Numpurrs 8, 9, 10, 11

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It’s been another busy week but there’s still been progress on my new artist book for children called Numpurrs. On Storyberries.com I had done a counting book titled “The Crow and the Water Jug” so Storyberries wants another book from me related to numbers and math.

Here’s my progress: the finished poem lines that fit with my next 4 illustrations for Numpurrs

Eight divides the large wheels of brie

Nine adds mice caught in the lea

Ten has a bird as big as the sky

Eleven bakes a vegetable pie

To create the illustrations I chose the cats-to-be-illustrated from the various photos of cats that my friends have shared. My happy thoughts of my friends – and their cat photos – inspired which cat to pair with which number and poem line. Life near-to-hand provides so much of my inspiration. I made these paintings with ink and gouache on board. They’re small, 3.5 x 2.5 inches. Just little savory slices of a good life…

As I wrote in my last post I’m still using the Dictionary Of Color Combinations as a playful inspiration source for my color schemes.

I’m also still reading the cat-themed book “I Am A Cat” by Soseki Natsume that I spoke of in my last post.

Speaking of slices – my last post also spoke of pizza…and I did manage to get that indulgence, and a movie worked into this busy week. It was so enjoyable! Here’s what my homemade pizza looked like

I used my simple sauce recipe from my published kitchen sketchbook “Favorites So Far” and topped it with mozzarella, gruyere and Comte cheeses. Simple pizza – sauce and cheese – but I adult-ed it, so to speak, with my homemade sauce and cheese choices. Here’s my sauce recipe:

This page is from “Favorites So Far
You can see the whole sketchbook here.

And yes, my cat shamelessly begged for bites of the cheeses.

Part of what I was busy doing this week was answering questions about my upcoming exhibit at the Caplan Art Designs gallery. One of the questions asked what inspired the artworks with birds in them. My answer: the poem from Emily Dickinson “Hope is a thing with feathers…” In these strange and interesting times maintaining one’s human spirit, hope and good mental health is crucial. So my entire exhibit is about that. You can see a virtual exhibit tour of sorts webpage here (hint: the very newest pieces have birds reading books) https://sueclancy.com/portfolio/readings-from-the-heart/

Anyway, thanks for reading. I’ll post during the week on my Instagram page and sum up here next Monday.

I wish you peace, a lap full of purrs and a plate full of good pizza.

Beginning Numpurrs

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I’m starting a new artist book for children to be titled Numpurrs. On Storyberries.com I had done a counting book titled “The Crow and the Water Jug” and it’s been popular with readers so Storyberries wants another book related to numbers and math from me. So here goes…

As I mentioned in my last post I work in short bursts, 10 or 20 minute increments, small time segments that cover a Very Small Goal (VSG) towards a project. I do these short bursts of VSG’s almost daily. Other projects – and life – take up time so working in short bursts on VSG’s is my way to do some new creative project without requiring a large chunk of time.

For example on successive days my VSG’s were 10 minute tasks like; gather my legal pads, refill my fountain pen, look at past poetry about counting, brainstorm a “thesis”, write a list of VSG’s, gather reference photos, doodle possible illustrations, write drafts of a poem… and so forth.

For my “thesis” aka the root idea of my Numpurrs book I thought of how cats often bring presents to their humans of some, delectable morsel, from a cats point of view. Some mouse or bird brought as a gift to the human as a contributing dish for dinner. My cats have in the past been so, ahem, generous. I added that thought to the human concept of potluck dinners and how all the various contributions of dishes “add up” to an extravagant meal.

With that in mind I wrote draft after draft – sometimes in short bursts of 2 lines at a time – of my potential Numpurrs poem in my legal pad. Here’s a photo of my messy handwritten poem draft number 5 or so.

Longhand draft of Numpurrs by Clancy

During this time I reached out to several friends and asked for photos of their feline companions. I asked friends because many have shared or can share stories of their cats personality. These photos will inspire lines of my poem and the potential illustrations. This was also just a fun topic to share with my friends. Here are some of my sketchbook doodles of cats, a way to “warm up” and begin.

