This impromptu gesture made by my daughter while we were browsing at Artists & Craftsman Supply made me think about keeping our eyes open. Since starting on Here Come the Humpbacks for Charlesbridge in June, I’ve been spotting whales everywhere.

First I found them in our own toy bin.

And this little life-like model pairs well with cocktail napkins found at Take a Peak.

I couldn’t resist this platter from Velocity Art and Design. Perfect for a Sunday morning of warm scones, yes?

And while traveling through Wiscasset, I had to stop and buy this porcelain white whale found at Rock Paper Scissors. Exquisite.

Yes, there have been books read, such as A Whale for the Killing by Farley Mowat, and films watched.

When I take on a subject, full immersion is necessary. I’ve intended to go on a whale watch, but instead find them in unexpected places. Like at the Gem Gallery, during Carol Cartier’s “Wilderness” show, where I found these whales ready to play ping pong.

 
Just saw this in the window of the new Pine Cone & Chicadee shop on Free Street. Want.

This bears a strong resemblance to Rockwell Kent’s illustration for Moby Dick. I’ve requested the classic from the MECA library, since illo grad and white whale expert Seaums Doherty says I must read it.

In July I lived vicariously through my family, who explored without me the inflatable whale that visited Peaks Island, thanks to the Children’s Musuem of Maine.

I thought I might see a whale on the ferry to Nova Scotia in August, but instead, a stone whale awaited me at Nicole d’Entremont’s cabin in Pubnico.

And what’s hanging in the Hogan camp on the Bay of Fundy, built by my grandfather in 1934? A wooden whale made by my Uncle Roland Hogan. Perfect.

We did see an amazing skeleton at the New Brunswick Museum, of a right whale named Delilah.
I sat under a life size model of her, dwarfed and amazed, unable to capture her immensity in this sketch.

Since sending off my sketches to Charlesbridge 3 weeks ago,  I found time to visit an excellent show of children’s book illustration at UNE, with esteemed companions, Kirsten Cappy and Cathryn Falwell.

Besides finding the wonderful work of my neighbor, Scott Nash, I delighted seeing my heroes Barbara Cooney, Dr. Suess, and this lovely leviathan by Peter Sis.

From the show, we girls made a short but breezy getaway to Taylor Pond, thanks to Cathryn’s hospitality. We relaxed in the fresh air. Ahhhh. So needed a break in the action!

While I am fixed on whales, Cathryn has a magnet for frogs. Spotted this fellow in a culvert next to her cabin.

During the return voyage to my island, a local tug escorts another tanker down the river.

This familiar sight came in handy for one sketch for a spread in the book, in which author April Pulley Sayre writes about the dangers of shipping lanes to the migrations of whales.

Back on my island, I ride my bike to the backshore, and notice the shadows starting to look like fall.

Oh, and how the sign on this seafront cottage, now empty, catches the sun.

I’m even finding whales in the clouds that float over the rocks. I did this loose sketch from a memory.

Word has it that the sketches are now in the final stage of approval, with experts and fact-checkers.
Time now to clean the studio and line up my pastels in anticipation!

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