Great Trout Pond near the back shore, home to herons, gulls, beavers, and deer.
Not sure about trout!

The beavers are pretty shy. This is how I picture them in Nest, Nook & Cranny.

They've been gnawing away, creating dams like this.

Garry pointed out this plant form, but I totally forget what he said it was. Anybody know?

Deer are shy, too, but inhabit the inner woods of the island during the day, and graze island gardens at night, those without sturdy deer-fencing.

I admit a soft spot for this fawn, from the book.

My challenge in illustrating Susan's lyrical poems was to leave white space for the words and images while creating drawings that shared some of the same rhythm and reverence for nature as her work.

I'm pleased at the result and eager to meet my better half. Stay tuned for details about YAP and my island celebration.

Happy trails, Suz! And thanks, Garry and Kirsten!


Anonymous said...

The Wind and the Willows was one of my favorite cartoon shows/books as a kid. I also really liked David the Gnome, too! I have never seen a star nosed mole before, they are neat! Poor thing :(

Kirby Larson said...

Jamie, you will totally enjoy Suz! Wonderful magic happens when an author and illustrator meet up on the page. . .and meet up in person.

Patricia Erikson said...

I love how Kirsten dresses so classy, even on a walk in the woods! Great photos of all the wonderful wildlife that Peaks has to offer.