Star fishing

When we went home to Kansas City for Christmas, my family hosted a 'poetry night' for family and friends. Among all the beautiful poems and songs, a friend of mine read Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. Here is an excerpt:

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
 Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—
Sailed on a river of crystal light
 Into a sea of dew.
All night long their nets they threw
 To the stars in the twinkling foam,—
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
 Bringing the fishermen home:

-Eugene Field

Listening to that poem, I stumbled into a long-forgotten and yet very near place in my mind. I hadn't heard it in decades, but it has influenced this commissioned illustration I completed as recently as last month! I guess that Nod is probably the little owl here. He was an afterthought on my part, but I knew something was missing until I added him.

Isn't it strange how we can be so shaped by the songs and stories of our early childhood? I think that the more I teach children, the more I unearth those early loves, and recall the strangeness and magic of the world those new eyes see so effortlessly.

Star Fishing, 2014. Watercolor, ink, gouache.

Star Fishing, 2014. Watercolor, ink, gouache.