Cat sketchbook by Clancy
Cat sketchbook by Clancy

Here’s a photo of my cat Hawkeye.

Everything at this point is in flux. I’m quite okay with this uncertainty – it’s an exhilarating part of the creative process made achievable by working in small chunks.

My evening reading to relax before bed is also tangentially related to my Numpurrs project. There may be a bit of additional inspiration in it – who knows. Besides it’s fun reading.

I’ll post my progress on my Instagram page during the week and write more details about my creative process here on Monday. We’ll see how much I get done – or not. Among my upcoming Instagram posts about Numpurrs you’ll see posts about my fine art exhibits that are currently up – and one still to come. So I’ve a lot going on this week. Full details about all of the exhibits are on my portfolio project pages.

Oh, I almost forgot: you can see The Crow and the Water Jug on Storyberries.com and you can also preview the printed book here.

Chapter 1: Readings From The Heart

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My fine art exhibit schedule was thrown a loop this year. Three exhibits now happen in August and September. This is due to the global pandemic and the too slow response to the virus in the U. S. to which we’re all adapting. Changing exhibit schedules has been a challenge but one of the more easily dealt with.

Since March I’ve been processing, via my sketchbook and my fine art how to adapt to this new “at home” life and stay mentally healthy and creative. All of my artistic efforts have been about adaptation and maintenance of physical and mental health.

It amazes me to realize how much of my pre-pandemic mental stimulation relied on my travels away from my studio, relied on what I could see, hear, taste and experience “out there”, in the coffee shops, the restaurants, the museums and the gardens. Even when it was time to pick a new novel to read I’d rely on a trip to a physical library or bookstore to inspire what book to read next.

Yes, I was the kind of kid who got told “quit touching everything” when my grandmother and I’d go to stores. So how to change my habit of wanting to “be there”?

It was critical to begin my stay home adaptation process – because I couldn’t change the pandemic situation I had to change my attitude about it. For help I reread an artist book I created years ago titled Dr Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit.

Dr Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit – collected and illustrated by Clancy

I also drew every day in my sketcbook on the topic of books. Stories are how human brains process whatever happens in life so I felt I needed to get a firmer grip on my access to and my thinking about books and the life of the mind. You can see my process develop in my sketchbook because I’ve reproduced my sketchbook under this title: Another Sketchbook – more drawings from the heart

Another Sketchbook: more drawings from the heart – by Clancy

The self quarantine aspect of the coronavirus concerned me on a personal level but also on a communal one. Humans are social beings. I wanted to maintain my own mental health and possibly help others maintain theirs as the health of the community would help all of the individuals within it.

To clarify my thoughts about self comforting and to try to cheer people up – myself included – I made book themed fine art. Here are a few of the pieces:

Hare Heritage by Clancy – 8 x 10 inches – ink and gouache on board
Sheldon’s Way – by Clancy – 7 x 5 inches – ink and gouache on board
A History Of The Sock Monkey – by Clancy – 7 x 5 inches – ink and gouache on board
Slaughterhouse Chives – by Clancy – 24 x 18 inches – ink and gouache on board

These artworks, and others, will be physically exhibited at Burnt Bridge Cellars and Caplan Art Designs in August and September. The pandemic being what it is there are limited open hours, appointments necessary and other special arrangements for the safety and health of everyone. For example: at the winery, Burnt Bridge Cellars, it’s possible to pickup a bottle of wine and my books curbside.

Primarily I’m making my artist books available to be shipped directly from the printer. Or to be downloaded digitally.

Like I say, it’s been a strange pandemic – many creative adaptations have been required.

