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I Love…Mary Blair

Monday October 29th, 2007, 7 years, 4 months and 1 week ago

Hands up who’s a lifetime member of the Mary Blair Appreciation Society (if there is such a thing)? Meeeeee!!!

I’ve loved Mary Blair since I was little & first read I Can Fly. Isn’t it funny how kids study things so intently? Well I know every brush stroke of every illustration from that book, & when I recently got hold of a first edition copy & flicked through its pages for the first time in over 30 years, it was like being dumped over the head with an ice-cold bucket of ‘OMG, I remember that!’ My favourite picture was the one I’ve featured here, of the little girl as a make-believe worm in her fuzzy green beret & matching cardie. I wanted an outfit just like it when I was 5 – so stylish!

The beauty of Mary Blair’s work is that it’s just as fresh as it was 50 years ago, & her influence extends into the 21st century with so many artists (either consciously or otherwise) borrowing a little something (or a lot) from her style.

There’s so much I could say about her work – about her amazing instinct for colour, how much I love her textures, the way she uses paint, etc, etc – but what I love most is her energy & spontaneity, the boundless sense of joy, & most of all, the memories her art evokes.

If you’d like to find out more about Mary Blair, Wikipedia is a good place to start. You can also check out some more of her work at the ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archive & Cartoon Modern.

The illustrations I’ve posted are scanned from my own collection as follows…

Top Left: from the front flyleaf of The Golden Book of Little Verses by Miriam Clark Potter, first published 1946.

Top Right: also from The Golden Book of Little Verses.

Above Centre: from I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss, first published 1950.

Above Right: from the endpapers of The New Golden Song Book.

Below: Two spot illustrations from The New Golden Song Book, first published 1945.

12 Responses to I Love…Mary Blair

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  1. Chicalookate says: chicalookate.wordpress.com

    Can I join your Mary Blair Appreciation Society? I have seen some of her illustrations before, it is good to have a name to put to them. I have a large collection of kids books because I love the illustrations so much. These examples are wonderful!

    Reply to Chicalookate Oct 29th 2007, 7 yrs and 4 mths ago
  2. How wonderful! I have always loved her work and never even knew her name, I just recognize her style. Thanks for posting this!

    Reply to kate Oct 29th 2007, 7 yrs and 4 mths ago
  3. Miribella Designs says: miribelladeisgns.blogspot.com

    Her work is really iconic…and just wonderful!

    Reply to Miribella Designs Oct 30th 2007, 7 yrs and 4 mths ago
  4. I love her work. Such sparkling bright it’s-a-small-world-after-all sweetness.

    Reply to KiWi Nov 1st 2007, 7 yrs and 4 mths ago
  5. Karena (Magic Jelly) says: magicjelly.com.au

    So glad I’m not the only Mary Blair appreciator. How could anyone NOT love her work…that’s what I want to know!

    Reply to Karena (Magic Jelly) Nov 1st 2007, 7 yrs and 4 mths ago
  6. Shannon of Mayabella says: stopswithme.wordpress.com

    I agree. Lovely. And totally reminds me of my childhood. :)

    Reply to Shannon of Mayabella Jun 29th 2008, 6 yrs and 8 mths ago
  7. sam gorrie says: samgorrie.com

    i’ve been obsessed with Mary blair for the longest time! i have I can fly and the art and flair of mary blair.
    I’m puzzled though, my I can fly book doesn’t have that image in it! did later versions of the book have some pages missing?
    Man, i am trying so hard to get my hands, on the golden songbook and little verses. any suggestions?

    Reply to sam gorrie Mar 4th 2009, 6 yrs and 1 day ago
  8. Karena (Magic Jelly) says: magicjelly.com.au

    Hi there Sam!
    I got mine from Abe Books…they have a few of /The New Golden Song Book /available but they’re a bit pricey! No one seems to have /The Golden Book of Little Verses /at the moment though…
    As for /I Can Fly/…do you mean the little girl wriggling amongst the flowers? Maybe new editions don’t have that in – what a shame!

    Reply to Karena (Magic Jelly) Mar 4th 2009, 6 yrs and 1 day ago
  9. Karen says: LePetitPoulailler.com

    Karena, excellent feature! I have originals of both the Golden Books you’ve featured so I think we’ll have to include my gramma in our Mary Blair Fan Club ~ they were gifts to me from her at my birth ♥ … and I suppose to my mom, too, for keeping them safe for me during my “I’m Too Old For Those Books” years

    Reply to Karen Oct 21st 2011, 3 yrs and 4 mths ago
  10. Tina says:

    I absolutely love her work. I’ve read “I Can Fly” to my two older girls – it was always so fun when they memorized the rhymes in the book and could finish the sentence. Thanks for sharing her other works.

    Reply to Tina Jan 16th 2012, 3 yrs and 1 mth ago
  11. Tina says:
    Reply to Tina Feb 24th 2012, 3 yrs and 1 wk ago

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