Wendell Minor, inspired by the paintings of early American artist-explorers, set his easel on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and recorded his visit in watercolors. With majestic art and inviting text, Minor's book captures the grandeur of the canyon for readers of all ages.
In what Minor calls a "visual diary" of a 12- day sojourn, he retraces the steps of 19th century artist-explorer Thomas Moran to capture the Grand Canyon in "on-the-spot sketches." At first glance, the reader may see little more than a closely associated but undifferentiated collection of watercolor studies. Paradoxically, it is the text that breathes life into the art. Minor writes of massive silence and constantly changing shadows, of the "rush of wind" over his head and the thunder echoing among canyon walls, of a scale so large that it distorts perceptions. Most particularly, he writes of the intimacies within the grandness: a bee fly "hovers like a small helicopter" and takes a drink from the artist's paint water; the once-raging Colorado River "seems to meander past like a lazy snake on a very cool morning."
From School Library Journal,Sept.1998
This polished work enables youngsters to see a much photographed natural wonder through the admiring, philosophical mind and the swift, careful fingers of an artist, a view as impressive as the subject of the book itself.
From Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1998
The fruit of a 12-day visit to the Grand Canyon, Minor goes solo in this departure from his usual meticulously detailed art for an album of watercolor sketches. The art is accompanied by brief, ruminative observa-tions on wildflowers, sudden storms, the visits of 19th-century painter Thomas Moran and explorer John Wesley Powell, rock formations, and other topics. Studies of light and shadow, rocks and trees, form and, occasionally, color, the scenes fill the page; opposite each is a smaller vignette or quickly sketched animal portrait. Less a systematic tour of the Grand Canyon than a visual and verbal appreciation of its large-scale and small-scale beauties, this will delight young armchair travelers and naturalists.
From Smithsonian's Notable Books for Children, 1998 by Kathleen Burke
Working in the tradition of the 19th-century artists who documented the Western landscape, Minor took his brushes and paints to the Grand Canyon last year. The series of radiant watercolors he completed there offers a sunlight-to-shadows portrayal of an artist working in the open air.
From Booklist, Oct 15, 1998 Susan Dove Lempke
In this visual treat for young landscape painters and travelers to the Grand Canyon, Minor uses words and watercolors to depict what he sees on his 12-day visit and the feelings the sights evoke. The book design is spacious, with the larger paintings frequently augmented by smaller black-and-white sketches or details from photographs. For example, a painting of a vivid clump of Indian paintbrush flowers appears on one page; on the opposite page is a pencil sketch showing the big fat bee that visited the blooms. Because the chatty text meanders, touching on history, weather, nature, science, and art, it won't help report writers much. It will, however, provide armchair travelers with a pleasent trip.
From Parenting, Nov.1998
The panoramic watercolors and assorted smaller pictorial jottings of this elegant book easily capture the stirring essence of the place.
From Book Links, Jan. 1999
Well known as an artist and illustrator, Minor here undertakes two purposes. He strives to share with young people his breathtaking paintings of the Grand Canyon, one of the most visited spots in the United States; and he attempts to re-create for aspiring artists the experience of plein air painting, docu-menting his process with notes on his reasons for selcting specific viewss and capturing them in a particular light. He also creates an enveloping sense of time and place with smaller drawings and photographs of the wildlife and vegetation in the park and of the effects of weather on the scenes he surveyed and recorded. Just enough historical information on the sites and background on other artists who practiced this open-air technique are provided to pique the desire of young armchair travelers and artists and spur them to explore further.
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