Salmon Falls

 
rmills.jpg
 

I painted this back in April, bundled up in a coat sitting by the river’s edge. My observational drawing skills are rusty, so I’ve been trying to do more drawing outdoors. Cocoa helps. So does not knocking your paint water over. But learning to roll with the punches helps most.

Other things:

* I had a wonderful time doing an Anne’s Kindred Spirits event at Print in Portland last week. If you’re local, I signed some extra copies.

* I’m slowly prepping to do a shop update with originals and prints. It’s been a pretty intense year and I feel badly I haven’t been to offer goods with more regularity. So many apologies, it’ll just be a little while longer, scout’s honor.

Kindred Spirits

 
kindred1.jpg
 

Anne’s Kindred Spirits, the followup to Anne Arrives, is out in the world! Illustrating Anne Shirley’s continuing adventures was a real treat. And speaking of adventures, I was over the moon to be able to participate in a book launch for Anne in Prince Edward Island, hosted by the wonderful Bookmark Books and coordinated by Anne’s amazing publisher, Tundra Books.

I first visited Prince Edward Island as a twelve-year-old, back in the 90’s. My tween memories of the island were magical and as I sat in Halifax, waiting for my connecting flight to Charlottetown, I kept hoping that my childhood recollections were true.

They were. No doubt about it.

I had a wonderful, whirlwind couple of days in Prince Edward. Charlottetown is a delight of a city and full of some of the friendliest, most genuine people I’ve met. I may have even brought home a magazine with the local real estate listings. A girl can dream, right?

A couple things I loved:

  • Victoria Park was beautiful and the Confederation Centre full of good things.

  • I visited Receiver Coffee not once, but twice, because it’s that good. I left desperately wishing they’d open a location stateside, because they serve scones and play Bowie.

  • I had wanted to visit Province House, but it was closed for renovations. St. Dunstan’s was open, though, and it’s an absolutely stunning basilica.

  • And if you’re on Instagram, I have a bunch of photos over there.

Photo Credit: Michele Lawlor

Photo Credit: Michele Lawlor

But the real highlight of the visit was getting to meet author Kallie George, who’s adapted L.M. Montgomery’s words so perfectly. Kallie’s The Melancholic Mermaid was one of the first books I illustrated and when I heard she was going to be writing the Anne books, I knew I absolutely wanted to be involved. It was so much fun to be able to connect and in talking to Kallie, I felt like I’d known her forever; to quote Anne Shirley, she’s truly a kindred spirit.

I showed a few people a photo I brought with me, snapped decades ago. In it, my siblings and I are sitting with my sister’s penpal (who’d won an Anne of Green Gables lookalike contest) and her sister, all of us in front of a giant Anne of Green Gables figure in Cavendish. It’s a very Anne-centric photo. And looking at that snapshot, I can’t help but smile at how returning to the island felt like coming full-circle. It’s fascinating the twists and turns life takes, and how the seemingly unrelated bits intersect. So for that, thank you Anne Shirley.

Old Newness

 
heart.jpg
04A48AE2-7446-45EF-BFD1-798A8EBB9869.JPG
portland1.jpg
 

Old things that are new to me.

* The heart is something new I embroidered with pearl cotton thread, inspired by Milagros. When we were cleaning out my grandparents’ house, I brought home this salmon colored upholstery fabric (for reasons I can’t fathom now). It’s synthetic and pills like nobody’s business, but looks just like velvet when stitched up. Shortly after being sold, my grandparents’ house, the home that my grandfather built from scratch, was bulldozed. Losing that landmark, the family nerve center, left us all disoriented. But making new things with what was left behind feels like a way of returning home, if not physically, at least in memory.

* The water in the river melted, but if I walk down there early enough in the morning there’s still ice on the side, the cold not quite ready to give up. Today, though, all of the melt upriver has the water whooshing by and I’m typing this listening to the deluge outside my window. Spring comes when you least expect it.

* I don’t poke around Portland as much as I should, because it’s a delightful city. But the last time I did, I spotted this building (that type!) and thoroughly enjoyed Bam Bam Bakery.