Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Oh The Places I Go!"

Working with the young artists.
 I recently had the good fortune of being invited to Pinewood Elementary School in Monticello, MN.  In life, sometimes one thing leads to another, and that's pretty much how this whole visit started. During school conferences last fall, my niece Tammy gave her daughters teacher Mrs. Stoick, a "glowing" review about me and my books. Her teacher was intrigued and decided to contact me about doing something at the school.
 I painted these canvasback ducks back in 1986!!
 Her class would be involved in submitting designs for the Federal Jr. Duck Stamp program. This program is based off the prestigious Federal Duck Stamp competition that is held every year here in the United States.  Artists from across the country are invited to send in their designs. From these designs, a panel of judges will select a winner which will be turned into a stamp. These stamps are then sold to hunters, conservationists and anyone else interested in helping environmental programs in the U.S.
The Jr. Duck Stamp program was started to let school age children get involved in the arts as well as a conservation based program. Mrs. Stoick thought I would be the perfect person to help inspire and teach her students a little bit about waterfowl and design.

Drawing some examples of duck bills.
I must admit my wildlife art skills felt a little rusty at first. All the paintings I brought were from the 1980's! Seems I've spent the last few years working mainly on artwork for book projects. But once I started doing a few simple drawings for them, it all seemed to fall back in place for me artistically.

Me and my great niece Savannah.
The kids were great! They seemed genuinely interested in my work and what I had to say. I explained a little bit about design and the differences between different species of waterfowl. They then worked on their own designs while I went around the room and gave them some help. I even got to sign some books for my great niece Savannah. All in was a wonderful day!!


  1. Wish I had an artist of your caliber visit my school way back when. For that matter, my kids' school could have used your presentation.

    I hope you do many more such visits.

  2. Thanks Mirka,
    I did a visit the following week with the eighth graders at a Catholic school here in St. Cloud. I talked about writing and helped them work on their own short stories.

    They seemed to appreciate my talk, but eighth graders are starting to develop "an attitude" about life. All in all they were great, but sometimes you got the feeling that they would rather be doing something else!

  3. Sounds like it was a very positive experience. Congrats!

  4. Sounds like a great time! I have a school visit on Thursday, but I can't draw if my life depended on it. I stick to writing. I admire people who can draw, paint, sculpt, etc.