Author Autobiography - Gudrun Ongman
Although I am the author and illustrator of The Sleep Ponies and Sleep Pony Dreams, I didn't set out to be a writer and artist. Yet, throughout my life these two talents have continually worked their way to the surface and now play a prominent role in my life.
I was born and raised in the Seattle area, to an artistic family. I decided early to try to make a difference in the world. So, I studied nursing at the University of Washington. In my spare time, I raced to art classes at the other end of the campus and then treated myself to two quarters studying the arts in Europe.
After graduating, I enlisted in the VISTA Volunteer poverty program and spent the next 2 years among Hispanic and Native American migrant farm workers in Utah where I helped develop and institute a variety of medical programs. This led to a directorship of Indiana's Migrant Health Program. But I found that I missed hands-on interaction with people. I returned to Seattle to pursue a Master's degree and then continued my work with farm laborers in Washington's Skagit Valley as a Nurse Practitioner.
My career was interrupted by the arrival of my 1st child in 1978, followed closely by 2 more. I chose to spend the next several years as a fulltime mom. Removed from my career, I returned to my artistic roots, sculpting and painting, and winning awards for my work. Successful gallery shows and teaching aspiring artists at the Arts Umbrella, an art center in Bothell, Washington, led to an exciting art career and gave me the creative atmosphere and encouragement I needed to write and illustrate stories of the Sleep Ponies. My latest book Sleep Pony Dreams, just like its predecessor The Sleep Ponies, is a labor of love. It's the written and illustrated story of Whicker, a young Sleep Pony, and her wish to see her Dream Child.
I live on a small farm in the country with my husband, 3 daughters and a menagerie of animals. I continue to pursue my art, teaching and commitment to my community.