More About the Author
My mother told me that I began drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil, at two or three years old. She, being an artist herself, and a writer, always encouraged my creative inclinations.
Our family was far from affluent but my life was rich with my mother's exuberant personality and love of books. She regularly read to my brother and me and stimulated our imaginations and fondness for books.
I began creating, with pencil drawing and watercolor, my own little books of pictures with my stories and poems when I was seven, eight and nine years old. A love of children, animals and nature led me naturally to children's book illustration, and I drew on my own (mostly) happy childhood for inspiration. I had very little formal art training but learned first from my mother and then from art and illustration that I saw in books, and then from my own careful observation of the world around me.
At nine, a picture of mine, a silhouette of a deer under a willow tree, was published in a children's magazine. That was a thrill that started me on a path to seeking wider and wider publication. I continued to submit my artwork, stories and poems to any magazine or newspaper that featured a children's page, and happily saw them published.
When I reached my teens, the high school world attracted my attention and I created a cartoon to reflect my new interest. Starting first with publication in the local newspaper, "Buttons an' Beaux" reached the attention of New York newspaper syndicates and I was offered a contract for syndication. That carried me through my college years. During these same years my mother's career as a writer and illustrator of children's books was burgeoning as well.
Following college I married and found myself more and more intrigued with children's book illustration. I began submitting samples of my artwork to various publishers with encouraging responses from editors but with no actual assignments. Finally, inspired to write and illustrate my own book, I did so and sent it to my mother for her feedback. Without telling me, she sent it to a publisher she knew, and in due time it was published, my first picture book, "Where Are You Going Today?"
With that publication I was now a proven illustrator, and from that point on my work was readily accepted by other publishers and I was offered illustration jobs for numerous children's books, Little Golden Books and Rand McNally Elf Books. During those same years I gave birth to my own children and was even further inspired by them.
I continued my illustrating for twenty years and saw the publication of some two dozen children's books. Then, experiencing a mid-life crisis of sorts, I dropped all interest in my art and turned my attention to spiritual exploration and growth. This consumed me for several decades and still is a vital part of my life. (See my Kindle book "The God Search" for details of my journey.)
However, a number of people shamed me for neglecting my art talent and I decided I should get back to it. My first painting was of the 15 X 20" watercolor, "The Children's Tree", which won a prize in a local art show. I continued with a series of six paintings which were displayed in local libraries.
One day a friend told me that my books were being sold on eBay. That prompted me to buy my first computer and learn to use it. I soon was selling my books on eBay myself.
Opening up to the world of the internet I began receiving email from ardent fans that I never knew existed, telling me of the impact my work had had on their life. This encouraged me even more to return to my art and writing.
"Little Mommy" had been especially popular and in 2008 Random House decided to re-issue it as a Little Golden Book Classic.
"Kitty & Me" is my most recent inspiration, based in part on my daughter's avid love of cats and my own as well, the beauty of feline form and the joy of cat companionship. Published by Christy Ottaviano of Henry Holt, "Kitty & Me" is available nationwide.