Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Morgan Book Project

Over the years that I have participated as a judge for the Morgan Book Project, I've watched it develop and grow. The Morgan Library & Museum fully supports this educational program for children by looking for new ways to reach more kids. They've expanded the age range, included special needs and English language learners, and increased the number of participating schools. The students have the opportunity to visit the museum and experience the collection firsthand, fostering a connection to museums in general, and encouraging a lifelong interest in the arts.  Using original illuminated manuscripts from the collection as inspiration for their illustrations, the kids make the paint, write, and put the books together. They learn to appreciate books as an art form. The books are aligned with core curriculum studies: English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Visual Arts. Topics range from biographies of noted individuals, history, world culture, poetry, and nature, to sometimes heart wrenching personal stories. The winning entries are viewed as representing the students' schools, and the kids are celebrated with an awards ceremony at the museum. The books are displayed on the Morgan Library's website, and 12 books will be on display in an exhibition at the museum, Inspiring and Illuminating the Classroom. The Morgan Library & Museum truly goes all out for this program. The exhibition will be on view from May 14 through June 16th.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Earth Day

©DonnaMiskend, Coney Island beachgrass planting
Volunteers stepped up this past Sunday to plant beachgrass in Coney Island with the NYC Parks Department. Once the beachgrass takes root, it will form sand dunes that will act as a natural buffer against windblown sand and help with area flooding. It was a great way to spend a few hours at the beach making a difference to help the environment. 
Earth Day celebrations are happening throughout the month of April, but there are nature related volunteer opportunities all year round.

Read more on my website.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Scholastic Writing Awards and Irish Arts Center Book Day

In January, I happily read scores of work by 7-12th graders who compete annually in The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. The competition starts regionally and then moves to the national competition. When the winners are announced I scan the list of titles to see if the work I loved received an award. As I am one of the judges and the entries I read are anonymous, this is when I learn the names of the writers. I'm jumping up and down as if I know them personally, and make a mental note to keep an eye out for them as they hopefully embark on a career as a writer. I imagine one day standing in line at their book signing and telling them that I loved the story/play/essay/poem they wrote when they were in school. 
This year, Yuzhen Zou, and Isabel Stronski (both 11th graders), received gold awards in the memoir/personal essay category. Award winning work from this year will be available to read HERE after April 15th. 
Congratulations to all the entrants. It was a privilege to read your work. For information about how to enter click HERE.  

IRISH ARTS CENTER BOOK DAY is an annual event around St. Patrick's Day. They partner with other cultural organizations to give away free books to the public at various locations throughout NYC. This year they partnered with the Asian Alliance to offer asian authors in addition to Irish and Irish American authors. There are different genres available: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, adult and children's books. It's great fun to help passers-by to find a new book to read. Cristian Verdugo picked up books for members of his family too, including a book by an Irish author translated into Spanish.
Cristian Verdugo
That's what's great about this program. From one person, several more can be exposed to new books as well. The books I added to my To Read pile:


The Irish Arts Center offers performances and classes in writing, music, dance and Irish language.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

EYE ON NATURE, Artists Explore the World of Plants and Animals

My drawing of the female kestrel is on view, as is this wonderful Diamondback Terrapin turtle shell, a  new work, in the Eye on Nature show. The markings remind me of Arabic calligraphy.

Female Kestrel (Falco sparverius), graphite and Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin), watercolor ©DonnaMiskend
Kestrels are in the Falcon family and are one of the smallest birds of prey. They can be found in cities, and their diet includes insects and small rodents. Eliminating the use of pesticides makes sense as they become part of these bird's food source. It's also far more cost effective to use nature's food chain.
The Diamondback Terrapin is found in the eastern U.S. coastal habitats in waters that contain some salt such as salt marshes, tidal creeks, estuaries, bays and coves. They come ashore to lay their eggs. Not surprisingly, they are threatened by development, cars as they cross roads to find nesting sites, and pollutants. Rising sea waters are also a factor making the brackish mix of salt + freshwater habitats over saturated with salt. Their diet includes crabs, and are often caught in  crab box nets where they drown.

