Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Inspired by Betsy Bird's top 100, I'm planning on featuring MY top picks for children's book illustrators. I may end up at a round ten, we'll just have to see.
First on the list is the artist that got me started on all this, N C Wyeth. I still vividly remember wandering through the local library when I was a kid and randomly pulling Treasure Island off the shelf. I was electrified. Stunned. I absolutely lusted to be able to paint like that.
The paintings were far more than well crafted, they were raw, truthful, bold, earthy. Filled with power and vitality.
And Wyeth handled sensitive subjects with equal deft and meaning. This painting of Jack Hawkins leaving home displays a masterful composition featuring a determined yet hesitant boy with his tearful mother who has stepped back to allow Jack's destiny to unfold.
The darkly shadowed foreground, the raking triangle of burning sunlight across the house, the lonely cloud in a washed out sky. The homey touch of the bowl in the kitchen window. All deliberate tools to create a feeling for a very powerful moment.