My Christmas Card to You

Wishing you a Merry Christmas
Happy Holidays
and a
Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!


IF - Crunchy

This is my entry for Illustration Friday - Crunchy. It's a sketch that was inspired by the children's enthusiasm during a classroom visit where I shared my new picture book, We Eat Food That's Fresh! written by Angela Russ-Ayon. I've sketched the boy in pencil. The butterfly and the word "CHEF" are cut and paste from the book with Photoshop.


Favorite Thanksgiving Picture Book

Are you looking for a good Thanksgiving picture book for your family or classroom?

Give this one a try...
Thank You Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving, written by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner.

It's my favorite Thanksgiving picture book, in fact, I've often said that I think it's one of those great stories that should be in every classroom, at least in every library. This time of year, I take my copy off the shelf and display it to share with my family.

Laurie Halse Anderson's story is fun and easy to read while bringing home the message loud and clear that persistence and determination pay off when you truly believe in something and the power of the pen. Don't you think that's a message every child should hear over and over again? It took Sarah Hale 38 years of writing to politicians and presidents before Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

And what would a good picture book be without great pictures? Mat Faulkner's beautiful watercolor and ink illustrations are enticingly detailed, historically correct, and fun.

I've shown the signature page that Matt signed for me at the 2005 Children's Book Illustration Show & Signing at Chemers Gallery. So, you see, he's a nice guy too, besides being a talented illustrator!

I hope your library or local book store carries Thank You Sarah. If not, you might ask them to. I've included some links below where you can buy the book online.

Here's more information about the 18th Annual Children's Book Illustration Show & Signing, coming up Dec 5th, 2009, at Chemers Gallery.


Alexa in Red Sundress

I'm happy to announce that my painting, "Alexa in Red Sundress" won First Place for the figurative category in the United Society of Pastel Artists Fourth Annual Membership Exhibition at The Cottage Gallery, Laguna Beach. The show will be on exhibit through December 13th, 2009.

Click here to see more of my fine art paintings

The Cottage Gallery

524 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA
(949) 499-8385.


2009 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards Results

I am thrilled and honored to announce that We Eat Food That's Fresh! by Angela Russ-Ayon, illustrated by myself, Cathy June, and published by Our Rainbow Press has won two
Moonbeam Children's Book Awards:

#7 Picture Book - Preschool Silver Award 
#36 Best Illustrator Silver Award

"The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading."


We Love the Company

A new children's book/CD has been released to teach good manners. A much needed subject, don't you think?

I am tickled to announce illustrator, Irina Mirskaya will be attending our book signing with her new book We love the Company along with myself, illustrator of We Eat Food That's Fresh! and Angela Russ-Ayon, the talented songwriter, and author of both books.

Chemers Gallery
17300 17th Street, Tustin
, September 12th, 4-6

Please join us!

Angela Russ-Ayon, owner of AbridgeClub.com and, is a nationally recognized, award-winning singer-songwriter, children's book author, trainer, keynote speaker, performer, and producer of interactive & educational children’s media. Her specialty is engaging young children in interactive song and dance using fine & gross motor activities that promote imaginative play and bridge educational gaps. During production, she works closely with colleagues and professionals in the field of child development and physical fitness. The time she spends in front of children either performing, participating in city programs, in preschools, and in school districts gives her the perfect hands-on testing grounds for her music.

Irina Mirskaya, A native of Russia, Irina Mirskaya has always been fascinated with art. When she paints, Irina says, she lives in a fantasy world of fairy tales and childhood memories. Irina enjoys both digital imaging and conventional painting with watercolor, gouache, dyes and pen and ink. Irina is working in a field of design and illustration. Her experience includes working as a designer/stylist in the textile industry, teaching art at Otis College and publishing greeting cards. Irina is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. We Love the Company is the first childen's book she has illustrated.


