Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Grand Marais Artist Betsy Bowen Illustrates 'Hawk Ridge'

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Grand Marais Artist Betsy Bowen Illustrates 'Hawk Ridge'

Article excerpt

In her iconic woodcuts of Minnesota life and wildlife, Betsy Bowen conveys a sense of who we are here in the chilly north. Her quiet images show gliding loons, shaggy wolves, changing seasons, sculpted piles of blue-edged snow, ski tracks, warm cabins and canoes perched on rocky shores. Wildlife and the ways we enjoy the wilderness go hand in hand in her work, and Bowen helps perpetuate a regional lore: We are hardy people who thrive in this climate because we are outdoorsy, ingenious and appreciative of its rugged beauty. Wimps we are not.

Although she does a variety of fine-art projects, the Grand Marais-based artist is most accessible through her 12 books for adults and children. Her first, the northwoods alphabet book "Antler, Bear, Canoe," continues to be her most popular.

"People tell me all the time that it's the gift they give all the new babies in their life," she said in a Tuesday interview. Her more recent illustrations have been for adults. The latest can be found in "Hawk Ridge: Minnesota's Birds of Prey," written by bird expert Laura Erickson.

"Laura is such an incredible expert on birds. She knows just a stunning amount. I learned so much through consulting with her, and reading the anecdotes that appear in the book," says Bowen, who also visited Hawk Ridge, a distinctive hill above Lake Superior in Duluth where, every fall, people can view thousands of raptors as they pass overhead on their fall migration route. Twenty species have been observed here, and Erickson and Bowen's book spends some time with each.

Erickson has written four other books, and her daily radio program and podcast "For the Birds" explores the birds that pass through her home in Duluth as well as birds around the world. Her lively prose gives insight into the mysteries of migration and the distinctive behaviors of each featured species. …

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