Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Drawing upon inspration


Drawing upon inspiration
Mother, daughter team up on pregnancy prayer journal


By Patricia D'Ascoli
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS-TIMES


Author Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle and her daughter, illustrator Chaldea Emerson, have a new book coming out this month titled Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine Month Novena for Mothers-To-Be.
When New Milford author Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle turns the pages of her new book, "Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine Month Novena for Mothers-To-Be," she feels a profound sense of fulfillment.
Although this is O'Boyle's third inspirational book to be published in less than two years, "Prayerfully Expecting" has special significance to the mother of five. It was written more than 16 years ago, when the author was on complete bed rest during her difficult fifth pregnancy. And the keepsake prayer journal book is illustrated by her daughter Chaldea Emerson, who drew images of O'Boyle and her five children when they were babies.

It's not the first time the mother and daughter have worked together as writer and illustrator, however. Emerson, who lives in Gaylordsville, provided several illustrations for O'Boyle's second book, "The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home" and also for newspaper articles written by O'Boyle.

"Prayerfully Expecting," which features original prayers written by O'Boyle, transforms a nine-month pregnancy into a nine-month novena. The book was blessed by Pope John Paul II and includes a foreword written by Mother Teresa, with whom O'Boyle shared a special relationship, particularly during her last pregnancy.

"At that time, I knew Mother Teresa very well and she prayed me through that pregnancy. Mother Teresa had a big influence on me with my spirituality and my writing," O'Boyle said. "She encouraged me and praised me and told me it's so important to get this information out there for moms."

Providing inspiration to mothers is central to O'Boyle's writing, and a topic about which she is passionate. As a stay-at-home mom for many years to her children, Justin 30, Chaldea, 25, Jessica, 21, Joseph, 18 and Mary-Catherine, 15, O'Boyle believes that motherhood is a vocation that should be celebrated and appreciated. And her new book seeks to establish pregnancy as a sublime and amazing time in a woman's life.

Emerson, who is a graduate of Temple University, was delighted to collaborate with her mother on this project, which is the first book she has completely illustrated. She notes that in keeping with her background in fine arts, she chose to render the drawings in pencil. Mother and daughter spent time together looking at old photographs of Chaldea and her siblings, choosing those that would be featured in the book.

"It was especially neat when we went through the old baby pictures," said Emerson, noting that it was a much more personal illustration process than those she has previously worked on.

Although the artist has sketched faces in the past, she has never done baby faces before, and O'Boyle is quite pleased with the result.

"Her pictures are identical to the photos," O'Boyle said proudly.

In addition to the baby pictures, sprinkled throughout the book are icons Emerson created, and at the beginning of each of the nine chapters there is a beautiful rose that unfolds until it is in full bloom, meant to symbolize how a mother blossoms throughout a pregnancy.

Emerson is also engaged in painting and printmaking, and recently had a show at the Grand Patisserie featuring her landscapes, both urban and rural, rendered in oil pastel. A collection of her linoleum block prints will be shown at Roxbury's Minor Memorial Library in June. She also creates greeting cards which have been sold in the past at the Brookfield Craft Center.

"My art is of the different places I've been in life "" my local surroundings," explained Emerson, who works in the greenhouse at Maplebank Farm in Roxbury and also part-time at Thompson Studios in Waterbury.

"Prayerfully Expecting" will be available in mid to late May, said O'Boyle, who has a number of local signings planned in connection with her new book. She will launch the book on May 26 at Borders Books in Danbury at 2 p.m. and will also have a booksigning following the 5 p.m. Mass at St. Francis Xavier Church in New Milford.

For more information about Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle and her works, visit her Web site www.donnacooperoboyle.com. Her blog "Daily Donna-Marie: A Dose of Inspiration" can be found at www.donnamariecooperoboyle.blogspot.com. To contact Chaldea Emerson about her artwork, call (860) 355-5355.
See story here at the News Times Live.

2 comments:

Karen E. said...

Beautiful picture! Thanks for sharing the article.

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle said...

Thank you, Karen!