Facebook Event Page


IF - Strong

This week the topic for Illustration Friday is Strong.
If it has a strong unpleasant smell,
you probably shouldn't eat it!

pastel & gouache on paper
From the book, We Eat Food That's Fresh!
by Angela Russ-Ayon
illustrated by Cathy June
Our Rainbow Press


Book Signing & Sneak Preview at Chemers Gallery

Book Signing

Sneak Preview


17300 17th St., Tustin, CA
Saturday, September 12, 2009
, 4-6 pm

WHO's signing WHAT book?
I am happy to say, Chemers Gallery has invited author Angela Russ-Ayon & illustrator, Cathy June (that's me), to celebrate the release of our new book "We Eat Food That's Fresh!" on September 12th. We'll have a reading, lots of books, and reFRESHments!

WHAT's the SNEAK PREVIEW all about?

December 5th, 2009 Chemers Gallery will have its18th Annual Children's Book Illustration Show & Signing. Normally, the books for this event are available to pre-order in early October, but if you come on September 12th, you'll get an early peak at them! There will be dozens of children's books to choose from.

Every December, Chemers Gallery is transformed from a beautiful contemporary art gallery to a magical land of make believe, filled with original illustrations from picture books. It's a place where children and adults alike can wonder and imagine and dream.
Works by five different illustrators are exhibited each year and their books are available. This year, the event will benefit Saint Joseph Ballet in Santa Ana. Even if you can't come December 5th, signed and dedicated books can be pre-ordered, starting September 12th.

Beth Krommes chats with visitor, Patti Lui at the
2008 Children's Book Illustration Show
CLICK HERE to see more pics

Above: 2007 Children's Book Illustration Show
Pictured: Linda Zielinski, Joe Cepeda, Stacia Deutsch, Laura Huliska-Beith, Raul Colon, Mordicai Gerstein, Noah CLICK HERE for more pics


IF - Caution

Illustration Friday - remember to use caution when choosing your campsite location.

Two Strange Beings | 9x12 | pastel

This illustration was created for an SCBWI Westside Illustrators project. Each member was assigned a quote from a children's book, but we were not told which book or anything about it, so we were free to create our own story, character and environment from what we drew from one sentence. (Thanks to Joan Charles & Jane Smith for this thought provoking project!)

This was the quote I was assigned:
"One evening, while he was lying there alone... he saw two strange beings creep out of the tall bracken near him."

Would anyone care to guess what childrens book this came from?


What a Great Day!

We had a great turn out at our book launch party for "We Eat Food That's Fresh!" and "We Love The Company". I am honored and appreciative of the support and enthusiasm of friends, family, and fellow illustrators.

SCBWI Westside Illustrators:
Cindy Whitlock, Laura Lacamura,
Irina Mirskaya,
Steven Corvelo, Suzy Engleman Block

Some people were so generous as to buy books to give to libraries, preschools, teachers and parents. I can't tell you how much that means to me. If I could, I'd give a book to every library & classroom, to encourage children to eat healthy, but alas, I am only me. So, I am very grateful for the help spreading the word!

Tim Russ play some wonderful songs from his CDs. It was obvious that everyone thoroughly enjoyed his performance. I am so glad that Tim shared his talent to create voice of the chef for "We Eat Food That's Fresh!".

Cathy June, Angela Russ-Ayon, Tim Russ, Irina Mirskaya

We had many helpers to make it a special event. Laura set up refreshments and tended to refreshments while Dennis made sure no one went thirsty. Jisel, Julia, Marcus and Emily helped children make crafts throughout the day on the patio. Thank you Sandi, for rescuing me at the sales table!

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated and helped to make it a memorable day!

Angela Russ-Ayon and I will be at another signing at Chemers Gallery for "We Eat Food That's Fresh!" on Saturday, September 12th, from 4-6pm.


"We Eat Food That's Fresh!" is officially released!

I am pleased to announce that, "We Eat Food That's Fresh!" has been officially released! I'm very excited about this project, not only because it's the first book that I've illustrated, but also because I care about what goes into little people's bodies & minds. We all know it's very important to encourage children eat healthy food, but it's a challenge with all the not-so-healthy choices available today. I feel "We Eat Food That's Fresh!" gives parents and educators a useful tool to impress upon children that healthy eating can be enjoyable and fun. With a catchy song, lively characters and over 60 different illustrated fruits and vegetables, the book holds children's interest, and keep the message, "...try something new!", echoing in their little heads.

