Saturday, August 1, 2009

If I were a princess...

I'd want Mary Blair to draw me.
Almost two years ago, one of my professors took us to her friend's backyard studio to do some printmaking. This woman had an amazing studio filled with supplies and, I'm willing to say, almost one thousand books. After she helped me crank my glass plates and print through the press, she told me she thought I'd like an artist named Mary Blair. She ran and got me a book aptly titled "The Art and Flair of Mary Blair," and she was right - I do love Mary Blair.
Mary did a lot of concept work for Disney (in its golden days), doing preliminary color sketches for movies like Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella. She did the character design for the "It's a Small World After All" ride at Disney (I love that ride!), and she had a successful illustration career of her own working on children's books. The picture above is my favorite kind of children's book illustration - when I was little (and still at age 23), I loved cozy bedroom scenes! They were all I used to draw (along with secret tree houses and jungle hideaways) until I was about 12 when my interests inevitably turned to fashion (I think now my interests are a happy mix of the things I loved at all ages, which I like :).
Nuns looking on while Mary paints.
character sketches
I love this portrait of a city. Mary's art took place in the time I love most (40s, 50s, 60s), and that is when I think cities (particularly New York City) were at their best. It reminds me of things like Breakfast at Tiffany's and I Love Lucy.
Some princess concepts.
Her art has that vintage quality. There certainly was a style back then that seemed to later influence shows like Ren and Stimpy (Log commercial?), but I think Mary stands out among the rest. You can just tell she understood children by looking at her paintings. They just exude happiness and fun to me, and are full of beautiful details to discover. Someday I will make a copy of "The Art and Flair of Mary Blair" my own.
I hope you're all having a not-too-hot, not-too-cool weekend!
Love, me
p.s. - The Pre-College show was held at AIB last night, and it went wonderful! Congratulations to all the students.


Kirsty said...

Hi amanda :) thank you for your very kind message! It's good to be back in blog land! This post is amazing! The pictures are wonderful, especially the picture of the city and the fabulous princess picture! Very interesting as well. I really like Disney too, Disney land Paris is one of my favourite places. I think Disney world must be magical also! :).


WoolenSails said...

I love the graphics on children's books. I think I remember those books, that is scary;)


Jessica said...

Oh man, I totally had that I Can Fly book!