John Himmelman bio, continued

In 2001, I took on one of the more exciting jobs in my career as a muralist for the Museum of Science in Boston.  The backdrops and large mural are of different habitats for a fascinating exhibit called A Bird's World.

Throughout the year I lead a number of nature walks for a variety of organizations in a variety of settings and habitats.      

My wife Betsy teaches high school art and is also a potter. She exhibits and sells her work as Promethea Potters. I am happy to say that my 2 children, Jeffrey(33) and Elizabeth(30) share many of my interests, including reading, writing, and creating art.  Jeff graduated from my alma mater, the School of Visual Arts, and is an art director and illustrator.  Here's his website.  Lizzie graduated from University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  She founded Friends Fur-ever and, more importantly, she and her husband gave Betsy and I a grandchild! Her name is Alice, named after Alice in Alice in Wonderland!

I have a rat terrier - Jimmy, a Jack Russell terrier -  Madigan, and a Calico cat - Chloe, to keep me company while I work in my studio.
In July of 91, we moved to Killingworth, CT - this is our 2nd home.  Killingworth's a semi-rural town, and that suits us nicely.  Betsy's dream had always been to live on a cul-de-sac.  Mine was to live in the woods.  A few years later we moved to our current home, but stayed in Killingworth - it's surrounded by woods at the end of a cul-de-sac.

Not a drawing, painting, or manuscript goes off to an editor without input from my wife Betsy. Being married to an Art Teacher works out very well.  When you work alone, you need an honest art critic who pulls no punches!  

Betsy's best art advice to me?:

1) Don't fight the watercolors.
2) Loosen up!
3) Throw some random colors around.
4) Don't argue with your wife.

As it turned out, my decision to become an artist and writer did leave me with time to work with animals. A number of years ago, I spent the summers rehabilitating orphaned and injured wildlife with an organization called The Nature Connection.  In addition to the life long friends I made, a book also came out of the experience - The Animal Rescue Club, Harper Collins. 

I've been writing and illustrating children's books for over 35 years now, and have over 80 books floating around out there. When my schedule allows, I teach the craft to adults serious about getting published.  A good number of students have gotten published, which is as exciting to me as getting one of my own books accepted! In 2014 I started a critique group for writers and illustrators of children's books. The creative energy in the room is addictive!

I also visit many schools and libraries throughout the year to talk to kids about the writing/illustrating life.  In addition to these programs, I have presentations, for adults and/or kids, on Amphibians, Birds, Butterflies, Moths, Crickets and Katydids, and general Insects.  The Powerpoint presentations are an offshoot of my passion for nature photography.  What's the sense in having all those pictures if you can't share them?  Many of my photos of moths were used in the previously mentioned moth book and new ones appear at my website Moths in a Connecticut Yard

Throughout the year I get together with a group of friends to scour the area for the wild things that interest us.  We call ourselves the Corps of Discovery, after Lewis and Clark's expedition.  We cover about 20 feet and hour.  

I get together with other friends throughout the summer to play in a little bocce ball league and I'm in a couple of regular poker games. Poker, to me, is like sitting around a campfire with friends - shooting the breeze, tossing sticks into the flame (or chips in the pot) - always a good time.  
I am a martial artist and co-founder of Green Hill Martial Arts. We teach Combat Hapkido (the "Science of Self-Defense") and Jun Fan Gung Fu/Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee's "Way of the Intercepting Fist"). Visit our website here.

When I'm home, and not working, I spend a lot of time playing the guitar and recording music no one will ever hear....    

I'm really into Alternative/Indie music - Radiohead, Sparklehorse, Mellowdrone, The Strokes, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Never, Death Cab For Cutie, Grandaddy, ILL Lit, Midlake, Spoon, Unbunny, Richard Buckner, Calexico, Coldplay, and Wilco, are among my many many favorites.  

Every night, I push away the problems of the day, and the ones awaiting me in the next day, by reading myself to sleep.  A good fantasy or sci-fi novel is the best escape around and I alternate those with books on world history, the cosmos, and natural history.  

Some of our Corps of Discovery afield
Promethea Potters pottery