Artist Spotlight: Cicely Mary Barker and a call back to the 50s?


Cicely Mary Barker

A coincidental stumble upon, if you will.

A friend and I were walking in this randomosity (new word. hah!) of a store called Zingers. I was looking for a short extension chord and yes, I did find one. However, we left all sorts of confused because of just how much random stuff that store contained. We got napkins, yard supplies, wine bottle toppers, magnets, candy, lighters shaped like golf clubs…but the best part…the children’s section.

Little toys galore, but also, the awesomeness that is children’s books. Being an illustrator (I’m not even sure if I should call myself that), I am always fond of seeing the different styles that you can find in a children’s book. I remember just the other day walking into Austin Books and Comics. I’m always drawn to children’s books first and this genre is right in front of you as soon as you enter…so off I go, straight to it. I look around a bit and was drawn to this book:

It was around halloween time and I HAD TO stand there and read the whole entire thing. All I gotta say is, I should be owning this one soon. :3

But this time, this big, bright book called out to me from a top shelf.

Return to Fairyopolis was calling my name. Illustrated by the heart of artist Cicely Mary Barker, Flower Fairies are an entire species of their own (and a cute one at that!). I was a little overwhelmed by the super interactive website, but also pretty excited and glad to see exactly just how interactive it really was. Not only is their great art everywhere, there is also meaning. There are activities for children’s and information for adults alike.

I almost want to call this a flower fairy movement all in its own. There has been some pretty cool ideas stemming from this world of the fairies…

Craft your own project:

The Flower Fairy Alphabet:

Barker was an artist at a very young age and was said to have suffered from epilepsy; resulting in having to be home schooled.In reading about Cicely Mary Barker, I thought it interesting that she always used live models. Her models were the children that attended her sisters Kindergarten school that she held out of their home. After each painting, followed its own, unique poem to go right along with it. Her work is also said to be religion and victorian influenced.

“Cicely always asked the child model to hold the flower, twig or blossom of a particular fairy, for she wanted to be sure of the accuracy of her depiction of the shape, texture and form of the plant. Her only alteration was to the size, she enlarged the flower to make it the same size as the child.

Cicely’s flowers are always botanically accurate. If she could not find a flower close at hand, she enlisted the help of staff at Kew Gardens, who would often visit with specimens for her to paint.”

There are soo many books out there with her art all over them! Find them all here and read more about Cicely Mary Barker here at her official website.    I have to say that these little fairies remind me of some of the work I have done, the most recent being Duo.

I am a lover of children’s books and their are so many awesome ones out there that I have yet to discover. Not just for the art but also for the fun and creative stories that come with it all. There are many I have been drawn to but simply have not had the chance to read yet. One day I will be able to collect and read as many children’s book as I please. ^_^

On another note, Cat Power radio on Pandora has been helping me stay calm during this time of final examinations. I am about to start my paper that is due on Friday. I am also planning to take this OPTIONAL final for my kinesiology class to help bring my grade up. Its studying I don’t have to do, but I’m doing it anyway? THATS RIGHT! #aimhigh

Also, a few old school love songs have been popping up like crazy and honestly I have to admit that it seems to be suiting a certain situation in my life right now. I’m a little afraid of commitment and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m not in love…I can’t be…or am I? I know I can love, and I do…but I’m simply just not ready to put my guard down I don’t think. At least they are upbeat and fun to listen to 🙂 :

and speaking of children (and love):

(I must add, I love the way this song was written. The lyrics are AWESOME. hahaha)

“What does a 13 year old boy know about love?”

and for a more up to date favorite:

and not super happy, but still worth mentioning:

All I gotta say is, if you love someone, let them know it. You never know when they will be gone, and they can go as soon as they come.

Do you have any favorite children’s books?

How do you show your love?

<3, JLT


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