Nothing But Sunshine

In the fall of 2014, Sharon Mann and I started a project that has lasted until today. This post marks the achievement of a goal we set back then – to collaborate on two artist books, using our art and our words.

Nothing But Sunshine -detail woman in pocket small

I have made quite a few artist books, many of them using discarded library books as their base. I’ve posted about them in the past. I have never worked with anyone else on a book, though. Yet Sharon and I have worked together in the past – we exchanged figurines and displayed each other’s in our home towns. Doing an art project seemed to be something that would be fun.

Nothing But Sunshine -detail sun small

Here’s what we did. I grabbed two old books from my pile of ancient library books – these were originally written for children and so were pretty short. We needed books of equal length, so I pasted pages together to form a better surface for artwork as well as getting two books with the same number of pages. I sent one to Sharon and I kept one for me to work on – the idea was that we would do 4 pages and then exchange, keeping that system up until at the end, when we would do the covers and write text.

Nothing But Sunshine detail lady and stove

The books went back and forth between Las Vegas and Philadelphia several times. We worked on things as we could. Life continued on and often got in the way of our artwork, but we persevered. Since we scattered the pages we chose to work on all throughout the book, many of the page spreads feature Sharon’s work on one page and mine on the other. We did not try to construct a narrative with the pictures or even necessarily respond to the other person’s work, but somehow things seemed to flow together. When it came time to write the text in the book I had, I noticed that a sun appeared on almost every page. This image gave me the inspiration for the text I wrote.

I really feel that this experience was something special. Sharon and I have been blog friends for a while. I loved her work from the start. I felt a bond with her just by looking at what she does: it is clear that her family, her home, and her everyday life are her personal and her artistic focus. I feel the same is true of my own work and life. She has always been supportive of my work and generous in her comments. I have made a friend, though she and I live across the United States from each other and will most likely never meet in person.

Nothing But Sunshine detail flowers at night small

So these books express the tie of a friendship that would not have been possible before the internet, and yet they do so in the old-fashioned way. We have created real objects with our art and now we can hold them in our hands. The tangible nature of the work seems important, an attachment between us. It’s a cliché that friends bring sunshine into our lives, and yet it is true, isn’t it? I am amazed that this book somehow blossomed with this message.

Nothing But Sunshine plus flowers book 2-16 small

So, thank you, Sharon, for all you have given to me.


Here is the book. I have shown the images of the pages first and the text is written out below, in case it is hard to see in the pictures. You can find Sharon’s book here.


Nothing But Sunshine

When I started out
I was small.

I see the world.
The sun shines down
on a house
on trees
pink and red and warm.

The sun sees me. Tells me. I hear its voice.
I hear it new
every day.

I hear the sun sparkle on the river.
I listen to the rays
as they fall on the green leaves.

The face of the sun is very old.
The voice of the sun is young each day.

The leaves on the trees and the ferns in the ground
and every other living thing
rest in the warm breeze
under the sun.

I am small.
In the garden I wait.
Sun and sunflowers and sunhat.
The earth under the sun.

Even in the house
calling me to come in for dinner
I hear the voice of the sun.

– I have somewhere to go
Other things to do
But –

– If you reach up to the night sky
and catch a ray of starlight –

– it will keep you company
until tomorrow when I return.

I know
at night
the moon and stars keep watch
over the flowers in the purple-blue world.

They watch over the cat
the lady next door,
the people in cities
fish in the sea
the mountains
everything and everyone under the sky

And when tomorrow is today

I will rush out to meet it

with a wave of its hand
the sun will greet me
and you

Whoever you may be
wherever you live…
in the sea

in a hot bright city

If you are
a doll
a house
a bit of paper
a little girl

a lady just waking up to
a green and gold day

or a cross old woman
the sun can coax into a smile.
Just wait a minute and see.

26 thoughts on “Nothing But Sunshine

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Yes. It was very meaningful to both of us. Patience, art, friendship, support, all in one place, and a tangible reminder of it, too. Really an experience to remember.

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