Another example: due to the coronavirus there won’t be the typical art openings where lots of people come and visit with me about my work. So as an adaptation I have created an exhibit catalog, both printed and ebook versions, titled “Readings From The Heart” in an effort to share the big picture of my thinking behind my artwork in a safe and hopefully fun way….with images of the art of course. The catalog also explains how the other artist books relate to the fine art. Below is a look at the catalog cover:

Readings From The Heart: a fine art exhibit catalog – by Clancy

Since the prelude to any story is knowing the alphabet, as I worked on the fine art I also created two children’s books titled “Alphapets” and “Alphapets Too“. The original artwork for those books will be exhibited by the Aurora Gallery. Some of the Alphapets paintings appear in the background of the larger paintings. (I do love the painting within a painting playfulness)

Because all of my recent artwork is on the same theme – just slightly different perspectives – I’ve titled the three gallery exhibits that span two states “Readings From The Heart” and subtitled each Washington Chapter, Oregon Chapter and Alphapets.

I’m hoping my efforts will amuse you. All of it has helped me deal with this pandemic – and to smile. As Gerhard Richter says “Art is the highest form of hope.”

These exhibits open in early August and run through September. If you’re interested in any of the artworks – or in the wine – please contact each gallery. There will be images and virtual tours on social media if you follow each gallery online:

Caplan Art Designs (ebook versions of the exhibit catalog will be available as will access to my other books)

Burnt Bridge Cellars (it will be possible to curbside pick up bottles of wine and my artist books)

Aurora Gallery (copies of my artist books for children will also be available)

All of the six artist books related to my exhibits can be found online here. I will post again next Monday with another “chapter” of Readings From The Heart and exhibiting art during a pandemic.

Here’s a photo of me working on a painting.

Sue Clancy at work

Alphapets Too: U, V, W and X

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My work this week on Alphapets Too my sequel to Alphapets by Clancy is in this post. It began at the request of my fans and Storyberries – the publisher/distribution house I’ve been working with! (See my last post for prior letters)

The Alphapets Too pet portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters Q, R, S and T. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Ugo upsets the cart at a run

Vava vigorously twisted and spun

Waldo went outside for a bit

Xena excitedly moves flit flit flit

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a miniature donkey, a Guinea pig, a bullfrog and an Axolotl.

Some of my extended family have full size donkeys and they were on my mind as I chose a character for the letter U. I decided on a miniature donkey named Ugo as miniatures have smaller heads that I thought I could more easily fit on my art board.

As part of my work on this project I’ve been learning the visual distinctions between gerbils, hamsters and Guinea pigs. In my researches the Guinea pigs seemed inclined to turn about in circles more than hamsters. So Vava twisted and spun.

On past walks in local natural areas I’ve seen and heard bullfrogs speak. To my ear it sounds as if they’re saying in a deep voice “Wall-doe! Wall-doe!” I couldn’t resist naming my bullfrog portrait Waldo.

When talking with Jade at Storyberries about doing this book, Alphapets Too, she joked about me doing a portrait of an Axolotl. I’d never heard of such a being and was instantly off to do fun research! A fish that walks! Wow! Xena was my result!

Like my first series “Alphapets” this artwork, too, is created with ink, gouache and color pencil. I do these portraits on board, size 3.5 x 2.5 inches. The original art will be framed…eventually … and be a miniature art exhibit at the Aurora Gallery.

I will also be making an artist book titled Alphapets Too – in a format like “Alphapets by Clancy”. You can see print and ebook versions of “Alphapets” by clicking here.

And when I get it all done “Alphapets Too” will be available on Storyberries.com (Btw: there are two different stories by me currently on Storyberries.com- search the site by my name)

You can follow my progress during the week on my Instagram pages and see the details of my creative process here in my Monday blog posts.

Thanks for your encouragement and support as I’ve worked on this project! You’ve helped!

Alphapets Too: E, F G and H

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Continuing progress on Alphapets Too my sequel to Alphapets by Clancy at the request of my fans and Storyberries – the publisher/distribution house I’ve been working with! (See my last post for details)

The Alphapets Too pet portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters E, F, G and H. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Eddie elects just when to pounce

Floyd finds words hard to pronounce

Gilda greets most days with joy

Hammy has one favorite toy

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a ferret, a galah cockatoo, a chinchilla and a hamster.

