Look At Those Chicken Sheds!

Truly charming characters, delicious colour combinations, a great sense of pattern and scale - Mary Blair was an amazingly skilled illustrator. Until recently I did not know the name - nor did I associate the Disney cartoons Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella with Mary Blair.
In this image below, I love the way the logs are placed to draw our eye from the very front of the picture to the dark hair and the concentrating eye of the child, while the upright of the log stack echoes the yellow vertical she is climbing off. The repeats of the flower sprigs delicately pull all the elements together around the composition. The way you have to really look for the ladybird is delightful:


By 1964, Mary Blair had moved away from working on animation at Disney - painting 'It's a Small World' for a pavilion at the 'New York World's Fair'. It is a triumph of graphic pattern and colour, with a healthy nod to the folk traditions of Europe. After the fair, it was moved to Disneyland to become the backdrop for a ride there:

One of my Mary Blair favourites is the sweet book 'I Can Fly' which Blair illustrated once she moved on from Disney - to become a freelance Graphic Artist. She captures the way children mimic those around them to gain an understanding of their world. I bought it for reading (for me and for my son!) and seeking out the details in every page never fails to entertain us:

I put quite a few pages from the book here in order to appreciate how the colours and tones provide continuity throughout - yet the weight of pictures changes to keep our interest:

Look at those fabulous chicken sheds! Look at those really chickeny chickens!

No comments: