Okay, so I have to explain the rooster.

Several years ago, my artist friend Middy (she does the illustrations for the Gooney Bird books) and I took a trip up the coast of Maine, stopping in art galleries, poking around, just having a fun, relaxing time. She kept telling me that I would love the paintings of a man named Philip Barter; and eventually, as we found ourselves way up the coast, above Ellsworth, she took me to his home and studio, and she was right. I loved his work. In fact I bought a painting of his which hangs in my living room today.

In fact, here's a picture of it. It's the painting over the couch. (Beyond it is a painting by Ashley Bryan. But that's a whole other story)


So: as we were leaving Phiip Barter's place that day, Middy saw this carved wooden rooster. She loved it. She lingered. She thought about buying it. But she decided to be practical and frugal, and didn't.

You know what a great feeling it is to get someone a gift that you KNOW they will love? When I got home from that trip, I called Philip Barter and bought the rooster. Then I saved it and gave it to Middy for her birthday.

This past weekend I was in Maine for a wedding, and I stopped by Middy's house briefly to say hi and to visit the rooster. (She always sees me looking at it and says, "No, you can't have it back!")

Then, because I still had time before the wedding, I went to a gallery that shows Philip Barter's paintings, and I bought another one, which is now hanging here in my office. I love his primitive style: the thick, chunky shapes of things, and his use of color. Here's the new one:


So today this is an art blog, not one about writing. I do have several questions that people have posted to me, to be asnwered, and I will get to those soon. But today I am just wallownig in art.

And tomorrow I fly to Eugene, Oregon, where I will speak Wednesday evening at the Public Library; from there I go to New York, where I'll speak at the Public Library on Saturday. A busy week.