When I was in college, to make extra money, I did house and pet sitting for people going on vacation. One of my clients had 2 ferrets. They loved to romp and play with each other and with me. Plotting when to strategically pounce seemed a big part of the games. This experience was in my mind as I painted Eddie

Cockatoos can talk and can be trained to do it well. So as I painted Floyd I wondered if any of the birds found certain words or certain sounds more difficult than others. I’d imagine words beginning with the letter f would be hard to say with a beak.

After college I worked as a biological illustrator. I shared an office with a chinchilla and other animals. When I would insert my key to unlock the office door the chinchilla would make excited noises. We had a routine in which we would talk with each other as I made coffee then I would let the chinchilla out of her cage and would sit and comb her for a few minutes. Then I’d make her breakfast, put her back in her cage, feed the other animals and get to work. This joyful start to a day was on my mind while creating this portrait of Gilda.

I’ve not known a hamster so it was fun to research them. They’re much smaller than a chinchilla. And toys, chew blocks, are must have items for a happy hamster. So I imagined Hammy content with a favorite toy.

Like my original Alphapets this artwork, too, was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. I do these portraits on board, size 3.5 x 2.5 inches. The original art will be framed…eventually … and be a miniature art exhibit at the Aurora Gallery.

I will also be making an artist book titled Alphapets Too – in a format like “Alphapets by Clancy”. You can see print and ebook versions of “Alphapets” by clicking here.

And when I get it all done “Alphapets Too” will be available on Storyberries.com (Btw: there are two different stories by me currently on Storyberries.com- search the site by my name)

You can follow my progress during the week on my Instagram pages and see the juicy details of my creative process here in my Monday blog posts.

Thanks again for your support and encouragement as I work on this project!

Alphapets Too: A,B,C and D

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Here begins Alphapets Too my sequel to Alphapets by Clancy as per the request of my fans and Storyberries – the publisher/distribution house I’ve been working with! (See my last post for details)

The Alphapets Too pet portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters A, B, C and D. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Abby adores the window ledge

Bunny bounces into the hedge

Clark craves a wee bite of flower

Dash delights in a cool rain shower

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a parakeet, a rabbit, a tortoise and a cockatiel.

In researching these common house pets that are not dogs or cats I realized that I’d never drawn a parakeet before. So it was fun to practice drawing them, to see how many different shades of blue parakeets there are and to create Abby. I now have a new image in mind when I think of a “blue bird of happiness.”

For Bunny I had a lot of drawing rabbits experience to work with. On my Instagram pages I’ve been doing a “Home Hare Care” series of rabbits doing self-care comforting activities at home – some are complex art pieces. So it was relaxing for me this week to pull a simple rabbit out of my drawing hat. Lol!!

Some friends have kept a happy tortoise for years in their condo patio garden. Their tortoise has a different name but shares Clark’s enjoyment of eating flowers. We know about flowers as tortoise guilty pleasures because of holiday card exchanges we have with our friends.

I’ve drawn cockatiel birds before – usually having cocktail drinks – but I learned during my research for this book that some cockatiels like to accompany their human in the shower – if the human doesn’t have the water too hot. So I had fun making dash-shaped water drops and naming the bird in my portrait Dash.

Like my original Alphapets this artwork, too, was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. I do these portraits on board, size 3.5 x 2.5 inches. The original art will be framed…eventually … and be a miniature art exhibit at the Aurora Gallery.

I will also be making an artist book titled Alphapets Too – in a format like “Alphapets by Clancy”. You can see print and ebook versions of “Alphapets” by clicking here.

And when I get it all done “Alphapets Too” will be available on Storyberries.com (Btw: there are two different stories by me currently on Storyberries.com- search the site by my name)

You can follow my progress during the week on my Instagram pages and see the nitty gritty details of my creative process in my Monday blog posts.

Thanks again for coming on this adventure with me!