Here is a podcast with a clip of the CD and a peek inside the book. Please be patient... it may take a moment to load.

A whimsical chef encourages children to try new foods. He stirs up their interest in fruits and vegetables in the garden, kitchen and while on an outing to the beach. It comes with a musical CD that will delight children with easy rhymes and repetitive verses. I'm sure this fun and persuasive chef will have kids tasting new fruits & veggies in no time!

Come, celebrate the release of "We Eat Food That's Fresh!"
17300 17th Street, Tustin, CA 92780
Saturday, September 12th, 2009 from 4-6pm.
I'll be there along with author/song writer, Angela Russ Ayon

Everyone is welcome! RSVP appreciated.
Please don't be shy though, come even if you didn't RSVP

SO, WHO DO YOU KNOW who would like a book that encourages children to eat healthy fruits and vegetables?

Teachers - Librarians - Parents - Grandparents
- Nurses
- Child Care Providers
Health & Fitness Professionals
- Nutritionists - Chefs
People Who Eat

Please Spread the Word!
to share with your friends, click the envelope icon at the bottom of this post

We Eat Food That's Fresh
Author: Angela Russ-Ayon
Illustrator: Cathy June
Our Rainbow Press
ages 4-8
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-934214-06-0
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-934214-09-1

You Can order "We Eat Food That's Fresh!" online at:
PBH Produce for Better Health Foundation
Kaplan Co

Also, encourage good manners with this soon to be released book by Angela Russ-Ayon, Illustrated by Irina Mirskaya:

Pre-oder "We Love the Company" on Amazon.com


Drawing Day 2009 "I'm the Chef!"

Drawing Day I'm the Chef!

This sketch was inspired by the enthusiasm and creativity of the children during my classroom visits for the book, "We Eat Food That's Fresh!"

More about "We Eat Food That's Fresh!" by Angela Russ-Ayon, illustrated by Cathy June (c)2009 Our Rainbow Press.


Classroom Visits

I had such a great time sharing my new book, "We Eat Food That's Fresh", written by Angela Russ-Ayon, with two classrooms yesterday!

After reading the story and listening to the fun bouncy sing along song we had fun making art projects.

In Mrs. McMath's 1st grade class each student decorated their paper "I'm the Chef" hat and cut it out. With a little help and a little tape they were fit to size and ready to wear.

We all worked together to decorate an eight foot banner with our favorite fruits and vegetables using soft pastels, my favorite art medium ;)

Here's a picture of the colorful banner made by Mrs. McMath's talented 1st graders:

In Mrs Rios' kindergarden class we also worked together to make a mouth watering banner with loads of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, I left in a rush and forgot to take a picture.

Summer picnics must be on the students minds, because watermelons were definately a favorite in both classrooms!

Thank you Mrs. McMath & Mrs. Rios for sharing your students with me!

Click here for more about
"We Eat Food That's Fresh"

Thank you CHEMERS GALLERY for supplying paper for the banners!


Fine Art Exhibit

I enjoy creating fine art pieces as well as illustrations. They give me an opportunity to express my appreciation for the beauty in everyday places that I enjoy so much. My paintings will be in two exhibits this week.

"City of Trees" exhibit at
Chemers Gallery

Artist reception
May 16th, 2009
5pm - 8pm

"Pastel Plus"
Southern California Artists Association

To see more of my fine art paintings go to www.cathyjunearneson.com


1st Copy "We Eat Food that's Fresh!"

Here it is.. it finally arrived! I can't tell you how excited I am. My first copy of "We Eat Food That's Fresh". The book will be released for purchase soon and I'll be sure to keep you posted when it's available! You can pre-order it on Amazon.com LEFT: "We Eat Food That's Fresh!" and happy illustrator (me) It's all about a whimsical chef who encourages children to try new foods. He stirs up their interest in fruits and vegetables in the garden, kitchen and while on an outing to the beach. It comes with a musical CD that will delight children with easy rhymes and repetitive verses. I'm sure this fun and persuasive chef will have them tasting new fruits & veggies in no time! Mmmm... yummy! Makes me want to eat something fresh right now! 

Click the image below  for more info and a video of the full book and companion song.


