Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gary Kelley's illustrations

I went to a book signing for our local artist, Gary Kelley tonight! He was discussing the illustrations he created for Doreen Rappaport's new biography, Eleanor, Quiet no more; the life of Eleanor Roosevelt. I took my budding artist, J. and both of us loved listening to him talk about creating the art work for this beautiful project. The illustrations are amazing and unique and match so well with Ms. Rappaport's text. I loved hearing him talk about how he researched from a variety of books, looking at old photographs to capture her face from different angles. He showed photographs he took of a house Eleanor lived in at the beginning of her marriage and how he turned those into his chalk drawings. He enjoyed researching this project because her life encompassed such great history and she grew in her ability to speak out. Kelley admitted to being a Democrat (which I knew as he was at several local Obama events last summer) and the only reason he brought this up is comparing some of his images (like Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial)-to Obama speaking there this year. Kelley is a very talented artist and yet very down-to-earth-he was wearing blue suede sneakers!

J. asked him a question during the Q/A part of the evening. I was impressed she stuck her little hand up right away and asked what he painted with and if he had a place to paint at home? A: While he does paint, the drawings were done in chalk (a special chalk-I can't remember the exact name) and he has a studio downtown on Main St. Now we know!

I want to know who at the publishing company decided to present Rappaport's biographies without a title on the front...this is pure genius I think! Not only does it make his drawing of Eleanor stand out so dramatically but it also makes you want to pick it up right away and start exploring-for the title, of course, but in the meantime you'll probably fall in love with the story and the illustrations inside and march right up and buy it. I bought a copy at the signing and J. stood in line to have it autographed...she was first in line and I hope she will always remember these exciting book adventures.


Chris Murphy said...

The absence of title on the book reminds me of Martin's Big Words, which also has a likeness on the cover that needs no title.

I enjoy reading your blog! Wish I could have been there last night.

Peaceful Reader said...

He was great, Chris!! Thank you for reading and commenting! I so appreciate your help in the library-it is refreshing to reshelve now! Thank you.