Alphapets published and starting Alphapets Too

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Last week my book Alphapets by Clancy came out in print and ebook forms. Quickly it was picked up by Storyberries and has over 6000 views as of this writing! Storyberries has already asked me for a sequel! Details below! First here are a few photos of pages inside the printed Alphapets book.

Here’s one of the delightful pictures I was sent by a grownup to show me how much my book was enjoyed! I love seeing the smiles!! That’s why I do this work – smiles like this!!!

As I finished Alphapets several people following my project asked me if I would please start the alphabet again because it was such fun. Some also asked if I would include house pets besides cats and dogs in my next book. I replied yes to both questions! These questions, and the discussions with Storyberries got me excited and an idea for Alphapets Too began to form!

So right away I began work. My first task was to think about what I and other people enjoyed most about Alphapets: the “hidden” letters, the colors/clothes on the pets and the silly rhymes. I, personally, enjoyed the audiobook version Storyberries.com created! I’m having fun thinking of poetry as pictures with sound now! Here’s a link and the photo below shows where to click for the audio: https://www.storyberries.com/bedtime-stories-alphapets-free-books-online/

To begin Alphapets Too my working process is roughly like this: Here I am looking online for a list of common pets other than cats and dogs. I came up with more than 26! I didn’t realize there were so many “common” house pets that aren’t cats or dogs! And, yes, my studio laptop assistant is helping!

In this photo below, I am writing notes on a pad with my fountain pen. These are very loose notes, I’m just playing. (My studio laptop assistant had another project to work on and so isn’t in the photo.) I’m sitting near a lot of books about writing – and several dictionaries – just in case. 😉

This week I’ll varnish the original Alphapets artwork and hopefully deliver all 26 pieces to the Aurora Gallery for framing in prep for upcoming fine art exhibits. Doing this makes studio space for Alphapets Too production work – and, of course makes my gallery happy!

I’m also hoping this week, after gathering more house pet data, to work more on the poem for Alphapets Too and possibly begin the new artwork. I’m often optimistic about what I can get done within a day – life happens – so it’s possible I may not get new Alphapets Too artwork started. We’ll see. As is my usual in the midst of life happening I will work in short bursts daily and longer snatches of time when possible.

My thought is to do Alphapets Too in the serialized way I did Alphapets: posting on my Instagram my artwork (along with other art projects also in progress) as I get them done and then next Monday posting a summary of Alphapets Too progress here on my blog. Here on my blog I can describe more of my thought process than I do on Instagram. Anyway, we’ll see what I get done…

Posting here on my blog once a week seems manageable. Hope to see you next Monday! Thanks for riding this fun ride again with me!!

Oh, and here’s the link for print and ebooks of Alphapets by Clancy. You can catch up by following the trail of the creation of Alphapets here.

Alphapets: U, V, W and X

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The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters U, V, W and X. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Udall grabs steaks right off the hob

Violet hopes for corn on the cob

Winston exudes a certain noblesse

Xavier’s in love with jolly Jo Beth

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a Labrador Retriever, a Boston Terrier, a Greyhound and a Scottish Fold cat.

Udall, the Labrador, was inspired by a friends dog – who, though he’s had professional training, still occasionally steals unattended food off counter tops. Then, after licking his lips, sports a sweet face of innocence.

While thinking of food I remembered a long ago visit my spouse and I made to Boston Massachusetts. In one of the pubs there I had the best grilled corn on the cob I’ve ever had. As I recall it was served alongside beans and roasted zucchini. Sage and onion are in my memory too. And the need for a second cloth napkin. That corn on the cob…wow!! I’d hoped for more even after we’d finished our entire meal. Naturally such a delicious Boston memory had to be served by a Boston Terrier.

Winston is a real-life therapy dog. A friend nominated him for a portrait due to his heroic achievements as a canine therapist. He’s had some serious training – that’s why I depicted him in a uniform with medals.

