Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happy 96th Birthday to Joe Krush!


If you are familiar with the "Golden Age" of children's fiction, the 1950s when books like The Borrowers and Gone Away Lake were written, you might remember the wonderful line drawings   that helped transport you into the worlds within these books.


They (and many, many more) were done by a husband-wife team of illustrators, Beth and Joe Krush. When I was a kid I wanted desperately to meet the Krushes, to see how they worked together and just to know them, because I had a feeling they would be as nice and interesting as their drawings indicated, and I wanted them to teach me how to draw like them. Beth's and Joe's drawings were so good (people and animals and even architecture with cool perspective angles) that it was impossible to imagine these books without their illustrations. It almost seemed as if they had written the books. Joe wishes he and Beth had been able to illustrate Harry Potter and I agree, that would have been amazing.




About eight years ago I finally called them up and arranged to meet Beth and Joe, and I am so happy I did. Here is a portrait I did of them:


Beth passed away several years ago at the age of 90, but Joe is now celebrating his 96th birthday. Today I stopped by at his house for a visit and mini-celebration. While I was there, I brought out my latest plan for a mull-figure composition because Joe is a master at this kind of thing. If there is a flaw in a composition, he will spot it. As I thought, he gave me some excellent advice.

The Krushes' work is so exceptional, and has touched the lives and hearts of so many people, it should be duly recognized. It is my hope that the Krushes' work will be honored in Joe's lifetime with a retrospective exhibit at one of the wonderful art institutions in the Philadelphia area.

3 comments:

Elizabeth Whelan said...

I always loved those illustrations for The Borrowers! They definitely made an impression on me, and my later illustration career was definitely influenced by artists such as the Krushes. Thanks for featuring them here!

Shelli Alford said...

Alex,
I loved your post about the Krushes'. I especially loved the fact that you called them up out of the blue just because you wanted to meet them. Brave girl! Just say "yes", even to yourself.

Peter Russell said...

I love your painting.