October 30, 2007

Robert's Snow: Gretel Parker's "Snow Rabbit"

Please see the bottom of this post for today's Robert's Snow schedule!

"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:


10 comments:

Sara said...

Thanks for pointing to her studio blog. That letterpress stuff is totally fascinating. I can see why you want one!

TadMack said...

Oh, her rabbit! The long legs are so endearing!!

I can't wait 'til summer to walk in the Cotswolds, it's supposed to be just gorgeous.

Liz in Ink said...

cute overload on the woodland animals... This is delightful -- the flake, the post, the blog...
Thanks.

Charlotte said...

This is a darling one...

jama said...

Love the soft pastels in her work, and the gentleness that comes through. She lives in the Cotswolds? Adopt me, please! Thanks for the lovely feature.

SevenImpossible said...

I am on a computer this morning (not mine) that seems to have a direct link to a gaggle of devils or something. It is operating so slowly that it's not unlike there's a drunk, napping fairy with, I dunno, an abacus inside the machine. UGGH.

BUT! It was very worth the wait to read this feature, read about Gretel, and see that snowflake. I wonder if illustrators hate being compared to others, but I mean it as a HUGE 'OL compliment when I say that some of her work that you see there on her website is reminiscent of Lisbeth Zwerger.

When I visited her site last night, getting the schedule for today ready, I was wowed. I'm totally going to have to start making a list of new picture books I want to read that I've read about in these features, and her books are at the top of the list.

Thanks for this! Beautiful stuff.

Jules, 7-Imp

Hey Teach! said...

This was one of my favorites when I first previewed the snowflakes. Thank you for the link to her studio blog. I now have another favorite to add to my ever growing list.

Stephanie Roth said...

Gretel IS totally amazing...and seems to be totally unaware of it. I think she should write a book about her life in the country and feature her beautiful photographs and paintings. I would so treasure a book like that....Charming snowflake!!

Mary Lee said...

Reminds me a little of Edward Tulane...in a GOOD way! Like tadmack -- love those long legs!

a. fortis said...

I know--I would so love to live in the Cotswolds! TadMack, you'll love it. Perfect for you guys to bike around.

Thanks for all the great comments! I got a really nice note from Gretel, too. Warms the heart!!