In 2003 my wife and I were finishing up school at Cal Poly SLO when a friend of ours first told us about Mary Blair. Weirdly, this friend was my wife's friend in a poetry class, and my friend in a painting class. We realized it was the same person when we both said hi to him at a lecture given by a visiting artist.
I always liked Its a Small World, but mainly for its quirkiness, until I saw and realized the work of Mary Blair. Her simplified shapes turned into characters, and her touches of color for backgrounds really evoked such a different style than the other Disney artists of the time.
A few years later 2005 or so, I was in a Tiki Art show at A Stuart Gallery in the Valley and saw a painting by Amanda Visell, who had the soul of Mary Blair walking through her shoes and right onto the canvas. I was still in school at the time getting my masters and broker than ever but still kick myself for not buying her painting of a jungle cruise scene. I told my wife, you could paint in that style, can you make a Mary Blair inspired piece?
Fast forward to 2006 and I was in a Tiki Art show at La Luz De Jesus with Miles Thompson who can dance the gauche on the parchment better than anybody, and it got us pumped again on Mary Blair. Thinking of my wife's painting skills... "Alene, I know you could paint like Mary Blair, you've got the delicate digits of your Swiss Engineer Grandfather, what about now?"
As a surprise for my birthday a few years later, she painted me one of Mary Blair's concept paintings for the Papua New Guinea Huts from Its a Small World and it looked identical to the original. I was so amazed, I thought I was gonna see her pump these out, and we'd have our own collection of Mary Blair.
Well, here we are in 2010 and Alene's done it again with this Peter Pan and Mermaid painting. This time she used gauche on canvas. Gauche seemed to be a favorite of Mary Blair, as is with my wife Alene.
I was so pumped, I decided to restart my blog after nearly have a decade. I put the painting out on the slightly dewed grass, only to discover that a droplet of water got on the painting, which quickly brought the gauche back to life, and OH NO!!! the drop made a glimmer of ocean turn back to the white of the canvas underneath. Luckily in 20 minutes Alene was able to whittle the blue back to the sea. The photo on the grass was before, and the one on top is the way it survives now, until I have another accident.