Sleep

It’s late November here in Vermont ~ the time of year for hibernation.

Who hibernates? Bats, Bears,skunks, bees, snakes, and groundhogs to name a few.

Since moving from a mild California climate to the stricter seasonal progression of northern New England, I’ve become much more sympathetic to the concept of hibernation!

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On the last day of Baby Bear Counts One, Mama and Baby Bear are ready to curl up and sleep the winter away.

Showing the process of sleeping is relatively easy, but showing dreaming was a challenge in Only The Cat Saw.  When I was a child I often dreamed of being near the ocean or swimming when I really needed to get up to urinate!

hollysleeping

Enter a caption

Holly Taylor modeled as the sleeping Amy, way back in 1984

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Amy, dreaming in Only The Cat Saw. Acrylic on paper

Of course, we sleep all year long, and humans enjoy it as much as animals. Mostly sleep happens when it is too dark to draw, but sometimes a nap overtakes us, and when it does I seize that moment of daylight stillness to draw.

Since the late 70s I’ve drawn people and creatures I love while they were sleeping.

Here is a selection.

Perisick1978web

watercolor sketch of my sister Peregrine, asleep on the couch after wisdom tooth removal..

Periasleepweb

watercolor sketch of my sister Peregrine.

rowan2006web

this drawing of Rowan reminds me of Amy’s pose. Colored pencil on brown paper

Nappingweb

Brennan, asleep. Colored pencil on brown paper

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Rowan, asleep. Colored pencil on brown paper.

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Sabin, asleep. Marker on brown paper.

sunbathweb

Tula napping. Watercolor on brown paper

Cat sleeping page

Nutkin, sleeping. Acrylic on paper.

wildridgekittenweb

Wildridge kitten, sleeping. Gouache on brown paper.

Life With Dogs-Part 6: Creatures Between the Dog Years

In 1992, Pumpkin died from old age at my mom’s house in Vermont.

I entered the longest dog-less period of my life.

 

When my boys were little I didn’t want

one       more       single      solitary      thing

to care for. Not even a house plant.

 

Cut flowers were too much trouble.

B&Rweb

It was lucky that Pumpkin, as my alter ego, was far more energetic and willing to entertain.

In her world we were visited by frogs,

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Lobsters,

lobsterweb

sheep,
Gentleweb

chickens, and

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Beavers!

birchbarkweb

 

Life with Dogs- Part 3: Introducing the Dog to the Baby

brennanbabyThough Pumpkin is holding THE BABY, I actually gave birth to him.

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Pumpkin was not happy.

She had never liked children and , while still loyal to me, she had nothing to say to the little stranger in our midst.

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The eyes say it all.

Nevertheless, I pretended that she liked Brennan and that they got along fine, or at least okay.

GotoSleepweb
balancing-'89web

Pumpkin was allowed to express my conflicted feelings about motherhood–with humor and no sniveling.

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pumpkinmotherhoodweb

But it was obvious that they were never going to be friends.

StPatricks-'89web

Meanwhile, over in Bookland, they have started appearing together too. in Block City, by Robert Louis Stevenson, still pregnant Ashley climbs the stairs.  Brennan, now born, holds my cape. Pumpkin looks on.

stairs2web

Maybe they’ll be friends here…

 

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Brennan, Block City, and Three Little Boys in a Greenhouse

27 years ago I was pregnant with my 1st child.

Back then a lovely woman named Jeannie in Mill Valley, CA hired me to paint a mural in her entry way. The space was a little dark, a little awkward and it really needed a mural.

She wanted to include her three, beautiful sons in the mural, so I took lots of photos of the boys.

coleboys_9

coleboys_7

coleboys_5web The mural came out well.

Cole_7web

Cole_5web

The boys are either in, or looking into, a painted greenhouse.

Jeannie was solicitous of very pregnant me. She fed me a wholesome lunch everyday. Whole wheat bread sandwiches, carrots and a whole lot of milk!

When I got home I’d go back to work on my other project: illustrating Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem Block City.

“What are you able to build with your blocks?

Castles and palaces, temples and docks.

Rain may keep raining, and others may roam,

But I can be happy and building at home.”

I imagined Block City as a Wizard of Oz-type story where the “I” character is a little boy. He builds his city out of blocks.

Jeannie’s middle son became the perfect model for my little builder.

coleboys_2

building@homeweb

then falls asleep and visits it in his dream.

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Characters from his life show up in different forms in his dream.

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Finally, when his mother returns from shopping, he wakes and the city is toppled.

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At the end, the city is destroyed with glee and remains only as a memory.

coleboys_8

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This book is long out of print but still dear to my heart.

Not least because not long after I finished the mural, I gave birth to my own beautiful boy.

brennan

Happy 27th Birthday, Brennan! I love you.

Happy Birthday, Brennan!

 

26 years ago today, my life changed joyfully, and forever.

Brennan Wolff Russell was born, after a long labor, at 4:16 in the morning.

brennanbaby

Like many new mothers, I was basically clueless, but the learning curve has been continually fascinating and will never end.

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When I love something, I draw it. hobbyhorse

Some drawings were done from photos like this one, but sometimes I caught him live. This was almost always while he was reading, drawing…

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or eating!

I love you, B, and look forward to the rest of our journey together.

XOXOXO, Matb