I have pre-ordered exactly one thing in my life. It wasn’t a copy of Frozen for my kids or a must-have Xbox game. It was a book filled with the work of an artist who died not long after I was born.
Mary Blair’s artwork is a thing of obsession to me. Her work elicits such nostalgia.
Y’all, I literally gasp with every page I turn.
I’m not going to pretend that I know anything at all about art. I’m not going to give you a bio on Mary Blair other than to tell you that she worked with Walt Disney on visual concepts for Cinderella, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland and on creating the It’s a Small World ride at the 1964 New York World’s Fair (which later became a ride at the Disney parks).
Walt Disney described Mary Blair as being able to use colors that he didn’t even know existed. I’m pretty sure that’s the best compliment anyone has ever given another person. Her work is filled bright colors and graphic shapes. Instead of trying to make her subjects seem realistic, she seemed happy to make sure that they stayed two dimensional. They are fun and happy.
Well, yeah. It does me, too.
I certainly don’t pretend that I can pull off anything even remotely close to what Mary Blair was able to accomplish in her lifetime. But, I subconsciously draw from her creativity and artistry when I’m selecting colors for projects or lines for walls.
It’s so amazing to have fallen in love with her when I was a child riding a little boat in a shallow river. Of course, I didn’t know who “she” was or didn’t get “why” I loved her. That sort of thing comes with time.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
P.S. The book is called Magic Color Flair: The World of Mary Blair (Amazon affiliate link) by John Canemaker. He has curated an exhibit of Mary’s work at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. It runs through September 7, and I beg of you to go see it if you are in the area!
P.P.S. If you want to see more of Mary’s work, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to her.