Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Every Day in May: 31

Anne Shirley

from the Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery


“ 'Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.' ” 

“ 'But if you call me Anne, please call me Anne with an 'e'.' ”

" 'Marilla, isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? ' "  


Pretty much my favorite literary character, ever.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Every Day in May: 31 - not the end!

Note: This is not the end! I will be painting today, and will post my 31st literary lady tomorrow. 

Hermione Granger

from the fantastic Harry Potter series by the also fantastic J. K. Rowling


“ 'Books! And cleverness! There are more important things — friendship and bravery and — oh Harry — be careful!' "

“ 'Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have,' said Hermione nastily, picking up her quill again.” 

" 'It's "levi-OH-sa" not "levi-oh-SAR." ' "


Oh, Hermione. She's smart, clever, loves books, and is compassionate and brave. She is one of the main reasons Harry can accomplish half of what he does in the story - but she's so much more than just a walking encyclopedia. Her crusade for the plight of the marginalized is so great that she not only begins a group to raise awareness - the Society for the Protection of Elvish Welfare ("S.P.E.W.") - but she then works to create laws to make just that happen. She leaves everything behind to help rid the world of evil, because for her there is no other way to be. 

In a world where girls are often shown as passive, over-sexualized, boy-crazy, or stupid - or worse! hiding their intelligence so they're less threatening - Hermione Granger is a brilliant breath of fresh air. She's been described as a feminist icon and I'm beyond thrilled that my whole family loves her. Hermione is a role model for intelligence and striving to always do your best, no matter where you come from or who you annoy in the process. And her loyalty and compassion are just as important. She stands up there with any classic heroine you can name as being an important literary figure.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Every Day in May: 30

Jo March
from the Little Women books by Louisa May Alcott

“ 'I want to do something splendid...something heroic or wonderful that won't be forgotten after I'm dead. I don't know what, but I'm on the watch for it and mean to astonish you all someday.' ” 
“ 'I like good strong words that mean something…' "
“ 'I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.' ”
Josephine "Jo" March is one of my favorite literary characters of all time. She's strong, creative, and defies convention. She loves with all her heart and gives everything in life her all, whether it's nursing her sick sister Beth, romping with her next door neighbor Laurie, or cutting off her hair to raise money for her ailing father's recovery. She writes to amuse her sisters and friends, to make a living for her family, and most importantly, because she is an artist. She must write to live. And when it comes to love, she makes no compromises either - and follows her heart to have the love and life that feeds her soul. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Every Day in May: 29

Pippi Longstocking
From the books by Astrid Lindgren 


"‘He’s the strongest man in the world.’

‘Man, yes,’ said Pippi, ‘but I am the strongest girl in the world, remember that.' "

" 'Don’t you worry about me. I’ll always come out on top.' "

" ' I don’t suffer from freckles,' said Pippi.
Then the lady understood, but she took one look at Pippi and burst out, 'But, my dear child, your whole face is covered with freckles!'
'I know it,” said Pippi, “but I don’t suffer from them. I love them. Good morning.'
She turned to leave, but when she got to the door she looked back and cried, 'But if you should happen to get in any salve that gives people more freckles, then you can send me seven or eight jars.


Pippi is a true free spirit. She lives alone, makes her own clothes, and has a horse and a monkey named Mr. Nelson. She washes herself and her clothes at the same time in the same tub, and then pours the entire tub on the floor, ties brushes on her feet and skates around the room to scrub the floor. Her cheerful spirit and enthusiastic attitude make for great adventures. It's no wonder Pippi Longstocking has charmed children and adults alike for years.

Every Day in May: 28

Little My

from the Moomin books by Tove Jannson


"Little My took a deep breath in through her nose and let it out between her teeth in a very unpleasant manner, which meant to say, 'I’ve never heard anything so stupid in all my life.'

" 'Where’s Mother?' he asked. 'Somebody ate her,' replied Little My untruthfully. 'Have you any food?' " 

" 'She can't get angry, that's what's wrong with her. You’ll never get your own face unless you learn to fight. Believe me.' ”


I have painted Little My before. What to say about her? She is sassy and feisty and totally unrepentant. My oldest loved her, and I think that one of the reasons is because she says all the crazy things we can't, and still be welcomed in polite company. To a very quiet and well-behaved child, Little My is the perfect form of self-expression.

