I've always been nuts for children's books, illustrations, toys, etc. - for myself - having Miranda in the picture means the window's thrown open and I can free fall into the magical world I love so much. One of my absolute favorites is Richard Scarry. Anything Richard Scarry. Jared doesn't quite understand or appreciate it so much...he claims to like just one particular type of Richard Scarry illustration. Of course it hasn't stopped me from filling the Bird's eyes & ears with plenty of "Best Word Book Ever" or "I am a Bunny" (Jared actually likes that one), or "Best Storybook Ever" (my favorite, and maybe my brother's too).
I have a few even older classics...there are the fantastic 1920's Babar books by Jean de Brunhoff, and a gorgeously illustrated book from Mexico - "Nine Days To Christmas" - from my parents (they lived in Mexico City once upon a time).
And then there's "Over in the Meadow" and "Frog Went a Courtin'" by John Langstaff. The illustrations in these Langstaff books are by Feodor Rojankovsky and they are sweet yet rustic, simple yet very deep - colored pencil rendered in a way I could never think to pull off. Even better about the books is that they are actually folksongs so you can sing along rather than just read (I often hear Jared turning Miranda's books into songs while reading to her at bedtime - cute).
I just listened to a great version of "Frog Went a Courtin" as a folksong by Elizabeth Mitchell. While humming along to the catchy fun story of a wedding celebration that in the end goes awry, I was reminded of my sister in-law Stephani & her wedding 2 Junes ago to her sweetie Merlyn. They married in gorgeous Montana, a week after ice storms & just before Summer heat set in. It was an amazing day and I was so privileged to be a part of it. Oh, and nothing really went awry like in the book, it was all very magical and sweet (except for all the clean up we did after the party, hahah ;o). My mother-in-law asked me to paint Stephani from that beautiful day and so I took on the task of a portrait. Sort of a scary proposition, challenging & thrilling at the same time.
And just this week I've finished.
Stephani and a herd of shaggy cows in a lush field beneath green mountains and a great big sky, on a very happy day.
Painted, varnished, and nearly packaged...soon to arrive in Texas.
I'm grateful to my favorite illustrators as well as impressionist painter Berthe Morisot and the amazing Carl Larsson for a wealth of inspiration.
Have a lovely day :o)