Awed and Inspired – Mazza Summer Day 2

Lynne Avril never intended to become a picture book illustrator, even though a very insightful sixth grade teacher helped her to see herself as an artist.

Even after she obtained an art degree, Lynne still found that her work was eclectic, and she found it difficult to nail down a style. But that’s not too surprising. Lynne herself is eclectic. She draws. She paints. She plays bass guitar in a blues band. She lives in three cities that all start with the letter “p.” (I’ll let you guess. Two are in the U.S. One is overseas… think Eiffel and art.)

Perhaps because of her affinity for living in different locales, Lynne’s studio travels with her. Everything she needs to sketch and paint fits neatly into a little box so that Lynne can become a part of whatever she’s doing by drawing it.

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 Lynne Avril adds India ink to an acrylic painting of Amelia Bedelia

Lynne’s life’s work as an artist has led her down paths she’d never imagined. As the illustrator of the new Amelia Bedelia series, written by the original author Peggy Parish’s nephew, Herman Parish, Lynne is enjoying bringing back to life one of children’s literature’s most beloved characters.

Right on Lynne’s heels today came author/editor Margery Cuyler. She shared with Mazza Summer Conference attendees the wisdom that comes from years as a children’s book editor, writing books for young readers,  understanding the importance of play, and childhood as one of nine children.

Perhaps the greatest words of wisdom came from Margery’s father, who told her “Storytelling is an act of love — you should never keep a story a secret. You should share it.”  And share she has. Generously.

Margery Cuyler talked to the audience about inspiration, which is actually the act of breathing. From a writer’s perspective, Margery says, “Inspiration is when the gods of imagination breathe upon the writer.”

Looking at her life’s work in children’s literature, I’d say the gods have breathed generously upon you, Margery.

Thank you for breathing upon us today.  We are inspired.

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The inspiring Margery Cuyler.

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