May 17, 2013
May 3, 2013
April 18, 2013
Happy Tree Press is happy to announce that we are supporting the Arbor Day Foundation’s program: “Replanting Our National Forests.”
Arbor Day was created by Julius Sterling Morton who like Johnny Appleseed had a life long passion and mission for planting and cultivating trees. In the mid-19th century, Julius and his wife Caroline moved from the midwest to the barren landscape of Nebraska. They deeply missed the rolling forests of Michigan so the Mortons started planting trees and shrubs on their land.
In 1872, J. Sterling Morton brought his seed of an idea- “Arbor Day” to the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture and it was an unexpected success. On the first Arbor Day, more than one million trees were planted. Nebraska chose April 22, Morton’s birthday, as their official day of celebration. Today Arbor Day is rooted in all 50 states in America plus many countries around the world.
March 27, 2013
March 15, 2013
Where do you go to take a break from the rain or snow?
In Seattle, it's great to go on a mini sun trip to the Volunteer Park Conservatory. It’s a beautiful building and so cheerful inside with all the blooming, colorful flowers and fresh, plant air. You feel like you’re outside but you stay warm and dry on a rainy day.
The Volunteer Park Conservatory celebrated it’s 100 year birthday last year. It’s the crown jewel of the Olmstead brothers Volunteer Park which is seated high on a vast hill in Seattle. Around the park there’s architectural splendor from the turn of the last century- a series of impressive mansions.
I’m taking a watercolor class with Jan Morris. She’s an enthusiastic and resourceful teacher. I have been trying to loosen up my brushwork and Jan has been a big help.
January 4, 2013
The wild wild west! Before the Space Age came to Seattle it was all about the wild west. Entrepreneur Buford Seals dreamed of a western themed shopping complex and in 1953, he hired illustrator Lewis Nasmyth to design a gas station for it.
“Make it really, really different.”
And Lewis did.
For 3 years, Hat ‘n’ Boots Tex Gas Station was the most successful station in the state of Washington. It was located near Route 99, the main thoroughfare connecting Seattle to Everett and Tacoma before Interstate 5 was built in the early 60s. The “Hat” protected the gas pumps from rain and sun while the “Boots” were the restrooms. (For girls- the smaller, white boot and for boys- the bigger, darker boot.)
Before much of his dream shopping complex was built, Buford Seals ran out of money. His zest for life and business continued, as he eventually moved to San Diego where he ran a successful and beloved 24 hour candy store. Buford and his wife (a former trapeze artist with Barnum and Bailey Circus) were known to dress up in matching western outfits and drive around town in a white limo.
In 1988, the gas station closed and the Hat ‘n’ Boots although run-down and almost forgotten never lost their magic. In 2003, the Georgetown Community Council raised enough money to move and restore the Hat ‘n’ Boots. They are part of a new complex happily sitting alongside a children’s playground and community garden at Oxbow Park in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle.
November 28, 2012
A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Making of a Tradition by Lee Mendelson with reminiscences by Bill Melendez
10,000 drawings make up this half hour, animated holiday classic that took only 6 months to create. Each frame was hand drawn and painted. No computers.
In 1965, after seeing the preview the 2 CBS executives decided it was a mistake to animate the Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schulz and they decided it would run only one time. Hmmm....
In this book, you’ll read and see how the animation came to life with sketches, storyboards and personal anecdotes. Charles Schulz was fiercely loyal to his producer Lee Mendelson and his animator Bill Melendez. He wouldn’t let anyone else animate his drawings. This book covers the talented jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi too.
Living in a time, when everything seems to get over analyzed (even before it's been completed sometimes) it’s refreshing to read about these creative artists and a simpler process. The three- Charles (nickname Sparky), Lee and Bill met only a few times for two hour meetings during the making of the animation. Lee reflects how Charles would say, “Here’s the story, go do it.” It was a real joy to read this book.
Charles Schulz once told his producer “Charlie Brown is the way I am and Snoopy is the way I wish I could be.”
November 2, 2012
Autumn is a special time in the year and it is so fleeting. The leaves are just beautiful—I want to suspend the moment.