We are having a different kind of Mondays. The bike ride to school is composed of mostly dirt road and the mountains are out every day. Our new home has been a hard place to love at times, with blast furnace heat by the fourth of July and wildfires on the ridges nearby for most of August. Then suddenly the calendar ticked over to September and the air cleared, nights cooled, school started, and this new life has begun. The first piece to come off of my work table is going into the Northwest Outward Bound auction, at their raucous Black Tie and Tennis Shoes fundraiser next month. It is a hope for early snow to cool all those lingering burns around here and throughout all too much of the west.
What exactly “work” looks like now is an ever evolving line of conversations. My next book, B is For Bear A Natural Alphabet will be on the shelves in a month and my retail items will show up in Confluence Gallerys gift shop here in Twisp in time for Christmas. The snowy winter rolls out on the far horizon with plans for an exhibit of work inspired by my springtime Inside Passage trips, and work on a flannel covered, wooly hatted mountain storybook.
Looking back at last seasons sketchbook, I found this ramble done in the Deserter Islands of Queen Charlotte Sound but very much the essence of our move to different Mondays.
“..a deserter from the world of the big mortgage and the small vacation, too busy and not enough time. Running downwind from that life to a new one that looks up at the sky and notices changes in the air and the beauty in feeling, being, doing, living high.”
This spring there is a frenzy of action, movement, and change in all directions….
1. I had an awesome time as artist in residence at the Portland Childrens Museum, and got to watch the spring blossom on long bike commutes and afternoon sketching sessions. There is an exhibit pulled from my time there which will be showing in their gallery space though July.
2. My new book Arrow to Alaska hit the shelves… Find it at your local bookstore, or on my etsy site when i’m back from #4 and #5
3. Last weekend I celebrated summer weather during a Nature Journaling class put on by Cedar Root Folk School. We sketched and rambled and wrote and enjoyed Marrowstone Island. Above is a fish-head collected during my drift exercise.
4&5 Not one but two trips up the Inside Passage to Alaska! Tomorrow I steam off on the mighty salmon tender Chichagof, for some kids on boats fun and a week of pouring over charts and current tables in preparation for trip two. The “R2AK” or race to Alaska is a wild idea dreamed up by the head of the NW Maritime Center in Port Townsend, WA. For its first year in existence, 40 teams will sail or row or paddle (no motors allowed) from PT to Ketchikan. The first team gets 10,000$, the rest just aches and glory. Its a crazy field of boats and competitors. Check out www.r2ak.com for full hilarious details. I’m team GRIN. Ill also be posting a bit on instagram when service allows (@hannahviano). Look for field sketches done along the way, and hopefully a show of artwork inspired by the journey in the months to follow.
Art is adventurous work these days, and i hope to keep it that way. Wish me luck.
Ive been working on an artful identification guide to 6 Northwest trees. They are some of our most common and types that all of us trailrunners, dogwalkers, and urban wanderers should know.
I was inspired by my own lack of knowledge, one of those “think you know but really dont” times. When my 5 year old can rattle off the tree species in Discovery Park faster than I can (thanks to the awesome Nature Kids Preschool there) then it gives me pause.
I received a grant from local King County arts funder 4Culture to make this set of images. They have been reproduced as a cardstock take-a-way, and piles of them will be available free for passerby at parks and outdoor recreation spots around King County in November. Sites include; Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center, Camp Long Visitor Center, Seward Park Aububon Center, Lewis Creek Park Visitor Center and the Ballard Branch of Seattle Public library.
If you are interested in seeing the set of papercut images full size and all together, and presented in a cool printed metal format….. they will be on display at Venue in Ballard through November, if not longer.
For a great book that is a beautiful and broad reference for us treehuggers, check out “Northwest Trees” by Arno and Hammerly. It has excellent pen and ink illustrations and sets each species in its place in the larger picture of our forests and history.
This weekend I get on the Alaska ferry for the 4 day ride north. The 5 year old and I have matching forest green sketchbooks, fresh and new to record whale sightings and sketch mtn vistas and perhaps draw schematics for new improved X-wing fighters. I am beyond excited to have time sprawling ahead to just notice and be.
Last month I jumped onboard to lead an Outward Bound course sailing the San Juan and Gulf Islands, and though it had many wonderful challenges and moments, the 2 weeks were far too full to stop and sketch around in the way I really love to do when on my own. Really I hike so I can find an amazing spot to sketch/ write/ watch the world go by. I ski so I can get up above the trees and sit on my gloves, drawing with chilly fingers and a hot thermos nearby. Art and adventure go hand in hand for me.
In an attempt to share this love of mine, I will be teaching a weekend workshop through the Cedar root Folk school. It runs the weekend of August 22nd and 23rd on Marrowstone Island (just down the road from Port Townsend). We will be roaming the beaches and forests, finding spots to sit and notice and turn observations and emotions into art and words. I will bring basic art supplies for each student and a number of other media to try out through the weekend. At each stop I will share new ideas and exercises to heighten awareness of our surroundings and start integrating art into the observations of nature lovers and nature into the practice of artists.
Come join! Sign-up is through Cedarroot HERE. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. (Sketch from a visit to Sitka, AK last summer)
One mayday morning I woke up in a strange and almost empty house deep in bright green leaves. The house was still asleep, so I roamed. A stuffed iguana on the mantlepiece scared me half to death and woke the house with my 14 year old screech when It lept out from under my curious hand. Not stuffed after all…. Some things are surprising. Like the moment of calm in a week of busy-busy-rush-rush-what-are-we doing-with-our-lives. Suddenly time stops, the iguana blinks at you, and cherry blossoms fall so gently in our glowing, sunny city. It will all be just fine. Mayday can downgraded to a mere Securitae
Last week it was the HOH Haul trail marathon, my first, check, done, saw a bear. Now I am on to an epic framing marathon to get ready for all of my alphabet book originals to go on display and up for sale at CLICK in West Seattle May 8th. There will be a lively artwalk at the Junction ( 6-9pm) and me signing books, I might even bring the Octopus.
Limited edition prints of the letters will be available (by special order through CLICK). Also a few wispy winsome new pieces will be up and more to come as the show progresses. Its up for May and June, if you cant make it next Thursday.
If you are mostly wanting to make sure you see the Octopus in a jar that has been my traveling companion on the northwest book tour of late, come to my reading at Elliot Bay Books this Saturday the 3rd at 11 am. Wiggly kids welcome!!!.
Mockingbird books is the following Saturday at 11 if you are more of a Greenlake type than a Capitol Hill type, we love all kinds.
And after that, let the spring wind blow away your list of things to do.
“S is for Salmon” comes out today…. officially to be found all around in indie book stores and library shelves and of course online. Boy does it take a long time to get to this point, but it feels lovely to hold the finished product in my hand and see it going out to a new generation of little naturalists/artists/superheroes.
And as is the way of publishing, we are already deep in the next project coming 2015. It might be titled “Through the locks”. It might have a small naturalist/explorer/ninja fighter for a main character, and this might become the idea for the cover……stay tuned, and see you in the book stacks.
Click here to buy signed copies of “S is for Salmon” from me via Etsy, or shop your local indie book store.