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!

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