Tag Archives: Art

Art-full

Painting and drawing can be therapeutic. Or so I believe. Not that I would know, as I can’t do those things [well enough for the therapeutic-ness to kick in]. And someone on social media has been painting her way round some book tours recently, posting one picture after the other for the rest of us to see.

Hoping it might eventually lead to a change of ownership, some of us tried to lay claim to ones we particularly loved. But you know, in some cases others got there first.

So [let’s call her] Tally isn’t just an author who authors extremely well. But she can paint too! She’s not the only one, either, and that’s not counting those people I know who make a living from both words and pictures.

Finally, a couple of days ago, Tally said we needed to take these paintings off her hands, and then the fighting began. I was awake early enough, but needed breakfast before engaging in online art war, and that’s when ‘some business’ happened.

But later in the day I caught [let’s call her] Kaye saying she wanted the one I wanted, so I said it was ‘mine, actually’ and she said ‘damn’ and then we went to bed. Separately, I hasten to add.

Woke up the next day to find shopkeeper Tally reminding me that Kaye ‘is pretty nifty with a sword.’ As if I needed reminding. I obviously said Kaye could have the painting. Just to be nice, not because the sword worried me. At all.

And you know, I could see it in my mind. The Western style bar, Tally leaning back nonchalantly in her chair, legs resting on the table in front of her, chewing on a toothpick, watching me and Kaye. Possibly twirling her gun, if she had a gun.

I mean, personally I feel she should have sold those paintings as quickly as possible, and none of this baiting the customers… but then Kaye said she’d have a puffin instead, putting her sword away, before I even got my broomstick ready.

Ah, well, one lives (hopefully) and learns.

But don’t you just hate it when some people are multi-talented?

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The Story of Paintings

There is so much beautiful art in this book on History of Art for Children, that at first I didn’t see Mick Manning or Brita Granström in there, and they are the ones who made the book.

I ought to be used to their style of educating children with the help of art and carefully researched facts, but still I saw only the classic art. And that’s perhaps as it should be.

From cave paintings to Jean-Michel Basquiat, it’s all there. The adult reader will not be surprised to see all the classic paintings, and this is a fine way for children to learn.

Mick Manning and Brita Granström, The Story of Paintings

Each page has a work of art alongside information about the artist and then some of Brita’s drawings to show how the artist might have looked as he/she worked, and with individual comments that make each painting special.

There is a glossary at the end, explaining the bare minimum of arty words. Enough, but not so it gets boring.

Fantastic book and so beautiful to look at!

Picture This!

At my age I have seen most, but not all, of the art featured in Paul Thurlby’s new picture book guide to the National Gallery in London. But I’m hoping that the young reader this book is aimed at will either not have seen any, or might feel good about recognising an iconic picture or two, and then want to look at more art.

Paul Thurlby, Picture This!

Paul’s book would be a good start. You could look through it before visiting, and you could either take it along, or revisit these pages after your trip to London’s enormous gallery where you can see so much interesting stuff.

The art is ‘the real thing’ and then Paul has added some of his own, as well as making comments or explaining the great masters. And every now and then you can add your own art into small frames dotted about, or you have questions to answer, quizzes and puzzles.

In other words, lots to do, what with reading the book really thoroughly and then traipsing round the National Gallery.

There isn’t enough of Paul’s own art in this book, but then I suppose that wasn’t the intention. Anyway, if you have lobsters to spot and snowball fights, that’s good enough.

Get Colouring With Katie

Get those colouring pens out! James Mayhew’s Katie is back, and this time she has some half-finished masterpieces for us.

James Mayhew, Get Colouring With Katie

If you are a long-term fan of James’s, you will recognise these pictures. As you will if you are a regular in art galleries or paid attention at school.

Fifteen works of art where James has helped with lines and things to get you started. And I believe you want to be quite careful as you go, since this really is fine art, so no big, sweeping brush strokes, please.

