Originally published in The Weekly Packet, September 4, 2014
Authors Among Us
Father and daughter duo bring Stonington to life in new book
by Faith DeAmbrose
His name is Scipio, and while loosely based on the Italian baritone singer of the same name, this Scipio is a seagull with big dreams of becoming a singer.
Scipio the Singing Seagull, the first book by the father and daughter team of Paul and Marisol Trowbridge of Sedgwick, tells the fictitious story of a seagull born on the roof of Stonington’s historic Opera House.
Ridiculed by the other seagulls, who were busy collecting scraps of food from the lobster boats in Stonington Harbor, Scipio never loses sight of his dream and even uses his talents to stave off a nefarious plan to eradicate the seagulls from the town.
The book highlights a number of Stonington institutions including the Opera House, Stonington Harbor, the lobster fishing industry and even the local newspaper whose headlines help to frame the discussion. Local scenes, such as lunch at Harbor Café, a lobster co-op and likenesses of local figures are among the 36 illustrations in the book.
The story of Scipio was written by Marisol and the accompanying artwork was done by Paul. According to Marisol, she came across a number of paintings her father had done of seagulls in Stonington and knew she wanted to do something to tie them together. She began to write using the existing artwork; about halfway through the storyline she ran out of paintings. It was then that the tables were turned, and Paul needed to illustrate the last half of the book based on the story that had been created. Marisol was responsible for the graphic design and layout work.
The dual approach worked, and in July, the Trowbridges set out with their newly printed first edition. Having sold those, they have recently ordered a second printing. “The goal [of writing the book],” said Marisol, is simply to get lots of people to read—and enjoy—it.”
Paul Trowbridge has painted in watercolors for the past four decades and has taught plein air and watercolor classes in Stonington. No stranger to the sights of the working waterfront, and with no shortage of seagulls in town, Trowbridge had no trouble finding inspiration or material. His work is currently represented by Isalos Fine Arts Gallery in Stonington.
Marisol is a fashion designer and currently lives on the west coast.
The books can be found at Blue Hill Books, Handworks Gallery, Betsy’s Sunflower, Isalos Gallery and Stonington Opera House.