Last week, a patron at the library asked me for Tasha Tudor's works, and as I searched our catalog she began mentioning a particular poem she was searching for: Take Joy or in the book Take Joy. And as I searched and continued to ask a few questions, she sternly looked at me, leaned in and glaringly said, "don't you know Tasha Tudor!!???"... well, I calmly looked back at her and said, "ma'am I'm sorry but i don't know
everything about everyone."
It was a springboard for her to launch into the many works this author/illustrator has done, and like so many other things in my life (ie. music/songs/lyrics/poetry), I sometimes don't retain names with titles or pieces. It's a shortcoming of mine, no real recall memory.
Anyway, of course I knew her illustrations, (when i realized who she was talking about), having loved the secret garden, and child's verse and other stories I'd read growing up, but this shaming jolt from a patron led me to look more into her work as an author and person.
Secret Garden by Hodgsen Burnett, (which i just whisper netted to my kindle, free, because it's old enough now for free use in the public domain - should be interesting to see what the drawings come through in a digital format) and found a note inside, not in my writing, maybe my Aunts, about one passage on page196 about creating magic, even the sentence had light pencil brackets.. Hmmm a puzzle since it's been years since i opened the book.. it was purchased from the San Rafael book store, when my Aunt Judy lived in Mill Valley, more than 40 years ago. I think I was about 9 when she gave me that book one Christmas. I don't think I read it though until I was about 12.
Regardless, this insatiable curiosity of mine to dig in and find more, led me again to a fine love of her work, and to discover her pioneering spirit with gardening and way of life. This video, though not in English, shows her in her garden and gives a bit of flavor to her person. (there are parts where she speaks in English about her life and work; i wish i could find this film - i will continue to search.)
I am drawn to writing and illustrating, though my pull in art school was for big expression and large body movement in my work. The smaller illustrative work seems tedious and consuming, though this past year, in doing my quick one a day drawings while waiting to travel to Europe, I found it especially rewarding. I love the scratchy feeling and looseness of my work when i work quickly and i see some of that in her work too.
I have a desire to take old classics or even some adult stories that have particularly vivid scenes and illustrating them.. One could imagine a picture book for the adult. And I'm not speaking of the not so new genre of "graphic novels" on shelves everywhere now, I'm speaking of an illustrated version of some of the adult fiction. We'll see. I've always enjoyed being read to and even as an adult reading to my grand babies, it's a special honor, and I love to hear a story read aloud. Here is the Christmas Cat (though I think I'd read a bit slower, to allow your eyes to travel around the page looking at all the story told in her illustrations):
This re-discovery of Tudor's work has inspired me to continue with my own ideas of what my work will include. I love painting large panels and canvas as in my spirit of the tree series, but I may scale back and try some smaller intimate work.