A Quick Art Stop: Pamela Zagarenski

h1 June 1st, 2009 by jules

This is art from illustrator Pamela Zagarenski. I fell in love with her detailed, intricate, folk-art-esque mixed-media art—with the highly stylized characters therein—the first time I saw it. Have you all seen Joyce Sidman’s Red Sings from Treetrops: A Year in Colors, the most recent illustrated title of Pamela’s? It was released by Houghton Mifflin in April, and it is a wonder. It’s a poetry collection which celebrates the changing of the seasons — but through the lens of color. And I mean color in ways you hadn’t considered experiencing it — hearing, tasting, and even smelling it.

In SPRING,
Red sings
from treetops:
cheer-cheer-cheer,
each note dropping
like a cherry
into my ear…

And, in Summer, “Yellow melts / everything it touches . . . / smells like butter, / tastes like salt.”

If you’re not familiar with Sidman’s work, you’ll be treating yourself to read more of her titles. Check out these links for more information: Tricia’s Poetry-Makers interview with Joyce from April at The Miss Rumphius Effect; Elaine Magliaro’s 2008 interview at Wild Rose Reader; and Kelly Fineman’s 2007 interview at the Cybils’ site. Perhaps one day I can convince Joyce to stop by 7-Imp.

As for Pamela, she’ll be visiting for a seven-questions-over-breakfast interview soon. For this interview, she sent over one hundred samples of her illustration. Yes, one hundred. For which I give seven loud woo hoo!s. While she’s finishing up that interview, she gave me permission to post some images today, ’cause I can’t help it. (These two, incidentally, are not from the title mentioned today.)

Don’t forget to check out Red Sings… The very pages in this one sing. It’s a truly beautiful book.

Here’s another image from Pamela — for those of you who know what it’s like to be close buds with the strange. Before breakfast even. Enjoy.

* * * * * * *

All illustrations © 2009 and courtesy of Pamela Zagarenski. All rights reserved.





14 comments to “A Quick Art Stop: Pamela Zagarenski”

  1. You do realize this is a tease, Jules..? Soon? How soon? I would totally be crying foul if I weren’t so busy waiting for the Breakfast interview. And please post all 98 illustrations you have left :)

    I also second your recommendation of Red Sings- it is a gorgeous book, both text and illustration. I had to buy my own copy since it will take me longer than I have from the library to see everything there is to see in it! LOVELY Book. Can’t wait to see more of Pamela’s work here… soon, right??


  2. Hi, Boni! Yeah, I think it should be relatively soon. I don’t want to put too much pressure on Pamela, who is finishing up a few things — more important things she’s got going on right now. I told her to take as long as she needs, but I bet it won’t be too long.

    YES, I’ll post all the other illustrations. Of course! Of course! They’re beautiful.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Glad to see Boni already called you out about that tantalizing “soon.” Harrumph. But yeah, it’ll be better when we’ve got Pamela to ourselves. :)

    I really want to know about the artwork which opens and closes this post. Especially the latter: “a sudden friend to the strange,” indeed. I know the feeling (although in my case the friendship was much more gradual).

    Do you know I actually downloaded that closing image just so I could turn it upside-down and enlarge it, trying to figure out what word(s) those letters on the character’s sweater might make up? (Answer: NO word(s), as far as I can tell!)


  4. John, a lot of the art Pamela sent has quotes from Norris on it. And I’m not sure where the opening quote is from (in the first piece). I’ll try to find out more!


  5. Oh, I want that last image/quote on my wall.


  6. Hello! Just discovered your gorgeous blog and already I’m jotting down titles on my “to read” list. RED SINGS FROM TREETOPS sounds absolutely perfect to share with my students during our beloved poetry study. Thanks for the lovely recommendation!


  7. Rawley, I know a certain someone who would love your blog. I’m going to email her the link now. Thanks for visiting.


  8. Ooh, pretty and eye-catching.


  9. Jules,

    I absolutely LOVE Pamela’s illustrations in RED SINGS FROM TREETOPS! As you know, I’m a real admirer of Joyce Sidman’s poetry. I think RED SINGS FROM TREETOPS is an excellent example of a perfect marriage of text and art in an illustrated book for children.

    I thought Pamela also did a great job with her illustrations for Sidman’s THIS IS JUST TO SAY and Maxine Kumin’s MITES TO MASTODONS.

    I’m really looking forward to Pamela’s 7-Imp interview!


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