Sometimes I write, sometimes I dance (mostly in my office when I finish a revision.) This week, I am dancing because A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin received a starred review in Booklist. The review itself does an excellent job of summarizing Pippin’s difficult but inspiring life, as well as giving a thumbs-up to the story and the amazing illustrations by Melissa Sweet. Here is the full review, which will appear in the Nov. 1, 2012, issue of Booklist:
Born in Pennsylvania in 188, Horace Pippin loved to draw and paint as a child. When he was in eighth grade, his father left the family. Horace quit school and worked to support them. Later wounded as a soldier in World War I, he never regained full use of his right arm. Back home, Pippin began painting again, using his left arm to guide his right. Painting subjects drawn mainly from observation, memory, family stories, and the Bible, this self-taught African American artist was eventually discovered by the art community. Major museums display his works, and their locations are indicated on the U.S. map on the back endpapers, along with small reproductions of six paintings. In a well-structured narrative with recurring themes and a highly accessible style, Bryant writes short sentences full of memorable details, from Pippin’s first box of colored pencils to the scavenged house paints he used to paint his wartime memories. Combining drawings and printed elements with watercolor and gouache paints, Sweet’s mixed media illustrations have a refreshing, down-home style and a brilliance all their own. The artwork incorporates large-print quotes, giving Pippin a voice here as well. Outstanding.