Jul 14, 2011

Artist of the Month...Helen Beatrix Potter

I have always been a big fan of this lady, her wonderful illustrations are so delightful you can feel her love of the characters when you look at them!

Helen Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for children's books featuring anthropomorphic characters such as in The Tale of Peter Rabbit which celebrated the British landscape and country life.

As children, Beatrix and Bertam her younger brother had numerous small animals as pets which they observed closely and drew endlessly Beatrix developed a love of the natural world which was the subject of her painting from an early age.

In their school room Beatrix and Bertram kept a variety of small pets, mice, rabbits, a hedgehog, some bats along with collections of butterflies and other insects which they drew and studied.

She was provided with private art lessons but found she would rather develop yer own style, she loved using watercolors. She also illustrated fossils, fungi, insects, and archaeological artifacts.

Beatrix spent the first fifteen years of her life, at Dalguise for summer holidays. This was an estate in Scotland in Perthshire on the River Tay. While she was there she spent many hours exploring and sketching the area that sparked imagination and developed her

Potter’s artistic and literary interests were deeply influenced by fairies, fairy tales and fantasy. She grew up with Aesop’s Fables, the folk tales and mythology of Scotland, the German Romantics, Shakespeare, and the romances of Sir Walter Scott. She also enjoyed Lewis Carroll, and appreciated the African-American folktales adapted by Joel Chandler Harris.

In the 1890s, Beatrix and her brother began to print Christmas cards of their own design, as well as cards for special occasions as a way to make a bit of money . Mice and rabbits were the most frequent subject of her fantasy paintings. In 1890 the firm of Hildesheimer and Faulkner bought several of her drawings of her rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, to illustrate verses by Frederic Weatherly titled "A Happy Pair". It was, the only time Potter’s drawings were used to illustrate the writing of another.

Having some success illustration cards and booklets she was determined to publsih her own illustrated stories. She wrote and illustrated the Tale of Peter Rabbit and published it privately in 1901.

With the money she made from the books and a small inheritance from an aunt, Potter bought Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, a tiny village in the English Lake District near Ambleside in 1905. In all, Beatrix Potter published over twenty-three books; the best are those written between 1902 and 1922. Potter died on 22 December 1943 at her home in Near Sawrey at age 77, leaving almost all her property to the National Trust. She is credited with preserving much of the land that now comprises the Lake District National Park.

Peter Rabbit
"First he ate some lettuces and some French beans; and then he ate some radishes."

To read more go to:  http://www.peterrabbit.com/
Sharon Teal-Coray

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