 We Eat Food That's Fresh Author: Angela Russ-Ayon Illustrator: Cathy June Our Rainbow Press ages 4-8 Hardback ISBN: 978-1-934214-06-0 Paperback ISBN: 978-1-934214-09-1 Soon to be released" Pre-order "We Eat Food That's Fresh!" on Amazon.com also encourage good manners with this soon to be released book: Pre-oder "We Love the Company" on Amazon.com


IF - Impossibility

It's not an impossibility to go back in time when you have good memories. When I was five, my grandfather built a playhouse, dutch door and all, which provided a place for endless hours of make-believe for me, my sisters, and friends.

The Playhouse
8 1/2 x 11

Idea... wash doll clothes. Bucket, water, bubbly soap.. good.
Bubbly soapy water & dirt... ooh mud!
Shovel, dishes... mud pies. Great!
Need sign. Paper, crayons, tape... sign. Now we're in business.
Hmm. What to do next?

Kitty, kitty, kitty!


Picture Bookies Showcase

Good news for illustrators of children's books! Picture Bookies Showcase is now accepting submissions of illustrations to post on their blog. This is a great way for illustrators to get some web exposure and there is no cost. See Sherry Rogers' blog for all the details and get those illos out there!

The blog is sponsered by a small group of children's book illustrators:


IF - Pale

They met under the pale moon kite.

8.5 x 11
pastel on paper

This is a project I'm participating in with Westside Illustrators (SCBWI) in Santa Monica. The challenge was to create an illustration from three words randomly selected.

These are the words I was assigned:

"Can Fish Fly?"
8.5 x 11
pastel on paper

This was my first version using Sea Life, Spaceship, and Urban. But half way thru adding the color, I thought, "Why didn't I make the characters cats instead of children?". So I had to try ... while I was at it I simplified the image and made it more whimsical.


IF - Contained

Max's excitement could not be contained - wind or no wind.

It was just a little homemade kite made from a couple of plastic grocery bags and two wooden skewers. Though it had been breezy that morning, fate would have it, there was not a wisp of wind that afternoon, but Max was in love. He ran around the huge field like a wild stallion set free, towing his kite behind him. Wish I'd had my camera, but this will have to do.

I highly recommend these kite plans from an Austrailian website, MyBestKite.com. I stumbled across them while looking for inspiration for an illustration I'm working o that included kites.

Kassidy's Kite
decorated with permanent markers

The instructions looked so easy I had to try it. We let the grandkids decorate them with markers and helped them assemble the kites. It didn't take too long and they were amazingly easy to fly. We had no wind to speak of that afternoon, so the kids ran with them in tow & had a blast. Plus they were tuckered out that evening! Later we did have a chance to fly the kites with wind and they're very easy to fly... no skill required. Hope you can try them out!

PS: This is my first attempt at finishing a drawing in Photo Shop rather than pastels like I usually do... I enjoyed the process, but have quite a lot to learn to get the vibrant rich colors I like so much.


IF - Resolve

Let's resolve to take more time to
smell the flowers in 2009.

pastel on paper
8 x 10

Some "smell the flowers" moments from 2008 for me are:
  • Reading a story to a child.
  • Sighting a pair of Blue Birds in our back yard for the first time in 25 years of living here.
  • Soaking up the sights & sounds & smells of the California Coastal Redwoods, taking a million pictures as if I could capture some of it's grandeur in my little Canon.
  • Receiving a long distance "Happy Birthday song" on my voice mail from a grandchild. That was August - I still can't delete it :)
  • A summer evening walk by the beach with my one and only.
  • Spending the afternoon at the Discovery Science Center with the grandchildren and watching them explore with wonder and excitement. Spending the evening collapsed on the couch!
  • Waking up early one December morn to find a fresh cut Christmas tree adorned with lights that my husband had set up during the night to surprise me.
  • Playing Secret Santa and "Kris Kringling" a friend with a six year old.
  • Serving (at least) 20 cups of hot cocoa to my 2 year old granddaughter made in her Elmo kitchen. She drank every last make believe drop, then we made some more for Elmo.
  • A big pot of soup on a cold rainy day.

I'd love to hear about your "smell the flowers"
moments in 2008
Your comments are always welcome!