lost horses return

Being a freelance illustrator, overnight FedEx shipping is a large part of my life. In 10 years of making original art full time for companies all over the country I got very accustomed to the idea that paint drying in my studio one day could be in California 24 hours later.

Then an overnight package FedExed to my agent in Boston went missing. It contained 1/8 of the paintings for Magic Hoofbeats I had just completed, and the cover art for The Water Gift that was to be shown at Society of Illustrators in NYC.

There were weeks of agony as I scrambled to finish the rest of Magic Hoofbeats which was late, and navigate FedEx's astonishingly poor customer service phone ring. The lost art was months of work, and work I'd been unusually happy with. I couldn't fathom repainting it all. A month went by, FedEx admitted the loss, said they'de done a "hub sweep" search at its last known location (Stamford, CT), and they were giving up.

Very luckily, I'd made scans on my little home scanner at a mere 300dpi. Unbelievably Barefoot Books was able to fix them up to print quality and use them in the book. If you look at the Lone Boy story, it's a little fuzzier then the rest, but utterly miraculous considering the source.

I kept imagining that eventually Tom Hanks would show up at my door with the package and a story about a plane crash and a deserted island. But a couple of years have passed and no Tom Hanks.

Now Peaceable Kingdom, a delightful company I've had the pleasure to work with on greeting cards for several years, has taken one of the same scans and made an edited version of the painting for a large poster that's coming out in January. It's not the original, but my wild horses have come back in a form I'm very pleased with. This is one of three posters with PK that will be my first large editions.