Joanna Walitalo’s “Woodburning: The First Five Years” on U.P. Notable Book Club

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Season 3: Episode 2–The UP Notable Book Club presents author Joanna Walitalo speaking about her book Woodburning: The First Five Years. The Crystal Falls Community District Library in partnership with the U.P. Publishers & Authors Association (UPPAA) presents author events with winners of the UP Notable Book List. Make sure to like and subscribe so you don’t miss any future UP Notable Book Club speakers! For more information please visit the links below

JOANNA WALITALO grew up in Oil City, Michigan where she took art classes at Bullock Creek Schools taught by Mr. Matherne and Mr. Myers; both very talented artists, and teachers with endless patience. She earned a BS degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Central Michigan University, and took art classes at the Midland Center for the Arts, where she had the opportunity to study under Armin Mersmann. While studying at CMU, she took art classes form Dietmar Krumrey II and Michael Volker. From there, she moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where she earned a Master of Forestry at Michigan Technological University. A strong love of the outdoors, and wild places, has led her to incorporate her passion for art with her professional education in order to bring the beauty of wildlife and wild places closer to the general public through scientifically accurate artwork. By far, the artist that influenced Joanna the most throughout her life has been her mom, Barb Rogers, who taught art at Coleman Middle School, MI, for many years, and always encouraged and guided Joanna to incorporate art into all her endeavors. Today, Joanna continues to live with her loving husband James, and son Little James, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, working as an artist and illustrator.

“The art book is divided into chapters of Early Work, Wildlife (birds, trees and flowers, other wildlife, fish) Portraits and people, Pets (often commissioned and more dogs than cats), Puzzles, Mystic, as well as “spotlights” on people who influenced the art. One quickly sees that this artist has a wonderful style that she applies to a wide variety of topics. Her realism and attention to detail lets us see moods and personality in the eyes of her subjects—human or otherwise. While she may do several variations of one subject or theme, each is unique in terms of details and the type of wood used. Joanna uses several types of wood including oak, basswood, spruce, pine, ash, maple and birch—less ash because of the dark lines in that wood which tend to make it difficult to bring out the image. Often the lines, knots, bark edges, and other wood features suggest the topic for the art and become part of the design. It’s as if the artist sees an image in the wood and brings it out in a remarkable way. A vertical bark pocket once became the branch of a tree. A natural indentation in one piece became the hole for an owl to live in. An antique ironing board was large enough for a life-size eagle. Indeed, all the wood the artist uses is found and repurposed. Joanna always sketches in pencil before burning into wood—after all, one can’t “erase” a burn. Any errors must be tossed, and a fresh piece of wood used.” — DEBORAH K. FRONTIERA. Read the complete review at U.P. Book Review.

One Comment

  1. I am pleased to announce that Joanna Valitalo will be a featured guest on my For the Love of Books Podcast show on Oct. 14th. Check out the show episodes.

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