Fun Little Books – Update

(Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland)

It’s about time time for an update.  I’ve had a few people ask about when my new book would be coming out.  The 5th Fun Little Book is…was nearly finished.  But, a few things happened.
First off, as I was nearing the finish line with that book I had a lot of new work come in with my 9-5 job.  If you don’t know, I mainly work as a storyboard artist.  I do work in film, television, advertising, animation, etc.  The new work was a good thing, but it did put my new children’s book on the back burner.
After the new work was finished, I moved on to my teaching stint at the International Music Camp where I taught cartooning.  I know, music camp and cartooning class?  They have some art classes available at the camp as well.  It was a blast by the way!
I had a few other jobs that came in when I got back.  When all of that was finished I came back to my book with fresh eyes.  And…  I didn’t like how it looked.  So, like my last book Helping Hands, I’m reworking it.  I mean, I could just go ahead and finish the little edits and have a 5th book, but I feel like it could be better.  It too bad because this would be a great book to have out for Halloween as it’s monster themed!  It’s a bummer, but I know it will be worth it.
Other than that, I’m nearly finished with my cactus post.  That should be out this week.  I just really loved those cacti that I photographed at the Peace Garden and I’m looking forward to sharing those images.  I also have a few new Fun Little Facts that should be out soon as well.  I hope to have more regular posts available now that things aren’t quite so hectic.
More to come.  Stay tuned!  And keep reading!

A Stroll Through The Peace Gardens – Part 2

Okay Everyone!  It’s time to continue our hike through the Peace Gardens.  If you haven’t checked it out, be sure to catch up with Part 1!

In Part 1, I decided to head off to the right to begin my walk.  Now, it’s time to see what we have to the left.  First off there were the United States and Canadian flags in flowers, but when I got there, they were not in full bloom, but still impressive:

This stream that runs from the center of the gardens all the way to the end (to the left) was pretty important to me.  When I was a kid, my parents took my sister and I here to the Peace Gardens.  I have only one memory of the gardens.  It was looking down at a long stream where it jutted out the most.  I remember watching some bugs on the surface of the water.  While doing so, my sister beside me, my parents ran up behind us and grabbed us gleefully saying they saved us from falling in.  Of course, spooking us thoroughly! lol   But yeah, this ordinary little spot was a real special find that I didn’t expect to come upon:

Looking to the left:

And looking to the right:

Off and on I would hear bells.  While looking around when they chimed, my eyes caught this odd building in the distance:

I continued walking along the stream and got a better look at this building.  I decided to get a better look on the way back:

This really is a wonderful walk full of sights.  I wish I had more time when I was there to study things more.  Next time!:

Another surprise (for me) was a memorial hidden away in the gardens.  Off to the side of the sidewalk I came across a sitting area (there were a few of them peppered here and there along the way) with some steel from the World Trade Center.  I had to take some time to stop and pay my respects:

These unassuming steel girders were one part of New York’s skyline:

I walked up to the beams, touched them and remembered watching it all happen when I was working as a RA at the Savannah College of Art and Design:

After stopping by the memorial I walked and walked (it’s a long walk!) until I reached the other end of the gardens.  Appropriately, the next stop was the Peace Chapel.  Those of you familiar with the Peace Gardens will notice that the Peace Towers are no longer there as they were torn down in 2017 due to age and disrepair:

As you can see from the packed seats, I was the only one that walked this far.  Which is a pity because this building was very beautiful.  And yes, very peaceful:

Finally I made my way along the other side of the walk to make my way to what I found out was appropriately named the “Bell Tower”:

And here’s a nice close up of this unique building:

Eventually I made my way back to where I started – the Interpretive Centre & Conservatory.  I knew that I wanted to check out the cactus garden as that’s all I was hearing about from people that had been here previously.  Outside the building was this fun little succulent display:

Succulent tea set area:

That’s all for now.  It was a marvelous walk and I can’t wait to travel back to the Peace Gardens again with my family.

The next blog post will be about the cactus garden.  Lots of photos coming.  Stay tuned!

A Stroll Through The Peace Gardens – part 1

I mentioned in my last post that I taught Cartooning at the International Music Camp located in the Peace Gardens.  I’ve had a few people ask me if I also toured the actual garden part of the Peace Gardens.  Well of course I did.  And, it was amazing!  In fact, I have so many pictures and things to say that I will be splitting this post into two parts.

So without further ado, let’s get started…

The Peace Gardens are located in the heart of the Turtle Mountains on the border with North Dakota and Canada on the 49th Parallel.  It celebrated the peaceful coexistence of Canada and the United States of America.

As I entered the Peace Gardens, my first picture was this small walk-through building that lead to the Sunken Garden Area.  You can see some of my students already heading off to start sketching:

This impressive building is the Interpretive Centre & Conservatory.  This is where the massive cacti garden is located.  It also has a restaurant, gift shop and horticulture library:

This picture is just after the small walk-through building.  You can see a similar building located on the opposite end:

The Fountain Pool of the Sunken Garden area was quite large and a great place to sit and just take everything in.  The Peace Gardens are a very large and impressive area!:

After checking out the fountain pool area, I flipped a coin and decided to head right:

Walking along the path, I noticed area after area of flowers and plants.  Each were grouped beautifully.  There were scores of gardeners everywhere taking care of everything.  One cannot help but be impressed with all the intricate work that goes into the Gardens.:

As I was making my way to one end of the Gardens I came across a small building.  I noticed little nooks and ‘secrets’ here and there as I walked.:

Here is a perfect example of a little ‘secret’.  These succulents were growing on a log next to a stairway.  If you didn’t take a moment to pause and look around you would miss them. Someone put a lot of work into this.:

This is on top of a bridge overlooking the Promise of Peace Sculpture (to the right):

And here is the impressive view to the right – looking back where I walked from:

An overhead view of the Promise of Peace Sculpture:

Making my way back the way I came, but taking a different path.  My goal was to see the whole Peace Garden within my limited time.:

And here I am back where I started.  Now it’s off to the left!  A very good cardio hike.:


But – I think I will cut this post here and leave the next section for my next post.  There’s a lot more to show and tell!

Stay Tuned!

Teaching Cartooning at the International Music Camp

Between June 22nd and the 28th I taught a Cartooning class at the International Music Camp held at the Peace Gardens here in North Dakota…

It was a great experience to be a part of this big event.  I believe that there are something like six class sessions held throughout the summer, each session being a week long.  I taught during the last and busiest session.  The week was incredibly busy and jammed fully of activities.

My class had seventeen teens in it ranging in age from 13 to 16 if I remember correctly.  They had a lot of energy!  Each day we had five classes.  The first one started at 8:30am and the last one ended at 8:00pm.  My class took it on like champs!  We faculty also had meetings and had to set up our classes in between the periods.  So I think I had more like a 14-hour day each day.

It was my first year teaching at the IMC.  I have done a little teaching previously, but this was the longest stint and definitely the busiest!  Not sure if I would do it again.  Like I’ve told most people that have asked, “Wait to ask me about around November.”

Teaching art at a music camp was a lot of fun though.  So much music all the time!  Crowds would just start singing.  Great music coming from practice halls as you walked by.  And the concerts were awesome!   Plus, as one of only 3 art teachers there, all these incredibly talented musicians were very interested in hearing what we few art teachers do.

I made sure to challenge my students each day because frankly, they were quite talented and really wanted to work hard.

This is the Cushman building where I taught my classes:

During the week, the class would place their work up on the peg boards around the room to show off their work.  They filled up pretty fast:

One of the nights during the week, there was a student music recital/talent show.  Traditionally, the art students from the Cartooning class uses sidewalk chalk on the walkways in front of the Burdick building where it is held.  We kept up with tradition:

Here’s a better look at the building outside:

And here’s the amazing interior:

As you walk around the camp, many times you’ll come across small little cabins like these. These are used for practice for any number of musicians.  It was really cool to walk by these as so many students and faculty were practicing:

I wanted to show this as well.  The sculpting class had a lot of fun coming up with huge creatures and hanging them randomly around the camp.  Here’s one near the dining hall:

Lastly, I wanted to show off the Alme Centre.  This is where my class, the painting class, and the sculpting class showed off their work at the end of the week:

And here is some of the work that my students showed off.  I must say that I was very impressed with them:

Again, I have to say that these students really impressed me.  And the camp itself is run really well.  It was a pleasure to be a part of it all.

In my next post (or maybe 2 or 3), I will be posting photos of my tour of the Peace Gardens themselves – Amazingly Beautiful!

Stay Tuned!

***For more information on the International Music Camp, including both music and art classes, check out their Website***

Fun Little Fact 13

Today’s Fun Little Fact – Who’s hungry?

fun little fact 13