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Arting and Stuff

1. Decide on a theme. (In this case: Birds in Beards 2: Dead Poets.)

2. Research. Poets? Poems? Birds?

3. Decide on a subject. (In this case: John Burroughs.)

4. Decide on an animal. In this case, a Cardinal (because it is a snow bird, and Burroughs had a poem about snow birds).

5. Sketch in pencil.

6. Draw in pen.

7. Erase pencil.

8. Maybe I put it into a coloring book. And maybe I burn it! It all depends. Artistic Temperament. It happens.

P.S. There were two new lambs this morning: both female. I am so happy about that. They are both black— top hats! Felted top hats! This is what we will make with their wool, if they survive and thrive.

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Name a Dead Poet Who Had a Handsome Beard

So far I’ve got:

  1. William Shakespeare
  2. Christopher Marlowe
  3. Walt Whitman
  4. Allen Ginsberg 
  5. Shel Silverstein
  6. Alfred Lord Tennyson
  7. Henry David Thoreau
  8. Rabindranath Tagore
  9. Dante Gabriel Rossetti 
  10. D.H. Lawrence
  11. Luís Vaz de Camóes
  12. Jim Morrison 
  13. Robert Browning

And a recommendation to read this (formerly) obscure book: 

All of this is, of course, for Birds in Beards 2: Dead Poets Edition, a new coloring book for adults. (No matter how great I make it, I don’t think I could ever make it cooler looking than Poets Ranked by Beard Weight.)

Is there a dead poet whom you would like to see drawn with a bird in his beard? If so, it is time now to leave his name in the comments section. 

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Inspired by Oleanna Cunneen, I created a border

In researching the history of Mount Horeb for the troll coloring book, I learned about this woman Oleanna Cunneen. She was of Norwegian descent, and she did a lot of art in a very traditional, Norwegian style. She was the first troll creator in Mount Horeb. Her trolls were about a foot high, usually, and were displayed in store fronts around town. (aside: She even sent one to then President Ronald Reagan!) When she painted on wooden boards, she often used a rosemaling border.

Troll painting by Oleanna Cunneen, with Rosemaling border.

I wanted to incorporate that into my coloring book, The Trolls of Mount Horeb, some sort of Oleanna Cunneen-inspired border, so I ended up doing this around the poetry. I then realized (a bit too late) that if I surround the poetry with something to color, then I have back-to-back coloring, which it appears colorists don’t care for much. The whole point of the poems is so that every other page will not have coloring. Also, I like writing poetry. But, anyway, it seems too late to change it. Sorry not sorry? Maybe the borders will only bleed through to around the outer edges of the trolls, and then the trolls will have a border, too. Though, probably not. Probably, this is just a big goof.

The border I’m putting around my poems in the new Trolls of Mount Horeb Coloring Book.

Maybe it’s a huge mistake. Maybe, it’s the best thing ever! Probably something in between.

Either way, doesn’t look like Rosemaling until you color it.

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The Knitting Troll

I’m working on the next coloring book- trolls! They are all based the real troll sculptures in Mount Horeb. Feel free to print this one and color it, or share it with friends. 

Side note: Professor Batty came to visit a few months ago, and we went to the Cat and Crow together (the yarn shop where this wool sculpture of a troll stands). He introduced himself as “Shoshanah’s internet stalker.” Melissa and Rebecca seemed amused. Professor Batty then said that he had purchased a skein of yarn in their shop there, years ago.

“Oh, thank goodness,” said Melissa. “We would have gone out of business, without that.”


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New Take on the Mad Hatter

Jill won the contest. 

“What’s your favorite animal?” I asked Jill.

“I am obsessed with Alice in Wonderland, so maybe a Chesire cat, or white rabbit, would be very cool.”

I drew Jill as the Mad Hatter: 

If you want to win a contest and have your portrait drawn, please join my coloring group, Artsy Fartsy Coloring with Shoshanah Marohn. 
Update: she colored it and it’s so cool! 

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The Flamingos, They Will KILL You!

