Monday, November 29, 2010

Karen Selects...

19th Annual Children's Book Illustrator's Show & Signing

December 4th 2010, 1pm - 5pm

Can you believe a year has gone by since our last children’s book signing and illustration art show? Well, we can because we have been working hard for almost six months to bring you an incredible show! With over 500 illustrations available and over 600 presold books, we are overwhelmed, but undaunted.

I’m sure you’ve been waiting to hear about my faves this year, so here goes, in alpha order…

From the illusive David Diaz, the work from Me, Frida is breathtaking to me. The book is beautifully written as well. These large-scale illustrations are paintings on canvas, representing the lives of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. The work is slightly reminiscent of Gustav Klimt in his use of color and glazing technique. I could so easily hang one of these pieces in my living room.

from Me, Frida by David Diaz

Diaz’s work varies widely in technique and style. From silkscreen to mixed media on an interesting array of substrate, his illustrations are at times folk and other times refined.

To the galaxies we travel with Patrick O’Brien. His Captain Raptor series stimulate the imaginations of both big and little kids. I love his space ships travelling through the skies. His use of rich dark colors creates an ominous effect of travel through the stars and planets. I can’t get enough of this piece from Captain Raptor and the Moon Mystery. Patrick’s work, in general, is quite technical and yet very painterly.

from Captain Raptor & the Moon Mystery by Patrick O'Brien

I just have to throw in this very adorable piece from A Wasp is not a Bee also by O’Brien. Don’t you just want to take these friendly koalas home with you!

from A Wasp is not a Bee by Patrick O'Brien

Having recently begun practicing Yoga, I would have to say that Julie Paschkis’s illustrations from Twist speak to me. But, I can’t pick a favorite. Just like any given pose might be a favorite any given day because I need its benefit to my body, I may like different illustrations because they do different things to my psyche on different days. In these illustrations, each pose is shown and set within a descriptive scene showing the translation of the pose. For example, Mountain Pose is set in a landscape with a gently erupting volcano to show both the stillness and strength of the pose.

from Twist by Julie Paschkis

Much of Paschkis work has a Northern European feel in the folk tradition. The bright vivid colors she uses certainly draw attention!

With over 200 of S.D. Schindler’s illustrations in our possession, choosing a favorite is a difficult task. No trouble choosing my favorite book, The Story of Salt, which tells the historical significance of salt from influencing trade to the curing of meats. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a salt-aholic, but only sea salt!

From his humorous style to the more serious, Schindler’s work is expressive and diverse. I would say this small piece from Three Pebbles and a Song is the most charming. Schindler’s deft usage of watercolor and gouache gives this piece the feel that you could touch the soft moss and climb this lush tree stump mouse house.

from Three Pebbles and a Song by S.D. Schindler

Last, but certainly not least, is the work of classically trained Gennady Spirin. My dilemma here was do I select a slightly twisted, scary piece or a simply exquisite piece. Hmmm…. gotta choose twisted.

from The Tempest by Gennady Spirin

We don’t have the book, so I can’t verify this character, but I think he is Caliban, the giant malformed beast from The Tempest. I love, love, love this piece. Calibansits on a grassy knoll with strange spirits emanating from the flower above his head while angels float around the knoll. The more you look at this work, the more interesting creatures you find. Spirin’s signature alone is a work of art and the drips on the paper give it life.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Come choose your favorite on December 4th 2010, 1-5pm. See how easy you think it is, when you look through more than 500 illustrations and over 50 books. Don’t worry, you can come back time and again because the show will be hanging through December 18th!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Little Red & Mother" from Little Red Riding Hood, watercolor by Gennady Spirin

Have a safe and joyous Thanksgiving!
We'll see you again on
Friday, November 26th, 10 am - 6 pm

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jennifer's Book Picks

I look forward to the Children's Book Illustrator Show & Signing every year, not only because I get to see such beautiful art firsthand, but also because I have an excuse to read the books! We have an extraordinary selection this year, so our book choice is tougher than ever. But, I guess if I have to pick just one from each illustrator, these are my choices...

