2020-12-02

Sweet success

by KEITH CORCORAN

  • <p>SUBMITTED PHOTO</p><p>The cover of the children&#8217;s book illustrated by a Lunenburg County artist.</p>

Getting the chance to illustrate a children's book is no longer a fairy tale for Bayswater artist Sonya Beeler.

The Lunenburg County resident, who knows her way around a paint brush, saw more than two dozen of her specially crafted images of various sizes merged into How the Blueberry Got its Crown, a picture book for youngsters.

This was challenging work for Beeler, as the project consumed most of her 2019. Book publisher, Patricia Thomas of Hubbards area's WindyWood Publishing, was intrigued by Beeler's creative talents.

Some visual material was tweaked here and there to match the ideas of author Suzanne Sheehan, and Beeler was left excited by the finished product and encouraged by the experience of her first full book illustration.

The glossy-covered children's fairy tale is 40 pages and presents a narrative about two kids who are drawn from picking blueberries for their mother to help a fairy princess find a valued possession. They're then rewarded by the fairy queen.

"The timing couldn't be more perfect for Nova Scotia to get a book about these two little Nova Scotia kids," Beeler told LighthouseNOW. "They find a way to help, and magical things happen. I think Nova Scotians show we do that too; it's about the Nova Scotia spirit."

Beeler worked hard to creatively match images to the text.

"What do I want a fairy to look like, and what does a Nova Scotia fairy look like?"

Beeler bought 20 canvasses, along with a good brush, and put her ideas on display. Her interests have always been in the acrylic creations of animals, people and scenery.

Oxford, Cumberland County, is considered the wild blueberry capital of Canada, and the fruit is a major crop in the province.

"I've been in love with blueberries my whole life," Beeler added. "I think for many Nova Scotians it's a theme of our lives."

Beeler and Sheehan included beloved family recipes at the end of the book, while the Wild Blueberry Growers Association of Nova Scotia supplied images and details about its harvesting and fields.

Meanwhile, the latest body of work inspired Beeler to dig through her personal collection of work and start creating children's book projects of her own. It's something she's previously considered.

"Life is short," she said, "you might as well do what you love."

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