Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The painter of New England children

(image via nytimes)
Lorelei's great summer reading list for kids got me thinking about my own summer reading plans. Reading for pleasure should be something I am more intentional about and so why not start during these sweltering months when nothing feels as good as a library book in your lap and an iced tea in your hand? I went through a biography binge not too long ago focusing on artists like Diane Arbus and Joseph Cornell so I've decided to start my warm weather reading with another artist's biography: A Deaf Artist in Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster Jr. by Harlan L. Lane.

John Brewster, Jr.
(1766-1854) was a deaf New England painter of portraits. He did portraits of his own family members, other adults and also painted people in pairs, but I like his solitary children. They look serene, yet world-weary. Maybe it's in the seriousness of their eyes or a type of tension in their bodies in having to hold up a rose, a red book, a piece of fruit, a bird by a string.

I'm looking forward to reading this biography and, hey, maybe this will lead to a whole summer of reading without a pencil in my hand, twitching to underline.

"Mary Jane Nowell," 1810-1850

brother-and-sister portraits via nytimes.com

"One Shoe Off," 1810-1850
(image via nytimes)

"Unidentified Boy with Book," 1810

(image via The Florence Griswold Museum)

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