First, I want to apologize for posting so late in the week, this week that is my responsibility on the Tollbooth. My mother and father are both suddenly in need of serious medical care, which has commanded much of my time, unexpectedly and, of course, sadly.

But no more of yours. Please don’t worry on my behalf. They are both well cared for.

One thing I had planned to do this week was wave a loving farewell to Ellen Levine, a former adviser of mine at Vermont College, who passed away on May 26. Because my own mother is about to join Ellen, I don’t have it in me to write anything like a real obituary. Instead I’ve pasted in links to two fine obituaries, one in the New York Times and the other in the Washington Post. See below.

But before I leave Ellen, let me note two things. First, Ellen leaves a wife. Thanks to New York’s “Marriage Equality Act,” which was passed in July 2011, Ellen was able to marry her partner of 40 years last September. I can only imagine how important that was for both Ellen and Anne as Ellen faced her next adventure, as my own mother called her own upcoming version of the adventure.

Also, thank goodness for peaceful departures. According to reports, Ellen’s was peaceful, as I expect my mother’s to be. Somehow, peaceful makes the leave-taking seem not exactly okay, but much, much better.

Ellen’s obituaries:
Ellen in The New York Times
Ellen in The Washington Post

And now onto children, who are at the beginning and not the end (one hopes). I’ve been teaching painting to elementary school students for the last semester, which has been interesting to me as an artist and as a children’s book author-illustrator. In fact, I’d like to think aloud about this a little more tomorrow, but for now I’ll conclude this post by showing some of the artwork from my most recent class, whose theme was animals in ROYGBIV (and brown). For non-color-obsessed readers, ROYGBIV stands for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet, and real animals do come in all of those colors.

For today, I hope you enjoy some Red, Orange, Yellow, and Green animals. I’ll do my best to show more and talk about painting with kids tomorrow or Saturday. (I can't figure out how to get captions to work; I'll figure that out tomorrow or Saturday, too.)