Wednesday, June 29, 2011

St. Ignatius of Loyola and mid-century influences

St. Ignatius of Loyola, acrylic on deep wrapped canvas, 4" x 12", private collection.

I have been looking through a stack of my old Golden Book Encyclopedias.  My parents bought them for my brother and me in the 60's, and I passed a lot of time as a kid reading them, but mostly copying the illustrations. This painting of St. Ignatius is my version of the style of those illustrators.

The illustrators for these encyclopedias and other school textbooks were given little credit, but I'm grateful to all of them.  The pictures they made--probably very quickly and for little money--burned themselves into my brain, and kept school boredom at bay.

This great encyclopedia cover montage was one of my favorites as a little kid.  Puts me in mind of the great Sandman covers by Dave McKean (albeit not quite as dark). I love the color combinations.

Some of the illustrations were simple, with a black outline and odd colors.  This was my favorite pic in all the encyclopedias, even though the descriptions of "real ghosts" kept me awake at night.

Some were painterly and amazing--nice to see the resurgence of interest in mid-century pics and design. Among the artists who contributed work for the Golden Encyclopedias were notable children's illustrators Garth Williams, Feodor Rojankowsky, Gustav Tenggren (who also worked on Disney's Pinocchio), and Alice and Martin Provenson.

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