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About Me

BFA: Art and German; Education minor, Gustavus Adolphus College, MN

MFA: Illustration, Syracuse University, NY


SCBWI -Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

PBAA -Picture Book Artists Association


My one hundred children's books in trade, educational, and mass market: These bring me into the world I'm painting: the textures, characters, fresh smells of the forest, touching of a beaver, and running with wolves —to sense their thoughts, to fly above and swim under the sea. My fingertips know the bear's teeth, the lizard's skin, fur of beaver, and the bark of a tree. Sometimes the image draws itself. Sometimes we argue —a lot. If the character is to be happy, I think and imagine joy, If it's sad, I feel that deeply, too. It's a good thing no one is watching (Of course, now with those drones out there, and electronics that listen...)


My studio is one block from beautiful Lake Superior. There are bugs in June to carry you off, and my favorite: thunderstorms. (though changing with climate issues) If it's going to occasionally sink to -40 degrees in winter, snow here is a marvelous accessory. My writer-counselor-environment activist husband also has his office in our home. Daily we share Life's insights. 'Going Green' is a goal —even with our tea. Garden weeds are now native plants and organic really does taste better .


To our daughter Samantha and son Joshua, you and yours are the joy of our lives.

'Magnuson' is Swedish. My maiden name, 'Gunvaldson', originates above the Artic Circle in Norway. But my Celtic Scotch-Irish genes dominate.

Childhood: My teacher, Air Force Reserves, and Part-time farmer father gave me leftover 'lightly used' school papers for drawing. Piles of them. But, according to my mother, my first art was finger-painted on the wall with my diaper contents.

Over seven moves with my parents and five siblings, I collected dogs, cats, chinchillas, birds, baby chicks, hamsters, rabbits, and a kinkajou. Summers on my grandparent's farm in the Minnesota north woods meant riding a made-by-me broomstick hobbyhorse deep into forests and swamps, (Why does one not remember mosquitoes as a child?) picking berries, pin feathering chickens for the pot, and sneaking unsuccessful rides on Herefords and pigs (pigs spin in circles, cows buck). Drawings of Peter Pan and every wild animal imaginable, wolves being a favorite, filled those recycled school papers. Tackle football, baseball, tree climbing to see into the Far Far Away, falling off buildings, and also jumping onto a surprised horse —injury causing by the way, filled my days.

Allegorical Realism: Living as a student with my host family in Germany for one year, and teaching in Tanzania mid-college enriched and inspired new thoughts and extrapolations. My culturally assumed ideologies broke open, expanding to a much wider, curiosity-filled mindfulness. Life is a never-ending, unfolding mystery and challenge. I hope to assist nature by drawing and writing My concerns weave tinto story art.

Portraits: Collaboration for visions with clients to create art of their loved ones, Pets, friends, and family often embedded in landscapes

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