Archives for the month of: July, 2010

I’ve been thinking about grandmothers lately.

My grandmother, Queenie, would read to us each night when we would visit, all those years ago. She would read to us from one book. Only one book. Always this book.

WHAT IS BROWN? From Hailstones And Halibut Bones, 1961

Queenie loved this book. She knew all the poems about the different colors by heart. The book would often lay open on the bed, unused, as she turned down the lights, tidied the dresser, closed the shutters and pulled up our covers. Reciting the words all the while in her gravelly, sing-song voice. She liked to tell me that I was Brown (and I usually was, on my summer vacation – my sister once described me as a “healthy brown nut” – the anomaly in an otherwise fair-skinned family) so I liked that poem a lot. Her words were so low, so slow and calming. And we would fall asleep as Queenie told us about the colors, night after night.

When I opened the book today, I realized it STILL smells like my grandparents’ house. Took me straight back. Straight to the low light on the bedside table, the white shutters and knobbly blankets, to my little sister’s sleeping face 30 years ago, to Queenie quietly moving around the room. sigh. Crazy sad nostalgia.

Brown is a freckle   Brown is a mole.  Brown is the earth   When you dig a hole.  Brown is the hair on many a head   Brown is chocolate and gingerbread.  Brown is a feeling   You get inside   When wondering makes   Your mind grow wide.  Brown is a shoe and a good glove – Brown is as comfortable as love.

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Last time I was in the desert I witnessed a life-or-death chase between a coyote and a jackrabbit. I wanted both of them to win… the jack pinballed between the creosote, changing direction lickety-split, again and again, with the coyote close behind. The coyote lost, eventually. I’m glad I didn’t have to witness a jackrabbit death that hot afternoon. The hare disappeared into one of the bushes and the coyote jumped straight up, again and again, trying to see over the creosote, trying to see where his dinner went.

Anyway. That’s where this latest poster idea came from. Come out to the show July 23rd and enjoy an evening in Nevada City with the Western Family Orchestra!

I wanted to draw the coyote jumping, because that was the most amazing thing to watch, but it looked too (sorry, Land Of Enchantment…) NEW MEXICO on paper. Like Kokopelli and his dang flute were about to join in and dance or something. So I made him more stalker-y, hunter-y. The tiny thumbnail in the lower right was the last thing I drew. The layout then made sense to me.

Trying to figure out how to make a rabbit disappear! Into the creosote bush.

Getting there but TOO BUSY. Lose the other creosote lumps to distill the story down to its essence. And what was I thinking with that typeface?

Way better but needs less detail in the branches, it’s too distracting. Still not happy with type. It’s placement and emphasis isn’t working for me.

Ta-daaa! Now I just have to screen the dang things…