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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Animals, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,002
1. Draw This! SCBWI Illustrator prompt - Adventure

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2. At the Animal Ball

9781782402305Get your glad rags on, pull out your dancing shoes and join me At the Animal Ball by Ella Bailey! A delightful, playful action-packed flap book mixing costume design and dance moves in such a fun way, this is a board book with a difference.

Bailey’s illustrations are fantastic, using great colour combinations and lovely details. Her use of texture adds a vintage touch, reminding me of the collection of dolls’ in national costumes I had as a child. Fans of of Marc Boutavant‘s work will not be disappointed; Bailey’s cute (but not cutesy) funky animals seem to me to be Mouk‘s friendly cousins, dressed in a wide range of get-ups inspired by national costumes around the world, from kilts to grass skirts, sarongs and even leather jackets.

Each page is split into three so readers can mix and match heads, tops and bottoms, creating their own bespoke tailoring. Each flap also comes with its own dance moves, from fluttering a fan to shaking a rattle, stamping your feet and wiggling your hips: By combining any three flaps, you could choreograph your own dance!

The charming animals and the beautiful clothes combined with the great excuse to boogie make this a winner of a book – and not just for kids who can’t sit still whilst they’re being read to. It’s fun, pretty and robust – this larger-than-average board book utilises a little bit of simple engineering to make sure the satisfyingly chunky pages of At the Animal Ball can put up with lots of to-ing and fro-ing.

Lovely, lively and full of flaps – an glorious read for anyone with young kids!




Inspired by the fabulous illustrations and this video…

…we made some masks (there’s nothing like a masked ball, is there?)….


…and had lots of fun dressing up in all sorts of finery and breaking out some moves… This video of our antics makes us laugh a lot!

Whilst dressing up we danced to these toe-tapping tunes (but unfortunately couldn’t include them in our video because of copyright issues):

  • Animal Ball by Lizzie Miles, and the same song but in a different arrangement – At The Animals’ Ball by Bobby Short
  • The Ugly Bug Ball sung by Burl Ives
  • Animal Dance by Phil Rosenthal & Randy Gates. I’m a sucker for a bit of bluegrass. You can hear a better quality extract here.
  • Other activities which would go well with reading At the Animal Ball include:

  • Playing Head, Bodies, Tails – you just need some paper and pencils and away you go!
  • Reading two other mix-and-match books I love – Mixed Up Fairy Tales and Mixed Up Nursery Rhymes by Hilary Robinson and Nick Sharratt
  • Making fans – to decorate or to dance with! I like this tutorial, this one and also this one.
  • When did you last get down and boogie?

    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this post where we made a glitter disco ball or this very pink post featuring a perfect flamingo.

    If you’d like to receive all my posts from this blog please sign up by inputting your email address in the box below:

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    3. Over on the Farm

    Written by Marianne Berkes, illustrated by Cathy Morrison, published by Dawn Publishing
    Ok, it's not a birthday image, (our inspirational word for June is Birthday) but it's the cover for a book I have coming out Spring 2016. Artwork for this book is complete and I'm working away on a second book that will be released the same date. I'll post more about this book and others on my Studio With A View Blog soon.

    Thanks for taking a look!

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    4. National Geographic for Kids Almanac 2016 – Book Review and Giveaway

    Title: National Geographic Kids ALMANAC 2015 Published by: National Geographic Themes/Topics: Science, nature, gales, culture, history, going green, geography Suitable for ages: 8-13 Paperback, 352 pages, nonfiction, Three Snippets: Page 112 has a monthly sky calendar saying what is happening in the skies … Continue reading

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    5. The Swamp Where Gator Hides Travels

    I was delighted to receive this new edition in the mail from the publisher Dawn Publications. What a joy to see that children all over the world are reading and learning about alligators and other swamp creatures in The Swamp Where Gator Hides written by Marianne Berkes. This book is available on Amazon



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    6. Painting in Gouache on a Dry Day

    Last weekend we helped out with spring shearing at our friend's Icelandic sheep farm. They still had a couple of lambs on the bottle, and I fed one of them.

