December 29, 2016

Finally, a new blog post. You might have noticed that the last post dated October 24, 2016, just appeared as well. That is because it was somewhere within the website but I did not know how to get it up front. Now with the help of my friend Serenity, I can finally post items again – and learn how to do this myself. Maybe. The photo on the blog page is of Annapurna in the Himalayas seen from Ghorepani 2015.

So, where am I now and what are my hopes for the coming year? For one thing, I am holed up for the winter in a lovely little apartment in Bellows Falls, VT, overlooking the Connecticut River valley, a dam, a canal, and a railroad switch yard. I have my art material out and am working on things on my table which looks out over that view. The trains are so cool. Beyond the yard and train station is a big hill.

What things am I working on? Firstly, I am continuing to build up outreach for my book (Tiger, for short) as a start. That involves reaching out to book stores, schools, etc., with the help of my publisher but also through social media. It also means carrying a book or two around. I sold two in a local diner.

Secondly, I am working on two directions in a follow up to Tiger. Right now there are two possibilities. One is a follow up on what Anjali’s grandfather did when he was a young shaman. There is a story ready, plus preliminary sketches for “Grandfather.” The other is a follow up to what was suggested to me by the Wildlife Institute of India about another tiger conservation story. You read about the latter in my October blog. It is a long way off right now, since it is my hope to raise funding to return to India and Nepal in 2017 to work on that, like Tiger, right there on the spot.

Another direction I am taking right now in my little winter hermitage is appropriately to immerse myself in the Vermont landscape and work towards the publishing of the book on the mountain that I started back in 2009. This includes practicing both watercolor technique (the unforgiving medium) as well as figure studies. There will be a lot of studies of woods scenes as well. Then there will also be the refining of the story itself. That is 50% done. But it is really exciting to be doing this as long as I can keep at it. This story is akin to the theme taken up in the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. That book did not inspire the idea, but it falls within the same challenge of finding story lines about how we fit into our natural environment that can be made into a children’s book. In addition to the book itself, the artwork that comes out of my hermitage, plus other earlier work related to this and to Tiger, will be the focus of a show I am hoping to pull together for a local gallery here. Here is an older image along the theme of the mountain book. What you can probably not read behind the girl is about the birds she hears around her.

birdsongsimage

That show will be in May, so I had better keep my nose to the grind stone. One of the themes in the mountain book is thunder. Here is a snippet from the ongoing draft text. Sarah is the original model for the story’s heroine :

“Suddenly clouds pour in overhead, now light gray and white but there are darker rain clouds behind them as the wind picks up. Distant thunder echoes in the valley. It is getting darker. Big rain drops begin to fall with a sound on the leaves like ripples in a stream – a chorus, each drop its own little song, millions of them singing. A smell of wet leaves passes her nose. Raindrops hit her arms. Just as suddenly as it came, the rain stops and the forest is lit up by bright sunlight. A robin chirps nearby. A limb falls in the forest making a suspicious sound. Somewhere there must be a rainbow, but the trees block it. Sarah thinks that maybe she can climb a tree and see the rainbow.”

 

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