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1917 Italy Engraved Map

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Manolo Blahnik Sketch Book Lithographs

An Artistic Journey Back To My Childhood

Friday, July 08, 2011

Every once in a while I discover a new (for me) artist or illustrator and it’s like a whole new world has opened for me.

I’ll google the name and learn what there is to learn on the internet. See what images and what additional books are there to be found and look through all the wonderful art and crafting blogs, most of which I already subscribe.

There are dozens of blogs sitting quietly there now, waiting for me ... it's ridiculous how back-logged my online to-read list is. Wonderful, beautifully illustrated blogs; all well-written and quite interesting. It is no exaggeration that my Google Reader “Unread” tab now numbers well into the 100’s. I’m still looking for a way to deny a need for sleep. Caffeine and chocolate can work for only so long before I collapse at the keyboard, only to wake in the wee small hours of the morning with “QWERTY” imprinted on my forehead.

Perhaps, if I'm still unsatisfied, I'll head to my library which, for a small town, is surprisingly deep in art books (yes, I know I’m lucky).

And then there is that other sort of discovery: re-discovery, actually. Art and stories from my childhood (mid-1950’s). My mother was a private artist, never published, with exquisite taste and an unbounding affection for Edwardian, Victorian, and Georgian art and sensibilities (mostly Georgian). And the books that graced our home (she cherished her books) reflected her deep affection.
So the other day, when a customer’s request sent me searching through my shop’s inventory stacks of images and books and then, still searching, to my own personal volumes in hopes of locating her request … I ended up not finding that particular image but, instead, rediscovering my childhood.

Miska Petersham

Aren’t these gorgeous? Each and every one. Gorgeous.

Miska Petersham was born in Hungary in September 1888 and immigrated to London in search of employment (unsuccessfully) and then to the US in 1912. He went to work for the International Art Service where he met his future wife, Maud Fuller, a New York writer and illustrator.

The duo was an early 20th century artistic powerhouse team, producing children’s books together for more than 30 years and winning both Caldecott Honors award in 1941 (An American ABC) and the Caldecott Medal in 1946 (The Rooster Crows).

For me, the joy of Miska’s art is the charming  world he create and the colors he uses. Yeah, for me it was most definitely his palette. I fell in love with Miska’s "Old-World" style when I was 4 years old, long before I understood what “Art” was (not that I understand it even now).

Looking back, Miska’s creations awoke in 4-year-old me a desire for a more beautiful world. I wanted to live in there, to know the people I saw there, visit the places. And, although that 4-year-old me did not understand that this world was *not* real, Miska's art *made* this world real ~ his paints and his imagination made it real for me.

… and, for that 4-year-old little me, what I saw was real *enough* and I wanted more.

And isn't that what Art is supposed to do for us ... and to us ... regardless of our age?


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