THEY WILL KILL YOUWhen I started my new coloring group, “Artsy Fartsy Coloring with Shoshanah Marohn,” I kicked it off with a contest. The prize was to have your portrait drawn in a line-drawing style that you could color. Well, Marilyn won, and she requested that I draw her with a flamingo. There’s a story behind the request. In Marilyn’s own words,

“Knowing how much I love her Artwork, I asked if It would be possible, to add a Flamingo to the portrait, and here’s why….
I’m the mother of two grown, adult Sons. My eldest, once put me in a really funny situation while visiting our local Zoo. He was about 4 at the time. We were touring the Zoo, with some friends, and when we reached the Flamingo exhibit, my son lost his mind!! It was BANANAS!! My 4 yr old was running around shoo-ing people away from the area, yelling, “Go! GO! RUN!!” and he was actually clearing the crowd! When I finally scooped him up, and got him calm, I asked him,
“What in the world is going on, Ty!!?
He looked at me, complete seriousness all over his little face, and said,
“Those will KILL you, Mommy! They look pretty, so pretty, but they are NOT safe!!”
It was one of the funniest moments…but he was sincerely freaked out. Over the years, the story was told again and again, and he would laugh. It became ” a thing” for me to warn him away from certain things, by saying, “Those will KILL you!” Or “They are NOT safe.” It made us both smile. I still send him something Flamingo re-lated every once in awhile, lol.
Shoshanah incorporated this funny memory for me, in my awesome prize!”


I’m now considering creating a whole coloring book: portraits of colorists with wacky animals, and I’ll call it, “THOSE WILL KILL YOU!” just so I can use this picture as the cover. It has great potential.

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Win A Portrait of Yourself!

I’ve started a Facebook group now, “Artsy Fartsy Coloring with Shoshanah Marohn.” In order to really start it off right, I’m doing a contest!

CONTEST: Let’s kick off this new group with a contest! Win a free colorable (pen and ink) PORTRAIT OF YOURSELF, done by me, Shoshanah Marohn!

To Enter:

  1. Join the Facebook group Artsy Fartsy Coloring with Shoshanah Marohn.
  2. Post a picture you colored from a book by Shoshanah Marohn onto the “Artsy Fartsy Coloring with Shoshanah Marohn” group page. (Or, if your book is still in the mail, you can’t find your book, you can’t afford a book: color this picture and post.)Chris Wagoner

When: Post the picture by noon on March 2nd, 2017.

Why: Because it’s fun, silly.

How to increase your odds: Post more than one picture! Every picture is an entry. Colored pictures on this page make me happy.

Share this wherever you like.

Winner will be drawn at random.

Let the games begin…


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When Your Work Outlives You

The Viking Troll is one of three trolls made by the late Greg Hartman. The other two were: a troll smoking a pipe and a troll giving the peace sign (the trolls seem to give hints to his actual character in real life). The peace troll and the pipe smoking troll have moved to Maine, where their owner now lives. But we in the Village of Mount Horeb can still enjoy the Viking Troll, who stands in front of the Grandstay Hotel (“the New Hotel,” as we locals call it):

The Viking Troll by Greg Hartman

So, Greg Hartman did pass away, but I still felt like researching this troll a bit. My friend Lori, thankfully, knew all about it, and so this afternoon, I found myself at the Main Street Pub and Grill, talking with Hartman’s daughter, Hailey. Hailey is only nineteen, but she has the maturity of someone who has lost one parent and is looking after another. (She talked about convincing her mom to drink fruit smoothies for her health.) Hailey seemed really happy to know that her dad’s troll would be in a coloring book that children would be coloring. It seems to give her some satisfaction to see her father’s art live on.

It got me thinking, about art and mortality. This week, two fellow bloggers have died (Arbroath and Jacqueline). But their blogs are out there, indefinitely, voices in the night. Cracks of light in the darkness. I find that comforting.

I’m also glad that I’m publishing all of my silly works of art, so I, too, can leave things out there, indefinitely, living lives of their own. They’re like children, only more obedient. I’ll be long dead, and in a bargain book bin somewhere, a person will pick up a copy of “Birds in Beards Coloring Book” or “Avoiding Sex with Frenchmen” and say, “What the -?” Imagining that scene lightens my fear of death.

Greg Hartman, wherever you are, I hope I can do your troll justice.