With care, this book could keep you, or your child, quiet for most of the summer holidays. And, you could always see if you can go and visit some of the originals. See who did the better job.

I love Katie!

Generosity

Translator Daniel Hahn had two pieces of good news to share yesterday. First he won the International Dublin Literary Award with author José Eduardo Agualusa for the book A General Theory of Oblivion. They share the €100,000 award, which is very generous as literary prizes go. Even Daniel’s 25% is a lot of money.

And then Daniel decided to give some of it away again. He’s using half his money to fund a new First Translation Award for the Society of Authors, with an annual £2000 given to a first literary translation, to be shared by the translator and the editor.

But the generosity of people does not end there. Many of our favourite illustrators have donated art to an auction starting tomorrow, in aid of stranded refugees in Greece, via the Three Peas charity. I’ve had a little look, and there are many, many beautiful illustrations that would look great on anybody’s wall. Go on, you have about ten days to bid!

Not surprisingly the dreadful tragedy of the fire at Grenfell Tower in London has caused many authors to join in to help raise money for the British Red Cross to help residents affected by the fire. Authors for Grenfell Tower can be found here.

As always, there are many interesting and diverse items and services on offer. I quite fancy naming a character in Philip Pullman’s 2nd Book of Dust. I’m guessing that could fetch a lot of money. Or I could go book shopping with Lucy Mangan.

Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World

Rather like Mariana, the young girl in Laurence Anholt’s new book about Frida Kahlo, I have been a little scared of Frida. She seems so different, and intimidating. She’s not, of course, and now both I and Mariana know this.

As in Laurence’s other books about famous artists, Mariana is a real child from Frida’s real life. Her father was a wealthy art collector, and Frida painted portraits of everyone in his family, and Mariana was the last to sit for Frida.

Laurence Anholt, Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World

During the time it took for her portrait to be painted, Mariana learned about Frida’s life, including the accident that almost killed her, and why Frida always wore long skirts, and about her husband Diego Rivera. By the end of the painting the two were firm friends. Not even the skeleton above Frida’s bed scared her any more.

I love these artist’s life books! I actually have a whole pile here at the moment, because I’ve been hoarding them. Frida Kahlo is new, but the ones about Matisse, Degas and Cézanne have recently been reissued and they are so enjoyable.

Laurence Anholt, Matisse: King of Colour

Matisse might have been my favourite. Except I really loved Degas. And Cézanne was touching. So I don’t know. Either all these artists were really special and lovely people, or Laurence knows how to make them appear so. I especially admire the way he uses children and young people close to the artists to show what they were like as human beings, and not just the way we view these famous painters now. Life wasn’t always a bed of roses back when the painting was happening.

I do like Matisse’s chapel!

Katie’s Picture Show

This is the last (of my pile) of James Mayhew’s picture books about Katie, but I understand that it was James’s first one, which was re-issued a couple of years ago to celebrate 25 years of Katie misbehaving in art galleries. ‘Katie had never been to an art gallery before,’ but it might as well have said something about Katie never having climbed into famous works of art before.

James Mayhew, Katie's Picture Show

Here we discover how she began (after all, how do you find out you can climb into art?), and it does explain why she has continued her art visitations ever since. I sympathise with Grandma who needs to sit down as soon as they arrive. It’s what I do, too.

In Katie’s Picture Show Katie meets some of the best known art, art that even I have seen in real life. But none of this spilling tea on elegant French ladies or stealing pieces of cake, shifting her booty from picture to picture. She helps herself to quite a lot of food, but then I’ve never before considered that people – or tigers – in pictures might be hungry. Or bored and lonely, wanting a conversation or a play session.

James Mayhew, Katie's Picture Show

Modern art, on the other hand, can prove dangerously slippery, and Katie ‘didn’t want to be eaten by a piece of modern art.’ That particular escapade shows us that the guards in the art gallery aren’t such complete idiots after all. This one knew exactly what Katie was up to.

(So it might not merely be Katie’s personal talent, but a more general magic. Don’t touch the displays!)