My friend Franny and I go way back. Way, way back. To kindergarten, actually, where we both had a penchant for taking the little rubber farm animals home with us (and not bringing them back). We’ve grown up now and have other yearnings and adventures, including, in Franny’s case, professional photography.
One of her most delightful subjects is a family of loons that raised their young on a lake in New Hampshire where Franny has a house. In fact, she became so enamored of them, she wrote a book for children and adults and illustrated it with pictures she shot while kayaking silently around the lake.
(I am getting to the part about shoes, hang in there.)
Anyway, it struck me that a great present for my lifelong (just about) friend would be a pair of her favorite shoes (Tom’s slip-ons) with loons painted on them by my talented colleague, Destiny Carter.
I sneakily found out Franny’s shoe size from her wife, bought a pair of Tom’s in chambray fabric, which seemed like a good background color, and coaxed/bribed/nagged (just kidding) Destiny into painting them.
One morning at my house, Destiny sat down with a selection of our Neopaque and Lumiere paints – Black, White, Pearl White, Pewter, and Red (for the eye). I was working on my computer at the other side of the room when about half an hour later, Destiny says, “Come take a look.” I figured she had just finished sketching out the shape and details of the bird and wanted to see if I thought it looked okay.
Wrong. She had already finished painting one of the loons, using a photo from Franny’s book as her model!
Then Destiny leafed through the book and chose a different photo for the other shoe, one that showed the mommy (or daddy – hard to tell the difference if you’re not a loon) running across the surface of the water to get up enough speed to lift their heavy body into the air.
The shoes turned out great, and if you watch the video clip below, you’ll see Franny’s reaction!
And here’s the proof that she wears them!
P.S. “Oh Look! Baby Loons” is a wonderful story of how the adult loons raise their chicks from little fluff balls to young adulthood in just three months. Summers are short in the northern waters where loons live, and the babies have to quickly learn how to dive, hunt for food, take off, and fly before the lake they live on freezes!
When that happens, all four loons fly off to spend the winter (or longer) on the ocean. The young adults will actually stay out there for three years. Then they will fly back over land to find a lake of their own, entice a mate, and start their own family. The photos were taken as Franny quietly kayaked around her lake – and they are exquisite! Copies of “Oh Look! Baby Loons” are available at http://franwestphotography.com/.