Sunday, August 3, 2014

Celebrating my 400th post

I have added quite a number of 4 inch blocks to my zip-lock bag. In fact, I had to get a bigger bag to hold them all. I still have no idea what I am going to do with them and I think until I decide, you have probably seen enough.

I decided for this post I would see if I can share something I made a while ago. I did not write the date this book was made. Many years ago, the Kindergarten teacher at the American School asked me  to illustrate the poem, "What is Pink" by Rossetti.,  because she used it to teach her class.

 Using pen and ink and watercolor. plus a Japanese Sparrow, I put these pictures on a 10.5 x 8.5 inch sketch book.

When the book was finished, it was given to the teacher but my husband took it and made copies of the original for my file.

Since these are copies of copies, the color is not equal to the original but I thought my blogging friends might enjoy a simple book break.

The sparrow, having done his job, is flying off.

I hope you enjoyed this post.

When I was in High school, I was dismayed with illustrations in text books. Especially those in science books that looked not much like the object we were to be viewing in real life. I thought I could become an illustrator of science books after college but ... my parents would not let me go to art school (because I might turn into a "hippy"). At the college I went to, I could not stand the smell in the science building coming from the chemistry floor. To top it off, the art teacher took my paint brush and taped it to the end of a yardstick because he thought my paintings were "too tight".

I switched my double major from art and science to art and education because, by then, I was determined to find ways to help kids learn to love art rather than be turned off by teachers.

My life as an illustrator never got off the ground but I have added one more book. In 1991, I was taking the "Doctors" course in the "College of Commissioner Science" for the Boy Scouts. (The first year one takes the course, for a "Masters" one teaches the course, and for a "PHD" you do a one year project). I submitted several proposals and the one that was selected was a book of plants.

Many advancement requirements for Scouts include identifying plants and living in Japan, there was no information in English at all. Over the year, I made a book of "Descriptions and Illustrations of 65 Woody Plants Common to the Kanto Area". It is still the only information available today in English.

Last week, a Scouting friend took all my drawings and information for that book and will scan it and put it on line for Scouts all over the Far East Council to use. As it is, I have been copying it on to A4 paper which is then folded in half and stapled at the open edge to be bound into a book. As often happens, we end up with a copy of a copy .

Last week I sat down with my Scouting friend and we were able to go over it and make changes. (I had put maps at the back of the book of different areas the Scouts use, and numbers to identify different trees. That way, a leader who has no knowledge of Japanese plants can take a group to that spot, read the description of the plant, and let the boys use their observation skills to find the tree). Over the years the red pines had died and some trees had been cut down while some new trees had come up in other places within the map area.)

That year-long project had been done on a word processor so I am glad it will be moving to the digital age and still be of use to anyone who loves nature as much as I.

Behind the scenes, my husband helped with making copies and putting them into a format I could access for blog posts. Neither of us is a technical wizard so there was a lot of trial and error. I keep reminding myself that none of my "old"friends even have a computer so, though we are running to keep up, we are still in the race.


  1. Oh Julie the paintings are beautiful. I love them all. But i think the rose and the violet are my favorites. And thanks for sharing your story with us.....
    Maybe i come to Japan next year, i already am so excited

  2. they are truly beautiful x You may have changed direction but the love of art shines through. It is so sad when a talent is "squashed" by an adult .. my son was told by an art teacher that his work would always be under parr .. with the result he refused to pick up paints etc again .. Im not saying he was a master .. but he could have had fun! I wonder why some people are teachers when they (unlike yourself) have no interest in nurturing and helping children to be the best they can. Congratulations on your 400 th post by the way xx

  3. Those are beautiful illustrations and I love how you made them into a book for the teacher and how you are using your art and experience to help others.


  4. Aaaah, dear Julie, you are an artist with multiple talents.
    This is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous, and so délicate. THANKS for showing :))


  5. Stunning - that should be published. Have you looked into CreateSpace - it is a program for self publishing run by amazon. You pay I think 20.00 or 30.00 but only when you are ready to publish - and nothing else except the cost of buying the finished books at a greatly reduced price. They take you through each step of preparing the photos and script - and you can even make your own cover - all this with no cost until you publish. You can change things as often as you need - no charge - until you are satisfied with it - then you publish it - it can be for sale to the public - of you can simply buy your own copies for your own use (sell at a nominal price or give away). So much easier than doing them by hand - cheap enough and a nice finished look. That is how I published my book about growing up in Alaska - it took a while to get it just like I wanted it - but when I had questions they answered very quickly - sometimes within minutes - and they also helped fix things that got stuck in the online process - great people.

    I adore the drawings that you did - I'd love to see more - what a fantastic artist you are. And hey, what's wrong with being a hippy (says one who was/is one and love every minute of it) LOL It is too bad you couldn't follow your first dream - but I'm sure that your art and hippy-ness has brought much joy to the children you've reached over the years. I don't know why I am stunned at the photos - your art shows through in everything you do.

  6. Your art, beautiful drawings, birds, and words. yes a book needs to be made, I can see another on your blocks and quilts, talent you have so generously shared with us, the scouts and many others. Ditto to JoAnn's words totally. Hugs, Jean

  7. Ah yes Julie, you do have an eye for beauty and an artistic soul. Lovely illustrations. My sister, at age 65 is just finishing a bachelor of fine arts at university. She says that our parents steered her away from art when she was young as there was no way to make a living from it. I guess the silver lining is the fact she had an education and a job that had nothing to do with art earned her a very good pension so she can afford to pursue her dream now.

  8. Beautiful illustrations. You do have a wonderful talent.

  9. What a beautifully illustrated poem! You are so talented. The "Descriptions and Illustrations of 65 Woody Plants Common to the Kanto Area" will be of great value to many scouts. As always, Julie, Well Done!

  10. How sad that teachers can do such damage to a child's flair, and how wonderful that you have strived to put it right for some many children. Your talents are many and you share them generously.

  11. This is lovely! I am just in the process of buying a group of books for a new baby, and if yours was available it would be on the top of my pile. This is the first baby for these parents, so I want to get a range of excellent books the child can use as she grows.
    I agree with the earlier comments about your teachers, and so glad that you've shared your gifts with students, and with us.

  12. Julie - That book is GORGEOUS!!! I love it!!!!

  13. What a wonderful resource for the scouts. What lovely drawings. I can't even draw stick figures well.