Tag Archives: Epiphany of the Everyday

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:


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




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?


A Free Fall All

hopping twirling 150 dpi with borderclick on images to enlarge

all fall down red size 150 with borderDancing and twirling to the music of a choral octet, and then falling down with glee, the children in my illustrations got into the spirit of UC Berkeley’s Free Fall All –  musical venues around the campus free to the public. I was waiting in line to see the free concert by The Alexander Quartet.  Cal students suddenly showed up and entertained the waiting crowd by singing a cappella. These kids showed up too, and were wildly enthusiastic, getting into the music with abandon. Their “in the moment” shenanigans inspired the illustrations, which started as chunky charcoal drawings in ocher, and evolved with color and collage.

The Cats Are Here!

 I recently asked subscribers to my newsletter to draw a cat, suggested the line and shape method of drawing for those who mistakenly think they can’t draw, and promised to post the cats on my blog. 3 big catsSo here are those fantastic cats. Some people used the line and shape approach shown on my Fun Stuff page, and others made up their own. Herding cats has never been so much fun!

anderson fam with frame Family Cat portrait; Robin, Bryan, and Erik Anderson.

                                                                            Manar Hassan drew her “Grumpy Cat” on her IPad.

Grumpy Cat with frame

tristan's cat x2 framed 150dpi


Tristan Volpe’s cool cats.




Kieren Dutcher’s cat by moonlight.kieren cat frameJudy Wall’s friendly cats.judy's cat with frame
kathys cat framed                        What is Kathy Wills’ cat thinking?






My cat running amuck.

Connies cat framed

Thanks to everyone for tangling with your inner cat(s) and showing us your wonderful drawing skill!

You can find information on the following cat owners who are artists/writers: Kieren Dutcher, cat in moonlight kierendutcher.com, Kathy Wills, the thinker kwillspaint.com and Judy Clement Wall, friendly cats www.judyclementwall.com

Aimless Love, The Wideness and Wonder of the World

The title of my blog, Epiphany of the Everyday, refers to some wonder I see and fall in love with daily. The poet Billy Collins talks about this in his poem Aimless Love, which starts:

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.

In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.

Collins writes about his loves. I draw mine. These charcoal drawings show the  tulip I fell for,



the last one left in the vase that over a series of days stretched and moved until its petals fell away,


and for the small pine cone that our resident squirrel had eaten down to its core.

Billy Collins continues:

But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,

so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

Today, “my heart propped up in a field on its tripod”, I fell for another pine cone, much larger, half eaten. It’s on the shelf in my studio. I have charcoal in hand waiting to draw it, to say something about “the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it”.*

* Georgia O’Keefe, Viking Press http://www.okeeffemuseum.org/

For the entire poem, Aimless Love, visit http://www.panhala.net/Archive/Aimless_Love.html

For information on poet Billy Collins, visit http://www.billy-collins.com/

All drawings: © Constance Anderson


The Next Big Thing Blog Tour

I was asked by artist illustrator Sara Kahn to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Tour, which highlights authors and/or illustrators and their latest  books. You can see Sara’s luminous watercolor illustrations and read her interesting blog tour post from May 16, here. My blog will answer questions asked of all the participants in the blog tour and tell you something about my book, Smelling Sunshine, which will be published in September, 2013. So here we go!

What is the title of your soon to be published book?

The title is Smelling Sunshine.SmellingSunshineCover The laundry lines on the book cover give a hint of the subject.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The book draws upon my experience as a child hanging laundry in my backyard with my mom and siblings. mommy me spread pg 12 & 13 copyWhat genre is your book?

Smelling Sunshine is a picture book for young children. However, I know adults who enjoy reading the book because it recalls a fond experience in their childhood.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Smelling Sunshine would have a cast of international actors since it is a multi-cultural story.

on washing day page 3 spread children revision 3 copy

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Smelling Sunshine is a story that creates a path through various cultures by describing one world doing an ordinary chore of hanging laundry that becomes extraordinary in its personal nighttime comfort.

Who is publishing your book?

Star Bright Books

How long did it take you to write your book? And how long did it take to complete the illustrations?

The idea was percolating for several years before I wrote the first draft which took a month. Then it went through many edits, all with the encouragement of my illustrator/ writer’s group. As the author and illustrator of Smelling Sunshine, I found it helpful to illustrate and write simultaneously, and as a result I made hundreds of charcoal drawings. The final paintings took about six months.

sm sun pg3-30 copy

sm sun floats like a sheet copy





laughing birds with laundry copy

page 1E bird talk 150

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Because Smelling Sunshine does not have a protagonist, I would compare its narrative style to The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

We tend to think of ourselves, our lives, as separate from others. I wanted to show a connection among people from diverse backgrounds. Hanging laundry with someone you love is a simple, shared task everywhere. Compassionate understanding can start with something this elemental.

page 1A courtyard laundry

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Finding out what the smell of sunshine is and how it is recalled at the end of the day is at the heart of the book. My illustration technique may also be of interest; I use paint and paper in the illustrations that I call collage paintings. I make my own papers and use found materials.

Who is participating next on The Next Big Thing Blog Tour?

yosemite songster book reduced A week from today, May 30, the blog tour features Daniel San Souci, illustrator of the beautifully illustrated picture book, Yosemite’s Songster, One Coyote’s Story, and the author, Ginger Wadsworth. Ginger wraps up the factual information about coyotes in a great story. It’s a wonderful book. You can find Daniel at www.danielsansouci.com and Ginger at www.gingerwadsworth.com



Thanks for stopping by The Next Big Thing Blog Tour.