The text and paintings on The Trowbridge Chronicles are taken from the illustrated journal of Violet Trowbridge, a shrew that once lived in a village deep in the Olympic Rain Forest. Each new post will represent a portion of Mrs. Trowbridge’s journal.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Mrs. Trowbridge was very traditional. When something new came along, she was reluctant to embrace it. Case in point, the time when a tattoo trend swept through the rain forest...ladybugs were having their shells repainted in different colors, with new designs "tattooed" on. The trend began in the Hoh Rain Forest to the north and spread south to Huckleberry Hollow in the Quinault Rain Forest. The ladybug tattoo parlor that opened in Huckleberry Hollow was called Madam Lucy's Ladybug Tattoo Parlor (above).

One of my fondest rain forest memories ever was the summer of 2005 when I trekked into that place deep in the Quinault Rain Forest where Huckleberry Hollow was once located. I instantly recognized this mossy mound from Mrs. T's journal. The resemblance is so striking, I'm reasonably sure that this is the exact spot where Madam Ladybug opened her tattoo parlor so many years ago. The fungus growths are called shelf fungus (Ganoderma applanatum). The underside of the fungus has a pleasant scent which may carry a distance from the fungus.

Monday, July 09, 2012


A young butterfly, just out of her chrysalis, creeps carefully down a twig to take her first drink. Gazing at her reflection for the first time, she sighs and says: "Oh, what a beautiful creature you are! If only I were as beautiful as you."

Of all the insects that Mrs. Trowbridge sketched, butterflies were her favorite. She loved to capture the bright colors of their fluttering wings. The butterfly depicted above is the Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon) native to the Olympic Rain Forest.

Many have asked about Mrs. T's technique and working methods.  She never started a watercolor painting without first creating a highly detailed charcoal rendering of the subject.  The charcoal sketch served as the foundation for her painting.

Have you seen my other blog, Bron Smith's Flights of Fantasy?  There you will be able to follow my progress as I develop my new children's book, Monster Safari.