Saturday, June 28, 2008

90th Birthday double portrait

My dear friends Beth and Joe Krush recently agreed to let me paint their portrait, and I am thrilled!

The Krushes have illustrated many books including some of the most well-known children's classics of the '50s and '60s. You may know them through their marvelously detailed drawings in The Borrowers by Mary Norton, The Gone-Away Lake books by Elizabeth Enright, several classics by Beverly Cleary, and many, many more.

When I was a child I adored their illustrations. They had a way of melding with the written word in my imagination. Not only were the people wonderfully lifelike and detailed, but also the settings were equally well-drawn, descriptive, with interesting perspective angles. In addition, the Krushes' illustrations faithfully followed the text, never using "artistic license" to go against the author's intent. The combination was irresistible to me. I used to trace their drawings to try to understand how they did them! Little did I realize then that I would need years of practice drawing the figure. Somehow I learned that they lived and taught in the Philadelphia area, and I got the idea that I would love to meet them. I even had questions planned out. The first question I planned to ask them was "How do you work together without getting into arguments?"

But it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I had the opportunity to meet them through another illustrator/mural painter friend. Interestingly, they are just as I imagined them to be.

Here they are at their 90th birthday party. Happy Birthday, Joe and Beth!