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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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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.