    Last Shearing, June 6. Gouache, 5 x 8 inches
    While everyone worked, I painted the shed in gouache, just a quick impression. The challenge was that it was a dry day with low humidity, and the sun was beating right down on the paint. The paint dried practically as it left the brush, so I had to work fast. 

    More than 30 years ago, I tried painting in gouache on a hot, dry day in Death Valley, California, and it was insane how quickly it dried. You can combat the problem somewhat by squeezing the paint out on a damp paper towel and spraying the palette with a mist of water once in a while. 
    Gouache Week starts June 22 on the blog and on my YouTube channel, with the release of the new video "Gouache in the Wild."

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    7. Sketching Chickens / Imagining Dinosaurs

    The DVD of "Tyrannosaurs: Behind the Art" is now retail ready.

    The DVD version has the 40-minute production about the making of the paintings I did for Scientific American. But it also has a slide show and a special 13-minute bonus feature, where I pose the question: "What can we learn about dinosaurs by sketching a chicken?" The abbreviated YouTube video above gives you a sample of that feature. (Link to YouTube)

    The full 13-minute chicken feature on the DVD also considers:

    • Differences between chickens and theropods
    • Feathers on dinosaurs in Dinotopia
    • Function of feathers in chickens
    • What's the purpose of the comb and wattles?
    • More chicken sketches
    • Feather groupings on a bird's body
    • Can we make a dinosaur from chicken DNA? Should we?
    • How are bird tails different in ground-loving birds?

    The list price of the 53-minute DVD (NTSC, Region 1) is just $24.50. You can preorder it on Amazon, where it officially releases on June 22. But for the next two weeks only, GurneyJourney readers can order the DVD direct from the manufacturer at Kunaki for a 10% discount sale price of $22.00.

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    8. Chocolate Affair

    Having an affair with the chocolate.

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    9. Birthday Art

    Birthdays in my house are an occasion to create original cards and invitations.  Here is some of my art from birthdays past.

    Steven James Petruccio

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    10. Sir Edwin Landseer's Feats of Skill

    Sir Edwin Landseer, Study of a Lion, 1862, oil, 914 x 1378 mm, Tate
    British animal painter Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-1873) developed remarkable skills of speed and dexterity. 

    According to one one account, "It was Landseer's custom to place a clean canvas, or panel, upon his easel and leave it there untouched for several days, or until he had completely thought out the subject that he was to paint. This done, he would take up his palette and brushes and set to work, and in an astonishingly short space of time the picture would be finished."

    There are many stories of him painting large oil studies of animals in less than an hour. He painted the portrait of the spaniel and the wounded rabbit in two-and-a-half hours. 

    One houseguest recalled leaving for church on a Sunday morning as Landseer set a blank canvas on his easel. Landseer skipped church that day, and when the guest returned from the service, the painting was finished.

    Another story of his prodigious ability comes from a dinner party in London. A lady remarked that it would be impossible for someone to draw two things at once. "Oh, I can do that," Landseer said quietly; "give me two pencils and I will show you."

    Landseer took a pencil in each hand, and then "drew simultaneously and unhesitatingly the profile of a stag's antlered head with one hand, and with the other the perfect outline of the head of a horse. Both drawings were strong and vigorous; that drawn with the left hand in no way inferior to its companion sketch."
    Sir Edwin Landseer on Wikipedia

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    11. Cat in a Box

    Here's a pencil sketch from more than 10 years ago, when we had a kitten named Sunlight, and she always loved to curl up in an empty box.

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    12. The Amazing Octopus


    One amazingly interesting creature is the octopus; this cephalopod can twist and turn its body into many shapes, suction to all types of surfaces, and use a cloud of ink to distract predators. This week, researchers uncovered the California two-spot octopus’s ability to sense light through its skin.

    When the scientist shone a beam of light on the skin of an octopus the chromatophores (pigmented structures in the skin) expanded and the skin changed color. When the light was turned off, the chromatophores contracted again and the octopus was back to its original color. Why does this happen? Scientists determined that the octopus’ skin has proteins called opsins that work with the chromatophores for this reaction to occur.

    (Read more about the experiments here)

    Changing colors is nothing new in the octopus species; they can become red with anger, or transparent in sunlight. The more tools the creature has to camouflage itself the better chance for survival in the wild depths of the ocean where predators are abundant.

