Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Don't munch on the mushrooms!

When I walked around Lake Nokomis yesterday I noticed that all the wild flowers were dried up and brown. And to make matters worse the wind picked up and Father Fall decided to make an appearance. He shouted in my ear to put on the coat...and put away the camera! But there are still photo opportunities. Many of my blogging friends have been taking beautiful photos at the farmer's market. The colors of pumpkins, squash and tomatoes mirror the beauty of our Fall leaves. And then there are mushrooms. A personal favorite of mine. Their varities seem to be endless. And the photo Op's are only limited by how many times a person feels like dragging out the camera. Then the Seinfieldian debate of whether that one over there is "photo worthy" begins. And speaking of Seinfield. What kind of joke would he make about the mushroom in the 2nd photo. Doesn't it look like...something?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Did I mention I have more mushroom photos?

After my husband completed a full marathon in Duluth this month we decided to go for a hike. He was hurting a little. But who can resist the scenic beauty of the Split Rock trail. I complained about being tired myself having been sick with the flu. I wonder how long I can whine about that. My window may have expired. Maybe I can blame it all on the mushrooms. I knew I shouldn't have taken that Alice in Wonderland sized bite last month. My favorite picture from this trip is the charming little button growing out of the log. And look at the cool texture on the first photo. Don't forget to look later this week for more mushroom madness!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wheel of Fortune

The MNSCBWI mentorship award got me thinking about another award from a l...o...n...g time ago. In fact it's the only other award I've ever received. While other popular high school students were succeeding in sports, I was painting Unicorns. And in an effort to provide full disclosure, this Unicorn was a copy of the work of another artist. A Unicorn specialist I'm sure. But this effort was all mine. I tried to be as exacting in my f*$#ery as I could. Duplicating 100,000 blades of grass just like the original. O.K., I might be exagerating just a little. And I was going by a small magazine picture maybe the size of 1 1/2 inches by 2 inches. So maybe I deserved an award! My high school art teacher Mr. Urness entered my bejeweled Unicorn in the 3rd district Congressional Arts Competition. I went on to win second place. So that meant that my painting would (supposably) be hung in Congressman Steve Gunderson's office. Meanwhile, the first place winner was displayed in the Capitol hallway. The cool part is that it was the Capital building in Washington, D.C.! We had lunch and a photo Op with the Congressman. But this was the 80's and I was a nerdy teenager. Just send me a whole bunch of money and I might post a photo. So do you think Mr. Gunderson actually hung my painting in his office? I'll never know for sure. But I can say for certain that he probably wasn't a Unicorn lover. Another fun part of this post is how I think this painting relates to my husband's Inline skates. It's the stained glass wheel...get it?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Objects of Beauty...and Speed

I thought I would surprise my husband with a blog post dedicated to him and his beloved Inline skates. He completed his last race of the season over the weekend in Duluth, Minnesota. It's a full 26 mile marathon along scenic lake Superior. His skates are pretty cool. And look at the difference in the wheel size on the bottom picture. He upgraded his skates this season from a boot that held 5 small wheels to one that holds 4 large wheels. His finishing time of 1 hour and 20 minutes didn't change much from last year. But he finished 100 out of around 2,600 skaters. (not including the pro's) Last year he finished at 120th. I've been cheering him on for 8 years in Duluth. And I've taken lots of blurry pictures. So now, when he climbs the final hill in a pace line of his peers, I just watch and enjoy. I'm sure there will be many more races in his future. After all, he's barely broken in his new beauties!

