A Great Artist: Read my review

Maxfield Parris: painter of Magical Make-Believe


Lois v. Harris


The eyes of a 7 year old are often like the windows of the world as they look through the clear glass of a window and see straight ahead at the beauty of the landscapes, the greenery and all that is within the panoramic picture captured by the artistry of the world.


Frederick Parrish from the age of seven looked at the world, the colors, the landscapes through the eyes of an artist with the help and encouragement of his mentor, his father. Attending school in Paris, France he spent most of his time at this easel. His father, his muse you might say, encouraged him to pursue his talents, took him to the Louvre and together they viewed the masters while others perfected their craft copying the paintings of these great artists hoping to sell their work to the rich and wealthy.


Imagine the sights, the education, the cities and cathedrals that he visited and his hope to study architecture as his vocation. As you learn about the life of this great artist the author presents to the reader a special gallery showing of his work on each page. Not only can we learn more about his art but also we can see it first hand, learn about each piece as the paintings come alive, the colors vibrate and the subjects vary. On the page opposite his picture the author shares a well -known illustration painted by Parrish of the nursery rhyme Old King Cole. Imagine as a student exhibiting his landscape and earning his first commission. Frederick Parrish was a visionary. Taught by his father who was known for his etchings. Frederick soon became Maxfield taking on his grandmother’s family name and used the initials MP or Maxfield Parrish. At the age of 25 he was commissioned to paint his first magazine cover for Harper’s Bazaar. Married to Lydia Austin, an art teacher, revisiting the Louvre and copying the old masters. The awe of being in the presences of these great artists and watching other more experienced artists copy and study their work. His art was bold, designing ads, magazines using his imagination, which was limitless.


Author Lois V. Harris does more than must share his life and story with the reader. She takes us on a private guided tour of his work. Each picture either captures a scene, a place, a story he wanted to impart, a magazine cover, snapshot or photograph of the artist himself. Large murals with vibrant reds, browns and pictures so lifelike they capture the emotions and feelings of the figures within the painted canvas.


Nursery rhymes with real life figures, pictures of candy boxes, calendars and cards were just some of the artwork that was sold by this author. A New York gallery showcased his work and the author shares that with the reader. As I looked at each picture I noticed a few commonalities in each one. The vibrant reddish browns, the dark browns, yellows and the ever-present blue sky in the background sets off many of his paintings. The beiges, the deep shades of blue and the landscapes seem to be like his trademark. Although art critics at times complained about his work looking too much like a photograph, he continued on and did not falter under pressure or criticism sticking to his own unique style. Take a trip back in time and visit the world of Maxfield Parrish, the painter, the artist and illustrator. The magical world of make believe or in this case the magical window of the world as seen by this great painter and shared by this outstanding author.


Children can learn a lot from reading about his life. They can even try and copy some of his paintings, study more about him and even find more of his work. This is one great book for children of all ages and for art teachers to use to introduce an amazing and talented artist.


Fran Lewis: Reviewer

Adrift in the Sound: my review

Adrift in the Sound: Kate Campbell


Some people cannot find their way in this world and often get lost in their own thoughts. Lizette witnesses a murder, which let her broken in more ways than one. Finding her way back home to her father only left her empty and more alone. Confronting him about his past caused him to send her away. Drifting about and going through the motions she winds up in a poor area, with other drug users and lives her life as if she’s in a misty or clouded fog.


The year is 1973 and the date is February 2. Lizette Karlson has been drifting through life for so long that when she reenters her parent’s home, her father, anthropologist, Einar Karlson, she brings along with her the past, her own package and memories of being attacked and raped. Lizette remembers her mother, the smell of the paints she used on her pallets, her art studio and the special cookies her mother made. Lizette has serious mental problems, which her father chooses to ignore or just cast aside and not deal with. Lizette is an outcast and leaving her father’s home she returns to the life she led before with friends like Rocket, Sandy and the baseball hopefuls the Dogs. Junkies, losers and castoffs create this powerful picture of people just trying to survive anyway they can. Lizette has nowhere to go and leaves for two different places.



One, where Norwegian fisherman lived n the past and this is where our story picks up when she reenters that world with Sandy and her friends. Although Sandy would prefer to her to leave she cleans her house, tries to help out but Lizette appears to be unstable and most would rather have her gone. Making noises and pretending to be a bird she eventually leaves and heads for the shack she mentioned to her father in the short period of time she was there. Her friend Marion offers her a place to stay and hopefully a way to reconnect with life. Lizette cleans the house of the Rocket and the Dogs but no matter how hard she tries her behavior is odd and they want her to leave. As a result she finds her way into the street, lives with some vagrants and then hides out in Rocket’s again before finding her way to Marian’s. Marian takes her in, cleans her up, feeds and hopefully will get her to take her meds and find her way back into the art world and away from the drugs and alcohol of Rocket and his friends. Concerned about her two closest Native American friends Poland and his wife Abaya finds their friendship a comfort and hopefully along with Marian will find her way back to her art and the world. This is the era when the Viet Nam War and the Hippie movement were often in the headlines and Lizette, lived between a delicate balance of reality and mental frailty. Lizette has her own opinions and which conflict with others and alienates her from her family and friends. Meeting Abaya and Poland you learn more about the Native American culture, their feelings and wanted a potlatch which is defined as: A ceremonial feast among certain Native American peoples of the northwest Pacific coast, as in celebration of a marriage or accession, at which the host distributes gifts according to each guest’s rank or status. Between rival groups the potlatch could involve extravagant or competitive giving and destruction by the host of valued items as a display of superior wealth.” She wanted this after the death of several in their tribe.


An accident happens and Marian’s dog is injured and the true colors about her boyfriend and others are revealed as Lizette seems to be making her way back into the real world wanting to help out, working with Poland and his wife and then taking care of Tucker. Marian is a midwife and along with Lummi and the others Lizette works hard and needs to sort out her past and learn to understand her present. But, can she. Talking to the animals, making bird noises and acting crazy will she ever see the real light of life or day?


Lizette and the other characters each have their own issues, secrets and pasts to deal with. But, an accident takes the life of one person yet the others seem to move on. With Rocket and the Dogs staying with Marian, Fisher, Poland and his wife helping with a newborn named Violet, things seem to be coming together but not for Lizette. When her agent takes her work to a gallery and they make a huge offer why doesn’t she accept the fact that she’s talented and have the showing? Lizette meets with Dr. Finch to renew her medication and get it adjusted and comes full circle with her feelings with her father and makes them known to him at the same time.


But, when things start to spiral out of control and the welfare department comes looking for Lizette just how will she react? The people on Orca Island are a closely- knit family and then something happens to change her feelings about her father. Learning the truth about her mother, what she did with her paintings and the secrets that were buried when she died, Lizette has to decide whether to welcome her father back in her life, accept the fact that she just might be a success and decide what she wants to do with her life.


The Indian culture and their customs so vividly described as they all participate in the Potlatch and we learn more about their stories and legends that many tell as Lizette takes her first steps back into the world with Violet at her side. Just what happens to the Dogs, Rocket and the rest you will have to read and learn for yourself. Relationships ended and old one redefined author Kate Campbell give the reader many interesting thoughts to think about by bringing these unique and special characters into our lives in this outstanding novel; Adrift in the Sound. Lizette Karlson just might learn the true meaning of trust, friendship, and loyalty and learn to have faith in herself while she searches for you and what she is and where she wants to go.


Fran Lewis: Reviewer