    To learn more about the octopus or how other animals use light in the depths of the ocean here is a short underwater reading list!

    Octavia and Her Purple Ink Cloud

    Octavia and her Purple Ink Cloud
    Octavia Octopus and her sea-animal friends love playing camouflage games to practice how they would hide from a “big, hungry creature.” Octavia, however, just cannot seem to get her colors right when she tries to shoot her purple ink cloud. What happens when the big, hungry shark shows up looking for his dinner? This creative book introduces basic colors along with the camouflage techniques of various sea animals; a great introduction to marine biology!

    DayDeep_128A Day in the Deep
    Travel deep into the ocean way below the surface and you’ll encounter some creatures you never knew existed! This book takes you on a journey through the dark depths of the sea towards the ocean floor. Most ecosystems need sunlight, but deep in the ocean where the sun doesn’t shine animals have adapted some very interesting ways to see, protect themselves, and eat. Discover the unique habitats, adaptations, and food chains of these deep -sea creatures.

    ocean hide and seek_PAPERBACKOcean Hide and Seek
    The sea is a place of mystery, where animals big and small play hide and seek! Can you imagine a shark hiding in the light? What about a clownfish in plain sight? Don’t believe it? Then, sink into the deep blue sea with Jennifer Evans Kramer and Ocean Hide and Seek! Surround yourself with the vibrant ocean illustrations of Gary R. Phillips. The ocean is an old, old place, and the exotic animals in the depths have learned to adapt to their surroundings to survive. Can you find the creatures hidden on every page? Or will you, too, be fooled by an ancient, underwater disguise?

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    13. A Rainbow Is A Rainbow!

    A rainbow is a rainbow, 
    with whom you ride it is all that matters! 

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    14. Painting a Pelican at the Pember

    Yesterday we stopped at the Pember Museum of Natural History, a collection of old natural history specimens that is still displayed in Victorian-style glass cases.

    The small museum is in Granville, New York, near the border with Vermont. They have about 10,000 taxidermy birds, mammals, and insects, as well as birds' eggs, nests, and minerals. 

    I painted the American white pelican in watercolor and gouache. The colors were white, ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, and burnt sienna. 

    The specimen has the large growths on the top of the beak that occur temporarily during breeding season, which gave me ideas for pterosaurs.

    I recommend the museum to artists who want to sketch. Nearly everything is on display. They welcome artists, and they even provide comfortable wood chairs. 

    Harvard biologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote about the wonder of the 19th century cabinets of curiosity, and the different assumptions they present about imparting natural history knowledge:
    "The display of organisms in these museums rests upon concepts strikingly different from modern practice, but fully consonant with Victorian concerns: Today we tend to exhibit one or two key specimens, surrounded by an odd mixture of extraneous glitz and useful explanation, all in an effort to teach (if the intent be maximally honorable) or simply to dazzle (nothing wrong with that either). The Victorians, who viewed their museums as microcosms for national goals of territorial expansion and faith in progress fueled by increasing knowledge, tried to stuff every last specimen into their gloriously crowded cabinets — in order to show the full range of global diversity. . . . You can put one beetle in a cabinet (usually an enlarged model, and not a real specimen), surround it with fancy computer graphics and pushbutton wwhatzits, and then state that no other group maintains such diversity. Or you can fill the same cabinet with real beetles from each of a thousand different species — all of differing colors, shapes, and sizes — and then state that you have tried to display each kind in the country."
    Pember Museum, Granville, New York.
    More about the white pelican on Wikipedia

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    15. H. Septimus Power's Horse Paintings

    Septimus Power, The End of the Day
    H. Septimus Power (1877-1951) was a New-Zealand-born Australian artist who was always fascinated with horses.

    H. Septimus Power, Horse Cart, Watercolor
    He got an early job painting animal heads on butchers' delivery vans, and later worked for a veterinarian. 

    He studied at the Académie Julian in Paris and then moved to London, exhibiting at the Royal Academy. Arthur Streeton said of him: "One is impressed first by a tremendous display of colour and a dauntless feeling of optimism … He displays remarkable knowledge and vigour in his paintings of animals."

