Brain Pickings

Picasso Paints on Glass

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A voyeuristic peek at the master making magic.

The great Pablo Picasso — painter, sculptor, printmaker, stage designer, notorious list-maker, cross-disciplinary creator and proponent of combinatorial creativity — would have been 130 today. To celebrate, here’s a piece of now-legendary footage of Picasso painting on glass with a camera rolling on the other side of it, revealing a rare glimpse of the genius at work as he paints his famous Torros with meticulously measured yet effortless brush strokes.

The footage is part of Paul Haesaert’s short 1950 documentary, Visit to Picasso, which you can watch online in its entirety. Go ahead, have your breath taken away.

On a semi-related note, while digging for a DVD copy of the film — to no avail, sadly — I serendipitously discovered this utterly gorgeous original 1971 print of a 1946 poster for a lecture by Picasso and Haesaert, designed by Picasso himself:

For an intimate, revealing and, yes, opinionated journey into the great artist’s heart and mind, look no further than Gertrude Stein’s timeless memoir, simply titled Picasso.

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The Phantom Tollbooth at 50: Celebrating Timeless Imagination

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What dumpster-diving in the 1960s has to do with timeless wisdom for the eternal kid.

The Phantom Tollbooth isn’t merely one of the most celebrated children’s books of all time, it’s also one of those rare children’s books with timeless philosophy for grown-ups, its map of The Kingdom of Wisdom a profound metaphor for curiosity and the human condition. This month marks the 50th anniversary of the beloved classic and there’s hardly a better celebration than The Phantom Tollbooth 50th Anniversary Edition — a magnificent volume featuring brief essays from renowned authors, educators, and artists — including Philip Pullman, Suzanne Collins, Jeanne Birdsall, and Mo Willems — alongside the complete original text and illustrations of the book and the now-legendary 35th anniversary essay by Where The Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak.

Packaged in the classic original art, stamped and debossed on the case with a transparent acetate jacket, the book is an absolute treasure to touch and to hold, exuding in a tactile way the intangible magic that fueled a half-century of heart-warming enchantment.

Here’s a lovely short documentary about the book’s masterminds, author Norton Juster and illustrator Jules Feiffer, reminiscing about the unusual spark of their collaboration and the original creative process behind the work:

In another celebration of the 50th anniversary, a team of Brooklyn-based filmmakers is bringing to life a documentary about the beloved work of the imagination, currently raising funds on Kickstarter.

Juster’s new picture book, Neville, is also out today and looking absolutely delightful.

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Eli, No! An Illustrated Antidote to Perfectionism

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What chasing squirrels has to do with reclaiming childhood from the grip of perfectionist parenting.

Children’s books are often among the finest feats of storytelling — beautifully designed, illustrated and art-directed, they use simple narratives and metaphors to convey complex ideas and lifelong lessons. That’s certainly the case with Eli, No! — a heart-stoppingly delightful new children’s book by Katie Kirk, one half of husband-and-wife illustration and design duo Eight Hour Day, telling the story of their lovable yet mischievous dog named Eli. Throughout Eli’s many adventures and misadventures, his quirks and imperfections, we find ourselves contemplating the gift of unconditional love which, of course, is what the story is really about.

With its minimalist, bold, mid-century-inspired graphics and its heart-warming message, Eli, No! is both an absolute treat for wee ones, a needed one in the age of overambitious parenting, and a charming reminder for the rest of us about cultivating unconditional acceptance of our loved ones’ idiosyncrasies and imperfections, a need one in the age of chronic perfectionism.

via Public School

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