Minnesota rancher pens children's book
Michelle Weber, of Lake Benton, Minn., has a passion for capturing life on the ranch through art.
Her preferred medium is oil paint, and when Weber puts a brush to canvas, her creations become timeless pieces for her clients. Her vast collection of work includes scenes from the pasture and feedlot, portraits of celebrated cattle genetics and special moments in the show ring.
Since she launched her business in 2011, Michelle Weber Studio has been commissioned to work for breed associations and industry fundraising events. When she's not working in the studio, she's outside on the ranch alongside her husband Jesse and wrangling their three children.
"My main business started by doing custom oil paintings where my customers would send me their image to work from, and I would then create paintings from those images," says Weber.
"Now I have expanded into framing and print sales, and most recently a book that I wrote and illustrated."
In June, Weber announced the release of her children's book, "Harvey - A Ranch Birthday," which follows a Hereford calf on the day he was born.
The inspiration for the book, Weber says, stems from a conversation she had with extended family members who enjoyed hearing about their day-to-day lives on the ranch and lamented how they wished they, too, could be raising kids in agriculture.
"I sat down and began writing out a regular day during calving season and found that even though it seemed so ordinary to my family, there are exciting, fun and sweet moments within each and every day on the ranch," says Weber. "The story is based on our ranch during calving season. A sweet new Hereford calf walks the readers through his very first day on this beautiful earth — from his first wobbly steps to snuggling with his momma in the barn — it's a real life story full of wonder and vibrant color."
This isn't Weber's first experience in the publishing world. In 2011, she illustrated another children's book titled, "Levi's Lost Calf" by Amanda Radke. However, this is her debut book as the author, and she's just getting started. She hopes to unveil a second book in the fall for young readers to enjoy.
"The calving theme has been a part of my life since I met my husband in 2008, so the storyline came easy for me," says Weber. "As I wrote, a vision of each illustration came to life in my head and many of the images were inspired by photographs I had taken in the past of my husband working with newborn calves and our cattle."
Weber's book is available on her website, webercustompainting.com or amazon.com. This summer, she has also embarked on a book tour, and readers can secure a signed copy at one of her upcoming events. She recently signed books and sold prints at the Junior National Hereford Expo in Grand Island, Neb., and she's scheduled to be at the Jackson County Fair in Jackson, Minn., on July 25 from 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Weber's book is already receiving rave reviews from parents and kids alike. With a five-star rating on Amazon, one reader said of the story, "You will flip through the beautiful illustrations in this book again and again! Weber does an outstanding job showcasing the care of a rancher and the beauty of farm life. Harvey will certainly be a family favorite for years to come!"
For a complete schedule of her book tour or to schedule a book reading at an event, go to Weber's website or her Facebook page, Michelle Weber Studio.