Highland News Leader

Highland natives, local artists team up to publish ‘Floral Expressions’

“Just like flowers, there are no judgments about when we bloom ... the essential goal is to share our beauty with the world whenever it comes.” — Lynnette Schuepbach

Brady Kesner and Lynnette Schuepbach chose 2019 to let their talents “bloom” when they combined their art to produce “Floral Expressions,” a book of photographs and poetry inspired by flowers. These Highland natives shared their mutual love of flowers and collaborated on the book to share their talents and to inspire and deepen the same love for flowers in those who view and read it.

“Floral Expressions is a coffee table book that could be picked up time and time again, finding something different each time it is explored. It’s a gift for your favorite gardener. And it’s a colorful book to remind you of spring flowers during the doldrums of winter,” Kesner said.

Kesner’s interest in photography began as an outpouring from his professional work as a graphic designer and marketer. After being exposed to a digital camera on the job, his interest in photography grew with the instant gratification of what was then a new type of camera — a digital camera.

About the same time, Kesner went with his family — wife, Debbie, and daughters, Sydney and Taylor — on a vacation to the Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tennessee. With a digital camera in hand, he experienced the beauty of the water, mountains and flora and captured images of what he saw. From that moment on, his passion for nature photography grew.

With many family vacations and more photographs under his belt, Kesner developed a particular style that highlighted the beauty of flowers. He had a large portfolio of flower photographs and wondered how he could share them with people. Creating a book seemed to be the best way to share the collection.

But when Kesner assembled the book, he felt it was incomplete.

“I’m proud of the floral images, and they look great in book form, but I thought something was missing. I came to the conclusion that poetry about flowers would complement the collection and add value to the book. That’s when I thought of Lynnette,” he said.

Kesner approached his long-time friend and fellow Highland artist for a collection of poetry and musings about flowers to use in the book.

Although Schuepbach had been writing poetry since high school and had several magazine articles and poetry published in anthologies, she independently published her first book, a children’s picture book/easy reader, in 2004. The plan was to illustrate and print only one book as a baby shower gift to her daughter-in-law as she expected the arrival of a grandson, Kade Schuepbach.

After seeing it, she knew she wanted to share it with others and to celebrate the lives of her granddaughters, Adrianna Kuhl and Mya Schuepbach, and her niece, Lydia Campbell. Today, she has five children’s books and each has helpful ideas for teachable moments with the children.

As the grandchildren got older, Schuepbach wrote a chapter book to keep up with their reading levels. A second chapter book in the series of Grandma L adventures is coming soon. Then, a friend noticed her writing skills and asked her to write his life’s story.

She said, “Each of these styles was unique. Rhyming and lyrical phasing for children’s books. A simple story line for the chapter book. Research and the organization of stories for the biography.”

But Schuepbach was anxious to share her poetry as well.

When Kesner approached her with the possibility of a book, she was all in, immediately.

“Brady’s collection of flower photography was wonderful, and I welcomed the opportunity to add my writing to the project,” Schuepbach said. “I found inspiration in his images and from my experiences of quality time in my garden and local public gardens. This format was very different than the other books I had published, and it gave me an opportunity to share a deep part of my soul.”

Book signing, how to purchase ‘Floral Expressions’

Their first book signing will take place from 4-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at Poppy’s Wine Tasting, 1619 Papin Street, Highland. It is open to everyone. Also watch for a local authors’ event at the Louis Latzer Library in Highland before the holidays.

People can find “Floral Expressions” at Poppy’s or the Chocolate Affair in Highland or Afterwords in Edwardsville. They also can purchase the book online by checking out Kesner’s website, bradykesner.com, or Schuepbach’s website, KidsDoRead.com.