Me, Frida
Written by Amy Novesky
Illustrated by David Diaz

Frida in Gold, Mixed Media on Canvas

If you're like me and love the work of artist Frida Kahlo and the City by the Bay, Me, Frida is a great book for you. Frida and Diego Rivera travel to San Francisco so Diego can work. This is Frida's first time out of her native homeland, and she finds the ways of America strange and intimidating. She is left alone much of the time while Diego is painting, and she soon discovers a love for the city as well as her own artistic voice. David's inspired paintings set the mood for this journey to self discovery.

Written & Illustrated by Patrick O'Brien
Cat Face in Tall Grass, Watercolor & Gouache

Patrick O'Brien's books are just oh-so-BOY, but the science-minded girl can get into them, too! Sabertooth explores the physiology and biology of the prehistoric big cats with great illustrations of skeletons, teeth and fur. Packed with fun facts and explanations, Patrick presents a wonderfully readable lesson in prehistoric schooling. Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is the details, like 2 smilodons hiding in the tall grass stalking a mammoth, or even a modern-day paleontologist that looks suspiciously like Patrick!

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella
Written by Paul Fleischman
Illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Rooster, Gouache

I've always loved fairy tales, the weirder the better, so when I saw this version of Cinderella I was delighted! Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal seamlessly combines different versions of the Cinderella story from cultures all over the world. We travel from Mexico to Korea, Iraq to Zimbabwe and further afield as we yearn to go to the king's ball, dance the night away with the prince and foil the stepmother and stepsisters. Julie's magical illustrations were inspired by the traditional textiles of the countries and work together to flawlessly blend one page into another.

The Curious Adventures of the Abandoned Toys
Written by Julian Fellowes
Illustrated by S.D. Schindler

Doc at Home, Watercolor, Pen & Ink

This book really got me, from the title to the sweet illustrations. It reminded me of books I had when I was little, and the well-loved stuffed animals that I still have to this day. Poor Doc the teddy bear is thrown out when the children's hospital he lives in has a re-vamp. He finds himself tied to the front of a garbage truck hurtling towards his new home, the city dump. He quickly befriends the rest of the abandoned toys, and that's when his adventures truly begin. Steve's pen and ink and watercolor illustrations tell Doc's story with such charm that your heart can't help but melt.

The Tale of the Firebird
Written and Illustrated by Gennady Spirin
In the Forest Lake, Watercolor

What a great year for fairy tale books! Russian artist, Gennady Spirin, adapted The Tale of the Firebird from three traditional Russian fairy tales from his childhood. The son of the Tsar must travel from kingdom to kingdom with the help of a magical wolf to retrieve the gifts desired by his father and his father's friends. Gennady's stunning illustrations give the feel of an illuminated manuscript, and his exquisite attention to detail lends a magical feel to every page.

Don't forget to pre-order your signed and dedicated books by November 27th -
that's 12 days from now!

Monday, November 1, 2010

John Maxon - Bigger Than Ever!

Out and About, oil on canvas, 60 x 48

John Maxon drove all night from northern California last week just to see us. He packed his car in the dark (man, was it ever packed!) with his newest works to share, left his house at 3am, while we were busy getting our beauty sleep, and was on our doorstep by 10:30 that same day. What a guy!

We had a hard time choosing from so many gorgeous canvases, but we finally narrowed the selection down to 7. These large-scale paintings are bold and imaginative. John masterfully combines shape and form to suggest plateaus, vistas and overlooks. As always, his pallet of colors is vibrant and lively, inviting you to sit and stare. We like-y!

Be on the lookout in the new year for works of John's with birds. We got a sneak peek and they are bee-you-tee-ful! In the meantime, head on over to our website to get an eyeful of the new work.

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December Events

19th Annual Children's Book Illustrators' Show & Signing
Saturday, December 4, 2010
1 pm - 5 pm
FYI - you only have 4 more weeks to pre-order your books to have them signed and dedicated by the illustrators! We'll have a selection of books available at the Dec. 4th show, but we can't guarentee that we'll have everything. Have you made your selections yet? CLICK HERE to go to this year's book list.

Mark your calendars!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
7 pm - 8:30 pm

For one night only, Chemers Gallery will be hosting a special book signing with Dr. James Doti, president of Chapman University! Join us to sample Nonna's biscotti and meet Dr. Doti and illustrator Lisa Mertins. This event benefits the Kathleen Muth Reading Center which provides literacy tutoring for children.


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