"I specialise in animal characters and when I was thinking about what to put on my snowflake, I knew almost at once what I would do," says illustrator Gretel Parker about her contribution to the 2007 Robert's Snow Auction, which raises money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "Snow Rabbit," shown at right, nicely showcases Ms. Parker's talent for depicting animal characters which somehow look like the cutest, cuddliest, softest stuffed animals you've ever seen. When I saw on her website that she'd done a version of The Velveteen Rabbit, it made perfect sense to me--her illustrations convey the feeling that these are well-loved and treasured toys.
I live in a lovely part of the English countryside, the Cotswolds, and I often have rural settings in my images. Toys, animals and country are what makes my work tick - they are three lifelong passions which I have held since I was a small child, and it is inevitable that they leak into whatever I depict....
At the moment I have a few potential job offers, and all of them are to do with woodland creatures or animals - it's a good excuse for me to do what I like best, which is roaming the nearby woods, listening to the birds and quietly watching the shy inhabitants. It is, after all, essential research!
It's easy to tell from Ms. Parker's studio blog (whose URL is "allaroundus") that she indeed finds inspiration in the small things that are all around, and from the rural scenes and nature that surround her in her everyday life. I also found out from her blog that she recently acquired a letterpress machine--a fact which makes me (as a printmaker) very jealous! I'm always interested in reading about other artists' process, so if that's something which interests you, too, definitely cruise by her blog. Ms. Parker also kindly said a few words about the process of creating her snowflake:
I was at first worried that watercolour paper wouldn't really work; it is my main medium, so I didn't want to have to use acrylics or oils directly onto the board, just for the sake of it. I did have to repaint the main image twice as when I traced out the snowflake template I turned it round the wrong way. The snowflakes are not exactly symmetrical, so when I came to paste the finished work onto it, I was 'just a bit annoyed' to find it didn't fit and I had to start over.
The reverse side shows a gift with a tag, dated and dedicated to Robert Snow - it was my very tiny way of thanking the good people who organise this excellent event, because it is a gift in itself to be able to contribute something to this worthy cause.
We feel the same way here at Finding Wonderland--it's a pleasure being able to feature wonderful illustrators like Gretel Parker in order to help encourage more people to visit the Robert's Snow auctions. Thanks go out to her for taking the time to talk to us! Ms. Parker's snowflake is featured in the first auction, Nov. 19 - 23. There are a multitude of other gorgeous, individual little pieces of art in the auction, too--like real snowflakes, no two are exactly alike.
The rest of today's featured snowflakes for Tuesday, October 30 are:
- Ann Koffsky at Book Buds
- Bill Carman at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
- Matt Phelan at A Year of Reading
- Stephanie Roth at Writing with a broken tusk