Salute Sunday

Salute Sunday: Ed Emberly!

Fingerprint Primeval, Copyright 2015 Liz Vitale

Fingerprint Primeval, Copyright 2015 Liz Vitale

Today I salute Ed Emberly, who authored so many books I devoured as a child. His drawing books broke everything down into simple shapes and instructed you to follow along, and to then break loose and play. His little drawings were adorable, and, I imagine, a huge influence on my work, as I enjoy working small.
I especially loved his Thumbprint Drawing Book–I checked it out at the library every time I could— and I bought his later Fingerprint Drawing Book. When my late grandmother was taking care of me on workdays, she took me to work with her(she was the office manager at a local truck repair company)and I got to sit in a time capsule of a 1940’s office, virtually unchanged, and she would give me a red stamp pad and paper and pens since she knew I was really into the fingerprint drawings from the Emberly book. I spent many happy hours drawing and doodling, and yes, getting red ink on my clothes.

So, Mr. Emberly, thank you for many enjoyable hours as a kid and, as an adult, now that I’ve been able to seek out my favorites of your books on Amazon!


Salute Sunday! James Gurney!

Stinktooth:Art by Liz Vitale, Character by James Gurney

Stinktooth:Art by Liz Vitale, Character by James Gurney

Once I discovered the Dinotopia books, I wanted to know all I could about the author. It really wasn’t until the internet came  along that I could learn about Mr. Gurney and his creative processes. James Gurney is an artist and author best known for his illustrated Dinotopia book series, which is presented as a 19th-century explorer’s journal from an island utopia inhabited by humans and dinosaurs working and living cooperatively and cohesively.


Salute Sunday: Leonard Nimoy


I almost have no words considering the passing of Leonard Nimoy that has not been covered already. One of my best friends in high school, Rebekah, got me into Star Trek reruns in the 80’s, and she even got me reading Star Trek novels. We wrote our own fanfiction, adding our own wacked-out characters to the mix. The fun, the joy, the complete carefree nerdiness was wonderful. Although McCoy was my favorite character of the Enterprise-faring crew,as we have many similarities(and Bekah was definitely the Spock to my McCoy),Spock was a close second, and I think one of my favorite episodes was this one,Assignment Earth, in which Captain Kirk and Spock carry out a reconnaissance mission to Earth in the distant past of 1968. There, they meet many people and one cat, Isis, who fascinates Spock.
Animals are excellent judges of character, and any cat lover can immediately see that this kitty thinks Mr. Nimoy is pretty keen–the squinting eyes and kneady paws are the clear indicator. Kitties and humans agree–Nimoy was an exceptional human being.

President’s Day: Why Abe Lincoln Couldn’t Look You Straight in the Eye


A bit of a late Salute Sunday..

Abraham lover, lawyer, sixteenth president of our grand US of A. Called “Honest Abe”, he had an affliction that kept him from looking you straight and directly in the eye, oddly enough.

Lincoln, like me, had strabismus. In some of his portraits, especially ones in which we view the President straight-on, you can see this. His left eye would to roll upward, especially when he was tired or stressed. News reports of his fiery 1860 presidential election debates with Stephen Douglas describe Lincoln’s eye as “rolling wildly” as he spoke!

Also as in my case(although mine is the left), Lincoln’s dominant right eye did most of the work of seeing, especially for close-up work like reading.

Lincoln’s left eye was set slightly higher in his head than his right, and his left eyelid drooped a bit. He suffered a head injury at age ten when a horse kicked him, which may have resulted in nerve damage and paralysis of the eyelid on that side, but it is unclear whether the strabismus was caused from the accident or was congenital. Lincoln also suffered from double vision at times.

Abe, I know exactly what you had to deal with. After a lifetime of rolling eyes, years of double vision and three surgeries, at last my eyes are 98% fixed. It’s a shame they couldn’t correct the problem in your day.

Salute Sunday: Dian Fossey


Digit, Copyright 2015 Liz Vitale

Today I salute Dian Fossey, who made history when she undertook an extensive study of endangered mountain gorillas in the mountain forests of Rwanda over a period of 18 years. Her research center was named Karisoke,located between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke, and named by combining the names of the two mountains.