Happy New Year 2017

wangarri-mathai-large-facebookWishing you a new year of hope in action.

“Dr. Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004
and founded the Green Belt Movement.  In its citation, the Norwegian
Nobel Committee noted Professor Maathai’s contribution to sustainable
development, democracy and peace.”

“The Green Belt Movement (GBM) has planted over 51 million trees
in Kenya. GBM works at the grassroots, national, and international levels
to promote environmental conservation; to build climate resilience
and empower communities, especially women and girls; to foster
democratic space and sustainable livelihoods.”

For more information: http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/wangari-maathai/biography

My Television Interview: How To Make A Children’s Book

Recently I had the opportunity to challenge myself by accepting an invitation to discuss my career as an artist and author on the live local television show, Darlene Carman Presents.  The interview is now on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i77skI2ca-w

My first impulse was to say no to the invitation, too intimidating. So instead, I said yes! I am glad I did because it was a great experience.

discussing a page from my picture book Smelling Sunshine with Darlene and Doug Carman on their cable access TV show; Darlene Carman

Darlene Carman, Doug Carman, and I on their television show, Darlene Carman Presents, discussing my picture book, Smelling Sunshine

From participating in the show I learned:

  • How a television interview is put together -  Darlene’s approach is an exchange of information between the presenter and the interviewer; prior to the interview, Darlene and I communicated through email, exchanging ideas as she gathered information about my career.
  • How to help shape and prepare for a live interview – I gave Darlene as much information as she requested about my career, and she put together questions for the interview which worked as a guideline for my appearance;  I knew what we would be discussing.
Discussing how I illustrated a  page from Smelling Sunshine

A page I illustrated from my picture book, Smelling Sunshine

  • What the people involved in filming the show do, and what a great sense of comradely they share; there are multiple cameras for different angle shots and a floor ‘manager’ to conduct the show and keep track of timing; a friendly atmosphere pervades.
  • What a constructive force the Carman’s are for getting information out to the public – go through their YouTube shows, and you’ll notice their diverse interests; interviews include artist and naturalist John Muir Laws, writer Liz Cunningham, and wildlife photographer Elaine Bond.
Darlene Carman and I talking about the teddy bear page in Smelling Sunshine

Darlene Carman and I talking about the teddy bear page in Smelling Sunshine

  •  How to stop my mind from inventing self defeating stories, and allow an experience that is filmed at the moment unfold – preparation and meditation was the key; I had fun and enjoyed myself.

Find the interview on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i77skI2ca-w or look on You Tube: Darlene Carman Presents, How To Make A Children’s Book. I hope you enjoy the interview and learn something about how to make a children’s book.

Holding up an illustration from my new picture book, A Stick Until (Star bright Books, 2017)

An illustration from my new picture book, A Stick Until (Star Bright Books, 2017)

Climate Change Exhibition

climate ch blog 4I  am a participating artist in an exhibition concerning climate change, and I invite you to view the exhibit. 1337 Gallery at the Artworks Downtown in San Rafael is exhibiting the upcoming juried show, Climate Change. “The Climate Change exhibition aims to inspire stewardship of the planet by showcasing artist’s visions of adaptation and responses to our changing environment.”

Join me and other artists in the conversation about climate change.

The exhibit is January 8-February 26, 2016

Receptions: January 8, 5-8 pm, and February 12, 5-8 pm (I plan to attend this reception)

Artworks Downtown is at 1337 Fourth Street  * San Rafael, Ca 94901 * 415-451-8119

 

Picture Book Literacy

sailing away with books

One of the joys of writing books for children is hearing about the relationship bonding that takes place with a caregiver and child. It’s especially heartening when it’s a book you’ve written and/or illustrated.

Another reward is being part of the link between growing up with books, and later language development and success in school. In a recent New York Times article, Bedtime Stories for Young Brains, Dr. Perri Klass writes about several recent studies on what happens when you sit with a child and read to them. Magnetic imaging studies show that even when read to without pictures, children form visual associations with words through their past experiences. Investigations into language content in books reveal that reading picture books with children increases the vocabulary they hear, more so than the daily conversational words they encounter. Based on this research, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy that calls for all pediatric care givers to promote literacy starting at birth.

Combined with the inherent comfort and security of a loving ritual complete with snuggling, reading with a child can make a lasting difference. For the complete article, Bedtime Stories for Young Brains, go to: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/17/bedtime-stories-for-young-brains/

Seeing Red, Juried Art Exhibit

click on poster to enlarge

click on poster to enlarge

I am pleased to be part of the juried art exhibit, Seeing Red, at the Danville Village Theater Art Gallery. Join me for the opening reception, Friday, June 26 from 5-8 PM, or drop by during galleries hours from June 27 until August 20.

The gallery is located at 233 Front Street, Danville, CA  94526. Contact the gallery by phone (925) 314-3460 or email  mbleier@danville.ca.gov

Come out and see the many interpretations of this theme!

Gallery hours:

Monday and Tuesday: Appointment Only
Wednesday – Friday: 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Saturday: 11:00am – 3:00pm
Gallery is open one hour prior to all theater performances

Pete Seeger

Planting Seeds of Song, from my picture book, Rise Up, Sing Out click on image to enlarge

Planting Seeds of Song, from my picture book, Rise Up, Sing Out
click on image to enlarge

Pete Seeger devoted his life to bringing people together through music, to inspiring and empowering them through song. It’s been a year since he passed away at age 94. He lived a life of fearless integrity standing up for what he believed, including freedom of speech, civil rights, labor rights, and the environment. The artwork here is my tribute to Pete as he plants seeds of song, inviting all voices to sing along.

For more information, watch the first authorized film biography documenting Pete Seeger’s contributions to folk music and society:

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/pete-seeger/full-film-pete-seeger-the-power-of-song/2864/

The following articles are also informative, and include video interviews with this remarkable man:

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2015/01/27/seeger-barry-one-year/22379303/

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2015/01/27/seeger-barry-one-year/22379303/

 

Fresh Tracks

charcoal, paint, foam board print

Fresh Tracks                       click on the image to enlarge

A new year rolls out ahead, ready for us to make our mark on it. I’ve been making fresh tracks in my studio using charcoal to draw the chatty neighborhood crows, the reclusive rabbit in the hills nearby, and the acrobatic backyard squirrel who hangs artfully from our grapevine in August, his cheeks stuffed with grapes.  I made a print of each of the animals, and painted textured paper for an imaginary snowy landscape. Then I went on an adventure, mixing all these elements together. Voila! Fresh Tracks. Where are your mark making adventures taking you?