Scottish Fold cats, the very few I’ve met anyway, seemed loving sorts generally but were especially attached to their particular human. One of the cats was a trained therapy cat.

As I write this blog post I realize I thought a lot this week about pet training, pet therapy and food. Isn’t it curious how the mind associates things?

Anyway, this artwork, too, was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. I do these portraits on board, size 3.5 x 2.5 inches. The original art will be framed…eventually … and be a miniature art exhibit at the Aurora Gallery. But due to the current pandemic I’m full-steam ahead on both a print and ebook version of my Alphapets.

I’ve said it before: Art, in my opinion, is there to give us solace, to help us get thru whatever is happening in life. So I’ve no grand plan with all this work other than to make myself and others smile.

The previous set of letters is here. As I said earlier, my Alphapets project is still aimed to be an art exhibit; both the framing and exhibit eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ – this all began as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. Not waiting till the exhibit happens tho…I’m going ahead with making a book of Alphapets! I enjoy creating books as an art object and as a way of extending the gallery exhibit space.

The rest of the poem will be revealed in next Monday’s post as I get the last two pieces of this project done. More of my artist books are here.

See you soon with the remaining English alphabet letters – and details about the book!

Alphapets: M N O and P

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The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters M, N, O and P. Here’s my abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Maxine masters walking the beam

Nan enjoys cheering the team

Olive has a mysterious mystique

Pia loves long runs by the creek

Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):

I did portraits of a calico cat, a Lhasa Apso dog, a white cat and a Weimaraner. A friend brought to my attention that I’d not done a calico cat yet and gave me reference photos and the name Maxine. I combined those fun fur pattern thoughts with thoughts of a neighborhood cat who is skilled at walking atop our back fence as if it were a balance beam in a gymnastic competition.

Another friend has a sweet Lhasa Apso and this friend really is a wonderful cheerleader for a nearby town and their high school team. It was fun to think of my friend and imagine a dog cheering…

In mind while doing the white cat portrait: Recently I saw a video of Queen Elizabeth’s address to Great Britain and I thought of other female world leaders and their calming, informative addresses to their nations. I also thought of heroines in books and movies.

Before quarentine when we were able to walk along the riverwalk in town sometimes a lady would run past us with her Weimaraner. They ran so silently, smoothly, joyfully together it was a fun sight. That was fun to think of while painting a grayish pink dog.

As is my normal all of this artwork was created with ink, gouache and color pencil. Last Monday I wrote about needing to buy art supplies. Happy to report that I solved that issue and posted about it on my Instagram page (@artistclancy)

If you’re just joining the fun the previous post is here. My Alphapets project is aiming to be both an art exhibit and an artist book. With framing eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. I want to eventually bring them all together in a book – with my abecedarian poem. More of poem will be revealed on each Monday’s post as I get more of the artwork done. More of my artist books are here.

Looking forward to seeing you next Monday with more letters…

Alphapets: A B C and D

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The Alphapets portrait project this week is brought to you by the letters A, B, C and D. My abecedarian poem to go with these letters and artwork :

Alfred enjoys living on a farm.

Boo rarely causes any harm.

Coco dreams of milkshakes galore.

Dabney bursts through every door.


Here’s the artwork (somewhere on each piece is an alphabetical letter):



I did portraits of a cattle dog/blue heeler, tabby cat, Persian cat and a coon hound. While working thought about the outdoors/farmers markets, the sneakiness of some cats I’ve known, cravings for milkshakes and the exuberant bursts of energy dogs can have.

All of this artwork was created with ink, gouache and color pencil.


If you’re just joining us the previous post is here. My Alphapets project is aiming to be both an art exhibit and an artist book. With framing eventually done by Aurora Gallery and Frameshop. https://auroragalleryonline.com/ as part of the Ambassador for Small Frames program. I want to eventually bring them all together in a book – with my abecedarian poem. More of poem will be revealed on each Monday’s post as I get more of the artwork done. More of my artist books are here. Anyway, see you next Monday with more letters…