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Charles Harper's Birds and Words Hardcover – May 1, 2008
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More About the Author
There was a rare and delightful playfulness in Harper's artwork. There was also graphic genius. Harper said, "When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don't see feathers, fur, scapulars or tail coverts - none of that. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of painting: in a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe."
Reared on a West Virginia farm, Harper developed an early appreciation and love of animals as well as design. He attended West Virginia Wesleyan College and graduated from the Cincinnati Art Academy, where he also taught for many years. Gradually, Harper began to lose his interest in realism. "I felt shackled by the laws of perspective and shading and decided that the constant attempt to create the illusion of three dimensions on the two-dimensional plane of the picture was limiting me as an artist. Realistic painting persuades the viewer that he is looking into space rather than at a flat surface. It denies the picture plane, which I affirm and use as an element of design. Wildlife art has been dominated by realism, but I have chosen to do it differently because I think flat, hard-edge and simple."
In his artwork, Harper imaginatively investigated the similarities between human and wild animal behaviors, but completely without anthropomorphism. "I learn as much as I can about the creatures that interest me, and they all do. I observe them and find out how they interact with each other and their environments and ask myself, 'What if?'"
© 2002 The Mill Pond Press Companies
Top Customer Reviews
A side note: I wish there were a similar volume of Edie's works, she is every bit as clever and talented an artist as Charlie and one can easily see the influence of each on the other.
Charles Harper's ability to see the essence of a particular bird and render it with stunning beauty and exquisite simplicity is amazing. If you love birds, fine art, printmaking and design you will love this book. Buy it now, while you can. You will not regret the purchase.
I'm also a big fan of Eva Zeisel's designs, and I can see correlation between the two artists and their mastery of form.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought two. One for my bookcase. One to cut apart and frame. I know many people are horrified at the thought of cutting up a book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MLE
What more can you say about this outstanding illustrator. Beautiful book.Published 1 month ago by Book-A-Holic
The content of the book if fabulous!
I sent the first book back because the cover was marked up and there were smudges on some of the pages. Read more
Very nice. If you like Charlie Harper you'll like be this book.Published 3 months ago by Steven Luppes
Its so samll incomparison to my Big Giant Coffee Table CH book...but it is just as sweet.Published 5 months ago by Christoph
Charley Harper was a master at the fine art of characterizing the personality of any life he chose to illustrate. And his word pictures are droll and descriptive.Published 8 months ago by Helen E. Lloyd
To be honest, most anything with Charley Harper's art is fantastic. This is no exception.Published 9 months ago by Kelly E Swanson