Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Death of an Idol

From "The Moonjumpers."

I heard the news today, oh boy. My idol, Maurice Sendak, has died. I have always loved children’s book illustrators and wanted to be one when I grew up. Since he and I were the same age, he wasn’t around doing books when I was a child, so I had to wait until I was a grownup to enjoy his work. Before “Where the Wild Things Are” he had illustrated some books I liked, written by other writers, like “A Hole Is To Dig.” It was when he started to write and illustrate his own work that he really came into his own. He never got over being a child, I think, which is why his books are so appealing to children and people like me.

When the Wild Things came out, as soon as I read about it, I bought a copy for Polly, because I knew she was the kind of child who would love that sort of thing. The reviewers thought it might be too intense for sensitive kids, and they were very wrong. It was only a few years after I got her the book (she was four at the time) that one of her favorite painters was Hieronymus Bosch, so wild things were even a bit tame for her. All of my kids loved that’ book, as have children for over fifty years. They loved “In the Night Kitchen” and “The Little Bear” books, too. He did beautiful black and white drawings for Randall Jarell’s “The Bat Poet” and a wonderful Grimm’s Fairy Tales”

I have collected all of his newer books, even though they began to be a tad weird after a while, like “Down in the Dumps With Jack and Guy.”
The Sendak Family, with Maurice as a baby. They look a lot like his illustrations
Many years ago I b ought, on sale, a wonderful book about Sendak which contains his biography and terrific illustrations form all of his books up to that time. It also has pictures of toys and an actual pop-up that he and his older brother created, as well as a miniature book he created which was a precursor to the wild Things.. He talks about his fear as a child in hearing about the Lindbergh kidnapping, which explains another haunting book “Outside Over There,” one of my favorites. I am using an illustration from “The Moon Jumpers,”an early book he was not satisfied with. However, I love the pictures in it, so there, Maurice dolling.

He was a terrific artist and his work will live forever. R.I.P., Maurice Sendak.

Part of my Sendak collection.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What Are They DoIng?

For reasons that defy logic, Google has created a new series of elements in Blog Spot which makes editing a harder task than it useds to be. You end up navigating a  a lot of pages and trying to figure out how to get to where you need to be.
Now they have in some way screwed up my posts so that one I posted last week is now out of sequence and is dated May 14, which hasn't arrived yet. My latest post follows that one, which is about my book. I don't know how I can transpose it back to where it belongs.
I have written a lot of feedback to Google with no response - not that I expect any.
Why can't they leave weel enough alone?

And now, I find that this one is also listed after the May Day post. Oy veh!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Messing About With Color

I’m playing around with painting, trying new things, like color and style and all that sort of thing. Not really sure what I’m doing, but it’s fun. Besides Gabrielle Munter, I also like Emily Carr, a Canadian expressionist painter who lived in the late 19th, early 20th century and did wonderful landscapes in the Pacific Northwest. She is credited with saving the Native American totem poles by calling attention to their artistic merit. People had been chopping them up for wood!! She also did some really fantastic landscapes, similar to Charles Burchfield’s, a superb painter form Salem, Ohio. She, in particular, used color in the same way as Munter, bright and unexpected.

I have always been too literal, and still am, so I am trying to break loose and experiment. So far, it is still tame and I don’t always get the balance right. I am not planning to break into the world of art, just having fun and making messes.

I have to work bigger than I used to because of m eye sight. I can’t do those detailed little illustrations I used to be able to do, like the ones in the book about my mother. My hand is not so steady either for fine line work. I remember reading about James Thurber, who was legally blind because of an early eye injury -   his brother shot him in the eye with a bow and arrow. Not on purpose of course. As he grew older both eyes because impaired, so he did his cartoons on huge sheets of paper. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

These are a couplet if things based on a photo I took of the yard across the street one foggy morning a few years ago. They still need work, which I have to figure out.

But they’re bright.
The links to the artists in this post are from me, and not from that "text enhance" bug that hs been driving me nuts.