Thursday, October 4, 2012

Admiring: Pioneer Illustrator

"Wood Thrush, Plate II," by Genevieve Jones
(from the Adelson Library at Cornell)

You may have heard the story of Genevieve Jones, and like me, been inspired by her. Now known as "America's Other Audubon," Genevieve was not well known until a book by Joy Kiser came out earlier this year. Genevieve illustrated the nests and eggs of birds in Ohio, and painstakingly produced books of her work with the help of her family and friend.

The more I've read about her, the more I'm interested in her supporting cast of characters—her parents, who spent all their savings to continue Gennie's dream after her death; her brother, who found the nests for her to draw; the hired local women who worked as midwives to hand color the illustrations her mother drew.

I'm also fascinated by the events that caused her to begin her project—a question asked ten years before, a failed engagement, an inspirational visit to Audubon's exhibition. 

The story of Gennie has me thinking about the cost of pursuing a passion, how sometimes the creative process seems like the kingdom of heaven, found hidden in a field. 

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