Dean in 2003. Go Dean!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Minor Cat Disasters

I tell you right on my header that I always relate my illustrations and my photos. Well, luckily I painted a cat peaking out of the doghouse on my last post. It gives me a great excuse to talk about my naughty pets. And after seeing these photos, you'll probably understand why I might want to unleash some animal frustrations. Just look at that innocent face in the first photo. Hana decided to take my purse on a little joy ride that evening. She also likes to chew on the leather straps towards mealtime. It's her way of letting me know she's getting hungry. Then there's Acua (alias chewy) His weakness is paper products. In the next photo we were having pizza in front of the T.V. And you can see what happens when you forget to put the paper towels away. Can you believe he did all that damage in the time it took us to eat one slice! The next photo reveals a little collateral damage from an all out cat chase. They can really put the paws to the metal sometimes. Now here's a real winner. When we got back from vacation we found there had been a few shenanigans going on in the basement bathroom. That's a whole box of kleenex on the floor in the middle of a broken container. And lastly, I'm so proud of my Acua. Look at his artful arrangement of kleenex pulled from the box. Nowadays the kleenex is safely stashed in the closet. On a top shelf mind you!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Scared Dog

Scared dog is the illustration for my 3rd promotional card in a series of 4. If you'd like to cheat and view all 4 cards, visit my newly updated website at http://www.sharonrwagner.com/ And Scared dog in a funny way really represents how I've been feeling lately. I've suffered through 2 nasty cold and flu bugs over the last 3 weeks. I've been sick as a dog. And I'm sort of scared to venture too far out of the doghouse for fear of human germs. Maybe I should stop pawing so many public doorknobs. Or sniffing up all those nasty human viruses. At least I still have a sence of humor! Actually things aren't so bad. I have some good news to bark about. I won the Minnesota Society of Children's book Writers and illustrators 2009 mentorship award. A year under the wing of the very successful illustrator/teacher Carrie Hartman. http://www.carriehartman.blogspot.com/ I'm dog-gone pleased!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Raccoon week

We were in the middle of yet another scenic walk at Wood lake when I spotted this Raccoon paw print. And you can see in the other picture where it wandered up onto the boardwalk. We actually had a showdown on this boardwalk with a masked creature once. None of us had guns, but we all had opposable thumbs! Trapped on the boardwalk and surrounded by water the masked one ran towards us. We held our ground and he went for a swim. I ran into more raccoons at Corkscrew swamp sanctuary. Just photos, no rabies shot required. And no blog week would be complete without an art post. Humble as this one is. And maybe a little scary. You open your mailbox and there's a creepy little raccoon. Yikes! Now for the fun part. You absolutely have to scroll down for some heartwarming family photos.

Yes, We're Raccoon People!

I'm proud to say that incredibly handsome man is my Dad. And look at my Mom. Who needs a baby when you have a really cute raccoon. Luckily she felt otherwise because I was born eventually. I had lots of black hair, but no mask. And my parents weren't the only ones that had a special interest in the little rascals. The family cat took over feeding duty. Cute! And can you spot the animal that doesn't belong? That poor kitten is probably hoping it doesn't grow up to be a masked monster like the others. So like I said eventually I was born and I grew up in a house full of raccoons just like everyone else. I'm tempted to not disclose I'm kidding! But there's me with a raccoon so you be the judge. Eventually they all grew up and wandered off without even a thankyou. You know how teenagers can be. We never asked to be raccoon caregivers. But when word gets out that you give out free gumdrops, every motherless coon in a 10 mile radius comes knocking at your door. Honest!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More Mushroom Magic

At the beginning of our hike on the Red Rock Trail in the Black River State Forest I was snapping pictures like crazy. But towards the end of the hike I'd say, "There's a cool one" And I'd just keep walking. Total mushroom burnout. And why is it that with all the walking I do with my husband I can never graduate to a "difficult" trail. I'll be stuck in "intermediate" land forever I guess. But it was still a scenic hike. Especially if you enjoy trees and mushrooms. There were no panoramic vistas or cool rock formations. Which is a trademark of the Black River area. The coolest thing was the fact that throughout the whole hike grasshoppers were popping like popcorn all around us. I think I've solved the Question of whether a bowl of grasshoppers will make a snap, crackle and pop when the milk hits it. The answer is yes!