    H. Septimus Power, Bringing Up the Guns
    In World War I he worked as a war artist, specializing in scenes with horses. The biplane is almost a ghost in the distance.

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    16. Smoke Texting

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    17. #693 – When I Grow Up I Want to be . . . a Veterinarian by WIGU Publishing

    When I Grow Up I Want To Be…a Veterinarian!: Sofia’s Dream Comes True!

    Series: When I Grow Up
    Written and illustrated by WIGU Publishing
    WIGU Publishing        12/08/2014
    56 pages            Age 7—12
    “Sofia wants to care for all the animals in the world. But Mom does not think Sofia is ready for the responsibility of even one pet. Ready or not, when a hungry and sick-looking cat appears at the family’s back doorstep, Sofia takes action. When Sofia is found feeding the cat, Mom gives in and agrees that a trip to the vet will tell them if the cat is healthy and not someone’s lost pet. As the veterinarian introduces Sofia and readers to the important and wide-ranging work of animal doctors, Sofia learns how she might help all kinds of animals, including a little stray cat!” [back cover]

    Like every kid, at some time in his or her life, Sofia desperately wants a pet. Mom sternly responds, “No,” after every plea. I suspect many kids will relate to this situation. Dad tells Sofia gets her love of animals from Mom, which made mom’s stern and resolute rejections surprising to me,


    “. . . the answer was always ‘No. And I mean it, Sofia!’ . . . and she meant it.”

    Mom’s reluctance must be due to something she went through as she has some definite opinions about caring for pets. While looking outside at the soaking wet cat, mom says:


    “People should be more responsible about animals.”
    “There are too many unwanted animals running around.”

    Veterinarian does not delve into the reasons behind the above statements; instead letting Sofia remark that she cannot believe any pet could be unwanted. I agree with Mom and Sofia. Bringing a pet into the family is a big decision, and includes much more than housing and feeding. But Veterinarian is about the career, not the social issues. Continuing with the story, mom finally tells Sofia her reasons for saying no: she does not think the family is ready for a pet. But then it rained.

    “It rained cats and dogs.”


    That night it really did rain cats . . . one little, hungry, “sorry-looking,” water-soaked cat. To Sofia’s amazement, her mother was also upset and concerned about the cat. With dad taking the lead, mom agrees to take the cat—now called Samantha—to Dr. Helen, a veterinarian.

    Dr. Helen looks for a microchip, listens to Samantha’s heart, weighs her, and then tells Sofia, there are an estimated 10 million different kinds of animal species on Earth . . . that we know of. Much of our planet is unexplored—mostly underwater—and there are animals we have not seen, and some we never will. I did not know this, which is why I love the WIGU series—I learn something with each edition.


    Dr. Helen gives a short history of cats and dogs. Cats first became household “pets” 3,000 years ago in Egypt, where they were worship (cats kept rodents out of the grain and hunted dangerous snakes, including cobras). Dogs, as pets, began roughly 33,000 years ago. Dogs were valued for their companionship and keen senses—hearing, sight, smell—that helped protect humans. Dr. Helen told Sofia cats are the most popular pet (2:1 dogs), yet veterinarians treat more dogs than they do cats. No explanations are given.


    As with the other When I Grow Up editions, Veterinarian is loaded with useful information kids will enjoy reading, can use as a reference, or when exploring possible careers. Teachers can use this series as adjunct texts. In Veterinarian, Dr. Helen describes many areas of specialization and the road to becoming a veterinarian. The illustrations are a combination of actual photographs and digital images. On the cover, I adore Samantha’s contented look on her face as Sofia hugs her.

    contented cat samantha

    In the end, Sofia decides she wants to become a veterinarian. The family decides to keep Samantha, even with the funny, unexpected twist. Veterinarian’s tone is positive and it highlights the best about being a vet. This is my favorite edition thus far. Wigu Publishing is planning to explore more careers for the When I Grow Up series and is working on Spanish versions. Every school should have this series, keeping room for new editions. The When I Grow Up series might go on forever.


    WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE A . . . VETERINARIAN. Text copyright © 2014 by Wigu Publishing. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Wigu Publishing. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wigu Publishing, Sun Valley, ID.

    lg span vet

    Purchase WIGU I Want to be a . . . Veterinarian at AmazonBook DepositoryWIGU Publishing.

    Learn more about WIGU I Want to be a . . . Veterinarian HERE.
    Meet the author/illustrator, Wigu Publishing, at their website:  http://bit.ly/WIGUTeam
    Find more picture books at the Wigu Publishing website:  http://whenigrowupbooks.com/

    .Spanish Edition

    When I Grow Up . . . Books


    span army



    in the U. S. Army [review here]




    a Teacher [review here]




    a Firefighter  [review here]




    in the U. S. Navy  [review here]




    a Nurse  [reviewed soon]


    Review Section: word count = 543

    Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved


    Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: adopting pets, animals, care of animals, cats, dogs, relationships, When I Grow Up I Want to be . . . a Veterinarian, WIGU, Wigu Publishing, wildlife vets

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    18. If You Love Honey, Nature's Connections

    After turning in artwork for If You Love Honey, Nature's Connections I got a look at Patty Arnold's design and layout for the book. I'm posting a few spreads here to give you a sneak peek. This is my second book illustrated by Martha Sullivan and third book for Dawn Publishing. It comes out this fall. After doing a lot of research for the illustrations I'm now a true honey bee fanatic, not to mention a Martha Sullivan fan!

     And I wanted to say "Thanks!" to William Porter at the Denver Post for including me in his Mother's Day article. It's always great to give a shout out to our moms, especially our moms who spent a lot of time reading to us.

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    19. Baby Foxes Nursing

    (Link to YouTube video) A few days ago, I filmed this family of red foxes at the edge of the wild woods behind my house. The male fox greets the vixen as she nurses five new kits. The mother's lactation lasts for about six weeks.

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    20. Fun with The Swamp Where Gator Hides


    swamp5-1swamp4 1swamp3_1swamp2_1 sawmp1_1hiding gator

    Look at these wonderful drawings created by the students of Ms. Crowley, Media Specialist at St. John Vianney School. I love to see these. These are true artists! A big thank you to the students who created these lovely illustrations. I’ve enjoyed all of the extra details you’ve added. So Fantastic!  

    Just to let you know that if there are other little artists that have enjoyed the book, I would love to see your drawings as well! You send, I’ll post!
    The Swamp Where Gator Hides, Dawn Publications, Marianne Berkes, Author, Roberta Baird Illustrator

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    21. Wilhelm Kuhnert's African Wildlife

    Wilhelm Kuhnert, Lions at Rest, courtesy Heritage Auctions
    One of the works in the upcoming May 2 Heritage Auction is this oil painting Ruhende Löwen  (Lions at Rest), by Wilhelm Kuhnert (German, 1865-1926).
    Wilhelm Kuhnert Jungle Life, BBC Images
    Kuhnert was one of the pioneers of early 20th century wildlife art. According to the auction website, "he developed his passion for animal painting during the 1880s in the classroom of Paul Meyerheim at the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin, who taught the importance of sketching from live models at the zoo."

    Wilhelm Kuhnert, Cape Buffalo, Heritage Auctions, May 2, 2015
    In Meyerheim's class, students learned to draw animals "from the inside out—the skeletal structure, lay of muscles, and finally the depth and texture of the skin and fur."
    Kuhnert, Lion Cub study, 6 x 9 inches, courtesy Delahunty
    On trips to Egypt, East Africa, and India, Kuhnert took Meyerheim's lesson one step further and began to draw animals in the wild - a feat especially challenging, as he was not a professional hunter or tracker."
    Wilhelm Kuhnert, African Crowned Eagle, pencil, 12 x 9 ½ in.
    courtesy Delahunty 
    "Kuhnert withstood adversity in attempting to observe the animals as thoroughly as possible, maintaining his concentration through torrential rainstorms, wildfires, severe drought, and heat, not to mention the courage it took to confront a savage, hungry beast." 
    Above quote from the book: After the Hunt
    Book: The Animal Art of Wilhelm Kuhnert
    Online gallery of Kuhnert works at Delahunty
    Previous GurneyJourney post about Meyerheim's class: Posing Animals
    Heritage Auction, May 2, "The Collection of Judson C. and Nancy Sue Ball", Dallas. Includes the lion painting and the cape buffalo study.
    Art and Influence post on Kuhnert

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    22. Bat-Winged Dinosaur Discovered

    A bizarre new species of bat-winged dinosaur from China was announced yesterday in Nature magazine

    The name Yi qi, (pronounced "ee chee") means "strange wing." The fossil, presented by by Xu Xing, et al., shows evidence of elongated rod-like bones extending from the wrist which would have supported membranous wings.

