© 2024
Local NPR for the Cape, Coast & Islands 90.1 91.1 94.3
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Finding Natural Beauty in an Abandoned Barn

In The Abandoned Barn
Courtesy of Jennifer Morgan

You've heard of being snowed in. For that matter, you've probably experienced it more than once in recent months. Well, artist Jennifer Morgan got snowed out of her studio this winter. She took the opportunity to try something new, and the result is In The Abandoned Barn,a beautiful, new children's nature book.

It all started with owls - watercolor portraits of owls. Watercolor painting was a new medium for Morgan, but a portable one, which made it ideal for her less-than-ideal circumstances. A friend on her roller derby team (yes, roller derby) saw some of her owl paintings and suggested they'd make a great children's book. 

Credit Courtesy of Jennifer Morgan

Morgan had never illustrated, much less written, a book. But she says she didn't want to be forced to fit her art to someone else's words. So, she started in on her own, drawing on her own ardent environmentalism and love of exploring abandoned places.

In The Abandoned Barn came together in just two short months, although there are still a few pages Morgan says need some refinement. Each page features a watercolor portrait of a plant or animal one might find in an abandoned barn - a barn owl, of course, as well as a fox, a spider, fiddlehead ferns, and moss. The circular portraits are surrounded by grey, giving the impression of looking through a peep-hole or magnifying glass. The story is told on the facing pages, with text encircled in what look for all the world to be rainbow-colored coffee stains.

The take-home message of the book is clearly stated on the final page:

The things you find in unexpected places can be unexpectedly fantastic and unexpectedly beautiful … Stay curious and ask lots of questions.

Great advice for anyone, regardless of age.

Morgan is raising money to self-publish In The Abandoned Barn. Here, again, she says she wants the freedom to do things her way - with vegetable dyes on recycled paper. And she already has an idea for her next children's book. She won't give away all the details, but says it will be about bower birds.

Stay Connected