Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rosemary Contemplates Following The Strange Creature Home

Rosemary spent the day at the farmers market buying an array of fruits and vegetables. She enjoys simple days full of lovely ordinariness because it makes her appreciate the bizarre more when it happens. While walking home from the market, she encounters something quite bizarre indeed! A most extraordinary of creatures was ambling along in the distance. This creature appears to be half plant and half mammal. He is on a path leading to a small home and Rosemary assumes it must be his own house. Rosemary realizes there is potential for danger in following an unknown beast home, but there is also a potential for adventure.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Leafy Hot Air Balloon Soars Above the Woods

Most birds are lucky to be born with an amazing ability, that of flight. Most humans have looked up at some point and thought to themselves "boy, I wish I could fly" as they watch birds soaring gracefully through the air. Unfortunately, Ebenezer, a small yellow bird living in the woods, has experienced that exact same longing. Unlike most birds, he somehow was not born with the ability to fly. Maybe if he had been born a chicken or penguin, this fate would seem slightly less cruel. But all his brothers and sisters have no problem flying. Ebenezer longed for flight more than anything in the world. But Ebenezer was not the type of bird to sit idly by and let fate happen to him. He would make his own fate. And in his heart, he knew he would someday fly. He collected materials in the woods: fallen leaves and bits of twigs mostly. With his woodland materials, he constructed his own hot air balloon. He put so much love and energy into making the balloon, he often felt like the balloon was alive. After much work, Ebenezer and his balloon took to the air, and just like most birds, Ebenezer experienced the joy of flight.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Etta and Rosalie Muster Up The Strength Needed to Hold Up The Sea

Etta and Rosalie live in a small house in the middle of the woods. They live in the house with their two other sisters, Ava and Selma. The sisters have a very important job to do. They must hold up the sea! Inside their small house is one room devoted to the sea. When entering the room, one must not make too much commotion. If a person in the room moves to quickly or talks to loudly, it disrupts the sea, creating large waves and wrecking havoc. The sisters take shifts holding the sea in place, so when Ava and Selma sleep, Etta and Rosalie hold the sea up. From their vantage point, they watch the waves lap, the ships sail and the whales and porpoises rise to the surface to take great gulps of air.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gwendolyn Lives in a World Where Moths are the Size of Planes

  Here is a new mixed media illustration I finished recently. The tops of the trees are made out of real pressed leaves, cut into circles. All Fall, I collected fallen leaves and put them between book pages so I could use them for art projects.

  Gwendolyn lives in a world where it is perpetually fall. The leaves are always orange and red and yellow. There is always a cinnamon scented breeze swirling the air. In this Autumn world are giant moths, the size of airplanes. They soar in the air and the flap of their wings makes the trees rustle. No one in her world knows where the giant moths come from. One minute, the sky will be full of only gray clouds. But suddenly a giant moth will appear. Gwendolyn tried to follow the moths once. She wanted to see where they lived when they weren't soaring.  But after following them entire day, deep into the woods, they seemed to vanish. Gwendolyn walked home caked with mud and with leaves in her hair. She felt defeated, but also slightly relieved. She didn't know if she really wanted the mystery of the moths to be revealed. Sometimes wondering is just as fun.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Tromp Through The Magical Forest

The forest will forever feel mysterious and full of enchantment to me partially because so many of my favorite fairy tales from my youth take place in the woods such as Hansel and Gretal and Little Red Ridding Hood. I also remember a story in my collection of fairy tales about a little girl who finds a dwarf who somehow got his long beard stuck in a fallen log. But I do not remember what the story was called. I recently was introduced to a new forested park near my house. I didn't spot anything to obviously magical, but I did see an old man who was hiking thorough the woods with his little pet canary accompanying him on his shoulder. Here are some pictures I took of my most recent forest adventure.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Turtle Wanders Through The Desert While The Sea Rocks Around Inside Him

The turtle slowly lumbers through the desert. The sun heats his shell and the glistening sand surrounding him. He wanders past succulent houses and wonders how the residents survive in a place so void of water. Luckily for the turtle, he has a sea protected within his shell. The salty waves lap against the interior walls of his shell. A ship bobs up and down with the jostle of the waves.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Celeste Bakes Pies For All The Hungry Birds

Celeste spends her days baking pies in a small country kitchen. From her window she see's the birds flutter to and fro. Her favorite pies are berry pies- strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and blueberry. She picks the berries from around her home and bakes them into perfect round pies. One day while baking pies on a dreary February morning, she looked out the window and saw that not all the birds had flown south for winter. They stood shivering in the meadow with downcast expressions on their long beaked faces. It's hard being a bird in the winter. Not just because of the cold, but because of the lack of food. Celeste decided to remedy the problem by baking pies for all the hungry birds she sees. Now every bird she see's flutters toward her, sometimes landing on her shoulder. Sometimes the birds accompany her on her trips to town to run errands. In the morning they chirp her sweet songs. Celeste feels like every bird she meets is a friend.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Roaming the Shore and 'Case Histories.'

  Here are some interesting things I saw while roaming the shore. I heard that strange things are washing ashore from Japan. I was at a beach on the Sound rather than the actual ocean, so it is less likely intriguing and mysterious relics were to wash up, but I still had my eye out. Some day I want to find a message in a bottle!

   I recently watched the TV show 'Case Histories' which is based on a book I love of the same name by Kate Atkinson. The story follows the adventures of professional mystery solver Jackson Brodie. He is an ex-police officer and current private investigator sleuthing about in Great Britain. Currently, four Jackson Brodie mysteries have been published and the TV series is based on the first three. I was very excited to discover a TV show version of 'Case Histories' existed, although watching movies or shows based upon a favorite book can always be risky. There is always the chance that the live action portrayal of the beloved book does a horrible job representing the written work. From what I read before embarking on the show, many fans of the books did not at all like the show. But negative reviews could not deter me! Good thing too, because I found the series quite enjoyable. Some of the criticism of the show had to do with casting, specifically of Brodie. I don't agree. I like the way the actor portrayed Brodie. He is the same actor who played Lucius Malfoy in the 'Harry Potter' movies. I did not even recognize him without his wispy long blonde hair. The plot of the TV show followed the plot of the books fairly loyally with small changes here and there. My biggest critique of the show is of the tone. The tone of the show was very somber. One of my favorite aspects of the books is the sense of humor running through the story. The books aren't laugh out loud, clutching your stomach and gasping for breath funny. They aren't even lighthearted reads. But there is a sense of wit and playfulness that elevates the books. The story has a lot of heavy subject matters- murder and family secrets and whatnot, but Atkinson is able to lighten the books without trivializing the story or the characters. It was obvious that the creators of he show didn't even try to imitate the subtle humor of the books. The dreary atmosphere and tense characters reminded me of another British TV mystery show based on a book- 'Wallander.' I haven't read the 'Wallander' books, so I don't know how accurately the show portrays the books. The show is very dark and the characters, especially Wallander, seem the brooding, 'tortured soul' type. The TV characters of 'Case Histories' are not quite as down trodden and depressed as poor Wallander, but there is a definite lack of merriment expressed by the characters. Kate Atkinson's portrayal of her characters is another aspect I love about the books. She creates characters with depth and nuance. While reading, I feel like I'm reading about real people who I know personally. Books with relatable, interesting and believable characters along with an intriguing plot is what makes great fiction in my mind.
Mystery novels are often disparaged as being lowly 'genre fiction' without the substance to transcend into the category of respectable literature. Although I love mystery novels in all there varied forms, I think the Jackson Brodie mysteries could easily go head to head with some of the more respected pieces of literature of our day.