Archive for May 2017

Art Worth Millions

May 25, 2017

On May 4th, I posted a blog about the 2017 Caldecott Medal Award winner, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. You can see it here.

As a follow-up, I thought readers of this blog might be interested in hearing a bit more about Jean-Michel Basquiat. If you read my previous post, you know Basquiat’s art focused on social and political issues and resonated with a variety of people. He achieved artistic success at an early age. Unfortunately, he died of a drug overdose when he was twenty-seven, leaving behind his artistic legacy. Last Thursday, twenty-nine years after his death, Basquiat’s work, Untitledsold at Sotheby’s auction for an unprecedented amount of $110.5 million. That puts Basquiat’s work among the greatest of the great artists in the world.

“Every single line means something.” ~Jean-Michel Basquiat

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Untitled

Jean-Michel Basquiat – 1982

“I don’t think about art when I’m working. I think about life.” ~Jean Michel Basquiat

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SOMEDAY – An Unexpected Emotional Impact

May 18, 2017

Quite some time ago, I purchased a picture book for my daughter I thought she would appreciate as a young mother. Last Sunday, we did what many families do on Mother’s Day. We came together to celebrate. We had brunch at our house and exchanged cards and gifts. I added what my daughter calls a “motherism” to the inside of the book for which she expressed delight and gratitude. She didn’t have time to read the book because two active little girls were demanding her attention. Later Sunday evening, I received a text. My daughter told me she read Someday, the book I gave to her, to the girls at bedtime. She said she couldn’t get through it because it made her cry. (It was that unexpected emotional impact.) She told the girls they were “happy tears.” It’s moments like these when you realize how fortunate you are to have a close relationship with your daughter and how much you miss your own mother. And now I’m crying those “happy tears.”

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Alison McGhee’s text is simple, but it reminds the adult reader of the special bond that exists between mothers and daughters and how the cycle of life continues. McGhee’s gentle words speak to the heart, and Peter Reynolds’ endearing illustrations speak to our visual emotions. The combination of the two makes this book a gift of love.

If you have sons, a companion book to Someday is Little Boy written by Alison Mc Ghee and illustrated by Peter Reynolds, Atheneum Books.

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The Three Bs of Reading According to Two Who Know

May 11, 2017

It’s never too early to introduce children to books. The benefits are abundant. Reading together is a bonding experience and aids in developing language, communication, speech, and logical thinking skills. Putting a book into a child’s hand at an early age helps instill the love of reading.

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So, what are the three Bs of Reading? According to these two cuties, the answer is boxes, baskets, and books, of course.

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With books in hand, the perfect place to relax and read is in a basket or in a box − or anywhere.

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Radiant Art

May 4, 2017

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” ~Henry Ward Beecher

I was not familiar with Jean-Michel Basquiat until I read, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, Little, Brown and Company. This book was awarded the 2017 Caldecott Medal, the 2017 Coretta Scott King Award for its illustrations, and the 2017 NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Literary Work.

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From an early age, Jean-Michel knew he wanted to become a famous artist. His mother was a creative spark in his life, exposing him to literature, theater, museums, and the energy of New York City. His father brought home old paper from the office on which Jean-Michel drew for hours. When his mother became ill, Jean-Michel lost an important mentor in his life. More than ever, drawing and painting were his passion. At night, he spray-painted poems and drawings on the walls in the New York City. His pieces brought attention to the city’s diverse population and its social and political issues. Basquiat’s unique style was embraced by art critics and fans, and, at a young age, he achieved his goal of becoming a famous artist.

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~Edgar Degas

What makes this book truly amazing is Javaka Steptoe’s eye-catching illustrations. In the back matter of the book, he provides more information about Jean-Michel Basquiat and adds a poignant author note. Javaka Steptoe was inspired by Basquiat’s work. He saw his graffiti in New York City, read about Basquiat in the newspapers, and went to one of his art shows. In illustrating this book, Steptoe says he used his own interpretations of the artist’s works rather than using copies. The end result is a book filled with vivid illustrations inspired by Basquiat and his unique style. Through his text and art, Javaka Steptoe exposes readers to an extraordinary artist and offers them an opportunity to learn and appreciate artists and their compositions.

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” ~Pablo Picasso


 


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