In the huge pile of mail that was waiting for me when I returned from my Hawaiian trip was a padded envelope that felt like a book. I didn't think I had ordered anything, and was pleasantly surprised to find a copy of People and Portraits, sent to me by Lark in the hopes that I would review it on my blog, hardly an onerous task.
This book is part of the Art Quilt Portfolio series by Martha Sielman. Like her prvious book in the series, the Natural World, this book is a feast for the eyes. It is a soft cover, but a very sturdy soft cover encompassing an embossed picture of Maria Elkins prize winner, Windblown. There are 21 featured artists, each with their own unique style: from the whimsical Yoshiko Kurihara, the political Pat Kumicuch, the ethereal Colette Berends, the serious Lori Lupe Pelish, and everything in between.
There were artists whose work I had long admired such as Margo Levinger, who uses layers of tulle as if it were paint to achieve her sensuous nudes. Her fine art background is very obvious.
Mary Pal's work has always intrigued me She works mostly in white cheesecloth on black backgrounds to make the most amazingly realistic portraits, mostly of the aged or homeless. One of the great features of this book is that each artist explains how they work. There was a big, "Aha, that's how she does it!" when I read Pal's explanation. Not that I would ever do it, but at least now I know how it was done.
Margene Gloria May was a new name to me, but I loved her striking and powerful African American portraits using bold graphic fabrics.
In addition to the featured artists there are many galleries with more than 100 other talented artists showing their talent.
My friend, Carole, does the most incredible, quirky and playful woman's faces. When I heard about this book coming out, I told her to be sure and enter, certain that this book was right up her alley. We were both shocked and dismayed that she was not accepted. After seeing the book, I realize that she may not have been as well known as the featured artists, but I still think that at least one of her works would have been perfect for one of the galleries. But then I wasn't a juror and one never knows entirely what is in their minds.
Would I recommend your getting this book for your library? You bet I would! It is well written with an abundance of beautiful colored photos and to make the pot even sweeter, you can get it on Amazon for under $10!