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Roxie Munro

Anteaters, Bats & Boas

About the Author

“I grew up in a small village in rural Maryland located on the Chesapeake Bay. I didn’t have close friends nearby, so much of my time was spent reading and daydreaming. My parents encouraged their children to make their own toys, to draw (my older sister is also a professional artist), and of course to read. When I was eleven, I complained to my parents that I had read all the books in my school’s library. The scheduled visits of the county bookmobile, and my mother’s weekly trip to the public library which was twenty miles away were red-letter days. We also traveled a lot, taking family vacations by car, driving throughout the South, New England, and out West, visiting the cities and the countryside.

My work is an art that develops out of visual perception. It is very spatial; ideas form through active seeing. When I walk down the street, ride a bus, or go up an escalator, I feel the changing space and notice the flow of patterns. I see paintings everywhere. My mind organizes reality. I’ll notice two gray cars, a red car, a black car, and two more red cars – aha! a pattern. When I am working on a painting – perhaps a fantasy landscape, maybe a real view from atop a building – I sometimes imagine myself within the scene. Suddenly, I am in the tiny car on the winding road or swinging down the big-city avenue.

I think that children relish lush and interesting images. They enjoy rich, complex material. Not until my late thirties, having published my first children’s book, did I go back to my home library and look again at books that had affected me as a child. I was amazed to find that every line, shape, and color, every figure and setting of the exquisite illustrations by Arthur Szyk in Andersen’s Fairy Tales were totally familiar to me. It was as if I’d seen them yesterday, rather than thirty years ago. I remember, as a child poring over the book many times, drinking up the richness of the paintings, never tiring, and always being fascinated.

I am certain that my work is influenced by those early impressions of rich color, ornate patterns, and dynamic use of space. I do paintings that excite me while I am rendering them. Perhaps my books can give children something to engage their interest and stimulate their imagination.”

Roxie Munro has been an artist since the age of six, when she won first prize in a countrywide art contest. She has exhibited widely in galleries and museums, her work is in numerous public and private collections, and fourteen of her paintings have appeared on the cover of The New Yorker. Ms. Munro studied art at the University of Maryland and the University of Hawaii, where she earned her B.F.A. in painting, and she continued with graduate work at Ohio University. She lives in New York City with her husband, Bo Zaunders, a writer and photographer.

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