Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Artwork: good, bad & ugly

For Beth and Sallie, who wanted to see.

A large, older painting (pre 1993). 20x24, if I recall. I still like the wolves. Not so much the composition or setting. They look like they're grazing, for crying out loud--and what was I thinking with that distracting wispy mist in the background? Probably just being lazy!

My most recent attempt (2002 or 2003). 5x7 portrait of a chicadee. Now hangs in a home in Jerusalem, Israel. My tastes have gone from the big and overly dramatic to the small and intimate. Bird by bird, so to speak.

And the drawings I did this month for the first page of BEAR COUNTRY (and all I plan to do!) in a rough, collage-type mock-up.

Text for the above page from BEAR COUNTRY, Copyright 2008 by Lori L. Benton (all rights reserved, etc.):

One day near summer’s end, a teddy bear named Palister and Sarah Jane, his child, had tea with The Queen of England on Sarah Jane’s bed.

Right in the middle of their second cups, Sarah Jane’s parents came into the room.

“We’re going on a family trip,” said her mother.

“A camping trip,” said her father. “In the wilderness.”

Sarah Jane set down her tea cup and gave the bed a little bounce. “Hooray! I love camping.”

“We know!” said her parents.

“This trip will be a special adventure,” her mother said. “It will be Palister’s first camping trip.”

Palister didn’t know what a wilderness was, but he knew all about adventures. After all, he had fought a dragon and rescued Sarah Jane from a high stone tower. He had sailed a ship on the ocean and battled pirates by her side.

Of course, the dragon and the pirates were pretend. The high stone tower was really a tree house. The ship was a porch swing.

Sarah Jane bounced again. Tea cups clattered. Palister flew into the air and landed on his head in the pillows. The Queen of England remembered an important engagement, and dashed away.

Sarah Jane turned Palister right side up. “Did you hear, Palister? We’re going camping!”

Yes, Sarah Jane, I heard, Palister said in his heart. He didn’t know what camping was, either, but it was clear that he and Sarah Jane were about to have another great adventure.

And no more pretending about it.


  1. Absolutely stunning, Lori!

    Each is very different and very beautiful. The detail of the wolves' fur, the intimacy of the chicadee in the dogwood, the sweetness of the BEAR COUNTRY drawings. (Who could resist little Palister with sword and shield?) *s*

    Thanks so much for sharing your artwork, and for the added treat of a snippet from BEAR COUNTRY.

  2. Wow, Lori!

    You're better than a lot of the artists who submit their work for the children's books we publish where I work---and better than some we've actually paid to illustrate some of our books!

    Have you ever seen any of Carol Heyer's books? She writes and illustrates them herself. I really think you should look into doing that, if you're really serious about children's books in addition to adult-level fiction.

  3. Kaye,

    Thank you kindly! *s* I'll check into Carol Heyer's books. My favorite illustrator was Trina Schart Hyman (The Kitchen Knight and Saint George and the Dragon). I don't see myself as an illustrator, though. I find it exhausting compared to word-smithing, which is also hard work but has captured my passion and joy more than painting ever did. Which is saying quite a lot. But who can say what the Lord may have for me to do in the future. I won't close any doors He wants left open.

  4. Sallie,

    Thank you!

    I thought you and the kids might like to see the beginning. *s*

  5. Kaye,

    BTW, where do you work?


  6. I am awed.

    The wolves are stunning. Love the fur detail. (I assumed they were sniffing at something. {g} And I like the mist.)

    The chickadee is lovely and I absolutely adore the BC illustration.

    You are seriously talented, in both art and writing.

  7. Lori ~

    Have you sketched any of the characters from KINDRED?

  8. Lori, I'm a copy editor at Ideals Publications, which is part of the book division of Guideposts. I work predominantly with the CandyCane Press (board books for toddlers), Ideals Children's Books (picture books), and Williamson Books (children's educational books) imprints.

  9. Beth,

    Thank you! I really wish there were two of me, so I could pursue art as well as writing. Okay, make that three. I'd love to pursue music as well.


    No, I've not sketched any of my Kindred characters. Not enough hours in the day, or energy. I've been pretty thoroughly consumed with simply writing their story--and educating myself about their 18th Century life--the past four years.