Also included - more mushrooms! Some creature started to make a meal of this one.
Yellow Bolete (Boletus, sp.), watercolor ©DonnaMiskend
The exhibit, EYE ON NATURE, Artists Explore the World of Plants and Animals closes on October 27th.
venue: Poe Park Visitor Center, 2640 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY
hours: Tues. - Fri. 9 - 5   Sat. 8 - 4     tel: 718.365.5516
accessible by subway: D and 4 to Kingsbridge station or Metro North Fordham station

Hop over to my Conversations blog to read interviews with the participants and check back in October as I add more related to the exhibit.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Exhibit News

Multicolor Gill Polyspore on Yellow Birch
(Lenzites betulina on Betula alleghaniensis) ©DonnaMiskend2018
I'm fascinated by mushrooms! This piece is on view at the Trail Conference Headquarters from August 29 - October 27, 2018

VENUE: New York New Jersey Trail Conference Headquarters:
 600 Ramapo Valley Rd
Mahwah, NJ 07430-1199
  Open M - F from 9AM to 5PM  Saturdays April-November 9AM to 5PM
(201) 512-9348

Learn about all the trails available in NY and NJ website

"WALK WITH US" - Participating artists from TRI-STATE BOTANICAL ARTISTS:
Mary Christiansen, Gaye Grossman, Donna Miskend, Elizabeth White-Putz, Tammy McEntee, Louise Cecio, Sarah Wry, Jeanne Reiner, Rose Marie James, Jean Galle, Amy Silberkleit, Nicola Johnson, Anastasia Traina, Katy Lyness, Susan Sapanara, Dick Rauh,  Monica Ray, Monika DeVries Gohlke, Dixon Rohr, Kathie Miranda

Rose Elementals (Detaail)
(Rosa sp.) ©DonnaMiskend2016
  EYE ON NATURE, artists explore the world of plants and animals, on view September 1 - October 27, 2018

VENUE: Poe Park Visitor Center, 2640 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10458.
Tues - Fri 9-5, Sat 8-4  

Opening reception Saturday, Sept 8 at 12:45 with an artist panel discussion and guest speaker, Stephen P. DeVillo author of The Bronx River in History & Folklore

Common Fig, Calmyra
(Ficus Carica) ©DonnaMiskend2018
 National Heirloom Expo, Santa Rosa, CA
Art of the Heirloom
On view September 11, 12, 13

And finally, Strindberg Repertory Theatre's production of Creditors, as part of the Dream Up Festival.
August 27, 28, 29 September 1, 4
Theater For The New City
155 First Avenue, NYC

Gustav (Robert Homeyer), professor of antiquities and ex-husband of writer Tekla (Natalie Menna), pours poison in the ear of her current husband, the painter Adolph (David Kubicka*). 
Tekla returns from a book tour and flaunts her polyamorous ways to Adolph with fatal results - but fatal to whom? - in Creditors, August  Strindberg's scandalous successor to Miss Julie !
Read my 2014 interview with the Artistic Director, Robert Greer 

Prints are available of all my work. Subscribe to this blog (see sidebar) and Conversations... blog with interviews of people in the arts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


On view September 1 - October 27, 2018 
Julia Ruth, Jennifer Deutscher, Maria Giuliani, Donna Miskend

I've curated a new exhibit, EYE ON NATURE, ARTISTS EXPLORE THE WORLD OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS. Along with my own work, on display will be illustrations by Jennifer Deutscher, Maria Giuliani and Julia Ruth. 

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 8th at 12:45pm, an artist panel discussion followed by a talk about flora and fauna of the Bronx River by Stephen Paul DeVillo, author of The Bronx River in History and Folklore who also conducts ramblings throughout the year along it's banks. (Read our interview

And read my interview with one of the artists in the exhibit Jenn along with other botanical art students that appeared in the Botanical Artist Journal in 2016 (click here to read). For the latest about her work, hop over to my Conversations blog for a short Q & A update. 

I'll be including new print etchings, along with graphite and watercolors.

venue: Poe Park Visitor Center, 2640 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY
hours: Tues. - Fri. 9 - 5   Sat. 8 - 4     tel: 718.365.5516
accessible by subway: D and 4 to Kingsbridge station or Metro North Fordham station

Monday, July 16, 2018

ASBA - article

This is an interview I did with students across the country learning the art of botanical illustration. (Article originally appeared in The Botanical Artist quarterly journal of the American Society of Botanical Artists, used with permission of ASBA)
Jenn's work will be on view September 1 - October 27, 2018 at my newest exhibit, EYE ON NATURE, artists explore the world of plants and animals at Poe Park Visitor Center, 2640 Grand Concourse, Bronx NY. 

Article originally appeared in The Botanical Artist quarterly journal of the American Society of Botanical Artists, used with permission of ASBA, written by Donna Miskend.
Artists: Jennifer Deutscher
Charlotte Ricker
American Society of Botanical Artists

Click to See some of Jenn's work that will be on display at the exhibit and read about her process