    (Link to video) Although the pigeon-sized animal also had a feathery body coating, they functioned more to regulate body heat, like the fur of a flying squirrel or bat. Whether this Jurassic maniraptoran theropod used its wings to flap or just to glide is still unclear. 

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    23. Poems, Animals, and Animal Poems

    I’m sorry to see National Poetry Month end. Mine went out with a bang, though, in a wonderful Family Literacy Night celebration at an elementary school in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Happily, the date coincided with Poem in Your Pocket Day.

    What fun to see students so excited about poetry! To watch them proudly pull out and unfold their handwritten index cards. To hear them bravely recite their favorite poems.

    I was able to narrow my own favorite poems down to eleven—quite an achievement, I think! I brought five copies of each to hand out in case anyone forgot theirs. I’m glad to say that I came home with only three poems and that many of the ones I handed out went to parents. I hope they’ll keep sharing.

    On to May! For this Teaching Authors series, we’re writing about animals. Bobbi began with some favorite animal books.

    For all of April (National Poetry Month), I wrote a haiku a day. (You can see the April archive on my blog.) I looked back through the poems and found that 13 of the 30 addressed animals, mostly birds. Here in Wisconsin, we see a lot of birds migrating through to summer homes at this time of year, so that seems logical. One thing I loved about the daily haiku practice is that this year, I noticed.

    Here’s one more haiku from this morning. I can’t seem to stop!

    Squirrel winds her way
    from limb to limb, encumbered
    mouth full of dry leaves

    The Poetry Friday Roundup is at A Year of Reading, at least for now. Enjoy!

    JoAnn Early Macken

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    24. Last Portrait of Turk

    Turk, the gentle giant of a draft horse, died this week. I painted one last portrait of him and made a video tribute (Link to YouTube).

    He had been losing weight, even on a special rich diet, and one rear leg was so lame that he was almost unable to get up from the ground. He was around 28-30 years old.

    Portrait of the Belgian draft horse Turk, gouache, 5 x 8 inches.
    I stood by his stall and painted him in gouache. The challenge was that he didn't hold still, and even faced the wrong way most of the time.

    Paintings of Turk
    Clockwise from upper left: Brush pen and watercolor pencils; Oil on panel; Watercolor and gouache; and Casein.

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    25. And the Horse He Rode In On

    Our theme this month is animals, so my thoughts immediately went to some fascinating details I like share with students when I do a school visit relating to my book The Many Faces of George Washington.  

    George Washington trained his own horses and was considered to be an expert horseman.  During the American Revolution, General Washington rode one of two horses.  One was a brown horse named Nelson.  The other was a white horse named Blueskin.  During battle (yes, Washington actually fought in battle) he rode Nelson because the noise and chaos didn’t bother the calm horse.  But when Washington was just going about everyday life, he rode Blueskin. 

    In portraits painted during the 18th century that depict Washington during the Revolution, he is shown with one of these two horses.  If the scene depicts a scene following a battle, Nelson is pictured.  But when the painting is not a battle scene, Blueskin is with him. 
    General George Washington at Trenton by John Trumbull

    Mount Vernon created three wax figures of George Washington. 
    This one depicts General Washington at Valley Forge riding Blueskin.

    Find out more about George Washington's historic home
    To see a portrait of Washington with Nelson:
    It fascinates me to think how much American history happened on horseback!
    Carla Killough McClafferty
    Remember to enter our book giveaway to win a copy of Stefanie Lyons’ YA novel in verse DATING DOWN (Flux). The deadline to enter is midnight May 15.

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