When I teach art to kids, I like to read illustrated children’s books to them. In the best of children’s books, the language is poetry and the illustrations, fine art. No matter how old or young we are, a good children’s book always offers a new way of looking at the world. I’ve read books to kids as old as 12 who haven’t been read out loud to in years, and they listen with the same intensity and interest as a much younger child.
When we study Vincent Van Gogh, I read “Van Gogh and the Sunflowers” written and illustrated by Laurence Anholt. This book tells a fictionalized account of when Vincent Van Gogh moved to the small village of Arles in Provence, France. He was an outsider and was welcomed only by the Postmaster Roulin and his family who all posed for numerous portraits. It is told from the view point of Roulin’s youngest son Camille, who befriends Van Gogh and is not intimidated by the strange artist with “the straw hat and yellow beard”.
The paintings above are portraits of the Roulin family: Postmaster Roulin, oldest son Armand, infant daughter, Marcelle, and their cat, Timmy.
Just kidding! The painting of Timmy is by Delaware artist Karoline Wileczek. It so reminds me of a Van Gogh portrait from this period that I had to hang it on the same wall. In the Roulin family portraits, Van Gogh captures the life force of his subjects. In “Timmy”, Wileczek does the same. (Yes, Karoline, I’m putting you on the same plane as Vincent Van Gogh.)
So enough about Van Gogh. Let’s talk about Wileczek.
In Wileczek’s portrait of Timmy, Timmy is lively painted with rich, vibrant, colors. He looks directly at the artist with an expression as bold as Wileczek’s painterly stroke. I love this cat. I don’t know him, but I can tell from the way he is treated by Wileczek -with the import of a human subject – that he has a huge personality.
Pet portraits. They can be ridiculous but they can also be quite lovely. I know a few other artists who portray pets as beautifully and with as much intent as they do their human subjects. Rosemary Markowski is one, Rebecca Brame is another.
If you are interested in a portrait of your pet, Wileczek, Markowski and Brame all accept commissions (at unbelievably affordable prices).
You can email them for more information: Karoline Wileczek: firstname.lastname@example.org Rosemary Markowski: email@example.com Rebecca Brame: firstname.lastname@example.org