By Connie Leinbach
Those interested in the lighter side of Ocracoke life might want to get a copy of “The Ocracoke Coloring Book,” by Kitty Martin Mitchell.
First printed in 1976, Mitchell, who will return to her former teaching position at Ocracoke School as the art teacher, said the reprint issued in June wasn’t changed a bit from the original.
“I just let it be as it is—a window into an earlier time,” she said.
The coloring book is a compendium of answers to the question: “Whaddya do fer action around here,” stated right on the cover.
Mitchell, who is married to Gary Mitchell, is an artist and musician having been part of the original Molasses Creek trio, along with Gary and David Tweedie.
“I love to do cartoons and started doing humorous post cards of some of the things that happened around here,” she said. “We started out camping before we bought a house. That’s why a lot of it is about camping.”
Take the ever-present wind.
One page with the caption, “Treacherous winds cause many wrecks on the Outer Banks,” shows an example—a toppled porta potty.
“That happened at the campground,” Mitchell said, laughing.
The pages cover a variety of aspects of life here: crazy questions by tourists, the “wild” ponies, the ubiquitous biting insects and other fauna, Blackbeard, family cemeteries, fishing and fish tales.
Mitchell has never seen one of these books fully colored, nor has she done it herself, she said.
These days, cartooning has given way to the serious art of her painting as well as returning this year to teaching art.
Her work can be seen at several locations on the island, such as Deepwater Theater, Down Creek Gallery where she will be a featured artist Aug. 12, (see story page 12) and the Magic Bean Coffee Shop on School Road, where her coloring books can be purchased.
They also can be purchased at Ocracoke Preservation Society, which facilitated the reprint.