Saturday, August 30, 2003
"...All the pretty things put by
Wait upon the children's eye,
Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,
In the picture story-books..."
-- from "Picture Books in Winter", Robert Louis Stevenson
In follow-up to my recent post on the paintings of Ivan Generalic and other Eastern European "naive" artists, I would like to mention the work of a contemporary British illustrator whose style is surprisingly similar to theirs.
|"Apple Orchard", Alison Jay|
From the rolling hilltops, to the soothing ovals of trees and clouds, to skipping and twirling creatures, Alison Jay paints dainty scenes in the cheeriest colors. Miniature mansions, flawlessly trimmed shrubs, amicable celestial bodies, blissfully blue skies fill her pictures to the brim. Some might even say that the images are on the brink of being syrupy, frothy, cutesy. Indeed, Jay dispenses generous dollops of happy-go-luckiness, but she also remembers to layer her creations with a lot of warmth -- a quality that is hardly ever in surplus.
|"Seasons", Alison Jay||"Balloon of Experience", Alison Jay|
The characters and landscapes of Jay's illustrations are ideally suited for fanciful children's books. She has collaborated on many, including "If Kisses Were Colors", "A World of Wonders", "Ladder to the Stars", and more.
|"If Kisses were Flowers", Alison Jay|
Online, samples of her work are to be found at The Organization, an illustration agency, and its online shop. Images from an animation Jay did for the French marketers of the homeopathic oscillococcinum are also on the web.
The breeze tastes sweet and warm
of ripe fruit
and of grass
It ruffles my hair and
plasters my sweat-wet shirt on my skin
It blows doors shut
and wafts in windows to cool hot pies and
fill empty spaces
In the gentle lull of the wind
trees creak and shiver,
fresh cut grass is
tossed onto the walk
and the clouds are pushed
like cotton-ball puffs
across a blue-glass sky
At night the wind carries
fireflies on its wings
and sweet chirping songs of crickets
When the breeze stops playing
with my hair
or creaking the loose gate
chafing my skin and
redding my nose and cheeks
making breath visible
You know the summer wind has left
But you remember its playful soul
-- Sam Brandis-Dann, age 11, New York, New York
from the September/October 2001 issue of Stone Soup Magazine