She's incredibly small, but makes herself heard and her opinions known so that she can't go unnoticed. In one of the stories she's in, Little My meets an invisible girl who's sent to the Moomin family to rest and hopefully become visible again. Instead of letting her relaxing in peace and quiet, Little My urges her to be loud and feisty until eventually she regains her normal form. Little My is a good reminder to make your voice heard and to express your feelings.... although I'd stop short of the biting.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Every Day in May: 27

Strega Nona

from the Strega Nona series by the wonderful Tomie daPaola


"Bubble, bubble pasta pot, 
Boil me some pasta to fill me up.
I'm hungry and it's time to sup
So boil me some pasta to fill me up."

"The punishment must fit the crime."


I never considered doing a character from a picture book until my mom mentioned that my sister Mary had been hoping I'd do Strega Nona. And then I thought, of course!

Strega Nona means "Grandma Witch" in Italian. She cures people's ailments and solves their problems. She's the go-to lady in her little town in Calabria. When her assistant decides he can do magic too with her enchanted pasta pot, he gets the entire town into trouble. But Strega Nona is on hand to save the village and make sure the punishment fits the crime. (Don't you love how I'm trying to not give spoilers on a picture book? But it's such a wonderful one.)

Strega Nona throughout the books is wise, magical, adorable, and Italian. That was something I really loved as a kid - this was our book. Sure, other stories had beautiful princesses that were exotic and beautiful. We had an Italian grandma who was a peaceful force for goodness and still kicked butt.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Every Day in May: 26

Tricia "Trillian" McMillian

from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams

" 'Probability factor of one to one.... we have normality. I repeat we have normality.' She turned her microphone off - then turned it back on - with a slow smile and continued: 'Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem. Please relax. You will be sent for soon.' "

" 'I don't think I can stand that robot much longer, Zaphod.' "

" 'Tricia McMillian?' he said. 'What are you doing here?'
" 'Same as you," she said. 'I hitched a lift. After all, with a degree in math and another in astrophysics, what else was there to do? It was either that or the dole queue again on Monday.' "


Trillian is a great character. She's a mathematician and an astrophysicist, and takes the opportunity to jump planet when offered the chance. She is smart, funny, and logical, and is the much-needed voice of reason when all of the incredibly wacky events in the books take place.

Her depiction here with her two white mice, Benjy and Frankie (who incidentally are really aliens who created a supercomputer, but I'm getting ahead of myself) is based on her appearance in the books, and not the movie or tv series. I'm still wrapping my mind around that too.

If I had planned things out better, I would have posted Trillian yesterday for Towel Day, the day honoring Douglas Adams.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Every Day in May: 25

Molly Grue

from The Last Unicorn by the fabulous Peter S. Beagle


" 'She is the last. She is the last unicorn in the world.'

" 'She would be.' Molly sniffed. 'It would be the last unicorn in the world that came to Molly Grue.' Molly said, 'It's all right. I forgive you.'

" 'Unicorns are not to be forgiven.' The magician felt himself grow giddy with jealousy, not only of the touch but of something like a secret that was moving between Molly and the unicorn. 'Unicorns are for beginnings,' he said, 'for innocence and purity, for newness. Unicorns are for young girls.'

"Molly was stroking the unicorn's throat as timidly as though she were blind. She dried her grimy tears on the white mane. 'You don't know much about unicorns,' she said."


I had drawn Molly previously in an Illustration Friday entry. I've mentioned about my favorite book in middle school; The Last Unicorn is my current favorite book and has been for quite some time. It's got humor and heart but it reads like poetry.

It wasn't until I read the book as I was older that I got Molly Grue. Really, really understood her. She feels that the best of her life has passed her by. The part of the book where she meets the unicorn for the first time and cries, "How dare you, how dare you come to me now, when I am this?" brings me to tears every time.

She's described as bony, pointed, sharp. She makes bold statements about what she feels is true and doesn't mince words or suffer fools. But as the book goes on, and she has more contact with the unicorn and her plight, she becomes softer and begins to allow herself to open up. It's a beautiful story and she's a bright and wonderful part of it. If you haven't read it, or have only seen the movie, do yourself a favor and pick it up today.

Bonus shot - the autographed hardcover edition Paul got me for Christmas one year.