About the Cover Artist: Amanda Brannon

Cover illustrator Amanda Brannon grew up in rural north Alabama, on a mountaintop 40-acre homestead. When she wasnâ€TMt working at her art table, she spent much of her time in nature. A graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, Amanda spent the first part of her career working in the corporate world of advertising and design in Atlanta, and then in Alaska. By 2008, after surviving breast cancer, she realized that life is too short to not be doing what she really loves to do, which is expressing her creativity in a personal way. So she began focusing her efforts on creating and sharing her artwork through galleries and national product lines. She hopes viewers will enjoy her art with a renewed sense of curiosity and joy. Sheâ€TMs also the author of one of Alaskaâ€TMs bestselling cookbooks, Every Which Way with Rhubarb, a 168-page rhubarb cookbook.

After living in Alaska for more than 20 years, she and her husband moved back to the South to return to their roots and be closer to family. “We love the natural beauty of Tennessee,” says Amanda. “The birds inspire me here. There are a greater variety of birds, both migratory and non-migratory, than in Alaska. And I love that I get to admire the sandhill cranes year-round. While I miss some of the birds I saw regularly in Alaska, such as the Stellerâ€TMs jays and the Pacific Northwest ravens, Iâ€TMm really enjoying getting to know the Tennessee birds and the ebb and flow of their activity—the indigo buntings, warblers, finches, woodpeckers, wild turkeys and even the non-native European starlings. In fact, I am rehabilitating a baby starling now!

“I didnâ€TMt realize I was a â€~bird artistâ€TM until this one time I was doing a show in Anchorage, Alaska. A Native Alaskan elder woman walked into my booth and took a look around. She said wryly, in her monotone accent, â€~You must like birds.â€TM â€~You know, youâ€TMre right. I do like birds!â€TM We both had a good laugh. Birds were everywhere in my artwork and I hadnâ€TMt really considered it. That was a defining moment for me as an artist.”